I just returned from a weeks stay at the new Iberostar property in Playa Mita, Mexico. Overall I can say that this was one of the better Mexico vacations I have had in the last few years (though it was not hard to better the Riu Jalisco in Puerto Vallarta---last year's resort). The Iberostar property just opened in Dec of 2013. That being the case, 98% of the staff is on board to securing great word of mouth referrals and hence is on top of their game. The property itself is beautiful! It is located about a 35 minute cab ride outside of Puerto Vallarta from the airport. I highly recommend you do NOT take a bus if you are booking a vacation package. Pay the extra 100 bucks and secure private transfer. This will shorten your trip considerably! The property is secluded for the most part....there is a new resort being built next store, but other than that there isn't much out there. If you want to do activities in town I'd suggesting staying elsewhere or being ready to shell out about 100 bucks round trip and an hour and a half of your day. If your idea of a great vacation is spending time doing nothing but relaxing, enjoying great service, a wonderful pool, wonderful liquor / drink options and good food, than this is the place for you.
The following are things I think you should know if you are going to be staying at the Iberostar Playa Mita or considering it. This is a bit long, but everything I wish I knew before I went:
1. Do not pay the extra for the standard ocean view rooms. They really are not that great of a view and only differ from the standard tropical by floor---higher floors are a better view. In my mind, the view was not worth the extra cost.
2. The pool is cold. At least it was when I was there. (Jan 27-Feb 2nd). The pool is NOT heated which is really unacceptable when you think of the amount of money the property put into the pool itself. But in the winter months the temp still gets down in the 50s and 60s at night and a lot of heat is lost. The water was bearable but I found myself unable to enjoy the swim-up bar because it was too cold.
3. The front desk staff was the least enjoyable part of my trip. They seem to be in their own world up there and are really not the most welcoming. (I had a problem with my room from the start and that problem ate up 3 hours of my afternoon before I was finally settled in the correct room...and the front desk never apologized or called to see if I was settled and happy. My sister's family had a very similar experience. The jest of it is that the front desk is the gateway to the hotel and your first impression may not be good. Mine was not. Luckily everything else improved tremendously! (also, the hotel was booked at about only 40% capacity when I was there and yet they still were asking full price for upgrades. This is not sound business...lower the asking price for upgrades and everyone wins if the hotel is empty).
4. The buffet staff are the best bunch of workers I have ever seen. They are the most polite and hard working staff I have come across in 8 years of going to the area. The breakfast and lunch options were great. The fruit is amazing. The food overall is just plain excellent. I especially enjoyed the friendship of Octavia and his colleagues. (The workers are great with kids as well). I cannot say enough about the service. I did not enjoy the buffet at night so I cannot comment on the food there.
5. The restaurants are wonderful. I highly, highly recommend the Japanese restaurant. For some reason that was the easiest to get reservations at and it should be the hardest---it had the best food and the best service and great coffee drinks/presentation at the end. While I generally do not like Hibachi all that much, I cannot say enough about this option. The steak house is also very good---I ate there twice and the meat was always cooked to perfection with great flavor. Don't expect a Manny's or Shula's like steak, but do expect excellent service and great food. The Mexican restaurant was probably the most disappointing from a taste perspective---but that may be because as an American I am overly used to Mexican restaurants having the combo platters and Americanized meals. The meals here were clearly more authentic. That being as it may, I see lots of room for improvement on the taste of food here. The train dinning experience is touted as the best---and the food really is amazingly good. The catch is, the way the train restaurant is run is so frustratingly slow and disoriented, that despite the great food I was literally crawling out of my chair ready to leave on each visit. (They waiter basically has to do everything and they seem to book in blocks and serve in blocks. The inefficiency at this restaurant is amazing. They really have some work to do here because the food has the potential to make this place the best option).
6). The Liquor options were great. Many top shelf items. Not as good as a Sandals resort, but close. And definitely better than most all inclusive as far as liquor options go. The lobby bar makes the best drinks. The pool bars are good. There is a beautiful bar that looks out at the ocean above the ocean side suites that closes way too early...if this place stayed open till sunset and beyond, I can promise it would be the busiest at the resort.
7). The entertainment staff is great. They can be a little pushy to try and get you involved, but they are just doing their job and will respect you if you are honest and tell them no thank you. They'll come and ask again the next go around, but always in fun. The kids club worker was the best---my niece and nephew thought she was amazing. Geraldo is a wonderfully personable individual. The event staff works ridiculous hours---long and hard---from like 8AM to 11:30 PM. They staff the pools and whatnot and then provide the entertainment at night.
8). The evening entertainment is pretty good when compared to other places. They work hard and the theater is actually state of the art from what I have seen. Give it a chance---we did and we ended up going back a few nights---that is unheard of for my group. The lobby bar also has a wonderful piano player early on---very talented and a good band later in the night.
9). If you like to lay on the ocean beach or swim in the ocean, I do not think this is the best place for you. The option in there, but the waves are huge and the rip tide can be intense. (Remember there isn't the bay to lessen the wave activity). My niece would also point out that the ocean didn't have any shells for her to pick up on the beach :) Personally I laid around on a open, flat deck that looked out into the ocean. This was the most beautiful spot on the whole property. Also note that the lounge chairs on the property (not on the beach which are the typical plastic and less comfortable ones) were the best! Very nice, fully reclining, clean and incredibly comfortable.
10). Enjoy your trip! This place is good enough where I'd go back. I can't say that about many resorts when you consider all the options one has.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- IBEROSTAR Playa Mita, a 5-star Premium Gold hotel located in Punta Mita, Riviera Nayarit, offers a relaxing and all-inclusive atmosphere complete with mouthwatering international dishes and endless activities for guests of all ages. Standing tall in beautiful Punta Mita, on Mexico’s Pacific coast, IBEROSTAR Playa Mita is conveniently located 25 miles from Puerto Vallarta International Airport. ... more less
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