My husband and I just returned from a one week stay Nov 25-Dec 2 and we loved this place! We have stayed in many all inclusives - Gran Bahia, Couples, Riu, etc and this along with Couple has by far been our favourite. This is a long review but some of the tips may help you!
We opted to take a cab from the airport as we prefer to get to the pool than sit on the bus waiting for everyone to get their luggage and then do the stops along the way. It was 20 dollars including tip and well worth it. Going back Secrets has their own cabs and it was only 10.
We got to the hotel with a very friendly greeting, champagne and a welcome cool face cloth! They took our luggage and guided us to our concierge for check in. We stayed in the preferred tower only because that was the only category that was offered to us when we booked it. I have to say we loved it and would definitely book the preferred tower again. That being said - the preferred tower rooms do not see the sunset only the regular rooms. However the lobby bar has a beautiful view with nice big comfy patio chairs. One thing I did not do this time and I always do it is to pack my bathing suit in my carry on. We got to the resort at around 1 pm and our room was not ready until 3 - the only hassle we had was getting access to our luggage so I could grab my bathing suit - easy way to avoid that is put it in the carry on. We then enjoyed the pool and a couple of drinks and then went to our room where our bags were delivered and ready. (Thank you so much to Adriana at the concierge who always had a smile and speaks of how much she loves her job - it shows!). Another perk of the preferred is there is always a little buffet with terrific sandwiches and a couple of appies so it was great when you were heading to the room to freshen up. You also have a separate bar in the lobby and a big thank you too Alessandro who was excellent but they were all awesome! We had zero issues about timeshares and were asked only once and when we said no thank you the subject was over.
The room - Make sure you go floor 5 or higher - you do not want floor 4 as they have a rock wall instead of glass on the balconies so you can't see out unless you are standing. Our room was gorgeous and the shower was great - a rain shower head and then a regular. We had no issues with water pressure as some reviews have stated and did use our balcony jacuzzi often with a quick fill up. In the room there is a secret box which was great for room service although we only used it twice and you don't have to answer the door - just leave your tip inside and they deliver the food to it. Beside the box are two buttons - one for do not disturb and one for housekeeping...make sure you put your do not disturb on as they will knock early - we found that out on day one and never forgot again lol. When we left the room we clicked housekeeping and our room was always done when we came back. As for the famous rooster - I heard him only once but he can be seen when you walk down the hallway and look over at the vacant lot - he is like a celebrity after being mentioned in all the reviews lol.
The pools were really nice and the bar staff and waiters were all fantastic...our favourite was Jesus! We did not hear the kids as some mention at all during our stay and honestly even if we had it would not have bothered us but it was nice to have separate pools so it was quieter and you didn't get splashed. It was nice that they leave a towel on each chair every morning - the only thing we saw is people left them on the chairs when they were done so some people thought they were still being used. You just need to drop them in the used bucket when you are done...even still there were plenty of chairs to be had so not a big issue. We loved that we did not need wristbands!
We went to the gym a couple of times and it was decent, the equipment was in pretty good shape and plenty to choose from.
The spa is very expensive but if you see the lady walking around she can give good deals...we got a couple massage for 25 minutes each right on the beach for $70 and that uncluded use of the spa for the day (steam, sauna and hot and cold pool). There are also two massage places right outside the gate that are apparently very good - we did not go but met lots of people who did and said it was $50 for two with tip.
There is not a big night life there at all but that was ok with us as we had fun during the day meeting people at the pool and in the lobby bar in the evening and had a great time(big thank you to Edith). We were really amazed at what a super group of people were there and how friendly everyone was.
The restaurants were good but we like to cook so it is hard to judge. We never made a reservation and had no issues getting a table, yes you have to wait a half hour sometimes but they have buzzers you carry so you can go to the lobby bar and have a drink and enjoy the scenery until your table is ready. We ate at the Oceana for lunch twice, it was our least favourite because they have alot of kinks to work out...one day I got the wrong order another day the food my husband got was cold and I did not get mine. No biggie - there is food everywhere so you arent going to starve but something they need to work on. The Italian was ok as well, there are kids in that restaurant so it was a little noisy. The Japanese was amazing - we ate there 4 times lol! Adrrianna the hostess was fantastic as was Angel our waiter! We had the shrimp tempura every time and it was fantastic as well as the pad thai - they even added chicken too it for us when we asked. They definitely do enforce the dress code which is fine but be prepared for it as some of the guests thought it would be like other places where they do not enforce it but they definitely do here.
You can walk easily to the Malecon and it is very safe - it took us about 25 minutes but walk through town not the beach as you walk past several vacant beach areas and there are some really rocky places.
We had a wonderful stay and are going to Dreams Villamagna in January for two weeks and hope it will be as nice as our stay at Secrets! We will definitely return!
Feel free to send me a message if you have any questions and enjoy your trip - I don't see how anyone could be disappointed.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Romantic. Refined. Remarkable. Located on the golden sand beaches of the Pacific coast within walking distance of the famous El Malecon boardwalk, this vibrant oceanfront resort provides adults 24/7 access to amazing nightlife, non-stop entertainment and Unlimited-Luxury(R). ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, BookIt.com, Hotwire, TravelUp, Travelocity, HotelsforEveryone, Cancelon, Cheap Tickets, getaroom.com, TripOnline SA and HotelQuickly so you can book your Secrets Vallarta Bay Resort & Spa reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.