Club Marival Resort – Puerto Vallarta Mexico
For those considering heading South over the next little while, sorta quick post on Club Marival and Puerto Vallarta.
I know it may seem a bit odd for Vacouverites to be running off to Mexico in July, as Vancouver is typically awesome in the summer. However, the day we left (July 21st), summer had still not shown her sunny smile to the city. We came off a cool “Junuary” and a wet 3 weeks of “Japril” and it really didn’t seem too crazy to be going to Mexico at that point.
Our flight down was good. Used Nolitours for the bookings (Thanks Draga!!) and flew CanJet. Nothing spectacular, but very nice and quite comfy as we paid the $35 per seat to sit emergency row – well worth it.
Upon arriving, baggage was super quick and we proceed to the shuttle service to the hotel. Between baggage and the shuttles is when the “tone” of Mexico started to show us what we going to get for the next week. The only reason to bring this up, is that we had never noticed this on our last 4 trips to Mexico.
As soon as we get into the area forementioned, we are herded to counters where “Representatives of the Hotels and Businesses of Puerto Vallarta” are going to help us get aquainted with the area by given us maps and the like. Wordsmof advice, Don’t stop here – they only want to sell you excursions etc… Just keep walking, the info they are so kindly giving to you is available everywhere. They will make you feel that you “have” to stop. Just don’t.
Getting to the hotel in Nuevo Vallarta is a breeze. 15 minutes only. Much nicer than the Mayan side when it seems to take a couple of hours minimum from the time you grab luggage.
The hotel upon arrival is quite nice and very clean. The bellhops and the front desk speak English quite well and are quick to help us out and get us moving.
However, the “Tone of Mexico” thing that I spoke of above, comes back. After checking in and getting our keys, we are asked to follow a hotel rep to the seats in the lobby to get us acquainted with this site. Souds good, we are hot and hungry and want to know where the rooms and food are at quickly, so this seems useful. That part took all of 2 minutes of the 15 convo that insues. We are now trying to be sold “Gold Club Marival”. She was pretty serious and not so much a soft sell about this. Seriously folks, we just landed, give us a chance to get here.
We finally ditch the the sales pitch and make our way to the rooms which are very clean and well appointed. Nothing fancy, but nice. The hotel at this point is looking quite good, clean and well staffed by friendly folks. Hotel’s first appearance and room quality would be a 4 out of 5.
Now, it’s time to eat. We head down to the grand buffet and are treated to decent food, not great food, but ok. In the morning we head down for breakfast, again nothing fancy, just ok. Like dinner, the food is just what it is. It is either that I have become truly spoiled in my travel over the years, but…there was quantity without a lot of care given to quality or presentation or imagination – everyday was the same.
Careful reading that last paragraph, the food was not brutal, it was just not what was expected based on past winter trips to Mexcio when the clientelle was made up of more foreigners (particularly Europeans) This could be just me, but that was what my perception. It just felt very pedestrian.
That was the buffet. However, on a positive note, we learned after the morning orientation (my wife learned after the orientation), that we could take advantage of the 3 specialized restaurants for the rest of the week. That we did, and that was much better. The Marival has 3 options for ala carte dinig. There is an Italian, Mediterrnaean, and Mexican option and all 3 were quite good. So much better than the buffet choice that we took advantage of them the next 6 nights. (2 times at each). Portions were nice and service was friendly. Much better. I would say that food overall is a 3 out of 5. The buffet was a 2.5 and the restaurants a 3.5/4.
The rest of the resort was very nice. Pools and grounds are clean and well maintained. The beach was the same, very clean and there was plenty of seating. You could still find good seats at 10:00AM if need be, try that in the Mayan!! The beach was also great for walks as it is super long and again, clean. Waves were a blast and the water really warm. Loved the beach and thought the resort grounds and facilities that we used were a solid 4/4.5 out of 5.
Leaving the grounds was easy and we felt very safe in Downtown Vallarta, and my wife and daughter felt the same in Buccerios. Cab drivers were friendly, safe driving and did not try and rip us off. Rates are more or less set and fair. There is also a nice little area called Paradise City that was half hour walk from the hotel. Nice little mall and food choices including a small grocer.
One thing became very clear when you leave the resorts; that is the impact the Western media is having on the local economy. The drug wars of a the Northern Border towns and interior cities, is not Puerto Vallarta, however, I think the tourist trade is suffering the wide brush of fear is painted is one huge swoop over all of Mexico, and that is a shame. You can tell by my the aggressiveness of downtown vendors, and the experience my wife and daughter had in Buccerios; the Mexicans want, and need you to buy things, any things!! They want you to look at any and all excurrsions and they are relentless in trying to get your attention. Almost too much.
After this long rant, would I go back to Puerto Vallarta (Nuevo and Riveira Naryat) and would I recommend the Mariavl Hotel? I would say a definitive yes to both. I really liked the short flight time from Vancouver, the cleanliness of the resort, the actual town of Puerto (hard to judge as the boardwalk is all dug up and I think that would have made a huge differnece as that is also impacting the local economy), and the overall friendliness of the people. I was not a fan of the resort food (buffets). I would say that the 4.5 “Mexiacan Star Rating” the resort gets is pretty fair. I would say that by Canadian standards it would be a solid 3.5 and could be a 4 if the food was better.
Overall, a great relaxing holiday and I would recommend for families for sure.
Ciao for now @kootenayborn