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“Never Been More Relaxed!”

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Barcelo Puerto Vallarta
Ranked #29 of 123 Hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed 24 April 2012

My wife and I just returned from a wonderful week at the Barcelo Hotel Resort after winning the trip on the radio. Overall, I think the experience was very good, though there were a few low points (though I wouldn't call them disappointing per se).

The Good:

The room was huge and beautiful. I actually felt badly that we weren't using the space we had so I sat in the 'living room' for a bit to read just so it didn't go to waste. The bed was very comfy, the fridge was neatly stocked with complimentary snacks and drinks.

The Pools:
Beautiful pools. Others have discussed broken tiles and litter around the pool, but there was no evidence of this that I saw. It was always spotless, with attendants constantly picking up cups, cans and litter. I even saw one poor fellow who had clearly overindulged get sick and the attendant was immediately on the job, making sure no evidence of the unfortunate (and probably not too infrequent) event remained.

The hot tubs were wonderful, not scalding to the point where you can't sit for an extended period of time.

The Grounds:
Impecable. The grass and shrubberies were neat and trim, the flowers were blooming and beautiful. Oddly, we only saw one iguana, though not far away at the dolphin excursion they were plentiful. Perhaps they were seen as pests and kept away?

The View:
We were on the sixth floor end unit overlooking the pool and the ocean. Beautiful view every morning and every evening.

The Sunset:
Sitting on the relaxation deck, overlooking the beach, at sunset was breathtaking every night.

The Staff:
Awesome! Friendly, knowledgable, accommodating.

The Mediocre:

Kids Activities:
We have an 8 year old who, luckily, stayed home. There was a Kid's Club with some crafts but it would never have kept my son occupied all week. Of course there's swimming, and there were some kids there, but if they were anything like mine, I wonder how they stayed occupied for a full week.

The Buffet Food:
Not as bad as some people seem to think, in my opinion, but not really great. The breakfast buffet was very good (especially the french toast) but the rest of the buffets were just OK. Not bad, as I said, but not great. A large selection was to be had but not top quality. I didn't think the coffee was too bad.

The Restaurants:
The food was pretty good. I had the rib eye first and it was very flavourful, not too fatty. But that was the highlight of the restaurant meals. Everything else was meh. They could do with a gourmet chef or two to make the reserved dining a highlight.

The Entertainment:
In a word... fun. The Vegas Show was entertaining, but mostly because they were clearly uncomfortable working their way through it. It was a little cheesy but that was part of the entertainment factor to me. If this were really Vegas, the show would be well off the strip.

The Latin shows were very good though, and very enjoyable. One evening was an outdoor Mexican Fiesta with games for the kids, some local food and a live show. Very fun.

The Zoo:
About a mile away, the Puerto Villarta Zoo was a nice walk through the local village. A very different scene than we're used to here in Ontario, that's for sure. But the people we encountered were all very pleasant with lots of hellos and holas. The Zoo was fun, though not what one would call 'upscale'. Very rustic. But the animals largely looked well fed and well taken care of. You could feed them and for 50 USD you could play with baby tigers and monkeys. I did this and I felt it was worth it. How often do you get to play with baby tigers? And now I can also tell people that a monkey licked my head. I don't know another living soul who can make that claim. I put this in Mediocre, but it was a very good experience.

The Pool Bar:
I loved the swim-up bar, but it closed at 6 pm, which I thought was a little too early.

The Bad:
I only have one item on my bad list: The beach vendors. I know they have to make a living and we did buy some things while on the beach, but they can be very aggressive. That in and of itself is expected, but when you are sitting on the beachside patio having breakfast on the resort and they are approaching you from the beach during your meal, it gets a little annoying.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable vacation. There's not nightlife to speak of, which is fine with me, and it was largely quiet by around 10 pm (aside from the rooster in the nearby villa, but that was kind of quaint). There are plenty of off-site recreation activities to choose from, and reasonably priced, but if you want to just sit by the pool and relax, this is the place to do it. If we were to do it again, it'd be with another couple, and I would not bring my son, simply because there's little to keep him occupied. But I would recommend it to anyone who just wants to get away and relax.

Room Tip: Be careful how much you drink. It's mostly free-pour measurements and a few drinks can have a p...
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank Ken T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 23 April 2012

The hotel is OK, rooms are big.

The beach is useless, no good, big wawes at even low-low tide and very small at high tide.

I wonder where the "Trip advisor " find all this wonderful rewieuws.

Are they paid for false adwertising ?

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled solo
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3  Thank sim k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 April 2012

A friend and I spent five days there this past April. We were surprised to discover the majority of the vacationers were Mexican families apparently on holiday for Easter. Everyone was wonderfully pleasant, staff and vacationer alike. Takeaways: 1. The food is decent, breakfast buffet w/ 12 fresh juices and wide assortment of food is great - but the dinner buffet leaves something to be desired. Make sure you eat at one of the restaurants for dinner and you'll be fine. The poolside taco bar was the highlight for me food-wise...carnitas and/or marlin tacos can't be beat! 2. Can't ask for a better location scenery-wise. Gorgeous private beach (albeit small), mountains looming on either side, gazillions of bouganvillea decorating the buildings and pool landscaping. 3. Rooms very clean and nice, we did not upgrade and did not miss the option of room service. 4. No night life to speak of. Also not a great place to meet singles. You have to trek into town (45 min) for a nocturnal adventure. 5. Situated next to the local's beach. We ventured over and purchased the most amazingly carved mango topped w/ sea salt, a chili paste and lime juice for 25 pesos. (~$2 bucks). 6. The zoo is located a mile away and very walkable. For $50 you can play w/ baby tigers and monkeys - we found this to be the highlight for us, although I'm sure some will balk at the idea or the price. 7. We caved to sitting in on an early morning timeshare presentation up the road in exchange for swimming w/ the dolphins at an aquarium/water park in Nuevo Vallarta. VERY worth it. Took some negotiating though. Note: if someone tells you it costs 200 dollars be wary, it only costs between 35 and 50 USD once you get there, but a cab will be ~30 bucks each way (its past the airport @ an hour away).
Did not care for the beds, very firm. Would recommend for families or friends looking to relax.

Room Tip: All balconies face the pool.
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with friends
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1  Thank kissthefr0g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 April 2012

We stayed at the Barcelo two years ago, and had such a great time...this time around, I was a bit underwhelmed. For starters, the family suite we stayed in, the furniture was a bit worn, and the foot rest for the chair was broken, and there was still a used bar of soap in the bathroom,...not a good first impression. Other than that, the room is nice....plenty of space for a family of four.
Changes for the worse from two years ago:
They used to come around with hor dourves poolside; that is no more.
They closed off the poolside entrance to the buffet restaurant, which requires you to walk over the bridge that crosses the kids pool (more on the bridge later)....and thru the tables and around to the main walkway...after doing that about twenty times, it grows a bit old.
We were looking forward to the bicycle tour that they did two years ago, but found out too late, and didn't get to go on it....they don't do that anymore, just as they don't do the El Eden tour anymore.
The food overall was ...ehhh. Breakfast was the best meal. As the week progressed, we eventually skipped lunch. We ate at the Spanish and Los Aros al la cartes, which in many ways seems to be the buffet food dressed up a bit....with that said, we cancelled our reservation to Capri (the Itallian restaurant).
While many said that Los Arcos is the best out of the three...I'd say it's on par with the rest of the food. I ordered a rib eye steak medium....it was well done just like most everything that was cooked....and the steak was fatty.
Now for the walkway....one word...treacherous. I saw a mother with a little child take a nasty spill...the child bleeding from the head. I saw multiple slips and spills...if you have difficulty walking....forget it.
As for the pool, some of the tiles were broken and missing....my daughter slipped and got a nasty cut on her knee. Overall, there seemed to be many walking around bandaged.
Guests still play the towel game....wake up a 6am to plop a towel on a lounge chair poolside....then come back at 11:30 to stake your claim...or in some cases, not at all. This is not something unique to the Barcelo....just someting it seems to happen at most big resorts, but ignorant none the less.
Now for what makes this place excellent: The Staff. The service I thought overall was excellent. Always a friendly greeting no matter where you were. They seem to work long and hard...all with a smile. Kudos to all of them! They are the reason I would return, although I think that the All Inclusive thing has worn it welcome.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank mcamp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 April 2012

We have been to this resort a dozen times over the years but not since it was transitioned from La Jolla de Mismaloya to Barcelo Puerto Vallarta. For years we went when our kids were young because it worked so well and was predictably nice. As they got older we began to explore the world so it's been many years since we've returned to Puerto Vallarta and honestly I was a bit concerned about a return trip do to the reported drug related violence in Mexico.

So when my college age daughter wanted to go on a mother-daughter trip with a friend from college and I ended up being the planner I decided a return trip was in order. Barcelo Puerto Vallarta did not let me down. They have remodeled the rooms and they are lovely. The pools, grounds, and staff are wonderful. The hotel is now "all inclusive" so while I was disappointed they have closed a couple of offsite restaurants, I am pleased to report they have replaced them with others that are great (sans the lack of the old beautiful cliff view). But if you've never been to the resort you won't miss is.

My package was not the least expensive but probably one level up. This resulted in a low room (2nd floor) which while I was disappointed in the lack of the grand ocean view, the patio was extra large and the ocean was viewable over the tops of the palm trees. Apparently a higher level of package would have meant a higher level of room. Additionally, the upper level packages include more restaurant (non buffet) nights and I ultimately think I'd prefer that unless you plan to go into the city to dine. In our 4 night stay we eat at 2 of the restaurants, 1 time at the buffet and one time at Le Kliff (my all time favorite and only a few minute cab ride away).

The only negative is getting a GOOD chair poolside. It' a bit vicious. Being an early riser I would get up at 6A and go read by the pool (still dark in early March). Many people put their belongings on the chairs the night before so even at that time much was taken. The first morning I went down at 8A to read and had a difficult time securing chairs poolside. Don't get me wrong, there are enough chairs but only so many of them fit next to the pool which was our preference. Crazy and I fell for it! But this tradition dates back to when our kids were little. Only difference is my husband would do it and I didn't have to play the game myself.

Also, I was offered a special online that bought us each a message. I highly advise you take advantage of this type of offer. Super inexpensive and a real treat. I guarantee you this will be a reliable lovely trip.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Alice073
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Barcelo Puerto Vallarta

Address: Zona Hotelera Sur Km. 11.5, Puerto Vallarta 48294, Mexico
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Jalisco > Puerto Vallarta
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#11 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#17 Spa Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#18 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#21 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#23 Family Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
#27 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Vallarta
Price Range: ₹ 12,960 - ₹ 42,105 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Barcelo Puerto Vallarta 4*
Number of rooms: 316
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Barceló Puerto Vallarta***** (formerly Barceló La Jolla de Mismaloya) in Puerto Vallarta, is an elegant, all-inclusive Mexican-style resort. It offers 316 completely renovated and comfortable suites with excellent service, leisure, history, beautiful scenery, exuberant flora and privacy.Relax after a hard day’s work in the hotel spa, catch some rays at one of the hotel pools or take time out to practice your favourite water sport. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
La Jolla Mismaloya
Barcelo La Jolla De Mismaloya Puerto Vallarta
La Jolla Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta La Jolla De Mismaloya
Barcelo De Mismaloya
Barcelo Mismaloya Puerto Vallarta
Barcelo La Jolla Mismaloya

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