The Hilton Vallarta Riviera All-Inclusive Resort is Hilton’s only all-inclusive property in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, with a stunning beachside setting and warm hospitality. Here, you can eat and drink to your heart’s content while relaxing by two infinity pools or on the private beach.

This hotel was built in 1980, developed by Parks Hospitality and converted into a Hilton property in 2021. As you’d expect from a building built more than four decades ago, this property is showing its age.

However, its location is ideal with ocean views unspoiled by other buildings and a pretty (albeit small) beach. Despite being just a 10-minute drive from downtown, it feels secluded but that also means there aren’t many sights or attractions nearby and accessible on foot.

After a four-night Airbnb stay with friends in Puerto Vallarta over the 2023-24 winter break, I booked this property for a solo recharge for two nights before flying to Australia to visit family and friends for two weeks. I chose it because of its accessible location, and because it allowed me to maximize my benefits and points-earning by using one of my Hilton credit cards.

While there are many positive attributes, this property also has its flaws, so let’s dive into the pros and cons to help you decide whether it’s a good use of your cash or Hilton Honors points.

Getting there

The Hilton Vallarta Riviera is a 40-minute drive from Puerto Vallarta International Airport (PVR).

Ride-hailing services like Uber often come with long wait times, and arriving passengers need to take an elevated walkway across the main highway to catch their ride. Therefore, it’s best either to prearrange your transport with the hotel or to pay for an authorized taxi at the taxi booth in the airport, which will cost you $25-$35.

You’ll arrive at the main security gate at the front of the property, where the friendly staff will ask for your name and then radio ahead to the porters, who will greet you at the main lobby.

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MATT MOFFITT/THE POINTS GUY

I arrived at 2 p.m. — one hour before the standard 3 p.m. check-in time — and the check-in process was efficient and easy, if lacking warmth. After less than five minutes, I was off to my room in the north tower.

This was my first time staying at a beachside all-inclusive resort, and I was expecting check-in to involve a bombardment of information about the copious dining options and activities, along with a primer about how an all-inclusive generally works. However, the information I did receive from the check-in agent was concise and easy-to-digest, which put me at ease.

Having said that, I would have appreciated the check-in agent letting me know that I would receive an email with a link to the resort guide, which includes information on dining, activities and fitness. I only realized this when I checked my email two hours later; I would have liked to have had quicker access to this information, whether electronically or on paper.

Booking details

Hilton Puerto Vallarta base-level rooms start at $240 per night for one person and $340 for two people in the low season, running from June through October. In the high and shoulder seasons, you’re more likely to find pricing of $350-$550 per night for one person or $450-$650 for two people.

If you prefer to use Hilton Honors points, pricing starts at 62,000 points per night for one person in the low season; add around 20,000 points for a second guest. Average pricing is around 84,000 points for one person and 100,000 points for two people. Rooms tend to top out at 143,000 points on peak travel dates like U.S. public holidays.

The following is included in your room rate:

  • Three daily meals
  • Snacks
  • Unlimited drinks
  • Room service
  • Minibar
  • Activities
  • Fitness center
  • Valet parking
  • Wi-Fi

You’ll pay extra for premium dining experiences (such as at the steakhouse), premium drink packages, spa services, cabana rentals and Starbucks (in the lobby).

I booked a two-night stay in a base-level (partial ocean-view) room with a king-size bed for early January 2024 for $470 per night, totaling $940, including taxes and fees.

When booking the Hilton Vallarta Riviera All-Inclusive Resort, you’ll want to use one of the credit cards that earn the most points for Hilton stays as well as one that possibly offers automatic Hilton Honors elite status for value-added benefits. These include:

The information for the Hilton Aspire Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

I used my Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card to receive $200 off my booking with its biannual Hilton resort statement credit. Due to this card including Diamond status, I earned an additional 20 points per dollar spent on top of the 14 points per dollar spent at hotels in the Hilton portfolio.

That means my $940 booking earned a whopping 31,960 points, worth $192 according to TPG’s points valuations. Taking those points and the resort statement credit into account, this stay effectively cost me $548, equating to a 42% savings off the original cost.

Standout features

  • Stunning views of the beach and clear blue ocean are enjoyed from the public spaces and rooms.
  • Despite the resort’s scale and age, it was easy to navigate with clear signage, and the digital and paper maps provided.
  • My room had a comfortable bed with silky smooth linens.
  • The friendly, attentive staff were especially proactive in the restaurants, seating guests quickly and offering drink refills.
  • Low pressure was exerted to upgrade to premium drinks and experiences.
  • The resort offers a convenient location close to Puerto Vallarta’s downtown while also radiating calm.

Drawbacks

  • Drab interiors with outdated furniture contributed to the lack of an attractive design aesthetic.
  • Food quality was average, with only one memorable dining experience at Sunan, the Asian restaurant.
  • There were some unfortunate room glitches, including inconsistent hot water in the shower, AC that didn’t turn off and unsatisfactory housekeeping.
  • Wait times are long for elevators when at full occupancy (only two of the four elevators tend to work).
  • It can be hard to find available sun loungers when the property is at full occupancy.

The vibe

MATT MOFFITT/THE POINTS GUY

The Hilton Puerto Vallarta is located on the Pacific Ocean’s Banderas Bay, and you’ll enjoy stunning views of the bay from your room, as well as from the pools and eateries. It has a laid-back, beachside vibe, with 444 hotel rooms, seven restaurants, four bars, two infinity pools and a small private beach.

The lobby is expansive and inviting with a variety of cozy seats and hightop bar stools, and the pool setup stretches across the waterfront, giving you options, including drinking at the swim-up pool bar, or a relaxed nap time in one of the cabanas (for a fee).

During my stay, most guests were couples or families with teenage children. There seemed to be a 50-50 split between Mexicans and foreigners. I expected a louder, more dynamic atmosphere, but I think everyone was tuckered out from New Year’s Eve when I checked in on Jan. 2.

Although the hotel seemed only a quarter full during my two-night stay, I spoke to a couple from Oklahoma who had been guests over New Year’s, and they said it was very busy and difficult to find a sun lounger beside the pools.

This is a completely smoke-free property, with no indoor or outdoor smoking areas.

The room

MATT MOFFITT/THE POINTS GUY

With my Diamond status, I was upgraded from a base-level room with a partial ocean view to a superior ocean view room. The rooms are long and narrow and feature a balcony with two comfortable outdoor chairs.

I kept the balcony door open the whole time during my stay as the room smelled musty; I would’ve liked to have been able to turn off the air conditioner, but it did not have an off switch. Due to the location of the pools directly below, I could hear families playing in the pool during the day, but at night, the rolling waves helped lull me to sleep.

The king bed was supremely comfortable, with four long pillows and silky smooth sheets. You can see from the pictures that the interiors are tidy and well laid out but somewhat drab and lacking functionality. The alarm clock was set 10 minutes behind time — a pet peeve of mine when I walk into a hotel room for the first time — and had a wireless charging pad that didn’t work.

As for amenities, you’ll enjoy a 55-inch television, a Nespresso machine and a selection of Coca-Cola drinks, beers and waters in the minifridge. This room lacks storage space — I ended up sprawling my suitcase out in the main hallway directly next to the front door. A mesh tote bag is provided, which is useful for carrying items to and from the pools.

Although it looks like a concrete slab, the wide daybed is comfortable for afternoon naps and watching television, and the worktable was useful for filing stories and posts.

Moving into the bathroom, I appreciated that the shower had a small gap in the glass door to reach in and start the shower without getting the floor outside wet. Unfortunately, the water temperature was inconsistent during my stay, with hot water half the time and tepid water the other half.

The hotel notified guests, with a piece of paper left at each guest’s door, that the water would be completely shut off for three hours overnight. Refillable bath products are provided by Mexican apothecary Persea, which retails these bottles for about $15 each.

My favorite aspect of the room was the stunning view afforded by the balcony overlooking Banderas Bay.

MATT MOFFITT/THE POINTS GUY

In the middle day of my stay, I put a “make up room” sign on my door while I was enjoying the pool for three hours. I came back to a room with an unmade bed and no towel changes. While I was left with a fresh one-liter bottle of water, I expected a more comprehensive refresh. Given that housekeeping services seemed very spotty — with dirty room service trays left on the floor outside guests’ rooms for hours on end — a better approach might have been to contact the front desk to ensure a more thorough cleaning service.

Apart from the gym, there are no water refill stations throughout the property; rather, you have to ask for small bottles when dining and lounging by the pool, creating significant amounts of single-use plastic waste.

Food and drink

The Hilton Puerto Vallarta has seven restaurants, including Mexican, Italian and Japanese cuisine, and four bars. The opening hours for each establishment change depending on the day, and the only restaurant requiring reservations is the steakhouse for dinner.

You’ll most likely eat breakfast at the main restaurant, which features a huge buffet as well as made-to-order omelet and quesadillas stations. Highlights of this dining option include a self-serve mimosa and bloody mary bar, chilaquiles and a donut wall.

For a morning snack, I had deliciously fresh guacamole and pico de gallo from one of the poolside food trucks, accompanied by a mango mojito.

For lunch, it was seafood galore at the casual, coastal Cocomar restaurant by the beach. I enjoyed Peruvian-style octopus tiraditos and fried shrimp chimichangas, paired with a sweet white wine included in the drink package. Dessert was a decadent vanilla and strawberry ice cream infused with salted caramel and banana.

For an afternoon snack, I had bland hummus with chips from the food truck and so decided to pick up a mediocre tuna sandwich and pear from the grab-and-go cafe — which doubles as a Starbucks, for a fee — in the lobby.

I was exhausted on my first night, so I tried the room service. While the menu is available on the online resort guide, there is no online ordering option, so that’s done over the phone. I was quoted 35 minutes, and my food arrived in 40. The mixed salad, vegetarian pizza and chocolate cake all tasted as basic and flavorless as they appear in the photo.

MATT MOFFITT/THE POINTS GUY

However, the highlight of my culinary experience was Sunan, the Asian restaurant, for dinner on my final night. I was impressed by how authentic the (mainly) Japanese food tasted, and I thoroughly enjoyed my three-course meal of miso soup, cold rice noodle salad and shrimp tempura, accompanied by a (not-so-Japanese) piña colada.

This restaurant also has a sushi-only outpost on the floor above — and you need to be more dressed up, e.g., men must wear long pants to enter.

MATT MOFFITT/THE POINTS GUY

As for drinking, you can choose from four bars: the swim-up pool bar; Sky Deck bar; lobby bar; and a nighttime martini bar, which has a design that’s downright depressing but there is a pool table for those who are interested.

I could not get hold of a drinks menu at any of the establishments. This was frustrating as I would’ve liked to have known which alcohol products were included in my room rate and I was curious about any specialty cocktails.

I did, however, spot an employee guide to complimentary alcohol, which included brands like Grey Goose vodka, José Cuervo tequila, Tanqueray gin, Jagermeister and Aperol, and two to three options for each type of wine (red, white, rose and sparkling).

Having said that, I did appreciate that at no point from check-in throughout my entire stay was I upsold on the premium drinks package, or on any premium experiences like renting a cabana. This low pressure helped me relax and enjoy my time.

Amenities and service

Let’s start with the most important: the water options. There are two pools, a family one and an adults-only one, but there were children in both, so this was not enforced. If you want to secure a prime position, you may want to reserve a lounger with some of your belongings early in the morning, ideally before 8:30 a.m.

The pools overlook a private, protected beach. However, there is a rock barrier about 50 feet out and you can’t cross this. This makes this little bay suitable for little ones to splash about when the waves are calm.

MATT MOFFITT/THE POINTS GUY

Given the towering western-facing hotel blocks the sun until the middle of the day, you’ll want to head to the Sky Deck on the seventh floor if you want to catch rays during the first half of the day. Although seating is limited, you can enjoy drinks from the bar and the two Jacuzzis overlooking the beach.

You can get a workout in at the medium-sized, somewhat outdated gym with all the essentials you’d expect from a standard hotel.

Daily activities for children and adults include cycling classes, aqua fitness and beach volleyball during the day. At night, you can play bingo, trivia and casino games, or enjoy live music or a silent disco (participants wear wireless headphones).

The internet was reliable at 66 Mbps download and upload speeds within the building, but the signal weakened considerably at the pool and beach, so you’ll want to use cell service there.

The kids club runs daily activities for children aged 4-12.

Apart from unfriendly check-in staff, I found the guest service elsewhere attentive and friendly, especially when dining. I don’t know if I’ve been to a place where they table-touch so often to ensure you have everything you need, and they are very proactive about drink refills.

The eforea Spa is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day and offers massages, facials and body treatments (full menu) for an average price of $170. Reservations made at least 24 hours in advance are encouraged.

Out and about

This resort is located just 10 minutes from Puerto Vallarta’s Zona Romantica, which is a great place to wander along the coastal boardwalk, peruse local shops, try out restaurants and enjoy the nightlife, which is especially geared toward the queer community. A taxi ride from the resort to the Zona Romantica should cost less than $10.

Fifteen minutes south of the property is the small town of Mismaloya, which has a palm-lined cove beach, a wildlife park and tequila tastings.

There isn’t much in the immediate surrounds of the hotel; it’s mostly condos and other resorts connected by a two-lane coastal road.

Accessibility

The Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort’s public spaces, including its entrance, registration desk, restaurants, bars and fitness center, are wheelchair-accessible. Wheelchairs are available on-site. The oceanfront king-bed mobility access rooms feature a roll-in shower.

However, this property does not have a wheelchair pool lift, and other features like signs with Braille and visual alert systems were not noticeable during my visit.

Checking out

The standard checkout time is 12 p.m., but guests can enjoy the restaurants and use the facilities until 2 p.m., after which the front desk staff will remove your wristband. As a Diamond member, I was given a 1 p.m. late checkout.

In all, I expected more from the Hilton Vallarta Riviera All-Inclusive Resort, which is classified as a four-star hotel.

On the positive side, it offers a wide variety of dining options, including large buffets, Mexican, Italian and Japanese cuisine, and plenty of seafood. While most dishes that I tried were unremarkable, I enjoyed the made-to-order stations, fresh guacamole by the pool, and the authentic Asian restaurant.

There are also lots of places to chill out (the two pools, Jacuzzis on the Sky Deck and the private beach) or to be more active — with the gym and daily activities. The staff is generally attentive and friendly, particularly in the dining areas.

MATT MOFFITT/THE POINTS GUY

What was apparent is that the hotel’s interiors are outdated and need an upgrade. Inconsistent hot water was an issue during my stay. The lack of water refill stations throughout the property also leads to excessive single-use plastic waste. The limited information about the drink options and the weak Wi-Fi signal at the pool and beach areas are also drawbacks.

Despite these negatives, the resort’s location is convenient, with Puerto Vallarta’s Zona Romantica and the town of Mismaloya nearby for exploring.

Overall, the Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort offers a range of amenities and dining options. However, improvements are needed in certain areas to provide guests with a more enjoyable and sustainable experience. I’ll try a different property when visiting Puerto Vallarta next time. And if you have access to more cash or Hilton points, the luxury Conrad Punta de Mita is worthy of consideration.

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