My husband and I were looking for a hotel where we would be immersed in Puerto Vallarta, not tucked away in a cozy chain hotel outside the city, and Plaza del Rio was perfect. It is located adjacent to Rio Cuale and the flea markets, perfect for trinket shopping. It is also about two blocks to the beach and boardwalk/Malecon. The hotel had a large living room/dining room/kitchen, functional though small bathroom and good sized bedroom. The kitchen had pots, skillets, full service for four and a number of utensils, a four-burner stove and full-size refrigerator, and a breakfast counter with three stools. The living room/dining room had a table with four chairs and two long bench seats along the wall.
The kitchen did not come with any food or related accessories. Be prepared to bring or buy salt and pepper, dish liquid, paper towels, aluminum foil. The bathroom had a small bar of soap but no shampoo. Luckily, a small grocery store is just a few blocks away, across the river, where you can pick up basics cheaply. A bigger grocery store is just a few blocks further.
The bedroom was large, with a good-sized closet and a dressing table with chair and mirror, and two night tables. The bed was--as expected--quite firm, but comfortable.
The room had a balcony which stretched the length of the room from the LR/DR to the bedroom. View was of the street and neighborhood, nothing special, but a nice place to enjoy an afternoon margarita. No A/C, but the sliding glass doors had screened panels that you could open, and both main rooms had ceiling fans, so we were quite comfortable throughout our week-long stay.
The hotel had a nice rooftop pool, with two smaller pools and a larger one, along with lots of chairs. All this was partly in the sun, partly in shade.
Check in and front desk were at a hotel on the next block--not quite convenient, and we never did have a taxi driver familiar with our hotel building (we learned to give the street intersection instead of the hotel name). A taxi stand was around the corner, so we never had a problem getting a taxi from the hotel.
The hotel was incredibly convenient to EVERYTHING--strolling up the Malecon, heading south to the local restaurants and beach. It was even close to the local (read: cheap and delicious) street food. This is by no means a luxury stay--most of the people we encountered in the hallways, pool, and in the main hotel's lobby appeared to be Mexican families on vacation. We did hear street noise--both evening revelry and morning delivery trucks--to be expected in a downtown area. This is not the place to go if you need peace and quiet with sealed windows and A/C, with hotel staff to wait on you. If you are looking for a more authentic experience, want to feel semi-independent, and value the convenience of a kitchen--whether it's to keep margarita supplies cold or cook the fish you caught on a fishing trip in the Bay--this is definitely a place to consider.
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