Hola to all of you!
Bob & I just returned from Secrets Vallarta Bay last night. We are in our early 60's and traveled via Apple Vacations. We booked a park, sleep, fly package at the Radisson O'hare Hotel for the night before we flew out. The room with quiet, the bedding very comfortable, and the transportation to and from O'hare went off without any problem. We would definately stay there again.
The Flight: Apple vacations offered a non-stop Frontier Airline charter flight from Chicago O'hare. There was a Preferred Seating option on the flight for $25 pp each way. If you have the opportunity to purchase that upgrade, do it. You will have front of the plane with stretch seating; first on and first off the plane; and luggage is taken off first. It includes express line check-in, meal box, and 2 alcoholic drinks each way. What a bargain!
Now for the trip.
Arrival: We quickly made it to our transportation and avoided any and all contact with anyone trying to get our attention in the airport (time sharks). It is about a 10-15 minute drive to the resort. We booked a Preferred Oceanview Room and were greeted with a cool wash cloth and a tropical drink upon arrival. We were escorted to the concierge in the Preferred Club building and were quickly and efficiently registered and taken to our room on the 8th floor. Luggage arrived to our room shortly after check-in.
The Room: Every room has a spectacular view of the ocean. We asked for a higher floor to have privacy as well as (hopefully) a quieter room away from the pool. The elevators worked great and the balcony jacuzzi was perfect. We were on the top floor of the Preferred Club rooms and the air conditioner worked great. It was quiet and efficient. Note: Remember to close the glass sliding doors together tightly if you want a cool room. If you leave a gap or forget to close them, the air will not run. This allows better energy efficiency for the hotel. Also, when the glass doors are shut they reduce the noise of hustle & bustle of the resort quite a bit. The bed was very comfortable and the room very attractively decorated and spacious. The shower is huge (you could have a multi-person shower party in there if you wanted...wow!) There was never a shortage of towels or wash clothes or toiletries. They even provided a bottle of 15 protection sunscreen. The refrigerator was restocked daily with small bottles of Corona, water and a variety of sodas. Also, 3 small bottles of liquor, a bag of M&M's and a container of Pringles. Warning...watch out for channel 36 on your cable. Wowza! That's all I'm gonna say. Bob & I are too old but we remember when....ha!
The Grounds: The resort is beautifully landscaped, with several pools to choose from. There is easy access to the beach and there is security staff protecting the area, if needed. One nice thing is that there is a lifeguard on duty during the day. The beach sand is not soft and there are rocks in the water and all over. It is not an easy beach for walking, running, or shell collecting. FYI, there are very few shells. I was lucky enough to find 2 shells over the whole week and they were not pretty. However, at least I found them. The staff keeps the grounds very clean and there is an endless supply of towels. It is very easy to walk between the Secrets and the Now side of the resort. The Now Amber is also very well appointed. However, Bob & I were truly glad we booked the adults only Secret side. There were many, many, many families with young children. The children appeared to be well-behaved and polite, but kids are kids and that means noise, giggling, crying, and running. I can easily understand why couples staying on the Now side walk over to the Secrets side and use those pools.
The Staff: The staff we had contact with were friendly and helpful. They obviously tried to give the "extra" service to make our stay special. The concierge staff in the Preferred Club building were always available to answer questions and solve concerns. The maids kept our room very clean and stocked. The entertainment staff had never-ending energy and big smiles. In particular, Christian never seemed to get tired. He was extremely good in achieving his entertainment responsibilities. The bartenders were quick to fill orders and the pool waiters regularly checked in to see if more drinks were needed.
The Food: OMG...the food! The Preferred Lounge keeps warm & cold foods, salads, breads, and sweets out all day from 7 am-11 pm. and there is a designated bar and bartender, as well. the bar serves top shelf liquer. Bob likes Bailey's and they served him Bailey's, not a knock-off. The main buffet restaurant has more options than you could ever eat. In our many years of traveling, the food was warmer and tastier than any other all-inclusive we've been to. The snack bar by the pool offered a nice variety of quick pick-me-up foods and beverages. We ate lunch twice at Oceanas, with just a beach cover necessary for me and a shirt for Bob. The food is ala-carte, served hot, with a fantastic view of the ocean. We had breakfast room service twice and could not believe how fresh and warm the meal was. It took about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes for delivery after ordering, but it was great having breakfast on our balcony and...they got our orders filled correctly. Sometimes, language barriers have caused problems for us at other resorts, but not at Secrets. It was great! We ate at the Japanese restaurant twice, both times at the table where the chef cooks the food in front of us. We enjoyed it both times and appreciated adults only at the cooking table. We ate at the French restaurant twice and enjoyed the upscale setting and the special service the waiter provided and it's adults only. The last night we ate at the Italian restaurant on the Now side. The food, atmosphere, and service was very nice. However, children are allowed in there, and kids being kids, they were a bit antsy, tempermental, and noisy. Not a real problem, but definately takes away from the rest of the experience in that beautiful Italian setting. We attended the Mexican Fiesta buffet one night. The food was good, not great, and the room was filled with families. The entertainment included a Mariachi Band, and Mexican dancers. There were a handful of area vendors available and selling their merchandise on a bargaining price basis.
The Entertainment: The staff around the pool was exceptional. I did water aroebics one day. However, I got stepped on and my one toe turned black & blue and hurt, so once was enough for me. Lots of people did it every day, though. Most of the activities are available but not forced on you. The Now side has more activities centered around families and they have a whole schedule of fun things for the children to do in a separate area of the pool decks. The lobby lounges on both sides offer lounge type music in the evenings with a knock down gorgeous viewsof the sunset. Bob & I did a couple evenings of their main show entertainment in the amphitheater, but found them to be mainly filled with colorful dancers and a bit repetitive. Instead, we opted to return to our room after dark and indulge in the jacuzzi on our balcony. There are a multitude of water sport equipment and rentals on the beach. Also, there is horseback riding available for purchase by the local owners.
The Shopping: The shops on the resort meet basic needs and are priced at a higher rate than if you went into town or shopped on the beach. There is something for everyone, but at a cost, and with a limited variety to choose from. The retail workers were polite and spoke limited English. However, we were able to pick up a few last minute gifts at those shops. Tip...if you have to a gift or tequilla or something else last minute before going home, the airport has lots of stores and their prices are less than at the resort. Wait and buy your alcohol and/or vanilla, etc. at the airport.
The Spa: Bob & I did an 80 minute Swedish massage for couples in the Pevonia Spa. The spa is beautiful and the variety of water jets, pressure settings and jacuzzi was refreshing and relaxing. We have never had any kind of massage and chose Pevonia because we wanted to see the resort spa and experience what they advertise. Bob & I enjoyed it very much, even though I am a bit shy and had to give up the shyness for the experience. Keep in mind that even with the special of the day price, it was costly ($255 USD total for the 2 of us). Many Trip Advisors have gone to Helping Hands massage right outside the resort on the left. I mentioned this place to people we met in the pool and a few of the couples went there. All of them came back saying it was a bargain and worth every penny they paid. Helping (Healing?) Hands is clean, but not fancy. You can get an hour long massage for $25-$35 pp. For Bob & I, I'm glad we experienced Pevonia for our first ever massage. However, when we return (and we will), we will go to Helping (Healing?) Hands. That seems to be the best deal for the feel, if you know what I mean....ha!
Closing Thoughts: My husband has some mobility issues and used a walker to get around. There was always a place available for him to sit and rest. The staff was helpful and understanding, as were the other visitors that had to move over a bit i\on the elevators to make room for us. Oh yeah...the resort can get noisy. It is shaped in a "V" and sound rises. People drink & stay up & drink more. Close the balcony doors and enjoy the "whole experience". We aren't party people but we respect that part of an all-inclusive get-away is the partying. This was our 10th visit to Puerto Vallarta. The combination of mountains, ocean, cobblestone streets and the hard working, friendly people bring us back again and again. We will return to our Puerto Vallarta family again, as long as health allows us to do so. We will stay at Secrets Vallarta Bay or another AM Resort Property. Questions? E-mail me & I'll get back to you. I'm back to work tomorrow. Phoey! All good things must come to an end. Back to reality.
- 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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