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Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa
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All reviewsvilla groupgold cardtimeshare presentationquiet poolall inclusive packagesales peopleactivities staffmain poolone bedroom suiteclose to downtownall inclusive planwater aerobicsthe wait staffbeach vendorsgreat vacationfamily vacationfood and drinks
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Reviewed October 20, 2012

Where do I get started this year? I have been a Premier Member at Villa Del Palmar (VDP) for 18 years now. I go to Puerto Vallarta every year I can and I usually stay at VDP, although not every single trip. Over the years they have updated the way they sell memberships and of course when they do that they want you to give them much more money and upgrade your membership to the newer levels. Now they have gold members and even elite members. There is even a section roped off near the beach that only Elite members can go into. Have any of you ever seen that at any hotel or resort? A place to make people feel like they are to good for the others. I have been happy with my membership the way it is and have not wanted to put out a bunch of money to upgrade.

So after 18 years of loyalty to this resort and writing good reviews after my trips and referring many people to VDP as well as bringing numerous friends and family down there over the years, they prove that it’s only about getting more of my money. I understand that it is a business and they are in business to make money, but it should always be a two way street. Their business is taking care of their members and guests. They seem to be totally uninterested in showing me the same loyalty that I have shown them. Also this trip was an eye opener about the dishonesty in the way they sell their services.

So here’s a list of the things that happened when I went there for the week of October 7th to 14th, 2012:

First, I went to the lobby and asked for the password for the wireless internet. I was told that I could not have the password because I was not a Gold Member. This means that I would have to pay a daily fee for wireless internet. Fleabag hotels, coffee shops, and even bars give free wireless, but not a 4 star resort????? Does that pass the common sense test? I don’t think so. The explanation I got was that if I bought a car 10 years ago, I could not expect that it would have the same gadgets and luxuries that a new car has. Well, I can tell you that my car came out before Onstar, but if I want Onstar I only have to pay a few hundred dollars to add onstar to my car, I don’t have to trade my car in and buy the new one at the new car price. Now an employee that I complained to went and got me the password for the internet. It didn’t work, but it wasn’t this employee’s fault and I didn’t go back and ask again. But it wasn’t just about the password. It’s the whole attitude that I’m now a second class guest because I don’t want to give them another $8000 US Dollars for the extra flexibility and the internet password.
Second, with no warning there was no water to my unit for over two hours one day. And right in the middle of the evening when I was trying to get ready to go out for the night for dinner and party time. I called and asked when the water would be back on and was told 30 minutes. An hour and 20 minutes later the water finally came back on and it was brown. It took several minutes to get it clear enough to shower in and there was no hot water. In fact, there were three evenings in that week when I could not get any hot water and had to shave and shower with cold water.

Third, later in the week I got a notice that the electricity would be turned off to the unit the next day from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. It did not come back on until after 7:00 PM. Basically, I was without electricity all day. This was in a week where their occupancy was very low. They mentioned it several times that this was not a peak week. Why not put people in rooms not affected by this kind of work. Again, even a fleabag hotel would not think of having someone in a room without electricity and not do anything about it. I can put up with stuff like that at home, why would I go on vacation for that?

Fourth, this was the first time I decided to try the All Inclusive option. I paid ahead for the all inclusive option for three days on my trip. The paperwork I got and the emails I received about the all inclusive said that all menu items were included except for Lobster. I was sitting in the El Patron restaurant for dinner on Thursday night and two dishes had red check marks next to them. They were not lobster dishes. At the bottom of the menu there was a red check mark and a note that says, “Extra charge for All Inclusive $120.00, prices in pesos Mexicanos, Tax included.” One of these dishes was shrimp of your choice, the other was “From the Sea” which consisted of Fried Calamari, Shrimp, and Fish kebabs, on a bed of rice and Mexican Sauce. This is absolutely ridiculous. I know that Kebabs is not the correct spelling but I copied it directly from the menu. There wasn’t even any Lobster on the menu, so I should have been able to order anything I wanted without having to pay anything more. I thought about ordering it and then complaining when I got the bill, but it didn’t seem like the right thing when all they would say is that it was right in front of me on the menu.

In addition to that, the all inclusive paperwork also stated that all tips and gratuities were included. I even asked and verified before I left home. So I was not putting a tip on the bill when I ate. I was really uncomfortable with that already because it doesn’t seem natural, but for a couple of meals I was doing it because that is what I was told, in writing. Well, I could visibly see that some of the employees were getting furious about no tip being added to the bills. My thinking was that they would see the wrist band and know that the tip was being taken care of in the all inclusive package. After a few times watching a bar tender slam cups down after looking at my signed check, I went to an older employee and asked what the deal was. He explained to me that all they get for the tip in that situation was a share of the $43 pesos a day that the resort charges to every guest, which is explained as a gratuity that is given to employees who are not usually tipped. Really???? The waiter doesn’t get a tip for serving me and they have the nerve to say tips and gratuities included? All he gets is what he would have gotten already? So I had to start adding a tip to the bills. I did not tip as much as I usually do, but I did start adding a tip. And another thing…… If tips and gratuities are included in the All Inclusive price, why was the $43 pesos a day still added to my check out bill even on the days I was on the All Inclusive plan? This is just Nichols and Dimes for the most part but it’s the principle of the matter. It is just dishonest and wrong.

One more thing about the All Inclusive and I will get over it….. There is only two restaurants open in the resort. At any other place where they have all inclusive, there are several restaurants to choose from and lots of variety. Here there is two and a snack bar at Villa Del Palmar. In the past there was a third restaurant open on the Villa Del Mar side of the resort but it was closed the entire time. I’m sorry but there needs to be more choices if a guest is to eat all of their meals at the resort, which is what people do with an all inclusive package.

Fifth, the theme nights were lame. In years past the Mexican Fiesta was a great party. It took up the area around the pool and was a good show and a good meal. This time it was jammed into the El Patron restaurant which is too small for such an event. There were not enough tables for everyone. I had to sit at the bar because all of the tables were full. The food for the Mexican Fiesta was not near as good as the food at the same restaurants on the regular menu.

The service at poolside was way too slow. They have two or three “happy hours” per day. During happy hour, the drinks are two for one. I waited over 20 minutes for a corona. Did they have to go brew it? When they did bring it, they brought one. The people next to me (not all inclusive) got two at a time. I realize since it was all included it wasn’t a big deal because I could order as many as I wanted, but at a 20 minute wait each time, I would have liked to get the two. I guess that’s how they keep from giving away too many drinks away during happy hour.

Now for the Positive:

First, the rooms were still great when everything was working well. They are well maintained and the maid staff does a great job of keeping the rooms beautiful, fresh towels in the room, and the floors clean, every single day. My bed was comfortable. The safe, TV, Alarm Clock, etc…. worked well and looked good. And as always the silverware, plates, pots and pans, pitchers, blender, etc… were all in good order.

The grounds were immaculate. The gardeners who keep up the facilities are absolute artists and when you walk through the lobby into the resort, it is breathtaking. Absolutely beautiful.
The Concierge staff is extremely friendly and helpful. You couldn’t ask for more. If you go to VDP, you can ask them about any place you want to go, any activity you want to do, etc… and they will get you the answer and set you up. They are truly dedicated to making your vacation great.

So there you have it, the good, the bad and the ugly of this vacation. You’ll have to decide which things are important to you and if you want to go there. I am a member so I will probably give them another chance since this is where I own and they were great for so long. Just last year and this year I was disappointed. Prior to that it was the highlight of my year, every year.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled solo
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10  Thank david760
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cobos2000, Gerente at Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded October 24, 2012

Dear David:
First of all, I would like to thank you for have chosen Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta to spend your vacation. I also appreciate the time you took to let us know your important comments.

We would like to apologize if some of the services and facilities did not meet your expectations, however, it is important to mention that we are taking action on the matter to remedy this situation since we are striving to provide the best service to each one of our guests.

We at Villa del Palmar are always looking to improve our services, and when guests are concerned about the resort´s facilities, we want to know and to have the opportunity to improve in order to deliver higher quality service. At the same time, we like to share our success with others, and this includes our staff which is always passionate for what they do every day for our guests.

Please let me know if you´re planning you next vacation, It´ll be a pleasure to have you back in this beautiful resort.

Cordially
Rodolfo Cobos
General Manager
rcobos@villagroup.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 19, 2012

The hotel was very nice and clean. The food was excellent. And the staff went out of their way to make our stay with them a pleasant one. The staff that really stand out in my mind was Victoria, Jaquin, Cesar and Ernesto they were always smiling and ready to help with anything we needed. I would stay there again if the occasion should arise. We all enjoyed it very much.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank M S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cobos2000, Gerente at Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded October 24, 2012

Dear guest:

I am so glad to hear you had a great time staying at Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa. I want to thank you for taking the time to share your experiences you lived and enjoyed during your stay with us, I am delighted to read your positives comments, I will happily share them with our staff.

Victoria, Jaquin, Cesar and Ernesto, already know about your review and are very proud to have made you feel comfortable and very special, they´re looking forward to seeing you again very soon.

Thank you for allowing us being your host and we hope to have the opportunity in a near future to provide you one more time with the excellence in service we are known for.


All the best!!

Rodolfo Cobos
General Manager
rcobos@villagroup.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 18, 2012

Had a great time at this resort. Its beautiful. the food is delicious. All if the workers are very courteous. The location is wonderful. The bartenders were all very good people. They made great drinks and remembered your name. Loved everything about this resort.

  • Stayed: October 2012
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2  Thank 19brent83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cobos2000, Gerente at Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded October 24, 2012

Dear Brent:

One of the best satisfactions in the hospitality industry is to learn from guests we made you feel special and we exceeded your expectations, our unique goal is to create great stories that will remain in your mind forever.
I thank you for have chosen Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta to spend your vacation, I also appreciate the time you took to let us know your important comments.
We are always looking to improve our services, and when guests are pleased we like to share our success with others, and this includes our staff which is always passionate for what they do every day for our guests.

All of us here at Villa del Palmar Vallarta look forward to pampering you again in the warm and sunny shores of Banderas Bay!

Sincerely
Rodolfo Cobos
General Manager
rcobos@villagroup.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 18, 2012

I have spent a week here almost every year for the last 24 years. It is tops in cleanliness, the grounds are attractive & well-maintained & the staff is courteous and helpful. In addition, I find the location excellent. It is on the beach and the buses to the Malecon to the south and the ones to the airport, north of the property, stop in front of of the resort. There is a supermarket 2 blocks away, as well as a small market downstairs.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank Marilynn D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cobos2000, Gerente at Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded October 24, 2012

Dear Marilynn:

It is with a great honor that I receive this review from a person that has being our guest for over 24 years, wow!!!
On behalf of the staff and myself, I thank you very much for your preference and loyalty and for allowing us to serve you better every year with a real passion.
I also appreciate the time you took to let us know your important comments, I will share your review with the entire staff, I am sure from now, they will feel very proud.

Should you are planning your next vacation, please let me know, I would like personally to meet you and your family.

Cordially yours

Rodolfo Cobos
General Manager
rcobos@villagroup.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 18, 2012

This hotel was rated with 3 stars only, and I chose it because I got a good deal for three rooms for my family reunion. I found that it had all the facilities and services of a 5 star hotel, but I think the lower rating was due to the age of the building. It is a 30 year old building but well kept and quite beautiful.

The staff went out of their way to help in every possible situation, in some instances trying to solve problems that didn't have anything to do with the hotel. Everyone, from the people working on the grounds upkeep to the administration and management, had a friendly smile and were prompt to be friendly but professional.

The site is close to stores and a few minutes by local transportation to downtown. The rooms have a well equipped kitchenette which allowed us to save some money as we had lots of mouths to feed. The food in the restaurants is good and at okay prices, especially the "Early bird breakfast." However, the store on site was way too expensive, but a block away there is a grocery store with more affordable prices.

There are programs and activities to involve everyone who is up to having a good time! My family came from several parts of Mexico and the United States, and we all agreed that it was a beautiful place to have a wonderful experience!

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank Alma Q
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cobos2000, Gerente at Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded October 24, 2012

Dear Alma:

I would like to express my gratefulness for your positive comments and feedback, I also would like to thank you for have chosen Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta to spend your vacation, and for taking the time to let us know about your experiences during your stay.

It is great to know we were chosen for your family reunion, I am sure everyone had a great time and hopefully we created nice memories that will last forever.

I want to take this opportunity to let you know we are producing new restaurant concepts as well as new menus, all this based on guest´s comments and their suggestions, so on you next vacations you will find innovative culinary experiences.
I happily shared your comments with the staff and they´re looking forward to seeing you again soon.

Please let me know if you´re planning you next vacation, It´ll be a pleasure to have you back in this beautiful resort.

Sincerely

Rodolfo Cobos
General Manager
rcobos@villagroup.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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