Many people choose their vacation destination and accommodation based mainly on price. Economic times are tough, and our hard earned vacation dollar needs to be spent as wisely as possible. I would like to make the point that what seems cheap isn’t always so.
A vacation is a treasured, all too short precious week or two that is meant to be as special, wonderful and memorable as possible. Every detail matters, you want to be uplifted, pampered, and come a way with a huge smile and beautiful memories that last a lifetime. We at Villa Estrella on the Riviera Nayarit in Mexico promise you that precious uplifting and memorable experience. An experience far removed from assembly line, mass tourism, where guests are treated like a crop to harvested and stripped of their cash with the minimum of service that can be gotten away with.
I would like to share with you what the alternative can look like. One of our beloved guests, just spent a wonderful 2 weeks at Villa Estrella, and had the time of her life with a few of her closest friends (they come every year). After she checked out they had 2 days to spend in Puerto Vallarta before their flight back. Below is her first person account of those two days. The poor girl suffered some extreme culture shock. Here is her story of her all-inclusive Mexico experience.
If you are looking for a large, over-crowded, cookie cutter hotel with watered down drinks and the worst food imaginable; then welcome to the all inclusive. My husband and I have stayed at several all inclusives in Puerto & Neuvo Vallarta over the years and at this point consider ourselves veterans in the all inclusive experience. For this particular review we will examine our latest disappointment in detail. Oh and by the way we usually select a 4-5 star hotel, so we cannot be blamed that we get what we pay for. We usually spend $400-$600 per night at these places. We do not opt for the $2-300 a night places. I can only imagine what you might get there.
So were to begin- I’ll start randomly with the dinner reservations system and work my way through everything.
Dinner reservations: At the majority of these places you are required to make dinner reservations every day at one of their 3 or 4 hotel restaurants. Upon check in (we checked in at exactly 2:00) we were told that the girl who took the dinner reservations leaves at 2:00 and was now gone for the day and would be back tomorrow at 8:00 am to take our reservation for tomorrow. I said, “ok well we are only here two nights, and we just paid close to $1000 for two nights so do we not get a dinner tonight?” The front desk guy looked at me and just shrugged his shoulders and said “sorry no dinner.” I was fuming angry and vowed to wake up the next morning and get our reservation in before 10:00am (because apparently by 10:00 all the reservations are full.) So you can forget about sleeping in on your holiday because all the elderly people and all the people with kids are up at the crack of dawn and you have to beat them to the reservation desk if you want to eat that night.
So the first morning I was up by 8:30 and had got our reservation in. Not at the restaurant we wanted, but at least we got something. So because we were up early, we were able to go to the breakfast buffet with brings me to the food:
Food: The breakfast buffet was the most horrible, disgusting, un-edible food I have ever eaten. Period. Even my husband would not touch it and he eats A LOT. Enough said.
The Pools: Also because we were up early, we thought we would secure a spot in the sun by the pool. Apparently everyone else has this thought and they all put their pool towels and crap down to claim their spots. So again, all the elderly and people with kids who are up early get all the chairs. But are they anywhere to be seen near the pool? No, they are like 2-400 pound laboratory rats stuffing their faces at the disgusting buffet, crowding around and bumping into everything and everyone. The chairs we finally managed to get were at the back, in the shade. Once we got in the water, the rule is to never put your face or head in the water because all those people drinking ALL DAY at the swim up bar, you know that they are not getting up every single time they have to take a piss and walk to the bathroom which is not exactly close by. If you think they are not peeing in the pool you are dreaming.
The rooms: I could not have been more disappointed in our room. Fist thing I noticed was the horrible musty smell. The kind of smell you get when you leave dirty laundry for a while and it gets moldy. Our room faced the road and some dusty palm trees and the mega hotel beside us. For that kind of money I would have loved a glimpse of the ocean. The bed was as hard as a rock and the sheets stank. I did not want to put my face near those pillows.
Room service: This particular hotel did not have room service. I called down and the girl told me they had a sports bar with snacks so I thought well, at least that is something. So that first night when we were told we would not get a dinner, we went down to the sports bar. 7-11 would have been heaven over this place. All there was were some horrible nachos in a machine that had gone soft, with liquid cheese sauce and some pre-packaged hamburgers that I would not give to my dog, let alone eat myself, that you could heat up in the microwave provided. What?? If I wanted to heat up my own f”ing food I would not be staying at a fancy hotel.
Beach: I will say the beach in Neuvo Vallarta is very pretty and good for swimming. Other then that it is crowded and noisy with para-sailing, jet-skis, banana boat rides, kids and people walking by from all the other hotels on the strip. No peace and quietehere. Also same rule applies here that does with the pool: be prepared to have to fight for a lounge chair or get up before sunrise to claim one.
Landscape: When I go on a tropical holiday I want to be whisked away to a magical place with colorful flowers, footpaths, gardens, palm trees and ocean. I would like a bit of privacy and space, and not feel like cattle. These places consist of a lot of concrete with some palm trees randomly thrown in. They are all the same, a horseshoe shaped hotel, thousands of rooms, a pool in the middle and if you are lucky a beach on the end. No imagination.
Summary: If you like big crowds of big sweaty people and having to elbow your way through a crappy buffet or fight for a pool chair, or for a dinner reservation, then these places are made for you.