PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico With the opening in December of the Grand
Velas All Suites Resort & Spa (see sidebar), Velas Vallarta
Grand Suites might have been destined to become the ugly stepsister
in town. Fortunately for travel agents and guests alike, the owner
of the properties saw that two is indeed better than one, and
decided to update the Velas Vallarta to bring it in line with its
new sister property.
As Velas Vallarta Grand Suites Resort general manager Luis
Angarita put it, “Eduardo Vela, the owner, had finished the Grand
Velas and realized that it was unfair to have the other hotel so
nice and this one not.”
Unfair and perhaps unwise, as the two properties will also help
the company better compete with the nearby Marriott Casa Magna,
Westin Regina and Fiesta Americana properties.
Even though Eduardo Velas had recently spent $100,000 on each of
the 161 suites of the Grand Velas, the Velas Vallarta has invested
$4 million on an extensive remodel of the property.
The renovation will include 220 of the 360 rooms; its Italian
cuisine restaurant, Andrea; the seaside informal restaurant, La
Ribera; and lavish flowering gardens. This summer, an additional $2
million will renovate the remaining 140 rooms.
This means that Velas Vallarta is undergoing its fourth
renovation in 13 years.
Originally built as condominiums, Velas Vallarta rooms are large
suites. Kitchenettes have a modern refrigerator and microwave.
Bathroom amenities are comprehensive. Remodeling includes all-new
furniture, and goose-down bedding and mounds of pillows beneath a
seashell bedstead. Air-conditioning is state-of-the-art and very
effective. A pillow menu and 27-inch flat screen televisions add to
an atmosphere of relaxation.
The usual resort menu of activities includes kayaking tours,
beach volleyball, water aerobics, water polo, beach soccer,
introductory scuba diving, three lighted tennis courts and a
Guests are constantly aware of the approximately 550 employees
working around the 10-acre oceanfront property, with its three
pools and a waterfall. Angarita claimed that there had never been a
layoff, and not much staff turnover.
A separate entrance provides access to the 6,928-square-foot
Convention Center Grand Salon Alejandra. A timeshare operates
side-by-side with lodging for leisure travelers.
Velas Vallarta recently introduced the Gold Crown all-inclusive
plan. The program includes restaurant, theme night and room service
dining, bar beverages, fitness center, Kid’s club and more. The per
day Gold Crown program cost is $85 per adult and $43 for children 5
The property offers travel agents a $75 plus tax, per person,
double occupancy Gold Crown all-inclusive plan introductory
Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort
The Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort, which opened in
December 2003, has a modern, luxurious feel, with a
several-story-high palapa over the open lobby; large black and
white pebble tile patterns on the floor and an infinity pool by the
Room furnishings meld golden Mexican colors and wooden Balinese
handicrafts. The 161-room, all-inclusive property has five levels
of suites ranging from 690 to 4,360 square feet, all with ocean
views. Nightly rack rates range from $290 per person to $3,300.
The 17,350-square-foot Grand Spa Velas has 20 treatment rooms
and seven treatment styles. The Sabai Outdoor Massage Center opens
onto the infinity pool, and is within earshot of the rolling