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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Now Amber Puerto Vallarta and Secrets Vallarta Bay!

This is the new resort in Puerto Vallarta. It's really close to downtown. Cabs were like $5 - $7 which was great because I love going into the flea market and walking down the Malecon.

Sand Santa on the Malecon!

This is two resorts in one. When you arrive you are directed to which lobby to enter.

  Both resorts look very similar and sit up high with an amazing view of the ocean. The bell hops greet you with champagne and cold towels. We were in the preferred club tower so as soon as they saw that they took us straight over there so we didn't have to wait in line. You sit down at the desk and the check in process was easy. The longest part was when we realized  my parents were "upgraded" to the Secrets side but we didn't want them all the way over so we upgraded them back to a Master Swim up suite so we could be right next door to each other.

And this is extra why I loved this resort: my room category. Clients make comments all the time like "I'm not in my room very much so it doesn't matter." Oh it does matter! It matters if it sucks (I will hear about it!) and it totally makes it better if it's awesome!  The room had 2 bathrooms with a huge living room and the best part - a huge balcony with a pool! The pool is just for the swim out suites in the preferred club section. I think there was about 8 rooms. There are 2 "garden view" mater swim out suites right next to each other. You could totally still see the ocean from them. This was the balcony. And one of my favorite parts is they have that middle part so you can lay in the water and the waitstaff would walk right up the side of the pool and bring drinks or guacamole. This is vacation to me!
And check out the mini bar:

The resort is kind of like a cruise where they put a daily activity schedule in your room each night with their turn down service. They had dancing lessons, archery, black jack (which I won a bottle of tequila at BTW), beach volleyball and the list goes on. I love places like this because it gives you options of being involved or not.
The NOW Amber side is the side that allows kids. The week we were there (our anniversary week) is when school is in session so there was probably about 10 kids at the whole resort. They had an awesome kids program (or at least it looked awesome). Big kids camp area with tons of stuff to do.

There are lots of restaurants to choose from. Some of the restaurants are in the main building kind of between Secrets and Now so they share. I was skeptical about all of this esp thinking if I was paying to stay on the Secrets side but I ended up really liking it. It made it so all the restaurants were open every night. I've stayed at several Secrets Resorts and it would be like only the main restaurant and one other option was open each night. They had an Asian teppanyaki style restaurant which was adults only and a Mexican one in the middle. Each resort had a seafood/steak restaurant which was sooo good. I had the mahi mahi and they said they buy it fresh at the docks. Then there was also the main buffet restaurant which was just so/so. As good as buffets come I guess. I'm never a buffet's biggest fan. Seafood restaurant with my parents and husband:

Asian restaurant:

The NOW had live music in the big open air lobby and the waitstaff appeased my husband's interest in having a drink that could be lit on fire:

Lunch at the seafood restaurant and notice the drink! It's called a Bob Marley. So good!

Ok and on to my second favorite part besides my room category:
A big bonus with being right next to a Secrets is you get the amazing spa. They had lots of plunge pools and water treatments you did before your treatment you bought. There was an attendant that brought you cookies, almonds, cucumber water or hot tea. They had a sauna and steam room.
I did a facial one day and a seaweed wrap the other day. I loved both of them. So professional and my mom kept saying "Lets go back to the spa". We both loved it.
Most of the time when you book you get coupons for the spa too which helps with the price and they really were not that overpriced for everything you get with it. This is a must do.

All in all I'm a huge fan of Now Resorts! It's part of the AM Resort chain so: Zoetry, Secrets, Dreams, Now and Sunscape.

Marival Residence and World Spa Trip

Let me start with saying this all inclusive has the best food of any all inclusive that I have visited and I have been to a ton of them! With that being said here's my full review.......

This resort is "across the street" from the beach. Brochures and online descriptions seem to make it seem like it's just right across the road but it's across the street up on the hill and down from the main resort. You wouldn't be able to walk there but there is golf cart service down there. It runs all the time so ended up not a big deal.
The driver drops you off at the entrance to where you can walk down to their special area on the beach. This wasn't like the "special" areas at other resorts where they just have a rope and it's the same as everyone elses. It was actually really nice. There are nice beach beds and teak wood looking pathways. The waitstaff was eager to help and bring drinks or snacks. The waiters even brought me an ice cream sundae one day. The resort had a basket of sunscreen and magazines which I realized when I forgot my sunscreen one day I had just donated it to the basket. This was one of the days (we went at Christmas time):

Back at the resort there's a nice pool but no swim up bar. There is a private jacuzzi with a neat waterfall. It was suppose to be adults only but people still had their toddlers over there and no one did anything about it. I'm a rule follower for the most part esp with things like that so that kind of stuff bugs me. There's a restaurant on this island type thing in the middle of the pool with amazing food.

The really popular restaurant was the one on the roof top and they had tapas from all different continents. It was so fun and we ordered a ton and watched the sunset. (and they were sooo good, if you didn't notice they have good food  theme). This was at the main restaurant and Chris said it was like the best grilled cheese ever!
I loved this curry mahi mahi:

And I'm a sucker for pretty much any caprese salad but this one was extra good:

Dessert tapas on the rooftop:


The rooms were excessively huge. Totally unnecessary but kind of fun. We had a one bedroom ocean view room. It had 2 bathrooms and a huge kitchen which I have always found bizarre at an all inclusive. The bed was super hard. I'm a little spoiled though with my bed at home.
  Pepsi products stocked in the fridge (bleh). Room service was not free. They said the fee was suppose to be like a tip (it wasn't expensive) but then there's always still a line for a tip even when you are on the all inclusive so it makes you feel a little obligated. We only tipped if there was amazing service or they went out of their way.

The spa at this resort is awesome. All the treatment rooms were different countries with the furniture and everything all from that country. The Italy room even had where you smash grapes before you get in the wine barrel looking jacuzzi before your massage. I'm giddy just thinking about it.
I dont know if I would do the Thailand lay on the mat and be stretched room:

India room (I want to go to India so bad!)

The Turkey room was the couples room complete with "sharing the experience of bathing" (this is what their website says) Kinda weird!


All in all this is a really nice resort. Perfect for upscale travelers that like good service and to not be around tons of people. You do have access to the main resort which has a little nightlife. This resort is not action packed. It's good food, service and very read a book by the pool style place.

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