The San Gabriel Suite at Hacienda San Angel is decorated with hand-carved furnishings and antiques. // © 2014 Hacienda San Angel
Feature image (above): Hacienda San Angel is one of Mexico's great boutique hotels. // © 2014 Hacienda San Angel
Puerto Vallarta is home to many excellent large-scale luxury resorts, but travelers looking for more intimacy and privacy might consider the area’s smaller boutique properties. The destination takes pride in its smaller hotels, many of which provide plush accommodations and amenities, in addition to more personalized service. Following are a few stellar properties that offer no more than 25 rooms for families and couples.
Hacienda San Angel
In 1977, celebrity Richard Burton gifted Hacienda San Angel to his wife, Susan, and the hotel still resonates with fans of John Houston’s film “Night of the Iguana,” which was filmed here in 1966. The 10-room hotel, located inside a former 18th-century building downtown, is idyllic and romantic, bursting with old-world charm. Rooms are stylish, most boasting centuries-old antiques, paintings and artifacts. The central courtyard is no less inspiring, with fountains and lush gardens. Guests also receive keys to the cathedral next door and are treated to commanding city and sea views. Rooms begin at $395 per night.
Rivera Del Rio
Located in Puerto Vallarta’s old town, the eight-room Rivera Del Rio has undergone a major redesign that prompted New York interior designer Billy Baldwin to call it “the house of dreams.” Colorful, whimsical and eccentric, Rivera del Rio touts itself as a traditional Mexican bed-and-breakfast villa. Situated right on the banks of the Rio Cuale River, it’s often regarded as the most fashionable boutique hotel in Puerto Vallarta due to its lavish lounges, emerald swimming pool, indoor lap pool and romantic terraces with stunning views. Rooms begin at $119 per night.
Budget travelers will be surprised by the amount of pride and passion invested in Hotel Catedral. Located in Zona Romantica, it features 21 individually designed rooms, traditional Mexican decor (including the rich colors of indigenous cultures) and an exclusive beach club on nearby Los Muertos Beach, the most popular stretch of sand in the destination. The hotel also provides cell phones for guests to use during their stay. Rooms begin at $45 per night.
Located some 30 minutes from Puerto Vallarta, Playa Escondida in Riviera Nayarit is a hidden gem. A cliffside property on the shores of a secluded beach, the hotel has 24 thatch-roof villas with patios, outdoor showers and Mexican textiles, and each blends perfectly into the tropical jungle surroundings with large palms and coconut trees. The resort also has a terrific restaurant and features a spa and a pool with a waterfall, but visitors can also make a beeline to the beach, where they can enjoy hammocks and plenty of privacy. Rooms begin at $200 per night.