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Samba Vallarta All Inclusive
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Reviewed March 10, 2012

This hotel was not a 3 (average) and not a 4 (very good), it was about 3.5 on my scale.

We stayed at the Samba Vallarta from Feb 22 to 29. It was a nice resort to stay at. This is our 4th trip to Mexico. We have stayed at the Riu Jalisico next door and the Friendly Hola Vallarta to give you an idea of what we are comparing against.

The resort as many are saying has been remodelled and updated. We found the rooms very nice, the beds were actually comfortable! The safe in the room was electronic key code which was really nice because you did not have to carry around a key. It is true that even numbers face the Riu (which may be quieter) and odd numbers face the pool/beach. There are 4 floors and each floor has 50 rooms, so the higher your room number the closer you are to the beach, but also the noise. The "disco" of sorts is by the bar on the beach and runs from 11pm to 1am so the noise is loud if you are trying to sleep. The disco when we were there didn't have many people at it.

The service from the front desk, bar tenders & entertainment staff is excellent. We had a few problems with our room and needed to call the front desk about 4 times or so. They were more than accommodating and dealt with the problem immediately. The servicers in the restaurant were good, but not as attentive as some places I've been. Comparing to the Riu Jalisico which we were at the year prior, the Samba definitely has better service in that they treat you as a person and not another number. Everything was kept very clean from what we seen and well maintained.

The resort is definitely more family/older people orientated. This resort also carters to the locals a lot more than others, which I don't mind as they can be a lot of fun. I have noticed however at this place and other places I have been in the past, that when a lot of locals do come that the servicer drops during that time period, there is definitely a change based on the demographics.

There is a good amount of activities and good beach volleyball. The beach is nice, but every resort in Riviera Nayarit has the same beach practically.

The food is why this place is a 3.5 rating and not a 4 or higher. The main buffet was very similar day to day, recycling left overs, etc. Anyone that does not agree is wearing some serious rose coloured lenses. The exception was the seafood and bbq night which was good. The snack bar was your basic burgers, etc. The special restaurants were not much better, however reservations were easy to make as you just did it at breakfast and didn’t have to line up in the lobby prior to 7am or so like some places I’ve been. I can eat just about anything, but this was probably my least favorite food experience. I did however also find enough to stay full and never got sick. I would seriously give them a way higher rating if the food improved.

A huge plus if you go in winter time is that the pool is actually heated! The other places we have been to before the pools are freezing cold if you go in the winter months. The resort being smaller was nice because you never had to fight to get a chair to sit on by the beach/pool. Lines were never really long at the bars. The maritini bar upstairs by the reception was excellent and the bar tender there was fun.

It is about a 45 minute walk on the beach if you want to check out Bucerias. Lots of nice restaurants, flee market, etc.

One other plus/negative is they have bathrooms right down near the beach. Nice to not have to go far from the beach, but there is a smell problem in that area where the bathrooms are at...you only smell it however in very close proximity to this spot.

It is an older resort that has been updated. It is definitely overall a pleasant stay and we would go back again on a good deal.

Room Tip: Odd number rooms face the Riu and may be quiter. Also the lower the room number, potential more quiet as farther away from the disco.
  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank BCRBFamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 8, 2012

This was my first time at Samba Vallarta and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. I was looking for a quiet place where I could spend some time relaxing without the rowdy people that usually come with a bigger resort. Indeed this place is a family resort so for me as a single person who has no kids this place had too many of them running around but at the same time I rather have the kids around then drunk people. So, if you are looking for a nice quiet, family resort this is a great little place. Make sure you take a walk to Bucerias and of course a trip to Centre Puerto Vallarta...There are some great little shops and restaurants.

The staff is excellent - everyone is friendly and always with a smile on their face. I am not sure about how the service would have been different if I did not tip, but I believe in tipping everywhere I go. The all inclusive does not mean tip included, it means that your flight, accomodation, meals, the beach, the pool and the sun is included... So if you are to give a dollar tip at breakfast, lunch and dinner and at least once when you order a drink, I am sure that all of us coming from Canada could afford that.... After all these people do work very hard to make our stay as comfortable as possible.

We spend $4-5 dollars on a Starbucks coffee without hesitation so why be so cheap when it comes to giving something extra for those who deserve it? We also have to tip when we eat out in our home town... so why would this be any different? Anyhow, as I said the resort is great!

Staff and management all very helpful and accomodating. The food was good. Those who find problem with the food I must wonder what do they eat at home? Most of us, prepare one meal a day for lunch or dinner so how is it that someone is unable to find something good to eat when they have so much to select from? Regardless of how many stars a resort would have the food is pretty much the same. I have been to five star and four star and found no difference. I was able to find something that appealed to my taste in every place.

Both the Italian and Mexican "A La Carte" were great! I was really impressed with the Italian one though. The meal I had was excellent and the service was the top! You must try the amazing Spanish coffee at the Italian A La Carte!

The steak night that was offered by the beach one night was superb! They worked really hard with the set up to make it as nice for us as possible. How many times are we able to have a beautiful dinner by the beach and watching the sunset? Depending of course what city you come from :) ...

When we travel to resorts we don't travel for the food but rather for the sun and the beach so concentrate on that and enjoy your time. Try and get to know the staff they are great people and they all have a story to tell.

I did enjoy my evening chats with Fermin the famous bartender. It was a great to practice my Spanish and to get to know the people who make our stay enjoyable. He remembers everybody's drinks and before you even sit down he is already mixing your favorite one!! I did appreciate that! It is a great feeling when someone makes you feel special!

Special thanks to Mike van der Kroft, Director General who interrupted his breakfast to come to help me with my WiFi issue. I was unable to connect one morning to the internet and when I asked one of the servers if there is a problem with the internet he went and talked to Mike who left his breakfast and came to my aid. I felt bad after all I had no urgent need to connect to the internet but like every morning I liked checking in with home and work...Nevertheless, he rebooted the system, although I think it was my system that was giving me the problem and of course everything worked fine after that.

I cannot remember the names of all the people who made my stay a pleasant one but the few are, Fermin, Ismael, Jair, Lauriano, Octavio, Ernesto, Hector, Riccardo and of course the security staff who were always present Roberto being one of them! Thank you all!

Remember to treat everyone with respect and of course remember to tip!! :)

Room Tip: The rooms with the balcony are nice in case you wish to sit outside in the evening and relax.
  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled solo
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5  Thank Melinda M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 7, 2012

Hi. You'll read other reviews that are, well, picky. I can guarantee they are written by picky people who are not pleased by anything! Who are these people?

The Samba Vallarta Hotel is fantastic. It is smaller than the big resorts, and it was not created for grandure, but it is lovely. The beach is long and clean. The pools are perfect for families (I travel with 2 small children), and the entertainment at night is a pleasure.

Everything is done with extreme care and attention. I take food seriously and THE FOOD is GOOD, really good. I usually don't like buffets, but the Chef, and staff take care and flavour each dish. (If you are one of those standard Canadians who think KFC is spicy, just stay home.) Each drink at the pool bar is mixed to perfection.

The staff anticipate your needs, and wants, before you have them.

Canadians, please do yourself proud and be thoughtful and kind. The biggest draw back is my fellow countrymen. Loose some weight, don't drink so much and RELAX. Leave the picky uptight crap for the West ED mall.

Room Tip: get a balcony, it will be worth it
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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5  Thank AthenaE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 5, 2012

The Samba is a nice small resort with very friendly staff. Food was pretty standard for an all inclusive although "steak night" was a pretty special meal, all different kinds of cuts and very good. The beach is a disappointment, sand really not very pretty, darker, just not very appealing. There were some nice waves for boogie boarding/body surfing though. A fun place for cocktails is the "martini bar" next to the main lobby, good view of the pool/ocean and also the stage for nightly entertainment. Bartender very personable & mixes some great drinks. A fun day trip is to hire a taxi to Sayulita, about 1/2 hour drive, a very neat surfing colony with a bunch of interesting cafes and "surfer dudes & gals" hanging out, unique experience. Watch for the "bat exodus" at sunset, martini bar a good vantage point. Best thing is the very friendly staff & smaller size of the resort.

Room Tip: Extra charge for a balcony, would be nice but we really didn't miss having one.
  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with friends
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3  Thank larryCarpinteria
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2012

We went there in early Feb 2012 on an Air Transat deal. We got plane fare, & all inclusive hotel for $1000/person. The hotel was very nice. Reasonably good food, nice rooms, very friendly staff. Half were Mexicans & other half Canadians. Lots of little kids. the disco played but it never disturbed us. We went on side trips to two other small towns, but mostly just vegged out beside the pool.

Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
3  Thank bqg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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