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“Paradise...”

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Secrets Vallarta Bay Puerto Vallarta
Ranked #15 of 124 Hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Indiana
Level 4 Contributor
14 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Paradise...”
Reviewed June 3, 2013

From getting off the transfer bus to leaving, Secrets Vallarta Bay was wonderful!

As soon as we stepped of the bus, we were greeted by friendly staff, a cool towel and a drink. Check-in was a breeze. We were shown to a concierge, given our room key and went directly to our room, with a member of the staff following us with a luggage cart. As a reference point, we arrived at the resort around 2 pm.

ROOM:

The room was fantastic. They had placed an anniversary banner on our door and an anniversary surprise inside. There were rose petals scattered around the tub, which had a bubble bath ready. We had a "Welcome Pack" that included information about the resort. The air-conditioning worked great the entire time we were there, as long as the sliding glass door to the balcony was completely shut. The shower was wonderful. It was so big and had both the regular shower head and the rainfall shower, which was nice if you get burnt! We didn't have any issues with noise from outside the room only from the room above us. When the furniture is moved across the floor is it really loud, but there was only one night that was an issue, so I used my earplugs. The view was stunning (Rm 1601) from both the front and back. On the balcony, the pool and ocean views were stunning and completely unobstructed. The view of the mountains and town, were almost as good when leaving the room.

FOOD:

Bordeaux - The atmosphere, as in all the restaurants, was wonderful. This wasn't my favorite simply because I didn't find much that I liked. However, we talked to A LOT of people that loved it. It was the type of food that I didn't care for, rather than the food itself.

Himatsu - As a lot of other reviews have said, it is wonderful. We went there our first night, but didn't make reservations for the grill. So, we thought we may have to sit in the regular dining area, however the ladies at the front were so nice and, because of no-shows, were able to fit us in at a grill table. The beef was excellent, as was the fried rice. The whole experience was even better because we sat with a great group of people and the chef just added to the fun. We also ate there our last night at the resort and, since we had an anniversary, they gave us a special desert (they also did that for a birthday at our table).

Market Cafe - Had the most wonderful breakfast. The buffet seemed to have anything anyone could want from an omelet station, breads, fruits, specialty dishes, and on..and on. Ricardo and Ayana were absolutely wonderful. They both spent time talking to us and genuinely wanted us to enjoy ourselves. We did go there for dinner one night and it was excellent, too.

Capers - This was my least favorite. It took nearly an hour to get our food, and it wasn't very good. The servers, like in all restaurants, were so nice, but the wait for our food and the fact that is was not good made this a definite thumbs down for us.

Oceana - This place is perfect for the days you want to stay by the pool. The shrimp was huge and tasted great. We went there nearly everyday for lunch and always had great food. We didn't make it to dinner, though we were told the surf and turf was out of this world.

Barefoot Grill - They kept snacks available all day, usually hot dogs, hamburgers & pizza. That was great for a quick snack. We also ordered onion rings & fries and the pool butler brought it out to us poolside.

Room Service - We had a special anniversary breakfast brought to us the first morning we were there. It was spectacular. The butler brought into our room & set it up on the balcony. The food was wonderful and the presentation was impeccable, not to mention eating with such a great view! A few times we ordered room service and the food the delivery time was almost exactly what they told us and the food temp was pretty good. We did have to ask them to leave it in the secrets box otherwise they would knock on the door. So, just make the request! Just a note, we did order at all times...morning, noon and 2 am and got the same service every time.

POOLS:

There are 3 pools to choose from. The main pool, which has the swim up bar, was the most active. It could get loud at times, but there are two other options if that becomes an issue. For the most part, we stayed at that pool because we met so many great people there and even when we stayed in our chairs, it was entertaining to watch everyone.

The pool butlers did a good job most of the time. At times, they had a hard time keeping up with so many people.

We never had any trouble finding chairs by the pool and, while we there, there was only one couple that played the towel game. There were always enough towels, too.

TIPPING - We tipped everyone there, at the pool, restaurants and bartenders. At the pool, we would give $5 US when we first got there and then $2 US the rest of the time. This really didn't seem to change the service, as we saw a lot of people not tipping and they were treated the same because they gave great service all the time.

Overall, Secrets exceeded our expectations. All of the staff was so accommodating and pleasant. I would, and plan, to go back! I have so many pictures of the resort that I didn't post, so let me know if you want to see more, or if you want to ask something.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank IndianaReady2go
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Dallas, Texas, United States
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed June 3, 2013

We just returned from our trip on June 1, 2013. The staff went above and beyond what we had expected, they all smiled and worked hard to make every need or want complete. The restaurants were all very good. Never had to wait and need no reservation. Very close to shopping at the Boardwalk and airport. The staff I can't say enough good about they were very nice and really worked hard. We would go back for sure.

Room Tip: No need to get an ocean view room for all rooms face the ocean.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Susan D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed June 3, 2013

Just returned from a trip 05-25 thru 06-01. Have to agree with other reviewers that this was definitely a great place for couples! The food was great at all of the restaurants, though my favorite was definitely Bourdeau, the French restaurant. Also, the all-inclusive really meant it! One night had our already had our dinner, and saw another couple who were served an entree that we had been debating. We commented that it looked really good and the server overheard and told us he would have it right out!

The service was outstanding from EVERYONE at the hotel but our favorites were Laura, the photographer and Elizabeth with concierge services. She helped my now-fiance coordinate a beautiful beach front proposal with very little time on his end, I'm still not sure how they pulled that off!

The maid service is twice a day and excellent, however, they do leave the floor wet after cleaning so be careful! Beds were amazingly comfortable!

Mini bar is stocked with corona, water, soda and juice, no liquor or other beer alternatives, I just always asked for a "grande" to bring up to the room with me from the lobby bar while getting ready for the evening. Drinks weren't super amazing and depending on what you ordered could be a bit on the sweet side, if you tip, they are on the STRONG side!

The staff really made the trip with their outstanding service, but the hotel and the grounds were amazing!

The spa services were super and over-the-top for our first massage, for our second, we came later in the day and were not as impressed with the service. I had an issue where we had to get security to come open my locker for my clothes because the English of the valet was very limited. I have tiny feet and at our first massage the valet noticed and got me spa shoes that actually fit, which was really nice and at our second one, I noticed they were too large and asked for different ones and the valet just said "it's ok." I don't think she was trying to be rude, I think she just didn't understand me. The massages themselves were amazing!

I've read reviews at other Secrets resorts about people hogging the floats, that was definitey not the case here, everyone was very considerate and if they weren't actually using it they left it in the pool.

We booked a lot of excursions through Vallarta Adventures, all of which were amazing, with the exception of the City Tour. I would skip it, though it comes with the Unlimited Vacation pitch. It was free and we still wouldn't do it again. We thought it was a tour of the market and tequila tasting, but it went more like a guided shopping tour to only a very few specific places and then a VERY long ride up into the mountains to a distillery where you have to buy your own lunch, which is super yummy but isn't cheap. Have to say it was VERY good tequila, but it was our entire day and we would have preferred to do something outside, instead of spending the majority of it on a tour bus, even if it was air conditioned.
**Tours you Have to do: Rhythms of the Night & Swimming with Dolphins if you have EVER considered it. Though Las Marietas excursion and the Sunset Sailing were both awesome. For the dolphins, they pretty much blackmail you for the pictures, you can't take your own and the cost to buy their pics is unbelievable ($139 for all the pics taken for the two of us on CD!). Don't book excursions ahead of time unless you already get the buy 2 get the 3rd free offer, b/c you can get that here at the resort.

Don't fall for the time share pitch at the airport, they will be very aggressive and be holding out official looking paperwork for you, just walk all the way through and get a cab on the street. Also, don't fall for the "transfers" booking with whomover you book with, we paid $20 US EACH for a cab ride that would have been $80 PESOS total! Definitely felt a little ripped off there.

We booked through Bookit and they were awesome from start to finish, great service when we called about stuff ahead of time (which we did) and they were on point the whole time. As I said, my only gripe with them was no notice about the deal for booking multiple excursions and seriously overpaying for the transfers.

Also the "resort credits" were unfortunately not credits at all, instead they were coupons that you pretty much had to spend an arm and a leg to use (we used 1 credit for the spa that we got for doing the Unlimited Vacations pitch but of the $200 that we had initially we didn't use a dime (example: $10 credit for wine, but it had to be a $30+ bottle).

Aside from those minor annoyances, All in all it was an AMAZING resort and location and we would definitely go back!

Room Tip: Get one of the higher up rooms, they have the best views and not as much noise from the lobby.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank ugatca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Springfield, Oregon
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed June 2, 2013

Just returned from visit 5-25-13 to 6-1-13. This is a wonderful place for couples. The room was large and had a jacuzzi .The bed was the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in at a resort/hotel.The staff is excellent especially the entertainment staff by pool and beach. They worked hard on making sure you were having a great time being involved and seemed very genuine in how they treated us. Unlike other resorts I have stayed at where the staff were not as friendly and seemed as if they had a hard time just being nice. If you do visit this hotel make sure you go over to the other side (now amber) daily where the families are as they have more activities and an extra large daily buffet by the pool that was not offered on the Secrets side. Try the homemade tortilla at the breakfast buffet , it is awesome.

Room Tip: We stayed on 6th floor and it had good ocean view.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Dave B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
los angeles
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed May 31, 2013

I have stayed at several of the Amstar Resort properties including Dreams Puerto Vallarta, Zoetry Cabo and Secrets Maroma Beach Cancun. I traveled with another couple to Secrets PVR with great anticipation to experience the pampering and quality that these properties typically offer.

Having been to many of the properties in the past we upgraded at booking to the Preferred Club which offers a bar and appetizers throughout the day. The bar and appetizers were fantastic. The room view was a major let down. The views of the coastline look towards the marina and airport area. The non preferred tower (less expensive rooms) have jetliner views of the water making the views much nicer.

Although this is an adults only hotel, it seemed like we hit the week of rowdy 20-30 year old crowd. (I am in my mid forties). I like everyone else like to have a good time, but the pool was dominated by drunks, one of which i saw throw up in the pool. The pool wait staff is overwhelmed with the amount of guests they are taking care of at any given time and the service is sloooow. It was really much faster to get up and get your own drinks.

The only saving grace around the pool was that Jose the bartender from Dreams is now working the pool bar and once he recognized us from the many other visits at Dreams PVR, he really made it a point to insure we had great service. Thank you Jose.

The restaurants and food are wonderful! The location of the restaurants are disappointing. You feel as if you are in a large conference room decorated with Mexican, French or Italian Motifs. Many of the other Amstar resorts have the restaurants, seaside adding to the ambiance and allure.

Pros: Food and Drink, Rooms Well Appointed, Friendly Staff, Beautiful Common Areas, Cleanliness of Property. Minibar in room has airline bottles of alcohol, peanut M & M's and Pringles. Beautiful lobby lounge for sunsets and cocktails.
Cons: Understaffed in restaurants and pool areas. Views from Preferred Tower. Beach Area. Restaurant locations. *Vacant property next door to resort is full of buses, people and roosters that wake you up every morning!

With all the negatives, I would still return. I think this property deserves a second chance and if you take the drunken fools out of the equation, this property is really a great value for the quality of drink, food and service you get.

Room Tip: The non preferred tower rooms have better views and less chance of waking up to the roosters from th...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank michael a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scottsdale, Arizona
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed May 30, 2013

Just returned from a week at Secrets. Being that this was our first all-inclusive experience, I didn't know what to expect.

Rooms- We stay in 1604 and had a great view of the ocean and were just high enough to avoid any lobby noise. We had a great view of the ocean. Rooms were well appointed and comfortable.

Lobby- The lobby bar and sitting area was amazing. We watched the sunsets every night and enjoyed a great drink

High-Pressure Sales- Knowing the reviews I read about the sales pitch upon checking in, I refused the coupons since they were really just avg. discounts off resorts. check in was a breeze and we received an upgrade to an ocean view room

Restaurants- Food was above average for the week but not amazing. Our best lunches were at Oceana. Our best dinners were at Tamarindo. The buffet was an average with some items tasting great

Pool Area- The pool areas are fantastic with great service. Mario was awesome and tended to our every need.

Overall, I would return, there was certainly some minor things like spotty internet and some average meals but all things considered , it was a great week.

Room Tip: I would recommend rooms on the 7th floor or above to avoid any lobby/pool noise.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Strikeout27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Appleton, Wisconsin
Level 4 Contributor
18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed May 30, 2013

We went to Secrets for our wedding anniversary. We had previously stayed at Secrets Capri in Riveria Maya. This was our first trip to the Pacific side of Mexico. We absolutely would return to Puerta Vallarta and to Secrets Vallarta.

Before we get to the resort, I will address the airport situation. Criminal. We knew from our travel agent to ignore everyone until we were able to locate our representative. Thank goodness. Vultures, low-lifes and liars. We had one individual try to represent himself in a way to make us believe he had the authorithy to make us follow him. We didn't. While this is happening, security stands by and smiles. Couldn't get out of that zoo fast enough.

Our check-in went smoothly. We were given a drink immediately upon arrival and our bags were quickly attended to. Inside the lobby (which offers beautiful views) we were offered a washcloth to freshen up and were welcomed by several of the resort staff. We politely declined the timeshare pitch, as we didn't believe the coupons offered were anything special. The woman did not try to make us feel guilty about declining the pitch.

When we got to our room, we were greeted with an anniversary banner on the door, rose petals on the bed and on top of the filled whirlpool tub, a bottle of champagne and a bouquet of flowers.

The room was furnished with everything we needed. There were a large number of light switches in the room, which took some time to figure out. The only downfall in the room was that even with all of the lights on, the vanity area in the bathroom is somewhat dark. The room was also equipped with a safe to store your valuables in (nice size, you set the code). The mini refrigerator was always well stocked with soda, juice and beer. The bed was comfortable and the television was large (with a good selection of channels). We seemed to leave at the right time to get the room cleaned and re-set. We asked for and received extra towels several times from the cleaning person working on our floor of the resort.

The restaurants in the resort were similar to the restaurants we had encountered at the Secrets in Riveria Maya. We enjoyed the Japanese restaurant twice (slow but friendly service the first time and good service, lacking entertainment value, at the grill the second time). The Mexican restaurant was very good, as were the French-style restaurants on both the NOW and Secrets sides of the resort. Despite several of the restaurants being on the family oriented NOW side of the resort, we did not run into many families in the dining area. We didn't get to the poolside restaurant, however, we ate breakfast in the morning at the buffet. Service was mixed but staff was always friendly.

The pool areas were very nice at the resort. Never a problem getting a lounge chair and multiple choices for the type of pool you wanted to hang out at. Towels were readily available. The beach was only so-so but we weren't disappointed as a travel agent had already advised us of the small beach. We decided not to spend a great deal of time on the beach because of the vendors standing at the edge of the property. We did not find the vendors pushy or rude, we just didn't want to have to interact with them to use the beach. On our exit survey, we suggested getting more wait staff in the pool areas and additional bartenders at the bars. The service in the pool area was not bad, just not as good as the service we had received in the pool area at Secrets Capri.

Entertainment at the resort was good. There was a mentalist, a rock-style circus performance and a number of musical performers during our stay. We would usually take in a show and then go to the lobby area for a drink while sitting on the beautiful patio. Again, while service was not bad, they could use an additional bartender and waitress in that area in the evening.

Overall, we were very happy with our decision to stay at Secrets Vallarta. We liked the area, which we saw more of during the Sea Adventure Tour. We were there during the dry season and thought it would be very pretty there when the raining season has passed. We had a quick, easy check-out and made it easily to the airport with our shuttle. We recommend Secrets Vallarta and based on two experiences with Secret resorts will continue to seek out their properties.

Room Tip: We had a room on the 5th floor. We had a somewhat obstructed view of the ocean but could overlook a...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JustBubba
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

Property: 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 #15 of 124 Hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
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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