Go Ahead, Bring the Kids

Marival Resort & Suites caters to families in Nuevo Vallarta

By: Irene Middleman Thomas

A long the constantly developing coastline of Nuevo Vallarta in Riviera Nayarit, there is seemingly no end to the all-inclusive, luxury resorts. Some might find it difficult to single one out from the rest, but a handful really do stand out for their unique nature. At the 495-room Marival Resort & Suites, considered one of the “pioneers” of the area, families are the target market.

When the Marival’s owners bought the original Jack Tar Village, built in the mid-1980s, they decided to change the concept from adults-only to family-oriented. Now, you will see families from Mexico, the U.S., Canada and elsewhere frolicking in the pool and on the over 900-foot-wide beach.

While some resorts cater to the U.S. market, so much so that the Mexican ambiance can be lost, the Marival is proud to tout and promote its Mexican character.

Offering all the amenities, but without the flash, the Marival feels like home. But they won’t feel like they have to keep up with the Joneses or the Garcias it’s just a comfortable, unassuming crowd.

Don’t get the wrong idea however, clients can also enjoy frothy cappuccinos, premium-brand beverages, top-quality seafood and international cuisine, as well as an extensive activity program with such options as spinning, yoga and Pilates classes, tennis, bocce ball, watersports and even golf clinics. Other ways to pass the time at Marival include watching one of the outstanding evening shows or relaxing in the exceptionally large, comfortably furnished rooms. Also, your clients won’t have to wake up at 5 a.m. to reserve a shaded spot on the beach because the property has more than 100 beach palapas as well as plenty of poolside shading.

The last major renovation took place in 2004, when the entire Club section of the resort was revamped, including all buildings and guestrooms. Rooms in the block buildings were converted to suites; the main restaurant and theater were also renovated, as was the gymnasium, club pools, pathways and kids club. In 2005, the grand lobby was renovated along with rooms in the Grand section. In 2006, two of the specialty restaurants, the Bella Vista (Italian), and Las Palomas (Mexican), along with M&M Martini & Margarita Bar were completely reimagined.

With a family focus, the Marival delegates many staff members to keeping up the Kids’ Club, which takes kids 4 to 12, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. In the game room, young adults 13-17 can join in rock climbing, archery, soccer, basketball, volleyball, ping pong, darts and Xbox games.

While families comprise the primary clientele, wedding groups follow closely. The property provides several wedding packages those with at least 15 rooms booked include a free wedding ceremony and reception. There are also plenty of couples, seniors and convention groups. Singles would probably do better at one of the other all-inclusives along the bustling Nuevo Vallarta coast.




The Riviera Nayarit is a fast-growing area with over 100 miles of beachfront starting just past the Puerto Vallarta airport and continuing to the historic port of San Blas, near the Nayarit capital of Tepic. Visit enchanting towns like Lo de Marcos, Sayulito and San Francisco, affectionately called San Pancho. These small towns are delightful to explore, many of which also feature large resorts or tiny inns and unusual shopping and handicrafts. Riviera Nayarit, an extremely lush and verdant region of Mexico, is relatively new to development prior to the last five years or so, the only tourist area most visitors knew about was Nuevo Vallarta.