More about Grand Mayan Nuevo Vallarta
The Grand Lyin'
There are tons of beautiful resorts with nice staff elsewhere, and you can stay anywhere, right? You should stay anywhere else. We will never stay at the Grand Lyin' again and will post our negative comments on the internet wherever possible. It's a shame this gorgeous, contemporary, lushly landscaped resort fails so miserably.
Reservation/concierge methods are unprofessional and deceptive. It is completely dishonest to let prospective patrons feel that there is any chance whatsoever of attaining an Ocean Front Unit at the resort when the units are completely filled with Timeshare Owners. As Ocean Front Timeshare Owners in Maui, HI, we should have a comparable unit at the resort with our trade. We also deserve to have this confirmation made to us BEFORE we make a reservation at the resort so that we might book elsewhere when our requests can't be met.
The Mayan Resorts make it seem as if such units may be available, "depending on the inventory available," when there never was the remotest possibility that there would indeed be any Ocean Front Units available at all. Even some owners there could not get an Ocean View. This is the second time this has happened to us when reserving with the Grand Mayan and we won't be giving them a third chance to ruin our week of vacation.
We were frustrated and humiliated at check -in while we were bounced as if in a pinball machine between the reservation staff and the timeshare staff, as we were trying to find a supervisor who could help us. Each claimed the other had all the power. All we were offered was a plastic bottle of water and an invitation to the timeshare presentation breakfast.
Have you ever seen the Coen Bros. film "Fargo?" Remember the scene when used car salesman Jerry Lundegaard pretends to go back to his manager when frustrated car buyers are given a Trucoat rust preventer they never ordered? Our check-in staff member went into some sort of similar act, pretending to go backstage somewhere to check on cancellations when he knew there was not a chance we could get the unit we wanted -- at any time during our week. We even offered to take a smaller unit for a chance of an Ocean Front unit. We did everything we could do to confirm an Ocean Front unit before, during, and after our arrival, short of the monetary bribe that some guests felt forced to offer. Before departure, we emailed the resort's concierges and were never told that all the Ocean Front Units were booked by owners so that we might be able to exchange elsewhere. This is deceptive and dishonest.
Moreover, daily noise from loud lawn equipment and pounding jackhammers, plus the terrible views of a parking structure and street did not allow us to enjoy our balcony unit or our plunge pool, so these features are not really applicable if you cannot use them. There was never any sun and needless to say, sunset, available from our unit. The "Marina View" in the "New Building" eventually offered to us at check -in offered no view of a Marina whatsoever. Only the bobbing tops of sailboats appeared in the distance. It all would have been funny if it weren't so humiliating, frustrating, annoying and deceptive.
This is also a very noisy resort. The Lazy River and the wave pools need big machines to run them, and they make a lot of noise all day, including a siren that sounds remarkably like our tornado warnings here in the midwest. The activity pool has a DJ with a loudspeaker that you can here all over the resort. I love some great music and fun activities, don't get me wrong, but only when I want them. Not all day long. The only quiet is on the beach.
Fellow Americans like yourself will reserve pool chaises with their towels the night before. That was a new one for us.
Pack plenty of prozac. We were frustrated and upset the entire week of our stay. I spent every night in sleepless frustration with no help or apology from any manager or supervisor. Even when we complained when timeshare calls asking if we were enjoying our vacation were ignored, no remedy or apology was offered. We remain extremely angry, frustrated and humiliated from our experience.
This is a plastic, soulless, cliche of a mega-resort. Really too bad, because it is gorgeous. The following week we stayed 750 yards down the beach at a smaller, Mexican-run resort, The Villa Varadero, which we enjoyed so much more. It felt real, with real hospitality, Mexican guests, the serenity of lying on the beach with just the waves crashing and low music wafting over from the bar area. It wasn't perfect, by any means. BUT: our unit had floor to ceiling windows right on the bay which you could slide open to see frolicking dolphins, breaching whales, glorious sunsets. While it had none of the luxury of the Grand Mayan, our best memories will be of this resort and its lovely staff, NOT of the Grand Lyin'. My advice is to ask yourself what you really want from a trip to Mexico. Beautifully landscaped grounds with birds, turtles, iguanas. Beautifully designed rooms. Great pools. Right on the beach of Banderas Bay.
WE WILL NEVER GO BACK THERE.
I was worried about the Grand Mayan after reading some earlier reviews. I was pleaseantly surprised and everything exceeded my expectations.
1. The room was clean, spacious, comfortable and stylish.
2. The pools were amazing and my 4 and 7 year olds loved the lazy river and wave pools.
3. The kids club was inexpensive and my kids loved it. We fely comfortable with the staff and facility. It was usually only 3 -7 kids.
4. airport transportation - go directly to the taxi stand. There is a standard fee of $20 to Nuevo Vallarta for a small car which fit 2 adults and 2 kids with 4 suitcases. I think the vans are a little more. The ride back to the airport was only $12.
5. The staff, especially Ozzie down at the beach, was very friendly and attentive. We had a great time at happy hour and just relaxed all day.
6. We did not partake in nightlife but were happy to relax in our room and read.
7. we did bring our own rafts and inner tubes which worked great.
overall this was a wonderful vacation with no problems or disapointments!!
Nuevo Vallarta is Super!
We vacationed to Nuevo Vallarta on 1/14/06 to stay at the Grand Mayan for a week through a RCI trade. The Grand Mayan Palace is a large, impressive resort located about 10 miles north of Puerto Vallarta.
Grand Mayan Palace
Our room was called a Grand Suite which has a nice size kitchen, dining area and living area with television. There are 2 couches in the living area which convert into trundle beds. They were comfortable and plenty wide enough for one person to sleep on. We did not use the trundle beds so I cannot comment on their comfort. The main and only bathroom had a large walk-in shower, toilet and double sinks with ample counter space. There was a small sink and counter outside of the bathroom but only the one shower and toilet inside the bathroom. The bedroom had a king bed, a garden tub and another sitting area with a couch and a couple of chairs along with a second television. Both the main room and the bedroom had sliding doors to the balcony which was large enough for 2 chaise lounge chairs and a large wading/cooling pool. Our room was located on the golf course side so we enjoyed watching the golfers while we were sitting on the balcony. We asked about the possibility of an ocean view room but were told those were reserved for owners not RCI members.
The kitchen was fairly well equipped with dishes, cups, utensils, several pots and pans, a coffee maker and toaster. We did think it was unusual that the dishes were placed in the cupboards under the stove and the pots and pans were placed in the cupboards above the sink. Otherwise the kitchen was fairly user friendly.
One of my complaints regarding the room was the lack of one more toilet and shower. When more that 2 people are staying in the suite there is bathroom time juggling going on. We did stay with friends for 1 night and had to do just that. The other not so important complaint would be lack of serving dishes and at least one pitcher for water or juice.
The maids did a wonderful job caring for us and the resort was always clean and shining. The pool areas were beautifully landscaped and well equipped with chairs and towels were plentiful. The lazy river was fun with and without the waves on and we floated around many times. The pool bars had good food and good drinks. The water slide was awesome fun and the palapas at the beach were very nice. We used the resort 5 out of 8 days and were very pleased.
Best RCI property ever!
We have stayed at some pretty marginal resorts through RCI, but THe Grand Mayan was spectacular! There was plenty of staff and they were very helpful, it was immaculate and very clean. We ate there and drank water from the faucet and never had a problem. The grounds are beautiful and there are so many activities. We couldn't have had a more relaxing and wonderful vacation!
A great vacation
My wife and I recently returned from an outstanding one-week vacation at the Grand Mayan in Nuevo Vallarta. Since we had read both positive and negative reviews on TripAdvisor, we were a little apprehensive, but our trip turned out to be excellent in almost every way. To put my comments below into context, I should mention that this was our first trip to Mexico, but that we have traveled around Europe and Asia fairly extensively. We stayed at the Grand Mayan through an RCI exchange week that was given to us as a gift.
Arrival: Because of an airline snafu, our luggage did not arrive with us. We found that there was no specific office for dealing with this, but there was a gentleman in charge of helping with the paperwork, and he got the bags delivered to the hotel the next day. The Puerto Vallarta airport is well served by taxis. The fare to the Grand Mayan is now a flat US$25--an increase relative to what previous reviewers have mentioned, and kind of a rip-off--that must be paid at a kiosk in the terminal. Dollars are as good as pesos here and anywhere else in Vallarta; you will get any change in pesos. The round exchange rate you will get (currently 10 pesos to the dollar) may not be the greatest but the convenience of not having to change money is worth it, and remember that moneychangers take a cut too. Incidentally, cab fares from the airport and Mayan property are standardized and non-negotiable. Your return to the airport will cost you more like US$13. Don't hesitate to brush off timeshare touts at the airport; immediately after a long trip is NOT a good time to buy real estate (see below). Our check-in at the hotel went very smoothly and we were able to get an ocean-side room just for the asking. (The golf-course view is very nice too, but when you go to the beach, you want to see the beach.)
Accommodations: We were very pleased with the Grand Mayan as a hotel. The lobby and common areas are attractively decorated and are kept spotless by housekeepers who seem to be sweeping nonstop. The hotel has a pleasant, breezy, open atmosphere, and we never detected any unpleasant aromas or mustiness anywhere on the property. We had a hotel room, but there are also suites with a partial kitchen and dining area. (The suites have an extended deck with a private dipping pool that apparently is usually quite cold.) The room was much to our liking: the bathroom facilities were functional and clean, including a good shower and jetted tub (not a Jacuzzi); the bed was comfortable; there was a nice sitting area; and the temperature was always pleasant. The shower did not drain especially well but otherwise there were no problems. The housekeeper did a good job.
Resort Facilities: I can't imagine the expense of maintaining this place. Compared to the relatively scrubby "outside world", the Mayan grounds are lush and beautifully landscaped. The main Grand Mayan pool is a tremendous series of interconnected areas interspersed with various landscape elements, swim-up bars, jetted pools and fountains. It's very impressive and inviting. There is also a "water park" with two wave pools, a water slide, and a separate area for small children. The whole deal is surrounded by a lazy river that you can enjoy using your own inner tube or one rented at the hotel for a few dollars a day. The pool gets crowded around 2 p.m. so we occasionally had some trouble finding a place to sit; just reserve a spot earlier in the day if you can. (I know that this can be considered bad manners but it's locally condoned.)
When we wanted a break from the bustle of the pool, with its constant music, we headed to the resort's private beach, which was beautiful. Permanent palapas are set up to give you some shade. The beach was usually nearly deserted and was probably our favorite spot. There is food and beverage service both at the pool and at the beach.
As Grand Mayan guests, we were eligible to visit the facilities of the slightly less elaborate, but still lovely Mayan Palace next door. We didn't do this much because we were so pleased with the Grand.
The Grand Mayan fitness center (Brio) is extremely well-equipped and, if you enjoy working out, well worth the US$10 daily fee. One of the staffers offered us a deal for free use of the gym if we took five fitness classes each (normally each class is an extra US$10). We found the classes to be only moderately good. The instructors are friendly and very fit, but don't have a great deal of personality and kind of seem to be going through the motions. Still, we enjoyed the classes. Friday yoga on the beach was a nice touch. The spa at the Mayan Palace is terrific, but a bit pricey in my opinion (US$30/day). You can use the spa facilities for no extra charge before any of the massages or other spa services.
Although we were in PV during spring break, the college-age population was not overwhelming. The Mayan resorts are more more of a family place, although there is a sports bar and disco for partiers. Some reviewers have complained that the Grand Mayan appears to be falling apart, is on the downturn, etc., but we found the place to be new-seeming and in great condition. We did often see work crews fixing little things, but anyone who thinks that this kind of maintenance will not be inevitable has never been a homeowner.
In a general way I would like to mention that we found Puerto Vallarta to be a very friendly destination. The people were all very nice to us and we never felt unsafe anywhere, either at the Mayan Resorts or outside them. The Mayan staff speaks English a little unevenly but we didn't have any trouble communicating, and anyway the language barrier is part of the charm of overseas travel. I did dust off some old high-school Spanish that came in handy outside the resort.
Resort Dining: The resort food was uniformly very good: not unbelievably good, but very good, and reasonable value for the money. We enjoyed every one of our meals. It was clear there were some real chefs at work, because the menus were quite creative and the plating was always beautiful. We preferred Mondo for dinner, but ate well at Samba as well. To save a bit of money we mainly had shakes from the Balance snack bar for breakfast. Their gelato was excellent. Samba's buffet breakfast (US$17) was a very nice spread with some unusual touches, and was large enough to get us through to dinner. The Ola Mulata near the pool is good for light daytime meals. The restaurants at the Mayan Palace are a bit less upscale than those at the Grand Mayan. Tumtah (seafood) was good, but windy; they have warm scarves if you need one. The Cafe del Lago has a buffet format that was not our favorite. I have a big appetite, so I like buffets, but the scale here was a little too extravagant and given the bargain price, the quality couldn't keep up. One other weak point was that the bread everywhere on the resort was the same selection of dry rolls. I spent a lot of the week trying to find Mexican food and only towards the end realized that there is a "Tacos Break" near the resort entrance, out on the main road. The rest of the resort food is Mexican-influenced but not specifically Mexican. We didn't participate in the nights on the beach but people seemed to enjoy them.
Off-Site: There is not much to do in Nuevo Vallarta per se. It's primarily a strip of resorts. I've read that there are some non-resort restaurants but we didn't particularly seek them out. If you want to buy groceries, there is a "Sun Market" mini-mart at the Mayan Sea Garden (10 min walk; the bellboys can bring your purchases back), and there is a mall with a grocery store (Paradise Plaza, somewhat depressing, but large liquor selection) a three-dollar cab ride away. One major destination for visitors and locals alike is the Sam's Club and Wal-Mart strip, about fifteen minutes away by car. To get there, take the ATM bus from the Sun Market (take any bus that does NOT say "Riu"; fare US$1.20), or take a cab (US$15). We visited Wal-Mart to get some supplies when our luggage didn't show up. To get to downtown Puerto Vallarta, you can take the bus to Wal-Mart, then transfer to any southbound bus that says "Centro" (fare US$0.40). Of course you can also take a cab from the Grand Mayan ($16) to downtown. The town is touristy but has a definite charm and we were glad that we checked it out both during the day and in the evening. At night the waterfront is filled with locals and tourists enjoying music, art and cheap, delicious snacks. We had an extremely fine dinner at the well-known Cafe des Artistes--we recommend the bistro (prix fixe) menu. Dress nicely. To return from downtown during the day, take any bus that says Wal-Mart (most do and you will find one easily), then at Wal-Mart take any bus that DOES say "Riu" or "Nvo. Vallarta". At night a cab is your best option. One evening we followed our guidebook's advice and took a taxi to Bucerias, north of Nuevo Vallarta (US$11). This was not too worthwhile; the town has some quaint streets and good restaurants but on the whole we found it boring. The famed flea market has the same selection you'll see all over the Vallarta area. We did meet a friendly pet coati, though.
Activities: Of the most popular excursions, we ended up taking a canopy tour through Vallarta Adventures. (There are several canopy tours and the clerk at the hotel was apparently being paid to tout another one, but we stuck with the recommendation we had previously gotten.) This was a lot of fun. We visited in the dry season and I was a little underwhelmed by the diversity of flora and fauna, but the high-flying adventure aspect of the tour was great. The company is very committed to safety. If you do choose any Vallarta Adventures excursions, the hotel may try to send you to the meeting point in a taxi, but it's actually within easy walking distance.
Timeshare Vendors: As at many destinations of this sort, timeshare salespeople are ubiquitous. Unless you particularly desire to buy a timeshare, I recommend that you resolve in advance to turn all of these salespeople down. We were actually not approached by these people even once, probably because we look young, but we saw plenty of miserable-looking co-vacationers being dragged around by the salespeople. I know some people love timeshares, and I know that we were at the Mayan thanks to one, but I personally find them to be a very dicey proposition. I will skim over my opinion as to whether they make financial sense (in a nutshell, I think they are very seldom good value, and they are never a good INVESTMENT) and will just focus on the more important point, which is that a vacation is a singularly bad time to purchase real estate. You're probably bullish on your resort and on the concept of vacationing in general, and you're possibly in a devil-may-care spending mode--or alternatively, you're possibly trying to save money, so a 15% discount on food and beverage or a free dolphin swim sounds pretty good when the vendor offers it to you. But is that benefit--worth a couple hundred bucks at the most--even remotely worth the half-day that you will inevitably waste at the sales pitch, plus the exposure to (say) a 5% risk that they'll actually sucker you into spending $6000 or more? I say no. Please, do yourself a favor and just turn these people down. If you really want to return to the Grand Mayan in the future, you don't need to buy a timeshare to be able to do it.
Just returned 19 Feb 2006
I read recent mixed reviews of the NV Grand Mayan, and they were in line with the experience I had there-in that many people were pleased with their vaction, while other people around the pool and in the hotel lobby were visibly upset. Nearly all of the unhappy customers, I found, likely would be unhappy anywhere. That said, there are differences between Mexican 5 star hotels and their European and American competition.
Our experience could have been smoother, starting with arrival at the PV airport. I strongly suggest good size carryons-we both had about the largest carryon allowed along with a medium backpack each. That makes transfers so much faster, not waiting for baggage. The PV airport transfers via taxi must be paid for at a kiosk in that airport. Unlike other destinations in Mexico, there's no discount taxis awaiting you outside the airport, just past the first layer of loud barkers. Of note, I am a seasoned traveler and was set upon by a number of timeshare vendors who were making tempting offers, such as two free canopy tour tickets and free breakfast for a 60 minute presentation. I did not bite, and other travelers at the Grand Mayan mentioned the empty promises these really were. When they presented their vouchers at the promised companies following their 3 hour timeshare presentation at non-Mayan Palace properties, they found the vouchers were of no value.
So get an airport taxi for 140 pesos and go to the Grand Mayan.
Our 5pm checkin turned into a 7pm checkin, and that was after some unpleasant interactions with the front desk. They always have some reserve rooms, in case of sudden/unforseen problems. Our first room was golf course view room, despite our esrly request for an ocean view. we pushed for an ocean view room without success. The room had a septic smell about it-we reported this to the front desk and said we would be downstairs to secure a new room right away.
Downstairs, they had no other room, they said. I nicely recapped our story and told them to find to find me similar lodgings at another hotel right away. They luckily stumbled upon an ocean view room right away. What a mystery.
Our second room was clean and well appointed. The furniture was in good condition and the room was ready for occupancy.
The grounds are kept immaculate. The pools are badly underutlized by us gringos-hence the start of another Grand Mayan building in the works. The wave pools rarely had more than 6 people in each. I waited in line for the slide only twice in 7 days-and the slide is much faster than it appears. The inflatable tubes are 30 pesos per day. If you bring your own, which I did not, the slide accepts a smaller tube than the lazy/crazy river. The slide attendant will turn you away if your tube from home is much larger than 32 inches in diameter. The lazy river tubes are more like 40 inches in diameter.
The lazy river is a nice trip, although there are only 2 official entry/exit points. Between 1300 and 1500, approximately, the lazy river has a wave generator which is activated for ten minute periods, making it the crazy river, then rested for ten minutes. Thes times are approximate, like many schedules in Mexico. The crazy river is fairly wild at it's generation site. I saw many big tourists on small tubes who capsized; the water is shallow enough to where most people stabilized well. A few unlucky ladies with undersized bikinis lost their tops in the waves, much to the enjoyment of the camera toting tourists lining the wall next to the wave generator.
As for poolside chairs, many are reserved in the early morning hours by some sooner-minded tourists. What happens is the choice spots are taken by 0800. Someone places their book on a chaise lounge at 0700, then doesn't show up to use the associated umbrella and table until 1400. Unfortunate, but quite common in the travel industry. I saw a much more aggressive form of this at the Wetin on Maui in November 2005. If you have specific poolside needs, get up early and throw a book on each of the lounge chairs you would like. Otherwise, the pickings might be slim-especially for a large family. There's no shortage of chairs, just of umbrellas and small tables when they get staked out in the morning and stay that way all day long.
Drinks were not cheap-be sure to travel with the rotating happy hour. A grande mai tai goes for 11 dollars-ouch. Food by the pool was ok. We did like the hotel restaurant Mondo. The menu is limited but of good quality and presentation. My wife liked the chocolate fondue dessert. Service was exceptional there.
You can play some billiards for 5 bucks an hour in many locations in the Grand Mayan and the Mayan Palace. The Cobalto lounge had a number of tables, always available when we stopped by.
Dinner in town was good. We went to El Bistro on the river and had a great time. The food was fairly good and the service was perfect. El Panorama restaurant was absolutely overrun for Valentine's day. The food was quite good but the service was way slow. Walking to El Panorama can be a trick as the cobblestone streets can be slick with water and they are steep. There is a collection of stairs which is not well lit up.
We did the canopy tour with Los Veranos-word here on tripadvisor was there were the best. We had an exceptional time with Los Veranos. They had a Nueva Vallarta pickup and dropoff. The time from Grand Mayan departure to arrival at the canopy tour site was two hours. Bring water, sunscreen and bug repellant. Have fun!
We were surprisingly pleased
My wife and I were guests at the Grand Mayan the week of Jan. 8-15, 2006. We'd read much beforehand -- tourist guide books, internet reviews, etc. We had a fabulous week with very few, if any, real surprises other than the absolute beauty of the spacious and clean resort. At the airport, take your time in getting a taxi. We paid $19 and shared a van-taxi. We did not use the Mayan shuttle which would have been at least $30. Taxi's are plentiful. I'd suggest changing some USD into pesos at the airport. If you use your credit card at the resort or in town for restaurants, etc. you will notice (likely) a service charge from you credit card company to convert to USD for billing...the higher the charge, the higher the service charge. Avoid the time-sharer offers at the airport -- they were indeed loud and offered lots of discounts. If taking a timeshare presentation, wait til you check-in. We decided beforehand we'd NOT take a presentation, and there was no pressure after we politely declined the first approach at the Grand Mayan.
We had a Master Bedroom timeshare exchange, not a condo. Beautiful spacious contemporary room overlooking the golf course which was just as beautiful as the opposite side which overlooked the pools & ocean. The room was quiet but the doors allowed some noise as we learned when a couple with a baby checked in next to us 1 day before we checked out. Housekeeping is friendly and competent.
Suggestions: Room-service is the best food bargain on the grounds. Check out the menu & prices shown in the guest manual in your room. It was delivered hot, quickly, and was just as good as the restaurants.
1)We liked the Samba Restaurant overlooking the nearest pool. Remember that the lunch menu there is good until 6 p.m.! Lunch items are plentiful and reasonable and the sun sets around 5:30 so this was a favorite of ours! 2) Bringing a deflated pool float or 2 will save you a few bucks. They'll inflate it for you. 3) the Greenbreak restaurant is the closest and was reasonable, quality, had live entertainment, and was atmospheric. 4) if you go into Puerto Vallarta (recommended), take the bus, not a taxi. It will cost you a total of 1.65 worth of pesos with 1 transfer (at the Walmart stop). 5) if downtown, be sure to eat at Pipi's -- fantastic Mexican food, huge portions, guacamole prepared at your table, and a fun place -- about 2 blocks away from the ocean. For a fancier place of fine dining up on a mountainside with a fantastic outdoor dining terrace and view of the town, the bay, and the sunset, go to the El Panorama restaurant (we both ate for under $60 total). If able to walk, take the steps up the hill. Otherwise you'll need a taxi as the route is STEEP. 6) Parasailing: $25 on the downtown beach, about $35 at the Grand Mayan (but a slightly longer "ride") 7)Bucerious (a little town a few miles South) gets a lot of publicity due to fleamarkets, etc. but it was a disappointment to us. Prices and things to see there were overrated. 8) The Mayan evening beach meal extravaganzas have great food and are atmospheric. The entertainment is so-so, especially the Seafood night. 9) The sunsets are phenomenal..be sure to be there around 5:30 - 6 p.m. 10) The lazy River was our favorite "pool" of the many pools offered. The slide is fun, the wave pool unique. 11) The front foyer at the check-in will knock your socks off -- be prepared to be impressed!!!! Speaking of check-in, we had no wait at all to check in or out. Use the express check-out the night before you leave.
Only complaints: the jets in our jacuzzi would not work and the entry door was poorly insulated (noise). The bottle of water waiting in your room at check-in will be on your eventual tab for $1.20 even if you don't open it. Otherwise, the week was one of our most memorable and pleasurable of all time. We'd go back, but as a timeshare exchanger, we're not allowed for 4 more years. Lastly, there is not much orientation for 1st timers -- it took us about 3 days to know the area, the restaurants and menus, which had buffets or not, how and where to take advantage of the pontoon boat rides, the train ride, the Lazy River floats, the city buses, etc.
If you are debating going or not, we'd say GO. The atmosphere is definitely Mexico until you go through the main entry gate and then you'll be in Paradise.
Depends what you're looking for
We traveled to this resort with another family. They traded in using RCI Points and we bought an RCI bonus week. We were a day late arriving because of business, and when we went to the Mayan Palace to check in, as per our reservation, we were told that we had been upgraded to the Grand Mayan. We said that our friends were at the Mayan Palace, but OK. We were told, "Well, you can visit them, but they can't visit you." That is the essence of the Grand Mayan. They are selling exclusivity. It's all very opulent if that's what you enjoy. Walking into the main entrance with the huge Tiki gods is like going to Disney World. A bit over-the-top for my husband and myself. Our friends had endured the timeshare presentation the day that we got there. 90 minutes promised, 4 hours delivered. The price at the beginning of the tour was $49,000, but 4 hours and 4 salespeople later, the price was down to $4000 to join the Mayan experience without actually owning a week, but paying the maintenance fee of $780 so you could use their resorts only. (No RCI) Our friends were told that RCI wasn't that great, didn't get you where you wanted to go, etc. Interesting, since it got both of our parties to the Mayan.
Our one bedroom unit was very nice on the surface. It faced the golf course, which was surprising. Most resorts now are designed so everyone gets an ocean view. The first impression of the room was one of "Wow!" Very IKEA furnishings, lovely bathroom, serenity pool on the balcony (too cold to use, but it is winter). On closer inspection, not so great. The chairs at the dining table were too low. We put two cushions together to make them high enough. Conversely, the bar stools were too high at the kitchen counter, so the counter hit you a little below the waist. We had to let the water run in the shower, bathroom sink, and kitchen sink, for 10 minutes (we timed it) before it got hot. We called them on this and they came twice, but nothing was fixed. I read a review from a year ago, and they had the same complaint (the review is under Mayan Palace, but they too, were upgraded). Also, our phone couldn't receive calls for the first couple days so our friends had to leave us a message when we were right in the room. This was fixed by day three (and probably did save us from the timeshare pitch!)
Outside, this place really gives credence to the phrase, "You can't get there from here." I love Mexico for the beaches, but it was approximately a 5-10 minute walk to the beach, because of all the swimming pools. There's no straight shot to the ocean; you must wind and wind around all the various pools (which are not connected, as one reviewer said they are). The pools themselves are very nice; lots of areas for children, two wave pools, and a lazy river. But our friends were excluded from using these because they were staying at the Palace instead. It's like a big secret society. Weird. We spoke with a couple who bought at the Mayan Palace 5 years ago and they said that at the time, it was presented to them as the ultimate resort, "and now we're being treated like second class citizens". Of course they are trying to be convinced to upgrade their property.
Another disadvantage to us, was that it's so far to downtown Puerto Vallarta. 45 minutes to an hour depending. That's where all the fun restaurants and night life is. I must say that the 20-somethings on our trip went to the club on-site a couple nights and enjoyed it, but that club is at the Palace, as was our favorite restaurant at the resort, Cafe de Lago.
So.......if you want to spend your week lounging by the pool and be overwhelmed by the sheer size of said pools, this is a fine spot. But we're happy to head back to our home resort, Pueblo Bonito in Mazatlan, where all the rooms face the ocean, the staff speaks much better English, and they're happy to transport you to their sister resort, Emerald Bay, any day, free-of-charge.
Nuevo Vallarta Mexico
"Nice to visit and relax"
When you visit Puerto Vallarta, you have real taste of Mexico. Good to walk to little town Bucerias, stop by restaurant on the beach, They have different menu for all days of the week.
Hope that this information is helpfull. Have a great time there.
Adventures and Magical Moments in Nuevo Vallarta
"Riu Jalisco- Nuevo Vallarta"
I just went to Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, and stayed in Nuevo Vallarta in the new Riu hotel..... I had an incredible magical time, and met a handful of people that touched my heart. I only stayed for a week (June 2002) and I really wish I would have been there for a couple of months.
This is my friend Darcy.
"My Adventures in Nuevo Vallarta"
I went scuba diving for the first time, in Las Marietas Island with Adventure Vallarta tours, and hung out at a deserted beach near Punta Mita. I also joind 3 fabulous couples which I happened to meet in the restaurant at breakfast... Lucky me! We rented a car and went to the southern coast of Puerto Vallarta...We drove to Mismaloya, and rented a travel guide with a boat to take us from beach to beach.. since the road ends there.. Chato was his name! We went to Los Arcos and snorkeled, to Las Caletas, and Las Animas...Gorgeous beaches, surrounded by mountains and jungles!
This is Samy and Darcy, one couple that showed me the true meaning of a beautiful relationship.
"The Beautiful Creatures of Nature"
Here is a pic of some of the fish I saw when I snorkeled in Los Arcos.... Los Arcos is an island that separated from the main land many years ago and has been the hot spot for snorkeling and scuba diving.
After we went snorkeling in Los Arcos we went to Las Caletas and Las Animas... We ate at the restaurant right on the beach and it had fabulous food...this is our group pic. This is picture is taken in Las Animas.
"Pumpin it up in the Mornin'"
Every morning in this beautiful all inclusive hotel, many aquatic sports are available...so every morning I went kayaking to see the dolphins that are hunting for food... the best time to kayak is between 9am-10am to see the dolphings gather food. Nevertheless, kayaking is a great work out!
"This is what I call OCEAN VIEW!"
As you kayak in the tranquil waters in the morning, the most beautiful view of the hotel lies in the depth of the ocean.
Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico
Has anybody been to the Royal Decameron Complex in Nuevo Vallarta and what sort of daytime activities are close by?
My wife and I are going there next month.
Re: Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico
I have never been there, however almost all of the hotels in Nuevo are amazing.
you will be located about 40 minutes outside of Puerto Vallarta, make sure to take the bus to and from in order to save money and avoid the nasty taxi drivers...
Could anyone please advise some good All Inclusive resorts that are located close to the shops and Nightclubs please?
Re: Best Resort
check out the Cancun area and the Cabo San Lucas area. These are areas with some of the nicest all inclusive resorts and bigger cities areas outside the resort. Be careful a lot of resorts in Mexico are located far off the beaten path and once you leave their compound you are in nothing and I do mean nothing.
I stayed at Sandals. We had a great time. I'm a teacher so I really enjoyed the fact that there were not a large amount of kids around.
Re: Best Resort
Thanks, weird that you mentioned Sandals as I'm considering booking them. Would love a Luxurious hotel for a change.
Re: Best Resort
It was great. They remember your pleasures. Like if you order something for lunch - they suggest things alike that they think you might enjoy.
only place I've been more pampered was in Maui at the Kei Lani Resort.
Re: Best Resort
Hi there, I have been a member of the Mayan Resorts for some time and I highly recommend it. They have resort locations all over Mexico at beaches like Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco, Cancun, Cabo, Nuevo Vallarta, and Mazatlan. For you I would recommend the Puerto Vallarta Mayan Palace Resort since its downtown and close to everything. Here are some links that might help you get a better idea of what I mean. Good luck! www.mexicosunplaces.com and www.greatplacesmexico.org I hope this helps.
Re: Best Resort
I can't get into the two recommended sights but will try again later. I briefly looked at the Mayan Resorts which I'm impressed with.
I went into The Grand Mayan in Los Lobos first which I instantly took to as I like hotels with character, the Puerto Valentu Mayan palace is also very nice.
I will look at all the resorts in more detail when i have time though I think the Grand Mayan in Los Lobos is more to my liking so will get the map out to see how far it's from the main places of interest and how long it takes to get their by car. Thanks so much.
First Time in Nuevo Vallarta
I am a new Member of VT and will be making my first trip to Nuevo Vallarta towards the end of January. We'll be staying in a 1 bedroom condo (through RCI) and would like some info regarding NV, the resort and where to buy reasonably priced groceries. All info will be much appreciated. Thanks.