Like many of the region’s greatest travel destinations, Puerto Vallarta was once just a tiny village built on fishing and, well, not much else.
After it became it became a destination for celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor in the late 1960s, though, the area took off. Indeed, if you ask a traveler about Puerto Vallarta today, odds are she’ll mention Liz.
Puerto Vallarta has become a chic getaway that hasn’t lost its authentic charm. And it’s full of hotels, from the heart of Puerto Vallarta to Punta Mita.
They all add up to what has become one of Mexico’s full-fledged tourism hotspots . Here are the five best Puerto Vallarta Hotels.
Four Seasons Punta Mita
It doesn’t get any better than Four Seasons’ luxury outpost on the white sands of the Riviera Nayarit, about an hour outside of central Puerto Vallarta. But it’s more than worth the trek, with gorgeous rooms, a world-class spa, top-level golf and an array of delightful eateries (including Bahia by celebrity chef Richard Sandoval).
This hotel was the first AAA Five Diamond resort in Puerto Vallarta proper and remains one of the area’s greatest places to stay, both adults-only and a welcome all-inclusive option. There are four suite categories (along with a penthouse option), with even the basic Mousai Suite option including a whopping 1,069 square feet, gold-tiled jetted plunge pool and an en-suite bathroom, among other features.
While the Velas brand is known for its larger, gourmet-focused resorts, Casa Velas is refreshingly small, covered in gardens and filled with the kind of spectacular food you expect from the company.
The suites are stellar, too: luxury amenities like local art, jacuzzis (and some plunge pools) and L’Occitane bath products.
Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit
The larger of the company’s Puerto Vallarta hotels is a 267-unit, all-suite property with all of the accommodations including private terraces, ocean views, Balinese-style furniture and even amenities like indoor and outdoor hot tubs.
And then there’s the culinary offering, with an international collection of eateries ranging from the traditional Mexican “Frida” to the Italian-focused “Lucca,” all led by star chefs from Mexico and abroad.
St. Regis Punta Mita Resort
Another one of the area’s cluster of AAA Five Diamond resorts, this Riviera Nayarit hotel has 120 rooms (including 31 suites). It also boasts the St. Regis’ hallmark: a wide variety of things to do, from golfing at a pair of Jack Nicklaus courses, going scuba diving or taking one of the hotels’ excursions to discover the abundant local flora and fauna (or even go whale watching).
Garza Blanca Reserve Resort and Spa
You won’t find many resorts like this. Set between the Sierra Madre and the Pacific coast, this Banderas Bay retreat with massive suites (particularly the wonderful Ultra Suites) has a party piece: it’s all-inclusive.
And that’s a bit of a surprise when you encounter food like this — hip, fresh and creative (particularly at the new Bocados STK eatery). Our suggestion? Go for the Ultra Suites — they’re worth the splurge.
CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort and Spa
Marriott’s sprawling beachfront Puerto Vallarta hotel is one of the best all-around Puerto Vallarta hotels, with all of the Marriott amenities and service you expect. That means private balconies, large flat-screens, a solid spa called Ohtli and almost 9,000 square feet of meeting space.
Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta
Hard Rock has some of the region’s most energy-filled resorts, and the company’s Puerto Vallarta outpost is no exception. There are 348 rooms and suites at this all-incluisve, along with excellent culinary options and the signature Hard Rock nightlife. The latter includes bars, lounges and what Hard Rock calls “endless” entertainment, from concerts to live shows.
Westin Resort and Spa, Puerto Vallarta
We’ll start with the 280 rooms, which live up to the Westin brand with its signature “Heavenly” beds, private balconies and large living areas. But the story here is really Westin’s increasing focus on developing a niche with active, health-conscious travelers. That means a terrific spa and a host of fitness offerings, from outdoor lighted tennis courts to a “Westinworkout” fitness studio including cardio, free weights and even fitness classes. But don’t worry — it’s also a great hotel for doing nothing but lounging at the beach and sipping a margarita.