Villas Vallarta by Canto del Sol
Travel Blogs from Puerto Vallarta
Hi All, Sorry its been a while since we last wrote anything to anybody. But its been rather hectic this last week or so. Not sure where we left off, so I'll pick it up with Ajijic.
We arrived in Ajijic in order to find a place to spend the month of Feb. When we left TO we had only one place to look at and by the time we arrived we had 6. All ...
... when our dearest friends - Glen & Joe, ex-pats from Ohio who moved here permanently a few years ago and befriended my parents, well, our whole family - invited me to meet them for dinner and drinks on Friday. Or drinks and then dinner, I suppose. That's how it works when you get older (and no, I'm not calling the boys old!!). You do it in reverse order. You end up eating at the same time as the 20-somethings. But you go to bed right after, so you have to meet around 4pm or ...
Here are pics of the place we are staying at - Casa Del Puente. We are really enjoying the space - the living room is gigantic with wonderful views and lots of light. The bedroom is ... ...
... hill. After about 10 minutes walking the taxi came down the hill and we climbed in. How the system works we never really understood but it did and the taxi took us the last 9 kilometres to san Sebastian. It was a special day, the culmination of a 4 day festival. It was very cold first thing as we arrived about 9am but by 11 it was hot and the procession was due to start. It took another hour to get underway (it is Mexico JC reminded us) but it was great fun ...
... like sweetbreads which is just a prettyfied name for either the thyroid or thymus or some other gland in a cows neck. They`ve got a very mild, sort of minerally taste and are great sauteed or lightly fried. Eyeballs are on the gooey side, as you could probably imagine, and are probably most similar to the collageny part of a pig`s foot if I had to make a comparison. Actually, they really aren`t like anything else out there, but they ...
How has this resort rated in the past?
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Historical Traveler Reviews Villas Vallarta by Canto del Sol Puerto Vallarta
Fun in the Sun
We travelled to Puerto Vallarta February 6 - 12/05 for the very first time and chose the Villas Vallarta all inclusive as we had not travelled out of Canada very much. We were a little wary about booking hotels and finding places to eat on our own so the all inclusive was perfect for us this time.
The Villas was a great "first time" experience. The grounds/lobby were very clean at all times, the staff more than helpful. The food was the only thing that got boring by the end of the week, but by then we were off exploring some of the fine eateries that are available all over town.
Our room was as far away from the pool/lobby area as possible, which was great for a relaxing stay, and we built up an appetite with all the walking we did. The rooms were clean, the bathroom was a little musty smelling, but once the water was being used, the smell disappeared. Tipping the maids daily made sure that your room was spotless upon your return.
The swimming pool is small but we never found it full, lots of deck chairs available at any time. The snack bar filled the gap between meals or instead of another buffet meal, nothing to rave about, as long as I wasn't doing the cooking, little else mattered!!! The bar staff were great, always getting us to try new drinks and ensuring our glasses were never empty for long. The three restaurants you get to chose from all serve similar food, nice for an "evening out", but nothing too fancy.
The bus and taxi's are easy to use and all within a few minutes walk of the front door. We had access to the Canto del Sol across the street in the "stay at one, play at two" plan, but other than accessing the beach at the Canto, we spent the majority of our time at the Villas as it was much quieter and easier to get a chair at poolside. The hotel is located within very easy access of downtown, but without all the noise/traffic that you find downtown.
Overall, we were very happy with the accommodations, food and cost of our all inclusive. I would recommend this hotel to anyone who wants a good, reasonably priced vacation. We would definitely consider returning next time!!!!!!!
Good Time Had by All - January 15-22, 2005
This was our first trip to PV, we took our two adult children with us who have never traveled before. Things got off to a bad start in that when we arrived very early on a Saturday morning, we had time to waste until we could get our room so we headed over to the Canto Del Sol for breakfast and a chance to wake up and catch our breaths. Unfortunately while walking through the lobby after breakfast we were approached by one of the hostesses asking if we had booked any of our tours yet. Little did we know this was the start of the dreaded time share/vacation club schpeel. After 90 mins of the "tour" we had had enough. A bit of a downer to start with but we very quickly started to change our view when we checked in. We were very happy that the front desk staff accomodated us by offering us a two bedroom suite so that we could enjoy our stay together in one room. It worked out just perfectly for us. The room was nothing spectacular but was compareable to any other 3 star that we have stayed at in Mexico. It was a little run down, but it was comfortable and the room was in a quiet location so we were able to enjoy our sleep ins. The food was nothing exceptional but it was none the less tasty. We found that the restaurants at the Villas were always much quieter than Canto Del Sol so we ate our lunches (when we were not out shopping) and dinners there and had our breakfasts at the second restuarant (the name escapes me but you had to take quite the trip to get there!) The Breakfasts at the Canto got quite boring by weeks end and they seemed to be getting low on selection. We all had a great time soaking up the sun by the pool and the snack bar and drink bar where always good here. Our son had a great time checking out the bar scene but be careful of those cab drivers they seem to be able to spot the first timers a mile away as our son was taken in on his first night and gave up the majority of his money because he got slightly wasted and "felt bad for the guy"! We ended up finding a great friend in Jose (at the money exchange next to the hotel). He was very helpful with information to get around and was excellent in arranging some discounted tours for us. We had a fantastic time deep sea fishing, the boys did the Canopy tour and had a blast, and us girls went to the spa at the Canto Del Sol and had a Tequilla massage which was just heavenly (highly recommended). We also went to the Mexican Fiesta at the Iguana which was absolutely fabulous we had such a great time there. So as far as the tours go they are all excellent. Hats off to Jose for all of his help, and I recommend him highly because he seems to be genuinely interested in showing you all the best that PV has to offer. Over all we had a good time, but because of the size and commerciality of PV we will probably not return. We prefer the smaller Cities like Manzanillo were the pace is much less hectic and the time share craze is not as bad.
Another Great Holiday
We spent two weeks at Villas Vallarta (Canto) and had a terrific time. My brother and I share a room so when we arrived at the Villas and found one bed, we had a problem. Without much ado we were transferred to the Canto. What I loved was the location as you could walk to the malecon or the marina. We also took the bus and taxis which are cheap, cheap...We used both resorts which was fun. Our room was very clean and we did not have noise problems. We found the staff as good as any. My brother loved every meal--buffet or whatever. I enjoyed the a la cartes which were very good. I think most people know that if you want a 5 star resort in Mexico--book one. The only thing that wasn't great was the people (Canadians--perhaps) who would arise at the crack of dawn and monopolize the pool and beach chairs. Towels were left on the chairs all day whether or not the people were there!! Also, the red flag for the beach showed every day we were there but the weather was wonderful. I probably wouldn't stay there again (been there--done it) but I certainly enjoyed my stay there. I also didn't hear many people complaining as it looked like a good time was being had by all.
Don't go if you want peace and quiet....
We really enjoyed our trip to the Canto del Sol two years ago so thought we would go back. We just returned from a week at Villas Vallarta (which is part of the Canto del Sol Resort across the street). The pool area at the Canto del Sol is extremely crowded and noisy during the day. The activities people seem to feel that they have to be yelling into the PA system all day and cranking the tunes up which are the same tunes we heard 2 years ago! A little quieter at the Villas Vallarta pool but Bruce the activities director (God bless him) is quite "active" (off his Ritalin I think) but the tunes are not as loud or raunchy as across the street.
We had a room right off the lobby, directly down the stairs from the pool. VERY NOISY as the drunks partied by the pool til 1:00 am or later and the noise echoed through the halls like a canyon. Also there was the constant noise of laundry carts etc on tile floors at all times of the day and night. If you get a room near the lobby or facing the pool at Villas Vallarta, see if you can change it. Don't get me wrong, we all go there to enjoy ourselves but should be considerate of others.
The buffet food wasn't very good at all - boring. Didn't find the taste to my liking.The chef had no imagination. Although they advertised different theme nights at the reataurant (Italian, Northern etc) I couldn't taste any difference except for seafood night. Really unfortunate since the food was plentiful and alot of effort was put into its preparation.
I must say the staff were all fabulous without exception, friendly and helpful.
Beach is small and covered with gravel. Rip tides are a problem as well.
Finally, I was very upset that hotel employees approach you in the lobby asking if you are aware of the activities in the hotel and within 15 seconds are into a time share spiel, selling time shares in the hotel.
The hotel is conveniently located between downtown and the airport. Bus transportation is 1 block away and cabs are always at the door. There are a number of good shops, restaurants, pharmacy and Internet cafes nearby.
This Is Not a 3 Star Hotel
This would be more properly rated if it were considered a 2 star, and not a 3 or 4 as I've seen it rated elsewhere.
The rooms were shabby and rundown. They were also unclean. In particular, some of the chairs were quite filthy, and there was a cigarette burn and ink stain on the comforter cover. I point these out simply because it takes little effort to clean chairs and replace comforter covers, which makes it all the more troubling. Stranger yet is the amount of dirt on the hotel lobby couches. If you can't even clean your lobby...
The food was good. Buffet style at 2 different restaurants, with some coupons for a la carte eating in 1 buffet restaurants and 2 other a la cartes. These were superior to the buffets and quite good all around.
The staff was generally helpful, but the reality is, they can only do so much to make the hotel any better than it is physically. They allowed us to move once we complained, but the rooms got no better in terms of cleanliness, or fit and finish. At that point, we just resigned ourselves.
Villas Vallarta has a small pool area, nothing particularly good or bad really. You share services with Canto del Sol (the 4 star sister hotel, literally about 30 feet away), which has a much bigger pool area, a nicer restaurant, and beach access.
I've seen other reviews of this hotel complain of noise, but I think that is isolated to certain high traffic areas. The room we settled with was top floor, out of the way, and was quiet.
Our travel agent hyped this hotel, which I found odd at the time, and even odder in hindsight. They claimed to have just visited this hotel. The pitch to us was that the hotel was all just remodelled, and would likely be twice the price next year, so we should grab it. Once there, after quizzing the front desk person about the disparity between what we'd been told, and what we saw, he admitted that a small portion of the hotel was "rebuilt" recently, but that the rest of the hotel was as is. Alas, none of those "rebuilt" rooms were available. Be warned that the pictures you see of these hotel rooms may not match the actual room.
Puerto Vallarta has quite a bit to offer, so you are not in your rooms all of the time. As a result, if you can get a great price (less than $900 Canadian, per person, all inclusive, for example) on this, it may be worth it. If you pay regular price that would be a real shame.
There is a saying, you get what you pay for. 3 stars to me suggests mid priced, and mid comfort level, and I have no problems with that. I have stayed in other 3 star hotels/resorts, so I do have something to reference when comparing this one to them. I would rate this as a 2 star hotel - no more.
I would not return to this hotel.
A GREAT WEEK
We just returned from Puerto Vallarta, and we stayed a week at Villas Vallarta, and had a great time. The rooms were good, and the food was alright. We found that eating from the snack bar in the afternoon broke up eating the same food from the buffet every day. The breakfast was great, we usually ate at the poolside buffet at Canto del Sol, that way you can grab some chairs before they were all gone.
We went on a few tours, so we were always busy, 7 days go by pretty quick.
Just remember you get what you pay for, and I think the Villas are a pretty good deal for the price you pay.
My family stayed at this hotel the week ending Jan 14/05 and have no complaints. After reading some of the reviews I was a bit sceptical but without need. The hotel was what I expected. Rooms were fine as was the food. We spent most of our time at the Canto del Sol across the street which is part of the package ie "stay at one play at two" The Canto is on the beach right across the street. Food was fine although the buffet got a bit boring by the end of the week but I think any buffet would. The items changed every day. If I had any small complaint it would be that you definitly need to be down by the pool by 8:00+- to get a good location for a lounge chair. Also the canto pool bar closed at 6:00PM when the sun stayed up till 6:30 +-. Not a big deal you just had to walk a couple of hundred feet to the lobby bar but would have been nice to have the pool bar open. Staff were great. Close to downtown PV ie 10 Min max by bus ($.40) or taxi ($3.00 to $4.00).
Any questions.... email me......
Have just returned from my first trip to Puerto Vallarta, and we will return ASAP. The weather was perfect everyday, and the sunsets were fabulous. The town (old town and romantica) are very, very charming and offer lots of shopping, cafes, cantinas and restaurants (try the Brazil Steakhouse for a feast). The Hotel, althought across the plaza from the Canto Del Sol still provides access to the beach through Canto Delo Sol. This hotel is the more quiet of the two, with a smaller pool area. However the quality of service and quality of food is superior to the Canto Del Sol. There were no lines for meals (breakfast & lunch) at this hotel. We flew the kids in from Edmonton to join us and the hotel accommodated us by giving us three rooms in a row, with adjoining terraces (rooms 518-520) overlooking the plaza. With the Canto Del Sol offering access to the a la carte restaurants you have a great choice of venues to eat. (the italian is very good). This is great value for dollar. We booked through Signature Vacations. Their rep Sandra D was most knowledgable, engaging and helpful. Many thanx, Signature, for a great vacation with the kids.
Terrible Buffet Food
My wife and I just returned from a 7 day stay at the Villas Vallarta by Canto Del Sol. This was our first trip to Vallarta.
We stayed in a studio room - a basic kitchenette, king bed and bathroom. Size wise our room was more than adequate for the two of us. Every time we entered the room there was a strong musty smell which you soon got used to once you were in the room for a while. Other than the smell, the room seemed clean.
Be prepared for a lot of kids. We enjoy using the pool, but we found that the pool at the Villas Vallarta (VV) and Canto Del Sol (CDS) (sister hotel across the street, which you have full access to...it's the one on the beach) seemed to always have kids horsing around in both of them, even after dark (the pool were open until 9 (VV) & 10pm (CDS)). Chairs by the Canto Del Sol pool were very hard to come by; chairs at the Villas Vallarta pool were a bit more readily available.
Be prepared for a lot of loud locals. We would estimate that at least 50% of the people staying at the hotel were from Mexico, 30% Canadian, and 20% other (Americans, European, etc.). The entertainment is geared to Mexicans. The evening entertainment was on a 4 day cycle...the show we saw the first night, was the same one they put on later in the same week.
Canto Del Sol's beach is not that bad. We were warned prior to going to Vallarta, that the beach and ocean would not be as nice as the Caribbean side, but overall we were satisfied. We spend quite a bit of time enjoying the beach, and the ocean (especially the waves!). We were also warned about the peddlers on the beach, and there certainly were a lot of them. By the end of the week we sounded like a broken record repeating "no, gracias" to each peddler that walked by.
The buffets were awful, especially the dinner buffet - there was limited selection, and what was available was not very appetizing. Funny enough, we ate at each of the three a la carte restaurants, and each was excellent!
Be prepared for long lineups for the snack bar (especially the one near the beach) as well as the buffet restaurant. The hours for the snack bar are a bit short, but the food is alright - better than the buffet!
The staff at both hotels (VV and CDS) were good. The bell boys were very helpful. At the end of your stay, if you have to check out earlier than when you leave, you can get a courtesy room to take a shower prior to departing to the airport - but beware the room will likely be a pig sty, and you will barely have enough time to find it, take your shower, and return the key to the bell boy.
Location of the hotel relative to downtown Vallarta is great. Taxis are readily available and the city bus (very cheap and easy to use) stops basically in front of the hotel. Be prepared for a rough ride especially on the bus - the stone streets in Vallarta are very rough.
Don't expect to be able to use credit card for that much, cash - pesos are the best to use. ATMs are everywhere...the nearest is beside the gift shop in front of Canto Del Sol.
If we visit Vallarta again, we will look for somewhere else to stay.
Villas Vallarta by Canto del Sol...ouch
The noise in the hotel is NON-STOP day and night.
We have just returned from a 10 day stay at this hotel. My husband & I, my 20 yr. old son & his girlfriend, and my 13 yr. old daughter. This is our 4th trip to Vallarta but our 1st time at this hotel. I'm quite sure it will be our last stay here too. The rooms are large, that's the good thing.
The maids are excellent and the "swans" (towels artfully arranged) are a nice touch.
The noise is NON-STOP. There are carts rolling down the hallway all day and all night. Try to muffle the sound with the one speed air conditioning but be sure to ask for extra blankets.
After a long jaunt to the beach (which seems to get longer day after day) can sometimes be a challenge as you have to cross the street where the traffic is non-stop and the parked cars are like a maze.
The noise is NON-STOP day and night.
The beach sucks. Simple as that. It's small and way over-crowed. Everyone fights for chairs and 6 feet of space they can call their own. Playing in the ocean is hazardous as the "gravel" is hard on the skin and so many people walk away from the water scratched and scraped. We all came home with war wounds.
The noise in the hotel is NON-STOP day and night.
Something is not right with the food/drinks either as we all took a turn getting cramps and sick. No, we did not drink the water. Be prepared for long lineups for the snackbar as well as the restaraunt.
Checking out cost us an extra $80 for what they claimed was "extra cleaning" on the towels. We have no idea what that was about but there is no use argueing since the dude at the desk claims to know nothing except to go by the advice of the cleaning maids.
The menu "theme" changed daily, (mexican, international, oriental, northern, etc.) but there was very little difference in the selection each day. Keep in mind that there is NOTHING to eat between 11:30 am. until 1:00 p.m. and starving folks begin lining up early.
High five to Jorge the bartender on the beach. He's very busy but does a great job.
High five to "Jose" the silver vender on the beach. Everyone knows him, he gives the best deals, is the friendliest and speaks great English.
A big "boo" to the MANY women vendors who stand by the stairs each day and attack you day after day after day as you walk down. They do not venture far from the stairs, (the only entrance to the beach) and take up alot of space designed for the guests. Funny how they always seem to have chairs when you and your family can't find a single one.
The activities dude is a young skinny lad who accuses people of being chicken or lazy if they don't do what he is yelling about. And the yelling goes on all day. Not so peaceful for those of us who expect to lay back and veg-out.
As I said, this is our 4th trip to Vallarta, and we're pretty familiar with the city and all it has to offer.
The noise is NON-STOP day and night.
Villas Vallarta is not a calm and relaxing experience as those we have experience before. On a scale of one to ten, we'll give it a three and recommend that you find somewhere else to stay. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.