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|Meliá Puerto Vallarta ~ Reviews Posted – 2|
|Meliá Puerto Vallarta||Alex & Laura — Bothell, WA|
This is a very well kept resort and is a wonderful place if you have smaller kids. The pool is huge (as advertised) but closes promptly at 6 pm, which was pretty annoying. The beach leaves a lot to be desired, as it is small, rocky and fairly unprotected. I understand that all the beaches in the Marina district are man made and suffer from similar problems unlike the beautiful beaches farther south in the traditional hotel strip. We found the buffet and restaurants to be above average for all inclusive type places, which is to say that the food is good but somewhat unimaginative and after a week long stay fairly repetitive. The staff was helpful and friendly except for the staff who keep trying to drag you into the “Melia Club” presentations. Don’t do this unless you want to waste several hours and have a very thick skin, it’s just a timeshare presentation in a different package. The cocktail lounge in the lobby is very quiet and pretty well closes up after 11.
You will probably read about all the shops and restaurants in the Marina district. Unfortunately this is “old news” as the mall (where they all were) near the center of the district is closed and fenced off. So outside the resort there is nothing to do but take a cab into town.
My oldest son and I went on a Scuba trip with Vallarta Adventures. This was not a good trip, as it turns out the divers are put together on a big catamaran with a bunch of party/snorkelers. As the partiers outnumber the divers about 10 to 1, you can guess the focus of the trip. Very disappointing. Other guests who went with Chicos and Twin Dolphins reported having a MUCH better time. We all went on the Sierra Madre Expedition with Vallarta Adventures and this was very enjoyable. Our guide (“Papa Grexican”) was an American who had lived in PV several years. He was enormously funny and well informed regarding the plants and animals we saw. I would recommend this tour with VA. You ride in old army trucks far up into the mountains on narrow winding roads, visit local ranches and villages, and take a nature hiking tour. Wear sneakers or other comfortable walking shoes and bring bug spray.
The old downtown is everything it is cracked up to be in the guidebooks, great shopping, excellent entertainment, and outstanding food. It is also VERY clean and seems very safe (lots of police and security types everywhere). One of the big disadvantages of staying in the Marina is you are so dang far away from town.
Because I own a business, I wanted to have direct internet access from my room (I know, I know, but it is better than not taking a vacation at all which is the only alternative). I discovered you can get a temporary dial up account from PVNET (http://www.pvnet.com.mx/) on a week-to-week basis for less than $US20. They are all set up for tourists. You will need to go to their offices to set this up (across from the Sheraton) but it only takes a few minutes. Bring you laptop and they will even set up the connection for you. Excellent service.
All in all, I would consider Melia only if you have young children, where the variety of activities (they have several kids clubs grouped by ages) and the huge pool would be great. For us, with older teenagers, the distance from town and the roll-up-the-sidewalks atmosphere in the evening was disappointing. We will stay somewhere else on our next trip, but we will be going back as we loved PV otherwise.
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|Meliá Puerto Vallarta||Mexico|
First of all I want to comment on the company I used to go to Puerto Vallarta. I live in México and the company used was Magnicharters, leaving from Monterrey. This company left a very good impression with their service. The plane was new, clean, with good leg room, good food (for a charter flight!!) and open bar with top shelf liquor!!!!! (Absolut, Don Julio, and the like). This is a good company to use of you are an expat living in Mexico (or Mexican) as their service is excellent. The Magnicharters rep in Puerto Vallarta was good, very informed and resourceful. I can fully recommend this company, and I will certainly used them in any furture holidays in Mexico.
The Meliá Puerto Vallarta is a very nice hotel. It has about 370 rooms distributed in a U-shaped building. The grounds are good size, beautiful and very well kept, although smallish if compared to other Meliá properties I’ve visited (mainly in Cuba). The first impression of the hotel is very nice, the lobby is huge, open air with lots and lots of sitting room. There´s a good lobby bar with excellent views of the bay and gardens. The staff at checking in is very nice.
The rooms at the Meliá are good. The AC worked very well and it kept the room always cool. The room was very clean, all marble floors (even the balcony!) and all-marble bathroom. The rooms are mostly renovated (after Meliá bought the property from Maeva), although some of the furniture can seem a bit dated. Balcony was very nice, with full view of the gardens, the beach and bay, and the city and mountains beyond.
The pool area is very nice, it is clean, with lots of long chairs so there’s lots of available spots. Not difficult to find a good spot to lie down and relax. Saw very few ‘reserved’ spots during my stay.
The food is very good, although it can become a little repetitive at times. However, there is always a good variety, so there is always something to choose from and you don´t have to go hungry. There were lots of people at the resort, but everyone gets good service, no long lines at the buffet. Excellent breakfasts. There are three restaurants, the Quetzal, where breakfast and dinner are served; La Palapa (by the pool) were lunch is served, and the restaurant Vitrales (a gourmet restaurante) which needs reservation. It wasn’t difficult to get a reservation for the Vitrales restaurant, which has to be made the same day.
The people staying at the hotel were very varied. About 50% of all the guests were Mexican (right now is the summer vacation time for Mexicans) or other Spanish speaking tourists (Chileans, Spaniards, Argentinians, Venezuelans, etc.) and the other 50% were non-Spanish speaking, of which about 25% were American or Canadian, and the other 25% were European (English, French, Russian, some other East European) or Indian, Japanese or from other countries, so it is a very diverse lot.
The staff at the Meliá is very nice, and pretty much all of them speak English, so it is not difficult to communicate if you don´t speak Spanish. Don´t know about the room maid, since I never got a chance to talk to her or even see her, usually our room was cleaned while we were at breakfast.
This resort is kids-friendly, and there were lots of young couples with young kids. There is Club 4 (for kids up to 4 years old) and the Mini club (up to 12). The kids seemed to be having the time of their lives in these clubs.
All in all, a very nice resort. I will gladly return there as soon as I can.
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Last updated: August 31, 2003
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