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 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.
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.
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?
We were on the sixth floor end unit overlooking the pool and the ocean. Beautiful view every morning and every evening.
Sitting on the relaxation deck, overlooking the beach, at sunset was breathtaking every night.
Awesome! Friendly, knowledgable, accommodating.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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