from Roberts Creek, Canada
Submitted on 10-01-2017
This is a return visit for us to the quaint little beachfront Samba Vallarta Resort in PV. My wife had taken her niece to this resort 10 years ago and we felt the smaller size and "less north american influence" suited our style of travel. I you are looking for a Las Vegas resort with palm trees here in Mexico, then this is likely not the right fit for you - go to the Riu next door, as the Samba, is during this visit, 99% Mexican guests, so you get a more authentic exposure to the local cultur...
This is a return visit for us to the quaint little beachfront Samba Vallarta Resort in PV. My wife had taken her niece to this resort 10 years ago and we felt the smaller size and "less north american influence" suited our style of travel. I you are looking for a Las Vegas resort with palm trees here in Mexico, then this is likely not the right fit for you - go to the Riu next door, as the Samba, is during this visit, 99% Mexican guests, so you get a more authentic exposure to the local culture. Firstly, the staff really make this place - from the front desk, wait staff, bartenders, housekeeping, landscapers, activity people, concierges, chefs, etc. all the staff here have real heart, enjoy their jobs, and it really shows! We spent five weeks at this resort so we had a real good taste of what it's all about and the entire experience here was first-class, with staff members stopping by our palapa, table, or sun loungers and saying they missed us at one of the meals, offering to pick up drinks, or just stopping for a friendly chat or to ask if there was anything they could do for us. The management has done an awesome job of employing staff that love to be here and it shows. There are more than enough sun loungers around the pool, on the beach under thatched roof palapas, bars, restrooms, outdoor showers, and restaurants are all handy/nearby. Daily activities offered are varied and a schedule is posted daily outside the Mexican restaurant by the pool bar and you can participate in the likes of water polo, beach volleyball, pool aerobics, dance lessons, bracelet making, etc. etc. and there are pool tables and ping pong tables as well. During our stay in the latter part of August and the entire month of September, temperatures were in the high 20s to low 30s and many nights we were treated to lightening and thunder displays accompanied by heavy (and warm) rainfall, but 'always awoke in the morning to sunshine and dry weather. Food here is amazing and we were delighted with the buffet offerings that rotated daily with different internationally - themed menus, always offering fresh sushi @ every lunch buffet, no shortage of seafood and interestingly flavoured dishes such as beef in red wine sauce, pork with kiwi fruit, mango chicken (every lunch & dinner buffet offered at least one of each; chicken, beef, pork and seafood dishes PLUS terrific fresh fruits, salads, breads & soups) as well as an astounding array of belt busting desserts and there was a "snack bar" by the beach bar that provided hamburgers, hot dogs, french-fries, salsa chips, salads, condiments and more. Al a carte, unlike many resorts, here at the Samba are unlimited and we enjoyed dozens of visits for high end creative Mexican and Italian-themed meals at both the indoor main building (air conditioned too) and beachfront restaurants, finished off with a flourish of flaming after dinner "specialty coffees" and afterwards we enjoyed spending our evenings at the Lobby bar watching a local sports match or news on the wall-mounted television.
The beach has a very gentle slope so you can walk out 100's of feet into the ocean and still be able to stand up (mindful of course of the sea conditions), the beach vendors are polite and not pushy at all (a simple "no gracias" results in a polite "have a nice day" response‚?¶), though I have to admit the fruit vendors were a fave of mine and I enjoyed many a "mango on a stick", peeled and sliced then doused with sweet lime (& chile powder if you like - don't laugh, it's delicious) for the princely sum of 25 pesos, or a bag of cheezies or chips to go with your beer or whatever you're drinking. There's a little beachside structure, immediately to the east side where you can peruse lots of handicrafts, clothing, henna tattoos, hair braiding, etc. and most evenings there are a few vendors in the resort that offer silver jewelry, paintings, local crafts, etc. (and absolutely no sales pressure). Massages, along with other spa treatments are offered both inside an air-conditioned area of the resort and under a beachfront palapa and I can attest, from multiple visits throughout our stay that the massages are great! Bucerias is an easy 45-60 minute stroll to the west along the beach for a change of pace and to wander the many shops & their offerings and the public bus service pulls right up to the gate if you want to ride into PV (18 pesos) - just look for the buses with "RIU" on the front. It takes about 30 minutes to get to the marina area (Walmart) and a further 20 minutes or so to the malecon. The bus ride back (same "RIU" buses) is somewhat longer as they stop at most all of the resorts, or if you ask, the driver will drop you at a specific spot is you ask (like a restaurant that caught our eye‚?¶) Of course cabs are everywhere (loads of them outside the resort that the concierge will happily call in for you ( there's a rate sheet out front with cab prices or just walk out the gate and hop in), but we prefer to ride the buses with the locals (and it's cheaper too!).
House keeping was excellent during our entire stay with fresh washed floors, clean towels (face cloths too), big bottles of body wash and shampoo, 2 cold water bottles daily in the mni fridge and always a friendly smile & greeting (this applies to all the staff) and on the subject of rooms, our A/C unit was great in providing us a "Canadian cold" enviroment (apologies to the poor cleaning staff who had to endure our frigid room while performing their daily cleaning duties‚?¶.). At the end of our stay the front desk kindly offered us a later checkout time, allowed us to keep our bracelets on until 5:00 pm (when we were picked up to be driven the 25 minutes to the airport) plus we were further given the complimentary use of a "courtesy room" so we could shower and change just before our departure. It would not be fair to start naming each & every staff member as they are all a truly terrific bunch of people that collectively were such a BIG part of making our stay in the Samba so enjoyable, but these are just some of the staff we can recall (please forgive my poor memory if I've missed any of you!): Alex, Antonio, Bruno, Carlos, Carolina, Cele, Ernesto, Eduardo, Gabriella, Genaro, Ismael, Jesus, Jose, Lori, Martin, Paulo, Raul, Samir, Viktor and Yothman. Resorts are basically just buildings, it's the staff that make these resorts a success or a failure and the Samba Vallarta has provided us a wonderful holiday experience. Thank-you all!