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“It's the Real Deal”

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Secrets Vallarta Bay Resort & Spa
Ranked #16 of 124 Hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“It's the Real Deal”
Reviewed 4 June 2012

My wife and I just got back...we were so sad to leave. This place was over and above what we expected. The facility was gorgeous, the food was great and we got the best most consistent service we had ever had. The entire staff went way over and above the call of duty and did it all with a smile. We tipped most of the time but even when we were in the pool with no money on us, the great service still kept coming.

Our room had a beautiful view of the ocean. The room was spotless and the king bed was extremely comfortable. I was worried that I would get hot but I would actually wake up in the morning nice and cool. The shower and bath suite was gorgeous. My only complaint was that we couldn't get hot water in the jacuzzi tub. My guess is that since these tubs are so big, they demand so much hot water and that if more than a few people were trying to use these at once, they wouldn't be able to meet the hot water demand.

The food was all delicious and there was always plenty to choose from. Our favorites were the Asian, the French and the breakfast buffet. There was always a "spread" of food and snacks available in the lobby. There were plenty of beautiful bars to hang out at and getting a drink was never a problem. I drank my fair share of Corona Extra!

I worked out in the gym which was perfectly adequate, free weights, machine weights, treadmills, elipticals, stationary bikes, spin bikes etc. If you are into tennis, they have a really nice outdoor grass/sand court. They provide rackets and balls.

My wife and I got the couple's massage. This was pretty much the only thing we came out of pocket for. It was a little pricey but it was well worth it. Make sure you show up about 30 minutes before your scheduled massage and plan to stay for at least an hour after to take full advantage of all the spa amenities...hot and cold pools, steam room, sauna, relaxation rooms etc. We could have stayed in here all day but we had to leave to catch our plane.

As far as going into town...I don't think it is necessary and I wouldn't recommend it. We took a taxi downtown, walked along the boardwalk, got mobbed by vendors and were back in the comforts of our hotel about an hour later. Don't get the wrong impression, we did not feel unsafe (We live in New Orleans) but just being hassled by the vendors wasn't any fun and the town just wasn't impressive and a little depressing. I can't imaginge that any of the bars or restaurants in town could live up to anything at the resort. There is no reason to leave the resort...don't feel bad you won't miss anything.

Don't hesitate booking this place. It's the real deal.

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Larry S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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NJ
Level 6 Contributor
411 reviews
62 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 772 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 June 2012

Stayed at Secrets PVR for 7 nights. This was my 13th stay at a resort in Mexico but first time in PVR. We are huge Secrets Maroma fans so we used that as our comparison.
Check-in was easy breezy. Adriana, the Concierge, on the Preferred side (a former Maroma employee) checked us in without any issues. The room was SPECTATULAR! The shower has a dual showerhead with a bench, wow! All the toiletries one would need are provided. G&S shampoo, shower gel, conditioner, shower cap, mending kit, shaving cream, toothbrush, SPF 15, vanity kit. The AC worked great the first night but never went below 27C the rest of our stay. The beds are comfy but the pillows are foam, not down, and very uncomfortable. The maid service was good and we tipped everyday but sometimes we didn’t get things we asked for. Turn down service was mostly a hit but sometimes a miss. Mini-bar service was excellent.

The grounds are clean and well maintained. We noticed staff painting and trimming plants daily. The pool chairs are basic and lack padding (unlike Maroma). We ordered lunch everyday at our chairs (or at tables near the pool) since eating at the swim-up bar is taboo (unlike Maroma). The food was ok. The pool staff is very good and attentive. We were always serviced which probably had something to do with the resort being at 8-13% occupancy. The beach is poor and the water was murky but that was expected.

The beach activities were a ton of fun. Heri, a former Dreams employee, does a fantastic job getting everyone involved. They had plenty of different activities daily-‘diaper kayaking’, Mexican bingo, a crazy balancing kayaking game, cocktail lessons, beach volleyball, water aerobics, hula-hoop bowling, paper airplane races. Never a shortage of fun! The nightly entertainment included movies outside, casino night, American Idol, a Mexican show with dancers, as well as, live pianists, jazz duets, flamenco dancers, and jazz guitarists in the lobby bar.

The food was very good overall. The Preferred Club had an assortment of snacks, desserts and beverages daily. The Market Café was buffet style only once during our stay and we had to eat on the Now side buffet the other 6 days. It was annoying that we always had to go to Now for buffet breakfast or dine a la carte at Market Café (and wait over an hour for breakfast as other guests mentioned). Bordeaux was our favorite restaurant. We ate there twice and wanted to go back but it was closed one night b/c of low occupancy. The décor is not as nice as the décor at SMB but nice overall. Be sure to get the lobster bisque, lamb chops and filet mignon. Our server Ricardo at Bordeaux was probably the best waiter we had our entire trip. Oceana was ok our first time but very good our second time. The Barefoot Grill was closed 6 days, bummer. We ate at Himitsu (Teppanyaki table) once and the food was good, but service was so-so. We never ate at Capers since other guests told us they were disappointed and would not go back.

Just a couple of issues: Although we were Preferred, we did not receive a pillow menu or a complimentary local newspaper everyday (again, unlike SMB). The beer selection could be better. They had Corona, Modelo, Modelo Especial, Negro Modelo, and sometimes Pacifico, but never Sol. They always kept running out of brands or the beer was warm, so they put ice in your beer. We later found out they had a refrigeration issue with the keg, which did get fixed our last day. The Rendezvous (lobby) Bar menu was limited in comparison to SMB, and service was super slow.

Tip for management: We understand your casual elegance dress code policy but men should not have to wear long pants at restaurants when it is 90+F outdoors and humid. This is a ridiculous policy, please consider changing it. Very high end restaurants in Hawaii allow country club proper shorts and attire.

Overall, we had a really great time at the resort and met a lot of great people. Not sure what it will be like at 100% occupancy though. If the beach was nicer we would probably consider coming back here, but will probably keep going to SMB since it is just better, albeit more expensive.

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank EscapeChick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NYC
Level 6 Contributor
71 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 275 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 June 2012

Having stayed at many resorts in Mexico, Europe, and the U.S. (click on my profile for a list of reviews), my wife and I can honestly say that this is an outstanding resort! I think there are still many new improvements ongoing, so the resort will likely be even better in the near future, but is still very good quality right now. My only concern is what it will be like when occupancy is high being that Now Amber (kid-friendly sister resort) shares many of the same facilities. It could actually be annoying for adults seeking tranquility and the resort may suffer. We will have to wait and see, I suppose. Below is a list of some key experiences we encountered during our one week stay, as well as some of our opinions.

Food:
Excellent quality all around. We enjoyed the French restaurant the best, but they were all really good. Honestly, I can’t recall one dish that was bad. The coffee could have been better at breakfast sometimes, as it would taste burnt, but that’s the only gripe I can think of. So you are aware, they are closing two-to-three restaurant options each evening and rotating them due to very low occupancy.

Rooms:
Awesome! The best shower I have seen; I wish we had one like it at home. Lots of cool mood lighting, plenty of English speaking T.V. channels, top-quality bath amenities by Gilchrist & Soames of London, very spacious, quiet and efficient air conditioning, well-stocked mini bar, etc. Yes, the beds are a bit on the firm side, as others reported, but we still slept fine. We stayed in a preferred room on the seventh floor. The lot next to the preferred building is an eyesore when you walk to/from your room, but fortunately you don’t have to sit and stare at it. As previous reviewers have reported, it is basically an empty piece of barrren property with a small recycling center for plastic bottles, a shack, and a small crumby looking bar. There are roosters and dogs on the site. Sometimes the lot is full of tour buses, as well. We did hear roosters early in the AM, but we were able to sleep okay. Not sure if it would be louder for a lower floor though. There was one morning when dogs were fighting at about 4:00 AM that was irritating. We did not hear loud music and partying late at night from the bar, as others reported. I am guessing this ugly site will eventually be bought and turned into a resort, since it is prime beachfront real estate.

Beach:
The hotel did the best they could with the beach, but this is Puerto Vallarta not the Yucatan (Caribbean), so don’t expect much. This is not the resort’s fault. However, if beach strolls and swimming in the ocean are a must for you, pick a different resort area all together. Nobody went in the ocean during our stay. There are also many vendors that camp out in front of the beach chairs, but a “no gracias” and they left you alone.

Activities & Entertainment:
Lot’s of stuff to do all day. The activities team does a great job of creating fun stuff to do without being pushy. Many people, including my wife and me, really enjoyed the activities. As for the entertainment, every night it seemed liked there was some form of live music in the lobby. The last night we caught a live harp and sax duet that was very cool. Also, there are shows every evening. We missed every show except the Mexican fiesta with a mariachi band and live authentic dances. The show was great and they even had a mechanical bull for those guys willing to risk their huevos (“eggs”). If you’ve never seen a Mexican fire show, be sure to check it out on Friday evenings. Finally, they have Desires disco, which is really chic and they played good music. If you don’t like what the DJ is playing just make a request. Some nights we had the disco to ourselves and other nights there was a small but fun crowd. I expect as occupancy goes up this will be THE place for late night fun.

Gym:
The equipment is new and it is well air conditioned, but there is room for improvement here and I expect they are not done yet with the workout facility. They have plenty of space for more equipment and right now the machines are limited. I did not get a very good workout in, I’m afraid. If management is reading, please do your best to copy the gym at Secrets Maroma Beach.

Service & Bars:
Overall the service was very good-to-excellent. Management, if you are reading several employees deserve recognition including, Ricardo at Bordeaux French restaurant, Alejandro and Efrain around the pool, Heri the activities guy, Antonio from Desires, and Mr. “I forgot his name” the preferred lounge bartender that worked at the Westin and LaVista restaurant prior to joining Secrets.

While we were pleased with the service overall, there are some training issues to be worked out. This portion of my review may sound harsh and let’s face it, no resort has 100% perfect employees, but the breakfast buffet team at the Carnival restaurant needs help. They would ask if you wanted juice or coffee and then not get it for you. You would see them talking with other staff, cleaning up, and setting tables while you wondered when you would be getting your drinks. It was weird to the point where we stopped tipping on day four or five. I felt bad not tipping, but the service was just that awful at the breakfast buffet.

In the lobby bar there is a very nice young woman. However, one evening while watching the sunset we sat and sat waiting for her to come over to us while she conversed with the bartender for a good 15 minutes. Finally I got up and walked over, placed my order with the bartender, and then was instructed firmly that they would bring the drinks to me. It was as if I was not being patient enough for them to finish talking about whatever was so important they couldn’t service the total of perhaps four guests in the joint. The service should have been over the top with so few people to wait on. There was also a similar experience at dinner one evening at Himitsu Japanese. I asked four times for a drink and it never came. I ended up eating my whole meal without a drink. The waiter eventually apologized on the way out when he asked if everything was alright. Either the guy has a severe brain disorder, or his apology was not sincere. How does one forget something four times?

They need to stock the swim-up pool bar better. They were constantly running out of Kettle One vodka and Don Julio tequila. I never saw Grey Goose, yet this was available at Secrets Maroma. They would also run out of beer and then ask if you wanted them to run over to another bar to get some, while other people were waiting for drinks. They never ran out of top-shelf booze at Secrets Maroma Beach, so this puzzled me. Finally, they need to put some shade over the swim-up bar stools. They have umbrellas that cover the very tan staff, while the gringos burn their backs all day.

My Recommendation:
It’s a great resort, despite a few service issues that need to be worked out. If you are set on Puerto Vallarta as your destination, I would highly recommend Secrets Vallarta Bay.

Room Tip: Preferred rooms are not worth the money.
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank VacationDude
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 June 2012

I just came back from this gorgeous resort... I loved my life with my wife. Service TOP NOTCH, resort TOP NOTCH, super friendly staff, will get you whatever you want right away. All inclusive is the best idea when you go on a vacation. The staff do not ask for tips, ( even though I still tip them) Relaxing, and clean. I'm going back for sure....Only con that I had was that the food could be better. The only food that was worth eating was the Japanese place, pool side food, oceana, and room service...The rest were not worth going to. Try it out, you will love your life...

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Mike A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 May 2012

My husband and I returned from this Fabulous Resort a few weeks ago, and we can't stop talking about how great it was to stay here. The service was beyond Amazing! Being greeted with towels and champagne, right out of the taxi, was the start of a Fabulous Vacation! Happy with the service from Karen (via e-mail) she took great care of upgrading us to a preferred suite, which is something I highly recomend! Its great to grab a snack on your way out to the pool, or get a drink from the friendly bartenders, both afternoon and evening, the Bartenders are great! Loved the jacuzzi on the balcony too, in the preferred suites!
Raul at check in was quick and answered all our questions with a smile. Thank you for no preasure or stress at check in or check out. It was great!
Daily breakfast at Carnival, was a quick little walk, to get anything your hearts desire! Whenever you say thank you to the server, they kindly respond, "my pleasure" and i truly believe they mean it! They are happy to serve us, and the service was amazing. I would highly recommend bringing alot of $1,$5 and$10, because tipping is a must, after you see how hard they work, and how they accomadate your every wish with a smile.
Loved trying room service, both morning and night, we got our food within 30 minutes. It was Delicious!
Daily pool time was so relaxing and fun! Loved sitting close to the swim up bar, but hardly had to use it because the servers were on it! When Angel saw my drink empty, he always had another one coming for me and my husband, and our new friends we met by the pool. The only thing we had to ask him for was more water:) Got to use the swim out rooms because of who we met, and found them to be extra roomy and beautiful! Loved walking out and jumping into the water in these beautiful suites! Angel took care of us when we moved over to the swim out rooms! We cant thank him enough for the service we received.
Laura in the entertainment is adorable. She keeps the Party going. Loved Kayaking, water aerobics, ping pong and there daily games they play by the pool.
Lunch by the pool was great, my daily guacamole, and pico de gallo was all i needed to keep me happy!
Dinner was never dissappointing! Tried a Mexican wine at Beaurdoux, and the wine steward was very knowledgable, and made our dinner, one we will never forget!
Taxi into to town for about $7, the walk would be way too far. We only had to do town one morning/afternoon because we were so content to stay at our little happy resort! My husband and I both look forward to coming back and visiting all our new friends at Secrets Vallarta Bay!

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank GoodLivin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 May 2012

Pay no attention to the people that are giving this resort poor reviews. Made me skeptical going there but now I just laugh.

What a fantastic resort. I was treated like a king the whole week i was there. The staff were unbelievably friendly. Every day I was greeted with a 'Good Morning Senor .....'. They all remembered my name. Far more then expected.

Check in took 5 minutes and my room was fantastic. I booked a swim out. Really worth the extra. (I also want that shower)

Food was good. Can't complain about anything other then some restaurants were under staffed. So there was a wait even though lots of tables were open. Just Grabbed a cerveza and relaxed while I waited.

The view amazing. Pool service was inconsistent but nothing where I was waiting a long time and looking for something to complain about. Room service was 10 minutes.

As for tipping. I hardly tipped at all and was still treated like a star. In fact i was given a complimentary bottle of tequila by one of the staff. No idea what other people expect or if they just like to complain

My advice - go experience it for yourself. It's your vacation your there to relax not complain about pity little things

  • Stayed May 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Swim-out
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 May 2012

We just returned two weeks ago from the most amazing vacation! Thank you to Secrets Vallarta Bay for making this a trip of a lifetime! We chose this location because we love PV and wanted a beautiful location for our private wedding, and we could not have choosen anything better. From the moment we sent an email requesting information on weddings the experience was amazing. Once we arrived at the hotel is got even better, champagne as we exited our cab, comfortable seating for check in and MaryCruz was so sweet from the VIP desk with all the info on the hotel and spa. We stayed in a swim out suite, well worth the extra price, but you do sacrifice ocean views. Our room was beautiful, loved the two shower heads and soaking tub! We used room service several times and had no issues, prompt service and always asking if we wanted anything more. Fernanado, Luis and Daniel were are servers at the pool side during our stay, we would barely finish a drink and they would be there with a fresh one, and come lunch time a menu from Oceana or a plate from the pool side chef would arrive! Every morning we ate breakfast at the Market Cafe, Yoana was amazing! Everyday she remembered our name, ask how are night was and gave impeccible service. Follow that up with our wonderful server Carmen and every morning started off right!. We ate dinner at Bordeaux, Himitsu, and Tamarindo and all were very good. We enjoyed the teppenyaki at Himitsu a definate must do as well as the sushi! Every evening we spent time watching the sunset in the lobby bar, Isabel gave great table service every night, always remember what we drank night after night. We also used Adventure Vallarta for our wedding photos and enjoyed every minute of working with them, they were fun and the pictures turned out better than I ever imagined! Over and over I heard the staff say "its a pleasure", well it was our pleasure to be your guest and we will return year after year!!! Thank you for an amazing wedding, honeymoon and vacation!

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Alison G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Secrets Vallarta Bay Resort & Spa

Property: Secrets Vallarta Bay Resort & Spa
Address: David Alfaro Siquerios No. 164 | Col Zona Hotelera Las Glorias, Puerto Vallarta 48333, Mexico
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Jalisco > Puerto Vallarta
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #16 of 124 Hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Secrets Vallarta Bay Resort & Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 271
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Romantic. Refined. Remarkable. Located on the golden sand beaches of the Pacific coast within walking distance of the famous El Malecon boardwalk, this vibrant oceanfront resort provides adults 24/7 access to amazing nightlife, non-stop entertainment and Unlimited-Luxury(R). ... more   less 
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