First time at this HR location after vacationing at the HR Punta Cana twice. So, this review will compare the two properties. My husband and I are Legendary members and stayed at HR Vallarta May 4 - 11. The hotel is located about 20 minutes from the airport and is a nice drive to get out there. First impression ... there are lots of stairs at this property. From the moment you arrive you have to ascend a flight of stairs to get to the lobby, go the pool/beach ... stairs, go to The Market for breakfast or lunch ... stairs. Just making you aware, there are a lot of stairs at this property! However, compared to the hustle and bustle of Punta Cana, in one word, this location is QUIET. So, a great place to relax and unwind.
We were off to a rocky start when we were assigned a room way out of the way. I hadn't requested any specific floor or location, just a King bed. The assigned room was at the very far end of the hotel down a narrow, dark hallway and too far from the elevator for our liking. The hotel didn't seem busy at all, so we asked to change our room. Well, the only other room they claimed to have available didn't have a King bed. What?? This is how you treat your Legendary members when even the guy taking care of our bags told us the hotel was only 70% booked!?!?!? Not appreciated. We took the room with the two double beds because it was closer to the elevator and had a view of the pool and ocean. About the rooms ... they are tiny and the bathroom is super small. If you have been to HR Punta Cana, get ready for a major downsize! This was disappointing to me because if the room and bathroom are smaller than mine at home, how does it feel like a luxury vacation!?!? Note that the vessel sink in the bathroom takes up the entire counter, so no place to put your toiletries. One other grump about the room, we had to call every day to request extra towels and they only remembered to supply them sometimes. Seriously, two sets of towels is not enough for my husband and I on a beach vacation if I use two for myself at home every day. In PR, you call once and they bring you 10 sets of towels and you never have to ask again. In Vallarta, they are stingy with towels. Also, our drink fridge didn't get refilled every day and we had to call several times to remind them to refill it.
After reading other reviews about the hallway noise, we never heard any and we were near the elevator, but this could have been a function of the hotel not being very crowded during our stay.
Continuing to compare this location to HR Punta Cana, my husband and I felt the food and the entertainment were definitely better in Vallarta. Be aware that not every restaurant is open for dinner every night, so it pays to stop by the front desk for a daily schedule in the morning and plan your day accordingly. Also, note that Zen at this location does not have hibachi, but does have Thai and sushi. The first afternoon of our stay there was a fun pool party with great music. That night there was a Mexican Fiesta and it was fantastic! Full Mexican buffet, mariachi band and dancers. We really enjoyed that event as it was a great way to kick off our vacation. We ate dinner at Ciao twice, Zen twice, and Ipanema twice. Ciao has an amazing view of the ocean if you arrive for dinner before dark. The waiters here are busy and we never got to know any of them, but the food was very good. Zen was our favorite. At Zen, we had Orlando and Ulises as waiters. Both of them were fantastic! The food here is just exceptional and the presentation definitely five star. At Ipanema, Irving and Ray took great care of us at dinner and we ate way too much! For breakfast, we either went to The Market or Ipanema. Shout out to Fernando and Luis, especially for the iced cafÃ© Americano we asked for every morning! Note that Ipanema is smaller than The Market so less wait time for an omelet, but less food selection over all. Fortunately, you can easily walk between the two restaurants, so if you can't find what you like at one, you can check out the buffet at the other.
About the pools ... there is not a member pool or even a member area at a pool. We did walk out to the pool before breakfast every day and "reserve" chairs with towels. Everyone does it! If you aren't out there by 9'ish, you probably won't get a spot with an umbrella. We typically stayed at the pool through the afternoon and rarely saw chairs that had been "reserved" go unused. Thanks to Jesus and Martin for excellent drink service poolside. Every day, Manu and Emi and the pool crew put on fun in the sun activities and games to keep us entertained. For lunch, we would wander over to Frida to enjoy the buffet. I am still craving that guacamole. They had an exceptional spread of food every day! Plus, they were typically open until 4 or 5 so you could stop by for a late afternoon snack or ice cream. We really loved that feature and took advantage of it most days! After lunch, we typically went out to the beach. There are several beach areas reserved for members, but most days we were the only two in the members' beach area. We noticed that even the regular beach chairs never seemed to fill up. So, if you are a beach person, you would have your pick out there.
After dinner, we always went to a show. The shows here are exceptional. Besides the mariachi band and dancers at the Mexican Fiesta, we saw the Retro dance show, the Fire show and the Rock concert. All of the shows were fantastic and I would highly recommend them. After the shows, we would wander back to the Sun Bar to wait to listen to the band. It would be nice if there wasn't that hour gap between when the show ends and the band starts. Some nights we gave up waiting for the band to start playing at the Sun Bar.
We did wander across the street to check out the casino one night, but we couldn't figure out how to play. I think you purchase a card, but no one could really explain it even though we do speak some Spanish. We didn't have any pesos, only American money which we weren't sure if they accepted or not, so we didn't end up staying to play. We didn't go into Puerto Vallarta either, maybe next time. We did take a day tour through Vallarta Adventures and I would definitely recommend their excursions. We only used our resort credits for a couples massage. I won't elaborate on how small the spa is and how they don't have the relaxation amenities that HR Punta Cana has as other reviews have covered it. Our massage was fine.
Overall, I can't say HR Vallarta is better than Punta Cana. They both have their own positives and negatives. Vallarta is just a different experience. In some ways ... the room/bathroom size ... the spa, the pools, the overall service ... is better in PR. But, Vallarta definitely is more relaxing, no wait time at the restaurants, better food and shows.
Love this place. Service and food were incredible! We had a special request for some all natural ingredients for a sore throat - Ricardo and the Chef made it happen for us! Way above and beyond on the service scale! Will be going back!
We were not sure what to expect. We purchased the Rock Royalty VIP level. Very reasonably priced through our travel agent. From the time we were dropped off we were treated like royalty. We had personal assistants (concierge's) that come with the VIP package. Julian, Nacho and Gerardo always there when you needed something but never hovering. They were awesome. They took care of all our needs. If we wanted to reserve beach chairs or have dinner reservations or needed anything we just texted them on the App for your phone and "boom" they were on top of it.
The first day we went to they pool we had a waiter,Jesus, He was amazing (not part of the VIP package) however all his customers he treated no different then us. He was awesome. If we asked him to save a couple of chairs for us at the pool "Done" kept the drinks coming and we didn't even have to ask he just kept watch and when they got close to empty. 2 more appeared. Rosy the waitress for the beach VIP area was great, made you feel comfortable from the start got your drinks got your food. If you wanted to walk the beach and leave your things. She kept an eye on it. We did take any money or phones because obviously she couldn't sit watch our stuff non stop but when we came back after an about an hour. all our stuff still there never moved and she was right there asking what we wanted to drink. The food was good. Ciao the italian place was good our waiter Ever was great. We are planning a trip back to this property next year and bringing our grown kids. Everyone was friendly. We felt comfortable wherever we went. Keep in mind the shows are a little loud in the evening but it is called "Hard Rock" if loud music at the pool or evening in the late evening are going to be an issue then you may want to try a different place.
We went to the Domincan last year and stayed at a large resort. We thought it was great. However, this smaller resort Supercedes that large resort.
The hotel does have WiFi, that is the only thing that was not very good. It didn't really bother us since we were not there to play on our computers.
From May 10th-17th, my wife and I spent eight days seven nights at the Hard Rock Vallarta Resort. To say our stay was exceptional is really an understatement. The weather was excellent with the temperatures during the day being in the mid-80's.
So where to start? How about the staff? All and I mean all staff went out of their way to make you feel welcome at literally at home. Cleaning staff kept the room immaculate; grounds staff kept the place clean with lawns and plants well kept; service staff around the pool area tended to your drink needs with a friendly and positive attitude. For the majority of our stay, Marti tended to the guests around the pool. Not only could she suggest drinks, but she would remember from day to day the drinks you preferred.
Restaurants and food selections were excellent. The selection of food at the Italian Restaurant was outstanding. If you decide to have a meal there, I would recommend you get seated in the area served by Ever - great sense of humor and made you feel welcome. The Zen Restaurant specializes in Asian Food. Chef Joya is remarkable in the food he prepares. Ipanema is the Brazilian Restaurant that serves up several different meat selections - one hint if you go to Ipanema, be prepared to leave stuffed.
One brief comment regarding the restaurants - check the daily bulletin board to see which of the restaurants is closed for dinner. Ipanema and Ciao tend to rotate.
As for the pools, there is the activity pool where the usual exercises, volleyball and other activities are held, there is a quieter pool area if activity pools are not your thing and their is a shallow children's pool. There is also a cozy hot tub in a cave structure.
Here is something that is somewhat novel (not sure whether it was because of the time of our visit), no rush to get a seat by any of the pools. Seating is adequate and there are plenty of seats to choose from. At many resorts you need to get up early to scope out and reserve a seat - not here!!
The entertainment at the resort is varied and entertaining. We experienced the Mexican Fiesta Night with a large selection of food, song, dance and entertainment (all in an outdoor setting).
If you like tours, you will love the tour to San SebastiÃ¡n. The tour was organized by Vallarta Adventures. This tour will take in a Tequila distillery, a coffee production site, lunch, a visit to a historic hacienda and a tour of historic San SebastiÃ¡n. Our tour guide was Adiriana. She was outstanding in her historic knowledge and presentation. She spoke to you not at you. Her assistant and the tour driver was Juan who drove the mountain roads and the coblestone with expertise.
I want to express my appreciation to our Personal Resort Services individual Miguel Madero. He would always check in to see how we were doing and whether there was anything he could assist us with. Many thanks Miguel.
Hard Rock Vallarta is not your typical large oversized resort, it is somewhat smaller than most of the Hard Rock Resorts in Mexico or the Dominican, which makes it easier to get around and interact with staff and other guests.
One small warning, if you like the beach be sure to bring your sandals to the beach. During the course of the day, the sand tends to get very very hot. But that is the only drawback. The beach is beautiful, no seaweed and no debris. The beach is well cared for just like the rest of the grounds.
I highly recommend you give this resort a try; it may just turn out to be an experience of a lifetime.
We traveled to Hard Rock Vallarta to meet with friends from Connecticut and we were THRILLED with the Hard Rock! The food was delicious and the staff was outstanding! We loved the swim up pool bar, the cocktails were great and
as it is an all-inclusive so you only need to tip big! I think all of the rooms have a huge hot tub though we didn't use it. Manny the event coordinator was very informative and helped us schedule 3 excursions using Resort Credits: an 80 minute couples massage which was the best we have ever had. We rented ATVs which was fun, fun, fun! and included a Tequila tasting afterward. And we had a great time on the trip to the Town of San Sebastian. Gabriel, who was our host led our tour via bus was just a doll. What I liked so much from the very start is, Gabriel was so engaging! I really liked how he asked us all to say our names and where we are from and then he would repeat all the names said before.Its a bit of a bus ride but this introduced us all to each other so we had a group feeling! Also Gabriel provide interesting details on Aztec history and other fun stories.Hugs to Gabriel!! So we first stopped at a bakery and were treated to yummy baked items and then a freshly made tortilla with several salsas to choose from. Next, we stopped at the Hacienda Don Lalin Reposado Tequila Company. We met the owner who explained the process and then tasted a wide variety of tequilas. We brought home two bottles for a tequila tasting party soon. Next stop was a beautiful lunch. Delicious soup, salad, tortillas, and then a huge arrangement of beef, pork, etc. After lunch we walked across the street to an old Silver & Gold mining company. The grounds were beautiful! Then the last stop was San Sebastian. Wish there were more touristy things to buy there.. Only 1 shop so we had lots of time after that. But a great day was had by all! Our last night was Cinco de Mayo which we celebrate like crazy here in the states so I brought 2 men's sombrero's, 2 ladies sombreros and a bunch of thick mustaches to share with everyone.I was a bit concerned that it might offend the staff but they were absolutely fantastic! Almost everyone had a mustache on in the bar and many took their pictures with the hats which we left there for the next group.
So, we loved the people, the hotel, the music, the pool, the ocean, everything was perfect! Thank you Hard Rock Staff.