Situated on a sandy strip in Banderas Bay against the stunning backdrop of the Sierra Madre Mountains, the Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort and Spa received a major upgrade in 2018. The 433 ocean-facing guest rooms and suites all with private balconies were renovated in warm neutral sand tones. The open-air lobby entrance is filled with modern colorful décor, swinging pods, and an ice cream parlour. To arrive in Puerto Vallarta is quite easy from Los Angeles, just a 3 hour direct flight to this Mexican town on the Pacific coast’s Bahía de Banderas known for its beaches, water sports, and nightlife.
The new Ceviche and Tequila Bar located in the lobby features over 270 different bottles of tequilas, mezcals, and draft beer, along with a menu of freshly prepared ceviches. Don’t miss the taco and margarita pairing with combinations like Mango Lychee Lime Margarita and Zarandeado shrimp on a salmon pate taco. Since the hotel owns their own tequila brand – Tequila CasaMagna – distilled by artisan’s hands and rested in American oak barrels, sign up for a tequila tasting or paired Jalisco dinner with 7 courses with food from the region and tequilas to match. Audrey Formisano, the onsite certified Tequilier can educate you on the best Blanco, reposado, or Anejo. When you tire of Mexican food, check out Champions Sports Bar (with Xbox in the game room for kids), the Deli Los Mangos, or the live teppanyaki dinner show at the redesigned Mikado Japanese Restaurant, all on-site.
If you are staying with children, you may want to stay put and not leave the resort. A massive breakfast buffet offers traditional fare or Mexican delights. A family-only pool boasts comfy poolside loungers as well as a play structure in the middle of the pool with a slide and splashing bucket dunker. Budget-friendly family packages include not only all meals and bar, but free childcare in the Kid’s Club. Nearby are easier coves to swim in for little ones while guests can enjoy kayaking or paddle boarding right offshore. Need to get away from the little buggers for an hour or so? The Ohtli Spa will renew you with eucalyptus steam and sauna rooms, water circuits, a therapy pool, and facial and massage treatments.
About 7 minutes from the airport and ten minutes from downtown charming friendly Puerto Vallarta, the Marriot makes an easy location to get into the authentic Mexican town to explore art galleries near the restaurant Café Des Artiste where the spaces are just as impressive as the art. Meander in these former homes and previous restaurants that are now enchanting gallery spaces dripping with hanging flowers, open courtyards, ancient tiles, fountains, and low archways.
In the town’s cobblestone center, peruse the ornate Our Lady of Guadalupe Church along with boutique shops and vendors near the river selling every type of Mexican souvenir. El Malecón is a nice strolling beachside promenade with contemporary sculptures, as well as bars, lounges and nightclubs.
Find time for a tasty beer flight with hints of grapefruit or chili at Los Muertos Brewing, tacos at local Marisma’s streetside taco stand, and homemade creamy palettes at La Michoacana. Stroll the El Malecon/boardwalk, a beachside promenade with contemporary sculptures, as well as bars, lounges and nightclubs. Peruse shops or the grand flea market for local souvenirs that sits near a river and leads to the ocean.
What makes Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa unique:
Several nights I watched fireworks from my hotel room balcony along the coast’s hotel zone. You can dine in the hotel’s herb garden, learn how to paint Frida Kahlo-style, and sip on a fresh chilled coconut medley or alcoholic concoction from the CoCo bar under a poolside palapa. You may wish to bring your coconut back to your cocoon daybed or poolside lounger.
Turtle nesting begins in June and Marriott’s sea turtle protection program is considered one of the best in Mexico with a turtle nursery on-site where kids can watch a trained wildlife biologist and staff monitor nests. Kids can become part of the release ceremony and name their baby turtle before helping it slide back into the Pacific.
You don’t need to go far to make memories at Marriott Puerto Vallarta while seizing even more culture in town just a few minutes away.