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Reviewed April 15, 2013

We had a wonderful week at the Secrets Vallarta Bay. We felt safe and secure the entire time. The service was top notch. The food was exceptional especially at Oceana restaurant. It was lovely sitting outside watching the sunset while enjoying delicious seafood. Himatsu Restaurant required reservations for the Tapanyaki and it was well worth while! The Market Grill was great for breakfast as we had the choice to sit outside or in. Of course the weather was perfect and we stayed outside the entire week for most meals. At the Market Grill, we were greeted each day by the Hostess - Yoana. She should be the employee of the year! She remembered our names and greeted us each day. The host was Carlos and he aimed to please. The buffet was lovely and fresh and catered to anyone's choices. At Bordeaz French restaurant, we enjoyed a great meal but the specialty that we fell in love with was the Creme Brulee cake! This is a must have. We enjoyed it so much that the night before we left, we asked the Maitre'D, if we could have 2 slices to go (as we at at another restaurant). Within 30 minutes - 2 slices were delivered to our room. He went above and beyond to please us! There was an over abundance of lounge chairs availables as well as beach towels. The rooms were clean, comfortable and well stocked. The open air lounge area on the main floor was a favourite of ours every evening before and after dinner. To sit and watch the ocean and feel the beautiful breeze was heaven itself. We were able to much on pretzels and peanuts and the house wine was awesome. They serve top notch liquor too (Crown Royale). The coffee shop called Coco Cafe was such a nice touch. It was great having a cappachino and pastry if you were still hungry! The Barefoot Grill in the pool area - always had delicious snacks and BBQ. If you wanted to participate in events - there was always lots going on. For example - we spent most days on the beach under the Palapas as we wanted the ocean view. Beach volleyball, baci ball were fun to partake in and observe. Irma was a fantastic event coordinator - she got us involved in Bingo, Aqua fitness, Salsa and Spanish lessons poolside. There is only one negative that we had but it was not in the control of the Resort. We liked to spend most days right on the beach but the most annoying part were the beach vendors. They lined up (one day I counted 12 of them) right in front of the beach area and you had to put up with 1) looking at them, 2) listening to them whistle and calling out constantly to buy their wares. They need to provide a separate area for them to set up a little stall or market and stop annoying guests. They were not allowed to cross the fenced area but they did everytime Security was not around. If it wasn't for this - this trip would have been PERFECTION. I would definately return and stay at a Secrets location again. By the way, we tipped for each meal and bar service as well as housekeeping. They worked hard and the service was above and beyond.

Room Tip: The rooms 3rd floor and above all have a view of the ocean. One tip - bring soft ear plugs because you can hear every door open and close and voices echoing in the hallways.
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Helen B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2013

Just got back last night from an amazing week at Secrets. There has been so much posted on this thread from guests ( see autremonde March 25 for a great review) that I will focus on their treatment of someone with strict food restrictions...that being Celiac Disease.

I choose this resort chain based on a recommendations from a colleague with severe wheat allergies. Also, the Secrets website indicated that they are able to cater to a gluten free diet so, while I've avoided staying at an AI since being diagnosed I was reassured and decided to go for it. (BTW: hubby is not Celiac).

Upon arrival, we were checked in by a Secrets rep and I stressed that fact that I had CD and needed to ensure my food was GF. I showed him a copy of the GF passport ( available at http://glutenfreepassport.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Spanish-Translation-Card.pdf) and he attached it to our registration. As we arrived 3 hours late and the restaurants were closed for the night...we decided to try the 24 hour room service. When I called to place the order and asked to see if my choice was GF ( chicken quesadilla) the staff on the line indicated he was the chef and assured me my choice could be made with 100% corn tortilla). The food arrived in about 30 minutes...was hot and delicious! My husband had the fajita and was very pleased with his selection as well.

At the Market Cafe the next morning, we were greeted by the famous Joanna ( yes...she is as good as others have written...not only sweet, friendly and with a great memory for names...she is efficient and very professional). When I indicated my food requirements, she told me I should ask the front desk for a card to give servers when placing my order. I stuck to the "safe" items for my first breakfast....(fresh fruit, cold cuts, cheese, yogurt)...then got the card.

From then on, whenever I presented the card...I was given excellent responses. Some servers were more knowledgeable than others...but they all went out of their way to ensure my food choices were safe. A special shout out goes to Vivianna at Himitsu....she was very well versed in the specifics of a GF diet and let me know that there was a GF beer that I could order. There was an additional cost...but worthwhile given the quality of the beer...and the size of the can! For such a young woman...she was so very professional, efficient and went out of her way to ensure I had a safe, enjoyable meal. The sushi and sashimi were exceptional!

Roberto at Bordeaux (French restaurant) also went above and beyond to ensure my meal was prepared as required by a GF diet. I had the Sea Bass and my husband had the rack of lamb...both perfectly prepared. While all of our meals were excellent ( Oceana, Market Cafe) the Asian and French restaurants were by far our favourites.

Carlos Francisco, the maitre d at the Market Cafe arranged for the chef to make me GF taco chips....while the soft tortillas provided are made fresh with 100% corn flour...the taco chips they serve are not made "in house" so he could not ensure that they were GF. I was able to enjoy copious amounts of guacamole with these "custom made" taco chips...and he even arranged for GF toast for breakfast...again...made in house by the Secrets chef. It was possibly the best GF toast I have had!

Highlights:
- staff knowledgeable regarding GF food and prep
- cleanliness of resort...from beach to public washrooms...spotless!
- decent house wines, amazing poolside / beach service by wait staff
- obvious quality of training of all staff
- the friendliness, professionalism and service provided by all the staff, from the maitre d's to the groundskeepers.
- entertainment...both the nightly shows and the lounge performers...not at all "sup par" in our experience
- watching the sun set from the Rendezvous lobby bar...with a "Blueberry tea" ( just ask for tea in a brandy snifter with GM and Amaretto as they may not recognize the name:)
- Premium alcohol including hubby's fav of Crown Royal..and of course...GM)

Only things that could have been better are:

1- Beach- the water is warm but very rough with powerful waves....you can hear the surf crashing through closed patio doors...it's that strong...strong swimmers may be OK with this...but not us non swimmers...excursions to other beaches are available...

2- smoking is allowed even in (outdoor) eating areas....would have been better if there were areas designated for smokers...both in the lounge areas and by the pool....yes....you are outdoors but it was quite surprising how many chain smokers there still are out there....and you know how it goes...if you are a non-smoker...chances are you'll end up next to one :(

Yup...that's it....no other negatives....this resort is THAT good! Enjoy your stay....leave your "go mug" at home as it's not needed here....didn't see one the whole week....oh...one more thing....rolled towels on beach chairs do not mean they are reserved...only spread towels indicate that and there were always chairs available...even later in the morning...during the week we were there....Ola!

Room Tip: Had a room on the 15th floor...wow is all I need to say! :)
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Pa0la0412
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2013

Stayed 1 week in mid march, rooms, food, liquor, service were all great. Beach is just O.K. But pools are fantastic. Nice central location walking distance to melecon.

We will return for our 3rd visit soon.

Room Tip: I don't think there is a bad room in the place. it's all good.
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank prDonna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2013

My wife and I have just returned from a week at Secrets Vallarta Bay in Puerto Vallarta Mexico. What a fantastic place, the service was outstanding, the food was outstanding and the room was outstanding. We can not say enough about the place or the staff. If you get a chance, check the place out.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank Bill L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2013

We had a great stay at Secrets and would definitely stay here again. Oddly, the food at Dreams Puerto Vallarta is better, which should technically be a step down - maybe because the place is so big its harder?

The room itself is great - and we got a free upgrade to a higher floor because it was our babymoon. Honestly, no room is bad so I wouldn't pay to upgrade at all. The maid service in the rooms was not that great - we had to call to get service half the time because they just did not come.

As far as the food - as I said, so so. The room service menu itself is very lacking, there is not much at all. Dinners from room service have about 5 choices - Here is where we ate:
Market Cafe - buffet in the AM - it was pretty good - much better than the room service choices
Bordeaux - French restaurant - very tasty
Himitsu - our favorite! Make reservations one night for the Teppynaki table - we met a lot of fun people, and then on another night just go to the regular part of the restaurant where reservations are not needed - this food was great also.
Italian at Now - I forget the name - service was awful, very slow - the food was just so so.
Oceana - we only ate lunch here - it was so so
Barefoot Grill - food by the pool - okay, they have burgers, hot dogs, and fries sitting out all day for you to grab and munch on

I had a pregnancy massage at the spa. Just note, they won't let you use any of the hydrotherapy stuff if you are pregnant, which was a bummer as I showed up an hour early. The spa itself is beautiful but probably not worth the price - even with a $40 resorts credit coupon. There are a couple massage places right outside the hotel - for $25 per hour. We did not try them out but heard they were great. Next time I would try one of these.

Most of the time we just sat by the beautiful relaxing pool or beach - and that was great. One day we rented a car from the Avis which is right at the resort (so convenient) and drove to San Pancho and then Sayulita. These are a great day trip and I would highly recommend doing it and getting out of the big city. You will love both these little towns. Eat at La Perla on the beach in San Pancho - so good!

Resort credits are a waste - they make it impossible to use them by splitting them up so don't expect much from those and don't worry if your package does not come with them.

All in all great stay - we will probably be back with the baby in a year or so and go to the Now Amber side. The service of the bell boy staff was great. Special thanks to Alix in concierge who went above and beyond.

Room Tip: ask for a free upgrade for a special occasion
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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1  Thank Bessca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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