The writer was hosted.
The upscale Casa Velas experience started the minute I stepped foot into the lobby. It’s calm and quiet. And I wasn’t ushered to a long line in front of the check-in desk. Rather, the soft-spoken concierge invited me to rest on one of the plush couches then took my bags and returned a moment later with a refreshing fruit juice and a folder with my paperwork.
The chill vibe continued as she walked me to my suite and showed me around, complete with instructions on how to use the luxury shower (which no doubt spared me a call to the front desk the next morning).
Read More: Fun Things to Do in Puerto Vallarta
Casa Velas Highlights
A 3-to-1 staff-to-guest ratio equals elevated levels of service with a smile.
It’s a small boutique property with just 80 rooms, all of them suites. Room types include the 463-square-foot Master Suite (more on that below), the 830-square-foot Grand Class suite with a Jacuzzi, private plunge pool, terrace with seating area, separate dining room and living area with a sofa and, for the ultimate splurge, the 4-bedroom 5,564-square-foot Presidential Suite.
It’s an all-inclusive that doesn’t feel like an all-inclusive. There is no buffet line but there is a gourmet restaurant; no raucous music blaring at the pool but there is a talented sax player serenading the breakfast diners; no pool games but there are guided meditation and yoga classes.
The resort has a wellness mission carried throughout its lush botanical garden, the herbs grown onsite, a large fitness center and a full-service spa. (Spa services are not included in the daily price, but the per-person rate includes a $50 spa credit.)
Staying at Casa Velas gives you access to the much larger and more traditional Velas Vallarta all-inclusive resort. This family-friendly oceanfront resort is a 2-minute shuttle ride or short walk away. Guests of Casa Velas have access to all of the amenities at Velas Vallarta, including the beach, bars, restaurants, water sports, tennis and pickleball courts, and a much larger spa.
The Tau Beach Club, Casa Velas’ beachfront area, has a swimming pool, hot tub, bar, restaurant, attentive servers and beautiful cabanas to shelter you from the Mexican sun when you aren’t playing in the Pacific surf or admiring the Sierra Madre Mountains in the distance.
Golfers can book discounted rounds of golf at Marina Vallarta Golf Club and Vista Vallarta Golf Club.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Bring water shoes if you have sensitive feet. The ocean bottom here is a little rocky and the sandy beach gets hot in the midday sun.
Things to Know about Casa Velas
It is not on the beach. The beach is at Tau Beach Club, which is a 15-minute walk or 5-minute free shuttle ride away.
There are a lot of stairs at the small resort and only one small elevator. Even the rooms have steps from the sleeping area down to the balcony. There are no fully accessible rooms at Casa Velas.
The lovely lobby has a water feature that can be tricky. It looks like the floor is solid and the next thing you know, you’re ankle-deep in the water. I watched one woman flailing about trying to regain her balance after she stepped into the water. She ultimately did, but only after taking out some of the decorations. I was told that it happens regularly.
While the resort says that tips are included in the all-inclusive price, each meal and drink I ordered resulted in a “bill” delivered for me to sign that included a spot for adding a tip. While I was happy to tip for the excellent service, I found it a bit confusing to a.) get a bill at an all-inclusive and b.) be faced with a choice of whether to tip.
The company is now offering day passes to the private beach club. They’re pricey – 2000 pesos per person when I visited in December 2023 – and one local said he doubts many people will take Casa Velas up on the offer “because there are better beaches here.”
Read More: All Inclusive Resorts in Mexico
It’s the Staff
While the Spanish hacienda-style resort itself is a lovely oasis in what can be a chaotic Mexican city, there is one reason Casa Velas hits all the right notes: the staff.
The resort hires locally and maintains a 3-to-1 staff-to-guest ratio; the level of service here is unmatched. From that first encounter at check-in to the attentive servers delivering drinks poolside to the van drivers who transported me from the hotel to the Tau Beach Club, they were unfailingly attentive, helpful and pleasant.
I even got a mid-stay questionnaire asking if everything was good.
The superior service is why Patricia and her husband Harv, Canadians who live in Winnipeg, have stayed here 4 times in the last 18 months. She couldn’t say enough about the staff who took care of her when she got sick during her last trip, regularly honor their request for a traditional Mexican breakfast each morning and make them special drinks at the swim-up pool bar.
The couple likes the hotel so much that they created a We Love Casa Velas Facebook group.
Adults-Only All-Inclusive Resort
This resort has everything you want in a warm-weather all-inclusive getaway: a beautiful pool with a swim-up bar; beach access via the private beach club a short shuttle ride away; large, comfortable rooms; great service; and good food and drinks whenever you want them. And, best off all, everything is included.
Here, there’s more. A wellness mission that includes meditation sessions and yoga classes. Live music every night in the Terraza Lobby. A lush botanical garden. A serene pool surrounded by plush cabanas with soaring palm trees so you can have sun when you want it and shade when you don’t.
We learned to make guacamole, had a mixology class and learned about the different varieties of Mexican tequila. Had we visited during the week, a guided mediation and yoga class would have been at the top of my vacation agenda. Sadly, neither was offered on the weekend I visited.
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Who Should Stay at Casa Velas?
Because of its chill vibe, I expected to find the guests would be older couples. Certainly, there were some 70+ couples, but they were far from the majority. I saw every type of vacationer from women on a girlfriend getaway to honeymooners to solo women travelers (like me!) looking for a safe place to rest, relax and recharge.
SheBuysTravel Tip: While there is no need to leave the Velas properties – you did pay to have everything included, after all – I highly recommend heading into downtown Puerto Vallarta at least once during your vacation. If you do, try a Vallarta Food Tour. We did the taco street food tour with Miel Gacia. She regaled us with stories about her grandma, Mexican history and food culture. It was tasty and delightful and I have a whole new understanding of the significance of salsa to Mexican culture.
I stayed in a 463-square-foot Master Suite. It had a comfy king-sized bed with soft sheets and a thick goose down comforter that made me want to turn up the A/C so I could cocoon in the bed.
Thankfully, the room also had a ceiling fan. A rare find in a hotel (but always a welcome addition!), the ceiling fan kept me cool without wasting energy.
The wall over the bed was decorated with sculptures from a local Mexican artist, part of the company’s mission to embed Mexican culture into the resort experience.
My suite included a sitting area with a love seat, a table I used for work as well as eating my room service breakfast, and a balcony with a private plunge pool and a view of the neighboring golf course.
The large Italian marble bathroom had a huge shower and was stocked with L’Occitane products. The slightly larger Master Suite Plus rooms (614 square feet) have a Jacuzzi tub in the oversized bathroom.
Note that there are two steps down to get to the balcony.
Other in-room amenities include:
Lightweight robe and slippers
Ironing board and iron
Minibar with snacks and drinks customizable to your tastes
Nespresso coffee machine and coffee capsules. When I mentioned that I’m not a coffee drinker, there was a knock on the door a few minutes later with someone bearing tea bags.
A beach bag that came in very convenient for transporting my things to the pool and beach
Free wifi that was speedy and effective
Dining at Casa Velas
There is only one restaurant at the resort – but it’s a AAA 4-Diamond restaurant!
Emiliano serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in an open-air spot near the pool and overlooking the koi ponds. I had a lovely dinner — I ordered the roasted veggie appetizer, the mahi mahi catch of the day and flan for dessert. The carrots, zucchini, asparagus and tomatoes were perfectly roasted, nicely seasoned and had just the right level of crunch. The fish was light and flaky and served with barley and Brussels sprouts. Topping it all off was the best flan I have ever tasted — and I have tasted a lot of flan!
Other dining options include dinner at Táu Beach Club. Dinner there was good, but it didn’t surpass the food at Emilano. The reason to eat at Tau Beach Club is the setting. Open-air dining next to the pool while the Pacific Ocean waves lap the shore is an entirely reasonable trade-off!
And, of course, it’s an all-inclusive, so there are snacks available throughout the day. I highly recommend the guacamole and salsa, which I had delivered to my pool cabana along with a Paloma — a tequila and grapefruit juice drink I discovered on the street food tour of Puerto Vallarta.
Staying at Casa Velas also entitles guests to one dinner at the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, a 5-Diamond AAA experience, which I did not get to try on my too-short visit.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Dinner at Grand Velas is subject to availability, so make your reservation when you book your vacation! And note that Casa Velas will provide transportation to the resort only for the first seating. After that, it’s Uber or a cab.
The daily guest price includes a $50 credit at the spa, so there’s no reason NOT to book a massage, facial or beauty salon visit.
My massage included a pre-treatment hydrotherapy visit to the steam room, sauna and hot tub, all led by a spa staffer. Then it was time for the massage, where I was offered a choice of essential oils – lavender, mint or rosemary. I chose lavender. I always choose lavender.
The massage was relaxing, featuring soothing strokes along my back while I relaxed on a heated massage table. It wrapped up with a face massage and foot reflexology.
The Environmental Commitment
I was troubled at Casa Velas – as I always am when I visit Mexico or other countries where it isn’t safe to drink the tap water – by the number of single-use plastic bottles of water I use during a visit.
So I was very happy to learn about the resort’s environmental commitments, including:
A beach conservation program that involves daily clean-ups and monthly deep cleans during which 30+ employees dig and sift the sand.
Used cooking oil is sent out to be converted into biodegradable fuel.
Food waste is donated to local farms or composted to be used as fertilizer in the botanical gardens.
Straws are made from avocado seeds so they are 100 percent biodegradable.
Solar panels help reduce the use of fossil fuels.
Electronic room keys automatically turn the power on and off when a guest enters or leaves a suite.
Safety at Casa Velas
Hotel safety concerns are never far from my mind, especially when I’m a solo traveler, as I was during my visit to Casa Velas.
So I was more than a little dismayed to discover that the deadbolt on my guestroom door was not working. When I reported it to the concierge, she promised to have it fixed before I returned from dinner.
When I returned, she was waiting for me with the distressing news that it needed a part and couldn’t be fixed immediately.
The look on my face told her everything she needed to know. She immediately assured me that the hotel is very safe.
But sleeping in a room I couldn’t secure? It did not make me happy.
I blocked the door from the inside, admitting it wouldn’t stop anyone who wanted to get inside. But I figured it would slow them down and make enough noise to wake me.
As it turned out, the resort is very safe; I never had reason to worry. But I still want a deadbolt on my hotel room door. And, because of this experience, I added a portable door lock to my Christmas wish list this year.
Safety at Tau Beach Club
The shaded Balinese beds and attentive staff certainly made me feel safe on the beach. But it is a public beach and locals walk through regularly hawking everything from sunhats to beach coverups to jewelry.
They were not intrusive – I’ve experienced far worse on beaches in Jamaica and elsewhere in Mexico. I suspect that is thanks to the watchful eye of the staff.
Where is Casa Velas?
The boutique hotel is located in the Marina Vallarta area of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, at Calle Pelicanos 311. It’s a quick 10-minute taxi ride from the airport.
The hotel is part of the Mexican-owned Velas Resorts, which operates 3 all-inclusive resorts in Puerto Vallarta (Casa Velas, Velas Vallarta and the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit), three in Los Cabos and one in Cancun.