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Reviewed 26 May 2011

This was my first trip out of the US in many years & I was a little hesitant about traveling to Mexico with the recent rise in crime. My friends & I felt completely safe at the resort & when we went into town. We went shopping downtown along the boardwalk in the Malecon area. We never went into town at night so I can't say how that would be. Out of 4 of us only 1of us spoke more than a few words of Spanish but we made it through our trip fine.
At the airport we quickly found someone to give us a ride to the resort. It was easy & fast. Just tell them you are going to Barcelo Mismaloya & ask them how much to take you there. We were told at first that it would be only 450 pesos but were then charged $50 US. It's works out to be more than the 450 pesos but it was worth it to be in a suburban with AC that worked so well we had to shut the vents because we got cold. It is a little jaunt to the resort but you get a good chance to see town on your way out. Be sure to ask your cab driver what area you are in if you see a shop, restaurant, or something else you want to go back to see. The ride was adventurous to say the least but we made it safe & sound. The resort is about 45 minutes from the airport & about 20 minutes from downtown. It is a little secluded but not so much that you feel isolated. It is in a more lush & pretty area than a lot of the resorts you will see on your way there.
This was our first time at an all-inclusive & they took care of us the minute we got there. Once at the resort the bell hop took our bags while we proceeded to check in. We tried to take our bags in ourselves, mostly out of habit, & were promptly told to leave them & they would handle them for us. There was a small line at check in but the wait was no more than 10 minutes, if that. Check in went smoothly & we were sent off to our room where our bags were delivered. The only thing that we missed at check in was getting our towel cards. Make sure they give them to you or you will have to go back later & get them before you can check out a towel.
We got 2 standard rooms & they were fantastic. One of our friends thought that we had upgraded when we walked in & she was shocked when we told her that we got the cheapest rooms at the resort. There was plenty of space & the decor was nice. The 2 separate closets was nice so when sharing a room you don't have to find a way to fit all your stuff in 1 closet. The free in-room safe with a code you program in yourself was a bonus. Even though we felt completely at ease & safe there, we put our passports,cameras & wallets in it every day. The bathroom is huge & has plenty of space for 2 women to get ready at the same time. Our patio looked out over the pool area & had a view of the bay & ocean. One of us slept on the bed & the other one slept on the sofa bed. Both were really comfortable & to our surprise they even remade the sofa bed everyday (during a different trip at a different resort the sofa bed never got made by the maid). The mini fridge was restocked daily with Tecate, bottled water, sodas & snacks. The first day we used the bottled water to brush our teeth because we were afraid of the water but by the next day we realized the tap water was fine to use & drink. No bad experience with the water or the food.
The length of our stay allowed us to eat at 2 of the higher end restaurants. Be sure to figure out which one you want to eat at early in your stay & reserve your time with the concierge on the first day if possible. We ate at Los Arcos & Don Quixote. We chose to spread them out to make sure we didn't get tired of the buffet. All of the food was wonderful, even at the buffet. There was only one night that we had a hard time finding something that we really really enjoyed but we never walked away hungry. Your server in the buffet can get you any drink you want from the bar so be sure to ask if you want something. The snack bar by the pool is fantastic to get lunch or snacks while you are out at the pool. The snack bar is actually the Los Arcos restaurant but until 3 or 4 you can get almost whatever you want. You can either sit down there & order something, grab something to go, or place an order with your server at the pool & they will bring it to you. Take advantage of the chips, salsa & guacamole at the snack bar & the cantina. You can get snack stuff from the cantina until 1 am every morning.
If you plan on being out at the pool, put out your towels early to reserve your spot. Exchange your towel every night so you have a fresh one to put out in the morning. If you want a prime spot put it out in the morning before you go eat breakfast & just come back when you are ready to enjoy the sun. There really isn't any bad place to be by the pool, but if you want sun all day long I would suggest the pool that is closer to Los Arcos over the one with the swim up bar. If you don't get a spot by the pool rest assured that there are plenty of chairs to lay out on. We walked down on the beach one day & after walking in the sand we choose to hang out by the pool every day instead.
Of the extra things offered at the resort we took advantage of the spa, shopped at the vendors that set up in the hallways some evenings & booked a zip line trip through the activities director. At the spa we got massages, facials & pedicures. All were fantastic & were offered at a great price. There was a hut on the beach that offered massages but we found the one at the resort spa to be everything we hoped for. Choose to be outside & take advantage of the relaxing atmosphere. There are vendors that set up a few nights a week & you can buy jewelry, clothing like sarongs & dresses as well as other souvenir type things. They will say hello to you but aren't pushy. They will go down in price so don't be afraid to barter a little with them. We knew before we got there that we wanted to go zip lining but we were unsure of what the best way to book it would be. We had looked up Vallarta Adventures while we were home & knew that it sounded like a great company. To our surprise when we went to the activities desk & asked about doing it, that is the company they use! We did their outdoor adventures tour & were not disappointed. They met us in the lobby, walked with us to the beach & took us by boat to a little bay just down the way from us. From there you take a truck up to the site, get geared up, take a mule ride almost to the top, do a small hike to the top & then you get started. We felt completely safe & enjoyed it all. It was a little more physical (the hiking part) than I thought it would be. Make sure to wear clothes you don't mind getting wet & possibly muddy & bring a change of clothes. You will want shoes that are fit for getting wet & that you can hike in. Don't wear flip-flops or fashion sandals. I suggest going early in the day if you can. If you go as a group make sure to let them know at the end so you can put all your pictures together & split the cost of them. They even gave each of us our own CD with all of the pictures so we wouldn't have to sort them out later. Bring pesos if you want to buy a snack, pictures, beer, or souvenirs at the end. One of us also did the ceramic painting that they offer over by the silver shop & kids club. You can buy one of the many pieces they have & then you paint it in the colors you want. It was an opportunity to have a more custom souvenir than you would just buy in a shop. It was very reasonably priced & they turned out beautifully.
If you plan on leaving the resort to do activities or go shopping & need a cab the bell hop outside will fetch a cab for you. There is also a standard fee board outside so you will know how much it will be for you to get where you need to go before you get into the cab. They don't ever try to ask for more when they come & pick you up. All of the taxis we saw that came there were all nicer & weren't scary to ride in.
We were interested in late check out & told them the morning we were leaving what time we wanted to leave. It isn't always available but they will let you know that when you talk to them. It was only $35 US & was totally worth it to us to have a few extra hours to be out by the pool & not rush to get out by check out.
The night life was most lively at the cantina but it closes at 1 am. If you are interested in partying longer at night you should go into town. We were able to have plenty of fun every night without feeling like we were missing out. If you are going to be outside at night bring your bug spray because there are little bugs that will bite you. They weren't bed bugs like some people said but we all did get some bites.
Overall I would say this is one of the best vacations I have had. My friends and I are already talking about when we are going back next year. Don't hesitate to give this resort a try. The service was excellent & you don't feel like you have to tip every person every time just to get the fantastic service. They are good about recognizing faces & by the second day we knew more than a handful of our servers which lead to even better service day after day. Everyone is so helpful! If you need something just ask for it & they will get it for you. Exchange your money at the hotel if you need to. It's easy, fast & they offer a great exchange rate.
The only things that we had problems with were: the fridge in one of our rooms was slow to cool, one of our rooms tended to be slightly warm for most of the time we were there, the lady at the activities desk was not super friendly. We told the front desk about the fridge & room temperature issue. They sent someone up to fix it within 20 minutes. As for the activities lady, we just kind of brushed her off because she was the only person the whole time who wasn't 100% wonderful.
Internet is available in the business center & you can buy time by the day, hour, or half hour. Their computers are fast & easy to use.

Stayed: May 2011, travelled with friends
7  Thank slem79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 May 2011

It was a really good vacation for me!
We've stayed in Barcelo for 6 nights.
The weather was awesome!

The service was very good.

Room was just great! The best room I've ever seen in Puerto Vallarta.

There was always enough of of food. We were never hungry and always with drinks both alcohol and non-alcohol :)

Both pools were great, very nice and clean.

The beach was very good. Clear ocean (not typical for Puerto Vallarta area) and great sun.

By the way, I usually to have a lot of mosquito/insect bytes after PV-vacation. This time - not even one! I don't know why the previous comments was negative in this point. May by the wrong season?

When we were in the airport (leaving home) my friend have find out that she lost the cellphone. We've called to hotel. They managed to find it and send to the airport by taxi! Thank you guys and looking forward to see you on the next vacation! ;)

Room Tip: All rooms have at least a partial ocean view.
  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Anna225
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 May 2011

I chose the Barcelo for my wedding after looking at Dreams and Casa Velas. I was not disappointed. I had twelve other people with me, including my conservative parents and aunt and uncle, middle-of-the-road friends, and partyers. All found something to do, everyone had fun, and there were no complaints.

Good things about the hotel in general:
The grounds are beautifully manicured. While you can tell the hotel is not brand new, everything is clean and aesthetically pleasing. The staff were friendly and oh-so-helpful. They did not blink an eye when our dinner reservation for two bloomed into a dinner reservation for six over the course of one afternoon. They set us up with the appropriate excursions and even made a wonderful recommendation for a good nightclub for the wedding afterparty (try Roo in downtown--bottle service was inexpensive and awesome). The kids club must have worked because I hate children and I hardly ever noticed any of them at this resort. The food was plentiful and as good as I would expect for an all-inclusive.

Good things about the wedding services:
The wedding exceeded my expectations. I was nervous picking the site, the flowers, and the food without having seen/tasted anything, but I was pleasantly surprised. Our wedding coordinator, Paty Haro, was professional and had everything taken care of. The flowers were beautiful. The official administering the wedding was perfect and recommended some wonderful readings. The flowers were more gorgeous than I could have ever imagined--so much that I was sad we couldn't take them home with us (note, after the wedding, they bring all of the flowers to your room for the remainder of your stay). We had asparagus soup, beef with potatoes/vegetables, and sweet potato flan, in addition to the dulce de leche cake. Glasses were always full, and they accommodated my vegetarian mother and aunt. I have no regrets about having my wedding here and I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting a destination wedding in Puerto Vallarta.

Not-so-good things about the resort:
My husband did not like the bed, but we both slept well. The bartenders are a bit inconsistent--some of my drinks had almost no alcohol and some had so much I almost gagged. We found that a bit of direction was all that was needed to get the perfect amount of alcohol each of us wanted. The beach is a bit rocky and steep and the drop-off point comes quickly. I wouldn't get in unless you're a competent swimmer.

Not-so-good things about the wedding services:
BRING YOUR OWN MUSIC FOR DINNER. Now I admit that forgetting the iPod was my fault, but the selection they had to play during dinner was pretty bad, including "having my baby" by Paul Anka and a few other "just got my heart broke" songs. Everyone on my trip had a good sense of humor about it and we were soon taking bets on what the next song would be, but if you desperately want good music, I'd remember the iPod.

Overall, everyone had a good time and I would definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank surfplanetearth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 May 2011

We had a wonderful 6 days at Barcelo and Mismaloya. This hotel was everything we were looking for during this stay. We have been to different areas of Puerto Vallarta and this was our first stay in Mismaloya. If you are looking for a lovely, clean, full service, all inclusive hotel in a slightly remote area of Puerto Vallarta this is your hotel. The rooms are all lovely, however our Grand Master Suite was spectacular! Service in the hotel was efficient and friendly. They say tipping is optional, but how could you not. Drinks were plentiful and great variety, delicious and not watered down. The restaurants were all very enjoyable, but of the three ala carte restaurants only one was open per night. Some complain the beach is too small, I think it was very picturesque. After all it was the location of Night of the Iguana. The pools were very lovely, large and loaded with fauna and waterfalls. Your eye could wander from the pool to the mountains of the jungle. Yes there were some mosquitoes, but not that bad. You are in nature and they control it as best they can. If you are looking for exciting night life this is not the place. However they do offer nightly, colorful shows and the cantina can get pretty loud at times. All in all I really enjoyed my stay at Barcelo and would definitely return.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank joseyNy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 May 2011

Just returned from 2 weeks at the Barcelo in Mismaloya. The hotel was great, we had a suite on ther 8th floor with a wonderful view, get the premium package, it's worth it! The rooms were huge and the housekeeping staff was fantastic, in fact all the staff were efficient and curteous. The setting is beautiful, out of the hustle and bustle of the city. Some might consider that a negative, but for someone who just wanted to relax and enjoy it was an extreme positive. If you want to go to town, cabs are about $12-15, the bus is less than a buck! The pools were great and overall not crowded. It did get a little more crowded on weekends, but not bad. The beach is small, but serviceable. The sound of the waves at night just rocked me to sleep. Again, I want to comment on the staff they were great, Gabriella and Juan at the pool were fantastic. The food was excellent, I read reviews knocking the food, but between the buffet and the three on-site restaurants if you couldn't find food you liked, then there's no pleasing you! The drinks were plentiful, my glass never got more than half empty before someone asked if I wanted a refill. Higher end alcohol was served on request. Some of our group had stayed at other "Inclusive Resorts" in PV and they rated Barcelo head and shoulders about the others. One thing, although tipping is not required, it is greatly appreciated. The economy is MX is not great either, so a little something for good service should be given.

Can't wait to go back again next year. Be sure to visit the zoo, although not huge it was better than many I have seen. We also took a boat trip to Yelapa which was very nice, you can bargain for a good price with the vendors at the beach.

Lastly, do bring insect repellent, I forgot to put it on the first two nights and did get some bites, the no-see-ums (misquitos) seemed to really go for me, although others in our group were not bothered. The locals on the beach also sell a coconut oil that works well as a repellent and it smells good as well as helping with your tan.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled with family
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4  Thank Phytoplankton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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