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“OK but food quality may hold us back from visiting again”

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Marival Resort & Suites
Ranked #14 of 28 Hotels in Nuevo Vallarta
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
West Vancouver, BC
Level 6 Contributor
105 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 221 helpful votes
“OK but food quality may hold us back from visiting again”
Reviewed January 10, 2012

We are a couple in our 50s from Vancouver BC who have travelled to many all-inclusives in Mexico and other countries, with our kids, groups of friends, and on our own. This trip we travelled on our own. We chose Marival because we had stayed there about 10 years ago and liked many things about it, including the short distance from the airport, peaceful location, reasonable price and availability of many activities.

The Location
Marival Club and Suites is located in Nuevo Vallarta, a quiet, planned resort community on a long, stunning beach, about half an hour north of Puerto Vallarta. The area includes a number of all-inclusives and condo properties but not too many shops or restaurants within close walking distance. There is a small mall, Paradise Plaza, about a 30 minute walk (or 10 minute leisurely bike ride) south of the hotel. It has a grocery store with small pharmacy, small shops and restaurants, and most importantly (for us), a Starbucks (for our good coffee and free Wi-Fi fixes). The charming Mexican town of Bucerias is to the north, best accessible by cab or bicycle (we didn’t walk there ourselves, but some people told us it took them 1.5 hours). Our overall impression of the location: very good for us, but it wouldn’t be ideal for a traveller wanting to be where the action is.

The Property
Being one of the older all-inclusives in the area, Marival benefits from having relatively low room density and a wide piece of beachfront. The resort is quite well designed, with noisier areas (disco, theatre) located closer to the entrance away from the majority of rooms (the u-shaped echo chamber design that we have seen in many resorts has been avoided here). There are a number of pools, ranging from kiddie, to lively activity, to quiet adult (our favorite). We only went in the adult pool, which was nicely heated (something we haven’t always found at all-inclusive resorts). The resort public areas are comfortable and clean, but not fancy. The resort is a reasonable size, so it is easy to pop back to the room if you need to retrieve anything. The grounds and resort facilities were impeccably clean. Overpriced Wi-Fi was a disappointment (free Wi-Fi in the lobby would be much appreciated). Our overall impression of the property: Very good.

The Vibe
Low key and family oriented. Our impression: good for us, but probably not great for fun-loving singles.

Check-in
Upon checking in, we were asked to go with a man who would put on our bracelets and update us on the resort. I knew from reading reviews here that this was aimed at getting us to a timeshare presentation but given that this person held our bracelets, it was pretty hard to not go with him. Our impression of check-in: Front desk service was fine but it is pretty cheesy to prey upon weary travellers with a timeshare ruse. We can expect this at the airport, but at the hotel check-in counter? Our impression of check-in: Bad.

Rooms
We stayed in a standard room in the Grand section. Rooms are clean but basic. I agree with previous reviewers that the rooms could use a facelift. We emailed the hotel to request a ground floor pool view room and were accommodated. The Grand section overlooks the main activity pool which tends to be noisy, but it was wonderful to be able to step outside our room and sit on a poolside patio. This was the first time we have had a ground floor room and we would look for this again. Bed was comfortable. Satellite TV had quite a number of channels (including several Canadian and American channels). Interestingly we visited a room in the other half of the building and the TV channels were totally different (I’m thinking it must have been on a different satellite feed). Room was a bit musty and air conditioning system didn’t really help to clear that. We tended to shut it off at night, and kept the sliding door open (there was a lockable screen door on the ground floor). No issues with hot water or plumbing. Our overall impression of the rooms: Just OK.

Restaurants and Food
We found the food here to be particularly disappointing and not as good as the last time we were here. Food at the buffet and beachfront snack bar were the worst in our opinion. Part of the issue with the buffet was the atmosphere: dark and muggy with ceilings (best to ask for table in outside covered area). Steam table choices were typically overcooked, difficult to identify and tasteless. Breads and bakery products appeared to be from packages. Meats at specialty restaurants were tough. Desserts tended to be held up with gelatin and topped with fake cream.

We ate at all of the a la carte restaurants. Some of them appear to have undergone renovations quite recently and appear a bit more upscale than the other areas of the resort. Although the food was nicely presented and it was good to be served by a waiter, much of what we ate was tasteless or odd tasting.

Best food choices we tried: breakfast made to order omelettes (also, the woman who makes them is amazingly efficient), fruits, yogurts, ice cream, tacos cooked outdoors on Tuesday Mexican night (if you see Mexican people lining up, follow them!), chips with fresh salsa and guacamole, fresh pizza from wood-fired oven at outdoor snack bar.

Our overall impression of the food: Bleh.

Beverages
Coffee quality varied. We realized late in the week that you can order a cappuccino, even at the buffet, which makes for a somewhat better coffee experience. Our 2 drinks of choice from the bar were the margarita (frozen or on the rocks) and soda with fresh lime (as a non-alcoholic choice). Both were good. There was an expansive mixed drink menu posted. I didn’t hear people complaining about the drinks. Our overall impression of the beverages: Pretty good.

Service
Most staff were polite and accommodating. Tips are appreciated but not demanded. We had a very touching experience at the Italian restaurant, where we gave our waiter a $5 tip. As he walked away we saw him with his head down doing the sign of the cross. I didn’t think a $5 tip would be unusual, but he sure seemed to appreciate it. Our overall impression of the service: Very good.

Activities
There is something for everyone at this resort. My husband played tennis on the excellent courts. He used one of their rackets, although he chose to bring a fresh can of balls. We loved having the bicycles and used them every day. We used them for jaunts to Starbucks, to go to Bucerias, and to visit the North end of Nuevo Vallarta near the Mayan Palace. Although bicycles appear rickety and don’t have gears, they are fine for the flat terrain in the area. Unfortunately, we didn’t get out on the kayaks, as red flag was up on the day we wanted to go out. Beach is 5* for walking: nice and flat and you can take a long walk in either direction.

The typical poolside activities were available for those who were interested. There also appeared to be a very active children’s club.

We left the resort for two day trips. One day we cabbed to Puerto Vallarta and took a water taxi to the small rustic but funky beach community of Yelapa where friends were staying (wonderful – we may go back there to stay). We also took a wonderful day long excursion (with Pegasus) to the Marietas Islands (sailing, whale watching, snorkeling, lunch). Highly recommend.

Our overall impression of activities at and beyond the resort: Very good.

Conclusion
We love Nuevo Vallarta and like many things about the Marival, but the not great food and lack of dining alternatives within walking distance would be the biggest thing that would hold us back from visiting again anytime soon. We realize food is a budgetary issue but we have seen that it is possible to make delicious food from relatively inexpensive ingredients. Even some small things like a self-serve taco bar at the beach restaurant, some Mexican flan for dessert, and a few in-house baked goods would go a long way. I'm not sure how motivated the resort would be to address this issue given their captive audience of timeshare members.

Room Tip: We liked our ground floor pool view room, which we requested via email.
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank kayteeYVR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MarivalResorts, Marketing and Social Media at Marival Resort & Suites, responded to this review, January 28, 2012
Dear Traveler: Thank you so much for your detailed review, we appreciate all your comments. We hope to have the opportunity of serving you again in the future.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (622)
Date | Rating
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English first
Edmonton, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed January 9, 2012

My boyfriend and I just returned from Marival in Neuvo Vallarta and we will never return again. The hotel was extremely disorganized and all front desk staff seemed to provide different information regarding the rooms, check out times etc. This resort was full of Mexicans who were vacationing with all their families and all activities were catered towards those spanish speakers. The entertainment staff were great and lively but most of the nightly information was explained in Spanish. For example, around the pool one of the games was to name the title of a song and over half of the people around the pool would be mostly Canadian and American and all the song titles were in Spanish.

As well, the rooms the front desk fill up first have lovely views of tennis courts and roads, while they claim ALL ocean view, partial oceanview and pool view are occupied. That was completely untrue. Many of the people we met on our vacation, including ourselves moved rooms at least once or twice. In one case, a couple we met had problems opening their door with their key and instead of switching their room, they made the couple wait for two hours in their room to supervise a new door knob being put on. Upon arrival, safe keys (which you had to pay for) were not provided! How does a resort with 495 rooms not have enough safe keys for every room??

The rooms were kept clean but very basic. There was a fridge in each room, which was not plugged in. Each day we recieved one bottle of water, thats it. There is not alcohol in the rooms and if you would like room service their is a charge of $5 US dollars a plate. As well, room service was only available until 10:30 pm. The two rooms we had within the week had screaming kids next door. The hotel has large hallways that echo and many of the families next to us hung out in the hallway starting at 6 am. We had to call front desk twice to complain about our neighbours blasting their tv on the loudest possible at 6 am. There are no elevators, which is fine except for the times that we had to carry our luggage into our rooms at the beginning of the trip and from our room at the end. We tried to get assistance from the Bell boys but none were in sight for over an hour. The El a Carte restaurants were great, and the staff in the restaurants provided excellent service and were extremly friendly. If you weren't lucky enough to be able to book a reservation you pretty much starved as the buffet was disguisting!!! The two nights were couldn't get reservations we ate buns! We aren't picky eaters but a lot of the food looked unappetizing and tasted worse (unless you like rabbit stew) All the deserts that should've been kept cold we left out in the heat and the icecream they claimed they had was rarely re-stocked.

The resort had two pizza places that served munchies like burgers, hot dogs, fries, chips and pizza. The pizza was good when it just came out of the oven (keep in mind pepperoni pizza to them constitutes chopped up hotdogs placed on top). The burgers were terrible, cold and hot pink inside. Both my boyfriend and I got sick the day we ate the hamburgers.

If your looking for any sort of nightlife at the resort, there isnt too much. There is entertainment in the lobby from 10-11 which constitues a game or karoake (all the mexicans did the singing in spanish.) After that is over the disco opens till 2 am. Children are allowed into the disco till 1 am and then adults have 1 hour by themselves. (Not really my idea of a good time to hang out with 5-12 year olds at a disco....

One bar stays open outside by the pizza place, but with 2 people working to serve all the people there, it is difficult to get a drink. The one bartendar Ricardo is awesome there, I must say!

People wait until everyone is in bed and then place their towels on the beach chairs so waking up past 9 am makes it very difficult to get chairs both around the pool and on the beach. Most of the chairs that do have towels on them remain unoccupied all day...

If you want a massage don't get one at the hotel its $165 for a couple. We walked down the beach to the left about 10 minutes and found an amazing massage place that offers an hour couple massage for $70 (for both people). I highly recommend going there, we went twice!

The beaches in front of the resort are beautiful, you can swim in the water and walk for miles down the beach. We will definatly miss that about the resort!

Overall for the price we paid for the trip it was ok but I would never go again. We normally stay at the Riu resorts and let me tell you, for a couple hundred dollars its worth every penny!!

Room Tip: If you want any sleep do not get a room above the lobby where you book dinner reservations.
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank A S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Prince George, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed January 9, 2012

We travel to different destinations about 3 or 4 times a year. This was an average place to stay. The buffet food wasn't all that good but the specialty restaurants were good.... If I was to go back I would eat at the snack bar the pizza was to die for. (but eat at the specialty restaurants... check with the front desk you can book sometimes for the same day most times they have room.) The rooms were okay.... kinda musty smelling which isn't good for asthmatic people so we requested a room change and we got our room change and an upgrade because we did book so far in advance. (which was very nice of them.) The one thing that we really didn't like was all the kids at the swim up bar..... drinking their pop or milkshakes that the bartenders were making. It was our understanding that the swim up bar was for the adults and that it was an adult pool. The service was good throughout the resort and the staff were willing to help with whatever you needed. The beach was great the guys at the rental place were awesome we took out boogie boards everyday and had a blast. The waves were awesome!!!

Room Tip: The rooms on the northside were quiet..... The southside wasn't bad either though
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank alley65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MarivalResorts, Marketing and Social Media at Marival Resort & Suites, responded to this review, January 28, 2012
Dear Traveler: Thank you so much for your review, we are happy to hear overall you enjoyed your stay with us. Hope to see you back in the future!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed January 6, 2012

We were there in early December. I'm not sure why, when you book so far in advance, and they aren't full, that they can't give you the room you want. Seems to me that when they get our confirmed reservation that they could put aside the 2 rooms we requested for the week that we would be there. Do they wait until you check in to see what is available?? We requested king bed, something closer to the beach and to be beside the other couple we travelled with. We got 2 rooms next to each other, however, they were at the back with trees growing into our balcony and if you could peek through the leaves, you could see a bit of the tennis courts. And our rooms had 2 double beds. My husband and I had been to this resort years ago and had such a positive experience that we recommended this resort to anyone who asked. Since the couple we were traveling with had never been, we were sure this was the place to bring them. WRONG!
When we went back to the front desk to request room changes, the girl at the front desk smiled and looked like she was going to try to help. Wrong again. She was looking at the computer and smiling at us but told us there was just nothing she could do for us - there wouldn't be anything until the following week! She suggested perhaps we would like to pay an extra $100/night for a suite that would accommodate all 4 of us. We went to look at it but again, at the back of the resort and only 1 of the bedrooms had a king bed.
When we got back to the front desk to decline the suite, she was on a break and the gentleman who helped us must have been looking at a different computer because he found us 2 rooms overlooking the pool with partial ocean views. AMAZING!
After the move to the new rooms, we were quite happy with our vacation. The place was clean, the beds were comfortable, the food was good and the service everywhere else was great!
I agree with other people that talked about the people on the beach trying to sell you something - every 5 minutes someone would be there - can't they set up and let us go to them if we want to buy???
Also, must say that the charges for the internet were ridiculously expensive. Go to the shopping centre (Paradise Village) and use the internet there - way way cheaper.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank bkpjo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lac La Biche, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed January 5, 2012

We returned in December for a another great visit. We had a nice time on the beach, we saw whales and dolphins several times, Witnessed a turtle nesting on the beach. The weather was great and very hot. We walked every morning, word to the wise get out early before it gets hot.

Drinks: Good, get the better liquor on the back shelf. The lobby bar staff are very efficient and friendly.

Food: Improved since last year, lots of flavor and some dishes were even spicy. The Amalfi (Italian) and Lui were great as usual and make the dinning a great experience. We enjoyed the ribs a La Bamba for lunch and the Panini sandwitches at the Pergola.

Room: Nice 1 bedroom clean.

Entertainment: Lots of activities to choose from, shows are nice, Mexican night was great, the buffet puts on a nice show. The Mariachi band is nice. The show that night has music and dancing from diferrent Mexican areas.


Overall: We saw a lot of improvements from last year, they were painting the buildings, new chairs at the quiet pool. Food was better, more flavor, some theme nights were nice.

Staff is the best, very friendly and helpfull.

Looking forward to our next visit

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank pjlanglois1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MarivalResorts, Marketing and Social Media at Marival Resort & Suites, responded to this review, January 28, 2012
Dear Traveler: Thank you so much for your review, we are already waiting for you!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Regina, Saskatchewan
Level 3 Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed January 5, 2012

We got a great deal mid December, and because a birthday and anniversary fell on the same month, just the two of us went. It's a former Canadian family owned resort (a Liberal senator started the place years ago - and no, there is no Montreal Italian mob connection) - very personal touch by all the restaurant/bar/cleaning/gardening staff - but the front desk not so much. Still acceptable though, nothing to whine about.

All la carte's were great - went to the Amalfi Italian restaurant twice in the 7 days, was well worth it, and again - excellent service. The buffets were all very good with lots of selection, and some of the buffets offered both menu and buffet service simultaneously which is unusual at all inclusives. We especially liked the outdoor pizzeria/buffet/bar area for snacks, lunch or a drink whenever you needed a break from the sun/surf - they'll make whatever kind of thin crust pizza you can imagine - all baked in genuine, wood-fuelled brick ovens. Breakfast was usually at their outdoor snack bar near the ocean - which still offered a full breakfast buffet.

The property itself and rooms were very clean, excellent beach and perfect for walking for miles if that's your thing. Because this beach packs hard where the waves lap, we walked more on this vacation than ever before. Buscerias, to the north is a great half-day walk/excursion. Take some flip flops, some water and $ - you'll have a great day. The pools/swim up bars were very good, well staffed and clean. The gym onsite was well equipped, and even offered free pilates and spin classes which we each took advantage of some mornings - so the guilt of over-indulgence never weighed too heavy. Trainers were great.

We went off resort a few times - sightseeing, walking the Malecon in PV which is now rebuilt/enhanced and a great place to spend a day or evening. Also did the Rhythms of the Night excursion which was a lot of fun, and the amazingly talented group of performers was a surprise. If you skip the time-share dudes - you should have a very relaxing vacation.

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a view and king size bed. Thes rooms are more spacious with the one larger bed.
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank AJLRegina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mountain View, CA
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed January 3, 2012

The people who work here and their excellent service, the cleanliness, and the upkeep of the grounds are the saving grace of this resort. I would pass on everything else.

And you'd better do your research before you show up because once you're there, you're on your own without any guidance. For instance, you can make reservations for the restaurants between 8am and 5pm at the concierge, and we got there at 4:30 and didn't know, so we were stuck with the snack bar and buffet that night.

I'm from the bay area, mid 30's and went with friends. If this sounds like you, stay in PV and not in NV (many more families with kids). We spent $20 each way going to and from PV in order to experience more of the city, restaurants and bars.

We were a bit lost about what to do upon arrival at the airport, so we changed money there. Honestly the rate and charges were exactly the same as in the hotel. And in December of 2011, it should cost about 150 pesos to get to the hotel (about $13). Taxi drivers will take american dollars though (at least from the airport), so you don't have to exchange at the airport.

Checking in - if you want a safe, be advised it's small so your ipad / laptops won't fit. It also doesn't seem very "safe."

For adults with taste buds, the food was almost unbearable. The pizza looked like a sliced, frozen child's pizza, and it was left out under heat lamps where birds easily could snack on it, and the buffet is revolting.

We mainly ate at La Pergola which is a la carte, and the food there was decent, but not great. We also ate at the mexican restaurant which you'd think would be incredible, but again just OK. The last night we ate at La Pergola for dinner and the pasta was gross. Also not the most vegetarian friendly, though they will accomodate.

There is no free wifi anywhere in the hotel, but if you borrow a bike and ride down to Starbucks, you can buy something and get the wifi code on your receipt. Also many of the restaurants and bars in PV have free wifi - you just have to ask.

If you decide to pay for wifi, it's $65 USD for 5 days and it's per device, not per room.

If you go into PV, we had a decent meal at ViteA, and also the restaurant above Murphy's Irish Pub (which is also a great place with awesome bartenders). We looked at Frommers for recc's since yelp appears to be USA only. One of our favorite bars was called El Patio de mi Casa.

Two of us had massages at the Marival residences (rated #1 on trip advisor). The massage was good, but the spa itself is a much smaller scale than anything in america and the tables themselves, as well as bedding did not seem the cleanest. But again, the people there make you feel so comfortable that you can overlook some things.

Overall it was a nice stay but just painful when it came to eating and far away from any of the action of the city. I want to go back and stay in PV and get more of a chance to explore there.

Also we stayed right off the main lobby and all the floors are tile so if you want to sleep in, I don't even know where else you can go. Just be prepared for lots of noise and echos.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank LJDUGAN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MarivalResorts, Marketing and Social Media at Marival Resort & Suites, responded to this review, January 28, 2012
Dear Traveler: Thank you for your comments on your resent visit to our resort. We are happy to learn you enjoyed your stay with us, and regret that the location was not the ideal for you. We will be happy to be of service if you give visit us again in the future!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Marival Resort & Suites

Property: Marival Resort & Suites
Address: Blvd. Paseo Cocoteros S/N, Nuevo Vallarta 63732, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Pacific Coast > Nayarit > Riviera Nayarit > Nuevo Vallarta
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#5 Business Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#8 Family Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#10 Spa Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#10 Top resorts Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#10 Luxury Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#12 Romantic Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#14 On the Beach Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Marival Resort & Suites 4*
Number of rooms: 495
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Something Different, Something Better! Welcome to a unique lively beachfront all-inclusive just 10 minutes from Puerto Vallarta airport! Comfortable rooms, special locations- new Mediterranean style Resort Rooms and exceptional 1-3 Bedroom Villa Style Suites starting at 570 sq ft up to 1261 sq ft including Ocean Front. One to Three Bedroom Suites are perfect for families or couples that want to spread out including two story 2 Bedroom Suites and Ocean Front steps from the sea! Romantics and families enjoy endless choices in dining, activities, laying back and relaxing. International all-inclusive dining redefined, award winning chefs offer gourmet dining at 6 restaurants. Treat yourself to 7 bars including swim-up, piano and martini bars. Endless land and water sports- rock climbing wall, activity pool, adults only pool, tennis, disco, evening theater shows, mini-golf and more! Kids waterpark pool, pirate ship, waterslides and fountains. Special kids and teens club programs too. For couples- renew your vows, get married or honeymoon on the beach. For families- the ultimate all-inclusive Family Emotion program with over 10 included extras customized just for your family! Enjoy sea, sun and nonstop fun at Marival Resort and Suites. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Marival Hotel Nuevo Vallarta
Marival Resort And Suites

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