Barcelo La Jolla de Mismaloya
Commission: 10 percent
What Clients Can Expect: The all-inclusive program at Barcelo La Jolla de Mismaloya covers dining in a choice of five restaurants, house cocktails, beer, wine, game room, beach and pool activities, four swimming pools, two Jacuzzis, nightly entertainment, fitness center use, tennis courts and Club Barcy kids club.
Room Rates: Nightly all-inclusive rates through Apr. 15, based on double occupancy, begin at $222 per person for a Royal One-Bedroom Suite and $340 per person for a two-bedroom Suite. An additional children’s supplement ranges in cost from $35 to $57 and includes food, taxes, room and inclusive activities.
Early-Booking Special Offer: Beginning Nov. 1, those who book 30 days in advance of their all-inclusive reservation dates will receive a 10 percent discount through Dec. 23, 2009.
Scroll down for more information about Barcelo La Jolla de Mismaloya's all-inclusive program, room rates and special offers
It was a heated off-screen romance during a classic John Huston-directed movie that first thrust the sleepy fishing village of Puerto Vallarta into the spotlight. During the filming of the 1964 hit "The Night of the Iguana," the R-rated shenanigans of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor transformed its image from provincial to provocative.
One-bedroom suites recently received family-friendly makeovers.
Today, Puerto Vallarta’s romantic aura remains thanks to numerous star-studded stories and its alluring beauty. However, unlike its surroundings, Barcelo La Jolla de Mismaloya has earned itself a broader, G-rated appeal, making it a modern-day magnet for families.
Barcelo La Jolla de Mismaloya lies south of Puerto Vallarta, past the notable strand of beachfront resorts lining Banderas Bay, then 15 minutes beyond downtown’s bustling cobblestone streets. More removed than mainstream, the resort sprawls along a sparkling cove where sunshine seems to beam perennially.
With an all-inclusive, all-suite design, it’s no surprise that the AAA Four-Diamond property was named a TravelAge West Editor’s Pick for Best Resort for Families, Mexico, in 2008.
My first, immediate impression of Barcelo La Jolla de Mismaloya was amazement — I marveled at how its layout allowed for interaction as well as escape, thanks to multiple swimming pools, sunning areas and gardens.
"Being an all-inclusive is a big family advantage," said Yasmin Chavez Ayvar, sales and marketing director for the property. "Parents don’t have to worry about every little request their kids have. The nature of the program handles it all for them."
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, the hotel offers a rotating activities schedule that includes Spanish lessons, kayaking tours, water aerobics, stretching classes, diving clinics, dance lessons, bingo and pingpong tournaments. I caught the climax of a friendly match of pool volleyball as several children cheered their parents from the sideline. Avid spectators rallied around, while others had shifted to the children’s pool with its water slide.
Fresh from an $8.2-million renovation and expansion, Barcelo La Jolla de Mismaloya converted each of its 179 one-bedroom guest suites into two-room suites with more living and sleeping space, making them even more appealing to families than before. Each suite features a spacious sleeping area with plush bedding, a desk and a sleeper-sofa. A second room provides a living area for relaxation, also furnished with a second sleeper-sofa.
The resort’s 109 two-bedroom family suites now offer added family comfort with two separate bedrooms and bathrooms. Aesthetics aside, the beauty of these layouts is the sense of space that creates a feeling of intimacy, albeit with the privacy of different rooms where adults and kids can sleep separately.
Grabbing a quick lunch at Barcelo La Jolla de Mismaloya’s oceanfront Snack Bar, which transforms into Grill Los Arcos in the evenings, I noticed just how the all-inclusive touch is extremely palatable with wee ones who have different dining clocks and tastes than their parents and siblings.
All restaurants feature children’s menus while El Patio’s Barcy Buffet section serves up kid favorites for those who prefer hamburgers and fries to more grown-up selections. While this flexibility is certainly a bonus, families can also tap into specialty dining that allows them to explore different culinary cultures together. Guests can top it all off with nightly theme shows and entertainment suitable for all ages.
Another hit with families is Club Barcy, a supervised kids club with handicrafts, an Xbox game console, movies and board games.
"We also do outside activities like pool contests, depending on the ages of the kids attending," said Sandra Gonzalez, Club Barcy manager. "It’s a good program that also helps adults find time to enjoy each other," she said. "They can visit our spa, play golf or have alone time on the beach and know their children will be safe and entertained."
Gonzalez added that Barcelo La Jolla de Mismaloya also offers babysitting services.
Barcelo La Jolla de Mismaloya’s location gives parents added peace of mind.
"Our location out of town means there’s more privacy, even on the beach," Ayvar said. "Parents don’t have to worry about traffic. They don’t get overwhelmed by beach vendors and discos all over the place. The location, the private beach and activities on site make this a good family fit."