We stayed at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta in December 2017. My wife had just finished her first quarter of graduate school so we figured we’d take a little getaway.
This hotel is a category 5, which means it costs 20,000 Hyatt points per night. When we booked the room, rates were around $308 per night for the dates of our stay. We paid for the stay completely with points for a total of 60,000 Hyatt points.
That’s a value of about 1.54 cents per point. It’s definitely not the best value for Hyatt points, but we wanted to visit another all-inclusive and there’s no way we would realistically pay that much in cash for a hotel stay.
The hotel is located in the south zone of Puerto Vallarta. It was about a 35-minute drive from the airport. We didn’t leave the hotel at all during our stay so I can’t really speak more about whether it’s location within Puerto Vallarta is ideal or not. You’ll definitely need to hire a driver or taxi to get you there.
The taxis to and from the airport charged us a fixed flat rate. There are kiosks inside the airport, which you get a ticket from then hand that ticket to the driver. The trip from the airport to the hotel cost us 344 Mexican Pesos, which is about $18 USD. The trip from the hotel to the airport only cost 240 Mexican Pesos, which is roughly $12.50 USD. Overall, taxis are relatively cheap in Puerto Vallarta so I’d definitely suggest using them.
The hotel was situated in a cove with a mountain behind it. This meant it had a private beach even though all of the beaches in Puerto Vallarta are technically government property. There was a security gate to get into the hotel property. We were asked for the last name on our reservation and the taxi driver also had to provide them with some information.
The hotel has two different buildings with all the pools sitting in between the two wings. The Main Tower is the north building, which is the building that has been most recently renovated. We did notice that they were doing some construction work on the south building so it may be the nicer of the two in the future.
Two of the restaurants are located on the far north and south ends of the property. These two restaurants are little bit fancier and offer some nice views of the sunset during dinner. The rest of the dining options are all scattered throughout the property. There was also a gym located on the second floor of the main building.
There are four separate pools on the property. The north pool has a swim-up bar, the south pool is adults only, and the ones in between are for anyone to use. We spent most of our time near and in the south pool where there weren’t any children.
We pulled up and were greeted by the bellhop who took our bags and guided us towards the check-in desk. While we waited for a front desk rep to become available, we were given a cold towel and welcome beverage. The front desk rep was friendly and greeted us with one of my favorite greetings, “Welcome Home!” He proceeded to look up our reservation and scan our passports.
I had emailed the hotel prior to arrival noting that my wife and I were celebrating our anniversary. I also asked for an upgrade since we were booked in a double room, which was all that was available when we booked with points. The assistant to the general manager responded to my email and upgraded us to a king bedroom on a high floor with a balcony. This is pretty much their nicest rooms aside from their suites and swim up rooms. I tried to ask for one of these rooms as a Globalist, but she said they were completely booked.
Moving back to our check-in process, the front desk rep acknowledge our anniversary and made it sound like he upgraded us from a double room even though I’m pretty sure the Assistant GM did this for us. I also was approached by the romance concierge who introduced herself and stated that she hoped my wife liked the surprise awaiting us in our room. I was definitely excited to get up to the room and see what they had done for us.
We took the elevator up to the 20th floor, which is just one floor below the penthouse suites. We arrived to a nice little romantic surprise.
The room was a decent size with a nice balcony. I wish the balcony had some more comfortable furniture besides the two metal chairs and a table. The room had tile floors throughout, but they didn’t provide slippers so my feet ended up feeling kind of dirty.
The king bed was comfortable and I appreciated the long soft pillows. There was one lounge chair in the room with a coffee table. The lounge chair really only fit one person and it would’ve been nice if it was just slightly wider to fit two people. There was no desk, but let’s be real who’s doing work while they’re at an all-inclusive in Mexico.
The bathroom had two barn doors which slide open and closed with separate toilet and shower doors. There was a double vanity and the shower had a waterfall feature, which I always enjoy in hotel showers.
The mini-fridge is all complimentary and came stocked with Mexican beer, water, and a few soft drinks. There were also some snacks provided as well. Room service is available 24/7 so if you’re really hungry or need more drinks you can always just call down your order.
The more hotels you stay at, the more difficult it is not to constantly compare them. Earlier this year, we stayed at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun, which is the adult-only brand of Hyatt’s all-inclusive hotels. We found ourselves constantly comparing the Hyatt Ziva PV to our amazing stay there.
I’ll start by highlighting the good things from our stay. The wait staff at the restaurants were friendly and we were always seated at a table within 5 minutes. The food was pretty good. There was only one meal that we felt was subpar, which was at the Blaze restaurant. Our favorite restaurant was Casa Grande, which served Mexican food. The chips and salsa were delicious!
Here are some pictures of other food and drinks we enjoyed:
My wife really enjoyed the coffee shop/cafe. They had a really good cold brew, which was delicious. In addition, they typically had some pastries, cookies, sandwiches, and fruit.
The hotel grounds were well maintained and there were a decent amount of resort activities to participate in, if you so desired. You could also pay extra money to ride a jet-ski or go parasailing. We opted to not do any of this, but it did look like a lot of fun.
Now the not so good parts of our stay. There were three things that were probably the biggest issues. The rest of them were minor details, but cumulatively made our stay less enjoyable.
Door Lock Not Working
We were in our room unpacking our bags shortly after we had arrived. We heard our hotel room door open and in walks another hotel guest. She was about as shocked as we were. She apologized upon realizing she had entered the wrong room. Obviously this situation could have been much worse if we had been in the process of changing or showering.
We’re not exactly sure what happened. The door was locked and dead-bolted. The door didn’t have one of those other manual locks towards the top of the door like most hotels do. I played around with the door later and noticed that sometimes the lock wouldn’t engage fully when you shut the door. We went down and told the front desk about the situation. They looked at our room on their computer system to ensure that there wasn’t another key card activated on it. They were apologetic, but didn’t seem to find the matter that serious.
Elevator Broken for a Day
The north building that we were staying in had two elevators. One elevator didn’t work for the entire day. This meant that you had to wait quite a bit in order to catch an elevator ride up and down.
Late Checkout Fail
On the day of our departure, I called down to the front desk to see if we could get a late checkout. I confirmed that we would be checkout out at 1:30pm instead of 12pm. Fast forward to 12:30pm, we had back to our room to pack up and grab our bags and our keycards don’t work. It appeared that the deactivated our keycards at 12pm. I had to head all the way to the front desk to get it reactivated.
The rest of our complaints were somewhat minor. The restaurants opened an hour later than normal dining times (i.e. 1pm instead of 12pm for lunch). The drinks and bartenders were average and it felt like construction was going on all over the resort. In addition, there was this bridge between the two buildings of the resort. Throughout the day, there would be 2-3 workers (or at least I think they were hotel workers) hanging out under/around the bridge. It seemed kind of sketchy and weird. They never approached us, but I’m not sure what they were doing.
We enjoyed our stay, but would probably only give it a 5.5 out of 10. It just missed the mark for us in multiple ways. This being our second visit to a Hyatt All-Inclusive our standards were pretty high. I try not to have too many expectations going into a hotel stay, but as a Globalist I have started to expect more from Hyatt hotels. If I had paid the cash rate of $300 per night (instead of using points), I would not have been too happy with my stay.
I don’t think we’ll be coming back to Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta anytime soon. My wife and I would rather spend the extra couple hours to fly to Cancun and stay at the Hyatt Ziva or Zilara there.