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Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa [In-Depth All-Inclusive Review]

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Ryan Smith

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There’s a saying that “you get what you pay for.” In many ways, we got what we paid for when my wife and I spent 3 nights at one of the cheapest all-inclusive resorts in Mexico. The Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa joined World of Hyatt when the program acquired Apple Leisure Group in 2021, and the Sunscape Puerto Vallarta is one of few Category A all-inclusive properties in World of Hyatt.

For the price we paid, we got a comfortable bed, a large room, food, drinks, and entertainment. However, there were many issues along the way. Service needs improvements in a few key areas, and the property could use upkeep in multiple ways. Our general analysis was that everything we encountered at the property seemed nice at first glance but looked worse upon further inspection.

Here’s what our 3-night stay was like, including our upgrade to a suite and why we would’ve preferred a different room instead.

Booking

On short notice, my wife and I wanted to visit Mexico for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). We traveled to Chiapas, in central Mexico, for the festivities 2 years ago and wanted to visit a different area. After searching online for the best holiday festivities, we decided to head to Puerto Vallarta.

I needed more nights to re-qualify for World of Hyatt Globalist status for the year, and this property’s price caught my eye. As a Category A property, we could’ve redeemed 12,000 points per night.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa points cost
Points cost for different room types. Image Credit: Hyatt

However, I decided to pay cash for this reservation, as rates were $198 per night at the last minute. After booking, I contacted My Hyatt Concierge to apply a suite upgrade to our booking, putting us in a Deluxe Romantic Suite Ocean Front. Standard rooms were located in a different tower with only a partial ocean view, though they were physically closer to the ocean.

Paying with The World of Hyatt Credit Card, I earned 10.5x points per dollar spent, thanks to my base earnings, 30% bonus as a Globalist, and the 4x points per dollar earned via this card. We also earned credit for the Sunscape brand for Hyatt’s Brand Explorer Award.

Hot Tip:

Whenever we stay at a new World of Hyatt brand, I put the final night in my wife’s name so we can both get credit for Brand Explorer.

Location

The Sunscape Puerto Vallarta was roughly halfway between the Puerto Vallarta International Airport (PVR) and the downtown historic city center. The property was along a major street (Highway 200, Boulevard Francisco Medina Ascencio) among numerous hotels, shops, and restaurants. It sat directly on the beach.

Suncape Puerto Vallarta location Google Maps
Location of the property within Puerto Vallarta. Image Credit: Google Maps

Checking In

We took a taxi from the airport to the hotel — expect to pay Mex$160 to Mex$180 (~$9 to $11) for an Uber or Mex$200 to Mex$300 (~$12 to $18) for a taxi. A gate near the main road was closed, and 2 security guards controlled access. We gave our names and said that we were checking in.

By the time we arrived at the roundabout at the end of the access road, the bellhops were ready to greet us by name, flashing large smiles.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa bellhop reception
Exterior reception area where taxis pick up and drop off.

After greeting us, the bellhops showed us to the nearby sitting area to relax.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa outdoor reception
Seating and a fountain at the exterior bag drop area by the entrance.

There was also a sitting area to the side, which we used when waiting for taxis and Uber rides throughout our stay.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa sitting area near entrance
Seating near the roundabout/bellhop station.

While seated near the fountain, staff arrived with welcome drinks (a mix of fresh juices).

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa welcome drink
Welcome drink at the exterior luggage drop area.

We were told we could head through the nearby hallway to the hotel’s check-in whenever we liked.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa entry walkway
Looking toward reception from the exterior seating area.

After mounting several steps, we entered the reception area, flanked by tour services and concierge desks.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa reception area
The reception area after climbing several stairs.

The desk agent was friendly, though his English wasn’t very good. We began speaking to him in Spanish, and even still, he seemed confused that we had a reservation of 2 nights in my name and 1 night in my wife’s name. It took several attempts to explain our bookings to him, then he finally understood.

He said we could remain in the same room throughout our stay, but our requested late checkout would be a problem because the deluxe rooms and suites were completely booked over the coming days. Thus, on our final day, if we wanted a late checkout, we would need to move our belongings to a standard room.

While he copied our passports and prepared our room keys, we looked around and noted the prominently displayed price lists and exchange rates.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa check in desk signs
Information signs at the reception desk.

After several minutes, we received our keys and a brief explanation of the property. We were introduced to a friendly bellhop who offered to show us around the property. This part became somewhat confusing. He guided us to the line at the buffet restaurant, but we still had our belongings and hadn’t been to the room; we also hadn’t expressed any interest in going straight to the restaurant.

After several confusing exchanges, I finally said we had no interest in entering the restaurant with our belongings, that we wanted to change clothes, and to please tell us how to get to our room. At that point, he basically pointed toward the elevators and told us to push 12.

What had started as a very friendly reception became the most confusing hotel check-in I’ve ever experienced.

Elite Benefits

As a Globalist (Hyatt’s top status tier), I receive the following benefits on hotel stays:

  • 30% bonus points on paid stays
  • Waived resort fees (on both paid and award stays)
  • Room upgrades at check-in (including suites)
  • 4 p.m. late checkout
  • Guaranteed club lounge access or daily breakfast

The last element was immaterial during this stay at an all-inclusive property; moreover, this hotel didn’t have resort/destination fees to worry about.

Because I had a suite upgrade award expiring at the end of this year, I applied it to this stay to guarantee a suite upgrade prior to arrival. At check-in, we asked about a late checkout of 2 p.m. Because someone would be arriving at our suite, the hotel couldn’t let us stay in the room past noon. Thus, on the final day, we moved our belongings to a standard room in the other tower until we checked out and went to the airport.

Amenities

As an all-inclusive resort, we expected the Sunscape Puerto Vallarta to have numerous amenities, and it definitely did.

Pool

A large, clean pool was located in the center of the property. It wasn’t warm enough to call it “heated,” but it wasn’t cold.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa pool
The pool in the center of the property.

A small footbridge provided access to the island in the middle, where we found the towel stand. This island in the middle was also where the DJ, for lack of a better term, orchestrated pool activities from a way-too-loud microphone.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa pool bridge
A bridge to the center platform in the pool.

Numerous lounge chairs flanked the pool, as well as additional loungers further back near the hotel towers. Other loungers were closer to the steps down to the beach. The number of shade umbrellas was surprisingly low compared to the number of lounge chairs.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa pool lounge chairs
Lounge chairs around the pool.

To the side, near the restrooms, there was a small shop selling sunblock, pool toys, snacks, and drinks. I was surprised by that, considering food and drinks were included with stays at this property.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa convenience store by pool
A shop selling snacks and pool toys near the pool.

A ramp down to the pool area was at the far end of the lobby. This was useful for those looking to avoid the 7 steps between the pool deck (and its restaurants) and the lobby.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa wheelchair ramp to pool and buffet
A wheelchair ramp down to the pool and buffet area.

Beach

The Sunscape Puerto Vallarta had ample beach space in front of the property. There were a few steps down from the pool deck to the sand, and a security guard at the steps ensured that only hotel guests were coming up the steps into the property.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa beach entry
Chairs at the edge of the pool deck overlooking the beach.

There were numerous lounge chairs and thatched covers providing shade.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa beach loungers with umbrellas
Lounge chairs on the beach.

To the right, there was also a sand volleyball court.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa beach volleyball
The property’s beach volleyball court.

To the left, there was a clear indication of where the Sunscape ended and the next property began.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa beach
Looking at the beach property next door.

The water was extremely calm, with minimal waves. However, there was a bit of current, and we observed red flags at the beach every day of our stay.

Vendors sold hats, drinks, snacks, handicrafts, and more, passing up and down the beach throughout the day. However, they were not aggressive and moved along if you said you weren’t interested in buying their wares.

We enjoyed this hand-painted sign at the entrance to the property from the beach.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa sign by beach
A Sunscape sign near the beach entrance.

A shower stand at the edge of the pool deck offered shower heads and nozzles for washing our feet.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa shower station
Shower and foot wash station near the beach entrance.

Activities

As a family-oriented, all-inclusive resort, there were numerous events daily. Boards near the pool indicated all of the options. These included which staff members were performing which functions that day, activities, and films playing near the Rendezvous Bar for the day.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa activity board next day
Available activities were listed on a board near the pool.

There were so many activities that they didn’t all fit on a single board. Activities included handicraft sessions, pool games, kids’ activities, and even live entertainment, such as magic shows or traditional dances.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa activity board
Additional activities and entertainment for the evening.

Kids’ and Teens’ Activities

The Sunscape Puerto Vallarta had kids’ and teens’ clubs, and workers spoke Spanish and English. Along with group activities, an incredible-looking kids-only water park was near the pool behind the bathrooms and convenience shop.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa kids water park
The children’s water park near the pool.

Internet

Internet was available throughout the property. Speeds were strong, though there was definitely a poor latency in data moving across the connection. We enjoyed average download speeds of just under 100 Mbps and average uploads of just over 100.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa internet speed test
Speed test using my laptop in our room. Image Credit: Speedcheck

Shops

To the left of the reception area, there were several shops. These sold clothes, watches, sunglasses, and pool toys. There was even a fully stocked pharmacy. The hallway also had 2 ATMs, with 1 dispensing pesos and the other dispensing dollars.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa shops and ATM
Shops and ATMs in the hall leading to Da Mario, the Italian restaurant.

Elevators

We stayed in the taller tower. It had 3 elevators, though the middle elevator was out of service throughout our stay (despite not having any sign indicating such).

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa condo tower elevators
One of the elevators was out of service.

The waiting area on the ground floor had no seating, but there was seating on the guest floors.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa condo tower elevator waiting area
The elevator waiting area on the 12th floor.

The elevators weren’t large but were surprisingly rated for a capacity of 13 people. With 6, it felt tight.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa elevator interior
The elevator’s interior.

Event Space

Above the lobby was an outdoor event space. There were wedding parties here on the first and third nights of our stay.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa rooftop event space
The outdoor event space on the first floor above ground level.

Gym

To the side of the event space was also a small gym. It had a few cardio machines and 2 multi-function weight machines. Outside was a space for working out, including a punching bag.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa gym
Looking at the small gym on the sun deck.

SunClub

On the other side of this outdoor space, I found the members-only SunClub. “Members only” is a bit confusing, as you can book a SunClub room and access this space with a private sun deck and space to hang out away from the crowds.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa SunClub
Entrance to the members-only SunClub.

Mobile App

I wasn’t familiar with the Hyatt Inclusive Collection app (iOS, Android) prior to this stay. When I asked staff which restaurants were open during lunchtime on our second day, they indicated a QR code I could use to download this app. It automatically detected that I was at the Sunscape Puerto Vallarta. I could personalize the app by indicating my last name and room number.

From the first screen, I could view my open requests, access information about the local area, book transfers, and find property-specific information.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa app front page
Front page of the app. Image Credit: Hyatt

There was a map of the property, and clicking on icons would tell their name and operating hours.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa app property map Barefoot Grill
The app’s property map. Image Credit: Hyatt

I could also view the day’s entertainment options, including what time they started. Clicking on them showed additional details.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa app entertainment options
Nightly entertainment options listed in the app. Image Credit: Hyatt

The app also offered the ability to book experiences like cooking classes and tastings.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa app culinary options
Culinary experiences and tastings available via the app. Image Credit: Hyatt

It was possible to book spa services in the app as well.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa app massage options
Massage options listed in the app. Image Credit: Hyatt

While you could view information about transfers to the airport or other cities in the app, you couldn’t book them directly. I also noticed that this information seemed to have been copy-pasted from another location without updating it. This page mentioned the Los Cabos airport, hundreds of miles away.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa app transfers info
Transfer info in the app. Image Credit: Hyatt

It was possible to request items needed for our room, including silverware, cups, or even a sewing kit.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa app accessory requests
Items we could request using the Hyatt Inclusive app. Image Credit: Hyatt

We also could request additional pillows with multiple options available.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa app options for pillows
Options in the app to request various types of pillows. Image Credit: Hyatt

Tennis Court

Near the main road, away from the beach and pool, there were 2 tennis courts for guests to use.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa tennis court
The property’s tennis courts near the main road.

Mini Golf

The Sunscape Puerto Vallarta also had a 9-hole mini golf course near the parking lot.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa view from back of tower
Looking down at the parking lot, mini golf, and tennis courts from the back of the tower.

Clinic

There was an on-site clinic located near the shops. It advertised an on-call doctor available 24 hours a day, though the doctor wasn’t on the property outside of business hours.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa clinic sign
The sign advertising clinic services at the property.

Deluxe Romantic Suite Ocean Front

We stayed in room 1238, listed as a Deluxe Romantic Suite Ocean Front. The title would make you think this room is close to the ocean, but it’s actually one of the rooms furthest from the beach. Instead, it offered a room facing the ocean, whereas many other rooms have only a partial ocean view because they’re at an angle to the ocean.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa room 1238 entry
Our room’s entrance: 1238.

Moreover, the room technically wasn’t a suite. A suite should have a bedroom in a separate area with a closing door.

We had a “do not disturb” sign, but it was so flimsy that it spent more time on the ground than on our door, flying off any time we opened the door or had a slight breeze.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa do not disturb sign on floor
Our “do not disturb” sign refused to stay on the door handle.

The room featured earth tones and had lots of traditional art that we enjoyed, as well as wood features that provided a cool look to the spacious room.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite bedroom
The romantic suite’s bedroom area.

We had a king-size bed with 4 pillows. None of these provided much support, and the mattress was incredibly soft — meaning it didn’t have much support.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite bed
The king-size bed in the center of our room.

Each side of the bed had a marble-on-wood nightstand, outlets, light switches, and a lamp. The left nightstand had a clock.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite night stand
The nightstand with a clock next to the bed.

The other nightstand had the name of our room attendant and a notepad. On our final day, we realized there was no phone in our room.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite night stand with note
Outlets, switches, and notes on the nightstand.

Across from the bed, we had a large painting on the wall and a waist-high wood and glass table. This was a good spot to toss our keys, wallets, and hats upon returning to the room.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa table and art
Artwork and a standing table in our room.

On the table, we found a pack of matches and incense. That was a surprise.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite incense
The table had matches and incense, which was a surprise.

On the wall, we had a thermostat that appeared rather beat up. A note next to it asked us to conserve energy and turn off the air conditioning when the balcony door was open.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite thermostat
Our room’s thermostat and a note about conservation.

On the wall closer to the bathroom and room’s entrance was a small closet with hangers, a laundry bag, an iron and ironing board, a small safe, and 2 bath robes.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite closet
The closet in our room.

The robes had Sunscape logos embroidered on the chest.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa logo on robes
Embroidery on the bath robes.

A shelf also held an extra pillow and blanket wrapped in plastic.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite closet extra bedding
Extra pillows and bedding in the closet.

Sitting Area

Our room had a large sitting room between the bedroom and the balcony. The main feature was an L-shaped couch.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite sitting area
The sitting area between the balcony and bedroom.

The sitting area had more art on the wall, which we really liked. However, it wasn’t hanging evenly.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite art on wall
Artwork (not entirely straight) in the sitting area.

The glass on the coffee table near the couch was the wrong size, so it didn’t fit into the lip meant to hold it.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite coffee table glass
The glass wasn’t the correct size for the coffee table in the sitting area.

A large TV on an adjustable arm was on the other side of the sitting area. We could position it for watching TV from the couch or the bed.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite tv
The large TV in the sitting area.

A shelf cut into the wall near the TV held tea and coffee supplies, mugs, drinking glasses, and bottled water.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite coffee supplies
Tea and coffee supplies above the mini-fridge.

Below the coffee supplies, a mini-fridge had sodas, cold bottles of water, and beer.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite mini fridge
Drinks in the mini-fridge.

I liked that a bottle opener was attached to the wall near the mini-fridge.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite bottle opener
The bottle opener above the mini-fridge.

The sitting area was 2 steps down from the sleeping area, which was odd since the building wasn’t built into a hill and realistically had no reason to design the room this way.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite steps to sitting area
Steps up to the bedroom area from the sitting area.

A wooden shelf near the TV had an information book about the property. Tabs divided sections of the book, such as restaurants or emergency information.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa tabs on guide book in room
Tabs identified the different parts of the guidebook.

There also was a map of the property in this book.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa property guide book in room
The property map in the book in our room.

The sliding doors to the balcony had blackout curtains. Unfortunately, they loved to drift apart. Hanger clips proved reliable in keeping the curtains closed to avoid the sunrise waking us up.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite balcony curtains
This always keeps the curtains closed when they don’t want to do it voluntarily.

Balcony

Our room had a balcony that wasn’t deep but ran the length of our large room. The balcony also had 2 chairs and a small table.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite balcony
Chairs on our balcony overlooking the property.

Our balcony looked over the pool, event space, and buffet restaurant below, as well as out toward the beach and ocean beyond.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite view from balcony
Views of the property from our balcony.

On the 12th floor, we were higher than the highest floor of the other tower, which had the “partial ocean view” rooms.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite view from balcony to ocean
Looking out across the ocean from our balcony.

Bathroom

Immediately next to the room’s entrance, we had an oddly-configured bathroom. The sink and several mirrors were in a separate area outside the room containing the toilet and shower.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite bathroom sink
The sink in our bathroom.

We had multiple toiletries here, including bars of soap, lotion, hand cream, and even a sewing kit.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite bathroom toiletries by sink
Toiletries on the sink counter.

A shelf under the sink had towels, a hair dryer, and a mat to put in the shower if we wanted.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite bathroom towels under sink
Towels and a hair dryer under the sink.

Next to the sink was a door to the room with the shower and toilet. The layout was a bit strange because you couldn’t open this door if someone were at the sink. My wife hit me with the door pretty hard one day because she didn’t know I was at the sink brushing my teeth when she got out of the shower.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite view to bathroom
The entrance to the bathroom.

The toilet was in a recessed area to one side. Flushing it required holding down the handle for a few seconds to get the toilet flush properly.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite bathroom toilet
The toilet in our bathroom.

The shower was large. We liked the patterned tiles on the wall and the stone construction.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite bathroom shower
Our bathroom’s shower.

Strangely, the hotel did not have conditioner. When we arrived, we had soap, body wash, and shampoo. When housekeeping knocked on our door that evening, we asked for conditioner. The employee said the hotel doesn’t provide it. I found that odd for a property where guests are constantly swimming in the pool and ocean.

Food and Beverage

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta, like most all-inclusive properties, had multiple restaurants.

World Café Buffet

The World Café served buffet-style food and was the only restaurant open for 3 meals daily. Its operating hours confused us, though. It served breakfast from 7 a.m. to noon and then was closed until 1:30 p.m. Then, lunch was available until 4:30 p.m. Dinner was available from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

There were fried bananas, French toast, sausages, and pancakes each morning during breakfast.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa World Cafe buffet breakfast foods
Pancakes, French toast, and more during breakfast one morning.

Made-to-order omelets were available at the far end.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa World Cafe buffet omelette station
Customers waiting for omelets at breakfast.

There were numerous fruits as well.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa World Cafe buffet fruits close up
Fruit options on the buffet.

Dishes rotated on the hot food bar. During breakfast, these always included some type of eggs. At lunchtime, there was always some type of beans and some type of potato.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa World Cafe buffet lunch hot dishes
Potatoes and sausages on the buffet during lunch.

The dessert bar had rotating options, including cakes, dulce de leche, and brownies.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa World Cafe buffet dessert bar
The buffet’s dessert bar during lunch.

There was always a salad bar with multiple ingredients and dressings available during lunch and dinner.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa World Cafe buffet salad
The buffet’s salad bar section.

At lunch and dinner, there were always 2 options for soup and garnishes to go with them. Signs indicated vegetarian and gluten-free options, and dishes were labeled in Spanish and English.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa World Cafe buffet lunch soups
Soup on the buffet during lunchtime.

A sign near the entrance to the World Café provided estimates of waiting times at certain hours during breakfast. It advised queues were unlikely from 7 to 8:30 a.m., queues were possible from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., and queues were expected from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. However, the real answer is that we waited to get in at every meal, regardless of what time we arrived. I’ll discuss that in the “Service” section below.

World Café had a strange dress code. We could wear shorts, flip-flops, sports bras, or even bikini tops to eat here. However, men couldn’t enter in sleeveless shirts. I wasn’t allowed to go in after coming up from the beach in a tank top. My wife, also wearing a tank top, was allowed to get a table while waiting for me to change. We found this perplexing, especially for a restaurant immediately next to a pool and beach where women were eating in bikini tops. I was more clothed than they were.

Coco Café

This small coffee shop near the steps from the lobby down to the pool deck was open 24 hours a day. Coco Café served coffee and tea products and could whip up a hot chocolate or latte, but don’t expect anything fancy. For 2 days in a row, we were told they were out of ice, so we had to get a cup of ice from the bar to get iced coffee at Coco Café.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa Coco Cafe
Coffee supplies at Coco Café.

The cold case had finger sandwiches and mini desserts in the afternoons and evenings. This case held a selection of muffins, croissants, and cinnamon rolls during breakfast time.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa Coco Cafe cold case
Coco Café’s cold case of snacks.

Coco Café had a sign that I liked, saying you could order wearing whatever you liked, but they wouldn’t serve you if you were dripping wet because that creates a mess.

Da Mario

Past the shops near the lobby, Da Mario served Italian food at dinner time only. It was open from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. and didn’t accept children under 8 years old for dine-in visits. Moreover, collared shirts and long pants were required for men.

Seaside Grill

This lower seating section was part of World Café (the buffet restaurant) during breakfast and lunch. At dinner, it functioned as the Seaside Grill. Seaside Grill required collared shirts and long pants for men and served à la carte options from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa Seaside Grill seating
This lower seating area served the buffet during breakfast and lunch but formed the Seaside Grill at night.

Tiki Taco

Located across from Coco Café and near Rendezvous Bar, Tiki Taco served Mexican food from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. only. Looking at the description while writing this review, the rules say men must wear long pants, but I ate here in shorts.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa Tiki Taco entrance
Entrance to Tiki Taco restaurant.

There was a salad bar close to the entrance.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa Tiki Taco salad bar
Tiki Taco’s salad bar during dinner.

Seating was on a first-come-first-served basis, and a bar at the far end offered ingredients for making tacos, burritos, arepas, and more, prepared by staff according to customers’ requests.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa Tiki Taco tables
Seating inside Tiki Taco.

The Snack Machine/Barefoot Grill

Depending on which property map you check, you’ll see this food truck referred to as The Snack Machine or Barefoot Grill. It was located in a small nook near the entrance to World Cafe, adjacent to the pool. It served lunch from noon to 5 p.m. The menu was very simple: hamburgers, hot dogs, nacho chips with cheese dip, or chips and guacamole.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa The Snack Machine Barefoot Grill
Tables outside this food truck serving a small menu during lunch.

Barracuda Bar

Located between the pool and the beach, Barracuda Bar was open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. It offered sodas, beers, and mixed drinks.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa Barracuda pool bar
The Barracuda Bar at the edge of the pool near the beach.

Manatees Swim-Up Bar

The Manatees swim-up bar was extremely popular. It offered beer, wine, cocktails, mixed drinks, and more.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa Manatee swim up bar
Looking across at the swim-up bar.

Rendezvous Bar

Located off the lobby and near the entrance to Tiki Taco, this full-service bar was open from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. It always had ice water and drinking glasses, which were popular items.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa Rendezvous Bar
The edge of the Rendezvous Bar near the lobby.

Room Service

It was also possible to order room service requests through the app. However, the options were extremely limited. It was basically a few sandwiches, 2 Mexican dishes, and fries.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa app room service options
The app’s options for in-room dining. Image Credit: Hyatt

Service

Service was very hit-and-miss here. I’m going to divide this into sections to address specific areas individually.

Bellhops and Reception

On arrival, we thought the bellhops were fantastic. They were super friendly and welcoming and greeted us by name whenever they saw us. I got the feeling the resort didn’t typically receive many heavily tattooed visitors, so we were memorable to them.

At the check-in desk, the staff was consistently friendly. However, they tended to confuse us. Handing us off to a man who guided us to the restaurant before we went to the room was strange. The check-in agent couldn’t understand our split bookings, and we spent several minutes trying to get him to understand this until another employee had to explain it to him. Later, an employee had to come find us to say the check-in agent forgot to take my credit card for a security deposit, and we needed to return to the desk.

We had a checked suitcase, which United forgot to put on the plane from LAX. When it arrived more than 24 hours after we did, I knew it was downstairs because of the Apple AirTag I had placed in it. The hotel knew we were waiting for a suitcase, so I figured I would wait to see how they resolved the situation. After our suitcase had been sitting at the bellhop station for more than an hour, I went downstairs and retrieved it. With 2 giant “URGENT” stickers on the suitcase, I had assumed they’d know it was there, but my expectations weren’t met.

Hard Sell for Timeshare

The gentleman who showed us to the restaurant after the check-in desk on the first day later gave us a very hard sell for a timeshare presentation. We stated that we weren’t interested multiple times and finally walked away. This was in the middle of the lobby, en route to breakfast on the second morning.

Then, 2 other times during our stay, he approached us, said hello, and launched into trying to convince us to go to a timeshare presentation about vacation ownership at this property. We began avoiding him whenever we saw him.

Rude Bartender

My wife and I don’t drink alcohol. We’re aware many adults do, and we don’t make an issue out of it. We simply ask for non-alcoholic drinks.

While lying on the beach one day, I went to the Barracuda Bar and asked for 2 non-alcoholic piña coladas. The bartender didn’t add any alcohol that I could see, but one sip and I got a strong taste of alcohol. Perhaps the same blender had been used for a drink with alcohol; that was my logic, so I went back and calmly said it tasted like alcohol, and I’d like 2 new drinks.

The bartender was extremely rude, acting like I’d insulted him by asking for new drinks. He said he didn’t put alcohol in it, and I offered to let him taste it. He refused, so I repeated my request for new drinks, “if it’s not too much trouble.” Not realizing I speak some Spanish, he talked about me to other bartenders while making the drinks, then very sourly said, “You noticed I didn’t put alcohol in it, right? Just like last time,” then basically shoved the drinks at me.

Housekeeping

Our room’s attendant was super friendly. She knocked on the door each evening, offering turndown service and chocolates. She didn’t speak English but made great efforts to be friendly toward us and appreciated our broken Spanish.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa chocolates with turndown service
Chocolates as part of our evening turndown service.

Activities Staff

While resort activities aren’t my thing, I can recognize when someone is good at their job. The staff running pool games and activities for the teens did very well at keeping people entertained.

The staff also did a great job with decorations around the property for Dia de los Muertos. They also had a small haunted house at the rear of the property, near the kid’s waterpark. My wife fell down laughing because of how high I jumped when someone popped out from behind a corner.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa Dia de Muertos decoration
Dia de los Muertos decorations around the property.

There usually is seating on the terrace overlooking the pool, near Coco Café and Rendezvous Bar. However, this was removed to make space for ofrendas for Dia de los Muertos. Some ofrendas included family members of staff.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa ofrenda family
An ofrenda with family members of hotel employees.

Another honored famous Mexican actor Roberto Gómez Bolaños. He was the main character in 2 famous children’s series: “El Chavo del Ocho” and “El Chapulín Colorado.”

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa ofrenda
An ofrenda honoring famous Mexican actor Roberto Gómez Bolaños.

Buffet Staff

The buffet was understaffed and disorganized. It was the area most in need of improvements for service. No matter what time we arrived at the buffet, there was a line — sometimes quite long. This, even though there were empty tables.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa World Cafe buffet waiting
Waiting at the buffet was typical.

The wait was because the hostesses would hold up the line if a large group arrived and a table for them wasn’t available. If there’s no table for 8 people available, a reasonable response would be asking them to step aside while they wait. Instead, hostesses played on their phones until a table for 8 became available, making groups of 2 or 4 wait, even when tables for 2 and 4 were available.

Moreover, dishes on the buffet ran out regularly. This happened most often with the flood of people getting seated at the same time, immediately after a large group was seated, and then multiple couples or families were seated at the tables that had been empty for a while.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa World Cafe buffet empty pasta tray
An empty pasta tray on the buffet.

Moreover, the staff didn’t do well keeping the cups and glasses on the buffet stocked. Seeing an empty area where glasses should have been (next to the juices) was not uncommon.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa world cafe no glasses
Missing glasses near the juice during breakfast.

Email After I Took a Survey

A day after checkout, Hyatt sent me a survey about my stay at the Sunscape Puerto Vallarta. Without being rude or mean, I provided honest scores and honest feedback about positives and negatives.

I received an email from the assistant property manager 3 days later, which I will provide without comment:

We appreciate you taking the time to complete our Exit Survey about your recent stay at our hotel.

First of all we want to thank you for all your comments, because these are extremely important to us.

Regarding the service of our frontdesk and bellman, we are very proud of their work and please feel sure that we will share your comments and recognize them.

We greatly regret not having lived up to your expectations and especially that you have experienced some inconveniences during your stay, such as the service provided by the hostess, waiters and bartanders, Deadbolt and the latch on the bathroom door and anything additional that could have generated a better experience in our hotel; However, we appreciate you sharing these points that will be escalated to generate an action plan in this regards, specially the report of the staff we will program a training for them for immediate correction.

We sincerely hope to welcome you in the near future and be able to change your perception regarding our services.

Sincere thanks for your ratings, as they allow us to have real knowledge of the operation.

Standard Room for Late Checkout

We moved into the other tower on our final day because we couldn’t remain in our suite until our late checkout time. We knew about this in advance, having discussed it with staff. We wound up liking this room better than our suite. I’ll discuss some of the reasons why in the section “Facilities Issues.”

This tower was located to the right of reception. It had only 2 elevators, and only 1 worked. Thus, waiting for an elevator wasn’t uncommon, and people would pile in if at all possible.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa tower elevators
The elevators in the partial ocean view tower.

While our suite was located in a tower with an open-air hallway and rooms facing only 1 direction, this tower had rooms on both sides and an enclosed hallway.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa tower interior hallway
The interior hallway in the partial ocean view tower closer to the beach.

The color palette and many features were similar, though the room was smaller. However, as a newer room, everything worked correctly. It was only when we saw the phone in this room that we realized our suite hadn’t included a phone.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa standard room bed with headboard
The standard room in the partial ocean view tower, closer to the beach.

If given the choice, I would choose the left tower, closer to the ocean and containing the “partial ocean view” rooms. Just turn your balcony’s chairs at an angle toward the ocean. The rooms in this tower seem much newer and nicer.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa view of towers at night
Looking up at the separate towers from the pool at night.

Facility Issues

I’m not sure how many hotel reviews I’ve written in my life, but I’ve never included a section on facility issues. However, this section is a large part of why I said that many parts of the property lost their luster the longer we looked at anything.

The door frame in our suite’s bathroom had seen a serious incident. Perhaps someone got stuck in the bathroom and kicked the door down.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite bathroom door latch
The broken latch on our bathroom’s door.

On top of the non-working elevators, the trash cans near the elevators had issues. The marble tops were broken.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa broken trash bin lobby
Broken top on the trash bin next to the elevators in the lobby.

And those with wooden tops were collapsing.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa broken trash bin
Broken top on the trash bin next to the elevators on the 12th floor.

The elevator frames were scratched; the paint was also showing age and wear.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa elevator edge
Scratched edging around the elevator.

In the entryway, before reaching the check-in desk, there were paint stains on the floor.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa paint stains on floor
Paint stains on the floor leading toward the elevators.

In our suite, the walls had seen better days. There were hairline cracks, signs of dirt, and the touch-up paint didn’t match the original paint color. Someone needs to just scrub this area with a hot washcloth.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite wall issues
Cracks, grime, and mismatched paint along the ceiling in our room.

Honestly, our bed sheets were the most confusing thing in our whole stay. They weren’t the right size for a king-size mattress. Thus, the sheets didn’t reach the edge of the mattress — never mind wrap around it.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite bed sheets
Our sheets weren’t the proper size.

Moreover, our deadbolt didn’t work, and the door frame had numerous scratches.

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort Spa romantic suite door frame
The deadbolt didn’t work, and the door frame had issues.

Final Thoughts

Did we get what we paid for at Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa? It depends on “what we paid for.” We got food and a bed, plus we could use the hotel’s facilities. However, the facilities had multiple issues. Plus, the service needs some big improvements.

This is one of the cheapest all-inclusive properties in Mexico, so it’s obviously not going to measure up to what’s available at other properties. However, food running out, rude staff, unnecessary waits, and signs of wear and tear shouldn’t be included in a hotel stay, no matter the rating or category.

Fixing the facilities issues, providing conditioner in the rooms, adjusting the waits at the restaurant, and putting the correct size of sheets on the bed could easily elevate a stay at the Sunscape Puerto Vallarta. However, providing more upkeep or hiring additional employees would have a cost, and that might increase the nightly rate to stay here. Would that drive away the clientele? Who knows.

At a minimum, though, they should fix the sheet issue and teach the hostesses how to manage a line at the buffet. I’d start with those.

Would I recommend this hotel to a friend? It’s hard to say. I wouldn’t recommend it to my parents, certainly; they wouldn’t tolerate many of the issues I pointed out. My wife and I have stayed at some “surprised it didn’t fall down during our stay” places in the past, so we can put up with a lot. Before recommending this property, I’d need to know what my friend is looking for in a stay. It’s not going to be a “must stay” for anyone; that’s for sure.

Frequently Asked Questions

What rewards program is Sunscape in?

Sunscape is part of World of Hyatt. Thus, you can earn and redeem World of Hyatt points and free nights here. This is the same award program was Hyatt Centric, Park Hyatt, Dreams, and nearly 30 other hotel brands.

What rewards category is Sunscape Puerto Vallarta?

Sunscape Puerto Vallarta is a Category A property in World of Hyatt. This is the lowest category for all-inclusive properties.

How many rooms are at Sunscape Puerto Vallarta?

There are 340 guest rooms and suites.

Are Sunscape resorts all-inclusive?

Yes. These properties are all-inclusive, meaning all food and drinks, plus activities, are included in your stay.

When was Sunscape Puerto Vallarta built?

This property opened in 2014.

Is Sunscape Puerto Vallarta a good hotel?

It depends on what you’re looking for and which aspects of your stay you’re judging. Some rooms are newer (and therefore nicer). The property could improve its service and general upkeep in several areas, but staff are mostly friendly, restaurants provide a variety of menus, and you won’t go hungry here. If you’re looking for an inexpensive all-inclusive resort where you can sip piña coladas at a swim-up bar, you’ll love it. If you want to be pampered at a high-end resort, this isn’t it.

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About Ryan Smith

Ryan completed his goal of visiting every country in the world in December of 2023 and now plans to let his wife choose their destinations. Over the years, he’s written about award travel for publications including AwardWallet, The Points Guy, USA Today Blueprint, CNBC Select, Tripadvisor, and Forbes Advisor.

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