My partner and myself travelling from the U.K. and staying at Secrets Puerto Vallarta in the Preferred Club between 3rd - 10th may 2014. Booked via an Thomsons all inclusive package.
We are normally independent travellers but looking for a easy week in the sun we opted for a package trip to the north west Mexican resort. (The Cancun area is not out scene).
After a long flight on the excellent new Dreamliner, we arrived at Puerto Vallarta airport and after a expected short wait (40 mins) we cleared immigration. The transfer to Secrets resort was another smooth and easy 20 mins. Check in and bag transfer at the preferred clubs was somewhat confusing although all the staff were very welcoming and friendly, we were eventually delivered to Brian at preferred check in who was quick to get us a cold drink and a chilled cold face towel, Brian was clear and precise with his information, but did forget to pre-auth our credit card for on site services.
Our room was fantastic in every way, it exceeded expectation, was well thought out and spotlessly clean. My partner had indicated to the resort that this was my birthday so they had prepare the room with balloons, happy birthday banner and a chilled bottle of bubbley. Our bags arrived shortly after and the friendly bell boy explained all the rooms features. The view from the balcony out over the pool area and the beach/ bay is great with nice view of the mountains through the hot humid haze. After a raid on the well stocked inclusive mini bar it is possible to waste a hour or more staring at the atmospheric view.
There are several restaurants on site all of which are part of the inclusive package, as are all the bars. They are clean and the staff reasonably knowledgable and always courteous. The standard of the food is fair considering the "all inclusive" restrictions. We would have liked to have seen a "pay the extra" specialist restaurant. Our favourite restaurant was the Market Cafe, as this offered some consistency with a nice menu. We were disappointed with the French Bordeaux restaurant, the food was ok, but the service rushed. The staff are over eager to please, and easily distracted mid conversation by other customers who shout the loudest.
The pool areas are clean and very well attended, the water quality looks good but I have niggling doubt it could be cleaner, but this is only an assumption comparing it with other locations. Generally we used the adults only secrets side but guest may use both sides, the bar guys and waiters are friendly and fast, (Fermin was very on the ball), however we did feel we had to tip as this seemed to be the norm from the mostly American/Canadian clientel, I don't believe the tip was expected but we felt tight not tipping and the bar boys worked hard. The pool area fringes upon a very good beach with the water easily accessible. There are many local sales guys along the hotel front, but they do seem to be regulated, they stay beyond the defined hotel boundary and are happy if you offer a polite, "No thank you".
We both used the on site spa service 3 times during our stay, the therapists and the treatments are very good with Jamie getting top marks, the spa area is fantastic and very well designed. We only had one little issue with booking the services from home in the uk, they don't reply well to emails despite secrets reception having to be copied in and encouraging them, add to this some confusion with the spa reception on arrival, I can't help but think they are somewhat missing a trick and perhaps a few sales.
Both the Now and Secrets side have high level open fronted bar/reception areas with comfy seats and excellent bar service, this design really is a touch of genius allowing you to watch the fantastic sunsets over the pool, beach and sea, and through the warm haze with a cool cocktail in hand, what a sunset it is!
Despite the friendly welcoming staff, the fantastic location and perfect weather, I do have one major issue. There is no realistic way to escape the constant over barring noise. There are just to many competing sound systems and loud noisy bars combined with an average of two wedding parties per day. Secrets market this site as a romantic destination, there is nothing romantic about not being able to hold a conversation with your partner over the competing din of three different sound systems and two lots of background Muzak. The pool beach area is great until 11.00 but from then until gone midnight there is no rest, then you will be woken through the night by returning party goes in the corridors.
We both like a busy bustling restaurant or bar, I fully appreciate the majority of the client base are America/ Canadian, and us Brits do tend to be a bit reserved. But still we payed a lot of money, traveled a long way, a quiet area or eatery to chill out would have been great.
Overall we enjoyed our stay, the staff made us feel very welcome and our room was inspireing, I would recommend the hotel, but perhaps to groups rather then couples. UK visitors should weigh up the pro's and con's before committing a large lump of hard earned cash.
- 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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