Just got back last night from the Now Amber - we stayed Feb 5-12. Not even sure where to start there are so many things to say! I'll start off by saying we stayed at the Now Jade last year in the Mayan and were very impressed with the resort. We like to try a new destination each year so we thought we'd try PV but stick with the Now - it did not disappoint!
Resort: Beautiful, new, modernly furnished. Our room was amazing on the 13th floor. Full ocean view. Jetted tub, seperate shower, double sinks. In room safe, mini bar stocked each day. Beds & pillows were comfy. Our room was cleaned everyday while we were out. Turn down service occured every night but one. We did not stay in the preferred section - we always find it to be a waste of money for what you actually get but some people like the upgrade. Free calls from the room phone to US & Canada landlines only - wifi was spotty but there are 2 computers in the coffee shop that are available to use - sometimes they connections were spotty there but for the most part pretty good. The resort itself is compact and is mirrored by it's sister resort Secrets Vallarta. You can use the amenities of Secrets - pool/bar/restaurants as long as you don't have kids which was a nice feature for some. You can just float back & forth out the front door & via the beach. We didn't mind the few kids that were there & found it not to be an issue. One small note though about using Secrets is they do have better top shelf liquor there like Corona and Grey Goose so if you are fussy on brands you may wish to walk over to the Secrets side for your drinks. Rooms are all ocean view with your outside door facing the town & main drag. You do hear sirens at night when it's quiet - this was new for us as we usually stay in the Mayan or other places were the resort is not right in town but it wasn't an issue. There are a few swimout suites that have a garden view as the view of the ocean & resort are blocked by thick foilage - very private if that's what you are looking for (other than the 8 other suites attached to the same swim out pool) but they didn't seem to be that popular. The 4th floor is the right above the lobby bar where they have outside seating - noisy and I would suggest requesting another floor - they tried to put everyone on our plane that arrived on the 4th floor & we all requested another floor which was accommodated.
Food: Simply amazing! Every single restaurant we visited both on the Now & Secrets side were nothing but delicious and well presented. Hitmitsu and Market Cafe were our favs. Food is plentiful & tasty...presented like a gourmet restaurant. We chose this chain specifically for the feedback on the food - we were not disappointed. The buffet is the only option for breakfast other than room service and it does get a bit tired - they change it up a bit but the buffet is the buffet - food was good and hot but got boring very quickly. For lunch you can choose the buffet or they have the Barefoot grill for those at the pool & beach who want a quick lunch of hot dogs, burgers & fries or pizza. You can sit at a few tables they have set up or go to your lounger & eat there. Castaways & Oceana are open for lunch to order off menu - you just need to wear a cover up. No reservations required except at the Asian if you want to sit at the Teppanyaki tables - we didn't bother. We eat early around 6 or 7...never any wait but we did see many at Bordeaux on the Secrets side with pagers who chose to eat at a later time. Steaks at the Market Cafe are amazing - don't underestimate the name which many do - thinking it's not gourmet - best steak we had on the resort and in fact it was on of the restaurants we chose to visit twice. There are lots of choices & something for everyone.
Pool/Beach: They have 3 pools & a hot tub - one pool has a small waterslide which would be fun for kids, the main pool has the swim up bar. Pools are warm - not too warm - but not frigid where you can't get it or stay in beause they are not heated. It was perfect and we found many socializing in the pool beause people tended to stay in longer because of the water temp. The beach is nice but the water is rough which we knew when we booked. The water is not clear like the Mayan and the flag was at least yellow every day if not red. There were many in the ocean but I would recommend not going in if you are not a strong swimmer. The roped off swimming area is not that big which would give most people the indiciation that you need to be very careful. They did have an inflatable climbing wall & trampoline in the ocean which many made use of. Lots of towels & chairs...no need to reserve & fight over chairs - there are LOTS at any time of the day. There is a lifeguard tower where they ring the bell at the sighting of whales in the ocean - yes that's right - you can see the whales right from the beach - very cool.
Service: was some of the best we've had in 9 years of destinations. These people go out of their way to please. For anyone to say that had bad service here would be a crime. Even around the pool where some don't bring alot of money to tip the bartender or serving staff - the service was excellent & they were there often - there was no difference tip or no tip. They certainly don't have a hand out expecting to be tipped like restaurants here in Canada. If I ever got service like this in any Winnipeg restaurant I would likely fall out of my chair in shock. Enough can't be said for it - everyone and I mean EVERYONE is very helpful and will go above & beyond to make you happy.
Off resort: We went to the Healing Hands massage place right outside the door (sorry Now - you're just too expensive) $25 for an hour and a great massage it was! We also did the Pegaso whale watching - $65 for a half day but just a note to check out my review on their tour company as there is some info that you may want to know before booking - booked through our rep on property. We also visited Blake's Bar which is owned by a fellow & his wife from Winnipeg- just around the corner - we just had a beer there but apprently the food is fantastic and you need a reservation about a week in advance - will have to try it next time!
The bad: And finally after all of the great things to say about this resort I have to add the negativity about the "ultimate vacation club" once again just as I did last year at the Now Jade. When you arrive at the resort & figure you've managed to escape the clutches of the time share people at the airport in swoops the Now ultimate vacation club vultures, and they are very smooth at this (remember these are sales people) tas hey slide a piece of paper over to you to fill out - they also offer you coupons for the spa & dinner on the beach etc - with all of your info. This paper is an agreement that you will meet with one of their reps about the Vacation Club which they will be very quick to mention that it is not a time share. Well guess what NOW - it sort of is a time share - call it what you want but if it walks like a duck......you get the picture. These sales people seem to be not as high pressured as they were in the Mayan but they are essentially trying to get you to buy into a share of this chain to "upgrade" you on future vacations with this resort - for several thousand dollars. We said no right away to the presentation- the rep made us feel uncomfortable for saying no & we sat there just looking at each other like we were going to change our mind. All off a sudden the coupons that he promised us were ours - that come with our room with no obligation went back off the table with him & his blank form never to be seen again. Thanks Christian for proving to us that this is nothing more than an attempt at the chain trying to lock you into spending money to ensure you use thier property for the next 20 years - and all is great now as these resorts are new - but what about the future when they are not new? It's all a personal choice but I don't like to badgered on vacation about time-shares which is essentially what it is. The chain really needs to cut this crap out! We said no but these guys are in the lobby helping direct you around & then they still try to get you inside - super annoying and unacceptable as far as I'm concerned - no means no people! Be very careful about what you are signing & agreeing to.
All in all, in 9 years of destination spots including Mexico, Jamaica & the Bahamas, the Now Amber & the Now Jade are tied for top spot in our opinion. Check it out - you'll have a great time.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Perfectly situated on a golden sand beach showcasing infinity views of Banderas Bay, Now Amber Puerto Vallarta welcomes families with teens and tweens as well as couples and friends. Now Amber a AAA Four Diamond resort located in the heart of Puerto Vallarta, is only 5 minutes away from the famous “El Malecón” boardwalk and just 15 minutes from Puerto Vallarta International Airport. Guests of all ages are treated to an Unlimited-Luxury® escape with lavish accommodations at 327 suites, luxurious accommodations and pristine facilities. Seven dining options and five lively bars will tempt even the most discerning palates. Family-oriented activities and entertainment will keep guests enthralled all-day and night long. And that’s not all – adults can enjoy time at the spa while kids and teens enjoy supervised fun! ... more less
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