We were moved from Velas Vallarta to CASA VELAS on March 1st for a 5 day stay. The entrance to the resort is like entering a home on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, so unique and manicured with beautiful scrolled ironwork, beautiful flowers and fauna, Koi ponds, and a gorgeous glass entrance with wood carved beam equisetely over the doors. You enter into a lobby with soft elegant hand carved chairs, sofas, more Koi ponds, huge candles and an elegant desk as the check in area. You are greeted with a fresh Jamaica or flavored water, leisurely go thru check in process and the All Inclusive hemp braided bracelets with small silver medallion were placed on our preferred wrists, no plastic here, an attractive decorative jewelry item to say the least and a great momento of our stay! Time permitting and our willingness we were then either taken to our room or on a short tour of facilities showing us the lobby bar, cultural center, Emiliano’s restaurant, the pool area etc. We opted to have the small tour. We are now at our home away from home where the staff are their for our pleasure and service. Off to our room.
We are escorted to our room which is 511A. Oh, I think I may have read something about this room before, it being called infamous, well we shall see. We are on the ground floor, we pass thru the outer door into a foyer with the most delicious aromatherapy scent , hint of citrus, I just love and have to see if I can buy some, ( I mentioned this to management, that hubby just had to have this stuff for our home and well they actually remembered and gave me a whole bottle before leaving), then we are ready to pass into the second door into our suite. We have stayed two other times at Casa Velas and with RCI depending on your trade you get either a hotel unit, a studio or a one bedroom as it is called, or 2 bedroom which could be a special design at the hotel or a combination of rooms. The RCI accomodation site does tend to simplify the room options, where as when at Casa Velas ( as I found out from my 3 stays there now) there are a multitude of room options and many are unique with only a few duplicates so the layout can be quite different with each stay. Room 511A is what would be considered a one bedroom unit thru RCI or a Grand Class Plus Room.
The room we received 511A is lovely, yes a tad on the older side but the décor is elegant, clean and stately. You enter into the living room with a sofa, side tables with lamps, an armoire with draws and hanging space, an iron and ironing board in the armoire. A coffee table with Leading Hotels of the World book, Conde Nast, Spa books, and others etc. The floors are marble with throw rugs here and there. Directly in front is a set of sliders looking out into a private garden space with a terrace with a table and seating for four, all of teak wood, tiled floor, leading to a private plunge pool which is actually warm due to solar heating. Beautiful flowers, shrubs and trees surround this area making it a private outdoor retreat. The only two things which maybe someone might have an issue with in this area was there were a few tiles missing in the plunge pool ( now you know that is not going to affect my use of it LOL) and the Peacocks ( how beautiful) who roam the grounds and on several occasions they actually were at our door or around our pool, what a sweet sight and photo op!
So the living room is to left of entrance so to say, to the back is a small galley area which serves as a kitchenette. It houses some shelves, a sink, a two burner hotplate ( we never used, not necessary with 24 hour room service), a coffee maker with coffee packets and condiments creamer, sugar and substitute, restocked daily. The room also houses an ice bucket. There are no ice machines on site but no problem you can order ice to your room 24 hours per day. Just before the sliding doors there was also a two person dining table in the room with a canoe shaped decoration which was filled with fresh fruit, apples, grapes etc. We also had wonderful chocolate covered strawberries upon our arrival and these can be requested I believe. The entrance door had the cutest little bag on it with needlework, one side “do not disturb” and the other “please clean my room“, what a sweet touch.
To the right of the entrance and up one step is the bedroom area. It is separated by two columns, quite elegant in providing a feeling of separation. The bed has down comforter and pillows and is appointed wonderfully with lines and such. There is a card with a tassle you place on your bed in morning if you wish to have sheets changed completely, if not then do not place the card. The resort is obviously interested in being Green and in saving our resources and planet. The bed we had was a King size, so comfortable, not too hard or soft, just perfect for us. Two end tables with lamps, an alarm clock/cd player, and telephone. An armoire in this room houses a television ( not a plasma), but sufficient size tv with remote and on line movies to order if you fancy. There are channels in English or Spanish and maybe some even in French. Below the TV the armoire houses some shelves with glasses, coasters, a snack basket which has energy bars, chips, napkins etc. A mini bar can be found here as well with bottled water, juices, sodas, and beer. The snacks and refrig. are restocked daily. All this in addition to a room service menu with an ample variety of food and whatever you like to drink 24 hours per day. We found the refrig. stock very handy but rarely ate the snacks as well we just were so full with our meals and snacks and drinks on site but outside our room, that we did not need them. We did use the coffee maker every day though, as most of you know I have said before I need the java before moving LOL. As you face the bed with the built in head board, (like a nook, usually with Bustamante decorations on the wall behind, though room 511A did not have these and it made no difference in our comfort) to the left was another set of sliding glass doors looking out onto our little yard and plunge pool. Both sliders had filtering and darkening shades and the darkening shades really worked great. At the end of our stay one of the curtains was not closing snugly so I was sure to tell them so they can repair as that little slit of sunlight in the morning, letting you know you are in Mexico might be maddening for some, LOL, not a morning person here. Anyway needless to say I slept very well in the bedroom which all went along perfectly with my pampering stay.
To the right was the bathroom, very large in size. Wall to wall mirror over the sink area which had a very large counter space, all made of marble but unfortunately for appearance purposes the marble is cracked but remains smooth. There was only one sink, personally I prefer two, but was okay with one. Next to the toilet, all of which are power flushers so be aware they work well but can be louder than other toilets ( plumbers wife here heheh), is a phone. At first I thought do people really do work or make calls while on vacation and in bathroom? Later it was brought to my attention that it is a safety factor and lo and behold having had my share of accidents at home it is a wonderful idea. There was a large closet area for hanging clothes in this bathroom with a shelf above, plenty of lighting and the only thing really missing was a full length mirror. I told the concierge, Jesus, that I had looked everywhere for one and none to be found and well when dressing up, a full length mirror is a must. The next day a full length mirror had been installed in my bathroom, what a treat. Casa Velas staff really do aim to please, serve and make you happy. You would think I was taking the mirror with me I was so pleased but no it made an impact on my stay and my feelings of knowing they truly cared.
The bathroom was stocked daily or twice daily if you let in the nightitme turn down maid ( many times we did not as we were either resting or getting ready or just preferred not to be disturbed etc.) with soap, shampoo, mouthwash, shower cap, hair conditioner, body lotion, shoe shine, vanity kit and other such items, all of good quality such as Gilchrist and Sommes. The facecloths were tied with cute ribbons each day with the logo of Casa Velas. There was a hairdryer and magnifying mirror on the wall. A huge Jacuzzi surrounded by marble was in this bathroom as well. There were curtains to the entrance of it, like an arch, a shower was also in the Jacuzzi area along with amenities and towels, bathmats etc. The water pressure and temperature were always sufficient, not always the case in Mexico. Towels plush, clean and plentiful. Having been a handicap person for some time I did note that you had to step up and over to get into Jacuzzi and shower, there was a guard rail/handicap rail but this might be difficult for some folks like handicapped, frail, injured or elderly so it is worth noting for future reservations to Casa Velas. The other rooms we have stayed in had walk in showers.
Otherwise the room was just perfect for us and we loved it. The bed was turned down at night and if you had do not disturb sign on the door a note was put on your door they had been there and if you wanted them to return to call front desk. They would restock your towels, clean up, roll down bed, place candies in small burlap bag tied with Casa Velas ribbon on bed, place room service breakfast menu on bed ( more on that later), place glasses and bottled water on each side of bed, fill ice bucket, lay out robes and place slippers on each side of bed. You felt very special upon return to your room. Oh the robes are in the room, one each and are for your use. The slippers are also in room and they are to keep. They of course have the Casa Velas name and insignia, very nice touch.
There is a room service menu in the room and as stated you can order 24 hours per day from soup to nuts to wine. If you choose you can fill out the room service breakfast menu and place outside your door hanging from doorknob before 2am, you specify what you want and what time within a 15 minute timeframe, and it was always timely. Funny the first morning we placed this on our door, the interior door. Well lo and behold in the morning tit was still on door, so rather than calling which you can do we were told by other guests and it comes within a short time, we went to restaurant. I did again, tell Jesus, Chief Concierge, of this issue and that there should be a note to tell guests which door if they are in a room such as ours or 511A. We did utilize this service the other mornings placing it on the Outer door and it was on time and wonderful all delivered to our room, set up as though we were in restaurant. We enjoyed breakfast most mornings on our private terrace. So relaxing!
Another nice touch in the room is a woven beach bag, there for our use while staying with Casa Velas. They can be purchased in the on site boutique. Speaking of a beach bag…Casa Velas is located on a golf course not on the beach but they have a beach club just 3 minutes away by A/C van, free shuttle. The Beach Club has a restaurant which is Japanese fusion inspired. Tables and such are there along with full wait service as well as wait service and food directly to your lounger. An infinity pool overlooks the sand of the beach where more loungers and cabanas are located again with full wait service and of course beyond that the bay of Banderas!! You can spend as little or as much time as you want here with food, drinks, free transportation back and forth, bathrooms, towels,etc. You can also make reservations to have a romantic or awe inspiring dinner right on the beach in the early evening. Due to the cooler weather this trip and also the wonderful room we had this trip we did not utilize the beach club except for one day for a quick drink, but we did speak to other guests who did and they loved it. On another stay we did the romantic dinner here and it was great!
The pool at Casa Velas is heated by solar. It has different levels with built in tile loungers etc. It is a large pool with a swim up Palapa Bar. Surrounding the pool are lounge chairs with terry cloth covers, rolled towels in place and teak tables. There are also many cabanas for those who like shade, as well as many palm trees. When you go to the pool area and find your place, a waiter comes over with a small ice bucket and two bottles of water and asks if you would like something to eat or drink or anything else. You can order drinks or snacks off a menu in the pool area. There are no activities done by the pool like volleyball, as it is very upscale and quiet, with lots of people sunning or reading. Most times there was no music playing by pool either but if it was, it was played very softly. It is a quiet, calm, relaxing, area as is most of the resort all with the philosophy of rejuvenation and relaxation.
If you desire a change of pace or more activity or music etc. you can go over to Club Velas, the sister resort, via free shuttle and utilize their activities like nightly shows, entertainment, pool, and their bars and restaurants, of which there are now 2, one by the ocean “La Ribera“, ( no reservations needed, casual attire, even shorts for guys and sit down menu or buffet or both LOL). The other “Andrea” ( reservations required) indoor or outdoor dining, suggested long pants for men but they did allow men in shorts, dressy ones with nice shirts ( no t-shirts).
The grounds throughout are meticulously manicured. Beautiful bouganvilla, palm trees, shrubs, Koi ponds, etc. are abundant. The whole property is lit very well with soft lighting at night. There is a lobby bar where you can get a drink at night or even a coffee and cake or dessert treat almost every day around 4-5ish. Snacks at the Aqua Pool Bar and drinks all day, and then the restaurant “Emiliano’s”overlooking Koi ponds and the pool and golf course. Lighting at night is soft with candles and lanterns etc. Seating is indoors in tiers or outside. It is quite splendid. They do require you to make reservations each day or I believe you can do in advance on an activity sheet which Stefano will give you upon arrival. He can schedule any tours you may have or a timeshare presentation etc.
The Restaurant has international gourmet with a large variety and even a spa menu addition which lists the calories and benefits of each meal or smoothie etc. The desserts are to die for, options for wine and drinks unlimited with premium international and national brand beverages. The service at this restaurant was wonderful whether for breakfast, a quick lunch, a leisurely lunch or dinner. Though the menu is varied and truly international and gourmet the dining experience at night is Mexican Elegance. Slow and with presentation above and beyond. We enjoyed our meals greatly and tried as much as we could on menu. Much of the food to be raved about, my favorite dish though was between the duck and filet mignon which was melt in your mouth tender. My favorite dessert either Paris Delight, Crème Brulee or Passion Fruit sherbert. Some nights we dined alone and others we dined with friends we had met at Casa Velas. The restaurant was busy every night we were there and some nights though the quality of food and drinks was great, presentation of food above and beyond and an experience for the mind as well as appetite, the service seemed a tad slow even for Mexican Elegance. I did mention this to management and they said they were employing more staff due to the increase in needs. Lo and behold the next day we saw a group of about 30 trainees on tour at the facility.
My only regret at “Emiliano’s” is in not getting all of the staff names but I did get some so I will mention them here. Jesus ( Rest. Manager) always in view and running the show. Bernadino absolutely incredible waiter, efficient and personable. Francisco who does an incredible flambé and also did the cooking presentation for us one day. Krizia the hostess at Emiliano’s in the daytime. She was so sweet, pleasant, personable with a sense of humor to boot once she relaxed a bit. Other waiters I recall were Renee, Yomar, Moses & Cruz. All referred to us by name at each sitting, were pleasant, professioanl and gave 10 percent to attention to detail. Thank you to all of you for such wonderful meals and service…hats off to the cook!!
One night they had a Barbeque Night ( Fridays) and had all types of cuts of meat, corn on cob, fish, chicken etc. all cooked on grill and served to your table. This was fun and different for a change of pace. They had music playing softly for this that night. Another day as mentioned above Francisco and Antonio ( head chef) did a cooking presentation and made out by the pool “Salmon and Almond capers with fried Artichoke and Asparagus“. The presentation by Franciso was great. He was a great teacher, receptive to questions, fun and personable. The food oh my gosh it was so fantastic. I just bought some salmon so I can try this recipe here at home. They gave everyone copies of the recipe. This was a fun activity for sure.
On Tuesday night they had a Management Cocktail Party. What a display. Asian/Japanese inspired hor dourves, drinks, a cigar rolling man available to teach cigar rolling. My hubby actually rolled his own cigar and was able to keep it, what fun. A magic card trick presentation, lots of yummy food, champagne and socializing. All held in the Lobby Bar. We had such fun and met some great folks. There were two waiters in the lobby bar we got to know, one being Benny, a fun loving waiter with a heart of gold. You are never without a drink with Benny around. He is talented as well, gave me a swan and a rose made out of drink stirrers and a lighter, incredible. The other young man, waiter, in the lobby I neglected to write his name down but he was very efficient, maybe a bit stiff at first with us, but did relax a bit as time went on. Of course the stiffness may be warranted for others, but we like to chat and joke a little. Hubby jokes a lot. Anyway thanks to Benny and his cohort ( sorry about the forgetting name).
Jesus ( Rest. Mangaer) one day did a tequila tasting and presentation. Having lived in Jalisco, state of Tequila, we figured might be a little slow or boring but NO, it was wonderful. We learned so much, tasted some great and not so great tequilas all in exquisite taste. We really enjoyed this activity. Oh I did not mention this was done right beside the on site botanical garden. There they have herbs, vegetables, fruits, cactus etc….growing for their picking and freshness in meal preparation. We were given a tour of the gardens and though it is fairly new you can see such potential.
Well we ate, no dined So much that I must mention the gym and spa. Apparently Casa Velas had a fire a short time back in the spa so that is under renovation and due to be opened late April. They have appointed a suite as a temporary spa. For temporary facilities I think they did a great job. Very pampering and relaxing atmosphere. Hubby and I both had back massages, outside under a tent per say. Attention to care was wonderful. Might I add this was my first massage since my illness and I was nervous, but the attendant was great, relaxing me and truly soothing me and my body. Again I forgot to write down my masseuse’ name or hubby’s. The gym due to having been in the damaged spa…is now quite unique. There are a few machines and weights which they have placed outside. Hubby used it almost every day, I should have LOL. He just loved working out in the fresh air and did suggest that when spa is finished that they leave some of the weights and machines outside as he and many guests he spoke to found it very refreshing, a true change from the closed up gym’s back In USA.
There is and I almost forgot to mention this even with all this writing, a cultural center off the lobby where you can relax, watch TV, read a paper, or go on the on site computer. Speaking of computers, I always bring mine and they at present had free internet in some rooms ( yes I had it in mine, whew), and in lobby bar and such about resort. You do need a password they give you. They told me they were in process of getting internet in all the rooms and when they do there will be a small charge for this.
This was just an incredible five days. An experience to be lived hopefully over and over. I know we will definitely be returning and I am already telling friends they have to experience this piece of heaven in Mexico. My mom has already placed her request to accompany me when hubby can’t make it for a vacation LOL. We met so many of the staff, all of them very professional but also friendly and caring and they truly wanted to hear of your experience etc. We met a lot of the management staff and all our praises and issues were listened to, corrected or will be corrected we were told, so I say in our eyes Casa Velas remains Number one in PV and a real good choice for couples, families with adults ( no children this is adults only resort, but the families with kids can stay at Velas), special occasions this is a perfect place to stay for honeymooners, weddings or business conventions ( did I mention they now have a convention center for up to like 260 people or so). I can only imaging being a honeymooner or having a wedding here. Anniversary or birthday this would be a real treat, there was a young lady there while we were, whose husband had given her a stay with him at this hotel for her birthday. Wow!
This resort/hotel would not be good for spring breakers, or young adults looking for an extreme party. It is for the refined, classy or not, who wish for a relaxing, unwinding experience, different from all others. No place is perfect but this hotel sure comes close. Near perfection…or trying to be…I will return, for that matter in writing this I have made myself hungry to return..LOL. I still have on my All Inclusive souvenir bracelet!
Almost forgot to mention I also did meet the on site for Casa Velas and Velas Vallarta Doctor. Dr. Garcia, a very nice, educated man who will see you if the need arises while you are staying at Casa or the sister resort Velas. I spoke to him of my health etc. so if we ever need we are already friendly etc. I feel after our meeting that you would be in good hands under his care.
Thank You Casa Velas and staff for an incredible vacation with just the right touch of relaxation and rejuvenation I needed!!!