It’s no wonder Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton had a love affair in Puerto Vallarta while filming “The Night of the Iguana.” With green-shrouded mountainous landscapes and verdant jungles vying for attention with a stunning bay and a charming city complete with cobblestone streets, I had a love affair of my own with the destination, and my home away from home was the perfect complement to all that beauty—the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta.
a new vision
First, let’s begin with the property. Formerly a Dreams resort, and now owned and managed by Playa Hotels and Resorts, the renovated Hyatt Ziva offers ocean views from just about any spot on the property.
“It was always our vision to recreate it and make it a new property,” says Bruce Wardinski, CEO, Playa Hotel & Resorts. “It’s an iconic hotel with the only private beach in Puerto Vallarta, and close to the downtown area.”
Alexander Stadlin, CEO of Playa Resorts Management, adds that, “The relationship with Hyatt is great. They challenged [us to do] something different and [to get] out of the mold of what all-inclusive is. They’ve challenged us not to become a cookie-cutter type of product.”
at first glance
The open-aired lobby has 180-degree views of the ocean; each restaurant on property—four a la carte and one buffet—also offers ocean views and delicious cuisine, too, and all guestrooms face the ocean. Speaking of guestrooms, recommend your clients stay in the Club Tower, which provides spacious rooms such as the Ziva Ocean View Junior Suite, featuring ample balcony space complete with seating and a small table, and the bathroom features a soak-in jacuzzi tub. The swim-up suites on the first floor of the main tower are also a great option. Guests who stay in the Club Tower have access to a minifridge with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, which are replenished daily. The lobby of the Club Tower offers round-the-clock snacks such as a variety of cheeses, prosciutto, mini sandwiches, and bite-size desserts, as well as wine, soft drinks, and water; breakfast choices are also offered in the a.m.
While we’re on the topic of food, let’s go back to the onsite restaurants, which offer guests Italian, Mexican, and Japanese cuisine, as well as a buffet with a variety of choices for breakfast and lunch. The food is grander than what you would expect at an all-inclusive resort, and the views just as lovely. For breakfast, definitely mark the cliffside venue, Blaze, on your client’s must-do dining list.
All-inclusive doesn’t end with just fabulous food; the activities offered are just as entertaining—some might even put you out of your comfort zone.
The hotel’s Jungle Walk—more like a hike—begins adjacent to the hotel, and is led by hotel staff. It’s not an easy trek; once I saw the rocks we’d be climbing, I knew this was not the “walk” I was expecting, and I was afraid I’d end up in a face-plant in front of the group. I didn’t. The views are stunning, and include creeks, rocks and a couple of waterfalls. At the end of the hike a stunning lagoon welcomes hikers, with a large waterfall on the other side accessible only by a swim across the lagoon.
Later that day the group headed out on a city tour led by the hotel staff. It includes a quick view of the former homes of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, a stroll through the malecon, a visit to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, and shopping at the local open-air market selling arts & crafts, jewelry and other bric-a-brac. Other activities offered at the hotel are paddleboarding, kayaking, and nightly themed events—many of which have live entertainment.
pampering at the hyatt
After all the hiking, dining, and touring, suggest your clients carve out some time to unwind at the VitaMar Spa. Even if they don’t book a treatment, the hydrotherapy options such as the pool, outdoor jacuzzi, hot and cold stone walk area, and various temperature showers are complimentary for all guests.
For clients tying the knot, the Hyatt Ziva knows how to pamper the bride. The Sky Wedding Suite offers a large dressing area for the bride, as well as an area for the bride and her wedding party to have their nails and hair done, and even sneak in some time for a massage—it’s the perfect pre-wedding prep area. There is also an outdoor terrace perfect for a small ceremony and reception since there is a kitchen in the suite.
for you, agents
Agents play a big role for Playa and Hyatt Ziva when it comes to bookings. “Everyone is talking about whether the agents survive this, or survive that. Agents are the most important resource we have. They are using the tools we have out there. Agents are here to stay,” notes Stadlin. “Agents sometimes are in the position that they can’t offer the best price; that’s not the case for us.” All-inclusive rates start at $580 per night dbl. However, agents should check for special promotions and sign up for Playa Resorts’ commission booster (agents.playaresorts.com) to stay in-the-know of all the specials.
Archived related articles (available on recommend.com/magazine/issue-archive): What’s New in Mexico (April 2015)