You can find plenty of luxury hotels on the beach in Puerto Vallarta and to the north in Mexico, but one of the best resorts in the region for a long time running isn’t on the water at all: Casa Velas Hotel Boutique.
This intimate-feeling, upscale place to stay trades white sand for a lush setting and a golf course, but it’s not as far away from the Bay of Bandaras as it feels. You could walk to sister property Velas Vallarta from here and guests of the Casa hotel have access to a private beach club you can reach on a shuttle.
Many guests who come to a beach resort don’t seem to really spend all that much time on the beach anyway: it’s a common site to see half the lounge chairs on the sand empty, while those by the pool are jammed full. Casa Velas has its own gorgeous pool, so no worries there. It has comfortable cushioned lounge chairs and daybed cabanas in clusters around the deck, while there’s a swim-up bar and a waiter to bring you what you need if you can’t bear to move from your comfy position.
This is an all-inclusive hotel, but in the best sense of the term instead of the worst. The Velas Group is known for its surprisingly terrific food at each of its hotels and at this one guests rave about how great their meals were. When it says “gourmet Mexican” here, it’s really true. There’s a restaurant at the beach club too and you can order food at the pool. If you get bored with those choices you can also dine at Velas Vallarta around the corner as part of the all-inclusive plan. You won’t have to bear rot-gut Jose Cuervo Gold or Bacardi white rum either: there’s a great selection of quality spirits and good wine with dinner.
A very well-equipped gym that looks out at the pool and gardens is on site, as is a full spa. Regular yoga and Pilates classes are on the weekly schedule. The property sits right on the Marina golf course and golfing guests are a shoo-in for a good tee time when they want it. There’s a separate conference center on site for those who want to mix golf and good cuisine with a company retreat or incentive trip.
Rooms here are interesting and artistic, mixing a few touches you normally see at the Quinta Real chain with some Mexican sculptures from Sergio Bustamante. They’re housed in several buildings, with the most desirable ones being in the main building, with a view of the golf course or pool. Even though there are only 80 rooms, there are 9 classes of them. The largest include sitting areas and some kind of big tub: either a whirlpool in the bathroom or a plunge pool on a private terrace or balcony. Some are duplexes. The Presidential Suite here is family sized, sleeping up to six.
Skip the standards, which are 258 square feet, and take at least one step up to get 200+ more square feet of space. Most rooms mix white walls with pops of color on dark furniture. All come with a wide array of expected amenities like fine toiletries, robes, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
This is a quiet and relaxing resort, feeling a million miles away from some of the raucous all-inclusives at the other end of the scale in Puerto Vallarta. Children are not allowed here and the whole place is downright civilized from breakfast through the wee hours.
Review and photos by Tim Leffel, who attended a function at this hotel while speaking at the North American Travel Journalists Association conference in Puerto Vallarta.