Sorry for the length but I believe in being thorough.
Just came back from the Hard Rock Vallarta (Feb 2-8) and it was probably the best resort experience I have had in 8 visits to Mexico. Any negative reviews are unjust and we did not see what others were seeing. Maybe it is a Can vs. US having different expectations and tastes or trying to compare it prior to Hard Rock taking over. This was our 8th time in Mexico at a 5 star and ranks #1 in trips for us.
- Clean (grade A+) this resort is absolutely pristine in cleanliness with workers mopping, cleaning, and picking up nonstop.
- Service (grade A+) bar service, pool service, restaurant service, front desk service, concierge, and maid service was all excellent with not a single complaint. Service was always prompt, polite, accurate and the staff went out of their way to help.
- Rooms (grade A+) had an Ocean Front Platinum room on the 4th floor. Ideal and nice with large shower, bar, daily fridge refill, 2 double beds, Jacuzzi, safe, balcony. Not a single complaint can be given amount the room.
- Beach (grade A) beautiful, lots of chairs, little to no peddlers, ocean rough at times, the only thing that could be better would be an actual bar on the beach but service was still great.
- Lobby (grade A) large, clean, 4 elevators, great to walk through and look at all the music memorabilia. Service was always great and fast. Guest service personnel were useful and did not hassle one to attend the hotel’s “Priority Club” info meeting. There is a small gift shop and a Hard Rock gift shop on site.
- The Market Restaurant (grade A) – Buffet for Breakfast and Lunch, good food, always warm, small selection, great omelets, always replenishing, great service.
- Ipanema Restaurant (grade A+) - Buffet for Breakfast and Lunch, good food, always warm, small selection, great omelets, always replenishing, great service. Also turns into the “Brazilian” Theme restaurant in the evening. Great experience and food with varieties of meat always being offered. Liked it the best. Note: reservations are not required.
- Ciao Restaurant (grade A) - “Italian” Theme restaurant in the evening. Great experience and food with a variety of menu items offered and not just pasta. Note: reservations are not required.
- Zen Restaurant (grade A) – “Asian” Theme restaurant in the evening. Great experience and food with a variety of menu items offered. Portions are small though so order double of everything you want. Very quick service. Note: reservations are not required.
- Pool side Restaurant Frida (grade B) – Usually great for lunch since a mini buffet is offered with fresh hot foods (quesadias, hotdogs, burgers, etc). Sometimes items were out due too everything being prepared at the same grill as the cooks who also were serving burgers/dogs/fries. Would have been great if they also offered pizza though. Also turns into the Frida Restaurant – “Mexican” Theme restaurant in the evening. Mixed review and it can be good or average depending upon your expectations. Note: reservations are not required.
- Pizzeto (grade B) – Pool side pizza, good philosophy but the pizzas are quite large and would actually have a better use to be offered at the Frida at lunch time.
- Bar Service (grade A+) - excellent service and drinks with good knowledge on how to make everything, good selection of all types but not high end such as grey goose, patron, etc.
- Room Service (grade A) - quite good, supper fast (15 mins) for 4 meals, good food actually, 24 hours available.
- Lobby Bar (grade A+) – was always quiet except on Super Bowl Night, had a pool table nice lunging chairs, great bar……loved it.
- Kids Club (grade A) my youngest (6 years) went for 3 days and loved it. Unfortunately there were not many kids at the resort and he was there with a 5 year old Spanish girl. They were busy with games, crafts, beach, kid’s pool. Was appropriate for kids b/w 4-7 years. He loved it so much that he and the girl cried because they became such good friends over the 3 days evening though they spoke different languages. The 2 ladies working there were awesome, wish I could remember their names.
- Main Pools (grade A) – actually have 2, the one with the swim up bar and the other is heated. Depth throughout is 4.5 feet. Were not busy at all and we spent most of the time in the heated pool. The only thing that would have been better is if one can bring their inflatable floaties into the pool but we were informed that it is not allowed.
- Kids Pool (grade A) actually has 2 as well, one is aimed for toddlers with a mini 3 foot water slide and the other is huge aimed for toddlers under the age of 4 years. Depth is 1.5 feet. Note there is a large water slide attached in the back end of the swim up bar pool but due to the depth of the water they were monitoring it closely with children and not allowing children under a certain height allowed to slide on it. It was not used too much. I actually had to convince the staff monitoring it that my 6 year old who was 1 inch too short and was wearing a life jacket with me at the end of the slide catching him, would be alright.
- Safety (grade A+) – no problems at the resort or on the streets around the resort. They actually take safety very seriously (ie: pool areas, water slide, night beach access they have security checking wrist bands). We also walked the 2 blocks to the Mall a couple times but there is really not much in it.
- Evening Shows (grade B) - I am actually somewhat torn on my review of the evening shows we attended. Attendance at the outdoor theatre at the most was maybe 80 people which is very disappointing. The Michael Jackson impersonator was not the best that I have seen and the sound was terrible. Also saw a dancing show which was quite good. One night they had a rock concert on the resort by the pool and once again the attendance was poor but the band was really good playing cover tunes and those attending loved it. There was a huge Rock Concert from some local famous musician one night just outside the resort next door whereby maybe 1500 people were in attendance. Did not attend though. Not sure what could be changed to get more people at the evening shows, but I felt bad for the performers with so few in attendance.
- Spa (grade A) – My wife had a massage, pedicure, and manicure and was quite pleased with the service from all 3 personnel at the spa
- Gym (grade A) – Did not actually attend since it was my vacation and the last thing I planned on doing was exercising. Probably one of the nicer looking gyms I have seen at a resort with lots of newer equipment and air conditioning.
- $1500 Credit (grade A) – This is a really neat idea and for the people that complain about the 16% service fee, all I have to say is “get lost”. You are getting $1500 for free to use at the Spa, Swim with Dolphins, City Tours, etc so in the end you only wind-up paying for 16% of the actually cost. We did not use all the credit but was still great to have.
- Check Out (grade A) – We were to check out at Noon but were not being picked up until 10:50pm. As a result we were able to negotiate a super late checkout of 10pm for an additional cost. It had taken some negotiating and is really at no fault of the resort, more so to our travel agent for arranging such a late flight with Air Transat. Thankfully the resort was not a full capacity or else we probably would not have gotten the late check out.
There is nothing I can say poorly about the resort. I need to mention that the resort was probably only 50% full which is very strange since I have never been to a resort that was so quiet yet it is such an awesome resort. Also, the average age of patrons was probably 50 years old. It is a Hard Rock so there is loud music going on, but we never really had an issue with it except outside the front doors when walking in. On a side note, guests in the pool were treated to an XXX rated show from a 6 floor balcony from a couple which was not ideal considering I had some explaining to do with my 9 year old about what they actually were doing. Seems staff were unsure how to really handle the situation considering the view lasted for about 15 minutes before the couple decided to close the curtains. Tipping is always something I do even though staff do not expect it. I think I was one of the few who actually tipped, on average of $15/day to wait staff and bar staff. They appreciated it but service was so great I don’t think it really made a difference.
All in all, I am 99% impressed with the resort and would love to come back some day.
Good job HARD ROCK VALLARTA.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta is a gorgeous, 348-room beachfront property ideally situated between mountains and the Pacific Ocean, featuring unmatched, all-inclusive luxury accommodations including in-room double hydro spa tubs, fine dining, top-shelf drinks, 24-hour room service, live entertainment and more. One of only three AAA Four-Diamond hotels in the area, this stylish property boasts six restaurants offering tantalizing specialty cuisines, four bars and lounges with top shelf drinks, two large outdoor swimming pools, children's pool, beach volleyball court, Body Rock Fitness Center, unmatched music memorabilia, signature Rock Spa(R), a Rock Shop and much more. The property additionally features 6,300 square feet of meeting facilities. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Vallarta Palace Hotel Nuevo Vallarta
- Vallarta Palace Nuevo