Pelicanos 311, Fracc. Marina Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
Golfers and spa seekers will find estate elegance and exclusive charm at this low–key adult all–inclusive away from the beach.
Conveniently located one mile from the airport, this small luxury hotel is a nice option if you're seeking a serious golf getaway with only occasional beach time, minus the garish tourist extras that other all–inclusives often include.
Half a mile from the waterfront, 80–room Casa Velas has recently come under ownership of the Velas Group, which also owns nearby Hotel Velas Vallarta. This management change now allows Casa Velas guests access to the larger property's private beach. Despite the rotating ownership of this small hotel, Casa Velas seems to be settling into its own quite nicely now, with an expanded spa and revised restaurant that is attracting more than just golfers.
A soft yellow décor permeates this sophisticated sunny estate both inside and out. You'll be offered a refreshing drink upon arrival at the manicured Mediterranean mansion, and can wander among the canopied gardens, reflecting pools, fish–filled ponds, fountains and arched terraces while waiting to be shown to your room. It's almost as if you're arriving at a friend's magnificent golf estate.
The main building houses the resort's suites, the largest of which include sitting areas, golf–course views, and either marble bath whirlpool tubs or plunge pools on a private terrace. These spacious suites are mostly split–level with upgraded furnishings in the bedrooms units. All of the classic–contemporary guest rooms at Casa Velas display white–on–white decor accented with original art (including on the dramatic headboard) and dark colonial furniture. The Presidential Suite here has to be one of the best high-end bargains in town, sleeping four to six and all guests on an all–inclusive plan—including meals served in the room. The broad windows and sliding glass doors open onto lush views of the golf greens or the attractive free–form pool, which is surprisingly large for a hotel this size.
There are always plenty of white cushioned wood lounges available around the cobalt–blue pool, where you can relax in the shadows of spectacular golf course views while ordering cocktails from the swim–up palapa bar. The lobby houses another tropical bar, or you can head to the swanky Beach Club for drinks, sandwiches and sushi&mdashjust a short golf–cart or bike ride away.
Casa Velas' main restaurant, Emiliano, offers excellent service and a refined menu of international and Mexican dishes. The dining terrace is lovely in the evening, circled by swaying palms twinkling with tiny lights. A pianist accompanies Sunday brunch. You also have access to all the restaurants at Hotel Velas Vallarta as well, including a decent steak house that also serves fresh seafood.
The expanded spa offers yoga, Palates, and tai chi and the adjoining fitness center has a wide range of equipment, as well as an outdoor deck lounge with two whirlpool tubs. You can use the mountain bikes, two lighted tennis courts and all the usual watersport amenities at the beach, but the Par–71 Marina Vallarta golf course seems to be the most popular among guests. There is also a small library with complimentary Internet access.
Children are not allowed at this tranquil resort as this is an exclusive spot frequented by mostly upper–crust golfers and romantic couples of all ages looking for no–nonsense seclusion and an attentive, professional staff. With quality restaurant dining and cocktails folded into an all–inclusive package, boutique resort Casa Velas continues to live up to its reputation as one of the better choices in town.
Web Address: www.hotelcasavelas.com
Total Number of Rooms: 80
Published rates: $350 to $2,600 All–inclusive
Review and photos by Timothy Scott.