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“It's all in the details”

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Secrets Vallarta Bay Resort & Spa
Ranked #16 of 124 Hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“It's all in the details”
Reviewed 17 June 2014

We were really looking forward to this holiday, had done a lot of research on here as well as other sites. After the first couple of days we decided that it wasn't what we expected and we wouldn't go back to this side of Mexico (we've been to Riviera Maya 3 times and loved each one). However, by the end of the 14 days when you're normally ready to go home, we found that we were quite relaxed and could go or stay. We also decided after getting into the heart of Mexico on the Uncover the South Excursion that actually, we probably would return and probably to this resort.

Once you accept that you won't get the best service from everybody at this hotel, that the food is just average (we have Karisma resorts to compare to) and that it is a small hotel in a slightly less desirable area, you'll have a great time!

Some staff that provided us with the service we have come to expect in Mexico where, Omar and Mauricio (pool waiters) and Alma in the Market Cafe. Jorge, our Thomson rep was also very attentive and will do anything in his power to help you in any way.

Pros:
- Hotel and its grounds are excellent
- The room is very well appointed, great rain shower
- Unbelievable sunsets
- Overall very clean
- I did the kitchen tour and the facilities are spot on and very very clean
- Good entertainment staff
- Relaxing lobby area
- Really good quality alcohol

Cons:
- The food is just average and doesn't really cater for vegetarians despite being promoted as a great place for food. The steaks were generally OK though, depending on the restaurant and cut
- It gets annoying when sitting on the room toilet when you can see paintbrush marks on the door frame and unfinished edges when the rest of the hotel is so well done
- You don't get the same pool service in different areas of sitting (sit at the front of the pool bar pool to get Omar and Mauricio)
- The pool bar staff are very slow and can be rude
- Had the same waiter twice in Market Cafe, both times he asked for our food order without taking a drinks order and both times I had to ask him what the specials were
- The lobby bar waitresses can be very slow, we waited over an hour some times and just got the drinks ourselves
- In the pool table room you can feel yourself losing weight because it's so hot, they need to add air conditioning

I've tried to make this review a little different to others on here and the reason for 4 stars is simply, this was the most we've paid for 14 days in Mexico, yet we've had better service, better grounds and far better food for less money on the Riviera Maya side.

Just message me if you have any questions, we ate in all the restaurants, drank at all the bars and took park in nearly all the activities.

On a parting note, Omar and a few others recommended a restaurant for us in Old Town Puerto Vallarta, Cafe de Olla, go there, its excellent! If you like Salsa dancing and a great time, there's a cuban bar in town, you'll not regret going.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank shaunkirkby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 June 2014

Totally agree with last reviewer some appalling behaviour and language in the pools . Expect to tip big to get attention from waiters . Pools dominated by large groups usually who were big tippers and seemed to be allowed to get away with anything . You were unable to swim in the pool as it was full of people standing around drinking, eating and smoking in the water ! We like to swim when we are holiday . The beach was patrolled by natives selling goods who would descend upon you if you set foot on it and spent most of the day starting into the main sunbathing area holding up their wares - very off putting. Resort felt overcrowded and noisy as previous reviewer said very small footprint. We paid for an upgrade with Thomsons to have sea views - total rip off ...all rooms had sea views and the standard tower had much better views than we did. In preferred side the block was sideways on to the sea and actually overlooked the pool it could be best described as a partial sea view . This hotel needs to make its mind up what it is , an events hotel or one which caters for holidaymakers. one day around 50 sunbeds were cleared mid afternoon for an evening event - corporate by the look of it - I don't know how they got away with it ! There were large hen parties, wedding parties and corporate events where people just seemed to want to get very drunk and be very loud . Not a relaxing hotel at all and very poorly described by Thomson in their brochure. There are two pools not three ( the third is a small shallow pool where there are stone beds on which to lie down ) it hardly constitutes a pool . Only positives food was good and beds were comfy . If you want a peaceful relaxing holiday - give this one a miss . Rooms smelt foisty also and I heard lots of people complaining about this .

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank Mimstravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver, Canada
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 June 2014

Like everyone on here, we rely on Trip Advisor heavily when making a hotel choice. I haven't, however, ever written my own review until now. Firstly, there are many good things about this hotel. The rooms are well appointed, although the musty smell is definitely apparent is some of the rooms more than others. The food was good overall and very good in some of the restaurants. The staff ranged from exceptionally friendly and helpful to rude and curt, which when it occurred seemed so out of character that it left us shocked. Be prepared to tip heavily for service.
My husband and I are early thirties. We enjoy all inclusives and have travelled to many areas around Mexico. We like to have fun but ultimately we go on vacation to relax. This holiday was not relaxing for us. The entire hotel is split exactly in two between Secrets and Now Amber. You can hear children playing next door in the pool and if you get tired of only eating in the two adult restaurants, you have to eat with the kiddies on the other side. Don't get me wrong I don't mind children, but when we paid considerably more to be adults only it was a bit of a shame. Several people stayed at the Now Amber resort and walked over to the Secrets side every day to use the better facilities. While this may seem like a genius idea to some, it doesn't really seem fair to all those guests that have paid considerably more to be at Secrets.
The biggest shock to us after staying at several other hotels, including other Secrets resorts, was the actual foot print of the hotel. The land area is incredibly small so that the sun beds are on top of each other and there is literally no where to escape the noise. I know that the hotel cannot control who you are essentially vacationing with, but even for us, the noise was too much. If your ideal vacation is constant activity, loud music, 'short' walks on the beach and crowded sunbathing then this is definitely a great place to be. If you want peace and have already booked this hotel I would strongly recommend getting a swim out suite as they seemed to have a little more privacy.

Room Tip: We paid extra for preferred club, ocean view. We did have partial ocean view but the main tower actu...
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank TripHappens
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fraser Valley BC
Level 5 Contributor
74 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 June 2014

This is not an easy review especially as all other reviews are amazing. We did our due diligence mainly via trip advisor and were excited about our vacation based on so many positive comments.Basically our need for a restful peaceful vacation wasn't met at all. To be fair to the hotel, the food is wonderful, staff great, service varied from exceptional to very poor, and the hotel was well kept. However we were so disappointed that the place was full of large groups of very drunk noisy inconsiderate people who totally dominated the place. Unfortunately because the footprint of the hotel is so small there was no where to escape the constant noise. There are 2 pools both of which were full of people who did not move all day long. They drank and ate their food in the pool and did not move for hours ( trips to bathroom not deemed necessary) We were privy to some awful behaviour. Staff did not appear to want to get involved in challenging anti social behaviour - too many scenarios to mention. We actually ended up going to the other side of the hotel to the childrens section at least their behaviour was pleasant. This hotel is a party place, and if you like that then its for you - a great choice. But if you want some R & R, don't choose this hotel.

Room Tip: We were in the preference club - but l think the rooms in the main block directly opposite the ocean...
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank happybctraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mauricio M, General Manager at Secrets Vallarta Bay Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 16 June 2014
Happybctraveler,

First and foremost allow me to thank you for the opportunity to serve as your host on your recent holiday to our iconic Puerto Vallarta. We sincerely apologize for any unpleasantness experienced during your stay since we pride ourselves in providing a surrounding in which you can indulge in ultimate relaxation anywhere in the resort. We thank you for bringing this to our attention and encourage our valued guests to confidently approach their concierge or a manager on site to report any witnessed lewd behavior. Our goal is to provide each and every one of our guests enjoy a memorable stay.

We also thank you for your kind feedback in regards to our facility, gourmet choices and staff. We find comfort in knowing that those core aspects which set us apart met your expectation and hope that this rare occurrence does not deter you from enjoying Secrets Vallarta Bay once more in the near future.

Cordially,

Mauricio Martinez
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Richardson, Texas
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 15 June 2014

Hands down the best vacation I have been on. Food was amazing, and the service was even better. We stayed 6 nights in a Junior swim out suite. worth every penny!!! when the main pool got crowed late into the afternoons, the convenience of having a semi-private pool at our disposal was priceless. Tripguy Travel booked our vacation and handled all the scheduling and they were great to work with.

Room Tip: Junior swim-out suite is the way to go
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank sfk15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mauricio M, General Manager at Secrets Vallarta Bay Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 18 June 2014
sfk15,

Thank you for sharing your experience at Secrets Vallarta Bay on TripAdvisor. We are more than thrilled to know that we met your expectations. The staff and I look forward to welcoming you again in the near future and exceeding in your enjoyment even more.

All our best,

Mauricio Martinez
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oakville, Missouri
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 June 2014

We stayed at the resort for 7 nights during the first week of June. From the moment we got there until the day we left everything went perfect. The staff was unbelieveable with there service and kindness. Could not of asked for anything else, would most definitely go back. Already miss the place, thanks once again. The Tiptons

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank tipkcfn85
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mauricio M, General Manager at Secrets Vallarta Bay Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 16 June 2014
Tipkcfn85,

We are ecstatic to know that your recent holiday was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone in your party. It makes us very proud to receive feedback that praises the effort our staff puts forth s to make our valued guests holiday the most memorable. We all thank you for your review and look forward to welcoming you again in the near future.

Cordially,

Mauricio Martinez
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Saint Charles, Illinois
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 June 2014

We had a great time. The food was wonderful, the service was great, and it was a great escape. We were only there for 4 days, so we never even left the property, and you truly don't need to. If you can't find a chair, ask, they'll bring it to you. Everything is at your fingertips. All you have to do is ask (and tip!).

Room Tip: Go premium. It was worth every penny.
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank Sheila G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mauricio M, General Manager at Secrets Vallarta Bay Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 16 June 2014
Sheila G,

Thank you for your wonderful 5 star review. It is delightful to read about the great time had during your recent stay. Our staff loves to pamper our guests, at Secrets Vallarta Bay you will find some of the most caring and outgoing individuals in Puerto Vallarta. We send you our best and hope it is not too long before we have the pleasure of welcoming you again.
Cordially,

Mauricio Martinez
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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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