"Why aren't we staying in this side of the hotel?" I overheard a guest say as her group entered the lobby of the Hacienda, the Hilton Puerto Vallarta's new $27 million all-inclusive section.
Having just arrived myself for a three-night, hosted stay, I hadn't yet seen this adults-only zone, but the obvious charms of this section were undeniable. My cab had dropped me off in front of a picture-perfect fountain, the kind you'd find in a colonial town like San Miguel de Allende.
The Hacienda, designed by Mexican architect Ricardo Elias and inspired by Mexico's legendary haciendas, offers a boutique-style hotel experience wrapped up in an affordable, all-inclusive package.
My room, located on the first floor of the hotel, was a Swim-out room, one of the four categories of junior suites (Garden, Pool View and Terrace were the others) at the 192-room property.
Swim-out meant that I had my own plunge pool, accessible via a sliding-glass patio door. Waking up to that plunge pool, with a view of the rising sun peeping through the treetops of the surrounding landscape, made it a joy to get up in the morning.
Of course, booking a Terrace room (there are 14, all located on the fourth floor), would have been just as nice, if not nicer. At 613 square feet, the Terrace rooms are the hotel's largest, and their main draw is the spa-like bathroom with private terrace and outdoor Jacuzzi.
That said, my Swim-out room was perfectly lovely, with all the creature comforts I needed: plush, white bedding still so new that it was practically crisp to the touch; a small table or desk; a lounge chair with footrest; a sunken tub; rainfall showerhead; a 42-inch flat-screen TV; an iron and ironing board; a robe and slippers; a stocked minifridge; Peter Thomas Roth toiletries; and USB outlets conveniently located bedside.
The Hacienda’s private pool has a swim-up bar. Hacienda guests can access the beach from the Hilton main building.
Getting to the beach
It should be noted that the Hacienda is ocean-adjacent and not oceanfront. Guests who want to experience the ocean can still access it, however, via the Hilton main building next door. I woke up early one morning to take a walk on the beach and to possibly take a swim in the ocean, but I abandoned the effort after 15 minutes, finding myself much happier wading in the crystal-clear waters of the Hacienda's main pool, mellow DJ music playing in the background, with a frozen strawberry daiquiri in hand courtesy of El Pozo, the swim-up bar.
Puerto Vallarta proper is a 10-minute drive or so away. There, you can take a nice stroll on the malecon to take in the local sights and sculptures, shop along the picturesque streets along the Romantic Zone and grab dinner at one of the resort town's 900-plus restaurants.
We booked a table at La Palapa, a beachside restaurant right off the pier on Los Muertos beach, and dined on specialties like lobster taquitos while watching the sunset.
The Hacienda at the Puerto Vallarta Hilton is about 10 minutes from Licenciado Gustavo Diaz Ordaz Airport in Puerto Vallarta's North Hotel Zone. Rates start at $240 per night. For more information, visit www.hilton.com.