Overview: I am a wedding and event planner from Chicago, Illinois who recently had my wedding at Playa Fiesta. My wife and I decided to bring our nearly 40 guests to Puerto Vallarta and after some quick Google searching, I found Playa Fiesta and knew immediately that it was perfect for our ceremony and reception. There are truly no words to describe how perfect our time there was, not only for us, but for every single family member as well. Being as picky and particular as I have come to be through my wedding planning, I kept trying to tell myself that I had to be prepared for some things to be different than my normal standards (especially being in a different country). I had never been to Playa Fiesta before booking it for our wedding which was another semi-worry. I was not able to find one single thing that wasn’t up to my very high standards – literally not one thing I could possibly complain about. I have no idea how the owners and staff maintain such a magical place but whatever they are doing…it works.
Location: Playa Fiesta is a semi-hidden gem in Puerto Vallarta. It is about 20 minutes from the airport and it is a nice mix of American expected amenities, stores, etc. while still giving that authentic Mexican experience. The hotel gives perfect directions from the airport and can help arrange special transportation if you need it. (Brides- think dresses, bags of décor, welcome bags, etc.). There is also a Costco, Walmart, etc. nearby which is really helpful. There are many delicious restaurants in town and the neighborhood clubs are so beautiful and fun! It is very easy and affordable to get a taxi wherever you need to go or you can take the bus. Do not feel overly concerned about safety. The news does not accurately portray what is going on in Mexico and makes it seem far worse than it really is. We were completely safe and other than normal travel precautions (ie: locking up your passport, keeping track of purses and IDs, not traveling alone, etc.) we were totally comfortable in the area.
Beaches: Playa Fiesta overlooks a rocky beach. It is beautiful and fun to walk on and explore but bring aqua socks or shoes that you don’t mind getting wet. You can take the bus to other sandy beaches if you want to swim in the ocean rather than the pools at the hotel.
Accommodations: Every single room is designed with such a keen eye for detail and perfection. Every tile, every bench, every piece of art is carefully selected and placed. Romantic ambient lighting uplights many of the beds and the furnishings are fit for royalty. Even the standard rooms are perfectly cleaned, maintained and far more luxurious than any hotel I’ve ever stayed in. The honeymoon suite has a full kitchen and dining area and the two other suites on the top floor also have full kitchen and dining areas. Most rooms are ocean views and many have exquisite balconies. In fact, we saw dolphins and whales from our balconies during our stay. We chose to select the rooms for our guests before we arrived at the hotel and we switched only one room to a room with a slightly larger bathroom. It was so fun to see every room in the hotel because they all had their own beauty and charm. I was also concerned about the privacy of some of the suites, being a family vacation for some and a romantic vacation for others. Rest assured, the rooms are soundproof – especially with the sound of the waves crashing up on shore coming in through the windows and balcony doors should you choose to keep them open.
Other Hotel Perks: The pools are beautiful and the staff allows you to change the temperatures if you so desire. You can plug in your iPod music at the pool for custom playlists (though their music is also great and they have all types of playlists that you can choose from). You can use their wi-fi at the pool so many of our guests were able to Skype – in fact, I was able to Skype my pregnant sister into the wedding ceremony since she was too pregnant to fly in for the wedding! The restaurant is great (I will cover this more under the food section). Perhaps the best perk was the new friend we found in the hotel’s watchdog – Jefe (the boss). He was so cute and so friendly – he was like our mascot for the week.
Food: The food was superb. The breakfast buffet offered many authentic options as well as some traditional favorites for the less adventurous eaters (French toast, bacon, pancakes, etc.). The breakfast offerings were heavy enough that few people felt the need to eat lunch and if they did, it was more of a light lunch or snack. We opted for the food and entertainment pack #3, so we had breakfasts each morning, the brunch following the wedding day and two dinners besides the wedding meal. We also added in a guacamole bar and taco platters on one of the days (you also get chips and guac when you arrive). The guacamole and salsa are delicious. The taco platter was also excellent and offers food for easily 4-5 people. You definitely have to get this at least once while you are there. Our first night there we had a welcome dinner and served chicken, fish, pasta, salad, etc. It was all delicious. The second night we had the fiesta meal with Mexican style steak, chicken, bell peppers, rice, etc. I loved this dinner because it was so flavorful and offered such a nice sampling of Mexican seasonings. For the wedding day, we served our wedding party a custom snack style menu with some mini Panini sandwiches, pasta salad, fruit salad, caprese salad, etc. The pasta salad is literally the best pasta salad I’ve had in my life—so good that I came home and tried to re-create it. Our guests had a lunch buffet that day—I heard from our guests that it was delicious too – some comments were that the potato salad was amazing and the tartar sauce for the fish was the best ever. It just praises the fact that the chefs relish in the fine details – nothing is ever sub-par or without carefully balanced flavors. The meal we had for the wedding was my absolute favorite – we had a somewhat custom menu. We had sea bass with mango sauce and beef with red wine sauce. Many of my family members do not eat fish but ended up liking the fish more than the beef (this is of course not to say that the beef wasn’t excellent too). We also had late night snacks – taquitos (chorizo, beef and chicken) and quesadillas and of course more of the awesome guac and salsa with chips.
Beverages: We opted for the national open bar for the guest packages and for the wedding night. All of the drinks were great. A few favorites compliments of bartender Charlie include: The Miami Vice, Mango Loco, Easy Go Down, Dirty Monkey, and god, the bloody marys are so so so delicious. We also had the mojito bar during the rehearsal dinner, which were delicious. We had sangria on the night of the wedding served before the ceremony. It was also very refreshing and delicious. Charlie, Pato, Danny, and all of the other servers will know your drinks after you order them the first or second time. They will also know your name and all of your guests’ names. There will never be a dry glass in the house! I will talk more about the service below.
Service: I felt so truly pampered during my time at Playa. From the minute we arrived, we were greeted, treated like VIPs, escorted to our rooms, etc. The service in the restaurant was perfect, the service at the bar was perfect. All of the servers are polite, attentive, fun, and treat you like a member of their family. The front desk staff is very helpful— they grab you cabs when needed, make recommendations for bars, clubs, sites, activities, etc. The owners are lovely people – I will talk more about that in the “planning process” section. The service is stellar; you’ll never be without anything you need.
Activities: We went with the slideshow for the first night which was a great way to welcome our guests. Lindsay (one of the owners and head planner extraordinaire) went above and beyond to help get my slideshow to play when I was not able to get it to burn properly onto a DVD. We had the salsa dancing lessons during our rehearsal dinner which was also a blast. The instructor does a great job of helping even the beginners get a feel for basic steps and rhythms. Our guests had such a great time with this! We also had the Texas Hold’em tournament during one of the days by the pool – Adam, the other owner, is the Texas Hold’em guru and our guests really enjoyed this additional activity! There are many other fun activities that the hotel can recommend for you nearby – zip lining, whale watching, snorkeling, scuba, swimming with dolphins. We sent some of our newlywed friends on a tour of a tequila factory/hacienda and they really enjoyed it as well. We also loved the massages! What a great job they did!
Vendors: All of the hotels vendors are top notch. We used Michelle Turner Photography and were so thrilled with the outcome. The DJ was great and took our requests into account and kept everyone on the dance floor throughout the night. The florist did incredible work and was very affordable. Our minister was also really great—a nice blend of religious/spiritual/funny/engaging. The dance floor build out is totally worth it! We didn’t use the hair and makeup because we had our friend come along who did our hair and I am also a former makeup artist so we had that covered. The other vendor that was really amazing was the cake vendor. We loved the cake tasting and there were so many great options to choose from. The frosting is so good and the fillings are delicious too. We went with a coconut cake with pineapples and lemon filling for the first layer and the carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for the second layer. It was the best, most moist wedding cake I’ve ever had.
Planning Process: Lindsay does a great job of helping you stay on track through the process making it stress free. By the time I got to Playa, I felt like Lindsay was my lifelong friend. She has a solution to every problem, gives truthful advice and helps in any way she can during the planning and during your time there. We got there two days before our guests and the second day was our meetings with the vendors. We handed over all of the décor (and believe me, I brought a lot!) and Lindsay and Annie took care of it from there. They even distributed all of the gift bags (again, I had a lot of stuff for our guests so it was really nice that they did this for us). They take the time to get your vision and preferences down pat and then implement it all on your behalf. I’m usually a terrible wedding guest because I’m always thinking about the back of the house stuff (since the event planner in me can’t help it). But I was fully able to trust them and I didn’t have to worry about a thing. Instead I got to spend all of that time enjoying my family and friends and my wedding night! Lindsay was also there to keep the night running smoothly and keep any unplanned activities from occurring which was very important to us (ie: not too many long speeches, made sure all vegetarians/vegans got their meals, etc.)
The Big Day: I’ve been to so many weddings where the bridal party is stressed and chaotic. We did not experience this. We all had a very relaxing morning getting ready, enjoyed our lunch in the honeymoon suite and enjoyed mimosas before the ceremony. We got married as the sun was setting and then had a fantastic cocktail hour, dinner and cake cutting. The entire place was transformed into an elegant beach wedding, complete with twinkling lights, candles, flowers, etc. They thought of everything right down to hiding us before the ceremony—they have parasols to keep you shielded from guests as you walk to the front for photos. We danced the night away, celebrated with sparklers, and topped the night off by jumping into the pool in our wedding gowns. Then the night turned into a pool party with snacks and drinks galore. It was the best party of my life.
The whole experience was nothing short of sheer magic for us and our family and friends. There were so many special memories that we will never forget – all of which were done while enjoying the breathtaking surroundings of Playa Fiesta and Puerto Vallarta. Perhaps the most touching moment was walking into the honeymoon suite on the night of the wedding to find a path of carefully laid candles and details creating a memory of the whole week for us. Many of our guests who had not met before the trip are now lifelong friends bound by one special week celebrating our love for each other. Playa Fiesta will always hold a special place in our hearts.
Our friend and family continue to rave about our wedding weeks later and we’re all planning a return trip next year. We’ve decided it might be an annual thing for us, since nothing could possibly top the experience. I told Lindsay on my last day there that I usually feel ready to go home when I’m at the end of a vacation. The funny thing was—at Playa, I felt like I was home. I could have stayed forever. I truly can’t imagine a better day, a better memory, a better trip, a better way to start my life with my wife. I am truly grateful to Lindsay, Adam, and all of the Playa Fiesta staff for creating memories and making dreams come true.
Every room is amazing. My favorites include all of the 4th floor rooms and room 306. Also note tha...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC