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One of the greatest things about being a travel agent is having the opportunity to visit a destination and inspect its various resorts. Living in Los Angeles, I am only a short flight away from Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit — one of my favorite regions. Surrounded by the Sierra Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, the Riviera Nayarit is a 10-minute drive from downtown Puerto Vallarta and its airport.
The Riviera Nayarit is a perfect getaway for just about anyone, and I have compiled a list of my five favorite all-inclusive resorts based upon personal experience and years of client feedback.
Riu Hotels & ResortsIn the Riviera Nayarit, Riu Hotels & Resorts offers a choice of three different resorts, with some exchange privileges at the sister properties. I suggest staying at Hotel Riu Palace Pacifico to get the most out of your vacation. There, you have exchange privileges with both Hotel Riu Vallarta and Hotel Riu Jalisco, excluding dinner. Just think of how you can explore three different locations that offer more than 14 different dining venues from buffet restaurants to a la carte dining.
In each room category, there is a liquor dispenser and a fully stocked refrigerator with water, sodas and beer. While I’ve heard some complaints about the beds being too firm, I have never had a problem getting a good night’s sleep (and Riu’s staff are always available to bring special padding for extra comfort). My room was right over the main pool area and, at night, I could see a crowd of revelers partying below. I worried about late-night noise but was pleasantly surprised when everything quieted down by 11 p.m. as the late night partiers moved to the property’s nightclub. Oh, what a relief that was!
Riu Hotels & Resortswww.riu.com
Dreams Villamagna Nuevo Vallarta
A guest room at the Dreams Villamagna Nuevo Vallarta // © 2010 AM Resorts
Dreams Villamagna offers six room categories, ranging from a Junior Suite Tropical View room to a three-bedroom Dreams Family Suite, with two king-size beds; a double bed; living and dining rooms; a kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances; and 3½ bathrooms. Book your room in one of the Preferred Club categories to take advantage of a private preferred lounge, concierge service, daily continental breakfast, and afternoon hot and cold hors d'oeuvres. The resort even offers Preferred Club guests complimentary Internet service in the business center.
Dreams Villamagna Nuevo Vallarta www.dreamsresorts.com
A bar at the Vallarta Palace // © 2010 Palace Resorts
Vallarta Palace packs much value into the all-inclusive vacation. Guests can make an unlimited number of phone calls from the room; browse the Web on their personal laptop for free or use the computers at the business center for a period of 30 minutes; and choose up to four land tours. And every morning, coffee and danishes are served in the lobby, just in case you don’t have time to enjoy a full breakfast. Vallarta Palace also offers non-motorized watersports, a Kids Club, two large pools with bar service and a seven-hole pitch and putt golf course.
Marival Resort & Suites Nuevo Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit
The pool at Marival Resort & Suites Nuevo Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit // © 2010
Rooms and suites are distributed among 11 villas, a main building and two towers. The Club Superior rooms are located in the main building at Marival. Guests at the resort must adhere to a strict room occupancy policy, so large groups will want to book the three-bedroom family suites, some of which include Jacuzzis.
In terms of dining and drinks, there are seven bars, six restaurants and two swim-up bars. Unlike the Palace resorts, you will have to make reservations for the specialty restaurants, and there are restrictions to how many nights you can dine at the specialty restaurants during your stay. However, by visiting the resort’s website, you can pre-book your dinner reservations before arrival.
Marival Resort & Suites Nuevo Vallarta, Riviera Nayaritwww.gomarival.com
Royal Decameron Complex, Riviera Nayarit
Royal Decameron Complex, Riviera Nayarit // © 2010 Decameron All Inclusive Hotels & Resorts
There are five pools to choose from, a nightclub for late-night dancing, three buffet restaurants and five a la carte dining experiences, where reservations are required. The sportier set will enjoy the resort’s three tennis courts and areas to play basketball and soccer. I loved the Royal Decameron because I felt comfortable without breaking the bank. Although it might be more basic than my other favorite all-inclusives in the Riviera Nayarit, I have no doubt that your clients will make memories of a lifetime there.
Royal Decameron Complex, Riviera Nayarit www.decameron.com