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Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit
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Reviewed October 22, 2012

My husband and I decided to take our vacation in Mexico the week of my birthday. We exchanged our Hawaii timeshare and had to pay the All-inclusive ($2,716 USD) ourselves. I thought that was rather high, but since we had already made the exchange and our airline reservations, we went ahead with our plans. The good news was that because we pre-paid those fees, we only had to pay for 6 days and the 7th day was free. Otherwise the fees would have been even higher. The resort however, DID furnish our transportation TO their resort, but we had to pay for the return trip to the airport.

I was dreading the possibility of having to attend a timeshare sales presentation. But upon arrival at the resort, instead...we got a free massage while we were waiting to check-in!!! It was wonderful!!! The resort is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!! But it was all of the hard working staff that made this vacation the BEST we have ever taken!!!

I thought the food/drinks at most of the restaurants were fantastic except Frida's, the Mexican restaurant. I only say that because I was looking forward to authentic Mexican food that I was familiar with (like homemade enchilda's, tamale's, etc.) and was really disappointed when I didn't see it on the menu. I went ahead and ordered the steak entree cooked medium-well... instead, it came back still very red and bloody on the inside!!! The server did offer to take it back though or bring me something else. Since Lucca's (Italian) was going to be closed on my birthday, they suprised me with a special desert and sang happy birthday along with the piano player's accompaniment. We ended up going to Piaf (French restaurant) for my actual birthday. Once again the staff surprised me with a special desert and sang happy birthday.

I think our favorite restaurants would have to have been the Azul - which serves International food (Mexican, Oriental, Italian, grilled and Deli), and the Selva del Mar (located by the Aqua bar) - which serves light fare food (traditional Mexican Taco's, chips/Guacamole, hamburgers, etc.).

After a day of sun and fun, we went back to our room where the bed with fresh linens was turned down for us and chocolate mints were awaiting for us. The mini bar was fully restocked. Fresh towels. I could go on and on.

It was well worth every penny!!! Would LOVE to be able to go back

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank BrendaGerling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ixchel M, Guest Relations Manager at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, responded to this reviewResponded December 1, 2012

Dear Guest,

We would like to express our most sincere gratitude for your positive comments about our Resort. At Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit it’s our compromise to fulfill our guest’s expectations. We are glad you enjoyed your vacation experience with us; we sincerely hope to have the fortune of welcoming you back anytime soon!!

One again than you for making us part of tour birthday celebration. I am glad to know that the service was great and that you enjoyed the Restaurant Azul. I will make sure to congratulate everybody at Azul since they are exceptional people.

Please Dear guest do not hesitate in contacting me if you need any further information on your next visit.

Best Regards!

IXCHEL MENDOZA SAMANO
Chief Concierge
Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit
T: +52 (322) 226 8007
imendoza@grandvelas.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 20, 2012

My husband, and myself just came back from Grand Velas in Riviera Nayarit (Puerto Vallarta). Great place, and here are the details -

Beach: Weather in October was great if you like it warm and on a slightly humid side. Ocean water was rather on a hot side (not warm, but hot) which I like. Hotel has a small, but nice beach in front of it, and in absence of waves associated with tides, it is very nice to swim there. There are daybeds with umbrellas, and you can order drinks, or food while on the beach.

Pool: beautiful infinity pools with great views, and poolside food, and drink service

Buffets: More than sufficient selection of excellent seafood, and meats. Great variety, quality of sushi, ceviches, seafood, meat dishes. and the best flank steak I ever had (so soft, it melted in your mouth). Never made it to buffet during dinner as we were dining at their specialty restaurants, but if lunch is any indication, then dinner should be even better. Breakfast buffet was good, but nothing memorable.

Specialty Restaurants: I consider myself a gourmet, and on a picky side, however I must give full credit to each of the 3 restaurants. It is very difficult to rate one above the other as service, presentation, food quality and variety, and ambiance was great in each of them. Chilean Seabass at Frida was unbelievable (it is a Mexican restaurant, but I would qualify it as French/Mexican fusion in every respect. This restaurant does seem to stand out), so was the rack of lamb in Italian (great Cabernet reduction sauce), and seared scallops with white truffle oil in French. Too many dishes yet to try, so little time. One negative - all menus have rather high prices on them. Don't be surprised to see a total of about $300 per dinner, but do not be afraid as it is adjusted to $0 at the end as it is after all an All Inclusive resort. One may ask then: "Why have prices there anyway?" It is not obvious at first, but then your waiter will point out to you that your total is $0, but if you would like to leave some percentage as a tip then you can use these numbers as a reference. Concierge said that prices are there just in case someone from outside resort wonders in for a $300 meal (Yea, right!). I think that resort should have menu without prices for all guests, and perhaps a copy of a menu with prices for the "occasional visitor". People should leave something extra for great service (and it is great, and I did leave extra tips), but they should not be pressured into it, not even to the slightest degree.

Alcohol: Great selection of top shelf Tequilas, Vodkas, Cognacs, etc., and good variety of liquors. All mixes are made from fresh ingredients, and do not have any chemical taste - which is great. Wine selection/quality on all inclusive wine list is horrible. Even wines available for a fee ($5 wines which are sold for $50) are not that great. $30-$50 wines are sold for $300+, and are better, but....

Suites:Large, clean, with large bathrooms, and horrible smell of mold/mildew. I have tried to aerate all of my clothing for 3 days after coming home, and no luck. Hope dry cleaners will have better luck. Odor is EXTREMELY strong, and makes air in the room barely breathable. Beds, pillows, and linens are excellent. Not too many English channels on TV, but acceptable.

Service: Fantastic

Entertainment: None at all.

If you like activities of any kind then try another resort. On this resort you enjoy great food, you sleep, you swim, you relax, or use gym (Gym is very good, but I have not seen anyone there. myself included).

The only resort that I think is on the level with Grand Velas is Iberostar Grand Bavaro (Iberostar Grand has entertainment as well as another plus - it is adults only resort, unlike Grand Velas). Specialty restaurants are better at Grand Velas, so are the pools, rooms are on the same level as far as size/quality are concerned, but based on my experience, other things are better at the Iberostar Grand Bavaro (beach, entertainment, night life, for example). I am in luxury travel business myself, and travel a great deal for relaxation, and work, and I think that it would be rather hard to find a place which could provide you more luxury, or relaxation than Grand Velas. Without a doubt there is nothing better on the West coast. If anyone from Grand Velas is reading this - PLEASE get rid of the musty smell in the rooms, and I shall change my rating of the hotel from 4 to 5, and rooms from average to excellent!

Room Tip: Ask for a room without musty smell, if they have one in existence.
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank IsabelTravel_LA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 5, 2012

We originally came for our honeymoon last year and fell in love with this resort. The staff was wonderful and the food was amazing. The head Chef in Piaf Marco Antonio Hernandez Verdias was wonderful! He was not only professional and sweet in nature but made us fantastic 8 course tasting dinners. When we came for this trip for our one year wedding anniversary we found out he was demoted and we were heartbroken. He still cooked for us along with the executive chef Claudio Hotter who was amazing as well. However, the service completely changed to no more bottle service in your suite, to rudeness with front desk staff. We were so very disappointed in our stay which should have been magical. We are hoping they go back to how they were and bring back Chef Marco Antonio.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Rachel F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ixchel M, Guest Relations Manager at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, responded to this reviewResponded October 11, 2012

Dear Guest,

Please allow me to thank you for sharing your feelings regarding your recent stay with us. Of course it is never pleasant to hear one of our guests has encountered dissatisfaction during their stay.

We are committed to excellence without exception and our guests’ satisfaction is the most important point.

Once again thank you for your preference and feedback. We really hope to have the honor to see you again in the near future.

Best Regards
IXCHEL MENDOZA SAMANO
Chief Concierge
Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit
T: +52 (322) 226 8007
imendoza@grandvelas.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 5, 2012

We found this resort on Forbe's Magazine's Top 10 All-Inclusive Resorts and were instantly drawn in by the gorgeous photos of the resort & their food.

We have been to Mexico twice before (Cancun & Cozumel) and were incredibly underwhelmed by the all-inclusive amenities and the lack-luster food/alcohol choices. Not so with Grand Velas!!

We didn't book their honeymoon package, but our travel agent put that we were honeymooners on our reservation... we were upgraded to an ocean view room (even though it was still mostly pool view, it was fantastic!) on check-in. We were greeted with a refreshing tea and cool wash cloth and invited to sit down for check-in instead of waiting at the desk. Within 10 minutes, we were given a tour of the resort and shown all the features of our room.. our favorites: over 1,000 square feet, separate tub/shower, tiled, clean shower and CLEAN bathrooms, beautiful walk-out balcony, Nespresso machine (DELICIOUS espresso every morning!) and a well-stocked fridge.

Fifteen minutes after arriving and settling down in our room, we were greeted with a delicious dessert & complimentary bottle of champagne for our honeymoon. Despite not paying extra for our honeymoon, we were constantly given "perks" for being honeymooners: a penguin @ the pool filled with rum, special desserts at all the restaurants & of course many, many "congratulations!"

Since it was September, it was their slow season and there was almost no one else on the resort which meant plenty of great chairs/views and beach-space. We were the only two in the pool before noon, playing frisbee, we boogie-boarded (provided for free by the resort) for about an hour every afternoon... the beach was incredible, soft sand, no sea-weed and water was a perfect temperature.

We relaxed by the pool from 9-3 every day... with Alfredo & Frank as our pool bartenders, making delicious strawberry margaritas with Malibu, we drank all day long! They had other top-shelf all-included alcohol: Absolut, Crown, Don Julio, etc. it was great!

We at all our breakfasts at Azul, with a good variety and delicious omelets - everyone was really nice there every morning. For lunch we either went to Azul or had our food from the snack bar at our chairs by the pool (really cool!). The only thing I could say about Azul is that the food could be hotter, but it was still delicious.

The three restaurants Frida (Mexican), Lucca (Italian), Piaf (French) were all delicious! Our favorites were Lucca & Piaf. The ambiance is absolutely incredible for an all-inclusive meal. They invite you to order multiple appetizers and dessert and just keep feeding you! We drank an entire bottle of wine one night in one dinner. The reservations were easy to get, we at at Lucca twice and the other two once in 6 days. I'm assuming that's because there weren't that many people there.

The staff is also the most courteous and helpful people I have ever seen! They do EVERYTHING for you! Carry your food to your table, carry your towels to your chairs, ask if you are doing ok or need anything all the time without being pushy or seeming like they are asking you to tip them... all gratuities were included which helped take the burden off of us as far as that goes.

We were so sad to leave and are already planning to return for our 5-year anniversary... maybe sooner depending on how long we can keep ourselves away! Highly recommended!

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank nicolebrown2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 21, 2012

I will try to give you an overall review of our experience in this resort and location.

NUEVO VALLARTA. This is a new realstate development close to old Puerto Vallarta ( 15/20 min from the airport, 30 min to Puerto Vallarta). Puerto Vallarta is a very traditional mexican fisherman town that was world wide published in the 60´s by Elizabeth Taylor and other Hollywood big stars. This new development is at the most 15 years old and I believe will give a lot to tell in the years to come. It was developed in the other end of a nice (and huge bay) , so you get the benefit of a beautiful beach , but you will only see new resorts , if you want to visit old Puerto Vallarta you need a cab and a 30 minute ride. You find all sort of resorts in this area , from basic ones to high end resorts as the Grand Velas. If you are looking to get in touch with a more mexican envioroment and culture than in other locations like Can Cun and Cabos , this is the place to go. Nicely secluded from crowds but very easy to get in touch with the local culture.
Definitively worth a tyr.
GRAND VELAS
My wife and I had high expectations due to some recommendations that we got from friends. As well we visited some high end resorts in Can Cun , and let me tell you we were surprised with the class and quality of this resort. First of all the service that they have , hats off to the managers and staff. Not a "pushy" service at all , just perfect. Upon arrival forget about front desk service, we were kindly invited to sit down and take a minute to relax and enjoy being in the resort , suddenly a staff member came with a cold glass of "agua de jamaica" a very traditional mexican cold tea and cold fabric tissues with lovely aroma. And out of the blue two hostess came and offer us a 3 minute complementary back massage.
Not a hughe resort. Within a short working distance you will find enything you need in a very cosy enviroment. Overall the resort is textually spotless. You can see a lot of maintenance guys taking care of the gardens , buildings , pools, etc.
Food and drinks are all high end. For breakfast and lunch you will find very nice buffet served in a restaurant facing the beach and for dinner you can choose italian, french , and mexican food. Nevertheless the food is very good I could tell that this could be the only thing in which the resort has some room for improvement, but certainly nothing to disminish our experience. The night restaurant were vey nice and having a pianist, a trombonist and a guitarrist in each restaurant was a very nice detail.
ROOMS. Vey nice and compfortable. We received a call from our concierge as we arraived our room and offer to make reservations the the restaurants for the 3 days of our stay. It has a jacussi in every suite , ask the concierge if you want to have it set up for you. All others high end ammenities.
SPA. Expensive but worth every penny!! Try it , this will be a life time experience, first class.
WEATHER and water temperature perfect , a little bit of rain during the last morning. Long , very clean and nice beach if you like to take long walks. We were there from sept 16 to 21 and occupancy was less than 10% so the resort was almost for ourselves.
CONS. We like going to only aduts resorts, we took the chance to go to this one in which families are allowed and it was very nice , for family vacation season like chistmas or summer it migh be a different story.
We wanted to play tenis but the tenis court was out of service due to maintenance. I'm sure that if we would have requested to find another court for us they would have done it, but it was not a big deal for us.

OVERALL. We are looking to return by chistamas with the whole family and enjoy the velas.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank xaviergr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ixchel M, Public Relations Manager at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, responded to this reviewResponded September 25, 2012

Dear Guest,

On behalf of all Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit staff we thank you for your preference and loyalty. We appreciate your kind words dedicated to our beautiful resort. Your recommendation is a true honor for us.

Once again thank you for your opinion and great recommendations. We hope to welcome you again in a near future.
Sincerely

IXCHEL MENDOZA SAMANO
Chief Concierge
Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit
T: +52 (322) 226 8007
imendoza@grandvelas.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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