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We Stayed At the #1 Resort In Puerto Vallarta: Was It Worth The Rating?

I am so glad we are almost to the holiday season.  This year has been a challenge trying to adjust to being a working mom.  I feel like I’ve been working more now than I did before Traveler #3!  Anyway, because I’ve been heads down in work, I am excited for the holidays since it means we get more time off.  And time off always equates to family vacations…. so of course, we have a couple coming up so I am looking forward to blogging about those in the coming months.

In the meantime, we took a short family vacay to Puerto Vallarta a little bit ago.  I actually wanted to write about it earlier but then Hurricane Patricia was headed to Puerto Vallarta so I thought publishing a post encouraging everyone to visit would be ill-timed so…. it kind of just sat in the back of my mind collecting mental dust.  Thankfully, Puerto Vallarta escaped the wrath of Patrica so with the super favorable exchange rate between the USD and Mexican Peso, now is a great time to go!

On this last trip, we did a quick weekend getaway.  We opted to try out a new resort this time and chose to stay at Garza Blanca since it was the #1 hotel on TripAdvisor.  I wanted to see if it was worth the hype.

The resort is fairly new and built less than a decade ago. In fact, a lot of newer hotels are located at the fringes of the city and this resort is no exception. Garza Blanca is located a bit south of Puerto Vallarta, approximately 20 min taxi ride away from downtown.

The resort was beautiful with its two large pools overlooking the ocean and its tastefully appointed modern rooms.

We got an ocean front honeymoon suite which was a corner room with a wrap-around terrace, hammock, and an outdoor jacuzzi overlooking both the pool area and ocean — all for less than $200USD/night (see what I mean about the favorable exchange rates?)!

Given the new resort and nice room, was this place worth the #1 rating?

Ehhhhh….. maybe not.  Generally, hotels with #1 ratings have excellent service and I thought the service at Garza Blanca was spotty.  While the first impression of the resort was a great one, the service in the restaurants was consistently mediocre and slow.  We didn’t do the resort’s all-inclusive package, but if we did, there’s no way we could maximize that package given how much time it took just to order something and have it served!  Also, in case anyone’s curious about all-inclusives, I recommend you skip the all-inclusive here unless you plan to eat and drink yourself silly – normal eaters could save more than a pretty penny just ordering a la carte.  We actually paid an extra $50/day to have breakfast included in our rate, but had we ordered a la carte, we could easily have paid just $25/day for breakfast (for two) with the exchange rates now.  If we visit Puerto Vallarta again, we’ll check out a different hotel next time especially since there are new ones opening up all the time now.

Anyway, since our trip was short, we used it just to steal a bit of relaxation and spent the couple of days we had maximizing our pool time with only one side trip into town for dinner.  While mini-vacays are always fun, they are also always too short!

Here are some more photos from our trip:

(Who doesn

(Who doesn’t love a great infinity pool, right? Garza Blanca’s is pretty expansive.)


(Here’s the exact reason why you shouldn’t come to Puerto Vallarta for its beaches; there are plenty of other things to do, though!)

(Garza Blanca

(Garza Blanca’s all adult sister property is Hotel Musai. They have a great roof lounge that is open to the public after 6pm and with awesome views overlooking the city.)

(A view of Garza Blanca from the top of Hotel Musai)

(A view of Garza Blanca from the top of Hotel Musai)

After this trip, I have been having lots of urges to visit South America again.  I miss the culture, food, and sites of our friendly neighbors.  While we don’t have any South American trips planned, we are planning to go to some more Spanish speaking destinations soon so maybe that will satiate that desire for a while.

Have a great weekend!


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Trishia - November 20, 2015 - 7:41 am

I have been to Puerto Vallarta 4 times and am heading there again next month. We have always stayed with Playa Los Arcos or one of its sister hotels in the “Romantica” zone. It is only a 2 or 3 star hotel and certainly not to everyone’s taste.
The last time I stayed at the main hotel, the hubby and I got a pretty crappy room facing a noisy side street and he gave the kids the nice ocean-front room. Yes, well, he is an ex hubby now:)
Last year my (new) spouse and I stayed at the sister hotel across the street (I can’t think of the name of it right now??) It is much quieter and a beautiful establishment. Beds not as soft as I’d like but that seems to be Mexico??
Next month we’re staying at the other sister hotel called the Casa Dona Susanna. It is an all adult hotel, also a block away from the beach and the main hotel with a rooftop swimming pool.
We do enjoy the all-inclusive feature because my husband and I are atrocious about making decisions on where to eat! But the cost of the all inclusive is so minimal that if we do find a restaurant we want to eat out at, it’s no big deal.
I love being able to order guacamole and a beer any time I want — and not having to worry about carrying my purse around with me. I love waking up to their breakfast buffet of fresh papaya and other fruits. The handmade quesadillas with yogurt sauce and lettuce are to die for!
The Romantica Zone is my favorite area and a lovely, easy walk down to the Malecon. Also, it’s right on top of the new pier where you catch a boat to Yelapa (an outing I highly recommend).
Comparing a 4-5 star hotel to Playa Los Arcos is certainly comparing apples to oranges, but … I will just say: the cost of our upcoming trip for air, hotel and all-inclusive is $200 a night for both of us.

JustWanderlust - March 21, 2016 - 11:23 pm

Hi Trishia – for some reason, I thought I had replied to this comment a while ago. Oops! Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. What I love about PV is that it’s so budget friendly – on all kinds of budgets. So, if you want to spend a bit less, you can still get a lot for your money. Alternatively, if you want to spend a bit more, you’ll still get a lot for your money. It’s kind of a win-win. 🙂

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