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“BEWARE: Not all is beautiful in paradise”
Review of Playa Viva

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Playa Viva
Ranked #1 of 1 Petatlan B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Los Angeles, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“BEWARE: Not all is beautiful in paradise”
Reviewed 2 September 2013

The locale is undoubtedly gorgeous, but we were ill prepared for what awaited us. We were all excited for a family get away. Two families traveling together with 3 children between us, ages 2, 3 & 4 prepared to unplug and realign with one another, nature and ourselves. Despite numerous conversations and emails with David the owner, who was well aware that we were traveling with very young children, it was not until we arrived on the property that we were first told of the danger of scorpions on site. The manager gave us a black light and told us that scorpions glow neon green under a black light and to be careful. Why after traveling thousands of miles was this the first time we were hearing about this??? We are big outdoors people, we camp and hike often and bugs don't bother us in the least, however building structures without any real guardrails to keep young children safe and aggressive scorpions are a completely different matter. Not being told about the risk so that we could make the best assessment for our family is what feels so disingenuous. Instead, we were told repeatedly that Playa Viva was heaven for children.

Further, upon arriving we learned that the on-site generator was broken and would not be fixed until after the duration of the stay. This meant that during the night, with temperatures well into the 90's and thick with humidity, mosquitoes were abundant and there were no working fans and no lighting. The kids were frightened and miserables as they got bitten while they rolled in the heat and were tangled up in mosquito netting. Refrigeration was also non-existent during the evenings when solar power and the generator both out. Not safe food handling. The situation came to a head when in our own shower, as I was lifting our young son, I was stung by a scorpion. I've never experienced such pain; searing, piercing and long-lasting. The only comfort was knowing that by mere inches, it was not my toddler. There was no medical help on hand. The cook came and shoved 3 cloves of garlic in my mouth. There was no working cellular or power on the grounds. My friend had to move off site to make some phone calls and was able to find new accommodations in town. It was simply not worth it to risk the health and well-being of our children. David who at the time said he would "make things right" instead has subsequently refused to refund our money. This would be one thing if we were staying at a $50/night eco campground, but to charge people $400 - $500/night to stay someplace incredibly unsafe for themselves and especially young children is unconscionable. Despite booking the whole trip with American Express, David and Playa Viva have fought us at every turn and have refused to refund a single penny. They instead hide behind an empty offer of future gratis nights stay. WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD I PAY TO COME BACK TO THIS PLACE??? It's disheartening to me when a locale is presented as a magical, nurturing place, when indeed management is anything but.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank ltns
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
leventhald, Owner at Playa Viva, responded to this review, 5 September 2013
Dear TripAdvisor Readers and especially Greg, Erik and Family,

Thank you for writing your review. We feel it is very important for every guest to know what to expect when visiting, so your review helps provide a more accurate picture of the entire Playa Viva experience.

To have readers get a more accurate view of your experience, I have copied below the email that you sent me a few days after your stay back in Dec 2012. Below is the entire email received with no edits, additions or omissions:

“Hi David,

Thanks for reaching out. Sorry I haven't responded earlier. Everyone is well and Lisa is healing. The pain has gone down significantly.

We're at The Viceroy in Zih and while we have electricity and no fears of scorpions the soul and beauty of Playa Viva is missing as are the whales, the popcorn (my daughter just reminded me that was her favorite), the amazing yoga, the basil margaritas, the delicious food, the warm and wonderful guests, Johnny, Julia and everyone who works there, and the sound of the ocean at night.

I have to admit I am so sad that we had to leave. So so sad. Playa Viva is my kind of place. And if Lisa hadn't been stung, the fear of scorpion bites on our little ones might not have overwhelmed us but Kai Kai (Lisa's 3-yr-old) kept falling out of bed and past the net and if he was stung at night we don't know what we would have done with no land line, no cell, no lights,...

Erik and I are talking about coming back for a long weekend to playa viva, just the two of us. It really is a special place.

It's good that you're sending that note. I'm sure anyone without babies will be fine. The candlelight was romantic.

For parents with little kids I'd recommend the following:
1. Have a real crib or two, not just a pack n play. Kai Kai could have slept in that inside the net and been more secure in a crib. Pack n plays are too small and flimsy, typically.
2. Definitely spray for scorpions before kids arrive and mid way through. Show everyone what Scorpions look like so they know how small they can be and what color they are. We didn't really know what to look for until Lisa was stung.
3. Make sure everyone is aware of the threat of scorpions ahead of time when making the reservation. I know you don't want to scare people but I think hearing about them from Evan was too late.
4. Have the emergency protocol ready to go and make sure the Evan on site is prepared and knows what to do if a child is stung. Or identify Julia as the leader and make sure she explains ahead of time what someone needs to do if they are stung.

Thank you again for staying in touch, for your integrity and for making things as right as they could be.

Best,

Ty”

Second, to update TripAdvisor readers on specifics of this review:

1) We have refrigerators that run on electricity as well as “Amish” refrigerators that run on natural gas. At no time where we without refrigeration and food hygiene was never compromised.

2) We had a brief operating window when our energy system was being updated. Since then we have doubled solar capacity and installed a new back-up generator. This was not a problem for other guests, as mentioned in your email above related to the “candlelight” being romantic, many found it quaint.

3) As a location dedicated to sustainability we try to limit the use of poisons and insecticides we use on site. In the four years of operation, we have had 3 guests stung by scorpions including Lisa (this case). 1 had no effect at on the guest at all (“hurt less than a bee sting”). Another guest was stung on the finger which was numb for quite a while but that guest subsequently sent her daughter to come stay with us. And then Lisa (this guest). Since this occasion we have redoubled our efforts related to scorpion control. But all guests are still provided with black lights and all guests are provided with the same information that the chances of a scorpion sting are low to none. We take the necessary precautions and provide guests with tools to allow them to take necessary precautions as well. We also have anti-scorpion venom shot on site and all staff is trained on how to administer. Staff is also trained on emergency procedures and we do drills on a regular basis.

4) Cell phone service is spotty at Playa Viva. In our experience AT&T service has better reciprocity with the local TelCel service than Verizon.

5) Playa Viva is a small hotel and like many tour operators, airlines, cruise lines or similar companies in the tourism business, we do not give refunds for unused portions of your stay. Thus, we did our best to make good on behalf of the guests but they were not satisfied unless they received a 100% refund on their entire stay. We did our best to find a mutually beneficial solution, especially since they mentioned in the email above that they would come back, but they were not to be satisfied for which we are deeply sorry.

Thank you for bringing these items to the attention of potential guests.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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201 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (51)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
168 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 July 2013

For anyone looking to disconnect and unwind in a very natural setting, Playa Viva is an excellent choice. Situated on a secluded beach about 45 minutes from Zihuatanejo, one has the feeling of being intimate with nature; whether it is the constant sound of the surf, the daily ritual of releasing baby sea turtles into the ocean, watching birds skirt the edge of the waves, or seeing pods of dolphins at play. It is relaxing and pretty amazing. The staff are incredibly helpful and friendly as were most of the fellow visitors. The accommodation consists of several casitas that are like thatched tree houses, open to the air on all sides, we slept well under mosquito nets, and enjoying bathing in the outdoors. The food is fresh and interesting, plenty of local ingredients and tastes. The basil margaritas are a must at dusk!

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank rr1042
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Flint, Michigan, United States
1 review
Reviewed 13 July 2013

My wife and I spent a week here with another couple we are friends with in June of 2013. The staff were incredible and the facility was top notch. But let me qualify - if you are expecting all of the techno comforts from home then you wont find it here. But if you are looking for awesome service, great ECO friendly facilities, wonderful activities, and a wonderful get away from civilization - then you will find it here.

Room Tip: Between having a yoga class available every morning and a turtle sanctuary onsite with frequent rele...
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Robert G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 July 2013

This gem of a place is magical. It has the chispa we all seek in life. The terrain itself is tucked away on a secluded beach, you certainly feel off the beaten path and able to re-calibrate. The accommodations are perfect, clean and comfortable. Aside from the physical setting, it was the staff who made this such an incredible experience. From Julia to Gloria to Johnny --you are in ideal hands and you will be nourished on and off the plate! Amazing yoga and massage as well.

The owners of Playa Viva had a vision to design a space that would "revitalize and nurture the land that it is built on and the community it is surrounded by". They have gone above and beyond their vision. I will certainly be returning to Playa Viva, that is for sure.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Kate C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oakland, CA
2 reviews
Reviewed 29 June 2013

My partner and I were lucky enough to celebrate our anniversary here. This place is incredible and an amazing find. We're casual birders and found more than 45 types on the land! The land's sheer amount of climate and ranges, we loved hiking around the land as much as playing on the beach. The staff are attentive and kind, we loved this place and want to come back again. The yoga in the morning looked out onto dolphins playing in the water, I'm not even joking. The food is local and delicious! I loved the food, birds, hiking, waves, staff and jaw-dropping beauty. I highly encourage people who like birding but be sure to bring a book! From the spoonbills to the storks, the flycatchers to the hummers, the birds are everywhere. We also love food (vegetarian) and we had some seriously tasty food.

Room Tip: There is no bad place to stay here. We loved our ecocasita!
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Paul W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Coronado, CA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 June 2013

After a long drive down a bumpy dirt road we emerged out into an Oasis. My husband and I and our two teenage sons spent an incredible week together at this Resort. We are a very active family and we surfed, boogie boarded, did yoga, swam and so much more. we went on the atv excursion up into the mountains to visit a beautiful farm owned and run by some of the warmest people you will ever meet! We loved seeing all of their animals and enjoyed a delicious lunch with the family. Johnny is the bartender / activities director and he is one of a kind! Warm, energetic, knowledgable and tireless! He organized all of our excursions and was always at the center of everything we did making sure all was running smoothly. We released darling baby turtles 4 of the 5 days we were at the resort and they are just the cutest little creatures you could ever see! It was such a priviledge to ensure them safely reaching the ocean. As far as bugs go... They are a part of Playa Viva however not a huge part.. We brought eco friendly lotion w/ us that we def used in the evenings as it got dark but the bugs were no big deal, infact we got used to a couple of diff kinds that frequented the resort and gave them names. There are the fireflies that are whimsicle and dance around in the darkness, the geckos and the sand crabs that scurry around. We loved it all. At night the beds were very comfortable and the mosquito nets work very well! Fans helped to keep us from being too hot to sleep at night. The Chef, Abran is talented and creative and made us delicious meals the entire week. Our sons loved the variety of foods served at every meal and always went back for seconds and sometimes thirds... They are sons not daughters.... Haha.
Johnny organized a fishing trip for us and a few of tge other guests. We had porpoises leaping out of the ocean for much of the trip and we all reeled in a couple of great fighters... The pinnacle of the trip was when we hooked about an 80lb Sailfish and our 17yr old son reeled him in. Amongst all this action we had many ocean. Swims in the warm water, some awesome scrabble games and some great moments sitting around, chatting, playing the guitar and getting to know the other guests. We had an incredble vacation at this beautiful piece of Paradise in an all to busy world

  • Stayed June 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank ginoeni
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Zihuatanejo, Mexico
Level Contributor
27 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 June 2013

I live in Zihuatanejo and I took my girlfriend to Playa Viva for the weekend to propose to her. I chose Playa Viva because I thought it would be a special place for a special event in my life and I couldn't have been more correct. Everything in Playa Viva was top notch and well thought out.

It's important to know that PV is about 45 minutes outside of town in a little village. You would think that this would make it difficult to get all the luxuries you want when you travel but you are never left wanting when you are here. The main reason is the staff is incredible. A good example is I asked for a bucket of ice for wine. They didn't have one so Johnny took another bucket decorated it beautifully and then delivered that instead. Great thinking and it made it even better than a generic wine bucket.

We stayed in a private little bungalow. Very cool room and probably nothing you've seen before. It's elevate probably 5 feet off the ground. Two of the walls in the bedroom completely open so you can get full views and full breeze. Our room did not have an a/c and it's hot this time of year so the breeze is very important.

I own a boutique hotel and I'm very picky when it comes to where I stay and service. I've also done extensive traveling through Mexico. I can honestly say that PV is like no other place I've been. If you are looking for a unique experience, off the beaten path, surrounded by nature in a resort focused on eco friendly way of life then don't wait to book here. You will not be disappointed.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank JMM15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Playa Viva

Property: Playa Viva
Address: Carretera Zihuatanejo-Acapulco | Playa Icacos Juluchuca, GRO, Petatlan 40834, Mexico
Region: Mexico > Pacific Coast > Guerrero > Petatlan
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Petatlan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4 star — Playa Viva 4*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Playa Viva is a sustainable boutique hotel with 8 rooms on a private beach located 30 minutes from Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa International airport. Play Viva is located on 200 acres with 1.3 kilometers of beach front. 85% of the property is in a Private Reserve for use of guests and includes a turtle sanctuary, archaeological site, working permaculture farm, forest restoration, estuary and much more. Come enjoy yoga, surfing or any of the many local activities. Playa Viva is off grid, operating 100% on solar power, solar thermal water heating, grey and black water management systems and built with local materials and craftsmanship. We specialize in farm to table, sourcing much of our food locally and can handle a wide variety of dietary concerns from vegetarian and vegan to many types of allergies. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Playa Viva Hotel Petatlan

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