My boyfriend and I stayed at Secrets Vallarta Bay for 2 weeks from 3rd July - 17th July 2014. It was immaculate, stunning and extremely comfortable. The transfer from the airport was an easy 15 minute drive.
We booked the holiday 5 weeks prior to departure through Thomson and were originally booked into Secrets' sister hotel, Now Amber (as Thomson had no rooms left for us in Secrets at the time of booking). However, upon arrival at the check in desk, we were informed that one of the pools on the Now Amber side would be closed due to maintenance and as a result, they had made up a room for us in the adult only Secrets hotel next door (same complex but split down the middle to make 2 halves, 1 half is Now Amber for families or people travelling with children, the other is Secrets which is adult only). We were told we could still have our room in Now Amber but they wanted to give us the option of the room in Secrets. As the Secrets side is adults only and they had taken notice of my original request for a high up room, we jumped at the chance and what a fabulous decision it was!
I cannot find the words to do this place justice, it was everything we hoped our holiday would be and more! This was our first time travelling to Mexico and we were very impressed. The area of Puerto Vallarta (pronounced V-aye-arta, as we found out) is beautiful and very safe. We took several walks down the main roads, down the beach and through the shops/markets and felt very welcome at all times. The Downtown area is a must see with various little shops, restaraunts and bars right on the ocean. There is a lovely promenade that runs for a 1km along the ocean and makes for a great walk with excellent views. The locals are friendly and do not bombard you with their wares. The marina is also a definite place to visit!
Our room was luxurious and spacious with a jacuzzi bath, huge walk in shower, drawers and wardrobe, chaise longue, his and her sinks, MASSIVE memory foam mattress bed, big flat screen TV with cable, vanity table and mirror etc... The balcony looked right out onto the beach and the ocean, we had a perfect view of the spectacular sunset every night. The maid came twice a day and did a wonderful job, we particularly enjoyed the turndown service in the evenings.
The bars and restaraunts in the hotel were so good that we never ate anywhere else. The all inclusive package here really is the most comprehensive one I've ever experienced. All drinks, no matter the brand and including all cocktails, were part of the package. For example, I was having Grey Goose vodka and my boyfriend, Appleton State rum...amazing! The bar service was fantastic and included waiter service to your table, whether you were sitting indoors or out on the terrace (best view you will EVER have from a bar). The waiter service at the pool area was also fantastic, you don't have to move once or summon a waiter over. they take such good care of you and make sure you always have a drink in hand, be it water or a cocktail! if it's too hot, you just need to ask for a parasol and they will bring one over for you. The pool waiter we had most days was Omar, absolute gem! If you have him at your sunbed you know you're going to get some excellent service.
The food was out of this world! There are 5 restaurants; Mexican, French, Seafood, Asian and a Buffet. Each has it's own menu, we went to each place twice or three times and were never disappointed. The options for lunch are either the barefoot grill, a walk-up BBQ where you can get anything from nachos to burgers (all delicious) or the Market Cafe buffet, which is also where you go for breakfast. The food is honestly fantastic and very varied, so no need to worry about that! If you are staying in Secrets there is no need to make reservations, you just turn up and give your room number.
Room service was included, we had it twice for dinner. The menu is good and varied and food/drinks are delivered to the room in around half an hour. Worth trying!
The hotel has it's own taxi service which is very handy, you just say to a bell boy at the door that you would like one and he calls it for you immediately. Taxis are well priced and the drivers very friendly and talkative.
During our stay it was my boyfriend's birthday and so I arranged with the concierge for us to have dinner on the beach that night. The service was outstanding, personal waiter, wine & champagne included. The hotel photographer also came down and took some gorgeous pictures of us. Also, for his birthday, they sent a surprise cake with a personalised message and bottle of champagne to the room...very impressed!The concierge in general were incredibly helpful and were always keen and ready to help us. My boyfriend asked where he could get flowers (for me) and he was told not to worry, it was all in hand. Later that day, a stunning bouquet of roses and lillies was delivered to the room! They also sent chamomile tea to the room when I had a sore stomach one evening, even though it wasn't on the room service menu. All the staff in general were very helpful and spoke excellent English.
Tipping wasn't in any way mandatory and you didn't get dirty looks or reduced service from their very high standards if you didn't give anything. But the odd 20 / 50 peso tip at the end of a meal or to the pool waiter at the end of the day was greatly appreciated and they would take a little extra care of you. (the exchange rate is 20 pesos = £1). The hotel does accept dollars but they prefer Mexican Pesos.
The beach was beautiful and well taken care of, if you wanted a bed on the beach, you had to get up relatively early to reserve it. On the first night we saw a sea turtle lay eggs on the beach, it was fantastic! The pool area was clean and never seemed busy, there were two large pools (one of which had a swim up bar), a relaxation pool with beds under the water and a hot tub. You don't have to get up early to reserve a bed, just go down when you're ready and you'll find some (unless you're after more than two together, in which case it may be wise to go down early).The only negative point I have about the area is that the entertainment team would be really quite loud at some points during the day over at the swim up bar pool. I don't see how this could be avoided but the music was loud and the people were loud which I know annoyed us sometimes and other people. But, it didn't ruin anything and plenty of people seemed to be enjoying it.
During our stay, we went on 5 trips with a company called Vallarta Adventures. If you want to see a lot more of this area of Mexico, look into what they offer! The excusions we took part in were: San Sebastian, Yelapa & Pizota, Island Escape, Bronze Dolphins and Sunset Cruise. All fantastic and well worth the money. The people who take you on the trips put your safety first. They are all very knowledgable and keen to make your trip a great one!
Overall, if you are considering Mexico...THIS IS THE PLACE TO GO! We will definitely be back, 10 out of 10!
Hazel & Derek :) x
- 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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