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Trip Report Garza Blanca Preserve -Puerto Vallarta

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I posted this on TripAdvisor but in case anyone in here is thinking about going to Garza Blanca, I've reprinted my review of it here:

This was our third time to Puerto Vallarta and our first stay at Garza Blanca. We stayed there for the first four nights of an eight night trip and in the end we enjoyed it very much. However, there were a couple of problems in our first 5 hours there. First, the check-in process was frustrating and not in keeping with what I would consider the type of service a luxury property should offer. Before getting our room keys, we were escorted over to the concierge, purportedly so she could describe the resort to us. However, in reality it was for a twenty minute sales pitch to get us to agree to sit through a sales presentation in return for a free breakfast and some other discounts at the hotel (spa service discounts, food discounts, etc.). It was very annoying - after traveling over 8 hours to get there, I just wanted to get to my room, unpack, and refresh. I do not blame the concierge for this - it is obviously hotel policy as everyone checking in goes through this. And in fact, it looked like it was pretty successful, because when we went for breakfast each day, more than half of the people were eating breakfast with their assigned sales person. Ugh. Not for me. After repeated pleading from the concierge, we continued to say we were not interested and she finally gave up. The second issue occurred in early evening when we discovered that there were no ice machines. I know some hotels deliver ice to your room, rather than having ice machines and that's fine. So I called down to have some ice delivered at around 6:00. I was told that someone would be there shortly with our ice. We waited and waited and waited. About 45 minutes after the initial call, I called again to remind them. Again I was told someone should be there shortly. Another 45 minutes passes with no ice. I make a third call and the woman apologized and said they must have forgot. She said she would call the supervisor. That finally did the trick because about 15 minutes after my call, the ice was delivered. It should not take almost 2 hours to get a bucket of ice.

Okay, now that I got that out of the way, the remainder of the stay was excellent. It's a beautiful resort. We stayed in one of the panoramic suites that are set back into the mountain. We were basically nestled in the forest and could see the mountains to one side and the ocean in front of us. The view was stunning. Nice big balcony with two chairs and table, lounge chair and a hammock. The room itself was large and very nicely appointed. No complaints whatsoever. We were originally booked in an oceanfront room, but I was eligible for an Expedia member upgrade. We were hesitant at first because we thought we would prefer to be oceanfront (the tower with the ocean front rooms is down the mountain, right on the beach). But we were satisfied. You can either walk down to the main pool and beach or you can take a trolley which the hotel provides (there is also a smaller pool at our level). The trolley was pretty convenient. Never had to wait more than a few minutes for it.

We ate at the Steakhouse, Blanca Blue twice, and Hiroshi (which is at the sister property Mousai. All dinners were excellent. We had planned on going into centro for one of the dinners but we enjoyed the food so much at the hotel that we just stayed on premise. The sea bass at Blanca Blue was one of the best cooked pieces of fish I've ever had.

We did not purchase the available all inclusive - which would have been an additional $115 per person per day. And I'm glad we didn't because all of our food and drinks that we purchased at the hotel came out to an average of about $140 per day for both of us, about $90 less per day than the all inclusive. We are not day drinkers so no fancy drinks at the pool and we did bring some of our own alcohol so we could have drinks on the balcony in our room. We also sat at the bar outside Blanca Blue and ordered after dinner drinks and coffees.

The food at the pool was good with the sole exception of the chicken wings which were awful. My favorite pool lunch were the fish tacos. Service as the pool was excellent too. The waiters were friendly and efficient. Small beach. not a great walking beach but the water is very (extremely) clear and it's calm, which makes it good for kayaking or snorkeling.

RIde from the airport was about 40 minutes. I'd say it would be about a 15 minute taxi ride from Centro.

I would definitely return to this place.

PS - I would note that there were an inordinate amount of beetles that flew onto our balcony. I think probably because of the jungle. It might not be that way if you were in the tower closest to the ocean. In any event, the hotel must use a lot of pesticide because within minutes of a beetle landing on our balcony, they were on their backs dying. We got used to it - there are bugs in the jungle, no getting around that. But if you have a particular aversion to beetles or insects in general (or pesticides!), you are now forewarned.

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