Secrets Vallarta Bay is a luxurious, adult-only, all-inclusive resort right on the beach in tourist-friendly Puerto Vallarta. With 271 suites, it's not the biggest resort around -- the smaller size means less of a wait and better service. This property does a lot of things right: luxe rooms with butler service, unlimited premium alcohol, and gorgeous pools -- however, the vibe can get rowdy (blame the combination of all-inclusive booze and a swim-up bar). Guests should also note that some of the restaurants and daily entertainment are next door at the family-friendly Now Amber Puerto Vallarta. Still, Secrets is a quick drive to the airport and downtown, making it a convenient spot for an upscale couples getaway on the beach.
Secrets Vallarta Bay tends to draw groups of younger couples who spend the day drinking by the pool. That, combined with organized activities like water aerobics, sand volleyball, and loud music, can force more mellow couples to hide out in the secluded spa for a little peace. Some restaurants and activities take place next door at family-friendly NOW Amber, where little ones have the run of the place.
Guests enter through a security gate, then drive under an artistic white sail placed over a rock garden. Indoors, the spacious lobby includes high 3D ceilings, gray tiled walls, and a huge painting of a white unicorn and the purple sea. There are plenty of places to sit inside on clusters of chic maroon or purple armchairs. A semi-open air section of the lobby has wooden decks built over a shallow infinity edge pool and views of the ocean. Garden grounds are immaculately manicured with palm trees and flowering bushes. Canopied day beds provide a private spot to relax on the lawns.
Secrets is located in Puerto Vallarta's resort-lined Hotel Zone. It's about a 10-minute drive from Puerto Vallarta International Airport and a short (about five-minute) cab ride into the center. Guests can also walk to the center in about 20 minutes on the beachfront boardwalk. The nearest neighbor is Now Amber Puerto Vallarta, a family-forward resort (the sister property of Secrets, with additional dining options). Parking at the hotel is free.
Suites with luxe extras like swim-up pools and butler services
There are 271 suites at Secrets. The most affordable option still comes standard with marble floors, a private terrace or balcony, free minibar, flat-screen TV, and free Wi-Fi. Decor includes white and dark wood furniture, white walls with purple accents, and a circular purple armchair. Bathrooms are separated from the bedroom area with a thin sheet, which might not be private enough for some. Whirlpool tubs, glass-encased showers, double bowl sinks, and a private water closet make up the spacious bathrooms.
Upgrade to a Swim-Up Suite for private access to a shared swimming pool. Some past guests have complained that the pools don't get enough sun. Other rooms can include an outdoor whirlpool on the balcony and full ocean views. Preferred level rooms include lots of extra perks: butler service, late check out, better views of the ocean, and access to a private lounge with a buffet of snacks and drinks.
Expansive (and expensive) spa, fitness center, and entertainment
For honeymooners, it doesn't get much better than the treatments for couples (indoors or out) at the enormous on-site spa. Guests can choose from aromatherapy massages, body treatments, and beauty services like a chocolate body wrap or manicure. There is also a series of indoor pools and whirlpools with water fountains. The spacious and clean fitness center has Lifefitness cardio equipment and strength-training machines. Flat-screen TVs hang on the wall. Outdoors, look for maintained but faded tennis courts. A billiards table and ping pong table are other fun options.
Staff organizes entertainment throughout the day such as bingo and water aerobics. There's a sand volleyball net which sees a lot of use.
There is a business center with desktop computers and a printer. Wi-Fi is free throughout the property, but can be slow. Free international calls are a nice perk for staying in touch with loved ones back home.
Las Glorias Beach at Secrets is open to the public (as are most beaches in Puerto Vallarta) and past guests have complained about aggressive vendors selling handicrafts and jewelry, though that's a common grievance in this part of the world. Guests have free access to sun loungers and thatch umbrellas on the sand or on a wooden patio built overlooking the water (off-limits to anyone not staying at the hotel). There's also a massage bed under a roof structure and though the water views are nice, there isn't any privacy and it's not a quiet spot to get a rubdown. Beach towels are free. Guests can play sand volleyball or borrow kayaks and snorkel gear from the hotel. Those that want jet skis or parasailing trips won't have any trouble finding a tout on the sand.
There are three distinct swimming pools located on the patio overlooking the ocean at Secrets. The Activity Pool is rectangular in shape with one infinity edge. This is where organized activities like water aerobics take place, though it can be used for swimming and splashing as well. The Main Pool is closest to the ocean, and the action, with a swim-up bar. Some guests spend most of their vacation partially submerged with a drink in hand, in this pool. The third pool is a hybrid of whirlpool and shallow water with submerged loungers.
The pool complex is beautifully landscaped with palm trees and flowering bushes. While there are free sun loungers, past guests have reported difficulty in securing one after breakfast. Umbrellas and tables aren't as plentiful as they could be, either. Purple pool towels are free.
Some suites include a semi-private swim-up pool option, though these pools don't get a lot of sun. Technically, guests can use the swimming pools next door at Now Amber, but expect to share the pool with lots of kids.
While some resorts advertise as all-inclusive, they actually have restrictions and hidden charges -- that's not the case at Secrets. Premium booze and all restaurants are really included with the room charge. Some restaurants are only open for dinner and require appropriate attire (meaning you can't show up barefoot in your bikini).
Barefoot Grill serves a casual lunch. Carnival International Buffet and Market Cafe Buffet both do buffet-style meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Castaways offers Mediterranean food overlooking the ocean for lunch or dinner. For a fancier dinner guests can choose from a French restaurant, Italian restaurant, or an Asian restaurant. Oceana is the most romantic dinner option and the dress code here is a bit more formal with long pants and sleeves required for men.
Manatee Swim-up bar is open during the day. After that, drinkers have to dry off and head to Rendezvous lobby bar, which stays open past midnight. It's open air and overlooks the swimming pools and ocean.
Guests that book a Preferred Club Room have access to a private lounge with snacks and alcohol throughout the day and night. Minibars in all rooms are stocked with beer, booze, water, and juice. Room service and beachfront dining can be arranged for an additional charge.
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