Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Villa Premiere, Puerto Vallarta

On our balcony at the hotel.

Last week, Sara and I spent the week sitting in the sun in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We're both in the midst of life transitions and thought what better way to debrief and re-group than to sit around in a beautiful (and WARM) place in the middle of February?

We stayed in a small hotel right in town on the water called Villa Premiere. Overall it was a very nice place: clean, directly on the water, with excellent customer service but overall very odd clientele. Don't worry, I'll elaborate on those characters later.

View at dinner.
The hotel had both an all-inclusive and a European plan option. We opted for the European plan (i.e. mels and drinks not included) because we planned to do our dinnertime eating and drinking elsewhere. Which was an excellent choice both because the food at our place was mediocre (but passable and NOT buffet, thank goodness) and because Sara chose two fantastic dinner spots for us in town. The views from the hotel restaurant were excellent, however, as evidenced by the picture to the right.

The Villa Premiere's schtick is spa-style relaxation. On arrival, we were given glasses of champagne, 5 minute chair massages, a pillow menu (you know, where you pick the style/firmness of pillow you prefer) and choice of aromatherapy. While they "aromatherapized" our rooms we enjoyed the booze and massage. It was a very nice way to transition from the flight and the not-so-pretty drive through town into relaxation mode. They also had a spa whose services ended up being the highlight of the trip for both of us. Specifically, we indulged in an amazing 80 minute aromatherapy massage. In addition to only costing $70 which is crazy cheap, it was right on the beach. The sound of the waves, the feel of the sun and the breeze, and the wonderful experience that is a well executed massage. All senses were in overdrive except vision; it was so relaxing.

Massage location. AMAZING!

In addition to 1 day time and 2 night time restaurants, an indoor gym, and the spa, the grounds had 2 pools including a swim up bar. There were plenty of beach chairs as well as private cabanas. There was yoga every morning on the beach and various activities like cooking classes. We did yoga one morning and it was so wonderful. All the balance moves were that much harder on the uneven sand but it made it all the better of a workout:)

Chilling in the cabana once we'd had enough sun!

The staff went out of their way to help us. My two favorite touches were the towel animals (I'm a sucker for towel animals) and the fact that the doorman told us how much each taxi ride should cost so we wouldn't get ripped off by the drivers. I really appreciated that because I hate negotiating prices especially when I'm not sure how much things "should" cost.

All of the rooms face the ocean. In fact one really weird feature of most of the hotels on the water is that there are only windows on the water side of the buildings. The city side is just one slab of concrete. It looks super creepy. I understand why- the area of PV right outside the hotels is not very pretty, is quite loud, and the pollution is palpable, very much a developing country. By facing the water, all we (the tourists) hear is the waves crashing on the beach, we only see pretty sites and somehow the air seems perfectly clean. Kinda creepy looking, though.
View from the balcony.
Whale sighting from the balcony. Didn't get my camera out in time to show the tail.

Overall, I can recommend Villa Premiere if you are going to PV, as long as you are willing to be amused by some strange folks keeping you company around the pool (actually this was quite entertaining). However, I would not necessary recommend PV as a vacation destination. Don't get me wrong, Sara and I had a great time and the beach was absolutely beautiful. But there are places that are even more beautiful with more fun activities without some of the downsides and inconveniences of PV....like Hawai'i. But I think I understand why some folks (I think mostly middle aged folks) go to PV year after year. It is relatively cheap and for many this is their only "international" experience. But I personally prefer trips where there is a bit more to do. Again, not complaining- just assessing the pros and cons of the trip for future travel plans:) There's so much world to see!


  1. It really sounds like a beautiful getaway, very relaxing. And I love it when the sutff is so nice to people, besides you can see from the beautiful pictures that is an amazing and great place, I was wondering from what you saw are all the hotels in
    puerto vallarta
    like that, with that amazing view??