Sometimes it’s hard for a popular resort to do major renovations since it involves shutting down lots of rooms, but Pueblo Bonito Mazatlan took advantage of the Covid slowdown to spend $26.5 million updating the rooms and public areas. The result is a fresh-looking all-inclusive Mexican beach resort in a good location.
This Golden Zone resort is one of the originals in the area, opened three decades ago as the first Pueblo Bonito in the country. Later they added the more upscale Emerald Bay property further out. Follow that link for our review of that one, which was looking great when we visited recently. We just added a couple of fresh photos.
The new look is evident as soon as you enter the lobby, which sports a contemporary Mexican decor with beautiful lighting and wood slab tables that make it worth lingering for a while. Right off reception, you find Angelo’s Gourmet restaurant and then you walk through the glass doors to one swimming pool and then the ocean. Mazatlan hosts a great sunset nearly every night and as you can see from that shot at the top, Pueblo Bonito has a great view of it.
Dining, Drinking, and Relaxing in the Golden Zone
Angelo’s specializes in northern Italian cuisine, though there’s plenty of fresh seafood from the local waters in the mix as well. There’s a good wine selection available and we had some delicious desserts to end our meal. This is an inviting and romantic restaurant for the couples on vacation, with soft lighting and attentive service.
The other higher-end restaurant at Pueblo Bonito Mazatlan is Cilantro’s, which is the spot to choose if you want to look out at the water while you’re dining. Perched over the beach, this section of the hotel was a big recipient of the renovation budget, going from a casual open-air thatched look to a more elegant one with an air-conditioned area inside.
There’s still a section with shaded outdoor dining, however, so you can come here for lunch from the pool without putting your body through big temperature changes. There are plenty of seafood dishes on offer, including ceviche and shrimp cocktail, plus a seafood fettuccine, seafood soup, and fish filet with wine sauce. The menu has a nice mix of lighter items like salads, but some hearty burgers up to a plate of barbecued pork ribs–all part of the all-inclusive plan. (If you want the surf-and-turf with lobster, however, there’s a surcharge).
The other dining spots are more casual but are still putting out an array of tasty dishes. Las Palmos is the main restaurant for breakfast and the top family spot for dinner, where they often have theme nights featuring different cuisines on the buffet table. For lunch, the two choices besides Cilantro’s are both poolside, either at a table or served to your lounge chair by the pool or on the beach.
There are two distinct swimming pools here. The larger one off the lobby runs horizontal to the beach, while the other one is perpendicular, but both are free-form pools with their own bar area and stairs leading down to the sand. The lounge chairs are comfortable and waiters are making regular rounds. Then there are more lounge chairs for hotels guests on the beach, some of them under shaded thatch palapas.
Pueblo Bonito Mazatlan Rooms
The rooms at Pueblo Bonito are now the most attractive in Mazatlan, looking like something out of a design magazine instead of a ho-hum chain hotel accommodations. The wood slab table theme continues here and is a welcome change from tiny catalog furniture desks like you so commonly see. You’ve actually got room here to enjoy your room service order, which is part of the all-inclusive plan.
I enjoyed the thoughtful touches that went into the design of these rooms, from wet clothing drying racks on the furnished balcony to sectional sofas that can seat three. Other design elements include nice lighted headboards with a cutout design, Merida-style tiles in the bathroom, and light laminate wood flooring. You’ll have plenty of places to charge your gadgets and the TVs are new. A stocked refrigerator, a safe, and a coffee maker are also provided. I was thankful for this notification you don’t see often enough in Mexico: “Water is purified throughout the resort.”
It doesn’t cost all that much to upgrade here, so you might as well splurge an extra 25 bucks to go from a room with no view to one that looks straight out at the ocean. Otherwise, the first few levels are similar junior suites, all recently renovated, with a king or two queen beds plus a sofa that can fold out into another bed for an extra person. Furnished patios or balconies offer more room to spread out.
There are several suites with a separate living room, including a family suite that can sleep up to six. These don’t require much of a premium, but the two top levels do. These are the Presidential Suite Oceanfront and the Penthouse Suite Oceanfront. The former has two bedrooms and baths plus a kitchen and wrap-around balcony, while the latter is a two-level penthouse with a huge sundeck, two bedrooms, and a dining room that seats eight.
While this Pueblo Bonito is not quite as upscale as the Emerald Bay property, it’s not as far out and has a much better beach area. It frequently shows up in readers’ polls as one of the best hotels in Mazatlan. You can stroll for a while on the sand here and really get a feel for Mazatlan beach life, including the unique banda musicians of the area, usually with a tuba and accordion in the mix. You’ll hear them coming…
Room prices at Pueblo Bonito Mazatlan start as low as $175 all-inclusive with taxes double, rising to a max of $2,225 for a penthouse suite during peak holiday periods, all-inclusive for six. For more information, see the official website and book there or compare rates at Hotels.com.
Review and photos by editor Tim Leffel, who was hosted by the resort for purposes of review. As always, all opinions are his own.