Planning a trip for next year, considering an all inclusive?

Comments, tips, questions on Puerto & Nuevo Vallarta hotels, resorts, lodging and others.

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Breeze
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Planning a trip for next year, considering an all inclusive?

Post by Breeze » Sun Aug 12, 2007 4:05 am

:D Hi everyone, I found this site and it's been very interesting wandering around and learning so much from all of the posts. Seems like I found a great place.
I was wondering if anyone had any comments on whether an all inclusive vacation in PV is worth the money. We are considering the Fiesta Americana or the Westin. I would love some feedback from anyone on this. Can't wait to go but since it's our first trip to PV we want to know the in's and out's of the hotels there. We will be spending 7 days there and want to make the most of our time.
Thanks for a great site....learned so much already.
Breeze

Oh just a little side question, where do you all get those cute little countdown tickers I see on the posts? Love that little idea!! 8)

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Post by ronald » Sun Aug 12, 2007 4:25 am

Welcome to the Board....
whether an all inclusive vacation in PV is worth the money.
An all inclusive is worth the money to me.. My wife and I hardly drink, yet find that it fits with our temperament, as we lounge around the hotel for our week or two. The AI is not really that much more money, and guarantees I can always have a good breakfast, and snacks, even if we choose to go out on the 'town' and eat at the many other great places. If you have a really great hotel, (We stay at the Melia), then the great food is a super bonus, and keeps you there even more. If you plan on doing a lot of drinking (booze).... then AI is the absolute way to go.

Your other option is to get a place that also has a kitchen and then cook in your rooms, but the wife says she does enough of that the rest of the f*n year, so no way. BTW: I did not know that the Westin offered AI, news to me if they do, but I'm wrong 50% of the time (according to the wife) so consider where it came from.

The tickers well: I don't know, have never had one myself... heard you had to sell your soul (heart anyway) to the 'ticker' salesman to get one...LOL.

By the way Breeze; Don't be shy, inquiring minds want to know the four w's. Who are you, where from, when going, what you planning on doing?

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Fiesta Americana

Post by smitty » Sun Aug 12, 2007 9:50 am

Hi Breeze and welcome aboard . My wife and I did the AI package at Fiesta 2 yrs ago . The food, facilities and service were superb . If you use the search function you will find a much more detailed report . Good luck with your decision. :)

Info on the ticker from a previous post by Mod Lori :

Go to tickerfactory.com once you have selected your ticker you will be given a bb code below it. Copy that code and paste it into your signature box on your profile page.

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Post by KVR » Sun Aug 12, 2007 2:03 pm

We really enjoy AI hotels and on go AI when the destination has the option. Many people don't like them. They feel the food is geared more for the masses, ie; quanity over quality, and that most people tend to stay at thier resort and not venture out to try the area's local fare. We find that accessment inacurate.

We enjoy AI for breakfast, snacks and unlimited drinks. We tend to eat off property for lunches and dinner, but like the option of staying on the resort if we want to. Many AI hotels now have ala cart resturants that are good, so you not stuck to eating buffet dinners your entire vacation. We've done our fair share of AI hotels vs. non-AI hotels and find the AI choice is much more cost efficient when dinners usually come to about $100 with drinks and drink prices are around $3.00 for beer and $6.00 for mixed drinks. If your a big eater and enjoy unlimited cocktails, than AI is a good choice.

We are also planning our first trip to PV next year and we are having a difficult time choosing a hotel. We are used to the AI hotels like in Cancun and Playa del Carmen that have nice amenties, lots of dining choices and are close t to shopping, entertainment and other activities. We are finding that those type of hotels in PV are distant from the actual town so were debating hotel over location.

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Breeze
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Thanks so much for the feedback!!!

Post by Breeze » Sun Aug 12, 2007 2:47 pm

:D Wow, thanks everyone for the quick response. I so appreciate the feedback and find this site to be quite informative and friendly. Sounds like AI is a good deal so we will probably be going that way.
As far as the Westin offering AI packages the info came from my travel agent so I just assumed he was correct. Could be he's made an error on that particular hotel, not sure. My brother used to work for the Westin in Seattle and Boston so I know the hotel has a terrific rep even if they may not offer an all inclusive. Have to check into that a bit further I suppose.
We are in the early planning stages for our trip so I've a bit of time to get it all worked out.
I'll have to also go into my profile and put in the particulars, haven't had much of a chance to do all that yet.
Off to visit "ticker.com", feel the need to spice up my little space here, lol.
Thanks so much everyone, check back later with you all.

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Post by pvfunlover » Sun Aug 12, 2007 5:08 pm

Hi Breeze and KVR. The Golden Crown Paradise is an excellent adults only all inclusive with 3 ala carte restaurants. The staff and service are excellent also along with great food, a nice pool and fair beach. It's only about a 10 minute cab ride to downtown. I've been 6 times in the last 3 years and am returning for #7 Nov. 7th.

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Post by KVR » Sun Aug 12, 2007 11:42 pm

pvfunlover wrote:Hi Breeze and KVR. The Golden Crown Paradise is an excellent adults only all inclusive with 3 ala carte restaurants. The staff and service are excellent also along with great food, a nice pool and fair beach. It's only about a 10 minute cab ride to downtown. I've been 6 times in the last 3 years and am returning for #7 Nov. 7th.
Thanks, but that hotel seems a little too "partyish" for us. We do like to party, just not at the resort. That's where we would like quite time. We want to go into town to do the partying. Also is seems too far away from PV. We had decided on Playa Los Arcos, but got lots of negative feedback about crowding and too many children. So we started looking at Dreams. It's not a close as we want, but might work. I also looked at Villa Premier, but the pool looks drab, it's a little too pricey and not sure it's in the area of town we want. An input?

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Post by tojol57 » Mon Aug 13, 2007 12:25 pm

There aren't too many adults only all inclusives.. yes the GCP can have a tendancy to party thru out the day, but no body says you have to participate, the beach area is pretty quiet... we are 12 time returning guests with #13 scheduled for November and #14 set for February 2008... lots of good options by staying at this resort...

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To AI or not to AI

Post by marcos » Mon Aug 13, 2007 4:26 pm

Well, I'll put in my 2 centavos worth as well.

Personally I would not do AI here in PV. Perhaps in other areas of the world like the DR or Jamaica where you might not want to venture outside of your hotel but not here in PV.

I agree that the choice is a personal one ... some folks like to know exactly what their vacation will cost them before they leave home ... others like the availability of the snacks, booze and soft drinks throughout the day.

For Sue and I, I find that the cost of a non-AI vacation is pretty reasonable (price wise) and gives us the opportunity to explore the various eating opportunities. Our budget is $100 USD per day for the 2 of us for food and drinks. We usually stay in a condo so that we've got a refrigerator to keep stuff cold. But even if we didn't, a cooler and ice in a hotel room would work out as well.

We never cook anything at the condo, just have cereal and fruit for breakfast and fix sandwiches and stuff for lunch. Total cost of this is assuredly less than $10 USD per day for the 2 of us. We rarely spend more than $30 USD for dinner including tips and a drink apiece. Not fancy, expensive places like Bruce's or the Panorama or El Arryan, etc. but modest places like Machi's, Sr. Sweeneys, Las Margaritas, Tia Catrina,etc. Some evenings we'll even eat at a taco stand.

But the bottom line is we spend about $40 USD per day in food and maybe another $30 USD per evening in adult beverages.

So if I were AI'ing it and eating most of my dinners out as well as going "out on the town" every evening, the AI would need to be priced at $10 to $20 USD per day higher (for 2 people) than the non-AI option. And I suspect that the add-on AI charge is considerably higher than that at most hotels that offer both.

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Westin

Post by Jennybean » Mon Aug 13, 2007 6:09 pm

Yes, the Westin does offer AI. It's not cheap so take that into consideration...it's also not inexpensive to NOT go AI at the Westin if you plan to stick around the resort a lot.

I won't rehash but simply agree with what marcos wrote. It's all a matter of perspective whether AI is worth it for you. For some it is, for others (like me) it isn't. Rest assured though PV isn't a place that you should feel obligated to do it because there are limited alternatives. With over 1400 restaurants around the bay, you certainly wouldn't starve if you chose not to do it. :)

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Post by KVR » Mon Aug 13, 2007 6:09 pm

I agree AI vs. non AI is a personal choice. Personally, I'm not going on vacation and staying in a condo. I want a nice hotel with wait service, good resturants and a spa. I'm also not going to the grocery store, fix food or cook on vacation just to save some money. I might as well stay home. For our vacation we want to eat out, drink , be waited on and be somewhat pampered. So it really depends on what type of vacation your looking for.

Some AI hotels are priced better than others so it pays to research some of the popular travel sites and compare prices. For my area, NH Krystal has a $940.00 difference between AI and non AI for a 7 night stay, while the Buenaventura is only $422. The Villa Premiere is $1,038. So I definatly would not stay there. Some AI properties don't offer the choice, so you just have to decided if the price is worth it to you knowing you'll also spend money outside of the hotel in food/drinks.

When we went to Aruba last year, all the message boards indicated to not go AI because of all the numermous wonderful resturants. Well, we went AI anyway and was so glad we did. We did eat off property a couple of times, which equaled around $100 for both of us with a couple of drinks and dessert. 7 nights of that would have been way out of our budget and that would not have inlcuded breakfast, lunch, snacks and drinks around the pool or beach.

We've done two non AI tropical vacations, 9 AI Caribbean/Mexico vacations, and 3 cruises where food is included, but not drinks. We will never do non-AI again unless the destination, ie; United States, doesn't offer the choice. Again, it's a personal choice.

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AI

Post by Jennybean » Mon Aug 13, 2007 6:21 pm

The other thing you need to consider in PV is that if you purchase a cheaper all inclusive you will get exactly what you paid for...a cheaper all inclusive. No lobster thermidor, no pool boys spritzing you with Evian, no 3 times a day a-la carte and certainly no top shelf or name brand liquor unless you pay extra for it.

There are a limited number of "upscale" all inclusives in PV, and you will pay more for that privilege. If you are ok with buffets and national branded booze then by all means, there are a few mid-level AIs that get decent reviews...but if you want to be pampered in five star style, you should expect to pony up. :wink:

EDIT:
I'm also not going to the grocery store, fix food or cook on vacation just to save some money.
After just having returned from a 7 day stay in a 5 star boutique hotel with my own full kitchen available to me everyday, I can assure you contrary to your belief it isn't about saving money - it's about convenience and availability. I cooked exactly one meal in 7 days and that was a group breakfast for the 8 of us. By choice. My fridge was a depository for our snacks, drinks, mixes and leftovers from takeout deliveries or the myriad of fine restaurants we patronized in that week.

It's about choice and IMO I think your comments might be a bit misguided. It's your opinion, but you're painting with a broad and not terribly accurate brush.

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Post by Breeze » Mon Aug 13, 2007 7:33 pm

8) You all rock here, such a great variety of responses and well worth considering them all. We are leaning towards an AI but haven't ruled out other options as well. We really want to be pampered as it's our first time there. Off course we aren't made of money either so not opposed to saving money either, lol. We really want a nice pool area and a swim up bar sounds just so fun.
So again, thank you all for your valuable input.
So much to do, so much to see and always so little time.
:wink:

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Post by benito » Mon Aug 13, 2007 9:45 pm

i would skip the AI, there are so many good restaurants in pv. a lot of the fun of return visits is finding new places to eat. either way you decide, definitely try the taco wagons. we always go to the ones the locals are hanging out at. they're cheap and the food is tasty!!

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Post by teduardo » Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:22 pm

We have rented a condo with a full kitchen the last nine trips, and I can assure you no meals have been cooked while we are staying there, we eat every meal out.

The condo has two baths, which is a big plus to us. There is a restaurant on the ground floor that will bring meals to the unit should you want. While we don't cook, having a full size fridge to keep cold beverages and left overs is great. We hardly ever need a taxi since we are walking distance to many great restaurants and bars. There is a rooftop pool, which does not have blaring music and tons of people bellyaching about the people who hogged up all the loungers early in the morning, there are always available loungers. No swim up bar, but we just take our own cocktails.

AI or not is a personal choice, it works very well for many, just not for us, especially in PV.

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Re: AI

Post by KVR » Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:22 pm

Jennybean wrote:It's about choice and IMO I think your comments might be a bit misguided. It's your opinion, but you're painting with a broad and not terribly accurate brush.
Actually, after 13 tropcial vacations, numerous vacations throughout the US and more planned for this year and 2008, (leaving in 3 weeks for Playa del Carmen again) my comments are accurate and justified. It's your opinion on AI hotels that sounds a little misguided and not terribly accurate to me IMHO :?

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Re: AI

Post by KVR » Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:31 am

Jennybean wrote:The other thing you need to consider in PV is that if you purchase a cheaper all inclusive you will get exactly what you paid for...a cheaper all inclusive. No lobster thermidor, no pool boys spritzing you with Evian, no 3 times a day a-la carte and certainly no top shelf or name brand liquor unless you pay extra for it.
Just wondering, have you ever stayed at an AI resort? Based on that comment, it doesn't appear that you have or if you did you didn't pick the right one to have a great experience. I do agree in most instances you get what you pay for. But there are many decent priced AI's that included lobster on selected nights, ala cart resturants for breakfast, lunch and dinner and top shelf liquor that is not extra $$$. ie, many hotels in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Mexican Riveria, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Sandals, Couples, RIU, Iberostars, Royal and Breezes properties just to name a selected few.

Personally, I don't want a pool boy spritzing me with water at the pool anyway or butler service like some top AI's have now. That's not worth the money or increases the overall value and experience in a vacation, but then again just my humble opinion.

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Sigh

Post by Jennybean » Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:59 am

Sigh...here we go again...
Just wondering, have you ever stayed at an AI resort?
Yes I have. And my commentary stands. If the original poster wants to be pampered and have the best, they should expect to pay more for it in PV, because you just won't get the same standard of quality at somewhere like the Buenaventura that you would at the Velas Vallarta (as an example). Vallarta is not and has never been known as a prime AI destination in the same vein as the locales you keep waving in our face, and it's comparing apples to oranges. If it was, there would be more than a handful of truly exceptional AIs on the bay to choose from...and sorry, there isn't more than a handful of upper end.

And as I said (and appears to have been ignored), for those looking for a price conscious vacation who don't need to be pampered, there ARE modest mid range AIs in Vallarta that offer a good value (like the aforementioned Buenaventura)...but it's better people know going in if they are choosing that type of AI to not expect upscale at them and then they aren't disappointed. Certainly you cannot disagree with that??

You are entitled to your opinion, however waving your 13 tropical vacations in my face dilutes your points made, considerably - bragging doesn't make your information any more or less valid and seems a bit petty. I've taken that many trips just to PV alone, and I know the territory - and I get slammed enough by folks like you for my non-AI stance even though I DO know the territory, very well. After going AI in Vallarta I determined it was neither for me, nor necessary in all cases, and that people venturing there should keep an open mind and decide what is for them based on ALL available information, not just one side.

Which was the original point before you chose to eviscerate it, with all due respect. :?

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Post by pdxbuff » Tue Aug 14, 2007 3:20 am

Go for it "Jellybean!" Bravo!

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Post by ronald » Tue Aug 14, 2007 5:23 am

Hi, How you doing today Breeze?

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