All-inclusive resorts typically don't achieve four- or five-diamond hotel status from discriminating professional reviewers, but Mexico's Velas Resorts is an exception.
Casa Velas Puerto Vallarta, the only adults-only resort in the collection, earned a Travelers' Choice Mexico All-Inclusive designation from TripAdvisor. It is located in a golf-course setting five minutes from the airport and a fifteen-minute ride away from downtown Puerto Vallarta.
Its all-inclusive pricing includes accommodations; breakfast, lunch and dinner a la carte at Emiliano and Ocean Club restaurants; 24-hour room service; a minibar with snacks and drinks; many premium wine and booze brands; gym and pool; golf course discount; taxes, tips and gratuities; and privileges at sister property Velas Vallarta Suite Resort.
If you care to luxuriate in a spa, want to practice yoga or golf, and appreciate quality cuisine, this is a place where it's all possible. Your accommodations won't be right on the beach, but a complimentary shuttle can transport you to and from the resort's private oceanfront Beach Club, three minutes away.
Staying in a Guest Room
Intimate in comparison to sprawling Mexico all-inclusives, Casa Velas Puerto Vallarta contains just 80 units. In terms of space and amenities, they range from the master suite to grand class suite to grand class special suite to governor suite to the top-of-the-line presidential suite.
Cool marble floors complement bright furnishings and a king-size bed, and balconies provide views of tropical foliage and vividly hued flowers. All suites provide satellite TV, a safe deposit box, coffee maker, goose down feather duvets, bathrobes and slippers, and Bulgari amenities.
There is a charge for in-room Internet access. What almost makes up for that is the free minibar stocked with water, sodas, beer, and juice plus a snack tray with chips, nuts, granola bars, and such.
Several units feature a small private plunge pool and artwork by Mexican artist Sergio Bustamante.
Don't expect to have to wait in a buffet line here. Everything is cooked to order and fresh, thanks to the hotel's own organic garden.
Emiliano, the resort's white-tablecloth restaurant, features both air-conditioned indoor tables and outside seating overlooking the pool and golf course. The kitchen is guided by one of the area's leading chefs.
One of the most popular appetizers at dinner is a lobster and crab roll in a tangerine sauce. Carnivores can opt for the filet mignon entrée while piscivores savor tuna in a sesame-seed crust, grilled bay sea bass, or sautéed shrimp. Seductive desserts range from a traditional opera cake to an orange-and-mint marinated strawberry cake with rum and vanilla sauce.
Wine lovers can choose from included vintages or trade up to priced wines. In addition, there are two bars: Aqua Bar in the main swimming pool, and the Lobby Bar.
Casa Velas' private Beach Club lunch menu offers deli sandwiches and sushi. An Asiatic Bistro dinner menu and spa cuisine are also available. Guests also have the option of dining at Velas Vallarta, which has a steakhouse and themed buffets each night.
Weddings and Honeymoons
Casa Velas wedding venues include the pool area and the Ocean Club terrace. For couples planning a destination wedding, the Take Over Wedding package basically lets you own the resort for a long weekend, accommodating family in friends in the resort’s 80 suites.
The bride and groom in a Take Over get a free wedding and an upgrade to Presidential Suite. The package includes three days for the wedding party that include a welcome dinner with live music on the first night; the rehearsal dinner; the wedding ceremony and reception with a four-course menu, decorations, and the services of a wedding coordinator.
Couples on a honeymoon or getaway can opt for the resort's Romance Package, which consists of accommodations, spa treatments, sweet treats, sparkling wine upon arrival, a Rhythms of the Night tour courtesy of Vallarta Adventures, and more.
Swimming and Golf
Casa Velas has two pools. The main one overlooking the golf course features the swim-up Aqua Bar, loungers, and ample umbrellas to shade you from the hot Mexico sun. A small ice bucket with water is thoughtfully provided within arm's reach, and other drinks and lunch can be delivered to your lounger.
There's another pool at Casa Velas' Ocean Club, a half-mile from the hotel. Beach and water sports are available.
If golf's your game, Casa Velas sits on the greens of Marina Vallarta’s 18-hole course, which features lush vegetation, natural lagoons, and views of Banderas Bay. The hotel also offers discounts at two other 18-hole courses 20 minutes away. The Jack Nicklaus one is 72 par at 7,073 yards. The Tom Weiskopf course features a 72 par layout and is 6,976 yards. Its terrain is extreme with dense jungles, deep ravines, and swift creeks.
Spa at Casa Velas
Done in contemporary Mexican décor, intimate Spa Casa Velas has couples suites as well as single rooms. Guests can opt to have treatments outdoors in the garden or at the Ocean Club. The menu includes massages, body wraps, and facials. The indoor spa also has separate hydrotherapy areas for men and women, a gym, beauty salon, spa boutique and a garden-view fitness center.
Is Casa Velas Puerto Vallarta Right for You?
If you prefer an intimate hotel to a crowded one, you'll appreciate the boutique nature of this property, which belongs to the Leading Small Hotels of the World.
However, if you insist on a beachfront location for your Mexico vacation, you may not like having to catch the shuttle to the resort's Ocean Club, where the sandy shore awaits.
Although every once in a while a long-time guest will arrive with a baby in tow, Casa Velas does its best to direct the stroller crowd to the neighboring and family-friendly Velas Vallarta. The rule is, guests here must be 15 years of age or older to stay.
Two other drawbacks to be aware of are that there's really only one restaurant on the premises, so you might get bored on a longer stay. Also, there's a charge for in-room wi-fi.