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“Beautiful Resort, but Could be Better”

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Now Amber Puerto Vallarta
Ranked #16 of 124 Hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Vancouver
Level 6 Contributor
82 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 149 helpful votes
“Beautiful Resort, but Could be Better”
Reviewed October 12, 2012

I had my first solo trip to PV from Sep21-28. I actually wrote a review while I was still at the resort, but it disappeared from the "pending" list and is nowhere to be found. So I guess I'll have to re-write it.

CHECK-IN: check in was pretty quick. I could tell the resort had really low occupancy rate during that time. There were only a few people at the lobby/pool. When the staff handed me the room key, I asked what about the wrist band? She said there's none. YAY! No need to wear one here. :D

ROOM: I booked a garden-view room, but was given a 7th floor amazing ocean view room, without even asking for an upgrade. September must be a really slow month. Like other reviewers said, ALL ROOMS are ocean-view, just that garden-view rooms are on lower levels. I love the room, very nice decors and everything. The shampoo/shower gel were 118mL bottles, unlike the tiny bottles at most hotels. This is actually a really good size because I sweated so much everyday and had to shower 3 times a day. There were some issues with the doors though: 1.) the security chain on the door was not properly installed, and 2.) the connecting door was not locked!! I opened it and saw another door, if that door was also unlocked (I didn't try to push it open), I could walk into my neighbor's room. :O I called and they immediately sent someone to fix the problem, I'm satisfied with the speed of service.

FOOD: Overall great quality. Breakfast/lunch buffet items were almost the same everyday, nothing special. A-la-carte dinners were excellent though. I was happy to hear that NOW AMBER adult guests can dine at the SECRETS side after 6pm. That's so awesome because my favorite restaurant BORDEAUX is on the other side! :o) I dined at Bordeaux x 3, Capers x 2, Market Cafe (Mediterranean) x 1, and Himitsu x 1. Bordeaux is the best, both in food and service. Thanks Ricardo for addressing me by name all the time, and the tall young guy (forgot his name) always responded with "my pleasure" every time I said gracias. The duck breast and lobster bisque were very nice, but I particularly liked the pistachio creme brulee cake at Bordeaux. One time the cake was not completely defrosted before serving, but I still finished it. :D The fisherman linguine and salmon fillet at Capers were also great. No reservations required except for the teppanyaki cooking show at Himitsu, it's fun to watch, but food wise, I still prefer Bordeaux/Capers. I noticed that many of the dishes tend to be a bit too salty. The salmon and tuna tartar at Bordeaux would be delicious if it was less salty, same for the broccoli cream soup at Capers. ***Not all restaurants were opened every night, don't know if that's due to low occupancy. Bordeaux was opened on Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun.

BARS: I'm not a drinker, but I had several virgin coladas and few sips of champagne at the lobby bar. I'm happy with both the drinks and service. It's nice to sit there by myself at night listening to the waves. I saw the lobby bartender washing glasses one day, and I asked "you guys have to wash the glasses too???" and he said yes. I thought they have a dish washer but apparently they have to wash them by hands. They really deserve a tip too.

HOUSEKEEPING: Can be better. I'm satisfied with the cleaniness of my room and the maids I met were friendly. However, one day I had to call at around 4pm to have my room cleaned. Also, I never had any turn-down service during my stay, although that's not a big deal for me.

POOL: Very nice and clean. The pools were almost empty sometimes, and plenty of chairs. The pools aren't very big though, not sure if it will be packed at full occupancy.

BEACH: Water is dirty, I know I shouldn't compare it to the crystal clear Caribbean water, but it's not very inviting. Tons of local vendors there trying to sell you stuff, but since the beach is public, it's not the resort's fault. There's ONE positive thing about the beach - U MIGHT BE ABLE RELEASE THE BABY SEA TURTLES if you are lucky! I wasn't lucky enough to see it, but another couple told me the hotel's staff protect the eggs, keep them in a safe place and release the babies after they hatch!! They happened to be around and had a chance to release the babies too!!

SECURITY: As a first time solo traveler, I felt safe during my entire stay at the resort (and outside of the resort too). The resort's gate is manned by staff and all guests/vehicles entering the resort has to provide their room number. The resort also has its own taxi team!! All the taxis are clean and air-conditioned, and drivers speak sufficient English to communicate. The rate is of course a bit more expensive compared to a yellow taxi on the street, but you feel more safe and comfortable.

CHECK-OUT: was efficient. I asked if late check out is possible and the staff said it would cost $50 USD and suggested that I could still use the facilities even after I checked out, and there's a hospitality room which I could use for about 30 mins to take a shower before I leave, and it's free of charge. So late check out isn't really necessary. :)

OVERALL: EXCELLENT service. Beautiful resort, nice decors. During my first dinner at Bordeaux, I wondered if the ENORMOUS wall painting is real, or just printed. The second time I went there, I touched it, and it is a real oil painting! WOW. The painting at Secret's concierge desk is also very nice. :)

MISCELLANEOUS: It's only 5 mins ride to Centro. There's a bus stop just out on the main road; cost 6.5 pesos to take the bus or 60 pesos to take the hotel taxi. Also a currency exchange near the bus stop that has better rates compared to the hotel/airport, but requires a passport even to exchange a small amount. Lots of small massage parlors across from the OXXO nearby, and I had amazing massages at RCS for $20 /75mins. Not an exciting neighborhood though, nothing much to see.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank piggy10786
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (1,071)
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English first
Lee's Summit, Missouri
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed October 9, 2012

I visited Now Amber Resort with a party of 7 October 4 - October 8th. The resort grounds are beautiful as you enter the lobby. I believe people can be very harsh on reviews so I wanted to make sure I had a fair and honest assessment of my stay.

Check In:
The front desk attendant was very nice and helpful as were the greeters. We checked in in the early afternoon and there seemed to be no problem with my friends or my Mother getting their rooms in a quick and orderly fashion. The bellman was also very prompt and attentive.

Garden View Rooms:
The rooms were spacious and beautiful. The open bathroom and the privacy sliding doors are extremely nice. The shower and sunken tub were also very nice and the view of the pool and ocean unbelievably beautiful. There were issues with the cleanliness of the room as it had stains and was never mopped during my visit. There was also trash right outside my room several of the days and I had to call to ask to have the room cleaned. I also had chewing gum and a threading needle and balls of hair for more than one day.

Food and Drinks:
The food and drinks were good for the most part but there were a few times when the drinks were few and far between in the bar area and the food was cold and hard to eat at times. In all fairness to Castaways, they were close to closing time and served us what they had available. The specialty restaurants were good especially the Japanese restaurant and Capers (Italian) restaurant. The service at all the on restaurants was friendly, fast and efficient.

Staff:
We could not have asked for a better group of service men and women with the exception of the cleaning staff. My largest complaint was that all three of the rooms we occupied had to request the rooms to be cleaned late 2 of 3 afternoons. We also called the front desk to report stains that looked like blood which were never mopped or cleaned. There was hair, bottle caps and dirt outside my Mother's room for several days so I was very displeased with this portion of the property.

Wedding Coordinator:
Edith was amazing and if I hadn't had such a bad experience with the hotel cleaning I would have love to have my wedding there next year. Edith was very informative, polite and she took the time to really listen to the things we would like to incorporate into the ceremony.

Overall:
I would say this place is a 3 verging on a 4 star resort. I have stayed at several AMResorts and this is the first time I have ever had any issues with rooms being cleaned without a phone call or tracking down the maid. I have never seen stains and discoloration in such a new hotel. I know it is challenging to keep a lightly interior facility clean and I hope they can rectify the issue because I would like to be able to recommend it in the future. .

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank travel_lin_74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed October 5, 2012

So it starts when you are greeted from the taxi on arrival with a cold towel and a glass of champagne!! Now that is a good start. You are then escorted to check in (We stayed in the prefered tower - Great choice) where you are offered a vacation presentation which if you are a gown up you can politely refuse or accept. We were shown to the room and were very pleasantly surprised. We have stayed all over the world, in four seasons, ritz carltons etc and honestly this was one of the very nicest rooms. The food in the restaurants was first class and is second only to the amazing service. Nothing was too much trouble and was always offered with a smile and a "it is my pleasure". We did not leave the hotel as we really just wanted to relax and we did. The property has only been open since April and there are tiny little things to be ironed out like the music in the AMAZING spa being a little too loud and funky translations on the menus - but honestly I am being really picky. Just a note - don't be cheap and tip even though they say it's included. we booked with cheap caribean and got an absolute steal - Go enjoy!

Room Tip: All rooms have a sea view - lower floors are considered "garden view" as you can only see...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank jillycalifornia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed October 5, 2012

The service was impeccable. This place is so safe. I was left speechless by the cleanliness, the beauty, the service, the food and the safety provided by this resort. Completely 100% would Stay here again and would definitely recommend.

  • Stayed September 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank cindyjd09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed October 1, 2012

We were a group of 5 (very different) people, stayed there for 1 week. At the end of the week, none of us had any real concern.. I read some reviews with tons of complaints, so I guess if you dig for reasons to be disappointed you will get what you are looking for wherever you go.
The best thing I found at Now Amber is the willingness of the staff to make your stay as enjoyable as it can possibly be. Everyone was very nice, always smiling and doing their best to get you what you want. They actulay approach you to ask if they can get you something and make sure that you were satisfied. So if it happened and you noticed something was not there or missed , all what you need is just to make a note...and you will almost sure to get it.
The Room was spacious, large comfy bed, effecient AC and ceiling fan, jacuzi, balcony with an open ocean view, free internet , free unlimited bar and free 24h room service.
5 Resturants, at least 3 or 4 were open for dinner every evening,some are adults only or required reservation. Breakfast Buffet was very good with wide selections, and every A la carte has one or 2 excellent dishes AGAIN just ask for a recommendation.
Several Swimming pools, almost impossible at any time to have them all over crowded and the beach is just few steps away.
All in All, I had a very good week.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank elfazy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed September 27, 2012

My wife and i stayed at the resort from Sept. 19- 24th. Distance from the airport and the check -in made this a great choice. We where offered a very reasonable up-grade to the privileged side, which we took. We were also shuttled to the time share desk as others have stated, but left in 3 minutes with some coupons for over priced services.
The rooms are all ocean view and nicely decorated. The privileged staff was exceptional. Unfortunately , house keeping is sup-par and continuously forgot to refill coffee, bring toiletries and one night do a turn down service on the bed. There was also a mold or sewage smell on the first floor entrance to the privileged tower,that never went away. Funny as all the other floors and rooms were fine.
My biggest complaint is that on Friday and Saturday the hotel hosted an event for the sales reps for Cialese- with about 50-60 people. They also decided to close two of the four restaurants and had the 3rd reserved for the convention. This left one restaurant open for both the the Secret's and Now Amber side on a Saturday night !
It little more attention to details would go a long way.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank Carlos60763
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mauricio M, General Manager at Now Amber Puerto Vallarta, responded to this review, October 9, 2012
Dear Carlos,

We appreciate your comments that you have shared to all our guests that will be coming to our Resort such as you did. In fact to avoid these types of inconveniences we have on each suite a Housekeeping Button that lights up and our Housekeeping staff knows that is the time to clean the room.

During that week we had a significant amount of guests coming as a group and we had opened two restaurants a la carte and the night theme which was the Mexican Fiesta that all our guests truly enjoy and are more inclined to attend.

We invite you to come back to visit us and we will be more than happy to pamper you as you deserve!


Sincerely,

Mauricio Martinez
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winnipeg, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed September 25, 2012

We visited this resort in July. We stayed at the Now Amber preferred for two days before asking to be switched to the Secrets side. Now Amber was only at probably 70% occupancy but it looked like a lot more – we later found out that they sold day passes to locals for the pools. I have no problem with locals my only complaint about doing that was it makes it very difficult for the people staying for the week to get into the pools because they were so busy and noisy. We tried to go over to the Secrets side to swim but were immediately stopped by the security and yelled at the we had to stay on “our” side. We had no idea that was the rules but understood that we needed to stay on our side but it was very inappropriate to be yelled at in front of other guest by security to the point of us being totally embarrassed. After two days of no sleep from all the noise on the Amber preferred side we switch to Secrets preferred for an extra cost. After the switch we were able to use the secrets pools and yet the security guard that yelled at us previously would continue to harass us and yell at us saying we were lying about switching – three times we had to give him our new room number to prove it we were so embarrass because he made us feel like criminals in front of tons of people.

The food at the resort is not quite at 5 star quality it’s barely even a 4 star quality. Some restaurants were good but most the food took way to long and tasted reheated. Lunch was by far the worst meal of the day. Half the time we didn’t eat anything because everywhere we went it tasted awful.

Room cleaning was the most inconsistent thing I’ve ever seen – you were suppose to get your room cleaned everyday with turndown service in the evening. We only had the turn down service once the entire time we were there and the maid service three times. We would leave our room by 8 everyday and come back around 4 and it wouldn’t be clean. Then we would get ready for dinner and be out of the room by 5:30 and still no turn down either. We call the concierge once to have the room cleaned and they said no all the maids leave at 5pm every day.

Something we did enjoy was the bar at the secrets preferred tower because they made awesome premium drinks.

Overall this resort has quite a few things to learn before they could call themselves a five star – we wouldn’t go back again until they improve some of the major things.

Room Tip: Preferred towers are worth the money.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank Running_From_Winter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Now Amber Puerto Vallarta

Property: Now Amber Puerto Vallarta
Address: David Alfaro Sisqueiros 164 | Col. Zona Hotelera Las Glorias, Puerto Vallarta 48333, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Jalisco > Puerto Vallarta
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #16 of 124 Hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Now Amber Puerto Vallarta 4.5*
Number of rooms: 327
Reservation Options:
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