The Now Spa by Pevonia is 14,000 square feet with indoor pool and luxe treatments
Private access and sun loungers on the public beach
Free parking and free Wi-Fi throughout
On-site jewelry store and boutique
24-hour room service
Aggressive vendors on the beach (a common problem in Puerto Vallarta)
Hours, reservation requirements, and dress codes at the restaurants vary
Some restaurants and the spa are part of the neighboring sister hotel, Secrets
Past guests have complained about humidity in the rooms
Pesky pitches to join the hotel's VIP Club
The 327-room Now Amber Puerto Vallarta is a family-friendly, four-and-half-pearl oceanfront property. The location is right on the beach and 15 minutes from the airport and downtown Puerto Vallarta. Seven restaurants and bars are all-inclusive, including premium alcohol. All of the spacious, sleek rooms are suites with private balconies. There's a huge spa, gorgeous pools, and separate clubs for kids and teens. The hotel doesn't nickel-and-dime guests with extra charges: everything from parking to Wi-Fi to towels and minibars are included. Note that some of the hotel's facilities (a few restaurants and the spa) are actually located next door at the sister property, Secrets.
Chic and luxurious oceanfront hotel -- but throngs of kids
The Now Amber Puerto Vallarta is sleek inside and out, though packs of well-to-do families definitely add noise and chaos in the pools and beyond. There is a breezy, open-air lobby that brings the ocean vibe indoors with gorgeous seating islands made of dark wood set above pools of clear water, that look out onto the pools and ocean beyond. Palm trees and manicured lawns add pops of green to the scene. Rows of orange sun loungers and thatch umbrellas are lined up on the sandy beach. Couples without kids should check rates at Secrets next door -- it's adults-only and quieter.
The Now Amber sits behind a gated entry along a quiet street with several business nearby, though most guests book this all-inclusive property precisely because they have no desire to leave the premises. Secrets Resort is directly next door and shares some of its (no kids allowed) features with the Now Amber. This is a safe, well-lit area with a lot of tourist traffic. It's about a 15-minute drive to both the Puerto Vallarta International Airport and the downtown scene. Parking at the hotel is free.
Clean and spacious suites -- most with ocean views
All 327 rooms at Now Amber Puerto Vallarta are suites. There are eight different options, varying mostly in terms of square footage, view, and swim-out pool option. Only two room types have garden views from the private balconies, as opposed to ocean views. Decor consists of light wood floors, white and orange walls, and chocolate brown upholstered furniture. Comfortable beds are topped with white striped duvets, plush sleeping pillows, and orange decorative pillows. Flat-screen TVs, free minibars, and free Wi-Fi are standard. Bathrooms have wooden sliding doors that can open up into the bedroom. Bathtubs, dual bowl sinks, and separate walk-in showers are standard. Soft robes and slippers are a nice touch. Past guests have occasionally complained about humidity in the rooms.
Guests can upgrade to the Preferred Club for VIP Packages (and in fact, will be aggressively encouraged to do so throughout their stay). With the extra cash comes preferred status, a private lounge, upgraded minibar service, and a suite upgrade.
Huge spa, kids and teens clubs, free Wi-Fi, and boutiques
The features at Now Amber Puerto Vallarta are focused on kids and families, with some nice extras for parents. The Now Spa by Pevonia (next door at Secrets) has over 14,000 square feet of indoor pools, saunas, steam rooms, and treatment rooms. There's also a salon for beauty services. Little kids can spend the day doing fun supervised activities at the Explorer's Club while teens have their own dedicated space with Xbox, computers, foosball, and air hockey. Wi-Fi is free and dependable throughout the property. Guests get free green fees at nearby Vista Vallarta Club de Golf. Snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, and parasailing can be arranged for a fee. Live shows, big screen movies, and theme nights are regular occurrences. On-site shopping includes a jewelry store and boutique.
The family-focused hotel doesn't see a lot of business travelers, but there is a business center, ballroom, and event spaces that are used for corporate events and weddings. Guests aren't required to wear wristbands.
Each of the swimming pools (with the exception of the swim-up pools in some of the rooms) have ocean views and are flanked by comfortable sun loungers and white umbrellas. The Activity Pool is the smallest pool, with shallow water and a basketball hoop. The kids' pool has a fun, but mild, waterslide and small water jets. Closest to the beach, the angular main pool includes an infinity edge and adjacent hot tub. Clean towels are plentiful. Poolside service is available for drinks. None of the pools are adults-only, so expect lots of screaming and splashing from the little ones at all of the swimming spots.
All-inclusive at four a la carte restaurants, a buffet, and casual grill, plus 24-hour room service
There aren't any restrictions on alcohol or food at this all-inclusive hotel, though restaurant hours and dress codes can vary. Barefoot Grill is a casual option for grilled seafood and meat. Capers serves Italian food while Carnival does an international buffet. Castaways serves Mediterranean cuisine. Coco Cafe is a nice option for takeaway salads and specialty coffees. Himitsu does pan-Asian and Tamarindo is the spot for Mexican food. Room service is available 24-hours. Reservations are never required, which can be a problem at competing all-inclusive hotels.
Parents can hire a babysitter (or leave grandma in charge) and check out the plethora of adults-only bars and lounges next door at Secrets.
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