Old Reviews – Royal Decameron Costa Flamingos

  Royal Decameron Costa Flamingos   Jeannie ~ St Catharines, Ontario, Canada

February 2009

Vacation Photos

Arrival: Oct 24- Nov 7/08
My husband and I stayed at RDC from Oct 24- Nov 7/08. This was our first time to RDC but have been to Puerto Vallarta before. Our main reason for choosing this resort was that it was within walking distance of Bucerias, a town we’ve wanted to check out and the cost of the package was very reasonable. We are a mid (plus a few) aged couple. We booked with Nolitours, flying in on Skyservice and out with Air Transat. Flights were uneventful and on time. We landed in PV around 6:30pm and chose to take a taxi to the resort instead of the Nolitours bus shuttle. It took less than ½ an hour and cost was $25 US or $280 pesos. Check in was quick as there was no one else there yet …we were given 2 towel cards and two keys for our room. A bellhop helped us with our bags and showed the way to our room. We paid a little extra for beachfront through Nolitours and had I also emailed karla.carlos@decameron.com.mx at RDC a few weeks prior requesting 2nd or 3rd floor of Bloc 1. Our room was #1212 on the 2nd floor of Bloc 1. Perfect! The bellhop noticed a light bulb didn’t work so called maintenance and he was there in a few minutes and replaced it. We left our things and headed to Bloc 4 cashier to pay for our safe. Cost was $308 pesos for 2 weeks. We were given a key for the safe. Our first impressions of the resort were that it was quite large, grounds beautiful and staff was very friendly. We then grabbed our commuter mugs and headed to beach bar#1, which became our favorite bar. Weather was very humid that evening as it had rained just before we had landed. The next day was overcast and after that it was sunny every day. We found that the ocean breezes picked up in the afternoons and the humidity was the highest in the evenings.

Our Room
we loved the views! We were also happy that our room was more towards the south end of the bloc. Rooms at the north end could be bothered by the noise from the bar/lounge at night. Our AC worked well but not as well as the AC in the newer blocs. It was fine for us. There’s a small screen window in the bathroom and we found that keeping the bathroom door closed kept the room cooler and also reduced any noise from the outside hallway. Water pressure was never an issue and we always had hot water for showers. Our room was always cleaned well and we were always given enough towels. I had brought a couple of my own washcloths just in case but we were always given some. No toiletries are supplied except for small hand soap. There is a blow dryer and it worked well. I left the maid a note requesting more water with her tip and was always given extra bottles. We brought a small coffee maker so we could sit out on our balcony in the mornings without having to go down for coffee first. The TV worked well, both English and Spanish channels and the remote was attached to the night stand with a cord. We had a king size bed and found it very comfy. We would have liked to keep our balcony doors open at night to hear the waves but found the weather too humid.

Restaurants and Bars
Food and Beverage: Alcohol is not high end but bartenders were never shy about giving however much alcohol you wanted. They serve Sol and Indio beer. We found all the bartenders to be fun and never had to wait long for service. We found the food ranged from fair to very good. There is certainly a lot of choice and salad and fruit was always fresh and plentiful. The 2 dinner buffets offer different themes which are posted on large menu boards at their entrances. We tried all of the ala carte’s and went to the Wok a few times as we thought it was the best! Mexican fiesta night is Thurs and the food was great! As has been mentioned many times they do have a flare for wieners in every description lol. But there are many other things to choose from too and there is certainly enough choice to please anyone. I also noticed that they constantly go around taking food temps both hot and cold. We never found we had to wait in line much to make reservations at 3pm for an ala cart restaurant the next day. You can also make reservations at 8am for the same day. There is no smoking in any of the restaurants, even their outdoor patio tables are non smoking.

Grounds and Pools
The grounds were always being cared for. They were beautiful!! The beach in front was also cleaned up mornings and evenings it’s amazing the garbage people will just leave behind. The areas around the pools were cleaned up every evening as well. By the end of the day the pools may seem a little cloudy but with so many people all wearing oils and lotions I’d say that’s to be expected. The mornings we were up early we’d see the pool maintenance cleaning the pools and testing the water. We stayed pretty much in the pool #1 area. Every day we sat up on what they call the boardwalk which overlooks the ocean, beach volleyball etc. Yes it was an active area but that’s what we like. Even if we didn’t join in a lot of the activities we do like to watch. There are 5 pools in total. We did venture to the adult pool for an afternoon and that was very nice too although a little too quiet for us. There is no food allowed around the pools and with all the kids around I think this is a good idea. There are plenty of chairs everywhere also palapa’s on the beach. You certainly don’t have go down early and save a chair.

Activities
we found the activation team at pool#1 were wonderful. There were many activities offered for the small children as well…pinata parties, water balloons, face painting etc. Of course the regular stuff like water aerobics, water or beach volleyball, water polo, dart tournaments, pool side trivia etc were arranged every day. Usually between 1pm and 3pm things were quieter with less going on. There were nightly shows at the theatre near bloc 5 that started at 9:30. The ones we saw were well done and their efforts were always hugely applauded. Btw…this was the only spot I noticed any mosquitoes so you might want to apply a little bug spray when going to the theatre. On the beach you can use kayaks, have rides on the catamaran, rent seadoo’s, parasail, have banana boat rides etc. Definitely lots to do if you want to.

The town of Bucerias was quaint and friendly. The timeshare push is minimal. The market is small but just perfect for searching for those special souvenirs. We enjoy the barter and the banter. Our favourite spot was YoYoMo’s, a sports bar. We both enjoy hockey and football and they were more than willing to accommodate. Lots of TV’s, great sports bar atmosphere and great food! Due to the heat and humidity we only walked into Bucerias 2x the other times we took a taxi $4 each way.
We had planned on visiting such areas as Sayulita and possibly Punta Mita. and a revisit in Old Town PV. Our 3rd day there, my husband began having a lot of difficulty with the humidity, so we decided not to venture too far. As it turns out once we were back home it we found that he’d had a silent heart attack that 3rd day. He is fine now and we look forward to returning to RDC this fall except we’ll be coming in November when the humidity is pretty much gone.

Clientele our first week, the clientele included mostly Canadians from Western Canada and Mexicans, many from Guadalajara and Tepic ….the last week of Oct there seemed to be more Mexican families than the 1st week of Nov. Most of the Mexican families consisted of many children and the first day it was a little overwhelming as it seemed like we were the only "non-Mexicans"…lol. This of course was not the case and we soon met many others as well. I must say that over our 2 week period we really enjoyed our interaction with the Mexicans…they were friendly, considerate as we tried to communicate and a lot of fun when we had international competitionsarranged by the activation staff. We found that their children were always so happy…also very patient and not at all whiney. There was one family in particular that had a baby and a toddler with them. Whenever we saw each other we’d exchange Hola’s and smiles…the toddler would wave. Our Spanish is very limited but we managed to communicate somewhat. On their last day we were extremely touched that they came and sought us out to say goodbye and exchange picture taking. The 2nd week there was a large group (over 300) from a lumber company in Alberta….even with this large group, it felt less crowded than the 1st week. We had great neighbours next to our room from Montreal and the 2nd week we met more folks from Ontario. We thoroughly enjoyed the mix of all the folks we met RDC is great value and we can’t wait to go back!

jredekop@cogeco.ca

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  Royal Decameron Costa Flamingos   Janice ~ Leduc, Alberta

February 2009

Arrival: January 17 – 31
Very quick and efficient. Cold drinks ready for us. (Went with a friend and my neighbours). 2 buses arrived at the same time and they didn’t even blink. Neighbours got to their room – was not acceptable – and were moving to a wonderful room within 5 Canadian minutes!.

Rooms
No complaints there either. Even the shower was great. Lots of English TV if required. We requested around the Adult Pool and got it as ocean front is scarce. The girls were friendly and caught onto our "needs" – agua – very quickly. I wonder if any hotel will ever come up with a comfortable mattress?

Restaurants and Bars
Not much on a la cartes – like to take my chances on the buffet. There’s always something "interesting" there. I love Mexican potatoes, tomatoes and their guacoumole is just yummy. So if you’re not a fussy eater you should be O.K.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
They were under construction all over the place and it was a little noisy but looking good by leaving time. Pools and Beaches were clean but obviously not enough space for all to be at the beach at the same time. All chairs are taken by 7 am!!! Honestly. Had and has me still confused.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The neighbour enjoyed the night life and the tequila LOTS. Did lots of walking around Bucerias and enjoyed every moment of it. Would go back again and their prices are reasonable.

Other Comments One of the lady vendors in PV told us we spoke very good English for Canadians. She works at the cruise docks. She was genuinely surprised to hear that we’re really not all French. Interesting.

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  Royal Decameron Costa Flamingos   Pam

February 2009

Our latest vacation was with 12 friends to Puerto Vallarta. Destination – Royal Decameron Complex in Bucerenis, Mexico.

The vacation got off to a rough start with a lengthy delay. The delay was caused by bad weather in the Dominican Republic that delayed planes in Puerto Plata. Skyservice flies thousands of tourists daily to and from vacation destinations. To not have a contingency plan to deal with weather and/or mechanical difficulties is not an acceptable way to do business. We are still waiting for the phone call from the tour company to inform us of this problem. Had we not checked the Toronto airport website and the Skyservice website, we would not have known about the problem. I felt badly for the group headed home to Montreal the same day we left. They found out, after checkout, that their flight was delayed about 6 hours due to a mechanical problem.

On the positive side, the daytime flight down to Puerto Vallarta over the Sierra Madres mountains was absolutely beautiful!

The Decameron Complex was full! Daily we received notices offering us the opportunity to upgrade to another hotel as they were overbooked. We did not take advantage of this. The hotel is rated as a 4*. We would disagree with this – and give it a solid 3*.

The food was ok – not great, but ok. At breakfast, they often ran out of cheese for omelets. Supper in the buffet restaurants was quite limited in choices, and we found that there was a lack of vegetables available. In a country that exports vegetables to Canada all winter, I would have expected lots of vegetables to be available. Both the Italian and the Wok restaurants had wonderful meals.

By far the largest problem was the issue of beach chairs. Arriving on the beach between 9 and 10 am, we were met by a handful of people and a sea of chairs with towels. One day we sat behind 4 chairs covered with 2 towels from 10 am until 2:30 pm when 2 women arrived to their “saved” chairs. Perhaps people feel the need to reserve chairs as there are not quite enough of them. But the resort must do something to discourage this practice.

The water sports is another issue. Apparently you must book what you want to do between 9 and 10 am. If it is not booked, it is not available. We tried three times to use sail boats. One day was too windy. The next was booked solid – we should book in the morning. Even though we were told it was booked – only 2 groups went out that day. The last time – several groups went out, and then the boats sat. We were told that the only way was to book the next morning. That was our last day. We left without sailing at all.

We talked to several retirees who were at the resort for longer stays, and back at the resort for the 4th or 5th time. They felt that this resort was “safer” and “better” than some of the other resorts closer to town.

The beach was probably the best beach we have encountered anywhere; miles of sandy shore to walk; sandy bottom; waves that were awesome for body surfing and boogie boards.

Would I go back to the Decameron? Not likely Would I go back to the area? Definitely!

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  Royal Decameron Costa Flamingos   Lenette ~ Canada

March 2008

Arrival – Was disappointed to find our wedding group was spread out all over the resort. We tried to change our rooms so we would all be in 1 or 2 blocks, but no luck. We were spread out in block 1, 3, 5 and 6. Staff was very friendly and treated us well. Lots of vibrant color and beautiful grounds. 2 couples in our group were asked to move to a hotel in puerta vallarta, we refused mostly cause we were at this resort with family and friends for a wedding.

Rooms – Rooms were a little small, but that didn’t bother my finace’ and I. We don’t spend much time in our room. Very neat, tidy, clean and colorful, which seems to be the theme at this resort. No shampoo, conditoner, or alarm clocks. Beds were a little hard, but we were exausted every night and would just crash. I actually slept very very well.

Restaurants – We never went hungry at this resort! The buffet’s had enough selection to plese most of the 20 people in the wedding group. The snack bar food was excellent, if you like burgers, hot dogs, fries, nachos or pizza! The pizza was only served at the one snack bar between 12 and 2 pm. We tried Japanese, Taiwanese, Brazillian and Itialian restaurants. All had good and bad points, but never anything seriously negative. The Brazilian was probably the best for us.

Bars – The wedding group made friends with most of the bartenders on the resort. Our first night there we did a bar crawl! Touched down at each bar. All the bartenders were very nice. They would go out of there way to mix what we wanted. If they seemed too weak with alcohol we would just ask for mucho alcohol and they had no problem with that! We brought Clamato juice for our beer. The bartenders were good enough to keep it in their coolers for us.

Beach and Pools – The beach was huge. Lots of lounge chairs on the beach and usually enough at the pools. No need to reserve them at 6 in the morning with your towels. I was disappointed in the ocean, but only cause I was expecting it to be calm and crystal clear like my trip to Cuba. Lots of waves to have fun boogie boarding and seadooing. Pools were clean and not too bad for temperature. Our favorite pool was number 6. No hot tubs on the resort.

Grounds – The grounds were beautiful and immaculate. Lots of green, shrubbery, trees, flowers, etc… The resort is very, very large. 6 blocks with 100 or more rooms in each. With the wedding group spread out all over, we had to set meeting places, so we didn’t walk a marathon to find everyone.

Activities – There were always lots of activities going on all over the grounds, but our group didn’t participate much. We had such a large group we kept ourselves entertained. I personally didn’t care much for the nightly shows, unless they had audience participation. But lots of others enjoyed.

Tours – Lots of variety and not too bad a prices. We didn’t take any chances booking off site. We just booked through our tour lady. I participated in the pirate ship party and the 4 hour ATV adventure. I enjoyed both, especially the ATV. The ATV tour was one of our highlights on our trip.

Conclusion – Overall the experience was great. I would recommend this resort to anyone who doesn’t mind lots of walking, or rougher, darker waters. The food was good, entertainment not bad, workers were friendly and fun, rooms clean and tidy, grounds immaculate. The wedding went fairly well. The bride and groom seemed satisfied. Please tip the workers, they do an awsome job! They sure appreciate it when you do!Don’t expect a 4 or 5 star. At most it’s a 3.5 to 4.

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Royal Decameron Costa Flamingos David

June 2007

just returned from 1 week trip to royal decameron puerto vallarta last week may 2007

travel : noli tours, signature vacation, no difficulties, good flights both ways,

check in: efficient and quick, we travelled for a family wedding and request was made to be placed in same general area. request was ignored but this might have been a good thing

rooms: very good, neat and clean, no mini fridge to keep your water cold, no hairdryer, no iron, no alarm clock or radio, this was inconvenient

beach: simply excellent, lots 0of chairs etc.

buffet; a la cart: not a large selection but adequate, all beef except the hamburger was tough, do not recomend it, if you ate late they consistantly ran out of desserts and did not refill them, plenty of eating places, snack bar was great food. if you went hungry it ws your fault a la carts very good

bars; more than enough bars. i caught one bartender actually wateridng down a bottle of liquor with water he admitted it as well, choose your drinks carefully andd keep in mind there is a bare minimum of alcohol in any of the mixed drinks.

property: large, well laid out, beautifully maintained, good pools and plenty of them althojhgh the adult only pool could have required more cleaning to keep out sun screan scum

entertainment: only seen 2 shows, do not recomend them, disco was o.k.

internet: available but watch your time, i was ripped off and had to make a complaint to managemnent, they corrected the problem quickly.

wedding: well organised went off without a hitch.

summary: a nice family resort that i would rateas a 3 1/2 star. guest services were very frindly and efficient, just keep in mind this is not a 5 star but we got very good value for our dollar and would definitely retuyrn again.

contact for more into contact: davidmortimer@rogers.com

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Royal Decameron Costa Flamingos Vickie ~ Canada

January 2006

Stayed 2 weeks, this hotel is in a great location, walking distance to Bucerias. Resort is huge but well laid out & do not feel crowded. Lots of restaurants & places to eat & drink. Lots of pools & beach areas, no problem finding place to lounge.

Disco was large & enclosed; however noise from it can be heard throughout resort and especially in blocks 2, 3, 5. Our room faced the road and it vibrated from the noise! You definitely need ear plugs. Asked to change rooms told not possible, take it or leave it they said. We put up with it for 2 weeks.

Many people received notes to move to another hotel for 1 or more nights due to overbooking. We declined the first day they offered, and then looked into it when they kept putting notes under our door at the end for the last 3 days but turned it down when we were offered dwtn. hotel. Some people showed up to check in & were told no room for them, they had no choice but to go.

The wait staff & bar staff are what make this place. Biggest problem was in the restaurants, not enough staff. Some breakfasts we never were offered coffee once. Make sure to tip them, they deserve it.

Smoking was a problem here. Restaurants do not have a designated smoking area. So be prepared for smoke throughout your meal.

Food was good, large variety, not like a 5 star, but certainly didn’t starve. I would certainly recommend this resort to all, great for the price, but don’t expect a 5 star, as it isn’t advertised as one. We went to most of the a la carte, decent food but often they ran out of items or they rushed you through. Also, the bars in the restaurants do not serve mixed drinks. Just beer, or wine???

We ventured out a lot. Definitely visit Bucerias, a 20 min. walk down the road.

Try the Bar Above in Bucerias in the evening for their homemade desserts (definitely the chocolate soufflé). Buddy the owner will not disappoint.

Take the bus to Punta de Mita, walk out to the main highway and cross the street. Wait for local bus that has "Punta de Mita" on windshield. Cost is 10 pesos per person or $1 and take bus to the end, about 30 min. The town is on the northern tip of the Banderas Bay and find a good spot on the beach, choose a lounge chair at one of the restaurants and enjoy shrimp, a beer and the ocean all for cheap!

You can also visit Sayulita. Catch bus in same spot and look for bus marked with Sayulita, cost is also 10 pesos and take bus to end of the line. Another great beach town, great surfing!

Highly recommend the "El Eden" Canopy tour in Mismaloya, they offer the longest zip lines in PV. We paid $70 per person.

Never book your tours through your resort, they are always $20 more there.

Enjoy!

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Royal Decameron Linda & Jim ~ Calmar Alberta

January 2006

This is a great resort! The brochure pages do not do it justice.It is very big..Spacious..lots of beach loungers and pool loungers, no need to get up a 6am to save..what a treat! Execellent food in all restaurants..We really enjoyed this hotel and its was even better than expected.

Enjoy this great resort!

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Royal Decameron S. D. ~ Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

January 2006

After a long travel day, my husband and I, traveling with another couple, arrived on Saturday, January 7th, 2006 only to be greeted by an assistant manager informing us that the resort was over-booked for the weekend (we found out that this resort is overbooked throughout January and February and they kept seeking volunteers willing to be shipped off to Pto Vallarta…. DON’T DO IT)! Needless to say, things weren’t starting real well. After arguing with the assistant manager; we agreed to be shipped off to a hotel downtown Puerto Vallarta (the Hola Vallarta, formerly the Qualton Club), which we were told was also a 4-star hotel, for 2 nights and in return we were guaranteed 2 rooms on the 3rd floor of building 1 (facing the ocean). For good measure, they also threw in 2 bottles of Tequila and 4 t-shirts! I guess we could have said no, but God knows what type of room we would have ended up in and since my husband had never been to Puerto Vallarta, we thought it was an opportunity to spend a full day there and be done with it! When the taxi driver dropped us off at the Hola Vallarta, it became very clear fast that this was no 4-star hotel at all (perhaps a 2). There was only 1 pool and the beach…. well, there was really no beach. The dinner buffet was REALLY bad and offered not possibility of eating outside, or at least with a view of the ocean! Bad, Bad, Bad!!!

Monday morning we woke up early wanting to get out of there fast and eager to finally settle in once in for all at the resort where we had booked and paid for (we were there for 2 weeks). When we arrived, we expressed our dissatisfaction with the hotel they had sent us to; they saw we weren’t happy, so they scrambled pretty hard to make sure both our rooms, in building 1 like promised, were ready so early in the morning!

This resort is very nice, VERY VERY clean and the staff is nice. The rooms however are NOT great – not for a 4-star hotel! They are small, the mattresses are way too firm and you practically have no storage space (when you’re there for 2 weeks, those things ARE important). The bathroom in our room was in dire need of renovation. As for the food, it was ok, but I really don’t get the reason why the restaurants only offer 2 seatings (6:30 and 8:30). If you chose the 6:30 seating, you miss the sunsets and at 8:30 it’s getting a little late and the restaurant staff starts to be impatient (as we experienced the first time we had dinner at the Italian restaurant. Talk about having a server throw food in your plate)! The process they use for reservations doesn’t make much sense either – everyone who were getting up at 7:00 to stand in line to make a reservation were not impressed! I offer this little trick: the restaurants are always fully booked, but often people don’t show up, so just present yourself at a restaurant no later than 6:45 (or 8:45)and you will be offered a table if one is available. We did this a few times without any problem. It will prevent you from having to get up early just to make a reservation!
We went to Bucerias a few times and truly enjoyed it. We found a restaurant (Marco’s, 5 beers for 45 pesos) with an amazing view and the best margaritas I ever had! His seafood ceviche is to die for!!!

Last Thursday (the 12th) the four of us decided to treat ourselves to a good restaurant outside of the resort a few individuals had recommended. The restaurant is called Marc’s (located on the same street that leads to Bucerias). Nice restaurant, good menu, a bit expensive. The room was packed which is always a good sign. We had 7:00pm dinner reservations. We started with drinks and appetizers, but when it came time to order our entrées, the waitress informed us that they ran out of gaz, so we could only order a soup or salad! We were VERY disappointed because we were looking forward to trying their grilled tuna which is their specialty. What was even more disappointing is the fact that she didn’t seem to be sorry at all. She offered no excuse, nothing. Just gave us our bill and sent us on our way. For that reason, I don’t recommend this restaurant. There are many that offer food that is just as good and way less expensive, just live Marco’s in Bucerias. If you’re a golfer like me – be sure to play at the Flamingos golf course approximately 3km from the resort. It is BEAUTIFUL! A little expensive, but it was worth it.

All in all, we rate this vacation as a 6 on a scale of 1 to 10. The resort is nice and clean, but it is more of a 3-star than a 4-star – not enough to bring us back.

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Royal Decameron Dale, Dee and Mandie ~ Ohio

August 2005

We [My husband, our 15 yr, old daughter and myself] just returned from 2 great weeks at the Royal Decameron.We wanted to put our comments in on these review sights. As we feel some of the reviews are very misleading. We have traveled to many all-inclusive resorts in the last 22 years, 3 star to a 5 star in many countries and feel we can give a just and worthy review.

ROOM….The room was basic, not a lot of frills, very clean and well kept up by the maid. It has a nice large walk in shower. A hair dryer to use. Fresh towels and washcloths every day, and also plenty of soap[as someone said in a review there was no soap]As in a lot of reviews, the beds are very, very firm, not the most comfortable, but then swimming and sunning all day, you do just crash. Do tip the maid, a buck a day is very appreciative, for they work very hard. We stayed in block 5 floor1 by the adult pool, it was great for us, and yes our daughter did swim in the adult pool..

GROUNDS…. As in most reviews the grounds were immuclate in all ways,well maintained and very tropical. Groundsmen working long days to keep it looking well groumed.

FOOD…. Soon of the people in previous reviews that slammed the food must have eaten at a different resort. First of all folks we are in Mexico, and this is Mexican cooking different from where you live USA, Canada, or where ever your from. So if your not adventuress and willing to try different food from different countries stay home. For breakfast and lunch there are three different buffets, and for your evening buffet there are two. There are five specialty restaurants, and we ate at four of them. The only one we didn’t try was the Caribbean.

Jap Jap This restaurant has a set menu but it does change daily make sure you check menu board in main lobby. We went to this restaurant twice and found it very good. On our visits we had fried rice, teriyaki chicken, steamed vegetables, and a marinated fish. They also bring out sushi and the soup of the day. You are waited on in these restaurants except for the salad bar and dessert.

Wok This is on the other side of the Jap restaurant and both of these restaurants are in block five. This is an off the menu restaurant, and changes every day. We found the food here very good.

Italian This was one of our favorite restaurants, we ate there twice. The salad bar is quite unique and different from all the other salad bars. Our entrees were all good but do save room for dessert. If you like chocolate do get the chocolate cake and the cappuccino. On our visits we got ravioli, lasagna, and fettuccini alfredo.

Steak House We felt this was a good restaurant but do check the board this one does change. We ate there twice and on the nights we ate there we got steak, breaded pork, which was very good, American style chicken, and fish.

All in all, this resort is a 3 plus star! It is well worth the money. If you want all the bells and whistles, and want more gourmet food, spend the additional $1000.00-$1500.00, per person on a 4 or 5 star resort.

Enjoy and have a great vacation, it’s what you make of it.

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Royal Decameron Jan Frank Wolf ~ Elburg, The Netherlands

May 2005

We stayed in this hotel from april 23rd til may 5th.

We arrived at the hotel in the middle of the night, so the check-in was really fast. The transfer from or to Airport is about 20 minutes by taxi. The transfer from the hotel to Puerto Vallarte is about 45 minutes. THe rooms of the hotel are very clean and well kept clean during the whole holiday. There is a safe on the room, that has to be rented. THe hotel area is very clean and beautiful. There are 4 pools and we were staying in block 4, close to the beach.

The hotel was not overcrowded, although the last 4 days they organised the miss Mexican tech elections with tv and everything at the resort. So that means that lots of young mexicans were at te hotel and making noise the whole night and day, even in the middle of the night. And they show they organised what not all that good too. We were happy when they left the hotel again.

The restaurants at the resorts are normal. The buffet restaurant was ok. The other speciality restaurants were also normal. The food they provided was ok, the bad thing about the restaurants is that you have to book for 6.30 or 8.30 by lining up every morning at 8 (If you will be sure that you will have a booked table). Besides that the time they give you for your whole meal is about 1 hour and 15 minutes. They are really hurrying and running to give you the food as fast as they can. And what I prefer is that I can sit on a restaurant table, talk, relax, drink something and eat someting and that I have got all the time to enjoy my dinner. So this way of dining was not my favourite.
The waiters we working well and always available and willing to help. We were with 2, so they always used the table sharing thing with us. That means when we went to dinner and it was busy at the speciality restaurants, they put us on a table with 2 other persons. And they did it really well. We really met some nice people that way.

Most of the guests of the hotels were Canadians, and they could be recognised by walking with their own mug the whole day! (Not all of them) They say it is because of the plastic mugs who were provided by the hotel. I think they do it also because their own mugs are 10 times bigger… But that’s ok. There were also people from USA, Mexico and very less of Europe.

THe hotel is at a very nice location on the beach. You have a very nice view on the ocean and lots of morning the dolphins were passing by. From the hotel it is a short walk to Bucerias, a small village with the tourist thing: well ment souvenirs. Even there is a small bar (the orange one) where you can sit, drinking a beer and watching the ocean. If you wanna buy cigarettes, the hotel is expensive compared to the shops in the small villages.

I can really advise people to visit this hotel. It is really worth what you pay for it.

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Royal Decameron Shelia ~ Canada

March 2005

On the 7th February 2005, My husband and I along with friends from England arrived at the above resort, we checked in and was put in building one, ocean view, king size bed , which is what I requested upon booking. Everything seemed fine, come time to sleep we found the ocean very loud, sounded like thunder all night long, that along with the very noisey air conditioner kept us awake most of the night. We were very disappointed with this resort for the reasons following. The food was almost the same every day, not very much variety, not much choice in the specialty restaurants, the only thing that changed on the plate was the meat, every time you got the same potato, rice or veg. The drinks at the bars were served in cheap very small plastic cups, only one beer choice out of large bottles, which were flat if you were not the one to be lucky enough to be the first there upon opening. No premium liquor’s or any liquers at all. The lobby bar was only open 4pm – 10pm, the shows started at 10pm so if you wanted a drink after the show you had to go to the beach bars. There was not a comfortable seat in the whole complex, the lounge chairs on the beach were hard plastic with no pads, most of the chairs around the bars were cast iron, with no cushions, and the theatre seating was your choice of concrete bleachers or hard plastic chairs with no cushions, along with badly lit steps to the bottom, very hard for the elderly to manage.

On top of all this after four days there we get a note under our door saying they need to speak to us urgently, we go to find what the problem is, only to be told they have over booked and would like to upgrade us to another resort, with a promise that it is 99% sure we would be there for the duration of our vacation, we signed on the dotted line only to find out later we would only be there for four days, after two days at the really nice upgrade they sent us to, we get a note telling us our checkout time was noon that day, I go down to the desk to enquire only to be told the Decameron had only booked us in for two days, we had to wait until the afternoon for the person who moved us in the first place to show up and sort things out, when he arrived he was very unconcerned, told us to relax he would look after it, hence we lost a day vacation waiting around. On the fourth day we were to check out and return to the Decameron, we had to pay for a taxi which cost $15 us, they did reimburse us this, when we get to the resort we were put in another building #2, we get into the room to find the same noisey air conditioners and two beds, which turned out to be concrete slabs with mattresses on, it was like sleeping on a park bench, this vacation was booked in October of 2004, we paid top dollar, was not a last minute deal, and really feel this resort was not a 4 **** as advertised in the travel books. I would not recommend this resort at all.

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Royal Decameron Ken & Lori ~ Canada

February 2005

We are a couple in our late 40’s and have stayed at all inclusives in Punta Cana, Puerto Plata, Cozumel and Puerto Vallarta.

Stayed at the Royal Decameron the first 2 weeks of Feb. 2005 (had previously stayed there in Nov. 2003). Main reason for returning was we got a great seat sale ($1,380.00 per person, including taxes, for 2 weeks from Edmonton).

Flights. Booked through Air Transat but flew a West Jet charter. Have previously flown Air Transat and Skyservice, West Jet has much more leg room. On the flight down, the plane had seat back TV’s (everyone gets there own TV and control – approx. 20 satellite channels available but only approx. 10 had reception). The flight back, the plane had no TV’s nor any other entertainment – made for a very long flight home. West Jet is updating all their planes installing seat back TV’s – should be on all planes for the 2005-06 winter season. Did provide a cold box lunch in each direction. On the way down a small sub sandwich that was stale. On the way back a cold grilled chicken pasta salad that was pretty good. Pop free, alcohol $5.00.

Check In. Hotel is a 20 minute bus ride from the airport. Approx. 10 couples checking in at the same time. Everyone completed in under 10 minutes. Room safe available for approx. $3.00 US/day. Hotel also has a money exchange office. Will cash Cdn $ to Mexican pesos. No need to bring US$. There is also a privately owned currency exchange office just across the street from the main entrance to the hotel that provided a slightly better exchange rate (8.5 pesos to the hotel’s 8.3 when we were there). Also, the hotel does have an internet room with approx. 7 computers. Approx. $5.00 per hour.

Room. If you book through Air Transat; "Royal Decameron" will probably get a room in block 5 which is the newest block but farthest from the beach (about 2 blocks). If you book World of Vacations;"Decameron Complex" will usually get a room in Blocks 1 to 4. Block 1 is the oldest but is the only beachfront block. Blocks 2 to 4 have a couple of limited ocean view rooms. Enjoyed our room in Block 5. Overlooked the adult pool and was very quiet at night. Rooms are very basic, but clean. Bring your own shampoo, blow dryer and kleenex. Approx. 20 TV stations, half in English, other half in Spanish. Picked up a remote for the TV at the front desk. Maid service was excellent. Bottled water provided every day (additional refills available at each bar).

Grounds. Very lush and well maintained grounds. 4 pools, one activity/noisy pool, one adult/quiet pool and the other 2 inbetween. Tennis courts available – not lighted. Looked to be in excellent condition and always a court available. Also, has a soccer field – never saw anyone using it. One beach volleyball court.

Food. Nothing fancy, but a good selection and some variation from day to day. Hotel does a very good job of keeping the hot food hot and the cold food cold. There are 4 ala cartes; steakhouse, italian, mexican and thai/japenese. Have to reserve each morning for reservations for that night. Two sittings; 6:30 and 8:30. No restriction on the number of times you may book each week. We never bothered booking any of the ala cartes as the buffet had a good selection each night. Beer, wine and pop served with meals. Did not care for the white wine, but the red wine was relatively good for an all inclusive house wine.

Bars. Used small disposable glasses for the drinks. The larger reusable plastic glasses used by other resorts more convenient for drinking, but for sanitary reasons, prefer the disposable glasses system of this resort. Many people brought their own insulated "to go" cups which the bartenders were happy to fill.

Service. Was impressed with the overall service from the bar and restaurant staff. Other resorts we have been to the attitude of the staff was tip me first and then I will provide good service. At the Royal Decameron the attitude of the staff was the opposite – the good service was provided before any tip. In any event, tips were not expected but were greatly appreciated when given.

Beach. Not comparable to the white sand and blue waters of the caribbean but still plenty of sand (very few shells or rocks) and no seaweed. Stretches for miles in both directions. Completely safe to walk the beach during the day. Resort has approx. 100 palapas on the beach for shade and plenty of loungers. Waves good for boogie boarding. Some people said there were a few small stingrays in the water that would sting if stepped on. We never had any problem and never saw anyone actually get stung. But you may want to bring water shoes just in case. Also, in the Dominican Republic and Cozumel had numerous insect bites on my legs (sand fleas?). Never had one bite PV.

Tours. We hired a cab (from in front of the resort) to go to Punta de Mita (a 25 minute cab ride from the hotel) and hired a boat (the taxi driver looked after getting the boat for us) to go whale watching and snorkelling at Mariatas (sp?) Island. Did see whales (as close as approx. 30 feet) and did snorkel (good visibility and plenty of fish), the boat captain supplied the snorkel equipment. Total cost was $200.00 US. divided between the 4 of us (total price would be the same for up to 8 people). Therefore, if you have a large group this is the way to go.

Also, if you go June to November you can go to the turtle hatchery that is located a 15 minute walk down the beach (towards PV). Can also take part in the baby turtle release at night (about 8:00 pm).

Activities. Not part of the hotel but available at the beach: parasailing, jet skis and beach horseback riding.

Location. Approx. 25 minute cab ride from downtown PV. Therefore if you want to do a lot of shopping or partying in PV, this is not a convenient location. Hotel is located on the edge of the Town of Bucerias. A 15 minute walk to the shopping/restaurant section of Bucerias. Personally, I prefer the laid back attitude of Bucerias to the hustle and bustle of PV.

Overall. The Royal Decameron provides good value for your vacation dollar. Is not a party or singles resort. Guests are mostly Canadian couples in their 30’s to 60’s for the period Nov. to April. If travelling in the summer, the guest mix will be significantly different. Therefore, should not rely on the winter hotel reviews for summer travel.

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Royal Decameron Toby — Montreal, Canada

November 2004

After the incredibly mixed reviews of the hotel, my husband and I were really pleasantly surprised. We have stayed in 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 star hotels in Cuba (Varadero and Trinidad respectively) and this was the most beautiful resort we have been to.

Travel
We took Air Transat through Nolitour/World of Vacations. The seats on the plane were small and there wasn’t much room but at that price… I knew it wouldn’t be as nice as other airlines.

Airport/Transport to hotel
There was quite a long line at customs but the luggage got there very quickly and we just had to wait for the Nolitour people to say hi before we could leave – it took over an hour but the bus was air conditioned and after the gravol from the plane, I didn’t much care.

Arrival at the hotel
There was a bit of confusion as to where we were checking in (there are two "front" desks) by the hotel staff – so I got an earlier tour of the hotel than I thought I would – but that was also ok. The bell boy took the stuff to the room and we didn’t have to wait that long (maybe 15-20 minutes) for him to show up.

The hotel In my opinion, the hotel is beautiful. We stayed in the 5th Building/The Royal and I would recommend it for the quiet. It is by the adult pool and the tennis courts and while it is somewhat close to the disco and the evening entertainment, we only heard the evening entertainment one night and that was done by 11pm. There was lizards that visited regularly and one even posed for photos ! The foliage is well tended (it’s fun to watch the guys tending it throw machetes to one another as they cut the leaves from the palm trees – well away from the guests !!!) and while on some occasions, the pool was a bit dirty, that didn’t happen often. There was lots to do at the hotel but I was there for rest not to participate in activities so I can’t comment on those. My friends who did participate had a great time.

The rooms were basic but the bed was super comfy (I have back problems and it didn’t bug me once over the trip) – nice and hard – and there were a million channels (most in Spanish but not all) on the tv. We didn’t spend all that much time in the room though.

Restaurants Breakfast was my favorite meal of the day – I couldn’t get enough fruit, yogurt and baked goods. There was also someone who made eggs any style and french toast and pancakes etc. Not eating Beef, seafood, or Porc and trying to stay away from creamy/fatty foods, the retsaurants did get a bit boring by the end of our two week stay but if you aren’t that picky about what you eat, there is a lot of selection. The waiters were great – especially Victor (who we joked around a lot with) and a few others whose names I forget (sorry). Every once in a while, we got someone having a bad day or there were a lot of people so things went slowly but most of the time, people smiled and were very quick to clean up and get drinks. If you tipped, the waiters would go out of their way to get you mixed drinks by going to the nearest bar but otherwise, you could go yourself. I didn’t sit in the same place so waiters didn’t know if I was going to tip or not but they were really nice anyways. I ended up spending an extra $60 on tips (even though they are included) because I wanted to give people extra more than because I thought it was needed. It did make people smile more and go a few extra miles but the service was good to begin with. They need it more than I do and 10 pesos can go a long way. We ate at the Italian restaurant (good), the seafood/Caribean (yummy fish), and the Thai restaurant (not really Thai food but good oriental mix). There was ice cream every day and it was VERY yummy.

The snack bar (open 11-5pm and 11pm-1 or 2am) had burgers (chicken and beef), hot dogs, fries and a salad bar (usually with guacamole) so there was almost always something to eat – even for my vegetarian husband. Basically decent to excellent food – great variety for one week but maybe not for two if you are a picky eater.

Trips
We did the city tour of Puerto Vallarta and thought it was a big rip off. The city is so small it took about an hour to see – plus shopping time. people seemed happy because there were free drinks but given that I don’t drink much and the hotel has free drinks, I was not that impressed. For $80 USD for me and my husband, I wanted more of a tour and less time spent at the guide’s cousin’s store and his uncle’s tequila factory. Many people seemed quite happy and I think it would have been a great half day tour for $40 USD for me and my husband ! You can get a city tour in the city or from other people.

We also rented a car with another couple we met there and went to Guadalahara (4 hours if you are Canadian, 3 if you are Mexican (crazy drivers) and 5 by bus). That was great. It is NOT a tourist town and was built up earlier than the 1960’s and so has these great colonial buildings, gorgeous churched, and very, VERY good shopping. I highly recommend going despite the fact that it smells (it has more people than Toronto – people estimated anywhere between 6 and 12 million) and not many people speak English. With a good guidebook (I like lonely planet but that is just me), a sense of adventure and the realisation that this is the third world and not all toilets have seats and not all rooms have shower curtains, you will have an amazing time. The Orozco murals blew me away. We went for 2 nights and that was enough time.

Beach
The Beach was fine – you could walk for hours either direction (beware the time share people – just keep walking – but if you are polite and tell them you aren’;t interested but chat anyways, some of them have led really interesting lives…) and the view from the beach (of the Sierra Madre mountains) was beautiful. However, if you are looking for clear, sparkling water – go to the Caribean. The water was pretty murky but as long as you didn’t go swimming when the red flags were out (sometimes the waves and/or the undertow were strong or there were some sort of sea creature that stings – so badly you needed morphine !) – it was safe. The water felt wonderful (so soft) and was a lot of fun to hang out in.

Overall The resort was really good value for the money and is a great place to have a relaxing vacation or to do loads of stuff. It was wonderful to be 20 minutes (walking on the beach or cobblestone street) to Bucerias (a small town nearby) and we went almost every evening to have a walk and a popsicle. If you wanted to be alone, it was easy to do that and if you wanted to meet people, there were people from Mexico, and all over Canada (not that many Americans, suprisingly). My husband and I are in our early 30’s and we work really hard at our jobs and hadn’t been away on a non-family oriented trip in over a year. It was the perfect getaway and I would go back to the resort if I went to Perto Vallarta (there are so many places in the world to explore – but I doubt it would have been as inexpensive). We were very suprised to find out that there were MANY people who were back for their 4th or 7th or 10th time ! That says something about a place…

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Royal Decameron Garn and Denise — Ottawa, Canada

November 2004

Flight:
We drove to Montreal and took Westjet from Trudeau (Dorval) airport to Puerto Vallarta via an Airmiles Reward offer through Air Transat. Westjet is new to charter business, does not have movies yet…..but offered a very good box lunch both ways and "Leather" seats with space for my 6 foot, 235 pound body. Staff were very good and filled the 5 and a half hour flight with humor and even a flute solo by one of the air attendants, as well as , a version of the Barney theme finishing off with the cute line… "marry me and you’ll fly free" refrain. Very satisfying experience all around but no duty free offered even though advertised in Air Transat brochures…not much of a bar service!!

Airport:
Very quick custom clearance and modern buses for transport to hotel. No problem with over enthusiastic baggage carriers which used to be a Mexican norm.

Hotel:
Registration was fast and courteous. We were given room 5204 overlooking the pool in Building 5…I quickly asked for a relocation to a building closer to the Ocean and activities…I was advised to check back in the morning N.B. Buildings 1 through 4 are on Ocean side of a small road with both buffet’s , 2 pools, 2 bars, 2 restaurants and snack bars ; building 5 is opposite with the Oriental Restaurants (closed for low season), adult only pool with bar, tennis courts , theatre/disco complex. I changed my mind after realizing the noise from disco was not bad, tranquillity and room quality was good and the walk back and forth was actually needed exercise. Buildings 3 or 4 are nearer the action for those wishing proximity to pools, ocean and food outlets.

Rooms:
Spacious, simple but immaculate and well maintained…Not one insect was seen. Maid service was consistent and we left 10 pesos daily to ensure all face cloths , towels etc. were supplied. Television was primarily in Spanish with few American channels that were in English..even watched the Red Sox / Yankee playoff in Espanol.

Staff:
In general very efficient and friendly. Buffet waiters were quick to clear finished plates, Beer and soft drinks were served at all meals. NO MIXED DRINKS AVAILABLE AT ANY RESTAURANTS. The activity coordinator and theatre MC was very articulate in many languages and did a fantastic job of entertaining everyone both at the pool and during the nightly shows from 10 to 11pm. The shows were different every night and included 5 regular dancers and specialty acts from nearby Mexican towns (rope tricks etc.) ; mixed with the regular country against country guest participation skits. THE SURPRISING, YET WONDERFUL PART, of this resort is that at least a third of the guests were local Mexicans from Monterey and Guadalajara. Building 1, next to the beach, seemed to be their area and it made for an interesting and pleasant cultural exchange.

Restaurants:
Two sittings: 6.30 and 8.30 pm. Steakhouse was the best…Beef was grilled to taste and generally was a generous portion. Service was best at this location and Sombreros were provided for best photo shots. Pork tenderloin was dry …………Chicken at any restaurant was to die for.

Italian was the worst. Only air conditioned restaurant on the complex but pasta lacked enough sauce, Ravioli was tasteless and service was never as friendly or sincere as at other spots on the complex.

Japanese and Thai:
The main Oriental restaurant was closed for low season but these cuisine’s were offered at other sites around the complex on alternate nights. It sounds weird but the sushi tasted pretty good and the noodles, rice, soups etc. were provided by a great staff who made you feel very welcome and kept the beer flowing.

International Buffets/Breakfasts:
Two locations were open for buffet dining pretty much anytime from 7am to 10am every morning, 12.30 to 3.00 pm every afternoon and 6.30 to 10.00 pm every night.. Chicken dishes were always tasty. Beef and pork could get a little dry and tough but never real bad. Salads were repetitive, soups were changed daily and were quite tasty, baked goods, breads and cookies were the best we’ve had in many trips including 5 star hotels.

Snack Bars:
Two were available almost all day and up to 10 at night. The burgers, pizza, and especially the Nacho chips with fresh Salsa and Guacamole were of a good quality.

Overall Rating:
For a 3+ hotel… this is a real gem. The surroundings, staff, facilities, food and entertainment are all above the norm. The beach goes for nearly a mile and allows you to walk to Balaceris , a small town about 20 minutes away . Beach conditions are good, waves are large and drop off is to 5 feet quite fast with a little undertow. Beach merchants are friendly and will accept "Nada" as "No". Equipment for Ocean sports is all pretty new. Horses on the beach are well cared for and the turtle sanctuary about a quarter mile away is interesting to visit but time share opportunists are nearby to promote the many new developments in this quiet area.

We would definitely go back and encourage others to visit this unique destination. We found Canadians from Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton as well as a few Americans from Buffalo, New York, some Chilean visitors, a few Russians and a large number of middle class Mexicans sharing their wonderful food and culture with us.

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