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Secrets Vallarta Bay Puerto Vallarta
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3,254 - 3,259 of 3,813 reviews
Reviewed November 8, 2012

My hubby and I spent a week at this stunning resort in July 2012. We have been to a few resorts in Cancun area before but never to Puerto Vallarta. This by far was hands down the most beautiful resort we have ever been to! The grounds were sparkly clean and all the decor was lovely.

The service was definitely top notch and we were treated like gold our whole stay by all the staff. We were in the preferred club building and really enjoyed having our own little buffet snacks including hot hors d'oeuvres in the afternoon. It was also awesome to have our own bar and bartender that was never busy. The bartender was great for serving us drinks right at our swim up pool and we didn't have to get out.

We were so lucky to have a swim out suite which was well worth the upgrade! When we didn't feel like going out to the big pool we could just hop in our own little pool, so convenient!! The rooms were decorated beautifully and very spacious!! The shower was amazing, so big!!!

All the restaurants were close by with delicious food and great service. We did go over to the Now side for a few dinners as it gave us more variety for dining.

The only downfall to the resort is if you are a big beach person the beach wasn't the best. It had a big slope making it hard to get into the water and the currents seemed pretty strong. My hubby and I are more pool people so this didn't bother us at all. We also did have a problem with our room flooding twice as it was rainy season. However, the manager compensated us fully for the inconvenience which we greatly appreciated. I've been to new resorts before where there were some issues and nothing was really done to make the situation better.

The entertainment staff were fantastic and had everyone joining in fun games all week long!

Overall we absolutely loved the resort and would 100% go back to this place!!! We highly recommend it to others!!

Room Tip: Swim-up Suite in preferred club was well worth the money!
  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Leannemayko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 7, 2012

DISLIKED: buffet breakfast in Market caffe (the only option outside the room in the secret area) was very ordinary, like any regular hotel. The beach is not private and anyone can access. Didn’t happen to me, but we saw on Saturday night to 5 couples waiting for table at the French restaurant. The balconies are facing the Now Amber, so you can see and hear the children.
I LOVED IT: It’s a new hotel (1-2 year old). The decor of the room, the jacuzzi in the room, the good service from all the staff. You can order breakfast rook service and take it in your balcony watching the sea. F food and service in all restaurants (excepting buffet in market caffe) is excellent. Actually much better than some very expensive restaurants. The pool area Jacuzzis. The system of towels and pool floats. The atmosphere. I can say that even though I dislike almost all inclusive, but sure return to Secret! :)

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank aedith_espino
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 6, 2012

My wife and I celebrated our fifth anniversary at Secrets Vallarta Bay between October 20 and 29. First off, this hotel should be much higher rated on tripadvisor. I can only assume it will move up with more reviews since it's only been open since March 2012.

It is centrally located just north of town and close to everything. It took us less than ten minutes from the airport. Our feet hadn't hit the curb before we were handed a champagne and cool towel. Check-in was quick and friendly with the hotel amenities well explained. While our bags were forwarded to our room, we were chatted up by Alejandra, who wanted us to join the vacation ownership/time share presentation the next morning. She wasn't pushy, just super friendly. We ended up chatting about town and what to do and see more than the time-share presentation. At no time did we feel like we were talking to a sales person. We didn't end up going to the presentation but would have been happy to simply because Alejandra was so friendly.

We had a swim out room for our stay. it was exceptionally furnished, very spacious, and very clean. We ended up switching to a different swim-out the next day just for a better view of the pool area, but there was nothing wrong with the first room other than a slight air-conditioning smell (common for places with nearly 100% humidity), but that is not why we switched. Just the better view. Our request was quickly accommodated.

The bed was super comfy, bathroom was gorgeous (although could have been better lit - a design choice I guess), mini bar was well stocked (other reviewers have complained that the coronas in the mini bar were the small size. Seriously? There was a ton of them and they're unlimited. How hard it is crack open another bottle?).

The grounds were well-manicured, and completely free of maintenance issues. The pictures on tripadvisor speak for themselves. The place is gorgeous. We especially enjoyed the open lobby overlooking the pools and beach. It was a favorite place to watch the sunset and return to after dinner for a nightcap.

We took advantage of the spa during our stay as well. Beautiful facility with several rooms tucked away from view, sauna, steam, and hydrotherapy. As nice as we have been to anywhere. Perhaps the best, in fact.

The most pleasant surprise of the entire experience was the food. We have done several vacations in Mexico (Cancun, Playa, Cabo), and have never had food that came anywhere close to the quality and creativity we enjoyed at Secrets Vallarta Bay. The variety, freshness, and presentation rivaled anything we have seen elsewhere in the world. Every meal was delicious. My favorite menu item was the Tuna Steak on Wasabi Mash at Oceana. We also enjoyed the Teppanyaki at Himitsu. Not every restaurant is open every evening, but this isn't a problem as you could hit your favorite restaurant two or three times over the course of a week. I would suggest hitting them all so you don't miss out.

The bars were all great as well. If you want top shelf booze, you won't find it pool-side (nor should you in my mind). Pool-side drinks aren't too sweet like most all-inclusives and there was a good selection of beers both Mexican and foreign. The lobby bar had some better liquor selections and from what I understand, the preferred club has even better.

As for service, it was excellent. The resort wasn't completely full, so we were more than well attended to. We were never without a drink pool side, service was prompt at all of the restaurants except for perhaps one night at Oceana when it seemed the whole resort showed up for dinner at the same time even though there were other options open. All of the staff, from housekeeping to the manager, were incredibly attentive and friendly. We have not experienced better service anywhere.

Other nice surprises were the giant poolside screen to watch the world-series under the stars complete with burgers, beer, and popcorn as well as the baby turtle release on the beach in front of the resort.

Like many all-inclusives, we received $400 in resort credits through US Airways Vacations. These are not useful as you can only apply them as discounts to certain items you may not want anyway. This is not a complaint, just a heads up that this shouldn't sway your decision on where you stay when planning your vacation, no matter how many resort credits are included in your stay.

As for complaints, there are very, very few. There was no conditioner in the room, just shampoo. A couple of days, housekeeping missed replacing our facecloths. I could have done without the hardcore porn channel and the fitness facility could have had a few more machines/free weights as there was plenty of room for them. The beach isn't great but if you are looking for white sand and blue water, you shouldn't be coming to Puerto Vallarta in the first place.

All in all, our expectations were hugely exceeded. We thought of Puerto Vallarta as kind of party place from the 90s (which it still is), but it still has so much to offer. Vallarta Adventures has many eco-adventure tours and you should take full advantage if you go to Puerto Vallarta, especially the Extreme Zipline. Far and away though, the best part of the vacation was Secrets Vallarta Bay; exceptional resort I cannot recommend highly enough

Room Tip: If you want sun on your balcony, stay on the Now Amber side.
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank wakepilot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 5, 2012

Secrets Vallarta Bay was simply wonderful. We went in the middle of summer 2012, and it was maybe 1/3 full, which we very much liked -- not so empty that it felt creepy, but quiet enough that we never had to wait for anything or wake up at sunrise to stake out beach chairs. As with our other Secrets experiences, the staff were great, the food was exceptional, and the drinks were top shelf. We would recommend this resort very highly. The property is shared with the adjacent NOW Amber resort, which is basically the same but allows children, and Secrets guests can eat at all of the NOW restaurants. We had a room on the 8th floor, so we could see down into both sides of the property. An epic thunderstorm one evening overwhelmed the pool filters and backed up the plumbing, rendering 3 of the pools at NOW useless for a day or so. The pools and plumbing at Secrets were just fine, but I would suspect the NOW guests were a tad upset.

One minor annoyance is that the parent company of Secrets seems to have gotten into the time share business. Or maybe they've been in it for some time. Either way, we were hit up a couple of times for a free massage or room upgrade if we would go listen to their spiel, which we didn't. This hasn't happened before, so either it's a new thing, or we just got lucky our first time around.

We took the day excursion up to San Sebastián del Oeste, which was provided by Vallarta Adventures and organized by Apple. Highly, highly recommended. The town itself was a 17th century colonial living museum, but the real highlights for us were the side trips to Hacienda Jalisco, the La Quinta coffee plantation, and the Hacienda Don Polín tequila distillery. The latter was particularly fascinating, as it's barely larger than a hobby-scale distillation system, and everything is done by hand and with wood fire.

All in all, another win from Secrets.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank TheAlpoholic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 4, 2012

I have to start by saying that this hotel is only 5 months new and many of the disappointing things we experiences probably will be corrected with time. However, that does not help us now. The service was the slowest we have ever experienced in any resort we have visited and they are many; both in Puerto Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta and Cancun.

In the bar, if you wanted a drink, you had to go and get it yourself. Nobody came to our table. Two nights we simply gave up and went to our room. The breakfast buffet is the worst we have ever tasted because it was always served cold. Everything was cold. The Mexican restaurant was pretty but they did not serve Mexican food. The Italian one made us feel as if we were having dinner at the waiting hall at a railway station. And what about this: vegetable lasagna without pasta! Italians would kill them for that. I could not eat it. The French one was pretty, food was good except the main course. I could not cut the meat because it was so tough. Simply didn't eat it.

The hotel is very beautiful, the room very nice but don't make the mistake we did by paying extra for a junior suite with ocean view. ALL rooms have ocean view. No reason to pay extra. We did not understand that at all. AND if you want a later check out be prepared to pay for it. It is not much - $10/hour but it was a first for us.

The pool area is pretty and very clean but again, the service was terrible. It got a bit better by the end of the week but then we found out that they had hired more people. The best food was at the Ocean restaurant. We liked that. Of course the service was slow but I guess you get used to it when you have no options. We ended up eating in the city a couple of times.

The Spa is a rip-off - more expensive than at home. Don't waste your hard earned money because the best kept secret at this resort is not the Secret resort itself but a small massage parlor right at the gates to the hotel. For $25/hour you get the best massage of your life. I went there every morning and loved it. Ask for Veronica. You won't be disappointed.

The lobby was gorgeous but we missed a bigger bar where people could get together in the evenings. The bar was small and only had a few chairs. It wasn't inviting and people just didn't stop to chat there; only got their drinks and went away. The entertainment in the lobby was poor. No dancing. They had jazz a couple of nights - flamenco another. They also did not organize any theme events like most other resorts do. The only events we saw were all private.

Two mornings we had no hot water. It was corrected but not until after three phone calls. I am sorry friends, I really wanted to like this place but just didn't.

The staff is friendly and very accommodating any time you ask for help. I think the biggest problems at this resort is the management and the lack of training of their staff. Something is not right when you sit and wait for 15 minutes to get your glass of water and at the same time two or three servers stand at the side having a conversation. Many times the waiting was so long that even they forgot that they were supposed to bring us something.

If you like long walks on the beach it is better to stay at a resort in Nuevo Vallarta. The beach at this resort was very well maintained but it is short so if you want a long walk you will end up having to do laps.

All in all we had a relaxing time because the weather was beautiful. We are pretty sure Secrets Vallarta Bay will get better with time but we will not return. And we also won't recommend this place. We will stick to Excellence resorts and thus be certain to always get the best of the best.

Room Tip: Don't pay extra for a junior suite with ocean view. All their rooms have ocean view. No need to upgrade. The only thing that we got bigger was the balcony that was stupid because it was huge and there were only two chairs and a little table. The balcony was almost the size of our room.
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank frespkn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mauricio M, General Manager at Secrets Vallarta Bay Puerto Vallarta, responded to this reviewResponded November 10, 2012

Dear guest,

We always value our guests comments and we appreciate you have taken your time to submit your overview on your stay through this mean. We regret to know that you have not encounter good value to your stay at our Resort. As you have mentioned in your review our service was not as you expected and prompt as it normally is. Let me give you more feedback on our bar service; we have pool and beach staff that work hard to serve the drinks that our guests request. Also you can find our Lobby Bar that our staff will greet you up to your table and provides you the best service from 11:00 a.m. up to 1:00 a.m.

We appreciate your notes in regards to the dishes of some of our restaurants, be sure that we will share this to our Departmental Chef to make the proper corrections that need to be done. As you kindly said, all our suites are designed to be Ocean View, however, the lower levels have a Garden View with a partial view of the ocean. The higher the suites are the better view you will have. Preferred Club Tower is located closer to the beach therefore you will find them to be nicer views with the upgraded amenities that come along.

Our Spa by Pevonia is one of the nicest in town with the most qualified specialized therapist; we share many promotions every day in our Sundial. Also, with your resort coupons you can purchase a portion of the total amount of a treatment. In regards, with the water situation it is important to address that it was an unexpected situation that was not of our control for the inconveniences caused by certain floors and for which we extend our apologies.

We hope we can have the opportunity to host you again in the future so we can offer you the high level of service that characterizes our resort and AMResorts properties and may your next stay meet your expectations.

Cordially,

Mauricio Martinez

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