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“Mexican Oasis - great place to unplug”

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Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit
Ranked #1 of 27 Hotels in Nuevo Vallarta
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
San Luis Obispo, California
Level 6 Contributor
142 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
“Mexican Oasis - great place to unplug”
Reviewed August 3, 2013

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!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Canafornian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed August 2, 2013 via mobile

Grate quality the service is excellent food is really something espectacular, is one all inclusive that really includes everything , the rooms are big and luxury . All the people is very kind, excellent things to do for kids

  • Stayed August 2013
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Helpful?
1 Thank Nts1977
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed July 22, 2013

We just came back from this vacation! What can I say! This is probably one of the nicest resorts we have visited. We have been to many high end resorts in Mexico, DR and Turks..this one is up there with the best! The grounds are breathtaking and immaculate. The bathrooms in the pool area were always clean, never saw wet floors or stalls. The service at the Pool was fantastic. Alejandro remembered us from check in and always came over to greet us and make sure we had everything we needed. The rooms are very clean. We had originally had two Ambassador Penthouse suites. When we got to our rooms, both only had one king bed..we are a family of five and had requested 2 queens and a king. I called down to the front desk and spoke with Victor. I explained the situation and he told me the other room had a jacuzzi that was not in working order. After we expressed that we would rather have the beds than the jacuzzi we asked if he could help us find a room together instead. Well let me tell you, he right away accommodated us and put us in a 2 bedroom Governor's suite! This room was fabulous..they moved our bags immediately to the new room and came down to find us at the snack bar to give us our new keys.
The food is great. Breakfast has everything you could ask for. Lunch had so many varieties along with someone grilling fresh fish, chicken and steak everyday! Five star dining at the indoor restaurants. There were always three waiters taking care of us wherever we ate!
Lastly, a lot of the previous reviews complained of the conventions that go on at the hotel, and that it took away from people's vacations because they catered to them. I had read them as well and hoped there would not be any when we arrived. Well there was an Edward Jones convention that was arriving the same day as of. I was not happy initially because of what I thought was waiting for me for the week. Do Not Listen to them!! There was no special treatment of them and less service to us. The hotel catered to all of the guests the same. We were able to have reservations whenever we wanted, seats at the pool, drinks at the bar..you name it.
We traveled with our friends and their family and we all had a great experience and can't wait to go back!! Excellent!!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
6 Thank Sofia P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level 5 Contributor
63 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed July 19, 2013

I recently visited Grand Velas for the 5th time and it is my heaven on earth! I can't wait to go back. The food is great, the rooms are really spacious and comfortable and clean. All the staff are great. What I like is that usually when you meet people there, no one is there for the first time. We are devoted, repeat customers!

My only concern is that between June last year and May this year there was a lot of staff turnover. In past years I'd recognize pool waiters. This year, most were gone. AND they did away with an entire section of staff -- the pool staff. So, that means they dropped the cushy service of cleaning sunglasses, etc. Now all the new waiters adjust the umbrellas. I guess you can't ask existing staff to take on the new duties.....? I'm not sure. But, I noticed the change and I just hope it's not a sign of changes they are making for the worse.

PLEASE don't take away my piece of heaven. I can't wait to go back, but I'd be heartbroken if their level of service decreases. For anyone considering a stay though, I can recommend it. You'll love it!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank Anne2StLouis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bellingham, Washington, United States
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed July 16, 2013

What a great time at the Grand Velas. It was one of the most relaxing vacations I've had. My family and I arrived on a Sunday and had a car waiting for us to take us to the resort. When we arrived, our bags were taken to our room while we checked in. The check in process was smooth. We were provided with hibiscus Ice Teas and a massage. When we were walking towards our room, a nice gentleman stopped and offered to take us to our room. He explained how everything worked in the room, from room service to how to turn on the lights.

The most fun we had was spending time at the pool. The infinity pool was a delight. Our kids, age 12 and 8 enjoyed this very much. We were able to get drinks at the cabana pool bar all day. They catered to kids, which was nice. Our bartender Juan was a lot of fun. He was very accommodating as I probably ordered every fufu drink imaginable. He also was very nice to my kids, making them virgin drinks and smoothies.

The Beach was nice as well. Except for the stingrays which kept us out of the ocean. We did go in once - the resort provides boogie boards at no cost. Also, we were able to kayak, which were also offered at no charge. I also enjoyed the bike tour in the morning. My son and I did this twice. They took us to the dolphin adventure center. We saw a baby dolphin, seals and iguanas. These were nice benefits.

There also is a summer kids camp that included horseback riding, zip lining, bungee jumping, and photo opportunities with a sea lion - "Flash". It's was a added bonus. Kept the kids interested and busy.

The food was fantastic. I enjoyed the bountiful assortment of food at the buffet - Azul. You can really pick and choose a wide variety of food all day. The staff kept the food fresh and enticing. We did enjoy Lucca too. The rack of lamb was incredible. Service was outstanding.

In closing, I would highly recommend this resort for families. The staff is very accommodating and were extremely nice. Make this your next vacation.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank Frank E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hull, Georgia
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed July 15, 2013 via mobile

Great service. Stayed for a week. You feel like a king here. Beach not amazing but pool and hotel is tops. Lovely rooms and room service was great. Entertainment on site is just ok. Restaurants are ok. Not amazing food. But you feel special and it's very comfortable.

Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
4 Thank meldeb3k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed July 15, 2013

Probably the best service I have ever had at any resort. We booked this trip on Orbitz and I did read a lot of the reviews and even though I agree with a lot of the Two and Three Stars, I just believe that there was too much good that outweighed some of the bad. I don't think you can find a resort that is perfect in anyway because a lot of it has to do with the people that are staying that which is out of the staff and hotel's control.

When we arrived we took the VIP service transportation which you can get to from the airport, they have a kiosk and they can bill directly to your room. I liked this because I was not familiar with the taxi service there and I didn't want the hassle to figure it out when I arrive on vacation. Traveling is stressful enough. We arrived and the staff took our luggage while we were greeted with Hibiscus Juice, a cold towel, and a 5 minute massage with a menu of the spa services. I had already contacted someone from the spa via email to schedule a couples massage and it was already in their system.

We stayed in Room 301 which was a very nice suite at the end of the hall facing the ocean and the white pillars. The room was large and spacious, I particularly enjoyed the balcony with a bed that was so nice to lay down in the morning and evenings. The room has a DVD player which I thought was nice but our ipads were already stored with movies. The shower was wonderful, very spacious with a huge jaquzzi tub which I never used :( The mini bar in the room can be stored with whatever beverages you like. In the morning the resort provides you information about pool and beach activities during the day.

We went on a bicycle tour that takes you to Adventures Vallarta where you can plan and schedule any activities such as swimming with the dolphins, booze cruise, and zipline. I felt the only thing the resort lacked was the evening entertainment. It doesn't bring in a crowd.

There were lots of families on this trip, we weren't expecting that, the pool cabana bar was definitely a highlight of our week but we didn't like that children were in the pool. There really needs to be 1 adult pool with the bar service. Also, you need to get up in the morning and save a spot if you want a good location at the pool with an ocean view. We got there around 8am every morning, dropped off our things and headed to lunch. The pool bar doesn't open until 11 but you can order drinks through your pool concierge. The pool didn't play any music which I was disappointed about, but the service at the bar and pool was great. I felt we left making great friends. Juan Vazquez can mix you up a mean cocktail. The best drinks I have ever had!! Alfredo Meza, his partner in crime was wonderful too. At the pool Margarita Ortega was so diligent getting our drinks and food. The food was good but I wouldn't call it amazing, but what do you expect when serving that many people. It was still above average.

The couples massage at the spa was wonderful, one of the best massages I have ever had. Overall, the restaurants and service were wonderful and now that we know that it is very kid friendly we are bringing our kids the next we go. We will be back!!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank JenniferRae84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit

Property: Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit
Address: Av Cocoteros 98 Sur | Riviera Nayarit, Mexico C.P. 63735, Nuevo Vallarta 63735, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Pacific Coast > Nayarit > Riviera Nayarit > Nuevo Vallarta
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#1 Romantic Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#1 Spa Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#1 Luxury Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#1 Family Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#2 Business Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit 5*
Number of rooms: 267
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

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