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North Hills Monthly

A Tale of Three Resorts: Finding the Right Place for Your Stay in Puerto Vallarta

May 01, 2017 08:23AM ● By Vanessa Orr

One of the three pools at Velas Vallarta

As a travel writer, I get to stay in a lot of nice places. Yet I rarely write about accommodations, simply because when I’m visiting a location, I spend very little time in my room because I’d much rather be out soaking in the ambiance and visiting all of the attractions of a new destination.

A recent trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, however, gave me pause. I stayed in two different resort hotels, which while both absolutely fantastic, were completely different visitor experiences. When compared to a third resort where I’d stayed previously, again, I found myself marveling at the way each property packaged a stay in the same location in its own unique way.

This is not to say that one was better than the other; I enjoyed my stay in each immensely. But if you’re looking for a specific type of experience—especially if you have kids or in turn, want a completely child-free vacation—it can make a big difference in what type of accommodations you choose. Location can also be a pretty important factor; do you want to stay nearby the city center and take advantage of shopping and restaurants, or do you truly want to get away from it all?

At the Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel and Romantic Getaway, for example, we were met at the door with a glass of champagne, a damp towel to clean off the travel dust, and the offer of a 10-minute shoulder rub in the luxurious massage room located right beside the check-in area. How are you going to beat that type of hello? This adults-only getaway is all about pampering, from in-room aromatherapy to its “pillow menu” designed to make sure you sleep well—other amenities include three a la carte restaurants, two pools, including an infinity pool with swim-up bar, and luxurious Balinese beds on the beach where you can lounge while watching the waves roll in. 

While it’s hard to leave this kind of indulgence, Villa Premiere also has the advantage of being only a five-minute walk from the Malecon and downtown Puerto Vallarta, so you can take advantage of shopping and seeing the sights before returning to the hotel’s understated elegance.

Velas Vallarta All-inclusive Family Resort, a 10-acre beachfront hotel located in the Marina Vallarta, is distinguished by its lush tropical garden courtyard—I couldn’t wait to wake up every morning and walk out on my balcony to see the peacocks strutting the grounds while a pair of iguanas soaked up the sun by one of the resort’s three pools. Strolling through these gardens, it was easy to relax and really enjoy the laid-back atmosphere, but for guests looking for more action, there is an 18-hole championship golf course nearby, as well as water sports, tennis, and yoga. There is even a Kids Club to keep the little ones amused.

Because the resort is all-inclusive, you don’t have to worry about going over budget, which is always a nice amenity, especially if you’re traveling with family. The resort also offers evening entertainment ranging from a Mexican fiesta to live music in the lounge, so if you don’t want to head into town, which is a quick cab ride away, you’ve got everything you need right where you’re staying.

At Costa Sur, one of the first hotels built on the south shore of Puerto Vallarta, the views are to die for—you can see Banderas Bay as well as Los Arcos National Park. But what I liked most was listening to the waves crash on the rock walls that protected the resort’s private ocean lagoon—unlike the other properties located on calmer shores, Costa Sur’s coastline had a more rugged feel, and I could easily sit and watch the waves break over the rocks all day. While the resort is family-friendly and has a lot of activities for all ages, it also caters to those who prefer adults-only floors and an adults-only pool; one of two pools on the property. 

Depending on your needs, Costa Sur offers a number of packages, including family packages, honeymoon packages and a Pride Package for LGBT travelers. The mix of different age groups at the hotel makes for some fun interactions, and a daily happy hour at its Barefoot Bar makes it easy to meet other people. Located in a more mountainous area than the other two hotels, Costa Sur is a little farther from town but closer to other must-see attractions like the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens.

Even if you don’t plan to spend a lot of time in your hotel room, finding accommodations that fit your family, budget, location, and activity needs is important, so you should research your options. While there may be many wonderful hotels available, there’s nothing like staying in a place that feels like it was designed just for you.