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Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta
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Reviewed May 14, 2013

This article is an update to my already existing, IN-DEPTH review from a while back which you might want to take a look at!

We have been coming to this resort almost every year for many years and not much has changed since my last review.

The resort is still as nice as always and things are maintained quite well! Very clean everywhere!
Food:
As top-notch as always! No matter which restaurant you eat at.
Staff:
Extremely friendly as always and always eager to please.
Room decor:
By now all the rooms have been re-decorated and look nice.
Landscaping:
As beautiful, lush and tropical as ever!

One can still choose between the regular tower and the club tower, which is slightly more upscale.
This is still mainly a family resort and also popular for weddings ( which can be a good thing for the wedding parties but sometimes not so good for everyone else...)

The adult-only infinity pool, which is very pretty, is unfortunately very small with only 18 ( very comfortable! ) lounges and not enough umbrellas for all the people who prefer shade...

The main pool area features very comfortable lounges as well but it gets extremely hot on the vast concrete pad / deck, can be very crowded and one has to put up with constant loud music all day long. Also, not every set of lounges comes with an umbrella...

There is one more pool, somewhat secluded, close to the regular tower. There, one will find decent lounges, a lot of space to move around but NO umbrellas at all! Years ago, the huge tree provided a lot of shade but lately, this tree has not been too healthy anymore but the management still refuses to provide umbrellas there. ( We have asked many times... )

Plenty of shade to be found under the many palapas along the beautiful beach ( but rough waters! ), but the lounges there are VERY uncomfortable if one intends to spend more than 2 hours on them! People with back or neck issues beware! These are some of the worst lounges around ( and we travel a lot! )! Please read the entire chair/lounge story in my previous review of this resort!!!)

One rather annoying side-effect of all-inclusive resorts ( note: this resort was only converted into an all-inclusive a few years ago!! ) is that certain types of people have a shameless need to take advantage of all the free alcohol, and as a result end up behaving as if they were the only guests around, to put it mildly!
They are loud and sometimes even rowdy and love to make a spectacle of themselves, whether on the beach, at the pools or in the hotel bar. Many times it is entire wedding parties who take over a whole row of chairs and then just let loose. On this trip we had a group of people in the adult pool from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm drinking non-stop ( I kid you not!!! )! The noise was unbelievable. When they finally left, one person vomited all the way to the bathroom!
During last years stay, a couple got so drunk in the adult-pool that staff had to be called and they had to be lifted out of the pool and literally carried to their rooms!
This kind of behaviour is extremely disrespectful towards fellow guests and also the staff, who are taxed to the max in situations like these!!!
Everyone is entitled to have fun but not at the expense of others! Please be considerate in these matters!
One more thing: Please clean up after yourself! Remove used towels from chairs so that other people know that they are available. This prevents a lot of misunderstandings.
Do not litter along the beach! Cigarette buds, bottle caps, straws etc. endanger the wildlife and create extra work for the staff!!
And last but not least: Do tip the waiters if you are happy with their service ( especially if you order one drink after another like it is the case so many times...)!!

Despite all the negatives, this is still a beautiful resort mainly because of its location. Surrounded by jungle forests, cliffs ( the beach is private! ) and lush greenery and flowers! It is an old resort but maintained quite well ( aside from the lack of umbrellas and the terrible beach lounges...) and friendly.
The "kid's club" program is fantastic and as I mentioned earlier, the food is too!

We really enjoyed it here for many years but now I think we are ready for something a bit quieter. The wedding crowds and party crowds don't really appeal to us and our children are grown up now. We will most likely visit again some day ( for nostalgic reasons, since our daughter practically grew up in this resort ) but in the near future we will explore some non-inclusive resorts and will stop travelling during peak-times, which turns EVERY place into a super noisy / busy place, I am sure.

Note:
If you do get tired of the all-inclusive food and feel like eating in town, these are our absolute favorite restaurants in PV:

" Pipi's " : A great, fun family restaurant! Fantastic Mexican food, giant portions and fantastic Margarita's! Not expensive.

" Si Senor ": Traditional Mexican food in a magical, terraced garden setting. Love the food and the Margaritas ( served with the Tequila on the side ). Very romantic!
Moderately priced.

" La Palapa " : Beautiful restaurant on the beach! Nice for watching the sunset and romantic!
Moderately priced.

" Trio " : Mediterranean food cooked with love. European garden restaurant with a colonial touch. Moderately priced.

" River Cafe " : Romantic, open-air, upscale restaurant on the river " Cuale ". Fantastic food and atmosphere! Beautiful restaurant in a beautiful location! Come here if you are celebrating something special!! Moderately expensive.

" Cafe des Artistes " : Elegant restaurant in a magical, terraced garden setting! Very romantic, the ultimate! Beautiful place, has won many awards! Gourmet food. Expensive but worth it, especially for a special occasion!!

Shopping Tips:

Silver Jewelry :
Go directly to " Evolucion " Silver! ( Morelos 265 ). Don't bother with any other place. Ask for Julie, the owner, and say a friend sent you. This place is fair in their pricing and you won't be taken for a ride! The selection of pieces is incredible and there is something to be found for every one. All real silver! Bargain a little...

Creative Jewelry:
Check out this tiny shop right beside Pipi's restaurant ( Pipila 245 centro )! Sigi Contreras is a very talented young artist who makes the most beautiful and unique jewelry! He uses different materials for his creations and the prices are NOT over the top!

Hand-Blown Glass:
Go to " Mundo De Cristal " ( Insurgentes No. 333 ) for reasonably priced vases, glasses, bowls, art etc. The selection and the beauty of the pieces will blow you away! Ask for Rosa, the owner. Everything can be packed as carry-on!

Tequila and other spirits:
The BEST prices in town! Forget duty-free at the airport! Staff not particularly friendly but who cares... ( Pipila 139, Col. Centro ).

Happy Eating and Shopping...!

Room Tip: All rooms are good since they all face the ocean!
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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14  Thank Travel-Troopers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 14, 2013

The scenery was beautiful. Every room had an ocean view. The room was fresh and very clean, and the beds were very comfortable. All the restaurants had delicious food and great ocean views as well. We enjoyed breakfast at Oceana. The lunch buffet at World Cafe included all you could ever want, and the sunset from Seaside Cafe, along with the food, was fantastic. The staff was very friendly and accommodating. The beach was intimate because rocks and both sides made it inaccessible to those not staying at the resort. The beach was also very clean, and beach chairs were always available at no extra cost. It was a five minute inexpensive taxi ride into the old city and boardwalk. I would definitely stay there again.

Room Tip: Third floor and above have the best views.
  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank GigiHouston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 14, 2013

We just returned from Puerto Vallarta and I am already ready to go back!! We stayed Thursday-Monday at Dreams PV and it was amazing! You are greeted at the front entrance with a sparkling glass of champagne and a cool, scented towel. From the moment you enter the resort, you are treated like royalty and the amazing service continues until the moment you leave. The staff was incredibly nice and helpful, and smiled genuinely throughout our trip. The open air hallways and covered walk ways are so pretty. Lush greenery and plants everywhere you look-- we even saw a giant iguana! The pools are great! You have an adults-only infinity pool, a giant pool with a kid section and a swim up bar (opposite ends), and we discovered a large shaded pool during the last day of our stay. 3 pool options and the endless beach-- what more could you need? The lounge chairs at the pool are SO comfortable and soft, and the loungers near the beach (under perfelct beach huts) were comfy as well. We were told to watch out for the "vendors" on the beach, but they weren't a bother at all. Every 20 minutes or so, a guy in all white would come by and offer various items (sarongs, hats, jewelry, cigars). They were very nice and if you said "no, gracias" they would say "maybe later" and walk away. We didn't feel hassled by them at all. (However, their prices were ridiculous. The same pair of $40 earrings could be found 5 minutes down the road in the downtown markets for $4.) One thing to remember: if you plan on carry-on-only travel, buy your sunscreen elsewhere. We brought small bottles of higher SPF for our faces, and planned to buy sunscreen when we arrived at the resort. Well, we paid $28 USD for a bottle of sunscreen that would have been $8 at Target. My advice: ask your taxi driver to swing through Wal*Mart * (yes, they have Walmart, as well as Costco, Sam's, Home Depot, Domino's, Pizza Hut, and Subway) and buy a couple of bottles. If you are checking bags, then no worries. That was the only thing that caught us off guard, and it ended up being pretty minimal.
There is no free Wi-Fi, which worked out to be really nice because we were forced to "un-plug" for a few days and we really got to enjoy our vacation. There is a small cafe with 2 computers available for internet usage. They charged $2 for 15 mins, $4 for 30 mins, and about 5 pesos per page printed. I think you can get wi-fi at the hotel, but it's something like $18/day, which wasn't worth it to us.
The food was really great. There is a walk-up food stand at the beach area & we had the chicken tacos (so good!) and the chips & guacamole. All the drinks were great, and they had a "drink of the day" each day that was usually fun and festive. The italian restaurant was really great (it has a dress code, so bring something nice to wear -- a dress for ladies, a collared shirt and slacks for men) and the bruschetta was TO DIE FOR. The breakfast buffet was large and had lots of options and varied slightly each day. You always had your basics: eggs, bacon, waffles, yogurts, etc, and you could get made-to-order omelets made every day. They had different offerings each day of Mexican breakfasts, and a self-serve Bloody-Mary / Mimosa bar. The bacon was flavorless & the coffee wasn't great, but those would be our only complaints.
All in all, we had a WONDERFUL time and would definitely return to Dreams PV in the future. A 5 minute taxi ride (about $5) will take you to downtown and there is a lovely area with markets and restaurants. We bought our souveniers there, and were able to get some pretty great prices. (They'll start off asking for double what they'll actually sell it for. For example, I bought a chess-set that was carved out of fish bone. In the hotel it was $100, at the market it was $45, and I paid $20.)

To sum up: GO TO DREAMS PUERTO VALLARTA!!! You will NOT be disappointed!!!

Room Tip: All of the rooms have a gorgeous view of the ocean-- we stayed on the 3rd floor. Our view was perfect because we could see the ocean, and our view was framed by a perfect palm tree.
  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank MissJennJackson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 14, 2013

We are Unlimited Vacation Club (UVC) members and expected everything to go well, but it did not start that way. I made reservations for ourselves and another couple over 6 months before we arrived, at that time there were no regular Preferred rooms with a King size bed so we all opted to pay more and get Preferred rooms with a jacuzzi to get King size beds. When we arrived, even though our UVC hotel representative had called us from the hotel 10 days before we left and had reconfirmed our room choice, we were told that our reservation had been changed 2 weeks earlier and that both reservations had been changed to rooms with 2 double beds. Since we were planning to renew our wedding vows during our stay this was not acceptable. Finally on the 4th day we were upgraded to a Dreams Suite.

Other than this incident the stay was excellent, the food in all the restaurants was very good, especially in the Mexican Restaurant. The service everywhere was outstanding, we would like to recognize several individuals for their outstanding personalities and service, Noami, hostess in the El Patio, Salvadore, Preferred Club Manager, Ivan the bartender and Saul in El Patio, Christian and Raul at breakfast in World Cafe and a special recognition to Sergio, this year in the Preferred Club (in past years one of the best waiters in Oceana - what a shame to not have him still there). Every morning he had our coffee ready and greeted us with a huge smile.

This Dreams has a wonderful beach that is in a small bay and therefore completely private. The grounds are beautiful and it is close to Downtown Puerto Vallarta, only a $5 cab ride away.

This is a beautiful location that we return to yearly. But please give us the courtesy of honoring our reservation or notify us that you have changed it.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank David W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2013

We wanted to have a week of no stress sun, food and ocean, close to Puerto Vallarta with a bit of pampering. Wow! What a delightful surprise! The resort is intimate - just how we like it. The staff is sweet - all of them! The food is wonderful - not your run-of-the-mill Mexico all-inclusive. We stayed in the Preferred Tower and it was delightful. Food, beverages, room, housekeeping, pools, beach, view, service. Really, just an incredible week. The only (and I mean only) complaint we had was that all the cocktails are made with odd mixers - not what you find in the US. Cocktails made with "orange juice" are really made with a sweet orange flavored drink - and the same with any cocktail listed with a juice ingredient. The only time you actually will see real juice is at breakfast. This does color the cocktail experience, but otherwise, this is the sweetest spot you will ever find! On a side note, we thought this resort was walkable to PV, and it is in theory, but there is really no place to walk. The good news? It's a quick, cheap taxi ride to town!

Room Tip: Rooms on the ground floor have a large patio - larger than the balconies above. Ours still had a great view of the beach and ocean!
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank barbij9459
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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