Where to stay in Puerto Vallarta?
If you’re familiar with our blog, you know we write a lot about Mexico.
We’ve visited PV (as it’s called for short) and the nearby chichi Punta Mita area several times.
We especially love walking the seafront El Malecon in Puerto Vallarta – it’s a must-do when visiting PV!
We’ve also discovered several boutique Puerto Vallarta hotels that are absolutely delightful.
Some are quite exclusive and downright decadent. Others are in the affordable mid-range, but punch higher in luxury than their rates would suggest.
Of course, the bigger luxury resorts like the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita (where we’ve stayed – fabulous!) and the trendy W Punta de Mita are among the best resorts in Puerto Vallarta.
But if you like the intimacy, individuality and charm of boutique inns, then you’ll love the following boutique hotels in Puerto Vallarta and Punta Mita!
Where is Punta Mita?
Punta Mita (or Punta de Mita) is an upscale resort destination in the Riviera Nayarit area of Mexico, about a 45-minute drive north of Puerto Vallarta.
It boasts some six miles of virgin sandy beaches.
5 Boutique Puerto Vallarta hotels
We’ve chilled out at all five of these boutique luxury hotels in Puerto Vallarta.
We can personally vouch that each is a worthy vacation experience in itself.
Just be forewarned: Re-entering the real world is a tad difficult after staying at some of these places.
1) Casa de Mita
This boutique hotel in Punta de Mita is a real gem.
Tucked off a dirt road, it would have been hard for us to find if not for the directions emailed in advance by the concierge for Mexico Boutique Hotels, to which Casa de Mita belongs.
No matter that Puerto Vallarta is one of the most charming Mexican beach towns. (Actually, it’s more a small city.)
Or even that it’s one of the world’s best tropical vacation spots!
You can still find places to stay in Puerto Vallarta like Casa de Mita that are off the beaten path.
Once there, we didn’t want to leave.
Powdery white beach? Check. Fab food? Check. Tasteful surroundings? Check.
Rooms and suites:
The six rooms and two suites of the villa-style hotel are individually decorated.
We stayed in the “honeymoon suite.”
On the top floor of the villa, and with a king-size bed, it has a beachy feel with its pebble-floor rain shower, thatched palapa roof and gauzy curtains.
A real wee gecko even peeked in at us before scampering away.
But no matter the room you book, all have ocean views and are exquisite.
Think arched wooden windows, terraces, whitewashed walls, handcrafted Mexican furniture, big bathrooms with Aveda products, original oil paintings and luxurious linens.
Dining at Casa de Mita:
Meals are served outside under palm trees around a blue-tiled pool overlooking the sea.
There are no menus – the talented chef cooks what’s fresh, sometimes serving up a unique twist on Mexican food.
Dinner might start with a crab ravioli appetizer, followed by carrot-and-zucchini soup and then your choice of entrée.
It’s so delicious that guests of the neighboring Four Seasons Punta Mita often dine at Casa de Mita (which accepts a few outside reservations).
Adding to the charm of the place is its casual, barefoot vibe.
There’s no formal check-in, just an invitation to plop down in a sofa with a mojito while your bags are whisked to your room.
There are no room keys (no need for locks as theft isn’t a problem).
And the owner’s well-behaved dogs often pad about, looking to be petted.
If you feel the need for an outing, the friendly staff will drive you to the surf town of Sayulita or arrange stand-up paddling or snorkel excursions.
Casa de Mita is a Puerto Vallarta all-inclusive hotel.
All meals, alcohol and airport transfers are included in the rates (which are relatively reasonable), making this a real deal for a luxury stay.
What we loved:
The atmosphere is warm and welcome – we felt as if we were staying at a wealthy friend’s villa.
The powdery, white sand beach isn’t private, so while the section in front of Casa de Mita is raked daily and well maintained, you might see the occasional plastic bottle further down the beach.
Casa de Mita
2) Quinta Maria Cortez
Say hello to “Ann Rice meets the tropics”!
This multi-level, vine-covered, stone and brick B&B on the beach oozes atmosphere.
After staying at Quinta Maria Cortez, you may never want to stay in a plain chain hotel again.
This is one of the most unique boutique Puerto Vallarta hotels.
Most of the seven suites only have partial walls facing the sea, so they’re airy and open.
The décor is totally eclectic, but somehow it works beautifully.
Greek columns, gilt-framed mirrors, Persian rugs and exposed brick walls meld with antique Mexican furniture, black tile floors and expansive porches filled with potted ferns and palms.
Added bonus: Many suites also have kitchens.
We like the 1,200 sq. ft. Maria suite best.
Originally the owner’s apartment, it has a king-size canopied bed in the air-conditioned bedroom and peach silk Louis IV chairs in the living room.
The Guadeloupe suite is favored by those who want the beach directly outside their door.
It’s a large, open, split-level suite with a king-size bed, single daybed, sitting area and kitchenette.
Great location in Conchas Chinas:
The location of Quinta Maria Cortez in the upscale Conchas Chinas residential neighborhood is ideal.
It’s quiet, yet only a 15-minute walk or $5 USD taxi ride into town. (And you’ll want to go into town for dinner – Puerto Vallarta has foodie-worthy restaurants!)
Breakfast (included), from French toast to eggs, is served in a breezy dining room overlooking the water.
And staff will set up an umbrella and chairs on the small sandy cove for you to read or nap.
Villas next door:
Want to stay in a villa instead?
The same owners also offer Casa Tres Vidas (with three villas) right beside Quinta Maria Cortez.
A villa may suit you better if you’re traveling with family or a group of friends.
What we loved:
Rooms and suites at Quinta Maria Cortez only have partial walls facing the sea, so you get a real indoor/outdoor experience.
If the bedroom faces the sea and isn’t fully enclosed by walls, then it’s not air-conditioned – and that can be uncomfortable in the summer/fall or when it’s muggy.
Quinta Maria Cortez, Puerto Vallarta
3) Imanta Resort
A member of the Relais & Chateaux collection of hotels and resorts, Imanta is the most exclusive of all Punta Mita hotels.
And it’s a one-of-a-kind property, written up by the likes of Forbes Life and Elite Traveler.
Privacy and seclusion reign.
During our stay, we rubbed shoulders with European royalty – and their very discreet bodyguards, who, funnily enough, we mistook for other guests.
(But we can’t spill the beans on who the royal family is coz we don’t want to be privacy-poopers.)
When comparing Puerto Vallarta vs Cabo, we mention there are more deluxe hotel options in Cabo.
But Imanta can certainly hold its own against any of the swankiest places in Los Cabos!
Imanta Resort bungalows:
There are only 12 individually decorated “rooms” situated on 250 acres of wilderness in the Sierra de Vallejo national biosphere reserve.
Each was built from stone, cut from the property’s large pink granite boulders, and they boast separate living areas, decks and outdoor showers.
Most of the rooms have private infinity pools. (Three jungle casas don’t have pools.)
Choose an ocean-front casa or bungalow, and you get unmitigated luxury in a whopping 2,500 square feet to spread out in, along with a private pool – plus unparalleled service (dial “zero” for whatever your heart desires).
Or, if you really want to splurge, go for the 10,000 sq. ft. Casona Jaguar.
It has a 65-foot swimming pool.
Dining at Imanta:
Two restaurants tempt your tastebuds when it’s time to eat.
For lunch, sit with your toes in the sand under a beachfront palapa to dine on freshly caught fish.
For dinner, the chef tells you what’s available and fresh. Perhaps lobster with hibiscus mole?
Dishes are prepared from fresh ingredients grown in the resort’s organic garden.
The world’s most romantic bar:
Just make sure you indulge in a cocktail (or two) at sunset at the Observatorio Bar.
We sipped cayenne-spiced cucumber margaritas on daybeds while gazing out over the wild jungle and mesmerizing Pacific.
(But just so you don’t get too jealous, Janice was sniffling with a cold, sniff. So it wasn’t all that romantic for us, sniff. All she wanted was to crawl back into that big casa bed!)
Jungle spa and gym:
The Jungle Spa offers holistic treatments based on Aztec and pre-Hispanic healing methods, using many of the herbs, flowers and plants from Imanta’s nature reserve.
And you can get a full workout in the resort’s gym.
Imanta is pricey.
The “cheapest” rooms start at more than $1,000 USD a night in the winter/spring season. Casona Jaguar will set you back almost $7,000 a night.
(As an alternative, there are several private luxury Mexico villa rentals in Punta Mita. They come with staff and full kitchens. But they’ll also set you back a pretty penny.)
What we loved:
On a 90-minute hike through the adjoining nature reserve (accompanied by a machete-wielding guide), we saw ancient Aztec baths and a two-foot turquoise iguana.
We’re also impressed that Imanta makes every effort to be environmentally responsible. In addition to using local building materials, Imanta also recycles and treats water for garden use and only uses eco-friendly cleaning products. It has green “roofs” too.
You better like the company of the person you’re with – because this Puerto Vallarta eco-resort is the kind of place where you’re unlikely to chat with anyone else (except staff), and it’s really, really quiet (could be too quiet for some).
Imanta Resort, Punta Mita
4) Hacienda San Angel
So you’ve had your sand-and-sea fix at one of the above Punta Mita or Puerto Vallarta hotels on the beach.
Now you’re ready for some urban time in this Mexican resort town.
Well, get yourself to Hacienda San Angel.
Centrally located in the heart of Puerto Vallarta’s old town, it’s almost touching distance from the famous Guadalupe Cathedral.
Yet hidden from the street behind rustic wooden doors, it’s an oasis of genteel tranquility – and one of most romantic hotels in Puerto Vallarta.
Five colonial-style villas house 20 exquisite suites, connected by lush gardens with trickling fountains.
Each suite is different, but all have been lovingly decorated by the owner.
Discover antiques, 19th century art, crystal chandeliers and Persian carpets. Some have romantic outdoor bathtubs too.
One suite is Richard Burton’s former abode.
He bought it after falling in love with Puerto Vallarta when filming The Night of the Iguana in the mid-1960s. It’s now the Celestial Suite (one of six “royal suites”).
The palapa-covered terrace, with unbeatable views of the cathedral’s crown, makes this suite a guest favourite. (But it only has a canopied queen-size bed, so if you want a king bed, ask for a different suite.)
Of course, you get Bulgari amenities and fine Egyptian linens.
Angel chocolates and other treats:
Upon checking in, we were delighted by the lovely box of chocolates, wrapped in ribbon, that awaited us on the bed.
Other little goodies include free calls to the U.S. or Canada.
Daily complimentary breakfast was served in our suite. (We ate on our tiny balcony overlooking Puerto Vallarta’s red-tile roofs.)
At night, the place is lit by hundreds of candles, and mariachis serenade at cocktail hour.
Throw in three pools, and Hacienda San Angel ranks right up there as one very fine inn.
What we loved:
Being right in the heart of the city means you can easily pop into PV’s many art galleries.
To get to some guestrooms, you have to walk through the dining room and kitchen (a bit quirky).
And Hacienda San Angel is not on the beach – just so you know that :-).
Hacienda San Angel, Puerto Vallarta
5) Casa Isabel
This boutique Puerto Vallarta hotel is the one to book for luxury on a budget.
Fancy a great big studio with full kitchen for only $149 USD night in high season? Find this, plus 1-bedroom units ($199 USD) and a large 2-bedroom/2-bath unit ($329 USD), at the 14-suite Casa Isabel.
There’s simply no sticker-shock when the time comes to pay your bill.
Up in the hills:
The adults-only inn is perched in the leafy hills overlooking the old town’s red tile roofs and the turquoise Bay of Banderas.
The inn is owned by a fellow Canadian (who, along with her late husband, owned the Madison Avenue Pub and Madison Manor Boutique Hotel in Toronto).
Casa Isabel suites:
Casa Isabel’s Mexican-style decor gives you a real sense of place.
Suites have thick wooden soundproof doors, polished terracotta tile floors, white coverlets on the king-size beds, and colorfully-painted Mexican sinks in the bathrooms.
Homey touches include corn husk dolls lined up high on kitchen cupboards, a wooden rocking horse in the 2-bedroom suite, hat stands (complete with sun hats) and a clever resident cat who’s figured out how to use the door stopper to knock on your door.
There’s air-conditioning, but all units also have huge folding windows that open completely to the glorious views.
Tip: #204 (studio) and #401 (1-bedroom) have the best views.
Walk to the beach:
A 10-minute walk down cobblestone streets takes you to Los Muertos Beach, where, for no fee, you can plop yourself down in a lounge chair at any number of beach clubs.
The best beach clubs have showers and give you towels too.
A 5-minute walk the other way leads to the art galleries and restaurants of the “Romantic Zone.”
Or you can just chill by Casa Isabel’s three small pools (the infinity pool is our favorite) and enjoy chile relleno and grilled shrimp at the casual rooftop restaurant.
What we especially loved:
The views at Casa Isabel over the red-tile roofs are breathtaking.
Kind of obvious – but this Puerto Vallarta boutique hotel isn’t on the beach.
Casa Isabel, Puerto Vallarta
Experience more of Mexico!
Mayan sites | From Chichen Itza to Tulum, you’ll have fun exploring these amazing Mexican Mayan ruins in the Yucatan Peninsula.
Cabo San Lucas | From whale watching to hiking up the Pedregal, check out these epic things to do in Los Cabos.
Mexico City | Check out our 3-day Mexico City itinerary to make sure you enjoy the best museums, attractions and restaurants in this splendid capital.
Zihuatanejo | This resort destination is also a great place for a beach vacay in Mexico. See the best beaches in Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa.
Our top travel tips and resources
Here are our favorite travel resources:
Hotels: Booking.com is great for scoring a “wow” hotel – or at least a decent one. (We especially like their flexible cancellation policy!)
Vacation homes, condos and rentals: We prefer and use Vrbo (Vacation Rentals by Owner).
Tours: For the best local food, walking and other guided tours plus skip-the-line tickets to attractions, check out GetYourGuide and Viator.
Car rental: Renting a car is often one of the best ways to explore off the beaten path. Discover Cars searches car rental companies so you get the best rates.
Travel insurance: World Nomads travel insurance has been designed by travelers for travelers, with coverage for more than 150 activities, as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation and more.
Vaccines and meds: We follow CDC travel guidelines to see what medications and vaccines are needed for trips. You can get vaccines at your pharmacy, travel medical clinic or doctor’s office.
Travel gear: See our travel shop to find the best luggage, accessories and other travel gear. (We suggest these comfy travel sandals for city walking, the beach and kicking about.)
Need more help planning your trip? Check out our travel tips and resources guide for airline booking tips, ways to save money, how to find great hotels and other crazy useful trip planning info.
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Photo credits: 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 14, 16, 22, 23, 29, 32 to 36, 42 to 445 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | 2 Hacienda San Angel | Remaining images courtesy of the respective hotels
We stayed as media guests at these deluxe Puerto Vallarta resorts and hotels for review purposes (for travel articles published in various magazines and newspapers and for our blog). But the gushing here is all ours – and entirely genuine :-).
About the authors
Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George Mucalov are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents. See About.
Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews, insanely useful travel tips and more!
Thursday 4th of July 2019
Would love to visit Mexico soon, the country has been on my bucket list for a long time. I have actually even booked a trip twice, but forced to cancel both times (first hurricane and then the security situation). I have been reading a bit mixed comments of the current security situation in some areas - have you visited Cabo or Puerta Vallarta recently, like this year? Would be interesting to hear first-hand comments about the safety.
Janice and George
Thursday 4th of July 2019
Yes, we've visited Cabo within the past 8 months :-). We're very familiar with Los Cabos and have visited many times over the years -- see our Los Cabos Travel Guide with info on safety, hotels, what to do in Cabo, etc. And we've visited PV in the past when US travel advisories warned against going there. We've always felt safe -- no more unsafe than in a Canadian or U.S. city or holiday destination. But, like anywhere in the world, you have to be smart. (Don't walk in scuzzy neighborhoods late at night, etc.)
Check the current Canadian government travel advisory for Mexico. There are no safety warnings for Cabo or Puerto Vallarta. Here's the U.S. travel advisory for Mexico.
We personally wouldn't hesitate to visit Cabo or PV :-). If you decide to go, we wish you a wonderful trip!
Friday 10th of January 2014
I'd love to stay at all of them or any of them...but I'll have to win the lottery first! Beautiful pics.
Friday 10th of January 2014
Actually, combining a couple would make for a great trip PV holiday - one on the beach with one right in Puerto Vallarta.
Tuesday 7th of January 2014
These all look like fantasy properties...worth the trip from anywhere by any conveyance!
Tuesday 7th of January 2014
Indeed! And the Punta Mita hotels aren't so far from the airport anyway...