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Reviewed June 28, 2010

We were in PV in June and the trip from airport to our hotel was nice. When we reached the hotel, I was amazed to see the hotel. Prefect Location and beautiful view of mountain and bay. All inclusive Resort. Food was great and staff was always ready to help. Rooms were big with two bedroom and bath with enormous balcony. Marble floors, great room service, Beautiful hotel, 4 pools, great staff, the works!!!!!!!!

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank goboys500
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 28, 2010

Just returned from PVR; me and my family had a wonderful time.
No problems getting from the airport to the hotel...made it thru the shark tanks without incident, found an ATM, got a taxi, off to the hotel. The ride was about 40 minutes.
We got to the hotel around 2pm....check in was 3...we found a changing room, and off to the pool. I never felt like our luggage was not safe during our wait...I checked back about 40 minutes later and our room was ready.
We stayed in a 'Family Suite'....two bedrooms; one with a king size bed, the other with two twins (this was the bedding we requested). The room was on the 5th floor, building #1 (facing the hotel from the beach, it's the building on your left). We had a nice view of the pool, and a semi-obstructed view thru the palm trees of the ocean.
As you walk into the room, the kids bedroom was on your right....it had a wardrobe, a TV, and a vanity mirror, and it's own theromstat. Walk down the small hallway, and they had their own bathroom on their right. A door separated the hallway to our bedroom. We had or own thermostat, a large flatsceen TV on the wall, a mini-bar refrig, our own bathroom, and sliding glass doors that opened to the balcony, which had a small table, and two chairs, plus an electrical outlet. There is a drying rack on the wall...a sign says that they don't want you to hang stuff over the balcony to dry.
We booked all our a-la-carte restaurants on our first day, and had no problem getting into any of them. Don Quiote (Spanish), and Capri (Itallian) were the better of the three....Los Arcos (Steak. Seafood) was our worst meal at the resort....Los Arcos is the beach snack bar by day...after 5pm they clean it up, Los Arcos at night. All the a-la-cartes in the info pack say they prefer long pants or dress shorts and collar shirts, but that was not really the case. I saw people wearing tee-shirts, but I didn't see anyone wearing a bathing suit. During the day you can wear a bathing suit into the restaurants....the beach snack bar you didn't need a top and could go barefoot, but the buffet you had to be dry, wearing a top and footware.
I thought that the service was exellent at all the restaurants, and bars. There was pool service for drinks, and I did see that they occassionally made their way onto the beach. Once in a while they would come around with mini chicken legs, or beef skewers. I tipped occassionally, which I saw many do, and it was appreciated. Tipping didn't reflect better or worse service, the same with the restaurants.
The buffet was excellent at all meals; plenty of choices, good service.
The maid service was very good....the rooms were usually cleaned by early afternoon. My one beef....we tipped most days....sometimes the mini-bar was restocked, sometimes not. It didn't reflect tipping or not.
By the pool there is a activity itinerary chart...on some days the resort has some off the resort excursions: a tequilla tour, which is just a short walk to downtown Mismaloya to a place called Mr. Tequilla. A lady there explained the tequilla process, and then a tasting....this is something you could have down on your own. Me and my family went on the 'waterfall hike', which is a hike up to El Eden. This was semi challenging due to the heat...about an hour and a half to get there, and a van takes you back around noon time. We stayed at the falls for about an hour where you can cool off in the water, get a drink at the restaurant, check out the Preditor helecopter.
We went in PVR on one day....the bus stop is right across the street, and very cheap....7 pesos a person to take you downtown, oppossed to $16 USD by taxi. We walked along the Malecon which is very nice. There are plenty of eating/shopping places along the way....watch out for the timeshare people...they are everywhere!
We went on a dolphin excursion thru Vallarta Adentures. They have a desk in the lobby.
A couple of days during the week they boat you over to the dolphins instead of taking a taxi, which made for a good deal. If you pay by credit card, you can pay then or at check out...in any case you pay at the daily exchange rate, which was the best rate anywhere.
We got a boat from the beach one day for a snokeling tour of Los Arcos...$30 for an hour. All boats from the beach are negotionable, depending on where you want to go, how many people, etc...
We got massages on another occassion on the beach....very affordable... $25/30 an hour. There were plenty of vendors on the beach....they weren't too pushy...no problems.
There was nightly entertainment....live music in the Cantina, and shows in the ballroom. The best show I thought was the Mexican Fiesta show on Friday night...there were also kids games in the courtyard that night before the show, with a Piñata.

Now for the bad....although in the hotel info pack it says not to reserve lounge chairs, many had towels on them early in the morning. Some of the loungers you never saw anyone on them for hours. On one day, some irrate woman was taking matters into her own hands, throwing towels all over the place....not a pretty site. This was clearly wrong. The inforcement should come from the resort staff, which was not inforcing the matter. This was our 5th trip to an AI resort, and came as nothing new. In any case there were plenty of lounge chairs, but the ones right next to the pool filled up quick.
Another sad sight....there was a gang of highschoolers on a senor trip, drinking themselves into an oblivion. I didn't see it, but one of the guys threw up in the pool, another in the ladies bathroom all over the place. They were "chaperoned" by two adults, which clearly didn't have things under control. Many of the kids were drunk most of the time, like a frat party, dropping F-bombs in front of children. Once again, the resort security didn't take matters into their own hands, leaving many guests to complain, or confrontation....there were no tears shed when they left! The bar staff should shut people like these off, because if kids or adults cannot conduct themselves in an appropriate manner, the resort staff should keep it under control.
Another beef... power was lost on a few occassions...mostly at night....once for over an hour, and one of the elevators in our building seemed to be working, then not working quite often.
These episodes didn't ruin our good time.
My lasting impression is a very well run resort, hard working staff that wants to keep you happy. Always service with a smile. To think....we were going to cancel when we heard about all the sickness back in April...I'm glad we didn't. I didn't hear of one person getting sick, except for the ones that were alcohol induced. We read many mixed reviews of the resort...I can only speak for ourselves, but our expectaions were met or exceeded.
Cudos to the Barcelo...we will be back!

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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5  Thank mcamp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 27, 2010

We were there June 18th to 25th. Nice 40 minute cab ride from airport. It rained for about 2 hours first night then 20 minutes second day, after that it was nice hot hazy days with lots of sun. The food was awsome had no complaints about the buffet food or snack bar. We took our 23 yo daughter for her first trip and she absolutely loved it. Resort is much smaller than what were use to, the beach is was small as we knew that but had no problems, pools were warm and big. We upgraded to club level and used the private lounge and internet daily, room was great 9th floor with clear views of the ocean and pool area. Saw dolphins in bay every morning feeding. The resort didn't have as many activities as the much larger resorts but was fun, pool volleyball and tequila volley ball are always my favorite. Met many very wonderful people there and had a really good relaxing vacation away from everything. I took daily walks into mismaloya and talked with several of the locals each day. Its saddening to see how poverished these people live but they are all very friendly and happy to please. I would recomend this for families and people who just want to get away from the night and city life of bigger resorts and cities. Downtown is just a 20 minute bus ride away for 7 pesos. Down the beach ladies can get there head braided for 25$ full head and 1 hour massage, pedicure, and manicure for just 25$. The beds were the most comfortable I have had at any resort and the thick soft pillows made for some great sleeping at night.

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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4  Thank landj13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 26, 2010

The hotel was AMAZING. No joke AMAZING. i will be going back for sure! The food was so good. The rooms were fabulous i felt like a movie star. Everything was up to date and beautiful! The pools and activities were great...i totally recommend tequila volleyball! The workers were so great. Each and everyone of them were so nice and so helpful!! My friend and I had the best time and they will be seeing us again sometime!

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled with friends
    • Value
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2  Thank DanielleW518
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 25, 2010

It has been a few months since our trip to the Barcelo Puerto Vallarta, but I can remember it like it was yesterday. We stayed at the resort from Jan 31-Feb 7. My boyfriend is 33 and I am 27. I think it is important to know the age of the person writing the review, because I found that many different age groups can perceive things very differently. I have never been to Puerto Vallarta, but my boyfriend has traveled there a few times. I have traveled to Cancun; I am not a big fan of it. We spent many months researching (I think I read every review posted on trip advisor!) and pricing different all-inclusive resorts in Puerto Vallarta, and decided on this one. I can tell you for the money you spend, it is a great deal. Here are some details of our Mexican vacation:

Airport/Transportation:
We traveled on a Sunday, and it was pretty smooth sailing. We were able to get off our plane, get our bags, and walk through customs (love the green light/red light contraption :) in about 40 minutes. We decided to not to pre arrange for a taxi, as we priced it out, and whether you pay in advance, or at the airport, its the same price, maybe one or two dollars difference. They are plenty of taxi drivers....everyone wants to take you to your hotel. Puerto Vallarta is broken down into zones, and the Barcelo is in the farthest one. The ride from the airport to the hotel took about 45 minutes...no air conditioning in our taxi..but there was a nice breeze when you are at a nice cruising speed. You pass lots of resorts on the way to the Barcelo...and I can tell you I felt relieved when we arrived. Most of the other resorts we passed were places I would not stay at (just a quick judgement based on the entrance/exterior). There was a new resort going up that looked beautiful, the name escapes me right now.

Hotel Arrival:
We arrived around 2pm and were greeted by two bell boys right outside the hotel. One of them quickly took our bags and the other handed us champagne...we walked up to the check in desk, were given our bracelets, and were told it would be just a few minutes for our room. We were directed to where the bar was (next to the pool area), we gulped down our champagne, and before I could order another drink, one of the desk clerks told us that our room was now ready. We went up to the 8th floor (the top two floors are reserved for the club premium, I will go into more detail in this later). We we walked off the elevator, the bell hop was in front of our room waiting for us...not bad. We went into the room and were very impressed.

Room:
The hotel has been remodeled in and out, and it is very beautiful. The room was very big...you first walk into a large sitting area with a large couch two chairs, and a large table...on mounted on the wall was a large flat screen. You next walk by the bathroom, and through sliding doors to the bedroom area. Very nice king bed, a bit firm (I'm a sucker for a great pillow top). Past the bed is another sitting area....a medium size couch and table, as well as a table with two chairs. We were welcomed with a bottle of champagne and fresh fruit. There was also a bottle of tequila, but we were pretty sure this didn't come with the room and therefore didn't open it in fear of being charged a pretty penny. The balcony is very large, and they have lots of plants and flowers between the balconies on either side, so you have fairly good privacy. The mini bar was always fully stocked with pepsi, diet pepsi, water, and little snacks (they had these weird peanut things, but they were delicious!) I would have like to have beer stocked in the fridge, but it is not a big deal....I don't need one that bad that I can't walk down to the bar!

Bar:
There is only one "bar" (it is located right by the pool) It is a small bar with about 7 or so stools, and it surrounded by 10-15 small tables an chairs. They have an appetizer selection set up here around 5-7, and also live music playing at night. During the day, there are other areas you can get a drink (the pool bar, the snack/lunch restaurant on the other side of the pool) but this is the one and only bar that you can hang out at during night time. I find this a down fall. It would be nice to have different lounge locations where you can sit, relax, get a drink, and not have to be around all the same people, every night, all night long. It is quite small and can get very loud....pray that you don't get a room in building one, levels two or three, because the bar will keep you up all night. (We were in building one...it is on the right if you are looking at if from the ocean view, luckily we were 8 floors up!) The bartenders were friendly for the most part..when i would go and get a drink that would greet me with a small smile and be on their way...but when my boyfriend ordered drinks in spanish and started talking to them about the Mexican soccer teams...it was like they came alive!!! They loved that he spoke spanish (quite well) and that he wore Mexican soccer jerseys. For the rest of the trip, I sent him to get drinks, because he would always come back with strong ones (it took him awhile because he always would stay there talking to them about the "game") For the most part, the service at the bar(s) was good, we would tip 10-20 at the first drink and be done tipping for day, and the service after that was great. Yes, I agree that you don't tip to receive good service, you tip when you get it..but it was easier this way, and they will remember you the next day, its worth it, trust me.

(Key note to remember: we had read in quite a few reviews that they don't give you straws with your drinks...this is true!!!! They do have straws, and they will give you ONE if you ask...but straws around there seem to be like gold, and they DON"T want to give them up.....solution...we brought a bag of 100 straws ($1.25) from home...I kept it in my beach bag...and with each delicious drink we had a straw...not a big set back, you just need to do your homework and come prepared)

Restaurants:
The main buffet, where you eat breakfast, and most of your lunches, is fairly good. Breakfast is the best! the omlette station was the best by far, I think I had one every morning! Great selection of fruit (I was addicted to the Kiwi) Lots of good, healthy selections, as well as lots of fried ones (I will admit, I had the churros for breakfast one morning...you're on vacation...you have to splurge a little:) The lunch grill on the side opposite is ok...my boyfriend loved the tacos, I wasn't a fan....the pizza wasn't good either...if you are eating in this one, stick with the chips and guacamole...and just enjoy the amazing view...At night, they turn this lunch grill into the steak restaurant. We were in the club premium, so we were able to have unlimited reservations at all of the hotels...this was a big plus..we ate at the steak place and the italian place two time. The steak restaurant was good, service the same. Italian was my favorite. The first night was better than the second (the food was a bit salty the second time for my boyfriend, but I love salt..so I was in heaven). Overall...its an all inclusive, and that is what you should expect from the food. You find what you like at the beginning of your trip, and stick to it...I can honestly say I had better food here than the cruise I went on a few years back.

Entertainment:
They had shows at night, didn't go to any, heard from other guests they weren't worth going to. Water aerobics in the morning. "Guess how many beans in the jar" games at pool during the day, "international crazy game" which is basically throwing a small ball in a bucket...but when you have three or four drinks...its fun to watch :) We didn't go for the games or shows, we went to lay around, get sun, and relax.

Hotel Activities:
Pray that it does't rain, because if it does, you will have nothing to do but eat and drink. Since there is only one bar, everyone hangs out there and eats and drinks. There is a small game room, but its nothing to rave about. It rained for two days straight, and all we did was watch movies in the room (outdoor activities were not an option :( ) But, we came to relax, so it wasn't that bad.

Pool:
Very big, beautiful, and cold...its nice once you get it...but don't go try it in the early am...wait till the sun comes out and it heats up a bit. If you want a good chair in a nice area...you better get up at 7am and save a chair...you have towels in your room, and they are the only ones you get all week, don't lose them :) Hot tubs were not hot...a little disappointing. One major down fall of the pool area was all of the beautiful palm trees. They are nice to look at...but when you have to move your chair every 20 minutes to get some sun, it gets kind of annoying. There is a separate pool for volleyball, etc, but they don't use it for games until the afternoon, so its great if you want to go swimming with no one else :)

Beach:
I grew up on the beaches of the Jersey Shore (no, I am not Snooki ;) so I am used to large, wide open, soft sandy beaches with great swimmable waters. If this is what you are looking for, this is not the place. Very short beach....about 20-30 feet from beginning to the water....it drops very quickly and gets deep quickly....i went in about knee deep and that was it.....it wasn't very inviting...I am not ocean shy...I am usually the first to jump right in and dive into waves...and this just wasn't doing it for me

Landscape/Views:
Puerto Vallarta is a very beautiful tropical rainforest/mountain area. Very hilly and lots of plush forests. Be careful if you get car sick easily, as you may get nausea from the quick turns of the taxi. I was fine with it, and thought it was fun. No matter what resort you stay at, there will be a very small, if any, beach....check out other destinations if you are looking for that.

Downtown:
Taxi ride is about $25-30 for round trip...so not worth it when you can take the bus for 50 cents!!!! I'm going to be honest, the first time I got on the bus, I was a bit weary, but it was great.....you will be squished next to ppl most of the time..but for the price, you can't beat it, and it doesn't take much longer than the taxi. It picks you up right outside the hotel and drops you off in the same spot. The downtown area was nice....local restaurants were delicious, lots of places right on the beach, very romantic. It was nice to go to Puerto Vallarta once, but I don't think I would go back. Once you've seen it and done it, it is all the same.

Club Premium:
*Worth it for the room (great view, and less noise)
*unlimited reservations at restaurants (2-4 reservations for those not in premium)
*free wifi in room....it worked great on my boyfriends iphone
*turn down service at night - chocolate on pillows, nice to come back to

Overall Review:
I think I have officially written a novel by now...but I hope that it can be helpful to those about to travel here. It is a beautiful resort, well kept grounds, good customer service, and good food and drinks. I can't stand dirty places, and this was not one of them. For the money we paid, we got a great deal. This was our first vacation together and it was a good starter place. I wouldn't recommend this location for the experienced all-inclusive travelver who is looking for first class, 4-5 star resort. Don't get me wrong, I had a blast, and loved every minute of my vacation, but that is because I am not very picky and very easy going. I work in retail, and deal with rude, annoying ppl on a daily basis, I am very understanding if there are mistakes or something is not up to par, nothing is perfect and you just have to roll with the punches. They work VERY hard....and sometimes you just need to give ppl a break..... Everything I listed for you I knew before I arrived, so I knew what to expect. How can you not have a great time if you know where you are going...and what it is going to be like.

If you want a great deal on a beautiful resort, this is for you.....I don't think I would return, but for the reason I like to try different places.

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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9  Thank lmspringy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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