Last updated on September 25th, 2023
Alas, we finally made it back to our favourite Mexican mega-resort, Vidanta. When we thought that their Riviera Maya location was gigantic, their Nuevo Vallarta location blew it out of the water. I don’t even think the word “mega” can even describe it. It is its own town. Everything you need is right here. A marketplace, countless pools, a wide stretch of beach, golf courses, an authentic taco stand, over 25 other international food restaurants, long boardwalks through forested areas and over lakes… No wonder people live here two to three, even up to SIX months of the year!
In this post, I’ll be going through the details of our seven-day stay at the Grand Mayan Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta! We went in mid-January, escaping the brisk cold of Canada, like the snowbirds we are. But even during Mexico’s high season, we found ourselves enjoying pockets of peace throughout this property and a sense of fun we have yet to beat any other resort!
Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta Resorts
The Nuevo Vallarta Vidanta property is comprised of 4 different resorts: the Grand Mayan, the Mayan Palace, the Grand Bliss and the Grand Luxxe Residence Club; each one having their own pools and area on the property. The Grand Mayan and Grand Luxxe are so massive that they’re made up of multiple towers.
The Estates is Vidanta’s newest development and provides the highest tier of luxury on the property. It offers their guests the most access across the property and is mostly designed for more longterm stays.
The Grand Luxxe is the tried and true lavish resort of the original four before the Estates was developed. They have multiple exclusive pools including two “sky” pools, situated on the rooftops of two of their towers. Like the Estates, Grand Luxxe is further away from the beach than the other resorts.
The Grand Bliss has high notes of luxury and exclusivity. Though not as high tier as the Grand Luxxe, it’s granted access to its own pool as well as the Mayan Palace pool and Grand Mayan pools.
The Mayan Palace, albeit only having access to its own pool, is a haven for adults and particularly couples.
The Grand Mayan is where a lot of the fun is at! Appealing to mostly young adult groups and families with kids, it’s a highly entertaining area to be in. Its towers also sit right behind and envelop its grand cluster of pools, gorgeous lazy river, pyramid water slide and wave pool. We were here every afternoon and never in the slightest got bored of the lazy river.
Arrival to Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta
With the booking of our stay at the Grand Mayan, we got a complimentary private roundtrip airport transfers from PVR to the resort. A few weeks prior to our trip, we had to book this complimentary shuttle service here. It was super easy to arrange, and we just had to provide our flight and guest details so the team knew when to expect us and how many we were.
After we landed and got through customs, we just went straight out and exited the airport. We dodged the many eager transportation salespeople and were on the lookout for our Vidanta transportation rep. He was exactly where we were instructed he would be by guest relations, and as we approached, he already had our names at the ready. He checked us in on his clipboard and called the assigned driver over to the nearby parking spot.
Our luggage was placed in the back and we were off in the van en route to Vidanta before we knew it! It was barely a 20-minute drive to make it to the mega-resort main gate. Just a few more minutes’ drive and we arrived at the main sanctuary consisting of a massive sheltered parking lot. All the buses, van transfers, taxis and other vehicles will drop off guests here. If you’ve rented a car during your stay in Nuevo Vallart, there’s also a dedicated shaded parking area a little further up, separated from the bustling traffic.
After our driver dropped us off, resort valets came to help us with our luggage, greeting us as they provided us with luggage tags and placed our baggage on a zippered luggage cart. We were guided to a pretty crowded but spacious resting area while we awaited a buggy to take us to the Grand Mayan.
Check-in at the Grand Mayan Resort
It was a bit of a wait on this busy Friday evening before an electric buggy transported us to the entrance of the Grand Mayan. Our first impression was of a massive and luxurious open-air sanctuary, laden with marble tiling, comfortable seating areas and covered by a large oval arched wooden dome.
There was quite a bit of walking from here as we made our way through the sanctuary and into the indoor pathways before reaching this darkly lit hall with enormous high ceilings. As our eyes adjusted, we noticed the massive gigantic statues representative of Mayan gods with outstretched hands. It definitely freaked me out so I scurried through quickly. Finally, we reached the the Grand Mayan lobby.
It was hectic. We were already so exhausted and now we had to stand in this tight long line as if queueing at an airport check-in desk. It took about half an hour before we made it through check-in. The front desk staff tried to speed up the process as fast as possible, but we were just so many guests checking in at once. And the small reception was not built to accommodate us quickly.
Once we were all set, we were asked to take a seat in the waiting area while we awaited our rep. He arrived pretty swiftly, offered us some complimentary welcome drinks (we opted for some margaritas) and gave us the whole sales pitch spiel about the timeshare presentation. We said we’d think about it (we didn’t) , and then he gave us our branded waterproof wristband keys and we were off to our suite!
The Grand Mayan One Bedroom Suite
There are six buildings that make up the Grand Mayan resort. We were in building #3 on the fourth floor, which gave us a pretty central and high enough vantage point for our epic ocean view.
When we went in mid-January, it was still high season for us snowbirds to flock to a sun destination like Puerto Vallarta. Not to mention, Mexico residents were also observation a holiday at the time. So, us booking just this trip just a month prior didn’t give us too many options. But despite the fact that all other resorts at Vidanta were fully booked by the time we wanted to reserve our week stay, we were given a decent room at the Grand Mayan!
The one-bedroom suite isn’t that large or unique in its layout. But it feels homey, like a vacation condo. It was great for the four of us.
The entryway opens up to the kitchen, laden with granite countertops. It had absolutely everything we needed to cook during our vacation. The 3/4 fridge was sizeable and gave enough room for the microwave to go on top. The frosted glass cabinets stored all of the plates, bowls, cups, glasses and additional dishware. The electric stove had four burners. There was a blender, a toaster and a coffee maker. There was enough room beside the sink to place the dish rack. And the kitchen island wrapped around in a C-shape, providing more counter space if need be.
Of course, much like the majority of resort suite kitchens, there was no oven or dishwasher. If you planned to do some baking or roasting, unfortunately it won’t be happening here!
The kitchen island was spacious and had three high chairs. The dining table also seated four, so there was quite a bit of seating in the dining area.
The living room area was comfortable and had plenty of seating space as well. Two identical sleeper couches faced each other with a glass coffee table in the middle. In one corner of the living room was the flatscreen TV placed in a TV cabinet. It was nothing fancy, but cozy and homey enough.
Jason and I slept on the twin sleeper couches every night and they were surprisingly very comfortable. Housekeeping set up the couch beds for us upon request during the first night’s turndown service and continued to do so for the rest of the week without us asking. Beneath each couch was a built-in roll-out bed with a thin mattress. We tried sleeping on them, but felt less comfortable than on the couch. They’re great for sleepers who tend to roll out of bed though!
Although the Grand Mayan isn’t as luxurious as the Grand Luxxe, there’s no way I was going to deny this view from our balcony! Bonus: the balcony has a plunge pool too!
The plunge pool was pretty standard and had no jets, but it was clean for us to enjoy a little mid-afternoon soak outside. The balcony also had two lounge chairs which we sat on pretty much every morning without fail.
The bedroom spans across the entire depth of the suite, taking up half the area of the whole suite. It has its own access to the balcony – as pictured above – providing direct access to the plunge pool and the lounge chairs on the side. The door to the bedroom opens up to the king size bed which sits right in the middle of the floor plan. Across the bed, was a larger flatscreen than in the living room, with a credenza that offered a fair amount of storage space.
Walking towards the balcony, the bedroom has its own living space, complete with another sleeper couch, a coffee table and an armchair. With the natural sunlight, this space was so calming to enjoy some reading time and meditation.
Heading back to the other side of the bedroom was access to the ensuite bathroom. But first, you’ll see tucked in the corner of the bedroom is a jacuzzi bathtub. To be honest, I do find it a little outdated to have a jacuzzi tub in the bedroom and not in the bathroom. I get it, it can be “romantic”. But the more tasteful layout – in my opinion – consists of have the jacuzzi tub in the spacious bathroom, while having blinds or an opening to see into the bedroom. The Grand Mayan actually does this in the master bedroom of the two-bedroom suite. The version we have in the one-bedroom suite is a little tacky nowadays.
The ensuite bathroom can be accessed both from the bedroom and from the common area by way of lockable doors. Directly from the suite’s entryway, you’ll see a wash-up sink vanity in an enclave shared with the main closet. This is perfect if you have guests spending time with you in your suite who’d like to clean up or hang any of their belongings up. In our case, sharing the one-bedroom suite among four people, this enclave gave two of us a dedicated sink, vanity and closet without having to use the one bathroom.
Of course, we still had to share one shower and one toilet, which worked out completely fine for us. In the ensuite, there is a double vanity with a large mirror, a separate toilet enclave and separate shower stall, both with frosted glass for privacy. It’s a fairly bland bathroom due for an update and upgrade, but was quite clean and provided all the necessary amenities.
One-Bedroom Suite Overview
All in all, the Grand Mayan rooms and suites are not to be expected to be luxurious in any way. They’re comfortable, spacious and provide everything you’d need. But you don’t stay at the Grand Mayan for the room. You stay here for the facilities and abundant access to Vidanta’s endless entertainment.
Grand Mayan Facilities
The amount of fun you’d have at the Grand Mayan is no contest compared to the other resorts. Immediately after arriving our first night, we could see from our balcony the entirety of the Grand Mayan pools illuminating. Every time we stepped out onto our balcony, it was an invitation to join in on the fun. I could see why families would love to stay at this resort in particular!
The outdoor facilities of the Grand Mayan were akin to a large water park. The indoor fitness centre of the resort was also very adequate, spacious and felt like an actual gym that we’d pay a membership for. It had tons of state-of-the-art equipment and machinery and reminded me of our GoodLife and Anytime Fitness gyms back home.
There was always an opportunity to get active during our stay and enjoy cooling down in the sun.
Grand Mayan Pools
The Grand Mayan pools create a beautiful cluster with pool bars, water fountains and built-in tiled loungers in the pool. It’s fun to jump from one pool to the other, walking along bridges, stone steps and between palm trees.
Each pool section serves a different purpose. Some of them you wade or relax in the quietness or do laps in the wider pools. You can get splashed with the water fountain or play pool volleyball in the centre of all the excitement. There are scheduled water activities happening every day that you can join in on with other guests. At 12pm daily there’s a complimentary water aerobics class. You’ll receive the weekly schedule showing all the activities, classes and tournaments you can sign up or just show up for!
Other Grand Mayan Aquatic Features
I can’t forget my favourite part about the Grand Mayan pools and water park. The lazy river! It’s the most relaxing part and time goes by so fast when you’re floating on it. I’m pretty sure we flowed down the lazy river at least once a day, and it’s surprisingly quite long for a resort water feature. It circles all the way around all the Grand Mayan pools, lining the inner edge of the Grand Mayan towers. A number of pedestrian bridges create pathways to cross the river and waterfalls flow down along walls at certain parts of the route. You might get super wet if you’re not paying close attention!
Heading towards the ocean, there’s even more to this aquatic escape. There’s the Kid’s Club Aqua Park, a water playground for the young ones. And a large wave pool and Mayan pyramid water slide! It was actually a fun slide to ride down, even for us adults!
Grand Bliss Pool
Another pool that we frequented was the Grand Bliss swimming pool. Much quieter and more laidback compared to the Grand Mayan options, this one was great for us to enjoy in the evening. It was right against the beach, so we got quite the sunsets here.
We also enjoyed some Happy Hour two-for-one piña coladas here in the late afternoons! If we wanted some poolside food and drinks, the Grand Bliss pool was the place to be, as it didn’t seem like we could get service at the Grand Mayan, unless we were at the pool bar.
It’s mostly one large curved pool of the same depth, with trees in the middle for shade. There were often enough some empty sun loungers for us to use. If we needed an adults-only escape, this is where we would go.
Vidanta Trails and Common Outdoor Spaces
We walked for an hour or so on the Vidanta property every morning along the many boardwalks that connect all four resorts. They run over and adjacent to the manmade rivers and lagoons that flow throughout the mega-resort. The paths along here were so peaceful and encouraged us to walk to reach the different restaurants and hubs over calling for the buggy transportation service.
Every once in a while, we would spot comfortable outdoor seating at every building. It was refreshing to be able to sit in an outdoor lounge area with no one around, except for the odd passerby.
Dining at Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta
One of the main hubs you’d want to visit for food at Vidanta is La Plaza. La Plaza is home to a grocery store, luxury shops, an outdoor taqueria with live music entertainment, and one of the fancier restaurants on the property, Azur.
Trying their tacos at the Mercado Mexicano taqueria called Tacos Break is a must! They weren’t awfully expensive and it definitely gave more of an authentic Mexican vibe eating on this rooftop. Also, they have bottomless nachos at no additional cost with super delicious and spicy condiments. So it’s definitely worth spending time enjoying a meal or two here and while shopping around the locally made goodies!
There are more than 40 dining spots in Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta to choose from! The choices are practically endless, especially if you’re only staying a week or so here. Even if you frequented the mega-resort once a year, you would likely still get to try a new restaurant or lounge every time you visited.
We mostly stuck to the casual dining spots and were very satisfied. Vidanta is not an all-inclusive resort, which means that any food or drinks you enjoy at the resort will come at an extra cost. This can dissuade most from staying here, as that is often the appeal of most resorts in Mexico. But no all-inclusive resort will be able to offer the same caliber, variety and amenities that Vidanta has, except at a much higher price.
We enjoyed a nice sunset dinner at Chiringuito by the pool and La Cantina during the evening water fountain and lights show. What I love about the dining options at Vidanta is that they have a great array of authentic Mexican and Hispanic food throughout the property. It allows us to get a great taste of the country, even when we’re not out exploring Puerto Vallarta for the day. But when you want to venture a little bit more, there are all sorts of international cuisines with great quality dishes.
For breakfast, we enjoyed the buffet at Café del Lago. The quality was so good! And the variety was sublime. This was one of the self-serve brunch buffets we’ve had at a resort.
Home Cooked Meals
If you’re fortunate enough to book a suite at Vidanta, make sure to take a cab or Uber to Walmart for some groceries. Even if you prefer not to cook most of your meals, it’s great to get affordable fruits, vegetables, snacks and ingredients for a quick meal when you prefer not to eat out. Alcohol is also so much cheaper here than what we have at home! Shopping at the nearby Walmart is much more worth it than grabbing the exorbantly high priced goods at La Plaza’s Almacena and gourmet market.
It was about a $20 US taxi ride roundtrip to Walmart as the driver waited for us while we shopped. And during our entire week stay, we managed to cook all but five meals for four people in the week with only $100 CAD spent at the store. So you can certainly stay at the five-star resorts of Vidanta on a budget!
When vacationing in Mexico, Vidanta has become our home away from home. We’re able to experience so much while here, from the gazillion different pools and dining options to the onsite Cirque du Soleil. This property has a lot to offer its guests and to us it’s worth the resort fees. The resort fees are continuously increasing, but if you bring enough people you love to share the suite and experience with you, it’s well worth it.