Back when the Westin Puerto Vallarta opened in 1993, it was cutting-edge and modernistic, a showpiece for architect Javier Sordo Madaleno, whose firm has gone on to design some of Mexico’s most striking hotels and commercial buildings (including Chable Maroma and Solaz Los Cabos). With its bold design statements and expansive public rooms, it looked like nothing else in the region.
Although some of its ideas have crept into other newer developments, this Westin in the marina area is still unique, with a different look and feel that’s apparent as soon as you walk in. Times and tastes change, however, and it was time for a refresh. So we made our way back to the resort to check it out post-renovations.
Fortunately, they left well enough alone with the big draw that didn’t need to be updated: the swimming pool complex. If you’re more of a shade lover than a sun lover, this is your Puerto Vallarta hotel. The whole complex is studded with palm trees, the pools meandering among them like the two elements have a symbiotic relationship.
When you look out toward Bandara Bay from your room, you see a sea of palms. When you’re down at the pool, you feel like you have some tropical nature around you instead of feeling like you’re just on a giant concrete platform.
You can still get your tropical resort suntan at the beach, however, where there are some inviting beach chairs, daybeds, and just plain cushioned pads on the grass lawn that the Instagrammers seem to love. In all honestly, this isn’t the prettiest beach in the area as it’s right by the marina entrance, but the views across the bay are great and you can catch a nice sunset. Plus kudos to Westin for making a statement on the environment: no plastic straws allowed here! (Now we just have to get them to eliminate single use plastic water bottles…)
The big advantage of being in this Marina area, especially since this isn’t an all-inclusive resort by default, is the convenience factor. The Marina zone is where adventure tours on the water take off, first of all, so you’ll be near the departure point for whale watching, snorkeling, sunset party cruises, Yelapa excursions, or sport fishing. You’re also near some reasonably priced basic Mexican restaurants, or some of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta. There’s also a nice golf course nearby.
I mentioned the renovations earlier though and those go beyond just some new paint colors here and there. (They got rid of a lot of the bright pink and yellows.) The rooms got a big overhaul in the “soft goods” as they say in the industry, but also there are more electrical outlets and the whole effect is a more modern feel. These rooms were always fairly spacious, and that hasn’t changed. In fact the room count went down a bit because some were converted to suites to meet demand.
Overall, this is a solid vacation choice in the Marriott family, an especially good one if you’re a road warrior cashing in loyalty points for a family trip. Service is good, staffers can converse in English, and everything is up to international Westin standards. Plus you are almost sure to get a nice view from your furnished balcony.
See our fully updated review of the Westin Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa. Or if this is not quite what you were looking for, see all our reviews of the best luxury Puerto Vallarta hotels and resorts in the whole region: Riviera Nayarit down to Costalegre.