The Hard Rock Hotel in Puerto Vallarta is located in Riviera Nayarit which is about 20 minutes away from downtown Puerto Vallarta in a development with a lot of other large hotels. It is an all-inclusive resort that we stayed at after enjoying ourselves at the Hard Rock Hotel in the Dominican Republic previously.
It is a smaller Hard Rock than the DR but it still has a lot of the fun amenities of Hard Rock Hotel. The rooms are modern and updated, there was music playing everywhere you go and a fun party vacation vibe at the pool as well as on the beach.
As an inclusive resort you get to eat drink and be merry all day and all night. You can enjoy six different restaurants with really good food as well as several different bars and lounges where you can drink your fill. Although the Hard Rock says that they serve top shelf alcohol we did notice that one of the servers was actually pouring cheaper alcohol into a nicer branded bottle so we did say something to the front desk so hopefully they have fixed the problem.
One nice thing that happened while we were there is it was my husband‘s birthday so we asked them to do something special for him and in the morning they sent up cupcakes as well as champagne and orange juice so that we could have mimosas. Then, that evening they did a special birthday dinner dessert just for him.
Hard Rock has a spa and fitness center that are very nice and almost anytime you go to a Hard Rock you can get resort credits that you can use towards various spa treatments, golf and other things like that you might want to do while on vacation. You usually just have to pay the taxes on your bookings which is roughly 20% of the price.
The least expensive rooms run a little in the low $300s a night per person and higher depending on the time of year. Thanksgiving and Christmas tend to be much more expensive, however, if you are on the Hard Rock mailing list you can always find a discount deal. This is especially true if you want to go visit in the summer time. They always seem to be doing specials were you can get 40% off of your booking. Don’t think that the price that you see online is the final price that you’ll have to pay to stay at the Hard Rock.
During the day, if you’re hanging out at the pool, they're always doing different activities: they have water aerobics, games, there was a balloon fight one day which was a lot of fun and all kinds of different entertaining stuff. It’s a really great place if you want to go and have a good time, although if you’re looking for a quiet relaxing experience this probably is not the hotel for you.
The water off of the hotel is not the crystal blue that you might experience on the Caribbean side of Mexico but it is still quite warm and really fun to swim in.
Compared to the Hard Rock in the Dominican Republic, I did feel that this hotel was very small and a little more rundown than our previous stay so I hope that in the future they’ll do some renovations to update the hotel to make it look as amazing and luxurious as the hotel in the Dominican Republic. They were parts of the pool that we saw paint chipping, a few broken tiles, and things like that that seem like easy repairs to bring the hotel quality up a notch.
If you’re traveling with kids there are some options for you as well. There is a kids pool that has slides and all kinds of fun stuff. There is also a kids club that is available for children ages 4 through 12 where they play games and have a lot of fun while the parents kick back and relax or go and do something else for part of the day.
I wasn’t thrilled with the quality of the pool chairs; I wish they were a little bit nicer for the price that you pay for the resort. But, I thought the service was good and the food and drinks were delivered promptly. We also enjoyed all of the entertainment that was available throughout the day and evening. There are evening shows at the Hard Rock and sometimes during the year they even have special celebrity guests come and perform.
Because it is a smaller hotel there aren’t as many options for rooms when you’re choosing where you’re going to stay. Most of the rooms are kind of the standard one or two beds with a tub and shower and that’s about it. Although they are very nicely decorated and the bed linens are good quality, they’re not as spacious and you don’t have as many options to upgrade to a larger room that you would if you were to go to one of the bigger Hard Rocks in Cancun or the Dominican Republic.
The restaurant options for evening dining are limited to four nicer restaurants: Frida, Zen, Ciao, and Ipanema. Ipanema is a Brazilian steakhouse and I thought the food was just OK because the meat was a little overcooked. Ciao was good because Italian food is always pretty good but I really did love Zen and Frida. I thought those were the two best restaurants at the resort and the places that I would recommend going to your first two nights staying there. Because it’s an all inclusive resort you can eat as much as you want so if you don’t like your entrée you can send it back and get another one. Of course that can lead to a little bit of trouble when it comes to fitting into your outfits by the end of the week if you’re indulging, but it is nice to not worry about how much things cost because you’ve paid for everything before you even left.
There are some upgrade options that you can choose to do where you get late check out, larger bath products, premium coffee, and several other perks if that is something you’re interested in. It’s detailed on the website HRHVallarta.com and something that if you’re looking to have a slightly more elevated experience than your standard Hard Rock luxury experience- that is an option for you.
The all-inclusive program has already built in the taxes and gratuities into the price so you technically don’t have to tip your waiters and waitresses throughout the week. Although I do recommend bringing some extra$1s and $5s so that if you do have some service that goes above and beyond, it’s nice to give the employees a token of your gratitude.
Overall we enjoyed the Hard Rock Vallarta because we really do love Puerto Vallarta. The area has a lot of fun, different excursion activities. We’ve been zip lining, on a 4 x 4 driving tour, sunset cruises, and all kinds of other great stuff. When it comes to staying at the Hard Rock in Puerto Vallarta, I don’t know if we will stay again because I believe that the other Hard Rock Hotels are nicer in other parts of Mexico and the world. If we go back to Puerto Vallarta, I would rather stay at a different hotel such as the Marival Residences, which we stayed at or try a new hotel because I did think it was good but not completely amazing.