loved villa la estancia
We just returned from a weeklong stay at la Estancia, and can't wait to go back. I don't know which was more impressive - the wonderful staff or the beautiful suites! Everything was great, and once the construction is done it will be perfect. The rooms are huge, gorgeous, and so practical. The kitchens are really well thought out, and having the laundry (have 2 young kids) was a godsend. The beds are firm but I thought they were perfect. We stocked up on groceries and had breakfast on the huge balcony often...really nice way to start the day. The pool is fantastic (except for the construction noise), and the beach is really nice. The staff is incredibly accomodating - Eric, the concierge, is the nicest person on the planet, and la Estancia is lucky to have him. The grounds are immaculate and the property very safe. The maids were sweet and thorough and even leave a treat and the next day's weather report when they turn down the beds in the evening. Just a wonderful experience. We can't wait to return - it really is several steps above the rest.
Luxurious rooms, watch out for construction noise @ Villa La Estancia
My wife and I stayed at Villa La Estancia next door to the Flamingos in Nuevo Vallarta. The rooms (we had # 1302) at this place are the nicest I have ever stayed in in my life! They are way above average. Watch out for the construction noise that goes from 730 to 1730 mon thru friday and half the day on Saturday. The food at the restaurant on site (La Casona) was excellent and the 2 rest. next door are also above average. The construction is scheduled to be completed in Jan 2009. The spa is also incredible and pretty reasonably priced considering how nice it is. Overall it is a great place and you would be happy with it if you get a good price and don't mind the noise. The pool area and beach are very nice and the concierge there is very helpful setting up tours and anything you need. Please send me a message if you would like any additional info.
Villa La Estancia easily stands out as the prime property in Nuevo Vallarta.
It’s spacious, private beach keeps you protected from tourists and time-share peddlers. The ample two-tiered pool (with swim-up bar) is surrounded by well-positioned beach chairs…there is no fighting for a good spot because they are ALL good…many of them actually ankle-deep in the pool itself. There are three large ocean-front hot tubs, which we found especially relaxing in the evening hours…
The food at the pool-side restaurant was excellent…fresh salads for the health nuts and all of the delicious Mexican specialties for the rest of us. Don’t forget to try “El Agua Del Dia” (Water of the Day)….which is a refreshing fruit beverage that is not mentioned on the menu.
The fine dining restaurant is a beautiful setting for a romantic dinner.
The spa is top notch. I am an experienced “spa-stress” and can tell you I had one of the best spa experiences at this resort! My husband and I even got in some work outs at the gym that is filled with top-of-the-line equipment….and windows….not a cave like space you find at many gyms. The staff graciously opened the gym just for me one very early morning when I woke up with the sun!
Our villa was immaculate and beautifully decorated. We rented our two bedroom villa (number 1403) directly from the owners. We highly recommend this approach as we were able to pinpoint the EXACT unit we were staying in…and this was OUTSTANDING. The owners of the villa left a very organized book with all sorts of brochures and dining information. From booking it to vacationing in it, the whole process was easy.
We were with another couple and it was nice to each have our own separate living space. One side has a living room (we could see the ocean from here), dining room, bathroom, kitchen, and a separate bedroom with a very large and elegant marble bathroom. The other side has two double beds with the villa’s second big screen TV and its own marble bathroom. Even the “B” side of the villa is in line with the rooms of the five star hotels we have frequented in our travels. We had a phenomenal view of the sunset over the ocean from our very large veranda and we fell asleep to the sound of crashing waves every night.
We were a 15-20 minute cab ride to Puerto Vallarta (great shopping and sight seeing), which we did twice (out of 7 days). It was great to be able to do that, but each time we were glad to head back to our peaceful resort at the end of the day. BTW – the best restaurant for your money in downtown Puerto Vallarta is Las Palomas.
Even closer to the resort, is the town of Bucerias. It’s a lovely walk up the beach to this quaint and very authentic Mexican town. If you don’t want to deal with sand in your toes, it is a 10 minute ($7) cab ride. We had a great time chatting with the locals, touring the shops and sampling the surprisingly affordable fare at several seaside restaurants. My husband was excited that his favorite Mexican beers were only $1.80 each! On Sunday nights the town square opens up for their weekly fiesta. We felt very safe here just wandering around, eating authentic Mexican cuisine from street vendors.
There are so many activities available in and around the resort, from golf to kayaking, whale watching, jet skiing, scuba diving and other island excursions, that everyone can do what they want. We highly recommend this resort!
We were thrilled with our experience at Villa la Estancia - it was all around perfect. From the moment we walked into the lobby we had our breath taken away! The grounds are beautiful and immaculately kept, the swimming pool large with different levels and waterfalls, and the rooms amazing. We had a two bedroom suite overlooking the ocean. We woke every morning to have breakfast on the large patio and watched dolphins play in the bay every morning! The units are huge -- you don't feel like you are in a hotel at all! With a full kitchen you can cook if you want (I didn't - I was on vacation!!) and having a washer/drier meant we could pack light. The staff was also wonderful - very helpful and friendly. You also have full access to Villa Palmar Flamingos next door (but the guests there don't have access to Villa la Estancia) and the restaurants there were also very good. The beach in front of the resort are beautiful and well kept - and not crowded! I am trying hard to think of a complaint - but can't. We have stayed at some nice places, and this rivals the best! I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Villa la Estancia to anyone!
Villa La Estancia is definatley 5-star, or at least will be when the construction is finished in October. We should have heeded other travelers opinions regarding the construction. We were awakened every morning at 7:30 to the sound of saws, drills, hammers and cranes. Otherwise, the accomodations are absolutley wonderful. We had a great view of the bay, the pool practically all to ourselves, and except for the classic mexico rock hard bed, the furniture and fixtures were fabulous. The staff was incredible and very friendly and accomodating.
If you stay here, go to mega mart across the way and stock up on food and spices. The kitchen has limited basics, no soap or supplies for cleaning up, and no salt or pepper, so consider these things when you buy food. The restaurants on premesis are way too expensive for dinner and for what you get. We walked to bucerias once and took a cab twice to eat there ($7). We recomend Mezo giorno for good italian at an awsome price right on the beach.
One of the things we did not like about staying in Nuevo Vallarta was the location. If you want to go into PV it is an hour bus ride with one transfer, or a $30 cab ride. We did not like PV too much anyhow, we enjoyed bucerias more and would like to explore La Cruz and other north bay towns next time.
Excellent Place - a detailed review
We just got back from a week at La Estancia and it was wonderful. SOOO luxurious.
We had the three bedroom ocean view suite (we went all out) and it was really top notch, the room was beautiful and exactly like the floor plan on the villa group website. The property is still under construction, there are two towers still being built but the construction did not bother us at all, the pool and restaurants are all done, and because it’s not completed yet there were no crowds which we really liked.
The pool is great, it doesn’t have a dedicated kid’s area but there are plenty of shallow areas to play so it was great for our kids (ages 2,4 and 8).
There’s a swim up bar and plenty of lounge chairs, towels, etc. Except for a few quirks, this place is right up there with your luxury US resorts. It can be confusing with the Mexican vs US hotel rating system, but this place is pretty on par with the Four Seasons in the US(If I were giving it a AAA rating I'd say between 4-5 diamonds)
The service was great, sometimes the pool bar seemed understaffed, but that was about it. The employees were great, super friendly and went out of their way to make you feel welcome. Once nice thing is that there is no “check in desk” in the lobby, you just sit down in these big comfy chairs while someone helps you and someone else brings you a frosty drink and a cool hand towel. A nice touch. Since many of the units are owned and it’s a small property, you don’t get the typical big line of weary travelers checking in and out.
We had considered staying next door at Villa Del Palmar Flamingos, and I’m really glad we didn’t. Their facility is nice, not as elegant as La Estancia, but they had all the pool activities, kayaks, etc. But it was SUPER CROWDED. Between peak pool hours(10-4), every lounge chair was taken and the pool was full of people. Basically the deal is, if you stay at La Estancia, you get to use all the stuff at Flamingos, but people at Flamingos can’t use the La Estancia facilities. My sister did some of the kid’s activities at Flamingos. They currently do NOT have a formal kid’s club although it says they do on their website. They have hour long activities for kids, but not the kind of club where you pay $50 bucks and leave your kid all day. They said they are working on the facility and it will probably be great when it’s done based on their management of the other activities. But that was a little disappointing as my sister had planned to use it while they played golf. They do offer babysitting though.
Location: Technically it’s at the northern end of Nuevo Vallarta(NV), but it’s quite far from Paradise Village which is the main part of NV. It’s a long ride into Puerto Vallarta, depending on the traffic, 25-40 minutes. However, you can walk to Bucerias (a mid sized town) in about 45 minutes along the beach or take a cab for $6. There are lots of restaurants there, everything from taco stands to gourmet places. Last time we came to Mexico we stayed near Paradise Village(in the Playa Royale Condos), and I liked this location better. For those of you who are not familiar with the area, NV is a “town” that is made up of mega resorts, there’s not much authentic about it, but it’s great if you have kids, the whole town has purified water, it’s easy to get around, etc. But at least being near Bucerias you can get a little taste of Mexican culture without having to go far. Of course Puerto Vallarta proper is wonderful, but we were looking to just kick back on the beach and not leave the resort much so we went with NV.
The beach is great, it’s not your “snorkel off the beach” cove type, but more like Santa Cruz or San Diego, moderate waves which make for fun swimming. In front of the hotels where they clean the beach every day it is very clean and nice. The sand is soft and there are plenty of lounge chairs.
Food: Villa la Estancia has two restaurants, La Parrilla which is the poolside place and includes the swim up bar and pool chair service. It was pretty good actually, and the prices were not bad when you consider it is a luxury resort. Drinks were $4-8, a big plate of nachos was $9. Not bad when you consider the cost of food at comparable resorts back home. The only problem is the hours are limited, 11AM-5PM. Maybe when they finish the property they will extend the hours.
The other restaurant is La Casona which is fine dining, not my style but my sister ate there and said it was good. It was expensive though. There are restaurants at Flamingos next door but they are all lousy and overpriced. Definitely skip them. Breakfast in the condo, lunch by the pool, dinner in Bucerias. That’s the way to go!
There’s a small market on site but take a taxi($6) to the Mega grocery store and stock up on groceries. Mega is like Super Walmart so you can buy groceries and flip flops and a radio all in the same place. I like to cook and my only complaint about La Estancia is that the kitchen is not well equipped for any kind of real cooking. But for simple breakfasts and lunches it is fine. If you like cooking, try to rent a unit from someone who owns one so it will come with a more home-like kitchen. I’ve stayed at other timeshare places and they are all like that, the knives are absolutely useless, etc. Ok, I admit it, I brought my own knife and spatula and I’m glad I did. Make sure to put it in your checked luggage! There's a grill on the patio which was great.
Really though, it was fabulous. I am nit-picking here with the complaints. I would absolutely recommend it. We paid $520 a night for the room (between 5 adults and 3 kids) and had plenty of space. I think that’s a great deal for a family vacation. Although this is an upscale property, it felt kid-friendly and there were other families there which was nice but it didn’t feel over-run with kids. I’m pretty sure once the construction is finished the prices will be higher. I’ll have to come back before it’s done ;)
Oh, and we were not bothered once about timeshares, except a letter which was included with a welcome packet. We weren’t interested so we didn’t respond.
To sum it up, a great place!
Best of the best
What a great place to stay. It is a half hour cab ride to and from PV so if you want to be in the action this is not the place to stay. All was perfect, had a chef come in and make dinner and breakfast with fresh fruit and coffee the next morning. Rooms are huge and ours had the perfect view,8th floor front and center to the pools and ocean. We were staying over Holy week so no construction was going on, from our room you could not even see the new building going up. Nothing but the best here...can't wait to go back. Oh and it gets quiet by 9pm so if you are looking for night life this is not the place to stay...
Loved the Sun Set
The Sunset from our balcony was breathtaking. the view was wonderful. The service was fantastic. Grounds beautiful. Our villa suite was beautiful. 3 large Bedrooms each with its own full bathroom, vanity, shower for two. large kitchen, dining room, living room, balcony wrapped around so you could see the pool, or the ocean.
An Oceanfront Gem!
My husband and I stayed in a 2 bedroom, 3 bath condo (#1403) with my parents. We booked directly through the owner and were warned that there would be some construction noise on weekdays. Although there were times when it was a bit noisy, we were quite pleased with our choice. We did some planning so that we were in Puerto Vallarta, Bucerias (authentic Mexican town within walking distance on the beach), our whale watching cruise, and other excursions during the week. Then we just laid around the pool and at the beach on the weekend when the workers were gone. The concierge indicated that the construction would be complete by September 2008.
The property itself is gorgeous with tons of amenities such as a huge pool with a fun swim up bar that we all enjoyed, spa (expensive but worth the dollars for a massage), poolside restaurant which had great fresh fish sandwiches, a great workout room with all kinds of equipment and weights (Francisco was really nice), and an upscale restaurant that we didn’t try (too expensive). Everything on the property appeared to be top of the line with marble floors and nice furnishings throughout. The staff was generally helpful and most of them spoke good English (learning a few Spanish phrases and words would be helpful). One notable issue was that service around the pool was sporadic and some of the servers were definitely on ‘island time’. The concierge was somewhat helpful. However the owner has a helpful book with menus and activity suggestions along with comments and reviews from previous visitors in the condo. The beach in front of the condo was great. It was quite wide with soft sand, and plenty of lounge chairs and umbrellas. We especially liked the hammocks.
The condo itself was even better than we expected (the owner’s website doesn’t do the place justice). We booked direct so that we could make sure that we were close to the beach and that we could hear the ocean waves as well as see the sunsets and boy did we see some great sunsets (see the attached photo)! This condo was a bit more per week than some of the others, but it was well worth the extra dollars to be close to the ocean in my opinion. The furnishings were all high quality with travertine floors throughout, a fully stocked kitchen, nice furniture inside and on the huge patio. The 2nd bedroom is actually some sort of lock-off so it worked great for us because we were afforded some extra privacy. I’m not sure this set-up would work for a family with small children as the 2nd bedroom has a keyed entry so it may be difficult for them to get back and forth to the main living area, kitchen, and master bedroom. It would be nice if there was a small refrigerator and coffee maker in the 2nd bedroom since it is separate from the kitchen (we mentioned this to the owner and he indicated that they will likely add this in the future). Compared to the condos that we’ve rented in Hawaii, this condo was very large (something like 2000 square feet) so there was plenty of room to spread out and the patio was HUGE!
We’d definitely go back and recommend it to others!