I recently stayed at Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa in Puerto Vallarta and I really enjoyed my experience, so I thought I would write a review, as I personally always check hotel reviews before I book. I hope my experience can help anyone considering staying there in the future. So please enjoy my Garza Blanca guest review!
Garza Blanca is south of Puerto Vallarta’s main downtown area. I like the south shore because it’s a little bit in the mountains, and it’s much quieter and more beautiful than staying in the downtown area. When you stay at Garza Blanca, you have the benefit of jungle mountains behind you, fresh tropical landscaping all around you, and ocean views in front of you. It really is one of the most serene places I’ve ever stayed.
Arriving at the Resort
I took a taxi from the airport. You have to go to the taxi counter and pay. Just tell them where you’re going and they’ll give you a receipt. Give it to the taxi guys outside. They also place your bags in the trunk and retrieve them for you upon arrival at the hotel, which was a nice extra service. The ride was 25 minutes, and the cost was $415 pesos (about $20) plus tip.
When we pulled up to the hotel, the guard at the gate asked for my name and verified my reservation. The doorman greeted me and asked my name again, then took my bags inside. I appreciated these extra levels of security. For safety reasons, Garza Blanca doesn’t allow anyone on the property unless they are staying there or working there. People might not realize that this is the norm for most resorts in Puerto Vallarta, and it’s one of the reasons why Puerto Vallarta is so safe.
The first thing you’ll notice when you check into Garza Blanca is the lobby, which is stunningly beautiful. Instead of a boring long counter, there are just a couple of heavy dark wood traditional style desks and comfy chairs where you sit and check-in, in a very relaxed way. This creates a welcoming atmosphere from the first moment, and it’s one of the things that makes Garza Blanca stand out from other resorts. During the check-in process, I was offered hand sanitizing gel and given a refreshing welcome drink. I received a welcome Tafer face mask amenity, which I was actually excited to wear.
Sparkling Swimming Pools
Before I headed up to my room, where they told me my luggage would be waiting for me with luggage assistance from the lovely bellboys, I walked out of the lobby towards the pool area. Immediately as you are walking out, you can see the ocean through the gigantic picture window exit to the panoramic infinity pool. It’s a gorgeous view, and it makes me feel relaxed every time I see it. This is the main pool, and it’s my favorite area of the resort. The view is incredible and there is also a family pool at one end with a shallow play area with little fountains for kids to splash around in. There’s a poolside bar called Aquazul which serves guacamole, salads, hamburgers and other lunch and snack food, as well as alcohol, of course.
Garza Blanca is definitely a family-friendly resort, but couples and solo travelers can find plenty of kid free spaces as well. There is another pool up in between Towers 4 and 5 that is called the Panorama Pool that’s just for adults.
One Bedroom Suite
I stayed in an Oceanfront One Bedroom Suite in Tower 2 right on the water. The suite had over 1,500 square feet, so it felt huge. I really enjoy staying in a suite with a separate bedroom, living room, and kitchen because it gives you more space to spread out, and you have more of the comforts of home. This is especially nice when you’re staying for longer periods of time.
I toured around my suite and went out onto the lovely private terrace overlooking the ocean with lounge furniture and an oversized hammock where you can daydream or just be spellbound by the amazing views. I checked out the kitchen, which was fully equipped with a fridge, stove, oven, microwave, coffee and tea maker, and a Nespresso machine. It is also well stocked with pots, pans, dishes, glassware, and utensils.
The furniture and decor was very nice. It was colorful and cheerful and homey. The stone floors and granite countertops added a luxury feel. Most importantly, everything was fresh and very clean.
I am not the type of person who likes to watch TV in bed. If I watch TV at home, I prefer to watch it in my living room and then turn it off and retire to the tranquility of my bedroom. This is one reason why it’s nice to book a one-bedroom suite as opposed to a normal room in a hotel. Although there was a TV in the bedroom in the suite, I didn’t feel compelled to watch it in there, because there was also a TV in the living room.
The bed was super comfortable. I learned from the hotel staff that Garza Blanca actually has their own line of specially designed mattresses and linens. Apparently, they have someone on staff who was tasked with the job of researching mattresses and designing their own signature line that are meant to be super comfy and allow for a good night’s sleep. I think this is one of the bonuses of staying at a luxury resort as opposed to finding the cheapest room available when you travel. I actually slept better here than I do at home.
One of my favorite things to do whenever I stay in hotels is to take a long bath. My suite at Garza Blanca had an enormous jetted bathtub. I don’t have a bathtub in my house, so indulging in a long bath and just letting all my stress melt away was heavenly. The entire bathroom is enormous and very nice. I felt like I could spend hours in there. I loved the dual vanity sinks, L’Occitane bath amenities and ample storage and closet space. I also like the novelty of having a bathrobe and slippers provided.
Blue Flag Beach
I spent my first day lounging on the beach, which is beautiful and private, with food and cocktails service. Puerto Vallarta is not as well-known for white sand beaches as some other destinations in Mexico, but the sand on Garza Blanca’s beach is soft and white. The hotel takes good care of the beach, grooming and combing it daily. I saw a sign on the beach that indicated that it has the Blue Flag certification, which means it is clean and eco-friendly.
Gourmet Culinary All-Inclusive Plan
Even though I was staying on an all-inclusive plan, I went into town because I wanted to check out the local market. I found a lot of fresh local fruit, vegetables, fish, coffee, breakfast pastries and desserts that I wanted to try. Because I had a full kitchen in my suite, with a full-sized fridge, stove and all of the necessary cookware right there, I was able to make breakfast and dinner at home some of the days, which I found to be really convenient and enjoyable. The concierge will actually deliver groceries to your suite if you want, but I had more fun shopping at the local markets.
Speaking of food, all of the signature restaurants at Garza Blanca are excellent with sensational menu options. There’s Blanca Blue with a gorgeous view of the beach and the ocean. I found myself frequently sitting down there at a table next to the large panoramic windows, drinking my coffee and staring out to sea, pondering nothing and munching on delicious pastries. The breakfast menu is brimming with delicious options from omelettes to French toast and Aztec Crepes to Chilaquiles. Every day I tried something different and everything was heavenly. However, dinner is where Blanca Blue really shines. The chef is one of the most renowned chefs in all of Mexico, and he has incorporated his deep knowledge of traditional Mexican cuisine into the menu and spiced it up with innovative modern cooking techniques. The dinner menu is divided into different categories from Mexican Street Food to Grandmother´s Traditions.
BocaDos Steak House is more of a comfy, cozy atmosphere with dry-aged chops accompanied by an assortment of sides and sauces. They also have extensive vegan and vegetarian options, but myself, I opted for the melt-in-your mouth tender steaks and mashed potatoes. There is also a Japanese/sushi restaurant located on the Preserve, which is for adults only, but the food is exquisite.
If you want to relax, I highly recommend a visit to Spa Imagine, which is actually at the top of the Hotel Mousai tower, Garza Blanca´s sister adults only resort. You can check out their menu of services right on the TV in your room and make an appointment. You can spend an afternoon enjoying their hydrotherapy circuit, which is in one of the most gorgeous rooms I have ever seen in my life, and it faces the ocean with a spectacular view of the whole bay. I recommend scheduling a relaxing massage for after your hydrotherapy. If you do that, you will feel so utterly relaxed you will be ready to slip off into dreamland for one of the best night’s sleep you’ve ever had. This is a way to experience deep relaxation. If I had to mention a highlight of my stay in my Garza Blanca guest review, this was definitely my favorite.
The resort activities are fun, including hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, fitness activities, and food related activities. I went on the waterfall hike which was so awesome. We hiked up a mostly dry riverbed for about 40 minutes with a guide, crossing the riverbed several times and climbing over large boulders. When we finally arrived at the waterfall it was so beautiful. We were allowed to swim in the clear water at the bottom of the falls. It was so refreshing. I definitely recommend this hike to anyone who stays at Garza Blanca. You will feel so alive afterward!
Another one of my favorite things to do when I travel is order room service. It’s just such a nice treat that makes you feel like you are on vacation and you can just relax and let someone else take care of the cooking. Pro tip: take a look at the room service menu on the day you arrive, before you go to sleep. That way, in the morning, when you’re just barely waking up, you can grab the phone while you’re still in bed and groggy-eyed, and order room service for breakfast. Take your time waking up and taking a shower, and 45 minutes later your food & coffee will arrive, just when you’re finally up and ready for it. This is literally one of my favorite parts of staying in a fancy hotel, and even better when you stay at an all-inclusive resort because all of your food and drinks, including room service, are included at no extra charge, so take advantage!
There are also lots of activities for kids and a kids club so you can send the kids to go off and play while you spend some alone time with your partner.
All in all, the experience was great and I would highly recommend staying at only this resort whenever you visit Puerto Vallarta. I hope my Garza Blanca guest review helps influence your decision to stay there.