For my family, beach vacations rule. Although we’ve all got slightly different vacation styles ranging from resortist (my son) to shoestring backpacking (my husband), we can all agree on the beach. And the beachier, the better – we’re talking umbrella drinks, palm trees, and zero plans. For us, the beach is very relaxing, very satisfying, and (thanks to my hobby of points and miles collecting), very inexpensive.
This is why we’ve been to the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta four (yes, FOUR) times over the past three years. It’s a tradition at this point. We went for the first time in 2011, when the resort was still a Dreams property. You can read about that trip here. We were thrilled when Hyatt bought the resort in 2014, and we went back (for free with Hyatt points) twice in 2015 – once with another family, and once with our niece. Now we’re back again. While you’d think we would get bored of the same vacation, it’s actually been different every time.
The key to the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta is that – as with any resort – it’s even better if you have a few insider tips. Here are mine:
You can make your own room service.
While the in-room minibars are stocked with a variety of drinks and snacks, you can also special-order your favorites from room service. We have found this to be based on how busy the resort is at the time – and honestly there are so many food options around the resort that this is almost redundant – but it can feel special if you’ve had a long day at the beach and just want to relax on your balcony and watch the sunset.
The premium rooms are all different.
This is very important to know, and it’s something that we didn’t learn until this trip. What it means is that if you book, say, a plunge pool suite, there are several different types of plunge pool suites in two different towers, ranging from the fairly basic to the ultra-fabulous. On our last trip, we got upgraded to an ultra-fabulous suite, while on this trip, the friends we were traveling with received a basic one. Again, it’s the luck of the draw, based on when you arrive (obviously, the resort can only give you a room that is available at the time). However, if you book a trip during a slow period at the resort, you should definitely ask what the available options are. Sometimes there is only one option, but sometimes, you might get lucky and have your pick.
Bring your own pillow.
If you are picky about your sleeping materials at all, I cannot emphasize this point enough. The pillows at the resort are flat and lifeless, and have been the culprit for several nights of not-so-great sleep for various members of my family and – ahem –me. Trust me on this one. You will thank me later.
Happy hour is a thing here.
And it starts at 2 pm. If you are on the beach or at the pools, you will be happily (hopefully!) surprised by an array of snacks and drinks every day. Nachos, fresh mangos and hot sauce, fried fish, burgers and fries, fish tacos…it’s always tasty, and it’s always perfect for poolside. So if you skip lunch, you don’t need to worry – just wait for happy hour.
This vacation is always a great one for us. The combination of luxury, convenience, and proximity (3.5 hours from SFO) make it easy and repeatable…while it’s the little things and the attention to detail that keep us coming back year after year.
In fact, if you’re going, let me know. I might be headed back, and I will see you there. (Pointchaser, I’m talking to you!!)
Have you been to a Hyatt Ziva property? What did you think? Would you go back? I’d love to hear!