Arrival/Check-in: A surrealistic bronze statue by Sergio Bustamante depicting a four-legged magician-clown greeted me in the gorgeous open-air lobby, which featured a beautiful fountain and an intimidating palapa roof that made me feel as if I had just entered a grand Aztlán temple. Next to the statue stood a bronze podium covered with disembodied ears and eyes with a message that read, “The magic begins here.”
As my luggage was whisked away, I was led to a soft couch and invited to relax. An attendant placed cool towels that smelled of orange blossoms on my neck and offered me a glass of refreshing fruit juice. A woman massaged my neck with aromatic oils as another staff person brought me my paperwork and room key. From there — and without any threat of waiting in line — I was escorted to my room, where my luggage was already waiting for me.
Guest Quarters: My room was clean, spacious and well appointed, with a breathtaking view of the ocean from a large balcony terrace. The twin beds in the bedroom were comfortable, and each came with an assortment of pillows. The bedroom had ample closet space as well as a large, flat-screen television and a clock with an iPhone dock. The bathroom was stocked with Gilchrist & Soames soaps and lotions and featured a telephone within reach of the large bathtub and shower.
The sitting room had a comfortable sofa; dining area; a large, flat-screen TV; and a generous snack and soft drink selection that was replenished throughout my trip. I found the glass dining table served as a perfect double for a desk; it’s where I did the bulk of my work during my stay. The only negative I encountered was the phone in the sitting room had some sort of intermittent issue where callers couldn’t hear me; because the issue was tough to diagnose, the problem went unfixed during my stay. Otherwise, housekeeping was attentive, friendly and fast.
Services/Amenities: The pool and beach area of Grand Velas was nothing short of spectacular. The perfect combination of private and lively, the area seemed ideal for lounging with a cocktail, sunbathing or simply enjoying the magnificent view of the ocean. The staff throughout the resort were friendly and approachable without being intrusive. At sunset, strolling musicians serenaded guests gathered near the lobby bar, and the gentle music set a relaxing, romantic tone.
The dining selections at Grand Velas are out of this world. Because of the magnificent up-close-and-personal view of the ocean, I couldn’t resist the temptation to try the hotel’s casual beachside restaurant, Azul, on my first night, but there are more elegant gourmet treats at Grand Velas. I was highly impressed by the meal and wine list I enjoyed at Pilaf, the resort’s famed French restaurant; my dishes were the finest I’ve ever eaten in Mexico, and I heard similar raves from fellow guests about the other on-site restaurants, Frida and Lucca. Grand Velas also offers a large luxury spa with an expansive hydrotherapy area, a gym, botanical gardens and a high-tech business center.
The Experience: The Bustamante magician statue at the entrance of Grand Velas doesn’t deceive: “The magic began” the moment I set foot in the lobby, and it continued until I bid the magician farewell as I left for the airport. Grand Velas was a magical hotel experience.
- Less than 10 minutes for check-in
- Separate tub/shower
- Large vanity
- High-quality towels
- Large, flat-screen TV
- Large desk with convenient outlets
- Complimentary in-room WiFi
- Ample lighting
- High-quality bed linens
- Choice of pillows
- Powerful, unattached hair dryer
- Iron and ironing board
- Easy-to-set alarm clock
- On-site restaurant and bar
- 24-hour room service
- In-room coffeemaker
- Large, complimentary laptop safe
Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit
Av. Cocoteros, 98 Sur, Nuevo Vallarta
Riviera Nayarit, Mexico C.P. 63735
tel 52 322 226 8000
This month, tribal leaders and state officials joined Visit California at the future Agua Caliente Cultural Plaza to unveil a new statewide initiative. This initiative aims to showcase California’s native communities and cultural tourism experiences to domestic and international travelers. At the announcement, tribal leaders from across the state shared with journalists a sampling of the state’s vast array of offerings.
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