Puerto Vallarta (part 1) American Airlines & American Eagle MKE-DFW-PVR
Puerto Vallarta (part 2) The Centurion Lounge Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)
Puerto Vallarta (part 3) Sheraton Bunganvillas Resort and Conference Center
Puerto Vallarta (part 4) St. Regis Punta Mita
Puerto Vallarta (part 5) Marine Safari
Puerto Vallarta (part 6) Street scenes of Puerto Vallarta and Punta Mita
Puerto Vallarta (part 7) The food scene
Puerto Vallarta (part 8) American Airlines economy PVR-DFW-ORD
Sheraton BunganVillas Resort and Conference Center
Our first night and last two nights of our vacation were spent at the Sheraton Buganvillas Resort and Conference Center. The reason for this was that we did want to spend some time in Puerto Vallarta and we were arriving in the evening around 8pm on our fist night. This property is very close to the Malecon so we could walk right there from the hotel and back. It was about 15 minutes to get into the heart of the city via walking. I debated staying at the Westin but that is a 15 minute shuttle drive to the Malecon so being able to walk right there was the deciding factor instead of waiting on shuttle buses.
On arrival to the property via a $12 taxi ride we were greeted by the bellmen and they were happy to grab our bags and walk us up to the checkin line. The lobby is nice especially for a Sheraton. Its open and airy and just off the back of the lobby is the pool so you get some of the ocean air in the lobby. Checkin was smooth and they upgraded us to a club level room on the 22nd floor. On our last two nights of the trip they also upgraded us to a club level room on the 21st floor with a slightly better view. We are only Starwood gold members so they didn’t have to upgrade us and it was appreciated.
Our bellman quickly met us after we received our room key and escorted us up to our room and showed us around. Sheraton is not my favorite brand in SPG family so I am always a little hesitant when selecting one but this one was very pleasant.
Shortly after getting settled we had a visitor arrive and present us with two glasses of champaign which was a nice unexpected gesture. He advised he was our butler and would be taking care of any of our needs. On our 2nd stay however, the last 2 nights of our trip this service did not happen. Who staying at a Sheraton is expecting or needs a butler? I hate to judge but I am pretty sure 99.9% of the guests here don’t have or use a butler at home so maybe a little overkill for this type of property considering room rates can be found for under $100 a night. The champaign was pretty bad and my wife didn’t finish hers. We never used the butler needless to say.
A very nice feature of the room is that the window is floor to ceiling and the windows slide open to create a very wide opening bringing a lot of sun and ocean breeze. So no balconies at this property but the open window is very nice and you can hear the ocean waves loud and clear with the windows open from our rooms on the 22nd and 21st floors.
Video walkthrough of our room below:
On two occasions we did stop over to the club lounge on the 23rd floor for free breakfast. It is just a continental breakfast so don’t expect eggs and bacon or any hot items. On one morning they had bananas but the next time they didn’t. I like bananas in my Frosted Flakes!! I had some cereal and pastries and my wife had a hard boiled egg and toast. There was orange juice and milk or they would bring you coffee which my wife said was good.
We did use the modest gym our first morning since we have stopped paying for a gym membership so why not get in a quick workout. There was only one person in the gym when we entered and she was on the one and only elliptical machine so my wife and I took the two working treadmills (one wasn’t working). We did about 30-40 minutes of jogging then about 10 minutes of resistance training. The gym is basic but they had free weights and most things to get an adequate workout.
Common area’s and exterior
The property has some very nice tennis courts. I am a tennis fan and I was quite surprised how nice these hard courts were maintained. They have four courts complete with umpires chairs too! Too bad I didn’t bring my stick because they have many clinics for people of all ages and skill levels. In the afternoon the courts were very busy with players.
We checked out the pool and the beach although we didn’t spend anytime there at this property because we had plenty of beach time at the St. Regis in Punta Mita which is the next installment of this report. The pool was pretty big and it never appeared over crowded. There are a lot of rooms and guests at this property and the sun chairs are numerous!! I noticed by about 10am there were people claiming their spots but there are so many chairs I don’t think you would need to worry about finding a spot around the pool. I did notice there is not much beach seating however. It appears the beach is public and the locals are free to stand on the beach and sell their wares (trust me you will see plenty of this throughout Puerto Vallarta). I would assume most people don’t want to lay or sit on the beach due to those constant distractions.
We were never offered a timeshare presentation which I was glad about however we did receive a random phone call at 10am in our room. The lady caller was downstairs and mentioned she had $100 in coupons and a free beach bag at one of the counters next to the elevators. I didn’t bother because I assumed there is something attached and frankly we didn’t need either offer.
I didn’t take pictures of our second room on the last two nights because it was almost identical aside from the sink fixtures and the room had the TV wall mounted instead of inside a cabinet or hutch.
We chose not to eat on the property at all since there are so many local restaurants just a few minutes walk away. We did however stop at the bar to use up our two free drink coupons provided at checkin. We chose two Pacifico’s and we couldn’t believe the crowd and how crowded it is (the bar area is small). It was like a spring break scene for 30/40 year olds. We got out of there fairly quick!
The biggest negative of this property is the internet connectivity!!! If you need to have a reliable internet connection at this property-FORGET IT! It was possible to connect after a few moments and maybe send or receive email. Anything past that you may want to look at another property. My iPhone always showed a strong 2-3 bar signal however the connection speed was pathetic!!
Another annoyance is the water pressure from the sinks is very weak. I hated washing my hands or taking a shower in the rooms because the water pressure was too low to make it enjoyable. So between the wifi and the water pressure issues this could potentially be a property to skip but you have to decide how important those things are.
In general this was a slightly above average property in a good setting/location. If you want the weather and water and to be close to the Malecon in PVR then this is a solid choice. The staff was friendly and helpful and for 2 or 3 nights this was perfectly fine to allow us to be close to the action and experience Puerto Vallarta.
So to recap, we stayed one night on arrival in Puerto Vallarta and two nights at the end of our trip to be close to the airport and see the town. I decided to use Starwood’s “cash and points” option.
The normal cash rate for this property when I checked on several weeks was about $130-150 a night. If it was under $100 a night I would have probably just paid cash. So using cash and points I was able to redeem 3500 points per night to get a cash rate of $55. So the total cash and points was 3500 points and $55 per night. Again the other option was to pay around $140 plus taxes for the three nights and I just didn’t want to do that.
So instead of paying over $400 cash for three nights including taxes we paid about $190 and 10,500 points all in. The points saved us over $200. Plus we earned about 2700 SPG points for the stays and redeemed 2 free drinks. The cash and points option is nice when you don’t have a lot of points or don’t want to shell out a bunch of cash. The SPG points were worth just about $0.02 cents per point. I try to redeem SPG points for no less than $.02 cents per points and frankly didn’t want to spend a lot of cash. As I said earlier if the property was $100 a night I probably would have booked it so the $40 a night difference was just enough for me to say lets just redeem a few points. There are times throughout the year where you will be able to book this property for $100 a night or perhaps less but usually not in the winter time typically!
Thanks for reading and the next installment will be the St. Regis Punta Mita (don’t miss it)!!!!