Grand Miramar Puerto Vallarta has added the phrase "All Luxury Suites & Residences" to its name, and why not? It is perched atop hills high above the Pacific coastal road and offers views of Puerto Vallarta to the immediate north. The resort is connected to that main road by a steep, winding cobblestone driveway. The center of the city is about 5-10 minutes away by cab or shuttle bus.
But in many ways, you'll feel much further away from the bustle of one of Mexico's fastest-growing resort cities. Grand Miramar Puerto Vallarta is for people who enjoy sweeping views, great amenities and tranquility.
Dining and Spa Facilities
Among the five on-site restaurants is Cielito Lindo, which offers a buffet-style breakfast from 7-11 a.m. each day. It sits behind an infinity pool and wide views of ocean and city.
Casianos is the newest of the restaurants, serving Mexican gourmet specialties for dinner, from 6-10:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. For more casual dining, La Mar is open for lunch 1-4:30 and for dinner 6-10:30. Although it might not be quite as upscale as Casianos, the view is one of the best in Puerto Vallarta.
The gourmet meals, as one might imagine, do come at prices that could cause budget travelers to regard this as a splurge rather than a daily dinner spot. There are dining options in town that come with lower prices.
The spa caters exclusively to guests and offers anti-aging treatments, massages, body wraps, steam therapy, and facials as well as manicure, pedicure, haircut and beauty salon services.
Staff members speak excellent English and will make arrangements for local excursions at your request.
Upscale without Staggering Prices
Grand Miramar Puerto Vallarta has the feel of a five-star resort. There is a helpful staff ready to serve. Three picturesque pools and a full patio await your attention, as does a spa. Restaurants offer gourmet selections or just a simple breakfast with Banderas Bay as the backdrop for each meal.
But this property, on the southern edge of Puerto Vallarta, can be booked for under $200/night at certain times of year and with a few conditions (such as multiple nights or non-refundable payments).
There is a work-out area near the top of the resort. You'll be hard-pressed to find a more scenic overlook as you pile up miles on the treadmill.
I stayed in a junior suite, the lowest level of accommodation but nonetheless furnished with features such as granite counter-tops, two large flat-screen televisions and free WI-Fi. It was equipped with a full kitchen, small dining area, living room, separate bedroom and spacious bathroom. The balcony faced the bay and offered dramatic views.
Studio Superior and Master Suites are more expensive, and there is a penthouse with a private pool, large dining and living room facilities, and four separate bedrooms that could accommodate four families or a business retreat. The penthouse (Governor's Suite) can be booked starting at about $1,300/day, but is large enough to accommodate groups and small meetings.
Although there is no beach, guests are welcomed at the Blue Shrimp Beach Club for a modest fee. A free shuttle bus runs between the beach club (in the heart of central Puerto Vallarta) and the resort during certain times of the day.
During my stay, occupancy appeared to be relatively low. Tables were easily found in the restaurant, as were chairs by the pool. Those who enjoy meeting lots of people in a festive, boisterous atmosphere could be disappointed here. Obviously, my experience was at a single moment in time and does not necessarily reflect what you might find.
Beware of Timeshare Salespeople
I did not encounter any timeshare sales offers during my stay. But timeshare sales are offered here by a separate company (as is common at resorts throughout this area) and you might qualify for incentives such as a free excursion if you sign up for the presentation.
If you are interested in a timeshare deal, and you like the setting, it might be worth your time. But as a general rule, you're better off paying for whatever they're offering for free and skipping the sales presentation.
Accepting these offers usually isn't a good strategy in the long run.
Be honest with yourself and the sales staff. If you spend hours listening to offers you won't accept in exchange for a free excursion or a discount, you waste the salespeople's time and your own valuable vacation day, Stress and hard feelings sometimes result.
Since Grand Miramar Puerto Vallarta isn't in the center of town, you'll need transportation every day of your stay. If you can't catch the free shuttle, you'll be spending money on cab rides. Always negotiate the price of that ride prior to getting in the cab.
If you arrive from the Gustavo Diaz Ordaz/Puerto Vallarta International Airport, expect a ride of about 20-30 minutes to reach the resort in the Conchas Chinas section, a hilly area south of Puerto Vallarta just off of route 200 (which runs from the airport into the city). The trip should cost about $10.
What the location lacks in convenience is balanced by its natural beauty. If you're willing to make that trade, a stay at the Grand Miramar Puerto Vallarta is worth considering.
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As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary services for review purposes. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.