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Secrets Vallarta Bay Puerto Vallarta
Ranked #17 of 122 Hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed January 27, 2013

Everything at this hotel, from the sparkling wine upon arrival to the never ending, top notch service was impeccible. I am SO confused by the few bad reviews on this site, they must've visited the resort in the first few weeks of opening. We travelled as a gay male couple and other than awkward glances from some low-brow guests, we were treated with respect and felt completely comfortable with all interactions with the hotel staff.

Service - the service was so beyond anything we get in North America. We never waited for anything. Water was always cold, coffee was always hot. I would take one sip of my drink and it would be full again within seconds. Even during dinner my red wine glass was never empty. My partner and I were shocked when we would see other guests get up and leave without leaving a tip for the wait staff. The only thing at the resort that was bad was some of the other guests. There are some people in this world that you can never impress and they come to places like this. Our maid was extremely polite and nice and attemtped to speak english everytime she saw us - TIP. The hostess at the breakfast buffet remembered my name after two visits and said hello everytime she walked by, even when she was off duty - TIP We had a bottle of champagne in our room the first night and our beds turned down every night. If you can complain about this than you have a problem. Impeccible.

Food - The food is the only thing that needs minor improvments, but this is probably just a cultural difference. The food I ate at the buffets and the restaurants were 90% amazing. You have to keep in mind that products such as French Toast or Pancakes probably wont taste the same as they do at home, its Mexico and they probably dont eat those things. Overall, I looked forward to every meal. The beans at breakfast were amazing. I had poached eggs, salmon and glazed ham almost every day. Being drunk many times the mini sandwiches in the preffered lobby were a godsend. Guacamole was everywhere, the green juice is amazing. If you wanna eat a lot, this resort is perfect. GET CARLOS' MEXICAN COFFEE AT BORDEAUX!!! He is very talented. Comes to your table with sugar rimmed coffee mixed with baileys (I think) and does an amazing show involving more alcohol set on fire and poured into your drinks lighting them all up in flames. Impressive, spectacular and delicious!

Rooms - The rooms will leave you depressed when you have to leave them. My partner and I were offered a room upgrade upon arrival. We decided to view the room first then decided to purchase the upgrade. Worth every penny. We were in the preferred Master Suite with a private pool on the patio. If you are questioning this suite upgrade, dont, just buy it, treat yourselves. The pool is long and 3 ft deep, perfect for watching the sunset or having impromptu parties, as we did one night with friends we met at the resort. Its a couples paradise. In addition, you get a stand up shower with a granite bench equipped with a rain showerhead and a hose shower head so you can shower together, no problem and a jacuzzi in the bathroom. Dual sinks, robes, slippers, its perfect. We watched the sun set almost every night in our lounge chairs next to the pool. Romantic.

The only downsides - the other guests. Not tipping, not smiling, some people just looked so miserable it was confusing. There were a few occasions where groups of people were so drunk in the fine dining restaurants that we had to get up and move. A little bit more class and awareness of where you are wouldnt hurt. The "sales presentation" where they try to get you to buy into a membership of vacationing with their resorts, was long winded and annoying as hell. They say 90 minutes but it never is. They have these tricky methods of getting you to sit through the presentations before you even know whats going on. We were there for 2 hours and 15 minutes. We are fairly young and both just starting our careers, we dont have the type of money to buy into 10 year vacation memberships, they didnt seem to get this and we just had to repeat ourselves multiple times before we escaped.

In the end, upgrading to preffered is totally worth it and if you can get a master suite, do it. I had the most amazing time at this resort. Worth every penny.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Allan Louis M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,009 - 3,015 of 3,616 reviews

Reviewed January 27, 2013

I just returned from a 7 day stay at Secrets with my partner and we are very sad it's over. We had a wonderful experience and will definitely be returning. From the service, food, rooms, location and ambiance Secrets is a 5 star experience.

We arrived on a Saturday - upon arriving from the airport we were greeted by very polite staff who took care of our bags and introduced us to the concierge who walked us to the Secrets Preferred tower. We originally booked an ocean view room on the preferred side at Now Amber but upon arrival they moved us to Secrets (adults only) - to which we were quite pleased.

PROS:
Rooms:
Adriana checked us in at the preferred club concierge desk where we decided to upgrade to the master suite ocean view (after she showed us the room we could not resist). It was worth the extra expense because this room was unbelievable. The plunge pool overlooking the ocean was perfection and great when you wanted to get away from the main pool and beach area.
Staff:
Every staff person we met at the resort was extremely polite, attentive and courteous. I was shocked to read some of the reviews that spoke poorly of the staff - they really made our vacation special and we will miss them. Our maid Maria was also very good, polite and did an amazing job - she didn't speak english but i was able to converse with her in my minimal Spanish and she was just so kind and caring. When my partner and I arrived at any of the restaurants or other areas the staff always remembered our names and greeted us with a smile.
Food:
We liked all of the restaurants - the food was really good. I've been to a number of resorts before and the food here was top notch. We really enjoyed the fresh green juice and refried beans at breakfast. However, i recommend avoiding some of the cheese dishes as they tended to be a bit greasy - but if that's what you like then go for it. One thing we really enjoyed was Bourdeux - if you go there ask for Carlos' Mexican coffee - it will be quite the show! He did an amazing job!
Spa:
I also recommend the spa - we had a wonderful time there - the jacuzzis and hydrotherapy areas was amazing - a great way to spend a cloudy day. The gym was also great - all new equipment but if you are into weightlifting you may have an issue because the max free weights are only 50lbs, but this was only a minor issue. I also recommend trying out the tennis court which was clean and well maintained.
Location:
The location is great we headed into town a few times, we just walked along the beach to the malecon (20-30 min walk). The town is very nice but quite touristy as we expected - it's nice to walk around the old town and see some of the sites. We checked out the Our Lady of Guadeloupe Church which was quite nice - the town has lots and we would explore it more if we had more time.

CONS:
The Clientele:
We found that a lot of the people who were at the resort as well as a number of the negative reviews reflect the type of people that went to the resort. I think if you handed the moon to some of these people they would still not be impressed. I feel that a number of the people we say at the resort went to gorge themselves on the food and drink themselves silly with their huge beer mugs. They had very little class and also treated the staff quite rudely. They also never left them tips - i saw tables of about 5 folks or more in their 50s and 60s eat and drink as much as they could and not leave the waiter a tip. It was so sad to see especially when the service was impeccable. All of that said, we met some really great people there who loved the resort and were respectful, tipped and kind to the staff.

Not really gay-friendly:
A number of the staff seemed to have difficulty understanding that i was with a male partner - they often asked if Mrs. Jones would be joining me - this also happened at the spa and in other areas. It wasn't a huge deal - we experience this even in Toronto at times but for an adults only i think it wouldn't hurt to be a little more inclusive and understanding of same-sex couples. We met a few other same-sex couples at the resort who also experienced this.

The beach:
The water was very rough and few people would swim as the current was so strong. Also there were an extreme amount of vendors on the beach were it bordered harassment - we were approached by a vendor at least very 30sec to a min.

The "Sales Pitch":
Upon arrival a staff person will try and sign you up to meet with someone about AMResorts Membership program. THey will say it will talk approximately 90mins and will offer you some coupons to the spa or something else. We were there for over 2 hours and spoke with 5 different people - i have never experienced this type of pressure or coercion before. It was pretty intense - we had just arrived and wanted to enjoy the resort not make a decision on a 10 grand or more vacation investment. This could be a great deal for some but the way they hassled and pressured us was not at all professional or appropriate.

OVERALL:

5 out of 5! We had a vacation of a lifetime and will definitely be returning to Secrets. I will be recommending this resort to all my friends and family. Thank you Secrets!

Room Tip: If you have the extra money opt for an upgrade to the master suite.
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Shawn M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 26, 2013

A five star facility operating at three stars at best.
Worst is the al a carte restaurants. One should NOT need to start a meal by requesting food be served Hot. If you don't it WILL be cold.
We learned this after about three meals/restaurants!!! Other reviewers.....where have you been vacationing that you think this is excellent service?
Next try the Barefoot grille at the pools. Absolutely nothing at this buffet is hot or freshly cooked. If you request something hot you'll be told the equipment is broken!! I am not exaggerating . Five star? Not a chance. Cardboard fries! ice cold wings/ribs!!! Stale burgers/dogs. Gimme a break.
Staff is generally polite and eagar to help but totally inattentive.
We prefer to tip servers but when they don't even bring juice or coffee....no way. Again, where have you been staying that you think this is five star?
Try the Lobby bar. It has barstools which would lead you to believe you could sit and get a drink....NOT... Staff might acknowledge you in half an hour!!
If they would knock off $50% and had guests make their own food/drinks , this resort would be a good value.
It has great sunsets (as do all hotels in P.V.). Get the idea?
And great beds! But I couldna slept if I hadna gone on the bus to get some good/hot food first !!

  • Stayed: January 2013
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2  Thank Jbombpa54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 25, 2013

I travel for business over 50% of the year so hopefully I know what I am talking about. This resort was just great in every way. I just returned from a week's stay and I could not have asked for anything more!

Arrange transportation from the airport with the hotel prior to arriving. Once you get your bags and get through customs (which is actually very quick) act as if you are an NFL running back and just plow through all the time share people!

Definately go with the Preferred Club option. Our room was an ocean view suite and it was outstanding. Honestly I would not recommend the "swim-out" rooms unless you are on the Now Amber side. The sun never seems to reach the Secrets one's.

Overall the food was great. Many different options to choose from and while sometimes the portions were small - there was never a problem ordering more.

While this is an "all-inclusive" resort - do yourself a favor and bring $100 or so in small bills for tipping. It is certainly not required but when you feel like you are getting that "extra" effort - let your server know!

Do yourself a favor - don't worry about any negative reviews that you might read. This place has it all together and you will have a great time!

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Keith L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2013

Travelled with Sunwing and was impressed that on arrival they mentioned what is commonly known as the shark tank and to beware when passing through that area. Got through customs quickly and baggage arrived fairly quickly.
Transportation to the hotel was well organized and before long arrived at Secrets. It was just like the pictures.
Check in smooth and informative. Stayed in Preferred Club gardenview - but still had an ocean view.
The room was great and bed very comfortable. Maid service was late on several days - however not an issue. Only had the full turn down service once and thought the mat by the bed the read "sweet dreams" was a nice touch.
I really enjoyed the daily bulletin that had spa, drink and tour specials along with the activities for the next day.
It was great not having to make reservations for dinner and only had to wait once for ten minutes.
I tried all the resturants my two favourites were the French and Oceana.
Used the spa twice and it was fantasic - using the hydro therapy area before the massage made the massage treatment even more relaxing and beneficial. The spa attendant was absolutely amazing - she made me feel like a queen. With the discount from the coupon received I felt it was good value.
Vacation Club staff were not near as annoying as at other hotels - the one I spoke to and got to know Anabel was amazing and had a great attitude on treating guests as you would want to be treated - no pressure.
Staff were great - special mention for excellent service to James (bellman) Yoana and Carlos (market cafe) Violeta and Daniel (desk) Spa attendant - sorry cannot remember your name.
The hotel would make a great spot for a destination wedding.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled solo
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3  Thank deepwaterqueen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2013

Secrets (and accompanying Now Amber for families) is by far the best resort we've ever stayed in in Mexico, even when compared to the best Dreams in Cancun and Puerto Vallarta. First of all the location is second-to-none, because of its proximity to downtown. It's only a few minutes by cab, so it costs next to nothing to go shopping on the Malecon. The beach is fabulous too, with crystal sand and blue waters. What's also nice about this hotel is that there are plenty of chairs and lounges, so you don't have to get up at 7:00 a.m. to nab a place to hang out. The staff is wonderful, serving drinks anytime and anywhere you please. The pools are the perfect temperature, and if you dont care for children splashing around, Secrets is the adult section. Although I wouldn't have minded playing on the waterslide on the Amber side.

The restaurants are all quite lovely and you don't have to make a reservation, which is different from some of the all-inclusives we've stayed at. It's so nice to be able to just show up when you please. You don't have to plan your whole day around your restaurant reservation. The food is great, with the French being the best. The hostess, Yoanne, at the buffet, which serves fantastic breakfasts, by the way, is a phenomenal person. After the first couple of days, she remembered our names! She really made us feel at home.

It's worth the extra few pesos to have the romantic dinner on the beach. You get your own waiter, and he is at your beck and call. He even made us fancy coffees, which were lit on fire! It was an unforgettable evening.

The rooms are quiet and comfortable, with big beds and lovely down quilts. We had a Jacuzzi tub too. On the evening of our romantic dinner, we came back to a full tub with rose petals sprinkled on the top. What a beautiful touch!

The entertainment at the evening parties on the beach was top-notch and authentically Mexican, with lots of fun thrown in. I have to say that the food at these buffets isn't as good as what you get in the restaurants, though.

All in all -- a fabulous week!

Room Tip: We were on the 9th floor and the view was fantastic. It was quiet, even though we were right across...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Sally K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2013

This was our first time in Puerto Vallarta, it was the best resort we ever stayed and we always stay in 5 star hotels. The service was excellent and the food was amazing, we were on the 13th floor, the view was breathtaking and the rooms are beautiful and very clean, the bed was the most comfortable we ever slept in and the decor is gorgeous. The Market Café is the buffet and the food was delicious, the hostess Yoanna is very sweet and friendly, Luis who was always filling our glasses with water or wine and made sure everthing was perfect, loved him. We will definatly stay there again, everything was perfect.

Room Tip: Always ask for the 6th floor and up this way you get a better view of the ocean
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank netoj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Secrets Vallarta Bay Puerto Vallarta

Address: David Alfaro Siquerios No. 164 | Col Zona Hotelera Las Glorias, Puerto Vallarta 48333, Mexico (Formerly Secrets Vallarta Bay Resort & Spa)
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Jalisco > Puerto Vallarta
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #17 of 122 Hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Price Range: $298 - $979 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Secrets Vallarta Bay Puerto Vallarta 4.5*
Number of rooms: 271
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 
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