There are plenty of fantastic places to stay in Puerto Vallarta and even more when you add Nayarit state to the north or the Costalegre region to the south. There are very few full-service, upscale hotels that are walking distance to downtown Puerto Vallarta itself though. Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel is the best one to pick if you want to be close to the action.
I’ve been to this popular Pacific Coast city six times now I think and one of the first places I stayed way back when on my first trip was Villa Premiere Hotel. Back then the place had great views and a nice pool complex, but the interior didn’t quite live up to its potential. It was a metaphor for the city itself: this was before the malecon got extended and a new pedestrian pier went up, before most of the beach clubs opened, before downtown had pedestrian-only streets, nice restaurants, good coffee, and two brewpubs.
Thankfully, Villa Premiere has kept up with this improvement trend and gotten much nicer as the years went on. This small Puerto Vallarta beach resort has some limitations, but they’re mostly ones defined by its limited footprint as a city resort surrounded by other buildings. Pretty much anything they’ve had control over has been upgraded, stepped up, and refined. At the same time, they’ve made great use of their best asset: the fantastic views of Banderas Bay straight out in front and the city to the left.
First, about those views. From any room you choose, you’re looking out at the ocean, including during sunset when you really get a show. If you’ve got a corner suite you’ll see the beach turn golden and the city lights come on around the bay as night falls.
That panorama doesn’t stop at your room though. It’s a few steps to the beach with lounge beds and chairs (no extra charge), there’s a sightline from one of the pools, and you’re looking down at the beach and water at sunset. If you are celebrating something special, you can book a private dinner here here:
The second thing that makes this Puerto Vallarta resort stand out is the service. You often get friendly, bilingual service in this region, but Villa Premiere’s staffers go above and beyond whenever they can and I was impressed how everyone stuck to the Covid mask protocols in May when they couldn’t be sure every visitor was vaccinated. The service starts strong with a cool towel, a cold welcome drink, and something I’ve rarely seen elsewhere: a complimentary five-minute shoulder massage right before or after check-in.
The full name of this resort is Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel and Romantic Getaway and they live up to that mouthful with an adults-only policy. If you’ve got kids, stay next door at sister hotel Buenaventura instead.
They welcome romantics of any type though and it was kind of refreshing how hard it was to peg the “ideal clientele” during my three-day stay. There were gay couples of both genders, straight couples from their 20s to their 60s, foreign visitors and Mexican nationals. Not everyone was paired up either: there were groups of friends having a fun vacation together and a group of friends and family sharing a small destination wedding celebration.
One thing that they all had in common was a happy smile. Many of the guests were on an all-inclusive plan, so they kept the drinks and food flowing without worrying about the tab. Those that weren’t were still content though: prices are reasonable for what you get at this Mexican beach resort and most of the guests were super happy to be traveling again after getting their vaccination shots. (Some had booked a ticket for literally two weeks and a day after their second jab.) They had built up a travel fund and were ready to use it!
There are concierges and tour companies in the lobby to book excursions and watersports companies on the beach, but many guests are happy to come here and just unwind for a while. The pool complex is a joy, with one main pool surrounded by lounge chairs and swinging daybeds, another just-as-long one with whirlpool jets that has a swim-up bar. One advantage of this compact resort is that you don’t have to go very far to get to a bar or restaurant and the staffers don’t have to either. So no waiting around for 20 minutes for your Pacifico to arrive from half a mile away.
You can lounge in a beach chair, in one of those swinging day beds, or by the pool. Then when it’s time for a meal, you can eat where you are or head to the La Ceiba restaurant on two levels, overlooking the beach and water. That main one serves all three meals in an inviting environment, with a flair in preparation and presentation that sets it above the average resorts on this stretch of coast. Even the guacamole and fish tacos are pretty to look.
One night we had a five-course tasting menu on the upper level there, included in the all-inclusive plan, that was a delicious journey. While we were dining, we looked out at the ocean and at Puerto Vallarta curving around the bay.
Take it up another notch at the indoor, air-conditioned La Corona Restaurant and bar, an inviting space with a glass wall on the ocean/pool side. The photo on the left below is the amuse-bouche surprise that came out, the right one our dessert. In between we had some excellent seafood dishes.
There’s another indoor restaurant in normal periods, but it was closed during our visit because of capacity restrictions related to Covid. But even if you’re here for a week, you’ll find plenty of variety in the two restaurants’ menus to keep things interesting, especially since there are daily chef specials and themed nights in the mix. If you’re not on a meal plan, there are dozens of other local restaurants to try nearby.
The regular rooms at Villa Premiere resort are not large by modern standards. This building went up quite a long time ago. Management has done an admirable job making the most of what they have though and have stocked the rooms with amenities to make you feel welcome.Before you even arrive, you receive an e-mail questionnaire asking what kind of pillow you would like, if you have an aromatherapy choice, and other customization offers. When I opened up my fridge and found light beer in it after arrival, I made a call and someone quickly switched the bottles to something else.
The best amenity though is that all 80 rooms face the water from a furnished balcony.
Baths are stocked with L’Occitane toiletries, fluffy towels, and a robe. There’s also a Bluetooth speaker, laptop-sized safe, TV, and Nespresso coffee maker.
If you want to splash out more, there are several suite categories, ranging from large junior suites with a Jacuzzi in the room to Honeymoon Suites with a whirlpool on an extra-large balcony. The very top choice is the Master Suite, which is nearly 1,400 square feet. Like the others, it has a whirlpool on the terrace balcony.
While some guests might be happier at the larger, more spread-out resorts in Puerto Vallarta, Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel lives up to the “romantic getaway” part of its name and is a great option for adults who want to experience Puerto Vallarta instead of be secluded from it. This 80-room resort on the water makes the most of its available space and staffers do their best to make sure every guest has a great vacation. There’s a gym on site, yoga in the morning, bikes to take out, and other activities if you want to do more than lounge around.
Rates generally start at $225 per night including fees and taxes and go up from there for high season and for suites. The optional all-inclusive plan usually adds on around $70 per person per night–easy to justify if you’re not going to be out and about a lot. Book direct with the resort or check rates at Expedia.
Editor Tim Leffel was a guest of Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel in Puerto Vallarta for purposes of review. As always, all opinions are his own.