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Hotel review: Grand Luxxe Residence Club, Nuevo Vallarta
When visiting Riviera Nayarit, the development along Mexico's mid-pacific coast, you'll have the choice a number of different classes of hotels and also timeshares (non-owner and short stays at timeshares can be arranged though RCI; membership fee applies). For those of you who are interested in the timeshare philosophy but haven't peeked inside any properties you'd consider buying, let's have a look inside a brand new oceanside luxury residence club in Nuevo Vallarta: Grand Luxxe.
I had the honor of being the first journalist to stay at Grand Luxxe, which is still being finished in some ways; a restaurant is being added and the spa is still under construction. Still, one never wants for anything at the Banderas Bay Grupo Vidanta complex, which also includes a Grand Mayan, a Mayan Palace and an Ocean Breeze resort. Guests of Grand Luxxe are given a handy wristband which affords them access to any and all amenities in any of the hotels on the complex, so don't worry that staying at a timeshare like Grand Luxxe would mean the same thing every day; there's a whole lot to do and see if you want to do and see it.
Checking in at Grand Luxxe was pretty simple. The six allotted desks provided ample reservationists. You fill out a form, give your credit card for incidentals and get yourself a wristband. When you first walk in, you'll be impressed by the palatial lobby which includes a bar and will include a restaurant, and the huge paintings behind the check-in desks. I named this one "Emo Boy and His Propeller."
Each floor has a private concierge located by the elevators, and when you arrive at your room, you'll be greeted with some welcome snacks and a bottle of wine. If you've got a car, the parking is available for $8.00 per day or $25.00 per week.
The rooms at Grand Luxxe are brand new and pretty fabulous (see gallery). Each spacious suite includes 12' ceilings and a 50 inch plasma television and a balcony with a plunge pool and a hammock. All 108 rooms are ocean view two-bedrooms, and are categorized as Suites (sleep 6-8) and Villas (sleep 8-10).
The bathrooms include jacuzzi tubs and large, wood-floored showers, as well as plush, oversized bath towels.
The Designers Guild bath products were not my favorites of all time, but they were satisfactory and replenished regularly.
The amenities of Grand Luxxe are sort of neverending, because with your wristband, as I mentioned, you get access to everything on the multi-resort complex. The Grand Luxxe is considered the highest level resort, so though you can get into everyone else's amenities, they can't get into yours, which means GL guests get a private, exclusive pool area (as well as a private kids' club) and an elite lobby bar. Soon, the Grand Luxxe will have its own spa, but for now you'll have to trek over to the Grand Mayan (which is visually astounding with multi-story-high Mayan statues in the lobby). The spa there is excellent, and golf carts and drivers are on call to transport you there or to anywhere else on the complex; the restaurants, the different resorts, the wave pool and the lazy river.
So far, the only restaurant the Grand Luxxe has is Blue Fish, a poolside, casual establishment a wide array of tacos and ceviches for surprisingly low prices. A proper restaurant is slated for the lobby, but until that opens, you can cozy up to the small lobby bar or head to any number of the restaurants around the resort complex, with everything from Italian food to sushi. A breakfast buffet is available right next door (walkable) and is stocked with an unbelievable variety of foods. Poached eggs in poblano sauce you may have expected; ravioli in white wine sauce ... maybe not. But I'm certainly not complaining. There's also a healthy Green Juice available which I definitely recommend to get your day started off right.
The staff at Grand Luxxe was friendly and attentive. Every time you arrive at the lobby, at least two people say hello, and your floor's concierge greets you and/or is polishing something every time you step out of the elevator. The drivers for the golf carts come quickly and don't expect tips. Everyone was very warm, but they do stay out of your way, which I appreciate. There's nothing like aggressively helpful staff to overcomplicate your vacation.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line here is that Grand Luxxe is a fabulous playground for families who can afford it. Rates are from $930.00 to $1550.00 per night including all taxes, and each ocean-view, private pool'd suite comes with warm service and all the amenities you need to relax and play. I recommend this hotel because it truly provides spacious, comfortable rooms and facilities; really giving you what you pay for. You could stay in Nayarit for a lot less, but you could find a resort like this elsewhere in the world for twice the price, as well. The anticipation of your needs at Grand Luxxe is tantamount to magic.
Disclaimer: This trip was sponsored by the Riveria Narayit CVB, but all opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own.
[Photos by Annie Scott]