Old Reviews – Grand and Club Marival Hotel

  Grand and Club Marival Hotel – Neuvo Vallarta   Sheana ~ Langley

December 3 2009

Arrival: Nov 2009
Watch out for bed bugs. My husband was eaten alive. We did not know his "rash" was bed bug bits until after we got home and brought them with us. We even went into the resort store and asked about something for his "rash". Now I know why the 2 women behind the counter looked at one another the way they did. I have a gutt feeling they knew what his rash was. I have contacted the resort and was supose to hear back from someone a week ago….guess what? No one ahs called me back to deal with this matter…Are you surprised?

When you check in remeber to get your  info pamplet from the front telling you all about the resort……we were not given one until the following afternoon when someone mentioned looking in it for the different restaurnts and we knew nothing about what they meant.

Rooms:
clean and roomy.

Restaurants and Bars:
not very good food. The sit down restauants were the best (if I had to pick a best). Buffets food was old

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
well kept up. The resot did the maintance on the grounds saturday morning. I would ahve thought a weekday would ahve been more appropriate

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
WE did the city bus tour and Rythm of the Nights. Highly recommend both these. City of the tour was included in teh price of the room.

Other Comments:
I would not return.

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  Grand and Club Marival Hotel – Neuvo Vallarta   Tony ~ Kitchener, Ontatrio

March 2009

Arrival: February 16 to 23
After arriving in Puerto Vallarta, the exit from the airport was quite quick. The bus ride from the airport to the hotel is very short, about 20 min The check-in was very quick

Rooms
The rooms were nice and clean

Restaurants and Bars There are 5 restaurants (1 buffet and 4 a la carte) and 2 snack bars. La Casa Bella (buffet

The food was excellent at all the restaurants

Beach/Pools/Grounds
The beaches are great with 3 – 4 foot waves….nice weather….the sand in more dark than light…a very distinct coal like color mixed with brown….the water temps were great and the beach The pools are very nice. They are 5 in all. 2 on the Grand side (1 swimming pool w/ swim up bar and 1 play area for kids) and 3 on the Club side (1 swimming pool w/swim up bar, 1 kids pool and 1 adult only pool). The adult only pool is very nice, because there is a little waterfall

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
I suggest going into Downtown Puerto Vallarta, it is a beautiful place and there is alot to see

Other Comments
Overall we had a very good vacation with perfect weather and in a very nice resort. And it was relatively inexpensive.Overall, I would highly recommend this resort.If you have any questions about the Marival or would like to see lots pictures please email me at susansilvestre@rogers.com

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  Grand and Club Marival Hotel – Neuvo Vallarta   Todd and Lee ~ Alberta, Canada

January 2008

We stayed at the Marival Jan 12-19 with our two kids, ages 10/14.

We had a very good time, the resort is the perfect size, not too big, not too small. Not as much greenery or as fancy as the resort we stayed at in the Mayan Riveria, but we weren’t expecting it to be.

We were upgraded to a 2 bedroom suite, which was fantastic. 3 bathrooms, 3 tvs and 2 decks, LOTS of space. Housekeeping was always friendly and prompt, the fridge was refilled every couple of days and we had mattress pads, which really helped for the beds.

Pools were good, never had a problem getting chairs, the adult pool was very warm, especially at night. The beach is awesome, great sand and perfect waves for boogie boarding or body surfing. We never had problems getting boogie boards, but you can only use them for an hour.

Food was also good. We went to all 4 restaurants, with the Steak House easily being our favourite. We didn’t enjoy the international, only because it turns Mediterranean at night and we don’t like seafood, but the Italian and Mexican were also very good. Definitely take advantage of booking over the internet, because otherwise you can only book 2 days in advance, and often there are no decent times left. The buffet was good – they don’t mix up the food much, but have a great sandwich bar at lunch. We didn’t realize some of the restaurants were open for lunch, so would have done that a little differently. We ate most of our lunches where the pizza oven is, also very good. And we ordered room service a couple of times, always good, usually delivered within 30 minutes.

We went on two excursions, Los Veranos canopy tour and an ATV tour through Wild ATV (??), both were very good.

Overall we had some slight complaints about the resort, but they were easily overlooked. We had a great family vacation and will be returning.

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Grand and Club Marival Hotel – Neuvo Vallarta Jessica

April 2007

My husband & I just got back from an 8 night stay at the Marival where we were married & I wanted to give a review of the resort, as well as our wedding.

The Marival is an absolutely wonderful resort that I would recommend to anyone thinking of visiting the Puero Vallarta area. The resort itself is huge, & extremely well maintained. We stayed in a suite that was much bigger than I had expected, as were the regular hotel rooms that we saw – not that we spent much time in the rooms.

There are many pools at the resort (3 or 4) & the one outside our room was considered the "quiet pool" (the other side of the hotel is where the kids pool area & activities go on). There was never a lack of seating at the pool area or even at the swim up bar. Towels were always available & the area was always clean. We found the same to be true at the beach. Even though we probably never made it to the beach until 10am or so we never had a problem finding seating for 4 or more people. I found this to be amazing as the resort was booked full during the weekend that we were there. Also, since the Marival is right next to a public beach, you only had to walk a few minutes to rent jetskis or go parasailing.

The restaurants at the Marival were very nice & we were able to eat at all 4 of the sit down restaurants while we were there. We never had a problem making reservations & were even able to book 2 nights for 20 people. Plus you can make the reservations in advance, which is much different from some of the other resort reviews that I have read. All of the food was extremely good, as was most of the service. My favorite restaurant was La Pergola, which is Mediterranean. We mostly ate at the buffet for breakfast & the food was pretty good. They have an egg station where you can get made to order omelets that were very good. Also, there is a snack bar that is open from 12pm-2:30am. We probably ate here at least 2 times a day. It is buffet style, although you can order burgers & hot dogs, which they will cook for you. The food here was great & the items in th e buffet changed daily, although you could always get a piece of pizza & some awesome guacomole.

Now for the drinking! There were 5 main bars at the resort. The first was in the main lobby & was a great place to sit & have a drink during the day or before going out to dinner. They have a few tvs on the wall & always had sports from the U.S. playing. The second was in the smaller lobby & they had a band playing every night. Pretty good music to dance to, although it did get quite crowded at times. The third is a piano bar outside the Italian restaurant. Not a late night place to go, but definitely worth checking out as the woman playing the piano was fantastic & took requests. The fourth is the night club, which we went to on 2 nights. The music was a little dated & this would be the last bar that I would recommend. The fifth bar is right next to the snack bar & is located outside. This was our stomping ground for most of our time at the Marival. You can hear the ocean from here & enjoy the beautiful weather. We never had a problem putting a few tables together to accomodate all of us & the wait staff was extremely friendly. If you visit & get a chance to meet Angel, ask him to do a few magic tricks for you. He put on a great show for our family one of the nights & had everybody continually guessing "how did he do that?".

If you are interested in participating in the excursions you can book them at the hotel. We did the canopy (zip lines) & the 4 wheeling trip. Both were a lot of fun! You do have to take a taxi to get to the starting points, so you might want to figure that into the pricing. Otherwise, we only went in to Puerto Vallarta for dinner & I have to mention the restaurant. It is called Panorama & offers indoor dining, as well as an outdoor terrace. We made reservations so that we could eat outdoors at sunset & once the sun goes down you have a magnificent view of the whole city! The service was very good & the food was exceptional! Many of us had surf & turf & it was the best lobster that I have ever had! Also, ask for the flaming coffee, which is as much of a show as it is a drink.

And then the main event – Our Wedding! Rocio is the wedding coordinator at Marival & she was wonderful in answering all of my questions. We corresponded by email until we arrived at the resort & she always responded right away. Once at the resort we spent about 40 minutes with her going over all of the details like the dinner, flowers, & cake. She assured me that I would have nothing to worry about on the day of the wedding, & she was absolutely right! My flowers were delivered in the afternoon & were more beautiful than I ever expected! Everyone was amazed at how gorgeous they turned out! We were married on the beach at about 5:30pm & the location could not have been more beautiful. It is a very simple ceremony that only lasts about 30 minutes. They had speakers set up & were more than obliging to play the music that we requested. Afterwards, we took some pictures before we headed to dinner. Dinner was outdoors at La Pergola & was reserved only for our wedding party. The food was fantastic & the set up was beautiful. White linen with flower centerpieces. They provided us with a speaker for background music & again allowed us to use our cds that we had brought from home. This allowed us to have our first dance & have one of our friends sing for our party. Rocio even worked with my mother-in-law to provide a surprise for us, which was a fireworks show once the sun had gone down. We also hired the on-site photographer, who was a blast. He made having your picture taken so much fun & all of the pictures turned out great. He took photos of the ceremony, afterwards with our families & bridal party, & finally at sunset, which I thought was a great idea. The sunsets in Mexico are unbelievable. Once dinner & dancing was over we retreated to one of the bars to contin ue the night. It was such a great experience & one that no one that was there will ever forget. I recommend a destination wedding to anyone who does not want the cost & stress of getting married at home.

One final comment. The people of Puerto Vallarta are extremely friendly & accomodating. Many of these people are making very little money, but they always have a smile on their face & a kind word to share. Although tips are not expected, I would suggest that you provide them as the service & attitude is better than you ever get in the U.S.

If you have any questions about the wedding or would like to see pictures please email me at jessicakenney@aol.com.

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Grand and Club Marival Hotel – Neuvo Vallarta Connie ~ Ottawa, Canada

April 2007

We are Canadians and my husband, 7 year old granddaughter and I just returned from Mexico, having spent the week of March 17 – 24, 2007 at the Grand Marival, Nuevo Vallarta. We go to Puerto Vallarta almost every year but this was our first time at Nuevo, mainly because the Grand Marival offers a good kids club. My granddaughter enjoyed the kids club and especially the area where there is a kids pool/play area with a large slide. This area is right beside a good eating area for snacks, lunch or dinner. We had dinner there on our last evening and felt the food and especially the service, was better than any of the other restaurants. We found the service at the Italian restaurant not good at all. I would highly recommend this resort. The grounds are beautifully maintained, the staff friendly, and our room, which was a suite, was very comfortable with two complete baths and two TVs.

What I would really like to commend the Marival on is the medical service provided there. There is a doctor’s office just off the Casa Bella restaurant area. I needed medical services and was pleasantly, professionally treated by the doctor there. The doctor is there every day and on call after hours. I paid cash for my visit (can also use credit card) and the drugs required were dispensed by the doctor. He asked that I return the next day for follow-up which I did at no further charge (I could have returned several times at no further charge). I spoke with a couple other guests who also commented on their satisfaction with the medical service. That is reassuring to know as Nuevo Vallarta is quite far from medical facilities in the downtown Puerto Vallarta area. On this note, there is an excellent new hospital, Cornerstone, run by Americans in Puerto Vallarta.

We enjoyed the Casa Bella restaurant where we ate all our breakfasts and a few dinners. The food is good and a wide variety so something for everyone.

Overall, I would highly recommend this resort. If you choose to have a quiet time you can get that here but if you wish to join the action around the livlier pool, that is available too.

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Grand and Club Marival Hotel – Neuvo Vallarta Colleen and Dave ~ Green Bay, WI

December 2006

We stayed for 5 nights at the Marival the last week of November 2006.

This was our second time there, the first being 5 years ago. We liked it enough the first time to come back and were not disappointed. The first time we stayed in the Club section and this time were given a studio room (245) in the main building which is above the buffet restaurant. Very nice, clean room. It had a flat screen TV, a king size bed, a refrigerator, good sized closet, balcony with table and two chairs, a table and chair in the room. The bathroom was much larger than the one we had in the club section. It had a hair dryer and swing out mirror. The hotel was at 49% capacity so the service was excellent. The food was good – you should definitely try the Italian specialty restaurant. This was the best of the three specialty restaurants – the others being Mexican and Mediterranean.

The hotel bars are good. Lots of top shelf liquors which they are not shy to serve you. Friendly service. The pool areas are nice – there’s a quiet side and party/game side. We preferred the quiet side – it has a swim up bar and a whirlpool in the center of the pool. The beach was much better this time than our last time. Since then, a hurricane hit and did lots of damage. When they did their repairs they hauled in new sand. We took the Sierra Madre tour. It’s a whole day tour – 9 to 5 for $78 per person. It’s a good one except that our guide (Kevin) did more talking about himself than he did about Mexico.

If you’re interested in football, we got the CBS and NBC games on Sunday, but could not get Monday night or Thursday night football. They never know what their satellite company (Sky) is going to send them. Sometimes there was NFL Network and sometimes ESPN, but not on the right nights for the games.

The only bad experience we had during our stay was the "presentation" we got talked into going to for their version of a time share. They hook up with you immediately after check-in and promise you things to come to their presentation the next morning. They promised us half off massages, 15% off coupons for the hotel shops and a buy one/get one free tour (which we used on the Sierra Madre tour). They are very very pushy at the presentation which is supposed to be 90 minutes but ours was 2 hours. We did get what was promised but we would never do it again. If you want free things and are willing to put up with them, get them to promise you lots of things to get you to go. They also promised us 3 free nights, which they gave us a certificate for, but you have to pay $45 for all inclusive and it is only good May, June, Sept and Oct (hot, off-season months). If you are not interested in any of this, firmly tell them NoThank You. Don’t even go sit down and talk with them.

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Grand and Club Marival Hotel – Neuvo Vallarta  

February 2006

We spent a week at the Marival in early February 2006, and here’s a quick review.

Overall it is an excellent resort – maybe a 4 ½ star level.

Plusses:
It is right on the nice part of the Nuevo Vallarta beach – you can walk maybe a kilometer to the south (to the Paradise Village area) or for miles to the north (all the way up to Bucerias – a good hour’s walk). The resort, while large, has a large beach front and so it doesn’t feel overcrowded (like the Rui does, a half hour hike up north on the beach).

There are two pool areas with 2 pools each – the noisier activities pool and children’s pool area in front of the Grand, and the quieter pools in the Club section.

Rooms are nice and we liked the beds (but we prefer hard beds…). The AC worked well and the TV had about 25 channels of which 2/3rds are in Spanish and 1/3rd in English.

There is a big buffet restaurant with nightly themes (e.g., oriental) and 4 a la carte restaurants (Italian, Mexican, International and a steakhouse outside), with no restrictions. Food was quite good (but the free wine was mediocre as is often the case in AIs; many costly bottled wines available too). We especially enjoyed the breakfast buffet – lots of choices – although it was noisy and the buffet room wasn’t all that attractive. However, they aren’t all that great at handling special diets – we are vegetarian and had abit of trouble finding food in the specialty restaurants even when they said that they could handle this. But they always made a real effort to work things out (except for the Mexican restaurant) and everyone was always extremely friendly and helpful – no serious complaints here.

Drinks were good – too good even, for our health. They have good ingredients (including Jose Cuervo Traditional, Johnny Walker, Gordons gin…) – much better choices and cocktails than we had at the Fiesta Americana last summer, a higher rated resort.

There were shows every evening at 9PM (and sometimes earlier shows for younger kids at 8PM) – these were lots of fun. During the week we saw a local Mexican music and dance show with a mariachi band, 5 different, good but abit amateurish shows put on by their activities/entertainment staff, and a dance competition (well done) with hotel guests. In addition, in one of their bar areas with a small dance floor, there is a live music almost every evening at about 10PM (two musicians), and they have a discotheque (it was completely empty the one evening I dropped by at about 10:30 PM).

The place is very good for kids – there are kiddy and teen clubs (we didn’t check them out), water slides in the kiddie pool area, boogie boards that you can check out, etc. I’d say that the place caters especially to families with kids and too somewhat to older couples – relatively few older teens and young adults, although there were several groups of couples/singles in their twenties.

I walked up to the Riu Jalisco and looked around, and I preferred the somewhat lower rated Marival. The Riu struck me as being much more dense (higher buildings, much smaller beach area) and, while the grounds are beautiful, they seemed more artificial and pretentious to my eye. The Marival struck me as being more laid back – quality R&R – and had a better (larger) beach area.

While they do sell timeshares there, the timeshare people are discrete and not pushy at all.

Minuses:
While the rooms are fine, the hallways can be noisy – noise echoes down the cement and tile hallways easily.

On the north side of the grand they are building a huge condo complex – for the next couple months you should try to avoid being placed there. We spent the first night there and were woken up at 8 AM by construction noise. (You rarely hear any construction noise anywhere else.)

While there are loads of good rooms at the Marival (including some suites and 1-2 BR apartments), there are also a fair number of more lousy rooms – ones looking to the north on the Grand side (construction and thereafter a huge building across the way), some that overlook the restaurant areas (probably pretty noisy until midnight), etc.

This is a great hotel for R&R, not a great hotel for visiting Puerto Vallarta. You are way up in Nuevo Vallarta, far from the interesting parts of downtown (but on a very nice beach), and not all that close to Bucerias either. If you want to lie on the beach, drink great drinks and eat good food, surrounded mostly by other foreign tourists, then this is the place; if you want to spend alot of time exploring Puerto Vallarta, shopping, meeting the locals, then you should opt for a place closer to downtown and not all-inclusive (e.g., the Fiesta Americana or Tropicana).

Other things:
The hotel is Canadian owned (by an Italian immigrant family to Montreal) and not surprisingly probably over half the guests were Canadian. There were also a good number of Americans and a sprinkling of Mexicans (10%?).

There is a small mall across from the Paradise Village resort. You can walk down the beach to the Paradise Village resort and the guards will generally let you pass through to get to the commercial center; however the guards on the other side won’t let you back through, meaning that you will have to walk back along the road (or take a taxi – $3 US I think).

Getting to downtown PV
Bus: Walk out to the road and turn right for maybe 50 meters – you will see a bus stop at the traffic circle. Take a bus (a silver-grey bus listed as, I think, ATM) marked in the direction to Puerto Vallarta and get off across from the Sheraton. From there you can walk (still pretty far), take a local bus (marked centro – cheap) or take a taxi ($3US?) down to the Malecon or further. By bus & taxi, it will take you about 45 minutes (not during rush hour) to get down town.

Taxi: From the Marival to the Malecon: $18 US and it will take about a half hour (not rush hour).

Water taxi: From the Paradise Village marina you can take a water taxi downtown (PV Marina or the Playa los Muertos pier) – it runs every couple hours or so during the day (regular hours) and costs I think $10 per person each direction. During rush hour it is probably faster than by cab. This is a great way to get down to the board happy hour Fridays for Brenda’s (Bzy1’s) board and Saturdays for JR & co.’s (JRinPV) board), as the pier is right in front of the C&C bar area.

Getting to Bucerias
Bucerias is a small beachfront town (some shops, B&Bs, waterfront restaurants, etc.) located a good hour walk up the beach (north) from the Marival – perhaps farther (we didn’t do it and I think you might have trouble making it all the way on the beach during rainy season (mid-summer to mid-fall), when the small rivers would start flowing again).

Bus: we were told that this is complicated – there are two buses to take to make it there.

Taxi: $11 US each way but it is quick – maybe a 10-12 minute ride.

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Grand and Club Marival Hotel – Neuvo Vallarta Lynn ~ Canada

January 2006

Just returned back to Canada from the Marival and wanted to share our experience.
We were there from january 3 to 10/06. The flight was good and arrived early at the hotel – 12:00 noon. Only complaint I have of the entire resort is that the check in is not until 3:00ish. So, your luggage sits on the side walk in front of the hotel (staff is nearby) and you carry your carry-ons with you around until your room is ready. check in went well. Our room was main floor (room 1435 on Grand side). At first i was hesitant being on the main floor but after a day, I found it was the best room ever! The room was kept very clean, we left little goodies each day but i really don’t think it would have mattered. The room attendant kept us in plenty of towels and cleaned the room very well. Right outside of our room, we had the coffee center within 10 feet, the site down menu breakfast and lunch place – la pergola (reservations in the evening). The main pool with the music, activities etc. was 30 feet away. We often left our patio door unlocked and felt very safe. Of course we bought the lock for the safe and kept our valuables in there. The grand side lobby also had a bit of a "sports" bar where there were two flat screen tv’s that had sports playing continuously. Directly above on the third floor was the italian restuarant – very good, and the mexican which we found also very good. In between these two was the M & M bar (martini and marguarita). The main grand pool was pretty much hopping from 7:00 am with stretching exercises etc, until after 6 each nite. The animation team definately put on a great show with all the games and activities throughout the day. No problem getting clean pool towels. right beside here is the kids pool. My daughters are too old so we were not there, but the ones that were sure appeared to be having a great time. Also rite here is the La bamba snack bar by day and steak house by nite. We ate both at lunch – chicken fingers, fries, onion rings, nachos, salads, ribs, pork chops and more, then had a great new york steak in the evening. Off the main entrance (grand to the right, club to the left) was the club section. This is where the dinner reservations are made for the a la cartes and also a little lobby bar where there is singing and dancing after the shows each nite. Also there is a couple boutiques for shopping. Tennis courts are off this area also. The buffet is directely beside this. We ate there a couple times and have no complaints. Again, buffet style. In front is the adults only pool and another that does allow children. This side appeared more quite, didn’t hear music etc. We did to the cocktail lessons and had a blast. Ocean was okay, red flags quite a bit tho. Even so, we were in it a couple times daily. fun with the boogy board and just wave jumping. My daughter was stung by a jelly fish, but after a couple shots of tylenol and some polysporin, the trooper she is, was back in the water and having a fun. We went on the bike tour offered and enjoyed the hour tour. Took the girls on the dolphin swim. This was expensive but well worth the monies in seeing the smiles on their faces from the time they entered the area until the time they left. What a great experience for them. Sunday we took the local buses and off to P.V. we went. The bus stop is just outside of the hotel and this one takes you to walmart (4.50 for the four of us). There is where the real mexico begins. We boarded the local bus (school bus painted blue) and for 2.00 peso, off we went. One hand on the horn, one foot on the break the other on the gas! what an experience. Did not feel that we were not safe and the locals would give up their seats for us. I had some canada pins that I would in turn give back to them, and one would think i gave them a million. Very thankful people. P.V. and the malecon is a must. I enjoyed it and would have luved to wander longer but the family wanted to get back to the resort. so back on the bus we went. I would recommend the local bus, what a ride! My hubby and I treated ourselves, on the last day to a massage and although i do not have alot of experience in this, it was a wonderful way to end off the vacation. Check out was simple, bus ride back to the resort was quick. Airport = long lines, but easy enough. questions?, don’t hesitate to e me at dlbobick at hotmail. please include marival on the subject line.

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Grand and Club Marival Hotel – Neuvo Vallarta Gary C. ~ Saint Louis, MO

July 2005

We took our family of 7 to the Grand and CLub Marival 2 weeks ago, July 2, 2005.

We travel often in the caribbean and the Bahamas….We have traveled to Cancun and this was our sencond trip in Mexico. We got a good deal on price for all 7 of us for the whole week of $6,000.00.

We arrived at 12:00OPM and were told we had to wait til 3:00 OM to check in….so we sat in the lobby…the place was very nice looking and solidly built. Very clean and polished…. But the flies…the flies were everywhere. After about an hour, and $50.00 later, we were given keys to the rooms and we were checking in by 2:00PM.

The rooms were nice and clean…although the stench of fould air was nauseating. It took me two days to realize the smell was coming from the floor drain in the bathrooms. So I went to each drain and poured fresh water to fill the p-traps….I had to do this about every 2 days…obviously the staff isn’t trained to do this so I did it. The rooms were clean and air conditioning worked great. However, the beds were completely unnaccepable. It was like sleeping on a rock. Neither my wife nor myself once got a full nights sleep…and when we did awake, the pain was excrutiating. Every bone hurt and there was nothing we could do.

We ahd the all inclusive package, however, it took housekeeping 3 days to stock our refredigerator…and when they did, we got 4 bottles of water and a Coke, a Seven up and A Sprite. Thats it! And, they only refilled every three days…even though they told us every two. We constantly had issues with this until we just gave up.

Room Sevice was nice and quick and charged only $5.00 for the service. The food was absolutely disgusting. Perhaps we were jaded a bit when the first food we sought was outside at the buffet by the bar. Nice wood burning ovens for the pizza, but once again…they flies were everywhere. All over the food, the dishes, the table tops, the food untisels, and even the food itself as it sat there heating. The soda dispensers where swarming with bees and flies as well. Even the best restraunts were mediocre, at best… The fancy Medallions of beef were but thinkly sliced "who knows what." The breakfast was the only real tolerable meal. Overall, the food was pathetic and unappealing. After the first 3 days, we went into town to eat just to feed ourselves.

The landscaping is nicely done and well manicured.

The beaches are great with 3 – 4 foot waves….nice weather….the sand in more dark than light…a very distinct coal like color mixed with brown….the water temps were great and the beach was the highlight of the vacation. I couldn’t believe it, but we actually had to pay $3.00 a day for locks for the safes in the room. The staff was generally non-chalant about any and everything. We certainly didn’t feel as though we were the guests…we felt as though it was the resort doing us a favor by letting us stay there. A very poor job of training the personnel to provide the ambiance of vacation. While polite, the staff was barely average. $100.00 (US) was stolen from one or our rooms at some point during maid service. The liquor served is not premium unless you go upstairs and have martinis. It is generally cheap off label liquor that is served.

The beer was borderline tolerable and again, we had to go to town to even get a Corona or Tecate brand beer.

The beach is a harrassing event with vendors selling everything from straw hats to time share conferences.

I could go on but the bottom line is this is a vacation the 2 youngest children enjoyed, while the 5 of us with any sense of self respect would never subject ourselves to this place again. I you are looking for a clean room and beach waves, this is the place to go. If you are looking for rest, peace, quiet, good food and friendly staff…don’t waste your time or your money. You will be miserable. If you want hard beds, flies on your food and a staff that is apathetic at best, have at it.

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Grand and Club Marival Hotel – Neuvo Vallarta Catherine and Denis ~ Ottawa, Canada

March 2005

My wife and I have just returned from a week (March 6th to the13th) at the Grand and Club Marival in Nuevo Vallarta. This was our third trip to a sunny destination and was by far this best hotel yet.

Flight
We flew with Air Transat. We were supposed to take off from Trudeau Airport at 8:20 a.m. but ended up taking off at 9:30 p.m. It appears that a problem occurred with an Airbus 300-310 arriving from Cuba and Transport Canada decided to ground all similar aircraft for inspection. We had to wait for another aircraft (Airbus 300-330) which was arriving in the evening. This is the first time that we have been delayed when leaving and found it very frustrating. Air Transat gave each passenger a 15$ voucher for a lunch and diner. When it was time to board the plane later that evening, we had to check in again, go through security a second time. Very unpleasant.

Transfer to hotel
After arriving in Puerto Vallarta, the exit from the airport was quite quick. The bus ride from the airport to the hotel is very short, about 20- 25 minutes.

Check-in
The check-in was very quick since we were about 10 couples checking-in at 3:00 a.m.

Hotel
The hotel is divided in two sections, the Grand and the Club. We were staying in the Club section which had just been newly renovated. Much of the amenities are located on the club side, such as the buffet restaurant, the snack bar, the amphitheatres, and the discothèque. All a-la-carte restaurants seemed to be located on the Grand side. The hotel is very clean, and well maintained.

Room
Our room was very nice, since all room on the club side had been renovated in Nov, 2004. Our first room was not well located. We were located just above the restaurant. The view from our balcony was of all the propane tanks for the restaurant, and the exhaust fan was located just under our balcony. The first morning I opened to patio door and was hit with a smell of bacon, and eggs. It did not take long before the whole room smelled like that. So, was asked to change rooms and the front desk staff did so with no questions asked. Our second room had a much better view of the pool and ocean. We were still located above the restaurant, but at least we did not have the exhaust fan near our room.

Staff
The staff is very friendly and always ready to help.

Pool
The pools are very nice. They are 5 in all. 2 on the Grand side (1 swimming pool w/ swim up bar and 1 play area for kids) and 3 on the Club side (1 swimming pool w/swim up bar, 1 kids pool and 1 adult only pool). The adult only pool is very nice, because there is a little waterfall. All pools have a lot of lounge chair, which are cleaned every night by the cleaning staff. They also clean all the pool decks and surrounding areas.

Beach
The beach is very nice. The sand is fine and is of a golden brown color. The water in the Pacific Ocean was cold when we entered but was very refreshing. The waves are at some times very big and can knock down very easily. They place little flags to inform you of the wave conditions: green means calm water conditions, yellow means moderate condition and red means rough conditions. Most of the days, the flag was at yellow and sometimes red. You can rent little boggy boards for free to ride to waves. If you catch a good one, the wave carry you all the way the beach. They are plenty of lounge and muskoka type chairs, with plenty of little hut for shade (if you looking for some). The beach and chairs are cleans every night. The only unpleasant thing about the beach is the amount of vendors. Every 5 or 10 minutes, someone would come up to us, and ask us if want to by this or that.

Food There are 5 restaurants (1 buffet and 4 a la carte) and 2 snack bars. La Casa Bella (buffet): We found it to be very good with a nice variety of foods. The hours of meal times were very good too. Bella Vista (a la carte Italian): Very good. The service and the ambiance were excellent Las Palomas (a la carte Mexican): We found it to be ok. The service was a bit slow (we went early so there was no rush) and the ambiance wasn’t that great. La Pergola (a la carte Mediterranean) : did not try it La Bamba (snack bar by day, a la carte steak house by night): did not try it

La Portofino (snack bar): great for snacking in between meals. Loved there fire oven pizza and homemade nachos, salsa and guacamole.

Bars
There are several bars at the hotel. Lobby bars, swim bar and bars located at the snack bars. All bars had nice variety of drinks. I especially recommend the Pina Colada and Bahama Mamas. The cerveza (Sol) was very good, and always cold. You can also get good drinking water at the bars. Just buy one water bottle and then get it refilled at the bar for free.

Weather
Very hot and sunny. We had only one day where it was overcast, but the rest of the week it was sunny with no or little clouds. I highly recommend that at least sitting on the beach one night to watch the sunset. There most beautiful sunsets we have ever seen

The city
We ventured into Puerto Vallarta one afternoon along with another couple. We took the bus into El Centro (downtown). We had to take 2 buses. The 1st took us from the hotel to the Wal-Mart for 12 pesos each. The 2nd took us from the Wal-Mart to El Centro for 2 pesos each. The 2nd bus ride was very rough. There are lanes reserved for buses, but there are paved with coble stone. We opted for a taxi for the return trip, which cost 200 pesos, making several stops along the way. The city itself if very nice, with an old world charm to it. We walked along the “Malecon”, a boardwalk along the ocean.

Excursions
We did one excursions, Sailing, snorkelling and whale watching. We found it to be ok, but would have rather done another excursion. We spent too much time on the boat, very little time snorkelling, and did not see any whales. The tour included open bar and lunch. Lunch was served on the boat, which rocked heavily in the waves, making very hard to eat.

Overall Aside from the little hiccup at the airport, this was the best trip yet. The hotel and the staff are very nice. The food and drink are excellent. We would recommend this hotel to anyone. We will definitely be going back, perhaps for two weeks next time.

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Grand and Club Marival Hotel – Neuvo Vallarta  

June 2004

Hotel
Our room was great! We had a honeymoon upgrade which allowed us to have an ocean front suite. The bed however was as hard as a rock. The room was always clean, but needed to call for towels twice. The staff was extremely friendly (especially our favorite bartender Filijandro). It was very helpful that I knew Spanish. Many of the staff members were not English speaking.

Hotel
Our room was great! We had a honeymoon upgrade which allowed us to have an ocean front suite. The bed however was as hard as a rock. The room was always clean, but needed to call for towels twice. The staff was extremely friendly (especially our favorite bartender Filijandro). It was very helpful that I knew Spanish. Many of the staff members were not English speaking.

Pool
The pools were usually empty during the early morning and late night. This is when we usually swam. During the afternoon hours many activities such as water aerobics and games took place. There were usually a ton of children in all the pools except for the adult pool during these hours. The swim up bar was usually occupied as well by many kids. The pool was clean besides the numerous stacks of cups around the bar and the center of the pool’s mini ‘island’.

Beach
Ahh…Our favorite place. We found that the west end of the beach was more secluded and less crowded than the area near the water activity rental booth. The vendors were a bit persistent, but we actually got some pretty good deals after we got the hang of bartering. Hair braiding was available on the beach, and I suggest bartering for this as well. I paid 180 pesos for my long hair (she wanted 300). There is no drink service on the beach, so bring your bar drinks and plenty of water and sunscreen with you. (One tip: If you get your hair braided remember your scalp will BURN!!!! ) The sand was pretty clean and the water was BEAUTIFUL (near 80-85 degrees). There are no shells in this area but we saw our share of weird creatures during our sunset walks- two spotted water snakes made me hesitant to jump in the ocean the first day. But once you are in the water, you will want to stay in all day.

Weather
HOT HOT HOT. Oh, did I mention humid? You literally had to be in the water or you would feel like melting. The worse was going to town…the heat was enough to make us go home earlier than we had planned. Bring a good hat, sunscreen, and take breaks. Don’t spend the whole day outside. June is technically a rainy month, but it never rained during the day. Only two nights we had some incredible storms. We sat on our balcony and watched. By the morning, everything had cleared up. The mornings tended to be a bit overcast, but we still got plenty of sun.

Room Service
Don’t order room service. And if you do, don’t freak out like we did. The bill came to $55.00. We thought it was U.S. dollars since the brochure in the room said each plate was 5 USD. However it was in pesos (about 5 USD TOTAL). Use room service for emergency hangovers only.

Food
Casa Bella- We hated it. However if you miss your reservations for any reason this is the only restaurant you can eat at. The pasta and the bread was all we ate here since it was freshly prepared. Our suggestion- MAKE AND KEEP RESERVATIONS.

Bellavista- We never tried it since it was always packed and reservation times were very late (I am a juvenile diabetic so I needed to eat on schedule).

Las Palomas- AWESOME. We loved the food and the ambiance. The drinks were also very good compared to the outdoor bars.

La Pergola- Our favorite place for great breakfast and lunch. Fresh omelettes, juices, fruits, breads, sandwiches, and fish. It was by far the best food we ate on the trip.

Terrazza Portofino and La Bamba- Nasty food. We stuck to the nachos for emergency poolside snacking. Everything else was either sitting out for hours or tasted pretty gross.

Bars
Tips always help! We spent most of our bartime at Terrazza. Good conversation and plenty of interesting drinks (even though you need a few to feel any buzz). We tended to say ‘Mas fuerte’ (more strong) quite a bit. Our favorites were Miami Vice, margaritas, Beso de Diablo, and anything cold. Hello to our awesome Canadian friends that we met here!!

The City
We went to El Centro de Puerto Vallarta with a Canadian couple we met at the hotel. It was so hot that we were literally jumping into any air conditioned place we could find. Not too many deals in town. In fact, a lot of the souvenirs were more expensive than what we would even pay in the states. We were also hassled by some kids that were getting awfully close to our wallets. In all, it was cool to see the city but I doubt this is the TRUE Puerto Vallarta. Very touristy. Bring water!!

Tours
We only went on one tour to Las Caletas (about 70 USD a person) The boat ride there was really nice and we even saw some dolphins. When we arrived we were hurried to the opposite end of the island (a rocky walk so bring good shoes) to rent our snorkeling gear. Everyone was then cramped on to a small beach and told to wait. We ended up jumping in the clear water while waiting for further instruction for snorkeling. We were told that there were to many jellyfish to snorkel right off the beach so we had to walk all the way back to the boat to jump in off the pier. When we finally got the pier we had to wait in line to jump in or take a ladder in. We both opted the ladder route and found ourselves immediately surrounded by huge blue and yellow fish. It was really cool! We soon realized that there were so many fish right in this area because the tourist guides were throwing tortillas in the water. Once we got away from the ladder, there were very scarce amounts of fish and very low visibility. Then we started to get stung by the jellys. My husband once on his chest. Me twice. Kids were crying and wanting to get out of the water. I soon joined them and we went back to the swimming area that was pretty much jelly free. We swam some more close to the beach and some some cool fish, but not as many as I thought we would see. We then ate lunch on the beach (good food) and walked around the island before our departure. Definitely disappointing.

Info and Tips Bring sunscreen and be prepared for the heat. Even though most of the websites say that June only gets up to the high 80s, it was definitely closer to 100 with the humidity. We stopped drinking the hotel water after we both got a bit sick (the tequila doesn’t help either). Bottled water is available in the shops at the hotel. BARTER BARTER BARTER! We could have saved a ton of money if we would have known this the first few days. Make sure you watch the sunset at least once. And most important……….RELAX

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Grand and Club Marival Hotel – Neuvo Vallarta Tina & Rob — Canada

March 2004

This was our second time staying at the Grand Marival and it was even better than the first time. I would recommend it to everyone. I would go again in a minute. Because it was our second time staying there we got invited to a cocktail party. There were people at the party that had been there every year for 10 years. The first morning we were there we went down for breakfast to the restaurant "La Pergola" and the waiter who served us daily a year and a half earlier remembered us and we got special treatment.

We took my parents with us this time and they loved it, they didn’t want to come home.

The food was excellent at all the restaurants, there was a large selection of different kinds of food The drinks are good and plenty. The beach is beautiful. Was’nt too busy while we were there so getting a chair by the pool was pretty easy. The best part of the resort is the "Animation Staff" they are excellent, we became friends with many of them by the time we left it was sad to have to leave everyone. We still keep in touch via email with two of them. They make your stay fun as long as you join in there activities. All the staff is friendly and helpful. And the whole resort is spotless, they are always cleaning something.

I suggest going into Downtown Puerto Vallarta, it is a beautiful place and there is alot to see. And the people downtown are just as friendly as the people at the resort.

Puerto Vallarta is the best place that I have been in Mexico so far. I have been to Cancun and Mayan Riviera and dont get me wrong they are both beautiful places. But in my opinion Puerto Vallarta rates a 10++++ and Grand Marival is a 10++++++++++++.

Overall, we all loved it and we will be going back again this November.

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Grand and Club Marival Hotel – Neuvo Vallarta Glenn

March 2004

My husband, daughter and I just returned from a seven day stay at the Grand Marival, in Nuevo Vallarta. This is an all inclusive resort, so you just don’t spend much money on the resort–but bring along some dollars for tipping. (I’m told tipping isn’t necessary and it didn’t seem to be expected, but we tipped extra good service anyway) On the beach you were approached by vendors who were selling some really neat Mexican souvenirs. Remember to never pay what they ask you–I think they expect you to barter with them, A LOT. A local Mexican told us if we paid 25% of what they asked, that would be fair. We usually went for about half of what they asked, and we almost always got it. The Mexicans that you will meet at the resort are wonderful, friendly and kind people. One of our friends left his expensive camera in the hotel lobby and it was at the desk the next day. Our room at the Grand was a fairly large room with two double beds and a balcony. On our first morning there my husband was out on the balcony (which had an ocean view) and he saw a whale! We all got to see it. So if you get a room with an ocean view, keep your eyes open for whales when you’re sitting on your balcony. The beach was a great beach, very crowded however, which we didn’t mind. The pools were beautiful, and they too were crowded, but that was okay with us too. Actually, the pools weren’t as crowded as the areas around the pools. You will find reserving a poolside chair to be a pain because you have to get there early and put a towel on it to save it for when you want it. I wish the hotel would do away with the reserving of chaises and chairs because some many of them were empty of people–just there with towels on all day I guess in case the people who put the towels there wanted to go by the pool or on the beach sometime that day. The food there was EXCELLENT. They had something for everyone. We loved all the restaurants and thought the desserts were particularly good. The drinks are somewhat watered down, and the house wine, well, it just didn’t taste like any wine I had ever drank. But you could ask for more booze to be put in your drink and the bartenders happily accommodated you. Check in and check out at this hotel were a breeze. They did it right–just kept things moving right along. You can buy a phone card at the hotel at what they call the "Tobacco Shop". It costs $10.00 for 20 minutes of talk time back to the U.S.. Then you have to walk a distance away from the hotel to use a pay phone, which we thought was a pain. They also had an internet area where you could use a computer for $2.50 for 15 minutes. We found that we could use American money for everything–we never changed to pesos. We took the bus into Puerto Vallarta on a Sunday night. Don’t miss this. They have special activities going on on their "boardwalk". It was so much fun. We ate in town that night and that was a great experience, too. One more important thing–I have a delicate stomach and I drank the hotel tap water and I was fine. Feel free to drink it. Bottled water is for sale, but it seemed expensive. Just drink the tap water. We would go back to this hotel, especially now since we know our way around.

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Grand and Club Marival Hotel – Neuvo Vallarta Dave — Calgary Alberta

February 2004

We stayed at Club Marival in Puerto Vallarta Jan 24-31, 2004. We flew AirTransat and the flight was fine.

We found the food to be quite good once we knew our way around the place. It was a bit of a challenge as my wife is a Vegan but she felt there was always something for her. We ate outside when ever we could as so nice out we wanted to enjoy it.

Breakfasts: Fine selection of anything you want (and a great juice bar)
Lunch: We ate mostly at the snack bars (great chips and salsa) as well found a sub bar in the main buffet area
Suppers: There was a different theme each night at the buffet. Salads were good. rest of the food was average to good We tried the Italian restaurant one night. Great service and a good meal
Snack: Never went hungry.. lots of choices
Drinks: We brought our own insulated mugs and they filled them with what ever we wanted. Beer was always cold and the bartenders were creative and accommodating.

The place was very clean as people were always sweeping the floor or cleaning something There were many activities offered and we liked the bogie boarding and the kayaking. The staff were very friendly and always smiled and said hello. We liked to hang out at the quiet pool. It was very relaxing there and minimal noise

We went to downtown PV one day but found it too busy and noisy for us. (must be getting old!)

I would recommend the resort to anyone. Next year we might even bring our 3 kids! (looked like lots to do for kids there)

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Grand and Club Marival Hotel – Neuvo Vallarta Bogdan — Edmonton, Canada

December 2003

Just returned from Grand Marival in Nuevo Vallarta. Before we left, we had read all reviews at this and other sites and were intrigued how extreme some of them were. Despite some very bad rewievs we decided to go. Here is my two cents.

I think that ratings in vacation brochures reflect the reality to some degree. This hotel was rated 4 stars in our brochure (Singature) and it was worse than some other resorts we had visited in the past and that were rated at 4 ½ or 5 and better than a resort rated at 3 1/2.

The resort looks quite nice, well mainained grounds, green grass, flowers etc. The room (Grand Marival, superior room) was very basic, two beds with hard mattreses, a TV, small table, two chairs and a chest of drawers. It was very clean and it had a balcony with a partial ocean view. Air conditioning was noisy indeed so we made our room cool in the evening and didn’t use AC at night. The outside temperature dropped to about 22 C by the dawn.

The food was average. The food choice was limited but acceptable. Staff in all reastaurants very friendly and helpful. One of the best. Seated restaurants offered an average food but very nicely presented. No problems with making reservation. In the morning there was about 15 mins lineup but the reservation lady was there all day long and it was always possible to make reservation for the same or next day (that’s how it works there – no more than 48 hours in advance). House red wine was very bad. White wine was better, beer average.

Drinks were like in some other resorts. They were served in thick plastic glasses (not disposable). On one hand – good for the environment, on the other – who knows how they washed (rinsed?) them. Drinks in the lobby etc, in glass. Some drinks were stronger some weaker. Good service in bars compared to other resorts. Tap water was supposed to be safe to drink. We didn’t drink it but I’m sure they use the same water for drinks and in restaurants. Nobody got sick.

When we arrived there, the resort was overcrowded. Then we discovered that it was a Mexican long weekend (Nov 20 – Nov 23) and the hotel was filled with Mexicans which enjoyed time off work and school. Lots of kids and teenagers everywhere. All spots under palapas or around swimmimg pools were “reserved” as early as at 8 AM. There were lineups for food. I’m not sure if they sell day passes or this is just a big hotel (600 rooms) on a relatively small area but it was crowded and noisy! From time to time we saw kids in the adult pool or jacuzzi but we also saw security personel asking them to leave. I guess they cannot guard it all the time. Everything changed Sunday afternoon. On Monday morning there were many empty lounges even after breakfest.

The beach is relativly small for such a big resort.The sand is darker than on Cancun side. No rocks. Boogie boards and kayaks were included. Catamaran (one, the second one was of out of order) was included too but you had to reserve in the morning as there only 6 slots 20 minutes each from 1 to about 4 PM. I guess part of the reason was that mornings were usually quiet with no wind. They are beach vendors but they are quite polite and somehow assigned to this hotel. When we walked on the beach past other hotels, we saw other vendors and we’ve never seen them in our hotel. There are many security guards watching the beach and grounds so it looks quite safe. We were leaving our stuff on the beach (towels, camera etc) and going for walks or lunch.

The swimming pools were quite nice and big. One pool with slides was for kids and the personnel was not allowing adults to use the slides (wchich was a good idea, I’m sure some drunken teenagers would be dangerous to small kids).

There is a public bus to Puerto Vallarta (10 pesos). You have to take another bus from there to get to the historical zone (4 pesos). It takes total of about 30 mins one way. There is no reason to take an expensive tour if you just want to see PV. The activity staff very good, polite, with good english. Nigthly performance not so good. We never lasted till the disco, so have no opinion on that.

Overall we had a very good vacation with perfect weather and in a very nice resort. And it was relatively inexpensive. Most likely we will not go back but only because there are many other resorts waiting for us to be discovered.

One remarks about the fight – it was on time etc, but the Signature Vacation and Skyservice defined new limits of cheapness – they charge for soft drinks and even water ($1)! An average passenger pays about $500 for a returned ticket, why not to milk him for an additional buck. Here is my next idea for them – coin operated washrooms! They served some cold meals (a bun in a paper box). If they are so saving oriented I don’t see any reason to keep so many flight attendands on board, they have almost nothing to do with such simplified service. Also, our baggage got damaged and so far we have no luck with any compensation from Skyservice.

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Grand and Club Marival Hotel – Neuvo Vallarta Tina and Rob — Toronto, Canada

April 2003

I am a little late with my review. But better late than never We stayed at this resort on our Honeymoon last May 12 – May 26 It was the first time that either of us had been to Mexico Although we had nothing to compare it too, we both thought it was great

Flight
We flew by Air Transat and Signature Vacations from Toronto. The arrival at the airport was excellent we got our luggage and were through customs in no time. The drive to the hotel was 30 minutes at the most.

Check in
Check in was fast and the staff was very friendly and helpful. It was beautiful when you walked up the stairs to the lobby, you could see out to the ocean and overlooking the large pool with a swim-up bar

Pools
There was an adult only pool. Only draw back was there wasnt a swim up bar you had to get out and walk to the bar. The swimup bar was in the main pool. And there was also a kids pool with slides and stuff.

The Room
The room was a good size. And was always kept very clean. Air Conditioning worked great and thank God because it was very hot every day we were there. In the 90’s even at night.

The Food
I thought that the food was pretty good, but by Tuesday of the second week I was getting a little sick of it. The dinners we had in the specialty restaurants we excellent. I highly recommend the Italian Restaurant and the Steak Restaurant. The Steak restaurant is outside right next to the beach and is beautiful when the sun starts to set.

Entertainment
The shows were really good, and the Entertainment staff during the day was excellent. They were very nice people.

Day Trips
We went on the day trip called "Vallarta Inside-Out" It was excellent. As well as the "Juan Helluva Night", where you go to three bars in downtown Puerto Vallarta. I recommend both of those trips. We were going to swim with the Dolphins but it was all booked up. But i heard it was excellent

The drinks
In a word, Awesome!! Bruno, at the main bar in the lobby makes the best Pina Colada’s in the world.

To sum it up, it was a great vacation and I would recommend it to anyone. I would go back in a minute.

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