Finally got around to writing a review for this hotel based on my experiences during spring break. In a nutshell there are some weaknesses but overall there is just too much good stuff going on for me to rate this lower than excellent.
Tip - before going down, make sure you are aware of the dress code and the age limitations of certain areas within the property including restaurants. I won't comment on those becuase they are what they are! Have a look at their website so you are fully aware.
Some drawbacks to be aware of:
- In busy times, it can be difficult to find spots at the pool or on the beach. Greedy fellow vacationers snag prime spots by putting their junk on the chairs first thing in the morning and go back to sleep. There needs to be some kind of policy where you get a grace period then the stuff gets moved to lost and found. The Westin in Kaanapali does it and I love it.... what can I say? - its one of my hot buttons. Having said that, the poolside waiters are only too happy to ditch towels and sunscreen from empty chairs for you - so problem solved.
- We found the food in the restaurants to be very much banquet style - meaning pre-cooked, pre-plated, reheated. Not to say it was bad - but it is what it is. Our favourite ala carte restaurant was probably the Mexcian as we could go there with our 2 little ones and got exposed to some authentic dishes we otherwise would not try. We did enjoy the Japanese only for the variety....being from Vancouver we have access to good Japanese restaurants. The Mediterranian and the Italian place were just ok too.
- the beach is seriously loaded with people selling all kinds of stuff from weed to kites and everything in between. Often there would be a wall of touts blocking out our view of the surf and our two young kids. No complaints here about people trying to make a living - just be aware if you are hoping for a quiet beach where you can drift off to sleep listening to the waves lap up on the beach... this isn't it.
What we liked:
- awesome staff - particularly in the buffet, the kids club and the waiters around the pool and beach. They worked so hard, and were extremely friendly, helpful, fun, quick.. can't say enough good things about the team. Nayalie at the buffet stood out amongst a team of superstars.
- beautful grounds / pool / beach area
- an excellent buffet that I think topped the ala carte restaurants for quality. Fresh grilled fish station, sushi, pasta station.... no problems going there multiple times per day and they always changed stuff up. Service was excellent
- rooms - very nice. We had 2 adults and 2 kids under 8 in one room and it worked just fine. We stayed in the prefered side which afforded us a bigger patio. We used a "standard" room in the main hotel right before our flight to shower, change etc and it was equal other than a smaller balcony. Sleep quality was good, pretty quiet.
- Kids club: amazing. Activities planned by the hour, with a listing of the next days events posted so you and your little ones can pick and choose. As you can see on their website, they really made the kids zone a special place with trampolines, soccer pitch, indoor activities. They do everything from take photos with snakes, to bake their own cookies to trips to the beach or pool.
- Activities: day one had a tequila information and tasting session, throughout our trip the event team had fun excercise or games on the go. Never a dull moment.
- a curious mix of guests ranging from couples, college students, families, to single Mom's passing out from excessive drinking at the pool bar and everything in between. Made for some fun interactions and people watching!
- loved having an iced latte at the coffee shop or a strong beverage watching the sunset in the spectacular lobby bar.
In short, while I would put this place below my ranking for the other spot I like staying at in Nuevo Vallarta (see my past posts on Marival Resort and World Spa) I would come back here. Great people, lots of fun.
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