San Salvador St. 117, Col. 5 de Diciembre, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
The only high-end beach resort that's walking distance to downtown and the malecon, Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel packs a lot of amenities into its patch of oceanfront property.
As soon as you get to the entrance of this adults-only Mexican resort, someone greets you and grabs your luggage. Someone else brings a welcome drink and leads you to an alcove with two chair massage set-ups. You get a five-minute shoulder and back massage to loosen you up after your journey. When you head up to your room, you open up the curtains and have a full ocean view from your room and balcony.
Occasionally here at Luxury Latin America, we have to demote a hotel and move it out of our recommendations because of a decline in facilities or service. Fortunately, the opposite can happen too, when a resort keeps upgrading and appealing to a more discerning clientele. That's the case with Villa Premiere, a Puerto Vallarta fixture that has gotten steadily better with age.
While we've covered a pair of gorgeous luxury boutique hotels in downtown Puerto Vallarta that are certainly worth a stay, the beach resorts on our list are otherwise miles from downtown in one direction or the other. You have to choose beach or no beach or resign yourself to being dependent on a taxi to get to the center from your hotel. The one "Goldilocks" property in the mix is this one, a true beach resort experience that's close to PV's restaurants, nightlife, and shopping.
The full name here is Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel and Romantic Getaway, with an obvious appeal to couples with something to celebrate or just looking for some time together. In reality they cast the net much wider, so on my visit I not only saw couples of all ages and orientations, but also groups of friends ready for a long weekend of partying and exploring. All of them seemed very happy to be there and had a smile plastered on their face much of the time.
This is a small boutique resort with a limited footprint, but it does have a sizable stretch of beach to call its own, set up with cabanas and lounge chairs, plus the mid-market resort next door is a sister property. A stone foundation pier and walkway extends out into the water, a picturesque spot with billowing curtains used for weddings and romantic dinners.
Just in from the beach is a bar and one of two pools, both large and inviting. The one closest to the beach is a giant whirlpool and swim-up bar, with massaging jets going. The main pool is long enough for laps in the early hours and is surrounded by comfy lounge chairs and daybeds. There's no gotcha fee for any of the options, though members of their owners' club do get first dibs. Friendly waiters are constantly doing the rounds bringing drinks and filling food orders. There are books and games by the towel stand to add some fun.
People are having fun here, so this is not the ideal resort if you're looking for low-key relaxation and lots of privacy. Head north to Punta de Mita for that. While it can get more mellow in the off-season, many take advantage of the all-inclusive plan here and are making the most of the unlimited food and drinks.
The dining options were a major surprise to the upside for me though, each meal over three days being a delight that was as pretty to look at as it was to eat. Villa Premiere obviously has a few talented chefs in the kitchen, ones who take pride in their work and want even a plate of fish tacos to come out looking tantalizing.
The main restaurant is by the pool complex and facing the ocean, with a lower level having some views and the upper level having panoramic ones. Attentive service lives up to the fine meals, a mix of Mexican dishes presented with flair and some international items on the menu and presented as specials. Naturally there's plenty of seafood in the mix and all of it we had was fresh and delicious. One night there was a four-course chef's special menu, still part of the all-inclusive menu.
The other restaurant open during my (Covid times) visit was La Corona, an air-conditioned international seafood and steaks spot open for dinner only. It has a wall of glass facing the pool and ocean and it's an inviting spot for a more dressed-up evening. There are plenty of lighter dishes and salads on the menu and they do well with special requests or dietary restrictions. There's an adjoining air-conditioned bar that's open in the evenings as well.
The third Las Murales restaurant was closed during my visit during a time of capacity limitations, but it's normally another indoor option filled with art, specializing in gourmet Mexican dishes. Of course if you're not on the all-inclusive plan, it's worth it to go exploring all the options nearby in downtown Puerto Vallarta.
Since the suites here only run about 30-50% more than the standard rooms, it's well worth the upgrade if one is available. The standard "deluxe" rooms make the most of their limited space and they're bright and cheerful, but the suites provide a lounging area and a much larger balcony, most of them having their own plunge pool or whirlpool outside. The honeymoon suites are plenty romantic, but the corner master suites are the top choice, with an indoor Jacuzzi, an outdoor one on the balcony, and close to 1,400 square feet of space.
All of the rooms are stocked with plenty to make your stay enjoyable though, the cool marble tile floors topped with comfy beds and a variety of pillows chosen according to your preferences ahead of time via a questionnaire. There are robes and slippers, a Nespresso coffee machine, L'Occitane toiletries in the bath with make-up mirror, and a mini fridge. (This is replenished with beer and sodas daily if you're on the all-inclusive plan.) The included Wi-Fi works well throughout.
Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel has a gym on site and its own spa, plus they have concierges in the lobby that are experienced in arranging any kind of excursion, adventure, or special evening.
We stayed here after visiting some beach resorts that cost three or four times as much in the Riviera Nayarit region. Staffers here held their own against those high-end chain resorts, with strong English fluency and a high level of personalized service.
Villa Premiere Boutique Resort and Romantic Getaway lives up to its mouthful of a name. In most respects it is as good or better when compared to newer properties Secrets, Now Amber, and Garza Blanca further away from the center. Plus here you get the big advantage of being close to downtown Puerto Vallarta instead of being isolated from it.
Web Address: www.premiereonline.com.mx/
Total Number of Rooms: 90
Published rates: $225 to $1,059 including taxes room only, more for all-inclusive.
Review and photos by Timothy Scott.