Just returned from Grand Velas & will share while it's all still fresh. My husband & I traveled with our 12 year old daughter and were at the Velas for the week. Our expectations were mixed and we have traveled Mexico a few times in the past including another all inclusive resort in Cancun.
Upon our arrival we were greeted with several friendly and accommodating staff members. I do not exaggerate by saying this is THE best arrival we have ever encountered at a resort. Our bags were handled, our concierge led us to a beautiful seated area, we were brought a fresh damp infused washcloth to refresh, hibiscus iced tea AND a mini neck message from a spa attendant while our concierge checked us in and returned with our welcome packet and necessary information. The reception area is grand and absolutely beautiful and enticing. The warm and friendly staff made us feel at home and welcome. We were shown to our room (Master suite - which is only the standard room) and were delighted with the spaciousness and small extras that really made a big difference for us (mini bar stocked with complimentary drinks and snacks each day, L'Occitaine toiletries, beautiful bedding, slippers, beach basket, etc.). Our balcony had a great "bed" for the perfect afternoon siesta while listening to the waves as well as a chair and side table. The bathroom was wonderful, generous space, jacuzzi tub, walk in shower, double sinks, make up / mirror area & separate commode.
We were impressed with the grounds and pool area - felt they were represented very accurately on the website, this site & elsewhere. (yes, it's that beautiful!!) There are tons of poolside chairs, umbrellas and seating areas both covered and in full sun - come day 3, it's nice to have the option of still being outside and not in full sun, trust me! Swim.Up.Bar = awesome! The pools are really wonderful, we found it hard to be anywhere else to be honest, great temperature, beautiful surroundings, great view and drinks right there. The beach is marginal, but the water is warm and oh so enjoyable. There are small cabanas & many beach lounge chairs set out on the beach and these we found to be very accessible when the pool area was not available (more on that later). Kayaks and boogie boards are readily available and included in the inclusive package. We completely enjoyed the Kayak tour one of the mornings and learned a great deal about the area and the local ocean. I lost a great pair of sunglasses while boarding with my daughter, but we had so much fun I was quickly over it. Watch out for the sting rays, they are quite prolific even in the shallow water, you'll see them as the waves crash on shore. Though we were touched by plenty of them, we had no negative encounters, but just be aware.
Over all we thought the food was good to very good. Certainly better than any other resort inclusive we've encountered. First morning we had room service for breakfast - it was good, not great. We elected to head to Azul the rest of the days for breakfast and found that better - head to the omelette bar. The fresh fruit & juice selection is wonderful. These were our mainstays. We ate here most of the time for lunch as well and found the selection to be good for all of us (there is a separate children's buffet with the usual kid friendly favorites). It is all very adequate and you'll be able to find something but I can see that it would get a little old after a few days. Truly the cuisine highlight of this resort are the specialty restaurants Frieda, Lucca & Piaf which are really good. Do not miss them and get reservations made before you arrive (via email). I'm very hard pressed to name my favorite, but they are worthwhile and you absolutely will enjoy the menu selections and the attentive service. I even found that my daughter was being a little more adventurous by reading through the selections and making choices that we haven't seen her do before - outside the realm of mac & cheese, chicken fingers, sandwiches! Great opportunity for kids to expand their cuisine horizons. They will bring you whatever you need though, even if it isn't on the menu, though we didn't throw that option out to her. They also made her a "dinner cocktail" which made her feel special each night as well. We even tried their special dinner cocktail a few nights (of the adult variety) and were pleasantly surprised. The inclusive wine list is pretty basic, but we found a few gems on there that were tried and true - French sparkling rosé and a Chilean sav. blanc. There is also an additional "extra cost" wine list that is solid.
It is pretty hot and humid here during this time of year (thunder storm in the evening pretty usual) so the AC is cranked up pretty high in the rooms. I find this constant extreme very hard on my immune system and I finally adjusted the temp of our room to be less extreme. I found again, after a couple days, your body adjusts as well and the heat is less hot. Unlike many places, the temp. controls in the rooms, worked very well.
My only issues at all with this resort were minor and a matter of preference no doubt. When we arrived, I did notice a long table to the side with a sign "Edward Jones Tours". Confirming with our concierge that there was in fact a large (250 pp) conference going on put everything in a slightly different light for me. I completely understand why this resort takes these large groups and certainly respect their prerogative and business model to do so. At no time did I feel neglected due to the EJ crowd by staff. I was irritated when on our first morning we could not find ANY pool chairs available because they were all saved well in advance. We did find some great chairs by the beach however and the following day, got in the early morning "save your spot" kind of mode. At various times I observed little pay offs happening with pool attendants put in charge of handling large blocks of chair "reservations". It is they way things are done in Mexico, so I guess you roll with it to get what you want. Aside from this, I didn't feel terribly impacted by the conference crowd.
For me, cocktails were pretty watered down. But if you're in the pool most of the day, that's probably a good thing. I like things a little on the harder side and not so fruity and light. They are very available though and the bar service is attentive and good.
I'm always a little shocked when a facility of this caliber charges for wifi, especially given that they cater to the business conference crowd (separate charge for each device). Being a bit of a workaholic, this is a difficult thing for me. Between my husband, daughter and I we could have easily spent $200+ in wifi. We made the conscious decision to put work on ice and disconnect for a few days and ultimately that was a good thing, I don't remember the last time I just let it all go. By day 3, you won't even care quite honestly because you will be in the groove of enjoying where you are and you'll realize that whatever is happening on your iPhone/iPad can wait until you're done with a gracious dose of the good life!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Discover the most luxurious all-inclusive resort in the Puerto Vallarta area; a retreat of lavish beauty and comfort that is sure to exceed your expectations. Having revolutionized the all-inclusive concept, Grand Velas is pleased to offer you a "Beyond All Inclusive, Beyond All Compare" vacation experience with exceptional gourmet dining, world-class hospitality, and luxurious accommodations in a spectacular setting on Mexico's golden coast. Experience a breathtaking resort and spa near Puerto Vallarta that seduces your senses and rejuvenates your spirit. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Velas All Hotel Nuevo Vallarta
- Grand Velas All Suites And Spa Resort
- Grand Velas Hotel
- Grand Velas Nuevo Vallarta
- Grand Velas Vallarta