This is the 2nd time I've stayed at this property. The first time was in Nov. 2010 as a couple. This time it was a family vacation, and we had an overall great stay and so would recommend this property. Summarized the positives, negatives, and the borderline below.
Hotel rate wasn't bad. We paid about $247/night all-in - had secured online an early non-refundable $157/night for garden view room, and then on-site paid an additional $90/night for an upgrade to a junior suite. It was basically two hotel rooms connected together via an open doorway, and the 2nd room had a couch, daybed, with the extra bathroom and TV. Our final rate was slightly cheaper than the current online advance rate for a similar room, so the day-of rates appeared reasonable.
-Felt like a safe, attractive, well-kept property. Hotel restrooms were clean.
-Staff was all friendly and courteous.
-About a 15 min drive to the airport but was never disturbed by air traffic
-Enjoyed the pool grounds, which is great for kids - pool was vast and shallow in many areas. There was even a cool bar accessible without leaving the pool.
-Had to use the hotel doctor who was conveniently on-site- good medical service. Fluent English. They can make a room call, or if you want to save a little money, go to their office (double-check with front desk). Our travel insurance covered this.
-Nice playground for kids outside the Kids Club (don’t have to participate in daycare to enjoy)
-Did not feel pressure to tip everyone
- Taxi stand outside the lobby lists the standard fares for all major destinations, including airport and maritime terminal (departure point for some excursions) so you know what to expect.
- Large list of activities offered batting cage (fun activity, behind Kids Club), rock climbing wall, kayaks, and target shooting. There were also some other activities for a price such as mini golf (we did not partake)
-Food: Breakfast buffet options were pretty good and decent selection of kids’ options at the buffets.
-Luggage service was easily available and good for storage.
-Vallarta Adventures Las Caletas beach excursion - ended up booking directly with them via phone while in Puerto Vallarta. (If we had 4 days advance notice, we could have gotten a slight online discount through the company. Also a Melia hotel discount available, see below). This was a beautiful excursion to a nice beach with lunch buffet included, with two main departure times (8am and 11am) from the cruise terminal (15 minute taxi ride). The boat ride was about 45-60 minutes one-way, slightly faster on the way back.
-Check In process was a bit long and paired with a confusing "personal concierge service".
There was a wait for checking in (at least 20-30 min), with only 2 people at the front desk on a weekday afternoon. After checking in, we were approached by a staff woman who said she was our personal concierge who would provide us "VIP service" (you’ll see at the hotel there are many smartly dressed women walking around the lobby or near the two “Vacation Concierge” desks). With us being very tired from the traveling that day and the communication not being the most fluent, we didn't understand what service was being offered, and we also hadn't decided on any "activities" (i.e. excursions). We caught something about the option to sit in on a breakfast presentation but that it WASN'T a time share presentation. We declined to make any appointment for a breakfast presentation and said we would get back to them. Later in our stay, after we ended up deciding to go on a Vallarta Adventures excursion, we finally pieced it together that what was being offered by the “personal concierge” was a discount on this excursion if we booked through the hotel and were willing to sit in on a Melia Hotel breakfast presentation (if it’s not timeshare, it’s for some other type of vacation accommodation for “members only”). However, we never found out what the discount would have been and we didn't have time to participate in the breakfast anyway given our schedule. It also sounded like the discounted rate wasn't possible to arrange last minute anyway. Were told that Melia usually needs 48 hours advance notice to secure that special rate.
-During both check-in experiences at this hotel ( 2010 and this time), we were told there were no rooms available before the official check-in time at 3pm. However, they did give us bracelets so that we could eat lunch and store our luggage.
-Inconveniently long check out process (No TV checkout available)
The day we checked out there was a massively large student group checking in the hotel and mobbing the lobby. There were easily 500+ high school-age students. This negatively impacted the check out process (we waited at least 30-45 minutes in a line). The mobbed lobby with students and luggage greatly detracted from the ambiance of the hotel.
-Need to take a taxi to get off the property
It is difficult to walk from the hotel into town or anywhere else, especially if you’re with children, due to the busy street outside the marina. (Taxi rates were a minimum cost of $5 USD or about 60 pesos to get to the maritime terminal, which is a departure point for Vallarta Adventures)
-Internet was only free in lobby area, have to pay extra to get internet in the rooms.
-While the hotel is clean, there is excessive freshener scent in the hotel elevators.
Food was overall average. The breakfast buffet was above average, but we found the lunch/dinner buffets to be just okay. There were a large variety of options at lunch/dinner buffets, from local dishes to hamburgers and pasta. There is a smaller "bar" type area near the pool called La Palapita that starts serving hot dogs and hamburgers and fries earlier if you’re hungry earlier than 1pm. The lunch buffet does not open until 1pm (strategically timed to avoid people who have to check out at 12noon?)
-Reservation-only restaurants for dinner
We ate here twice during our stay. Contrary to some older reviews, we did not have trouble making reservations (though you do have to do it the day before at 6pm). Not the most impressive menus, but it was nice to have waiter service. The waiter service was very friendly and nice, and good to well-behaved kids. (A small kids’ menu is offered in the restaurants with options like chicken nuggets, spaghetti, etc.)
The price of "premium" entrée options were rather expensive - $35-$40 USD for premium steaks and lobsters.
Desserts are pretty much the same as what's available at the buffet meals.
Not that cheap. We paid about $19 USD for about 8 items of clothing to be washed (some of which were kids’ clothes which were at least 1/2 price). They price per item. Nice to have same day service though if you ask to have laundry picked up before 11am.
-ATM in the hotel only gives out USD. Need to go outside of the hotel to get pesos (but ATM is very close to hotel, a short walk outside).
-Beach area is not a large area, but actually was better than what I remembered from 2010 (sand was clean and well kept).
Flintstoned-themed with character visits, but the "actors" were not super enthusiastic during personal interactions with them. (They do some cute public dance shows though).
The Kids Club indoors seemed like an okay place for child care(it was a little run down for my taste) but we did not partake. The daycare area for under 4 set has a wide variety of toys but typically does not let parents stay with the kids for any period of time, though they did let us stay for a short while to get a feel for it. They have nap rooms.
Minimal kid's water toys available - nothing really except for inflatable water floats.
-Bracelet system seems pretty strict, upon arriving at the hotel in a taxi, a hotel rep was right at the arrival taxi stand checking off our name on the reservation, and matching the number of people in our party with the reservation right away
-We found an error in our hotel charges, but upon getting through to the front desk manager (though it took a few tries to get through via phone), it was quickly resolved in a professional and courteous manner.
We remembered from 2010 that this hotel attracted many families with children. While this would not be my personal choice for a honeymoon type destination, I would definitely recommend this place again for a reasonably priced accommodation that offers all-inclusive.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Overlooking Marina Vallarta, one of the most exclusive and quiet areas of Puerto Vallarta, a four star luxury hotel just 5 minutes from the airport or 10 minutes from downtown. Just a short walk from the 18 hole, par 71 Marina Vallarta golf course. 318 rooms in a vast tropical sanctuary on the beautiful bay of Banderas, ideal for a family vacation. Gazebos facing the ocean, the place is perfect for photographing perfect sunsets over Puerto Vallarta. Nightly themed dance shows live, from traditional retro style dances to traditional ones performed by the hotel's own dancers. Where is Puerto Vallarta? Located on the beautiful Pacific coast of Mexico, with an international airport and a seaport, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations. Romantic ocean views ready for your special occasions. Experience the best Mexican experience from the moment you enter Melia Puerto Vallarta. This all-inclusive, 4-star luxury resort offers its guests a variety of dining options and perfect leisure activities, whether for a romantic getaway, a family holiday or a corporate meeting. The property has a timeless tropical charm, thanks to the large open spaces and spacious, peaceful ecological gardens (full of iguanas, ducks, coy, birds) and wide sea views. The hotel has been designed by architects Oriol Bohigas and Joseph Martorell, authors of other projects such as the Olympic Village and the Olympic Port of Barcelona. The ingenious climate-focused design allows you to enjoy Puerto Vallarta's climate all year round. Are you traveling with children? Melia Puerto Vallarta All Inclusive is a family-friendly hotel offering babysitting services with trained and certified professionals. Children's activities include crafts, billiards, table tennis, table football, arcade machines and more. Attention: FREE TOBACCO SMOKE-FREE HOTEL IN CLOSED AREAS: Melia Puerto Vallarta is concerned about the environment and as part of its Sustainable Tourism program, offers its guests and associates a smoke-free environment in all our rooms, theater, Lobby, restaurants, elevators, hallways of rooms and in some open areas delimited by the Hotel. This strictly non-smoking room is charged a room cleaning fee of $ 200.00 USD for guests who violate the "smoke-free" policy. For all visitors who smoke, hotel puts at your disposal assigned areas in the pool area, motor lobby and public beach. Ask for the map with the designated smoking areas. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Melia Puerto Vallarta All Inclusive Beach Hotel Puerto Vallarta
- Sol Melia Puerto Vallarta