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It’s not often enough that I get greeted with a glass of champagne, let alone a personal butler. But my experience at Sunset Plaza Beach Resort & Spa in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, was proving to be more than I expected — and I hadn’t even checked in yet.
Check-in at the resort is completed ensuite and, as my butler introduced me to the property’s features for the first time, I met an effervescent guest dressed in her casual pool attire. She was all smiles in a swooping wide-brim hat.
“You look like you’ve just arrived,” she noted. “Well, welcome to paradise.”
It was almost too perfectly orchestrated to be true but, with a chuckle, my butler insisted that the gloating guest was not on the hotel’s payroll. TripAdvisor has awarded Sunset Plaza with a Travelers Choice Award for two consecutive years and the hotel boasts exceptionally high customer-retention numbers, but here was a living, breathing example of guest satisfaction.
“Our slogan at Sunset Plaza Beach Resort & Spa is ‘prepare to be wowed,’” said director of sales Patricia Chavez, “and we work on the details every day to make a difference during a guest’s stay.”
The resort’s strategy appears to be working.
“Our repeat clientele is growing day by day and, as of today, almost 35 percent of our guests have stayed at the property at least three times,” said Chavez.
Chavez partially credits Sunset Plaza’s highly personalized butler service. Butlers act as personal assistants, contacting guests before their stay to learn about personal preferences and arranging just about any service for them, from unpacking and repacking to arranging a private dinner for two on the beach.
The resort also offers three different pricing plans that cater to the preferences of guests: a European plan, a bed-and-breakfast option and an all-inclusive plan that includes international-brand alcoholic beverages, a fully-stocked minibar and in-room dining (a 10 percent service charge is added to the room service bill).
Sunset Plaza, which opened in December 2010, features 100 guestrooms and suites with private, oceanview terraces, contemporary furnishings and marble bathrooms that include rainshowers. When they aren’t gazing at the Pacific Ocean views, guests can kick back in their rooms and watch a DVD on their 32-inch LCD television, browse the Web for free and listen to their favorite tunes through their in-room iPod docking station. My recommendation would be to keep the music levels low, however. During my stay, I found the walls to be quite thin: Not only did I hear the couple next to me use a blender at 7:30 a.m., but I could also hear the sound of Windows booting up on their computer. On the plus side, I was lured to sleep each night by the sound of crashing waves.
One-bedroom suites can sleep up to two adults and three children and offer a fully-equipped kitchenette with granite countertops, a queen-size sofa bed in the living room, a king-size bed, two full bathrooms, a private Jacuzzi tub and sunbeds for lounging on the terrace.
The resort makes it easy for families to spend time together in addition to giving mom and dad opportunities for alone time. For fun in the sun, guests will find themselves either lounging at the infinity pool, family pool or the adult pool with its Balinese beds. Children and teens can chill at the kids’ club, equipped with an Xbox 360 console, a Nintendo Wii and a PlayStation 3 as well as a miniature cinema, a playground and mini golf. While the kids are at play, adults can feel the burn at the resort’s small but sufficient fitness center that features five Technogym cardiovascular machines with iPod docks.
A workout might be in order if guests choose the all-inclusive plan and indulge themselves at Sunset Plaza’s two full-service restaurants, self-service deli or its lounges that serve signature tropical drinks. The Sunset Lobby Bar offers live music on Saturday nights and stays open until 1 a.m. Mirador Bistro & Grill features a show kitchen, where guests can watch chefs in action, and La Trattoria di Luciano offers traditional Italian cuisine and a selection of wine. Deli La Canela serves sandwiches and salads from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily (except on Mondays, when the deli is closed).
“Guests prefer our hotel because they can experience gourmet cuisine and upscale service at the best location in Puerto Vallarta,” said Chavez. “We’re located just one mile away from the airport and one mile away from downtown Puerto Vallarta, where visitors can experience our culture and the warmth of local living.”
Sunset Plaza Beach Resort & Spawww.sunsetplaza.com.mx
Winter prices start at $131 per night for a Deluxe Room or $156 for a suite. All-inclusive rates start at $214 per night or $270 for a suite.