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The Grand Mayan Nuevo Vallarta
Ranked #10 of 28 Hotels in Nuevo Vallarta
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 3 June 2008

My husband and I recently went to the Grand Mayan with my father who is a timeshare owner at the resort. We stayed for a total of 5 days over Memorial Day weekend. We were met at the Puerto Vallarta Airport by a member of Miller Transportation, contracted through the hotel, and they took us directly to the Grand Mayan at no extra charge. The hotel states that check-in isn't until 5:00 pm and we arrived around 2:00 pm however, the front desk agent was very nice and let us set up our credit account (required for all guests staying at the hotel) and assigned us a room, gave us our grounds bracelet, etc. He said to come back in about an hour and our room would be ready. He was telling the truth and we were allowed to check in a little bit earlier than normal.

The rooms at the Grand Mayan are gorgeous. Our room was in the new building overlooking the ocean. It was clean, comfortable, and HUGE. We had a pool built into our balcony but we didn't use it because it was freezing and we spent most of our time walking around the grounds or at the main pool area. The furnishings were nice and the bed was comfortable. Right below us there was construction being done to the water slide and the kids pool area, so that created some noise however, the workmen didn't start until well after we had gotten out of bed and they finished some time around 7 pm, or whenever it started to get dark so we never really thought of it as a disturbance.

Overall the hotel is quite nice and the staff is friendly. Even as a timeshare owner we were made to go on a presentation to see if we wanted to upgrade our membership. This included a breakfast over at the Mayan Palace (with the salesperson) and then a tour of the new facilities they are building. All in all it took about 4 hours and became very tedious as we were not interested in upgrading. However, our salesperson was nice and pleasant so it wasn't a total loss because we got some good conversation that didn't have to do with buying anything.

We used the gym facilities every day and found them to be adequate with a good mix of weights, machines, and cardio equipment. The gym is free if you are a member of the Grand Mayan. We also got massages at the Brio Spa and these too were satisfactory (80 minute Swedish massage was about $115).

Some of the drawbacks to this resort are the following:

1) the town of Puerto Vallarta is quite far away. We ventured into the town one morning via cab and it took about 25 minutes to get there and cost 180 pesos ($18) + tip. I would guess that its a good 20 mi+ to Puerto Vallarta from Nuevo Vallarta. There is a bus you can take that costs 15 pesos ($1.50) but you have to change at the Wal-Mart and it adds travel time and possibly, confusion.

2) while the hotel has several restaurants, none of them are very good and the food is WAY over priced for what you get. The only really good dining experience we had was at the Italian Steakhouse called Tramonto. The Punta Arena restaurant was NOT GOOD. The breakfast buffet at the Mayan Palace offered more authentic Mexican cuisine which was decent.

3) if you're looking for a quiet romantic getaway, this is not the place for you. There are a lot of kids (of all ages) running around all the time and the place is large so there is a lot of bustle at most times of the day and evening. The majority of the hotel guests seemed to be American.

4) besides sitting at either the pool or the beach, there isn't that much to do on the resort grounds. This is a good place to go if you want to just get away and do absolutely nothing. I managed to read over 400 pages of the book that I brought.

5) all excursions need to be booked through the concierge at the hotel. They offer a brochure of what is available, but no prices are listed.

6) Montezuma's Revenge (aka dysentery). The hotel claims to have a water filtration system and offers bottled water in abundance however, both my husband and I experienced some rather annoying stomach issues towards the end of the trip and for several days after we returned. Being a 5-Star resort we did not anticipate having to wash off our toothbrush with bottled water or worry about having water contact our mouth during showers, etc. Honestly, it could have been anything (ice in the mixed drinks?) but still an unpleasant result of our vacation. Just something to keep in mind.

Overall this hotel is decent. We probably won't go back because of the above mentioned reasons. For the same money we can go to one of the Caribbean islands, like St. Lucia or Curacao, and have a more cultural experience.

  • Stayed: May 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
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3  Thank meyvin21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 2 June 2008

Thought I would add some additional info I haven't seen in other reviews.

We just got back on June 1 from a week at the Grand Mayan and overall had a fabulous time. One disappointment was that the wave pool and waterslide were closed and had been closed for 3 weeks previous. Supposed to reopen early June. We weren't told of this through RCI or resort website so kids were quite upset. Lazy river had waves so that made it more fun.

If you email the concierge a few days ahead with your flight number and date/time of arrival, they will have someone there to get you to the resort. I never heard back from my initial email so was planning on taking a taxi when a nice man with a clipboard asked where we were going and had our name on his list. We shared a van with another couple also staying there, all for free. Taxi wanted $40 so a good deal. When you get to airport, keep walking through the sliding doors (about 3 sets I think) until you are outside. Walk past timeshare people at desk, they are not with grand mayan.

We did not like our initial room, great floor (9 on top) but overlooking 12 hours of continuous construction noise, employee bus lot, and jack hammers. We really never went on the balcony due to the noise. Wall of windows made noise a big problem. After trying to switch rooms right away, told there were no other rooms, etc. etc. they said to check back in a few days. Checked in Sun nite and after spending long day in room Tues with sick child, went down Wed morning and asked again to be switched. We asked for something on the ocean side and even offered to drop down to a 1 bedroom since there were only 4 of us and they said yes. What a difference, listening to waterfalls, palm trees and ocean view. They say only owners get ocean view so I though I would share this with anyone who gets a terrible room during off season, you may be able to negotiate something.

Some great restaurants we liked in nuevo vallarta were Guido's (walking distance from resort), great pizza/pasta. The free city shuttle (or taxi) can take you to Fajita Republic in Nuevo Vallarta, really good mexican food and great atmosphere. It's nice not to have to go to PV every nite for food. We didn't really like the hotel food that much, we never found good Mexican food at the restaurants at the hotel. Pipi's in PV had huge portions and good prices, enough leftovers for next day.

Hotel has a Dr on site, made a room call for $40 us dollars, we needed in order to reschedule zip line tour otherwise no refunds!

Grocery store at Paradise Plaza in nuevo vallarta is cheaper than the one at the hotel and bigger, $3 taxi ride each way. We didn't do walmart and ate breakfast and or lunch in room, not too expensive.

Have fun!!!

  • Stayed: May 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
3  Thank Arizona2kidsmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 May 2008

We just spent a week (May 10 - 17, 2008) at the Grand Mayan, Nuevo Vallarta and loved every second. This resort is truly first class and you will feel like royalty there. We stayed as guests of time share owners (we traded for this resort) and weren’t treated differently. I had a million questions before we went so I want to try and help others who are trying to plan their trip to paradise with some tips.

• Yes, there is a free shuttle from the airport to the resort. Just call the concierge to make your reservation. When you get off the plane, after customs, and after the time share sharks (who are fierce and will lie and say they are the Miller Group or Grand Mayan, so just ignore them and walk fast) you will see some legitimate shuttle drivers holding signs (Miller Group here) – they ask your name, then take you out to a van. It is free, but tip is not included.

• Checking in is simple. You have to sign some forms and they set up a $600 line of credit “for you” probably to make sure you won’t run off, they need a credit card for this. Then you go get your bracelet that you have to wear on the property (for security) and the lady mentioned the time share presentation option to us, no pressure or anything. And it might actually be worth it for most people- if you do it you get 10% off your bill and 40% off a bunch of activities plus a free breakfast. But she took “No” for an answer and didn’t push.

• The restaurants on the hotel “campus” are all really good. Room service was a really good deal also (in our opinion), so we did that for breakfast a few days. We really liked Samba (by the pool) and Rumm-ba which is at the Sea Garden and Taco Break which is cheap, right outside the main entrance. There are golf carts that take you between the three resorts. We ate at the snack bar by the beach (Ole) a few days and they had really good snack food (Nachos, sandwiches, etc) and their prices were really reasonable. There is a small Market near the entrance which has some grocery items – yes they are expensive, but it still beats eating at the restaurant for every meal if you are up for cooking. They sell 6 packs of beer and wine also (and ice cream treats for about a dollar!). We tried Green Break our last night which was disappointing compared to everything else at the resort. I wouldn’t bother going there.

• The pools and lazy river are worth mentioning on their own. These pools were unbelievable, gigantic! There are 2 swim up bars (yeah!) and there is a lazy river around the hotel. This was our favorite part! Just be sure to wear lots of sunscreen so you don’t burn to a crisp! We did bring our own sunscreen because it is really expensive there. The pool side staff can also bring you food, and we had lunch here a couple times. Also, they have happy hour and drink specials every day, so be sure to ask what the specials are!

• They have an internet café that sells 30 minutes for $5.

• We booked both of our excursions through the hotel travel agency – they gave us a special price and they call and make your reservations for you. Nice amenity!

• We drank the water on and off the resort and had no “revenge” issues. Supposedly, PV has the cleanest water in Mexico.

• When you take a taxi anywhere, be sure to agree on your fare before you go. Also, brace yourself, most of the cab drivers there drive like maniacs! It’s better just to not pay attention and watch the nice scenery!

Most of all enjoy Mexico! It was a wonderful trip, the people are so kind and the food is delicious! I can’t wait to go back!

Stayed: May 2008
4  Thank Travel116
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 May 2008

I stayed here with some people who own a timeshare. None of us had been here before. Overall, there are some really nice things about the Grand Mayan, and some things that I didn't care for.

To start on a positive note, let me say that with the exception of the front desk personnel, the entire staff of the hotel (even the construction workers) were very friendly and always smiled and said hello. With the exception of the front desk personnel and the concierge, all of the staff at the hotel was very competent and at their jobs. The room was fabulous and was very clean. The pool on the porch was much bigger than I anticipated, and we got quite a bit of use out of it. Our room faced away from the ocean, and the construction noise was a bit loud at times, but the rooms seemed to be pretty well insulated from this. The pool was very nice. We were there in the off-season (May), and the pools were not very crowded, despite the fact that half of them were undergoing renovations. The beach was also very nice. It is not a bright white sand beach that other places (Cancun) have, but it was very big and never very crowded. The area was relatively peaceful. The lazy river was a lot of fun.

I will now list some of the things that I didn't like. Keep in mind that most of there are personal preferences, and the things that I don't like might be attractive to others. First, the people at the front desk were completely incompetent. It took us over 4 hours to check in, and they claimed that our room wouldn't be ready until after 6pm. We had to complain loudly before they would just give us a different room (there had to be plenty available -- it didn't seem crowded). Throughout the week, various things went wrong because the front desk people did not check us in properly. What a mess.

We didn't attend the timeshare presentation. We heard horror stories, so we avoided it.

The food was rather expensive, and downright lousy. However, my bigger complaint is that there is no Mexican food on the menus! Furthermore, the Grand Mayan doesn't have any restaurants open between noon and 1pm? I couldn't believe this! My family and I tend to eat our meals a bit on the early side and we had trouble finding places which were open to eat.

My biggest complaint is that the hotel is very secluded, making it very difficult to see anything outside of the hotel complex area. There are taxis which can come to the door of the hotel, but the bus stop is a moderate walk away. They apparently used to have a shuttle to the bus stop, but this has been discontinued. The "concierge" was only knowledgeable about things related to the Mayan hotels; everyone at the desk could not tell us anything about the outside world. In order to book tours and such, there is a "travel agent", for which there was always a 30 minute wait. It seems like the hotel does everything it can to ensure that you never ever leave the hotel grounds. Some people might not find this annoying, but I was very irritated by this.

In summary, the Grand Mayan is a perfect place for those who want to sit around by a nice pool or beach all day, for those who don't particularly care if your food is expensive or authentic, for those who have no desire to explore Mexico outside of an established tour, and for those traveling with young kids. It is not an ideal place for young adults traveling on a budget, for those who would like a more "Mexican" experience, or for those who like to shop endlessly.

  • Stayed: May 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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4  Thank SeattleHudd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 May 2008

My husband and I stayed in this resort May 10-17, 2008. This is a wonderful resort and we had a great time.

Pick-up: The resort provides free pick-up from the airport. Just email the concierge a week before giving them your flight info. You will see the Miller Transportation rep at the exit of the airport. He then got a taxi for us to take us to the resort. This is only one-way service; they don’t have it for the return flights.

Check in: Our check-in was seamless. We did not have any problems at all. We asked them for a room with a good view and they got us one right away. We were guest of owners, so got “owner” treatment. I am not sure if it was related to that but the employees seemed very helpful and nice overall.

Room: We had a suite without the kitchen. The room was very large and comfortable. We had a great view of the grounds and the ocean.

Grounds: We loved the grounds!! Everything was so organized, clean and nice. I have been to many resorts, and this was certainly up there. The pool is amazing. We loved the lazy river. We are more of beach people so we spent most of our time at the beach. We liked the beach on Mayan Palace much better since it was much more quiet. The train and the boat takes you all around the grounds and are very nice both for transportation and for fun.

Transportations: We mostly took the bus to go to PV and other cities
(Bucerias, Mismaloya). It is very easy and cheap. The bus service stops at around 10.30 PM.

Restaurants: We had all of our lunches in the resort. The food is pretty good and the prices are reasonable. The guacamole is amazing.
Ola Mulata-by the beach

Punta Arena- This is the restaurant by the beach in Mayan Palace. We had both lunch and dinner there. Both were very nice. For dinner, we had seafood combination for two. It was so much food and very delicious.
Samba- We had breakfast there one day. It is nice.
Balche- pool bar in Mayan Palace. We had most of our lunches from there. Nice food and reasonable.
Tacos Break- This is just outside of the resort by the gate. We ate there one night. The food was OK.

Le Cliff- This is a very nice restaurant after Mismaloya. We took a cab to get here from PV, but you can also take the bus from PV to Le Cliff. This is simply a place you should experience. We had drinks there watching the sunset. The rest has a gorgeous view.

Tony’s – This is a very small and authentic restaurant in Mismaloya. It is very different and the food was by far the BEST we had on PV. We would highly recommend it. It is a little far from PV, but you can take the bus or take the cab for $13 from PV.

El Palomar de la Gonzales- This is a restaurant in PV/Romantica district. It is high up on the hill. It is a pretty authentic restaurant and has a great view of the bay and PV. The food was moderate.

Adauto’s in Bucerias- Bucerias is a little north of NV. We took the bus there. There is a really not a lot to do in the town but it is nice to go for dinner. There a re a lot of restaurants where you can eat right on the beach. Adauto’s is on the main strip by the beach. We sat right on the beach and watched the beautiful sunset. I had grilled fish and my husband had shrimp enchilada. The fish was overcooked, but overall the food was good.

Paradise Plaza: There is a Mexican rest in the Paradise Plaza. It is $3 cab ride from the hotel. The food was pretty good. We had dinner there one night. They close at 9.30 pm.

Most of the bars/restaurants in the resort have happy hour. Make sure you check the times when you get there. We found out the last day and wish we had checked out before.

Sales presentation: We went to the presentation just to get the $100 and the discounted price on the excursions. It was 3 hours instead of 90 minutes, but it was partially our fault since we were trying to be nice. We knew we were not going to buy but still listened. The lady we had was not that bad. If the discount worth anything to you then go, if not don’t waste you time.

Excursions: We only did the “Rhythms of the Night” tour. It is a different experience. The show was good. I had much higher expectations before going, but it was still nice. The food is not that great. We wished that we had more time after the dinner to walk around, but the boat left right as we were done with our dinner.

Shopping: We walked in PV and looked at the galleries. We also went to the Flea Market by the bridge; it is nice if you are looking for cheap souvenirs. If you want to buy the real and nice stuff, you need to go to the individual stores. Majolica is the best store to buy Talavera dishes. We found some unique pottery in Galeria Serendipity. If you want to buy Huichol Art, I would recommend Artesanias Flores. It is a small gallery and does not look like anything from the outside, but the art is by far the best we had seen. The prices are good as well. We looked there once and could not decide. When we went back the next day it was closed. So we ended up buying a piece from the Huichol Collection right across from the Malecon. They have a lot of choices but I did not like many of them. Also be aware that this is a timeshare presentation place.

TIPS: Buy 10 gallon water from the market. It is only 40 pesos instead of paying 15 pesos for a small bottle.

Bring all your needs such as sunscreen from home, since it is pretty expensive. Bring lots of it, the sun is really bright.

Sunset Market in Paradise Plaza was cheaper than the Sun Market in the resort. If you are going to buy a lot of stuff, you might want to go there instead.

  • Stayed: May 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank ohiotraveller1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 May 2008

Have been reading these reviews for awhile to see what to expect at the Grand Mayan. We have been owners for four years, but have never been able to book into one. So, we were very excited about going to Nuevo Vallarta.

Grounds are beautiful, rooms are large and clean. We had some trouble with several things when we checked in. A lamp didn't function in the bedroom, my husband who is very electrical, unplugged it and said it was dangerous. We called in the morning and they had people there to fix it shortly. The dip pool on the deck was leaking water, we thought. They tried to explain in spanish that it drains in the night, but fills up in the morning. It is not heated, but is nice when it is hot.

I kept asking whomever what they put into the pools for chemicals, they could not answer at all. I'm very allergic to chlorine, so we just went to the beach each day. Did try the lazy river a couple of days. The wave machine was on almost constantly so it was not relaxing at all. Then, they allowed small children to swim it, not use a tube. When I was in a tube, I had no control over where I bounced. Numerous times, I hit small kids without parents. It was awful trying to dodge these kids. At one point, there were two 6-7 year olds clinging to the sides trying to save themselves. Very distressing for my husband and I.
The wave pool and slide area was closed and when we checked in, they said possibly for 3 months. Heard them tell others, three weeks. So, all the children were in the other pools. There was no place just for adults except at the swim up pool bar. They had closed one of those also.

We both decided that we did not need to go back there since it was not very relaxing.

  • Stayed: May 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
3  Thank ravenlady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 May 2008

Stayed here for our "mini" moon through timeshare 6 nights. Personally it was to long..Not much too do there.Nice hotel..It sort of wants to be trendy and hip and that is evident through out the building's decor but it ends there, except for the cabana beds by the pools. Which personally I think were mislocated around the back of the pools and the kiddie pools. ( reminds me of Miami). This is definitely a FAmily Friendly hotel. Lots of activities and places to play. Water slides, lazy rivers and fountains.. Hard to get a chair by the pool..What a pain to walk around looking for one.
Beach is ok..Not the blue of the carribean sea and very Rocky.
Rooms are large and the bathroom is big. Very clean! Beds aren't the most comfortable and the couches are not to lounge on.( HARD)
Resturaunts are good..We ate at most of them,,But there isnt much variety. They do have an Italian resturaunt as well as a steak house. They were good not great. But when your from NYC and have the best places at your feet its hard to compare. There is a market to buy food for your room,,but we couldn't be bother. we are on vacation and dont mind eating out all the time.
We did the timeshare presentation..our fault we were suckered into it by a nice woman...Well 90 mins,,yea right!!! Try 3 to 4 hours and they dont take no for an answer. What a waste of a day!! DONT BOTHER ,,you know you are not buying it!
Overall it a nice hotel and will return when I have children.

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
1  Thank NYCTravelQueen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Grand Mayan Nuevo Vallarta

Address: Av Paseo de las Moras s/n | Fracc. Náutico Turístico, Nuevo Vallarta 63735, Mexico
Region: Mexico > Pacific Coast > Nayarit > Riviera Nayarit > Nuevo Vallarta
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Best Value Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#7 Top resorts Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#8 Luxury Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#9 Family Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
#10 Romantic Hotel in Nuevo Vallarta
Price Range: £74 - £168 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — The Grand Mayan Nuevo Vallarta 4.5*
Number of rooms: 795
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Also Known As:
Grand Mayan Nuevo Vallarta Hotel Nuevo Vallarta
Wyndham Nuevo Vallarta
Grand Mayan Resort Nuevo Vallarta
Grand Mayan Puerto Vallarta

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