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“Great place--for the right kind of traveler”

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Playa Conchas Chinas Hotel
Ranked #71 of 121 Hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 19, 2012

SUMMARY: If you're looking for an oceanfront bargain & the idea of a modest, charming-but-aging, no-frills-but-lovely little place appeals to you, this may be the right place for you. If you're in reasonably good shape & can handle some hills & daily stair climbing--and you don't need to be coddled or pampered by the staff because all you really want is a clean, good size room with a fantastic view at a budget price--this is for you.

DETAILS:
The benefits of this hotel outweigh the drawbacks. I had booked the smallest room and was upgraded at no charge upon arrival. My room, #401, was large, clean, attractive and had a sensational view. I stayed in early October & basically had the place to myself most days. The television in the room even had a few English stations & the AC worked perfectly. The mini-frig never seemed to get quite cold enough, but it served its purpose. The bathroom area was lovely, especially the very large tiled bathtub/shower. I had no complaints about the room at all. There's a little coffee maker, as well (but no hairdryer).

The pool area is small, but very lovely. Only 3 lounge chairs, so get there early if you want to ensure you get one!

The restaurant beneath the hotel, La Playita, served mostly good/very good food (stick with egg-based dishes & you can't go wrong). Breakfast dishes in particular were very good (dinner dishes less so). Prices are a bit higher than you might expect, so be prepared for sticker shock.

The beach area in front of the hotel is indeed a bit small, but I never had a problem staking out a spot. I took a tip from someone who wrote an earlier review of this hotel & took the cobblestone service road 100 yards north of the hotel (the street is actually called Easy Street) down to a huge, gorgeous, empty beach & it was awesome! That's a must. Go to that beach!!

Be prepared for a bit of noise around the hotel, though--nothing horrible, just occasional loud-ish music, people partying & having fun. It wasn't constant & ear plugs can solve any problems you might have.

You will likely wind up taking taxis & buses all the time, because the hotel is a bit of a hike from the downtown/Olas Altas area. Even still, taxis are plentiful by the hotel 24/7 & cheap.

I would go back in a heartbeat. It is excellent value for the price (I got a reduced rate by booking in advance & paying in full). But don't ignore all the warnings about the stairs & hills: If you are in any way disabled or have trouble with stairs, this is probably not the ideal place for you. If you need friendly, solicitous staff, this is not the place for you. But if you like authentically Mexican beachside hotels, great value & super views, give this a shot. I can highly recommend room 401, a corner room with a dipping pool/oversized bathtub on the terrace and a huge (but extremely hard) bed.

Great little place.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled solo
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7  Thank SoloTraveler323
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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73 - 79 of 166 reviews

Reviewed July 5, 2012

For my first-ever trip to Mexico, I met up in Puerto Vallarta with four of my college girlfriends to celebrate our mutual milestone birthday year (ahemfiftyahem). My old roomie is a PV expert and booked a week in the Presidential Suite for us to share. So, wow: it's just beautiful, the view was spectacular, and we had our own private pool for relaxing after long days on the beach or (more likely) at the flea market shopping our butts off. The common area is open-air, including the kitchen (no stove or dishwasher, but a nice cold fridge, microwave & coffee maker, as well as basic supplies). There are three bedrooms, air conditioned (yay!), each with a full bath. Two had king beds, and one had two queens. There is also a half-bath in the common area. The bed was a little hard for me, but no one else had a problem.

On the down side: furniture was scarce in the bedrooms. No dresser in my room (with queen beds), and limited drawer space in the others. It wasn't exactly luxuriously appointed - no art on the walls, minimalist bedding, thin towels. The sheets were okay but I'm pretty spoiled and prefer a smoother sheet.

Another downer: stairs. This place is built into the hillside and in no way conforms to the ADA. No elevators. You enter on the 5th floor, and our suite was down several flights of stairs on the 2nd floor. To connect to wi-fi (in the lobby only) you're traipsing back up those stairs. I don't think I'd be able to go back for my 60th birthday the way my knees are going. :-)

The upsides: oh, my gosh, the service was so good. Everyone was so friendly. My friend had been in touch with Salvador to book the suite, and by the time we got there, it was like we were old friends. The housekeeper came daily and kept everything fresh. Taxis came quickly and got us all around town with ease.

The restaurant was wonderful. Some days, we didn't feel like going into town to try one of my friend's many restaurant recommendations, and the meals here were consistently good. And you can't beat the view: right on the beach, which was lovely. We spent most days relaxing under the palapas and cooling off in the cove. Yes, there are vendors who approach you (I was not used to that) but they were pretty cool if you weren't interested; but I have to say, they were selling some nice things, especially Toby's jewelry. There is a certain appeal to shopping from a lounge chair! I did some beach snorkeling and it was a lot better than I'd expected... watch out for the sea urchins, though!

Overall, the Presidential Suite was the --almost-- perfect spot for a relaxing reunion. If you're a PV fan and want to have a large group there, check it out. For me, the good stuff outweighed the bad. Except maybe the dresser. Maybe they can do something about that soon...?

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with friends
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4  Thank luminous_times
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 1, 2012

This is a smaller hotel in a great location. The view of Puerto Vallarta is great. The rooms are large enough but the mattress was quite hard. We had a room with a kitchenette that included a two-burner stove, mini refrigerator, and coffee maker. There were not many plates or glasses and only two pans. The decor was Mexican with beautiful tiles. Our room had a jacuzzi on the balcony. The air conditioning worked great. The view overlooking the ocean was beautiful. You can snorkle and swim at the beach. You need to walk down about 100 steps to get to the beach and there is no elevator.
There are two restaurants right next door. La Playita overlooks the beach and has breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Great food, service, and prices. El Set is more upscale and also offers all meals, but it is more expensive. There is a nearby taxi stand as well as a bus stop to get to town. The bus only costs 7 pesos (about 60 cents) each way. Pesos only. The taxi is a lot more expensive but take pesos and dollars. The bus into town takes about 10 minutes. We highly recommend you take the bus south that says Mismaloya/Boca on it (about 20 minutes). Very beautiful areas.
You can take the water taxi from Boca de Tomatlan (about $10 per person one way) to Yelapa. You can rent a little boat (panga) for the day which is what we did from Mismaloya or Boca de Tomatlan. For about $100 you can have the boat for the whole day. The driver will take you to any beach you want and let you stay as long as you want. We did this and went to Yelapa (45 minutes from Mismaloya by boat), then Mahuajitas, and then Las Animas. Yelapa and Las Animas have restaurants on the beach. Mahuahitas is more private and there are no amenities.

Room Tip: Rooms on the fourth floor have a great view of the bay of both sides of the bay.
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Travel_Explorers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 19, 2012

This was our second time at Hotel Conchas Chinas and it was very different from the first visit. Different in the following ways: 1)Room- Very basic cleanliness. Tub and shower not cleaned during our two wk. stay. Bathroom sink water lines leaked causing floor to be wet. Old soggy soap rounds and shampoo bottles never removed by staff. Had to request basic kitchen items that were not in the room at check-in such as knife and drain tray. Coffee pot still had grounds and water in it from previous guest. Room safe not functioning. Drain tube from next door air conditioner exited on our balcony creating a pool of water thereby making our balcony unusable until the problem was fixed. Sheets and dish drying towels are changed if you request it. Soap for washing dishes supplied if requested but it will be laundry soap. Toilet will not operate if any paper is put in it and you will have to get staff to come in with a plunger. Be prepared to put used paper in a waste basket next to the toilet and live with it for the next 24 hours. 2) Room upgrade- Didn't make any sense. We paid for a room upgrade and could not tell if it was delivered. We also looked at other rooms to move to given all the problems we faced in the one we were given. We stayed in it because it was the only one with a new air conditioner. The only difference between higher and lower room grades that I could discern was that the lower you went in the building, the more stairs you had to drag your luggage. Is that worth the difference between room categories? I don't think I got the upgrade I paid for and didn't figure it out until we returned home. 3) Hotel amenities- WiFi only available in hotel lobby and connection is frequently lost while your laptop "aquires internet address". The Conchas Chinas claims an on site restaurant and the inference is that it belongs to the hotel. The restaurant actually is affiliated with the neighbouring Lindo Mar condo. You can use it however and it has a great view and good menu items. Also, the beach is not private, as all beaches are public, but is also primarily for Lindo Mar guests who use the palapas. There are no motorized water sports. The rooftop terrace is abandoned, unsafe and hasn't been used for years. The pool is ok and has three broken lounges for your personal enjoyment! The people who liked this hotel must have been short stay guests. The hotel makes many inaccurate claims about amenities and is going on the assumption that if you can make it sound good, people will believe you.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Garry R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2012

we stayed here in february for 8 nights in room 502. had awesome time. the staff are friendly and helpful.thank you aresino! we ate at the upper and lower restuants and food was good. the view was awesome off of the balcony including the whale watching. you can take taxi, bus or just a 15 min to walk downtown. the beach was a little rocky but had fun. couple of days we walked to the oxyo and took the orange bus to mismaloya to the beach. we will be going back.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Joleen_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 18, 2012

My boyfriend and I just got back from 3 nights at Playa Conchas Chinas and loved it. The room was spacious, with good water pressure, a refrigerator, and gorgeous ocean views. This is a sleepy part of Vallarta, so you have to walk about 30 minutes (or take a short ride) in to town for food, drinks & nightlife. The hotel did have 2 attached restaurants, but the prices were high and food was mediocre. But again, the views were spectacular.

A few things to be aware of: there are a lot of stairs here and no elevators, so that could be a problem for some. The pool is located in a place where it doesn't get much sun, so there's not too much sunbathing (but you can walk down to the beach, there are chairs down there). And, the hotel seems to be filled with a lot of retirees, so if you're looking for a young, party scene, this isn't it. Overall, I would definitely plan on staying here again.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank MoveableFeasts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 25, 2012

Hotel needs updating badly, but will likely be torn down instead. Two floors of it are converted into private apartments so it is already in transition.
It is hard to tell with older hotels whether they are dirty or simply need new, tile, toilets, grout.
The impression is one of dirtiness but it may be mostly age.
The beach is lovely but is largely rock with a couple of narrow (12 foot) channels that you can get tumbled around in by the waves, or swim through to open water if the sea is calm.
It was not calm during our five day stay so we went not so much swimming as 'sluicing' as the incoming waves pushed you in and the outgoing waves tried to drag you out.
Not for the faint of heart or infirm.
There is also a lot of stair climbing involved. The 'private' part of the hotel is on the bottom two floors.
The staff is helpful.
Town is a longish 20 minute walk but 5 minute drive away to the 'Bohemian' Older part of town. Can be walked on the beach I hear but we did not try.
The restaurant at the bottom of the hotel is fairly pleasant and overlooks the rocky cove.
The restaurant at street level seems a bit overpriced and pretentious.
The parking is challenging due to the steep slope down to reception which is some 20 feet below the level of the coast road.

Room Tip: Forget about the Jacuzzi unless you are not at all fussy. The room at the north corner is a little l...
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  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank amaidan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Playa Conchas Chinas Hotel

Address: Calle Carretera Costera a Barra de Navidad Km. 2.5, Puerto Vallarta 48399, Mexico (Formerly Playa Conchas Chinas)
Location: Mexico > Jalisco > Puerto Vallarta
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#48 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
Price Range: $86 - $262 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Playa Conchas Chinas Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 19
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Playa Conchas Chinas Hotel Puerto Vallarta
Playa Conchas Chinas Puerto Vallarta

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