Summer vacation is just around the corner and Mexico is pretty much a no brainer when booking a vacation. But instead of going with the usual Mexican getaway (aka Cabo), we’ve got a place that is equally scenic, peaceful, and beautiful: Puerto Vallarta. A trip to this beachy town is about the same in travel time (just a 3 hour flight) and brings in such an authentic, diverse and local crowd. Puerto Vallarta is also one of the top Mexican tourists destinations because of their dedication to the LGBTQ+ community. The city offers a variety of activities, hotspots, and hotels that are welcoming to anyone and everyone. However, we found a superb and unique resort that is commemorating Pride month in such a special and luxe way. Say hello to the Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa. A relaxing, picturesque, 5 minute taxi drive from the airport resort that sits right on a swimmable beach with an open air lobby. Yup, you’ll feel those vacation vibes as soon as that coastal breeze hits you right at check in.
Rooms to Book
From garden view rooms to panoramic ocean view rooms, and presidential sized suites, there are many room options to fit anyones fancy at this 4.5 star resort. The resort rates are based on a European plan, but some packages are all inclusive. But listen up peeps, here’s what room you should. book. We suggest booking an Ocean Front View room to take in the breathtaking seascape and get a panoramic glimpse of the hotel’s pool, the largest infinity salt water pool in Puerto Vallarta. It truly is stunning. Plus it doesn’t hurt that the ambient noise of hearing the waves crash will put you straight into relaxation mode.
Pro Tip: Book a stay during whale season which is typically from November to April, so you can spot a couple of pods of humpbacks right from your balcony. After that, the best time to book to avoid the crowds is from April to May, right after the Spring Break rush.
The rooms are bright with a mix of a coastal chic and Spanish vibes. There are elevated amenities like an in-room bar, snacks for purchase, coffee, water, and as a special touch, the staff welcomed our arrival with a fruit tray and local artisan tote. The adorable tassel that hung from it are a classic Puerto Vallarta staple. You’ll find many for sale if you go shopping in the city, but honestly shopping was hardly on our brains. Bring on the sleep (yup, beds were so comfy), coconut cocktails by the beach, and yes the authentic tacos and cuisine Mexico is known for.
Where to Eat
One of the most spectacular things about staying at Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa is that you don’t have to leave the property to find top notch dining options. All of the restaurants are just steps away from your hotel room. They have a total of 6 excellent restaurants on site, one an authentic Japanese Teppanyaki and Sushi restaurant – Mikado – where you get dinner and a show, plus a deli, coffee shop, an ice cream station, and a coconut drink station by the pool where you can get fresh coconut cocktails and mocktails (plus, after you’ve had your drink you can bring the coconut back to be cut up for a snack at a later time). We arrived close to dinner time, which was perfect to test out 2 of their best spots – Nosh & Las Casitas.
We kicked the night off at Nosh, which sits high above the pool and looks over the ocean. A cool spot to catch a Mexican sunset. The vibe at this pre-dinner place is all about the local, raw and fresh seafood bites (think tostadas, oysters and tuna tartare) and one of a kind cocktails. We sampled a new drink that will be an exclusive item on the menu for the month of June. It’s a colorful, fruity frozen daiquiri served up in a tall glass and is one of the many offerings from the hotel in celebration of Pride month.
After our pre-dinner nosh, we headed to one of the most popular spots for breakfast, lunch and dinner on the property- Las Casitas. We started with some vodka and fresh juice cocktails and spicy margaritas, because why not. On the menu, the restaurant offers surf and turf, (we loved the shrimp, fish, and steak tacos) plus lots of options for our fellow vegetarians and vegans. For desert, aka “postres”, they have homemade churros served with a dulce de leche dipping sauce and ice cream. Although, side note, they needed a more cinnamon sugar, but our night cap, a carajillo (a coffee based cocktail that mirrors the essence of an espresso martini) made up for it.
Pro Tip: Order the signature guacamole. They’ll make it table side and serve it with an elevated, upscale tortilla chip… blue corn chips.
Breakfast buffets are always better on vacation, am I right? La Estancia is a great spot to start off the day and is a go-to for locals looking to celebrate an occasion. Here, you’re able to make smoothies on the spot, build your own chilaquilles, customize an omelette, and hit up the make your own waffle station. The resort & spa’s executive chef – Kelvin Magallanes – has put so much thought into his menus to fit anyones needs and desires. We were able to meet him at the site’s famed Ceviche and Tequila Bar, a spot where they have over 180 tequilas available to pair with their impressive list of ceviches. It’s also the spot where he taught us how to make his shrimp ceviche recipe( and we got to take a copy of it home too). It’s just one of the many experiences you can book for your group while staying at Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa.
What To Do
Group cooking classes, tequila tastings, turtle releases ( from June to December), cocktail making, and intimate dinners on the beach are just a few of the experiences they have available for your vacay group or maybe ,wedding party, if you’re looking to say “I Do” in Puerto Vallarta.
One of our favorite experiences, was the tequila tasting set up in the herb garden, which is located on the left side of the property. We were hosted by a tequila sommliér that was super knowledgeable in the variety of tequila offered at the resort. In fact, there is one tequila that you can only get at the Marriott Puerto Vallarta: CasaMagna Tequila. This line of tequila bottled at the Mariott and is harvested from blue agave pants that are on the property. Pretty cool. We can see this type of experience getting booked for a girl or guy’s getaway.
Another cool experience before one of our intimate sit down dinners, which mirrored a wedding rehearsal dinner ( the decor was insane) we were able to take a cocktail making class led by one of the hotels bartenders. The cocktail was called “Sweet Red” and was one of the refreshing drinks that featured wine, orange juice, lemon juice, berries and 7-Up and was offered for Vallarta Pride month, which wrapped up the last week of May. If having an adventure is better than an experience or relaxing at the pool’s swim up bar or in your private cabana, the resort has so many included activities for their guests too. You can paddle board on the ocean, go kayaking, rent a bike and take it for a ride around the property and through town. They are also happy to provide a guide to help you along.
There is so much to do in the city of Puerto Vallarta. From taking a tour of the local art galleries that have connected the gay and queer communities to visiting a popular fine dining hotspot Cafe Des Artistes. You can also shop local artisan markets on the streets of Puerto Vallarta, pick up some street tacos, and later hit up the Romantic Zone (just a 20 minute drive from the Mariott) to dance the night away at a cool nightclub or catch a show at the rooftop bar at Blue Chairs. Each of these places are LGBTQ+ friendly, so really it’ll be a party for anyone. Another option is to come back to the Mariott Puerto Vallarta and chill out at the Champions Sports Bar which sometimes feature a DJ to play music.
The LA Girl Pick: Spend half the day at the Ohtli Spa. It is 22,000 sq. ft. of bliss. First, kick the day off at the state of the art fitness center, that includes a separate space for spinning and pilates. Then head to the spa to shower and take advantage of their relaxing amenities like the Roman tub, foot bath, cold plunge, sauna and steam rooms, and their huge quiet room where guests can relax, take a nap, or read a book with some peace of mind. If you’re looking to try a treatment, you can’t go worn with their signature deep tissue massage.
We couldn’t be happier with the service, the inclusivity and the attention to detail from Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa. It’s a great spot for a girls trip, guys trip, family reunion, or the exotic getaway to celebrate Pride month. We look forward to visiting again and eating more tacos and tequila.
And in case you need a lil Mexican inspo in your life, check out our favorite taco places in LA.