The Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta
The Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta- A Review
When we were planning our first trip to Vallarta in 2014, we wanted a family friendly hotel to go with our 2 daughters. Because we waited until the last minute to book our trip we did not have many choices left since it was for New Year’s 2014!.
One of the available choices was the Hard Rock and I immediately said to my husband “no way!” this must be a hotel full of drunk people singing rock.
Needless to say, I was proven wrong. Read on and you will see why.
The Hard Rock Vallarta is not actually located in Puerto Vallarta but in the Riviera Nayarit. The first time we went we were very disappointed because we really wanted to be in Puerto Vallarta.
We had never been to the Riviera Nayarit and thought it would be boring. That is until we got to the Hard Rock Vallarta!
As you arrive at the hotel you are welcomed by a huge lobby with high ceilings and rock memorabilia everywhere.
As soon as you get in line to check-in you are approached by a waiter/waitress asking you if you would like a drink. This is a 5 for me on a scale of 1 to 5.
The rooms are incredible. Most of them have Ocean Views and the all have a Jacuzzi in the rooms.
If you are traveling with kids this is a huge plus. As soon as the kids saw it they went crazy!.
The rooms have 2 King beds, a mini-bar with soft drinks and juices and a station with hard liquor.
We were there for 7 nights and never had to ask for drinks as they always kept the mini-bars well stocked.
The grounds are impeccable. The hotel is not huge, but it is well distributed. The pool is really several pools in one, with a side dedicated to the little ones.
There’s a kids slide and a shallow area for them to enjoy. The middle pool has a swim up bar and there’s always either a DJ or a Rock band playing.
Our kids favorite day was when the entertainment crew did the pool party. It was so much fun for the kids as well as for the adults.
They also have an entertainment team dedicated to organizing fun stuff for everyone. They do a great job in keeping everyone happy. Our kids love the pool party with the foam and bubbles and balloons.
We love the water aerobics and the beach soccer games.
Beach For Miles
The hotel is located right on the beach and there’s an area reserved just for guests with lounge chairs and waiter service which is the best. Specially if you want to keep those adult drinks coming.
The hotel has a hut run by a young guy called Adrian and he lends out Boogie Boards, Paddle Boards and even Kayaks. It is free and open from 10 to 5.
Let’s Talk About The Food!
All I can say is that you will not go hungry. There are 5 restaurants on the property (some better than others), in addition to the pizza oven by the pool and snacks, burgers and hot dogs available right outside the Mexican Restaurant (Frida).
Our favorite sit down restaurant is Ciao, We love the food (Italian), the service is top notch and it is right on the beach so you have an amazing view.
Their appetizers and Caesars Salad are delicious!. What we loved also is that traveling with kids who can be fuzzy eaters is hard, but the people at Ciao are always so accommodating.
They would make pasta off the menu for the kids and would ever offer alternatives to items on the menu for them. I give them 5 stars.
The Market is their buffet restaurant and the first time I went I thought this was going to be just like many, full of junk, badly tasting food. Well, I was wrong. Not only is the food delicious, it is fresh, varied and there’s something for everyone. The kids actually like this place so much that they wanted to have the 3 meals here. Their desert area is incredible as well and they also have a booze station with Champagne and Vodka for those morning Bloody Mary’s.
Next door to The Market is Ipanema Grill, a Brazilian steakhouse. After Ciao this is our favorite restaurant.
The steaks are delicious, you can even ask the waiter to make some special cut for you. The buffet of side dishes is excellent as well as they have delicious fried green plantains, salads, black beans, rice and many other dishes.
There’s Frida which serves Mexican food for dinner and a lighter fare for lunch. They have a small buffet inside and outside they serve burgers, hotdogs, and fries.
We have only eaten at Friday’s for dinner once and we were pretty happy with the meal and the service.
There’s one Asian fusion restaurant called Zen.
We have eaten at Zen about 6 times and each time we go with an open mind. We have tried liking the food here but we find it to be of lower quality compared to let’s say Ciao or even the Market.
Unfortunately, we have picked dishes that have not been well prepared, or just are not good. We have tried several of the sushi rolls, the fried rice, the Singapore street noodles and they have all been a disappointment. We brought it to the attention of one of the restaurant managers last time we were there and hope that they have hired a better chef. We love Asian food and eat it quite often so it was very disappointing to have such inferior meals compared to the other restaurants.
Then there’s the pizza station by the poolside. This is I think our only big complaint with the Hard Rock Vallarta in terms of food.
Their pizza dough is pretty bad and pretty inedible. We have also tried to like it and give it many chances but even our kids refused to eat the pizza from here.
They rather have the hamburgers and fries from Friday which they love.
Incredible Night Time Entertainment
Being part of the Hard Rock chain, it is probably no surprise to hear that the evening entertainment that they have is fantastic. Every night of the week they have two live shows that take place in their incredible outdoor amphitheater.
As this is a music themed hotel they do have some great shows ranging from rock concerts to Michael Jackson tribute acts, but as well as their musical shows, events like a fire show, a retro show, and even a circus event have been known to take place.
The nighttime entertainment changes all year round so make sure you have a look at what kind of awesome events are taking place when you are thinking of going on vacation.
These shows are a wonderful way to end an evening of fun at the Hard Rock Vallarta.
Great Fun For Little Kids
The Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta really does go all out for the younger kids. They have a Little Big Club which my kids just fell in love with. Here they have all kinds of fun activities for kids such as learning to dance with Angelina Ballerina and having fun building stuff and knocking it down in the Bob The Builder Construction Zone.
Your kids can hang out at the Little Big club and have a great time. Each day there is plenty of events put on by the Little Big Club that will ensure the kids are tuckered out with a big smile on their face by bedtime.
They can take part in face painting, pizza making, aquatic games, flying kites, building sand sculptures and much more. Every day at the Little Big Club is jam packed with activities that kids just love!
One of the cool things about The Little Big Club is that if your kids are aged 4 – 12. You can register them and then you and your partner can go and have a quiet drink or even go for a walk while the kids are having fun.
The two ladies who take care of the kids, Mercedes and Diana are AMAZING. I trust them with my kids completely and my daughter just adores them. They are one of the biggest GEMS the Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta has.
You can be sure that your kids are always in safe hands and to be honest they will be having so much fun that they most likely will not even notice you are gone.
The Cavern Club Is Where The Cool People Hang Out
The Little Big Club is great for kids 12 and under, but what about if you are on vacation with teenagers? Well, the Hard Rock Vallarta has you covered so do not worry. They have this place that is called, The Cavern Club and this is perfect for older kids and families who love to have a little bit of arcade style fun.
The Cavern Club has all kinds of awesome things such as pool tables, air hockey, and arcade machines. Us parents know how being away from video games for five minutes is like the worst thing in the world for kids, but here at The Cavern Club, they do have a few Xbox’s that the kids are welcome to play. If you want to go a bit old school then you can pick up one of the many board games they have and play those together. It is a safe bet that if you do have older children with you that they will be spending a lot of time here.
Relax In Style
If the kids are being entertained at the Little Big Club, you and your partner should take this opportunity to go to the Rock Spa where you guys can relax in some serious style. With 13 different treatment rooms that are designed to make you feel like you are in paradise and a ton of different treatments ranging from wraps to massages. There is no way that you will not feel like a million bucks after spending a little time here. The best thing to do with the Rock Spa is plan ahead. Think what treatments you would like and book your spot nice and early, it really will give you that extra special something to look forward to, although it is so good, it can be very hard to leave!
While not technically part of the spa, there is also the Posh Beauty Salon where you can get your hair and makeup done by professionals.
If you feel like spoiling yourself you can go for one of their epic pedicures or manicures. If you want to feel and look like a rock star before you head to one of the evening shows, a day at the spa, followed by getting all glammed up at the salon is the way to do it.
The Hard Rock Vallarta also has hot tubs, steam rooms, and even a gym! So if you really want to make sure your body feels incredible, you can certainly do that here.
One thing that has to be mentioned about the Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta is that it is set in one of the most amazing parts of Mexico and they use this to their advantage by using the tour operator Vallarta Adventures! Here you can book all kinds of fun and exciting family adventures.
For example, you can go deep sea fishing, or if you want to get a bit more up close and personal, you can swim with dolphins! They offer scuba diving and snorkeling in some of the clearest water on the planet, the kids will get a real kick out of all the sea creatures that they see that is for sure.
If you are looking for that extra thing to make your vacation that little bit more memorable, have a think about booking one of their adventures.
It is worth mentioning that if you are on a tighter budget, but still want to add a little adventure to your vacation. They do offer kayaking and boogie boarding and this is completely free so make sure you guys take advantage of that as the kids find nothing funnier than watching mom and dad fall of a boogie board.
Hard Rock Vallarta Is Awesome!
Above all else, Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta is just a really fun family resort. It is the kind of place that the whole family can enjoy. While some people may think that “Hard Rock” and family fun sounds like a weird mix that could not be any further from the truth. The staff here go above and beyond to make sure that you are happy and there is so much to do here that each day will be full of activities and by the end of your vacation, you will have as many great memories as we do. Without a doubt, this is one of the greatest places a family can go and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
A final note: If you are able to go, you should definitely schedule a New Year’s stay at the Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta. They throw such an amazing party (included in the price of the hotel). They have entertainment for the adults, DJs, Live bands, dancing, etc. For the kids the bring out the kids club outdoors plus bouncy houses where they get to play under the watchful eyes of Diana and Mercedes. The food is also incredible, they go all out on the menu including an endless dessert table. We love it so much we have been going back for 4 years!.