I have to be honest, I was a little nervous leading up to our trip to Puerto Vallarta, mostly due to the abundance of negative reviews for this resort. The resort had originally be suggested by a travel agent, and we ended up booking seperately. Only after the fact, I found Trip Advisor. This is probably a good thing because I would have missed out on a great place that was perfect for our family.
Here are my thoughts on specific aspects of our stay:
Check in: Hectic, hot and the line was a little long and slow moving. This was as bad as it got though, and before long we were over this little inconvenience and off to enjoy our stay. Our guy spoke very little english, but it all worked out fine and he was very nice. Immediately after check in we were whisked away to be briefed on all of the hotel ammenities, which I appreciated. He had a lot of tips for us to make our stay more enjoyable.
Room: Standard. It's nothing fancy-schmancy, but we didn't spend a lot of time in our room, so it was more than adequate. The bed was comfortable and the pillows were just fine. Coming from me, that's something as I'm pretty picky about pillows and bed comfort. We didn't experience the rock-hard beds and pancake pillows others have described so I have to wonder if those have all been recently replaced? Anyways, we did not see a single bug, flying thing, reptile or other such critters in our room the entire 9 days. Maid service came every day and did a really good job keeping things neat and tidy. Which is no small feat considering the amount of sand we tracked in every day. :S
There is air conditioning in the room, but don't expect to put it on blast. When running full bore it made the room nice and cooly comfortable. It was cool enough that when we walked in we'd all say "Ahhhhhhh!" in unison and be able to sleep soundly. It won't be cold, just perfect, actually.
Food: This is the part I'm most baffled about when it comes to the negative reviews. It was great! I read many complaints about the buffet food, but were pleasantly surprised when we actually dined there. Now, it's not the hometown buffet food you're used to, and it's also not the same food they're serving at Taco Bell or Chilis. If this is what you're expecting, please stay home! The buffet had a huge variety of foods, some looked familiar, and other dishes we had never seen before. It was a great opportunity to try new foods. Some we loved, some we liked, and some we didn't like at all. To me, that was one of the most fun aspects of the trip... going outside of your comfort zone and trying new things! They always had something great being made fresh to order on the grill.
The ala carte restaurants were pretty good too, but I'm not much of a food snob, so for me it was about ambiance than anything. The French restaurant does a really neat after-dinner coffee thing for the adults made with Kahlua and Brandy. Make sure you ask for it, the kiddos will love the show too. :)
Pools: Loved the pools. My daughter spent a lot of time at the pirate pool and made quite a few friends there. There seemed to always be a resort employee in the pool keeping an eye on things and ran a really tight ship. (pun intended) They really kept an eye out for everyone's safety. Although the pool would get a little sandy on the bottom by the end of the day (it's close to the beach, no wonder) it wasn't filthy as someone else suggested. Every single morning an employee was there cleaning it and seemed just fine to us.
Keep in mind that this resort caters to families. The pool areas, and really any of the public areas will be noisy, busy and bustling. We didn't mind this at all, since we were travelling with a young one ourselves. If you're looking for peace and quiet, this resort might not be a good fit. If you're looking to allow your kids to let loose and be kids, this is the PERFECT place!
Beach: The beach was your run of the mill golden sand beach. If you're looking for white sand beaches, you're barking up the wrong side of the country. The sand is a bit courser than you might expect, but very much swimmable.
Again, the beach area will be loud and crawling with kids, which is great for families. It was a great place for our daughter to meet other kiddos and have as much fun as she wanted.
They have a bunch of reclining chairs under palm umbrellas and tables for your drinks. There is also a bar there, which we found convenient. There are A LOT of vendors at this beach, which we didn't have a problem with at all. Some were pushier than others, but a simple "no gracias" is sufficient. We actually enjoyed shopping from the comfort of our beach chairs, with our Pina Coladas in hand. Don't be afraid to strike up a conversation with them. They are normal people just trying to earn a living. Again, go outside your comfort zone and experience something new. This is a part of their culture, go with the flow and you'll be suprised what you'll learn. We met some really wonderful people when talking and buying stuff from the vendors. Little shout out to Esther the massuese (she will give you a massage for about $15 that will make your bones melt, seriously) and Gloria the wood sculpture lady. Sweet sweet ladies. :)
Employees: We have nothing but glowing reviews for the employees of CPC. So many wonderful people, and so helpful. We lost a backpack in a taxi, and assumed that it was a done deal that we would never see it again. My husband mentioned that we had lost it to one of the bell hops, and they literally worked day and night to get it back for us. I couldn't believe the amount of effort they went to, but they seemed happy to do it for us. We really felt like most, if not all of the employees were working very hard to make sure that we were comfortable and had a great stay.
Kid's Club: Our daughter elected to not go to the Kid's Club, so I can't comment specifically. I did, however, observe the groups around the resort, and they seemed to be having a lot of fun. The staff appeared very energetic and happy. The kiddos in the groups all looked to be engaged and having a fun time.
Location: Very convenient. There is a Walmart literally within walking distance, which came in handy when we lost the aforementioned backpack for a few days. It is also next door to the marina, which is where a lot of excursions leave from. The Malecon is a short and pretty inexpensive taxi ride away. The bell staff was always very quick in getting us taxis when we needed them. There is also a really neat little flea market right before you get to the marina from the resort. We spent many an hour there shopping and chatting with the shop/stall owners. We got a few really good bargains there. Found a few things much cheaper than we could talk people down to on the Malecon.
BOTTOM LINE: If you have kids, this is a great place to stay. Keep your mind open to new experiences and you're bound to have some fun stories to share when you get home. Puerto Vallarta is a wonderful, charming and friendly city, and we found the CPC to be an extension of that exuberance that we love. I will be suggesting this resort to any of my friends who may be traveling to PV with their families!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A MODERN FAMILY-FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENT The ambiance here at the Crown Paradise Club Puerto Vallarta, All Inclusive Resort is one of casual family fun. Our oceanfront resort was designed with myriad places to have fun and relax with an aquapark with 9 slides a pirate ship and a castle, big jacuzzi with swim up bar for adults, 3 a la carte restaurants and more... All the fun for big and small! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Crown Paradise Club Puerto Vallarta Hotel Puerto Vallarta
- Crown Paradise Hotel Puerto Vallarta
- Playa De Oro