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Reviewed April 16, 2013

Just returned from a 7 night stay at Secrets Vallarta Bay. We were a little nervous about going to Mexico but once we got to Puerto Vallarta, we saw how safe the area was! The resort is just amazing! All the staff were helpful and so friendly, we have never been so spoiled! It was so very hard to leave! The hotel and rooms are incredible. The staff are so great! We never had to wait for service. The food is so good and a large variety is available. Try every restaurant if you can, they're all incredible! The excursions offered are very good but the resort offers so many activities and events, you never have to leave it to have a full exciting vacation! I truly can't say enough how wonderful this resort is! I don't know how anyone can give a bad review. Already planning my return, well worth the price you pay! Wishing I was already back there.

Room Tip: All standard rooms have a beach view, so no need for any special requests, although the best views are on the higher floors.
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Christina P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 15, 2013

Travelled with a married couple to Secrets Puerto Vallarta.

Check- in was efficient and easy. We arrived to a great welcome with cool towel and our bags were soon delivered to our rooms. I had an ocean view room with fabulous king bed! The room has all the amenities...a balcony overlooking the ocean, a huge bathroom with separate shower and jacuzzi tub plus 2 sinks. Great water pressure. I had a room by myself but if I were traveling with a friend I am not sure I would like the open bathroom concept. Only a thin curtain between bed and bath although there is a door to the toilet.

Housekeeping did a super cleaning job each day although I had to request new supplies like face towels sometimes. Evening turndown seemed to happen about 6 pm just as I was showering for dinner so sometimes housekeeping could not come in. Housekeeping did not return later!

Breakfast was amazing! You could not ask for more variety! Yoana knew my name after the first day and took note that I wanted espresso. She is known as Miss Sunshine for a good reason. No detail goes unattended on her watch or her colleagues' watch! They are a super team.

Lunch was good too. Lots of fresh salads, seafood, fruits and hot or cold dishes.

We tried all of the a la carte restaurants. You don't have to make reservations! What a great concept! bravo Secrets! We enjoyed the French restaurant the best.

The building has some glitches with modern technology. The air conditioning sensor did not work well in my room so after day 4 I moved to another room. That proved to be a good resolution of the problem although the room I moved to did not have clock, luggage rack, soap, working DVD player/remote....the management worked really hard to correct all of this in a timely manner.

The pool area is fantastic! Great cots, lots of big fluffy beach towels, great service for drinks. There were plenty of umbrellas to protect you from the sun as needed. You have nothing to do but relax or join in with the games, aquafit, yoga, at the beach. The beach is ok but not great. You can't walk far on the beach and the water can be either murky or rough but some days guests were in the ocean. I didn't find beach vendors were a problem. There is a grill at the pool with food most of the day as well as a huge cooking wok around 1:00 pm at the pool if you don't want to go to one of the restaurants.

The staff is the best part of the vacation. EVERY staff person I encountered at bars, pool, beach, housekeeping, management, maintenance, waiters worked hard to please and make the guest experience fantastic!

The evening theatre entertainment was a bit loud for my taste but I did enjoy the musical groups in the Secrets lobby after 10 pm. It is a nice place to hangout and have a late drink.

There is good security at the hotel. if you go out, a guard at the front gate records your name and room number. We took a taxi to the malecon (boardwalk) for $6 US to the far end and walked most of the way back to the hotel. I felt safe.

No need to book preferred club. All the rooms face the ocean but I prefer to be high up away from disco noise and with a super view! Sunsets are spectacular.

I had a super vacation and I would love to return! The weather was perfect every single day...tons of sunshine.

Room Tip: Almost all of the rooms are great and have ocean view. TRY for a room high up close to the elevator for best view.
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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4  Thank fancyandfree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 15, 2013

This was an anniversary trip and first time to AMresorts and Vallarta. The two hotels are 1 year new and mirror images; the difference is Secrets is adults only. We initially booked for Now Resorts, but upon arrival were greeted by Sr. Jesus Vargas, a room assignment mgr. We were informed that our room was in the Secrets side as we were without kids. The room given was on the 10th flood with full ocean view/sunsets. They had sent a flower arrangement (a bit wilted/browned), put an Anniversary banner and prepared the jacuzzi with bubbles & rose petals.



The sand is brown, but not bad. There was a constant stream of vendors on the beach, but if you stay behind the ropes and poolside, this was not an issue. I ended up spending a bit over $100 for 6 silver bracelets ( I hope it really is silver?). Consider it an additional donation to the local vendors.



The resort is clean, food & beverage hygienic, and staff attentive. Our rooms were attended at least 2-3 x per day. The food flavors are more spicy than our experiences in the Riviera Maya/Cancun area. If you eat at Himitsu and order the green curry, be warned it is very spicy (I love spicy food and it was very spicy to me). The food is good, but not amazing. Funny that bacon here is crisp but not salty.

 Pool waiters were great: Alfredo, Mauricio, Cesar were great with our drinks. I tried to find pineapple juice for my cocktails, but only the breakfast buffet had fresh pure juice. I ended up buying pineapple juice from Walmart and stocking my own juice for the day's cocktails. The "juice" they have is sugar added nectar, fake, sweet stuff.



Hubby had a great time playing volleyball with the entertainment staff: Hugo, Polux, Alex, Cesar, and Irma.

 They had various dinner shows poolside/on the beach and the fire show, Mexican fiesta folk dancers, and Mayan show were good. Saved us from leaving the resort to see a bit of the culture.

The Spa was pricey (comparable to resort spa prices, but we were used to generous spa dollars at Palace Resorts) but the whole sensory experience and hydrotherapy was wonderful. Folks at the concierge/VIP desk are happy to help you book spa appts as they have incentives for every 10 appts they book. The "resort credits" they offer at booking were useless for us. They were really various coupons for $40 off a $149 service for example. Wine was discounted $10 with a coupon but the prices were inflated. We Just drank the house wine or cocktails that were included.

Wi-fi bandwith was awful, especially in the evenings. Be WARNED the Secrets TV selection has a hard core porn channel. They should have let us opt out, because we surf to find English channels and stumbled on this disgusting channel. This is not romantic or pleasant at all. We've never found such programming at any other resorts without it being a pay per view or able to opt out. 

We would visit another AMresorts, but probably try another location for a prettier beach/sand color. 

The beds were amazingly comfortable. The rooms had a neat cubby system for putting room service items in/out without invading my privacy, if I didn't want to answer the door. Be sure it's locked from the room side for security as once I locked my self out and almost crawled thru to unlock my door.

We tipped regularly for drinks, meals, and spa services, etc. but I do wonder if the higher salaried staff prefer Trip Advisor positive comments more than a few bucks? One spa staff mentioned coming to visit So. Calif for a honeymoon, so wages can't be that bad then?

Room Tip: Jr. suites on high floors have excellent views. The preferred rooms were actually sideways/diagonal and not worth the upgrade in my opinion. All rooms face the ocean, but if low floors, you might hear the pool/lobby noises.
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Thelma L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
    • Value
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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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Pa0la0412
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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