I finally decided to it was time to check out the Grand Velas Riveria Nayarit for myself. After multiple trips to the Riveria Maya location I figured it was time to head a bit further west.
Upon arriving in Puerto Vallarta, the hotel is an easy 20 minutes’ drive from the airport. At check in we were greeted with a refreshing fruit drink and a short head and shoulders massage (which I was very happy to oblige). From there it was all relaxation and the wallet never came out once as the property is an all inclusive.
I have to start by saying that the service on every front (maids, butler, waiters, pool attendants and everyone else) was almost flawless. Even at busy times around the pool or restaurant drinks and food came well presented and in a timely manner. The staff could not have been more friendly and accommodating, and we were there during a notoriously busy week (Presidents Week) with tons of families. Coming from NYC it is hard to be wowed by the culinary offerings and I would not say that the food was AMAZING however nor were we disappointed with any of the meals. In fact I would rank the breakfasts a 9, lunches a 9 if you stayed with salads and fish tacos (7.5 if you did the buffet entrees) and dinners were an 8. There are three A La Carte Dinner restaurants (which require advance reservations) and a common restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner which serves both buffet and al a carte. The included wines were very surprisingly drinkable and the selection of beer and liquor would be unlikely to disappoint anyone.
There are approximately 280 rooms which are situated in a horseshoe shape around the 3 pools that all blend together. The property faces due west so the sunsets over the Pacific were spectacular, particularly with a margarita in hand. The pool was busy and we had to wake up a tad early to secure the best pool loungers. There was a lot going on for the kids around the pool and unlike some all-inclusive I have been they did not pipe techno music, or any music for that matter, which was a relief.
It was relatively tranquil, save the kids running around. If you wanted tranquility the beach was very under crowded and always had beach chairs available. The ocean had a sandy bottom, the water was shallow and there was a constant gentle surf rolling in for playing in some very light waves or for kids to boogey board. There was a variety of toys and entertainment provided for the kids as well.
Speaking of kid’s entertainment, the TEEN club is a very legitimate Kid Cave. Our son is only 9 years old however kids as young as 5 were there with adults, and our son was allowed to attend un-chaperoned for hours at a time (which he was thrilled over and so was I). The teen club had a pool table, ping pong, air hockey and the list goes on. The club never seemed too congested. The Kids club (for young kids) is pretty standard but well stocked and well staffed. Additionally, both the Kids and Teen club were only a few steps from the pool so checking in on the youngsters was never an inconvenience. Also, the kids club is open until 11PM so feeding the kids at 6:00 and checking them in to the club (or having the kids club take them to dinner) so that my husband and I could have a quiet adult dinner is easy, costless and guilt free since they are certainly having a better time at the kids club than sitting up straight in a restaurant listening to their parents discussing politics.
In summary, this is a great place for a family get away. If you are a couple I might suggest the Grand Velas in Riveria Maya as they have an amazing adult only section which this property did not have. The weather on the west coast of Mexico is very reliable. The kids get pretty much everything they want and you don’t give up much to keep them happy.