Click here to read about the region’s upcoming International Gourmet Festival, and which Puerto Vallarta restaurants received the International Star Diamond Award this year.
I knew I was in Mexico when I entered my hotel room and was greeted by a miniature bottle of Herradura tequila and a sweeping, uninterrupted view of the gleaming Pacific Ocean. The glass doors were open, the white curtains floated dreamily and gentle waves crashed against the sandy shore, five floors below. This was my first encounter with Puerto Vallarta’s indoor-outdoor hotel architecture, and I was already won over.
Hacienda San Angel // © 2009 Marissa Tinloy
The distinct architecture of the following Puerto Vallarta hotels I experienced on a recent trip to Mexico made it easy for me to appreciate the region’s warm weather and fresh air, in a luxurious setting. Could there be any better way to travel?
Presidente InterContinental Puerto Vallarta
Nestled on the southern cusp of the 40-mile Banderas Bay, a 25 minute-drive outside of the city’s bustling Historic District, the Presidente InterContinental Puerto Vallarta offers 120 guestrooms, each with oceanfront balconies, traditional white-tiled interiors and an easy amble to the private beach below. The atmosphere is distinctly quiet and romantic, as if the entire property ere oriented seaward and outdoors. From the thatch-roofed palapa entryway to the open-air lobby and bar, guests are immediately introduced to the property’s outdoor facilities. Hallways open to views of the lush foliage across the highway and each floor showcases an Aqua Esencia wellness theme. The casual Frutas y Flores cafe serves breakfast and lunch oceanside, while Alfredo di Roma’s gourmet Italian restaurant offers piano music, sunset views and seasonal cooking over the bay each evening.
Hacienda San Angel
Heading just north into the heart of the city, Hacienda San Angel is a vacation villa in the most historical sense. Tucked within the colonial streets and perched above Puerto Vallarta’s bustling malecon (waterfront), this 14-suite hotel feels like a serene journey back in time with trickling fountains, pink ceramic roofs, tiled patios and an open-air kitchen and dining room. Although Hacienda San Angel does not come with on-beach access like many other Puerto Vallarta hotels, all of its suites feature large windows or expansive balconies with stunning views of the city — the illustrious Guadalupe Church, the Rio Cuale to the south and the busy streets below. For the best city views, book the Angel’s Dome, Angel’s View, Celestial and San Miguel suites. Suites range from $285-$680 per night, depending on the room and season.
On the roof, guests will find a Jacuzzi and one of the property’s three pools, as well as a plethora of nooks and crannies to cozy up to.
When dinnertime rolls around, chef Gonzalo Raul Noguira’s exclusive, open-air restaurant serves gourmet seasonal cuisine on the candlelit rooftop bungalow.
Casa Velas Hotel Boutique
Heading even farther northward to the burgeoning Marina Vallarta neighborhood, the all-inclusive Casa Velas Hotel Boutique offers 80 sleek rooms with an old world hacienda-style ambiance. The hotel opens into an intimate candle-lit lobby and Zen-like still pond, leading out onto a high-arched walkway with views of the pool, lawn and the 18-hole Marina Vallarta golf course.
Just off to the left, guests will find the hotel’s lauded Emiliano Restaurant, constructed almost exclusively with glass walls and a unique three-tiered layout, offering both privacy and views of the lush grounds. Alternatively, guests can also dine al fresco on the covered patio or the restaurant’s esplanade.
The AAA Four-Diamond property and member of the Leading Small Hotels of the World offers a range of wellness- and outdoor-oriented packages, including the Golf Vacation Package (starting at $245 per person, per night, based on double occupancy) and the Water Sports Package (starting at $325 per person, per night, based on double occupancy).
Guests at Casa Velas Hotel Boutique also have some off-property privileges at the nearby Velas Vallarta Beach Club. Shuttles to the club run regularly.
It seems that, given the inherent design of Puerto Vallarta’s hotels, travelers can — and should — experience this destination from both the inside and out.