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“Exceeded EVERY expectation...plus some!”

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Barcelo Puerto Vallarta
Ranked #28 of 123 Hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed May 26, 2010

My husband and I just returned from our Honeymoon at the Barcelo Puerto Vallarta! It was the BEST! We found all the staff to be extremely helpful and friendly - especially if you take the time to try to speak with them. They have many suggestions of places to go and are more than willing to try to accomodate your every need! We laughed as we remarked that we weren't sure they even knew the word 'no'.

From the clean & spacious rooms, comfy beds (I especially loved the pillows) to the buffets and pools - we honestly don't have any complaints! Okay....maybe the little insect bits we were getting the first couple of days - in Michigan we have little gnat-like things that we call no-see-ums - and trust me, you don't - that's what they're like. Take a little container of Off and you'll be fine (they sell it in the gift shop too if you happen to forget it).

We took $100 in one's and five's for tipping - while tips are included in your package - tipping is hugely appreciated by the staff. We left a few dollars per day for Matilde (our maid) and a couple bucks per day for Olga (our primary Cantina waitress) and Joel or Eduardo (our bartenders). I just can't say enough about how well they took care of us.

There was no shortage of towels, room cleanings, pool chairs or food while we were there. There were no illnesses from water or food (other than those self-induced by over indulging :) ). Many people we asked (and we asked lots) called the Barcelo their favorite resort in Mexico, of which, many were repeat customers. Or, if this was their first time, like us, many will be returning.

Take the time to see the area - whether it's going into the city for shopping, going to a place like Chalupa by water taxi or going into the neighborhood behind the resort to go on the Tequila Tour, you won't be dissappointed. We HIGHLY recommend Tony's Restaurant behind the resort - it was one of the highlights of our vacation - food was out of this world - don't expect to see a paper menu - they'll bring a tray to your table and show you what's on the menu that day! Shrimp were the biggest I've seen. Red Snapper was caught fresh in the bay. Banana Margarita's are to die for! This was at your table on the 2nd story of a building with a sand floor (feel free to take your shoes off) overlooking this neighborhood with a beautiful view of the mountains. If you're lucky enough to meet 'Tony" as your leaving, you'll be doing a shot of Mexican moonshine in the street before you leave!! We went with 4 others we met at the Barcelo and ALL commented on how awesome the experience was.

While it's not necessary that you leave the resort - everything's there that you could need - we wanted to experience the true culture and the people. If you're looking for 'nightlife' or 'clubbing', the Resort doesn't have that per se. It's more like your nieghborhood bar gathering in the Cantina at night - something like 'Cheers'. It's a little more on the quiet side which fit right up our alley for a more adult, romantic Honeymoon (Sunsets are gorgeous!!!) In talking to the staff - May to end-of-June is a little slower time frame which I think is what we experienced as far as how reasonably priced our trip was.

There were quite a few trainees that had just started when we first got there (probably ramping up for their busy June to begin) however, by the end of our week - they seemed to fit right in and you could no longer tell that they were in training.

So....we can't say enough about the Barcelo or the people of Puerto Vallarta!! We loved it and plan on meeting some of the people we met on this trip back there next year for a reunion!!

F Y I - you can get the EXACT same packages and excursions that they try to sign you up for at the airport and at the Resort, just outside the Resort gates for 20-30% less (when you're talking $70-$80/person, it's quite a big savings) It's a little booth, at the top of the hill just outside the Resort gates - you can't miss it.

RELAX AND ENJOY!!

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank TheNewMrs51610
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 25, 2010

Room - Our room was not ready when we arrived, but they had us go enjoy lunch while we waited. We were upgraded to a room with a jacuzzi because we were on an anniversary trip. It was wonderful! The room was huge and had a separate bedroom, living room and bathroom. I loved the rainfall shower head.
Service - The service was always wonderful. The waitstaff was polite, friendly and always ready to refill your drink or clean the plates off of the table. Service poolside was a huge bonus. The groundkeepers worked around the clock to keep the place looking beautiful. Housekeeping was also great. They always left pretty flowers around our room. When we go to an all inclusive we always bring $100+ in small bills for tipping the hardworking staff.
Food - The 3 restaurants had many courses of good food. We liked the Spanish one the best. The buffet was pretty good as well, but did get a little boring by the last few days. Neither one of us got sick, and normally I have pretty weak stomach!
Pools/grounds - The pools were very nice. We didn't have trouble finding a spot to sit and we did not ever reserve seats with towels. We liked sitting by the quieter pool anyway. We played basketball and tennis on the court, you just have to make a reservation for the time. The setting is so beautiful with all the waterfalls around and flowers. Also, being surrounded by mountains and the jungle made it even better.
Don't forget the bug spray...I forgot to put it on the first time we went down to breakfast and paid the price. I didn't make that mistake again.
Overall it was a wonderful relaxing experience. Highly recommended!

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank katielynn20
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 25, 2010

This was the second trip for my sister and I at this hotel. Even better than the last time. Food, service and drinks top of the line. Rooms are huge and beds great. Plenty of pool chairs and towels. Our flight home was cancelled due to weather and Barcelo let us stay in a ocean front corner suite for the extra night! What luxury! We had read people were getting sick there. No sign of any illness. Staff is friendly and helpful. Can't wait to go back next year. Almost forgot - we got 2 massages each - pure heaven!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled with family
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3  Thank memawlady84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 23, 2010

My husband and I just returned from our 7 day trip and were more than happy with our stay. We went with some friends and our room was a "family" room with 2 separate bedrooms and 2 baths, each with their own flatscreens and king-size beds. This was a nice feature. Here are a few tips to keep in mind for those thinking about Barcelo. (1) For the first 2 days of our trip our friend's bedroom airconditioning was broken. After 2 different servicemen attempted to fix the problem on each day, I was sure they were going to be left to swelter in the heat at night for the rest of the week. After talking to Cesar he informed me that if you dial 1045 on your phone you will get "premium service", which we did, and it was fixed that day. It was two days late, but fixed none the less (2) Tipping is not expected but it will get you a LOT better service, and considering the employees make approx $5 per day, I think it should be mandatory (3) The breakfast buffet was fabulous, however the lunch and dinner buffets were average at best. For those of you who have cruised on Carnival or Royal you can expect the same type of food. Filling but nothing to write home about. But for the price, you can't expect any better. (4) Take the bus!! Do Not get sucked into grabbing a taxi for everything! Not only is it ridiculously expensive but taking the bus(70 cents) lets you experience a bit of the culture and I never once felt unsafe. The best part is the bus stop is right across the street (5) The excursions are expensive but worth it. One excursion will cost you the full price, the 2nd one you book will get you 25% off of the most expensive of the two, and if you book 3 tours you will get the least expensive excursion for free. The company that handles these, Vallarta Adventures, is very courteous and professional. We enjoyed these alot! Be prepared to spend a small fortune for keepsake photos however (6) You will have select liquors to choose from and most of the bartenders aren't familiar with the names of the mixed drinks that we have in the U.S, so I suggest you buy one of those cheap drink books to take along. The wine/beer selection is not spectacular and you will not be drinking Crown or Patrone but.......again....you get what you pay for. (7) The beach wasn't huge but I thought that this was very appealing. (8) I talked to several teens who said they were really bored so I am glad we didn't take our older boys because I just didn't see much outside of a swimming pool that would have even interested them. They do have a game room that had a pool table but when we asked to play they told us they didn't have any of the balls-that was kind of a disappointment. (9) The gym that they have was surprisingly larger than I expected with a small selection of free weights and a handful of machines and
a half dozen pieces of cardio equipment.
Overall, I'd say that Barcelo is a great place to stay and we would recommend this trip to those who are value/price conscience(as we are) and for those looking to explore Puerto Vallarta. The staff is friendly, the resort is clean, and the sunsets are beautiful!

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled with friends
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4  Thank karilucci36
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 23, 2010

I won our stay in a charity auction so my husband and I didn't really know much about the resort until we were already committed. From the reviews and the pictures we were definitely looking forward to our stay. We had a fantastic time and LOVED the resort. Upont check-in we were upgraded to a premium suite (no idea why but it was great) that was beautiful! The room was clean and spacious, the beds were super comfortable and there were beautiful flowers left in our room everyday after housekeeping (we left a tip at the beginning of the week). We were there with the all-inclusive package and enjoyed the food more than we expected to. The buffet was good with a lot of variety. There are 3 gourmet restaurants and we ate at the Italian one and the steakhouse. The Italian restaurant was great! The steakhouse was good but I wish we would've done the Italian one twice. I was bummed to learn that they limit the number of times you can eat in the restaurants based on the number of nights you stay but no big deal really. Service was good but the drink service around the pool was spotty. One day they seemed to be very short handed because a server never came by (I was at the sport/volleyball pool and not the main pool). I never had a problem getting a chair at the pool but I wasn't picky and often laid by the volleyball pool to watch my husband play. The main pool was crowded through.
We were on the 7th floor and could hear the music from the catina bands late every night. If I was any early to bed kind of person this would have bugged me. But the music usually stopped around 11:30pm each night so it wasn't too late. I wouldn't describe the resort as a 'party' resort by any means; it was rather quiet and relaxing with activities planned during the day and entertainment at night.
Everyone at the resort was very gracious and happy to assist with whatever you needed. We went on a couple excursions: the Los Veranos canopy tour and the Unique ATV tour. We booked both online before we went but you can book other tours in the lobby as well. We also pre-booked our transportation to/from the airport online before hand and they handled the rest. It was very convenient since the the resort is 45 minutes from the airport (20 minutes south of the city).
We went into town one day to go shopping and took the bus. It was 7 pesos/pp and the stop is just outside the resort driveway. It was very easy and we felt safe.
I exchanged money as necessary in the hotel lobby (it was convenient) and got a decent exchange rate (about 12:1) but frequently tipped in US $ and that seemed very appreciated.
Overall we had a great trip and experience at Barcelo and would go back again.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank HSwan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 23, 2010

We just came back from an eight night stay and had a great time.

Possitives:
Rooms-They are large and all face the ocean. They will offer an upgrade when you check in. We debated but decided to take the normal room (Junior Suite) and were very pleased.
Grounds-They are clean and beautiful!! The size of the resort is perfect. My husband and I have stayed at much larger and smaller resorts and this one was just perfect. The pools were awsome.
Service-The staff was great! We did not tip as recommended because we were in our swimsuits and did not carry money all the time. We always tipped at the evening meal. We also tipped the housekeeping staff $5 per day. We never received bad service! Very polite and they really try to speak good English. Kudos to them!
Saftey-We always felt safe. We went into town and on many tours and did not have any problems. We also had a safe in our room. It is free and large enough for my laptop. Also, it is safe to eat and drink anything. The water is potable.
Location-I loved the location! It was out of the way, yet close enough to everything. You can take the bus to town and it is very cheap. The zoo is across the street. It is only $10 and worth it.
Drinks-Top Shelf at an all inclusive! What more can I say.

Negatives:
Bugs-Take bug spray. Strong stuff. I got eaten alive. I am still in pain. My husband did not get it so bad.
Food-Most people enjoyed the food. I did not so much. I like simple stuff. It was real Mexican. You will probably like it. I am sure that it is just me. My husband liked it a lot more than me. There is a big enough selection that you will find something! The fruit is wonderful.
Noise-A little loud and not very sound proof in your room.
Internet Cost-$12 per 24 hours for wireless internet access.
Beach-Not very big. Did not care for it but I always prefer a pool.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Dae1227
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 23, 2010

What I like about this resort is the small scale. You are not in need of a golf cart to take you from your room to the pool, restaurants, etc. The views from the rooms are spectacular, and the rooms themselves very nice. A good layout for family or business travel with a colleague, 2 bedroom/2 bath. Puerto Vallarta itself is simply stunning. Why anyone is going to Cancun now eludes me as this is the Mexico I have been looking for. The city is quaint, lovely and safe, mountains on one side, the Pacific on the other. A variety of sea birds to wake up to in the morning...very lush surroundings at this resort, which has an interesting history as well. $35 massage on the beach, look for the sign! The food on the buffet was average, drinks were good, not as watered down as I have found at other all-inclusives. We had dinner at Don Quixote one evening and it was quite good, although service somewhat lacking. The view from the restaurant was gorgeous, what sunsets they have in Puerto Vallarta! In general the staff was a bit on the confused side, which was different from what I have experienced at other resorts of this caliber. I think they had quite a few trainees, perhaps. I would however still consider returning because I prefer a smaller property to the giant compounds some of these resorts are, although there seemed to be several good options nearby as well, such as an InterContinental that looked great, and some smaller hotels in the city itself.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled on business
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2  Thank lolanola
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Barcelo Puerto Vallarta

Address: Zona Hotelera Sur Km. 11.5, Puerto Vallarta 48294, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Jalisco > Puerto Vallarta
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#11 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#16 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#17 Spa Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#21 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#27 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#29 Family Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
Price Range: $196 - $632 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Barcelo Puerto Vallarta 4*
Number of rooms: 316
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Barceló Puerto Vallarta***** (formerly Barceló La Jolla de Mismaloya) in Puerto Vallarta, is an elegant, all-inclusive Mexican-style resort. It offers 316 completely renovated and comfortable suites with excellent service, leisure, history, beautiful scenery, exuberant flora and privacy.Relax after a hard day’s work in the hotel spa, catch some rays at one of the hotel pools or take time out to practice your favourite water sport. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
La Jolla Mismaloya
Barcelo La Jolla De Mismaloya Puerto Vallarta
La Jolla Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta La Jolla De Mismaloya
Barcelo De Mismaloya
Barcelo Mismaloya Puerto Vallarta
Barcelo La Jolla Mismaloya

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