Rated 5 out of 5 by DB08 Impeccable service
My wife and I stayed at this hotel in March of 2013 for our 20 year anniversary. We had stayed at this hotel several times before but it had been about 4 years since our last trip. Our trip 4 years ago, while over all the outcome was enjoyable we did have several issues throughout our stay. The major issue involved several band aids and a doctors visit to our room for our children from the hotels pool being resurfaced cutting up our children's hands and feet. When we returned on this trip the service we received was better then we could have ever imagined. We were warmly greeted first thing by Pedro the Bellman whom recognized us from our last trip 4 years before. Then the service we received in the club room each morning and each evening by Angel was also highly warm and friendly. He went out of his way to make sure everyone was fully taken care of and treated like family. It was a joy to get to be served by him. On our 2nd day there we ran into Victor whom also recognized us from our previous trip. Victor stopped to see us everyday and did everything he could to make sure we were having the best vacation possible. We also had amazing service from at the front desk manager whom made sure to get us into a upgraded room as soon as one was available. Other employees we felt gave great service were: Ismael, Reyes, Carlos and our Maid-she always was smiling. They all seem to want to make you feel as though you are part of their family and you are home while you are with them, and they will try their best to make sure we had the best possible vacation ever. And we did. We did not want our children's last experience at your hotel to be the one where they had their feet and hands were cut up so we have now booked another trip to your hotel later this month with them. We can't wait to bring them back after the experience we just had to also experience the exceptional service and atmosphere your hotel has to offer. Please be sure to thank the staff we have mentioned for their exceptional service-we have done nothing but tell every one that asks about our trip about how amazing we were treated by your staff.
May 2, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5 by Analy62 Great vacations
This hotel has one of the best customer services I ever seen! All employees treat you as family and they are always happy and very willing to help you and to make your life easier at any possible way. The rooms and the facilities are also great! They have all you would like to have for a very comfortable and even funny vacation. This is the 3rd time that I am staying on this hotel and even that I got very impressed for their unique service. Congratulations to all the staff! They are definitely making the difference.
April 30, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5 by ik58 Great vacation destination
Just came back from Puerto Vallarta. We had a great time at the Westin. The staff was friendly, the rooms are large, the hotel is beautiful and well preserved. The club lounge is really unique: excellent breakfast at the bar, and drinks and appetizers at the spacious lounge in the afternoons. The hotel is walking distance to Marina Vallarta, that has a lot of restaurants, but mostly on the touristy side. The authentic Mexican food is downtown, which is a 20 minute taxi/bus ride away. The one inconvenience (although my stay was a vacation, so I should not be complaining) is that the internet provider blocks access to VPN so I could not connect with work. Hopefully that gets fixed for next year, as I am really looking forward to another vacation at the Westin in Puerto Vallarta.
December 28, 2011
Rated 5 out of 5 by KatNDSpain Fantastic stay and superb value
I was really impressed with this hotel. Outstanding service all-around, particularly above-and-beyond from Carmen, who cleaned my room; and the concierge, whose name is escaping me (Josefina?).
As Platinum, I received an upgrade to a room with sea views and a whirlpool. Beautiful balcony from which to watch the sunset, although I really liked walking down to the beach to watch.
Pools are lovely, with good food and drink options, and even loaner books. The gym is really terrific.
Was overwhelmed by how great the breakfast buffet was - and I'm not even much of a breakfast person. It's available until 11, though, so works as brunch, too.
Cab into central Puerto Vallarta is only 80 pesos (about $7), and not much more to some nicer beaches. There are also restaurants within walking distance along the Marina.
April 23, 2013
Rated 2 out of 5 by babs33 Very Disappointing
This hotel at one time was lovely, but it badly needs a renovation. Upon arrival, we were given a pool view room even though our reservation "guaranteed" a partial ocean view room. The room had two broken lamps, and there were stains on the furniture and shades. The furniture was old and out-dated. There were very few English TV stations available.
Due to a dispute with a timeshare property, there is an ugly green fence across the middle of the property. Hotel guests cannot get to the adult pools due to the fence and are forced to use only childrens' pools on the hotel property. Very unsatisfactory.
The tennis courts are in deplorable condition. Of the three courts, one is totally unplayable, and a second court has a worn spot on the carpet surface that could lead to serious injury. The nets are worn out and ripped, and all the latches on the fence doors are broken. Despite this poor situation, the hotel still charges guest $15/hour for day time use of the courts. A rip-off!
The restaurant has an over-priced breakfast buffet, and only 4 entrees for lunch and no sandwich offerings. The food is fair at best and the pre-printed menu never varies.
Honestly, this hotel should be closed for total renovation or leave the Westin system. The situation with the pools should be resolved so that guests are not fenced in behind an ugly green "Berlin Wall" and denied use of the adult pools. Avoid this property until these issues are resolved and stay at the Sheraton instead.
December 9, 2011
Rated 5 out of 5 by Redbarn Great place to go in Mexico
We have not found a better place to go in Mexico. As a Platinum they got in touch via Email a month out to see if we had any special needs. We had a very private Balcony with our ownJacuzzi.
The marina across the street has at least 10 Restaurants many with great food.
The town is very safe. We feel very welcome .
The Concierge Lounge is one of the best in Starwood.
October 21, 2011
Rated 5 out of 5 by DoubleR Wonderful Stay
The staff was fantastic. Pedro the bellman treated us like family. The whole staff made us feel as though we were valued guests. Their recommendations for food and activities was spot-on! The rooms were comfortable and clean. I had the chilaquiles for breakfast. The Mexican pastries were delicious. You won't be disappointed. The buffet looked delicious as well. Check in and check out were courteous and efficient. I will definitely return to this hotel. The view from my room (914) was great. There were many different pools and my entire family had a great time.
March 25, 2013
Rated 4 out of 5 by LQGuy Great second stay at this hotel
Having stayed at this hotel in the past, and given the incredible promotions they were offering, we elected to give the hotel our business a second time.
We last stayed here approximately four to five years ago. Prior to our current arrival, we reviewed TripAdvisor, as we always do. There were some criticisms of this hotel that had us a little worried. It's always so difficult to tell on these reviews when criticisms are warranted, when people have unrealistic expectations, and those few who are just downright unreasonable or not well traveled.
The positives of this hotel FAR outweigh the negatives! So let me get the negatives out of the way first:
1. Food quality at the restaurant. We were a bit disappointed with dinner the two nights we ate at the hotel's restaurant. The first night I ordered the chef's special...Cornish Game Hen. What showed up on my plate looked like it might have been a stuffed parakeet! It was scrawny and literally I got two pieces of meat out of it. The rest was bones. The second dinner I ordered Sea Bass. This wasn't as bad as the first meal, but nothing spectacular. I will give them points for presentation, which was always nice.
Breakfast was okay. I wouldn't pay the price for the buffet (I believe it's around US$22 per person). The fruit might have been out of season (just no taste to speak of). Otherwise, it was standard fare...waffles, omelets, bacon, etc. The breakfast food was not bad. Just not work the price! (We had a package booked on the hotel's website of $75 per night for room and daily breakfast. If you can get that, then it's certainly worth it as that is quite a bargain!)
NOTE: The pool-bar, Tlaquepaque, had standard pool bar food. It was pretty good for what it was, and was priced comparably to what you would pay here in the U.S. No complaints there.
2. The choice of music playing in public areas. Last time we were there, I remember it being that typical Latino poolside, club-type music...loud, thumping...a bit too much. This time, the swung the pendulum clear over to the other end of the spectrum...early 70s ballads. The first day, it was kind of funny. By the third day of hanging out at the pool, it is annoying!
And in the restaurant at breakfast, it was 70s pop. Oy!! We left 24 hours ago and I still hear it in my head!!
3. The self-serve Computer. I still can't get over this, minor as it is. There are three computers set up like in any other hotel. And as a Starwood member, you get free Wi-Fi, which we elected to use. We needed to print our boarding passes on the last day. I was surprised that, when I clicked on the link to open the browser, up popped a message...pay $4.50 for something like 25 minutes of internet access time. Okay...fine. I'll pay. I need my boarding pass. After navigating to the airline site and setting it up, I hit "print". Guess what? Up pops another message...pay $2.00 to print four pages! Fine...I print it. Out pops trash from the printer...airport map, weather forcast, none of the parameters I set to us. So, $6.50 down the toilet for nothing.
Fortunately, the front desk, when we told him, immediately let us use their computer and printed them out for us at no charge.
4. Outdoor restaurant chairs appear to be teak wood. On our first night, we decided to eat there. Upon sitting down, the chairs felt damp. We were sitting in freshly oiled furniture! Our white shorts were stained!
We called the front desk from our room to inquire about laundry fees. The immediately sent someone up to the room and dry cleaned them for us for free. Everything came out well.
5. Some unfinished repairs do exist. Outside our door, the hot pink ceiling was cut open as if work was being done on it. Yet for the entire week, we never say anyone working on it. There were some other minor things like that visible. However, you had to have an eye for detail, otherwise you probably wouldn't notice.
6. The pools could use a good power scrub. They're not really dirty. Rather, it looks like some algae might be taking hold in them. Pretty minor though.
So, there's the list of negatives. In the greater scheme of things, it was all fairly minor stuff.
Now for the positives.
1. By far, it's the staff! EVERYONE was helpful, kind, and attentive! It didn't matter if it was a maid, wait staff, front desk, or gardener. Some of their behaviors were even "culturally sensitive". What I mean by that, and for lack of a better term, is that they would even bring the bill at the end of a meal without you having to ask. Mexican culture would consider this rude...as if rushing you out the door. The fact that they over-ride their instincts to accommodate to guests was impressive to me. They were also genuinely friendly, willing to chat with you, etc. And no one seemed to be "hanging around for tips".
2. We were concerned about reviews of the hotel showing it's age overall. Other than the cut out in the ceiling, and some bad paint matching on the ceiling of our bathroom, we really didn't see it! And again, we had stayed here before! Landscaping was always kept up, walkways and public areas were always clean. Yes...if you scrutinize the ceilings in the restaurant, you'll see a need for some painting (at least touch ups). But again, you need an eye for detail. And what I saw just wasn't bothersome. While we were in the pool, we noticed what looked like rehab work going on on one of the middle floors of the hotel. Assuming they rotate through with rehab work, the hotel will continue to be just fine!
3. The room, minus to mis-matched ceiling paint in the bathroom, was exactly as we remembered it from our last stay. We had Room 1115, which was near the elevators on the Starwood Floor. Clean, great maid service...ever time! Wish they had more English channels...particularly networks like NBC, ABC, etc. But the room was great....a/c worked fine, dehumidifier, though loud, worked fine, clean...nicely done!
4. I mentioned the staff over all. But there were some real stand-outs! Pedrito, who greets you upon arrival. As soon as the taxi pulled up from the airport, we immediately recognized him. He was as cheerful, up-beat, and positive as before. Always with a "Welcome home" upon arrival. As the first person/first impression, he's a gem for this hotel to have on staff! Josefina at the front desk was very accommodating, but so were three gentlemen, whose names we didn't notice, as well. Teo, also at the front desk, helped me connect wirelessly when I could not from the room. We also had a waitress at the poolside each day we were there. I can picture her face, but her name escapes me. Attentive, warm, friendly.
5. Speaking of Wi-Fi, people complained about it in previous reviews. From our room, what I noticed is that, the further away from the balcony you moved, the worst the signal got. And if you took it to the door to the room, there was zero signal. But out on the balcony, it was full strength. It was also full strength poolside, which was nice to stream live radio from you iPhone to drown out that god-awful 70s ballads they were playing.
The Marina area use to be full of great restaurants. Not quite so anymore, as the recession appears to have hit this area hard. Victor's, which is closest in the Marina to the hotel is always a good choice for Mexican and seafood. And Victor is a hoot himself. We were shocked that he said he remembered us from four years ago. Not sure if he was pulling our leg or not... No credit cards though.
Taxis: From the airport, buy your taxi fare from one of the booths inside the airport, but right before you exit to go outside (and well after the tank of time-share sharks you walk through to get there, where everyone will offer you transportation). It'll be MXN$180 (about US$15). Taxis from the hotel to the center of town are MXN$80. Always establish the price before getting in! The ride from the hotel back to the airport is MXN$50. (You pay more leaving the airport because it is considered Federal Property, and is taxed for those driving from it...but not to it).
ATMs: Avoid "Cashola" ATMS. They're going to stick you with at least US$6.00 in fees, plus whatever your home bank charges. Banamex of Bancomer will be cheaper. Check with your bank as many have reciprocity with Mexican banks. For example, if you're with Bank of America and you use a Sandander ATM there, there are zero fees.
Also, do make sure someone stands behind you when you punch in your PIN to prevent others from seeing it. I had read that some ATMs had card readers inserted in them and they could then empty your account out with your PIN. Again...no need for paranoia. No one was ever standing around us when we used the ATMs anyway.
Water: While the water in PVR is said to be purified, don't drink it out of the tap. With that said, you don't need to be paranoid about eating out. Just about every restaurant (certainly those that a tourist would go to) import their ice from purified sources. So unless you're buying something from a street vendor, it most likely is perfectly safe to eat or drink.
Safety: Just use common sense. We walked all over the Marina as well as the downtown areas...morning, noon, and night. Never an issue of feeling unsafe. Not even when using the ATMs.
So, in summary, would we return to this hotel? Yes! It's a solid four star property with five star staff! As previous posters have noted, the beach is not fabulous. But the grounds more than make up for it! The pool is great! We especially loved that for our entire week, there were no more than 10 others ever present there...and for several hours, we had the whole pool to ourselves! Overall, it was a very nice experience that we will likely want to repeat in the coming years.
September 9, 2012