Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit Review: Family-Friendly All-Inclusive Getaway in Puerto Vallarta

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The writer was hosted.

Situated near the Sierra Madre Mountains in Riviera Nayarit, this sprawling 267-room all-inclusive resort of Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit welcomes guests to its pristine beachfront luxurious property.

I’m a big fan of all-inclusive resorts, especially ones that are family-friendly. It makes staying at the resort with your family a wonderful way to enjoy all the great benefits of the resort without constantly opening your wallet. Everything from gourmet cuisine to in-suite dining, poolside swim-up bar to water sports, fitness and wellness programs, and kids club activities are offered in the all-inclusive package.

The family-friendly, all-inclusive, Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit in Nuevo Vallarta is about 15 minutes from the Puerto Vallarta, Mexico airport. Catering to both kids and adults with fun, memorable activities makes this family-friendly resort experience one of the best all-inclusive properties in Puerto Vallarta.

I had visited Velas Vallarta, another one of the Velas Brothers properties a few years back, so I was anxious to explore this family-oriented, all-inclusive resort in a new location.

I discovered Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit was grand indeed with the same commitment to quality, service, and providing a truly authentic Mexican cultural experience.  

Accommodations Overlooking the Beach

With 267 oceanview suites, your world opens up to these exquisite views every morning. The balcony allows you to enjoy your morning coffee served with a side of warm breezes. Enjoy an in-room minibar, free wifi, Nespresso machine, refrigerator, and daily maid service. Some of the suites offer an outdoor jacuzzi.

Hit the Beach

Head down to the sand beach for lots of water sports activities – boogie boarding, kayaking, snorkeling, or scuba diving. Or hang out at the outdoor pool for poolside games.

There’s an adults-only infinity pool with outdoor jacuzzis for the ultimate in relaxation and wellness.

Where to Eat

The Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit offers a variety of dining options encompassing a range of gourmet cuisine. Award-winning AAA Four Diamond awards have all been earned by these fabulous French, Asian, Italian, and Mexican restaurants, creating an exquisite dining experience.  

Or choose from something more casual at Azul that serves an awesome breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffet with beautiful views of Banderas Bay. This is the perfect place for families to hang out.  Or, if you have a cranky little one, you can always dine in-suite with room service.  

Frida Pays Tribute to this Amazing Mexican Artist

Step into Frida and you’ve stepped back in time and place where both culinary art and cuisine combine. Located on the second floor above the lobby, this lively Puerto Vallarta restaurant serves traditional Mexican cuisine in creative new ways.

Enjoy the beautiful sunsets from your table or sit on their beautiful outdoor terrace with stunning ocean views. Live guitar, violin, and other music accompany your dining experience.

Margarita-making demonstration at Frida. Photo credit: Mira Temkin

When we sat down, the server offered us a cocktail-making demonstration for a  cucumber margarita. Sure, we were game. We watched as the mixologist poured in Controy, agave Tequila, and lime juice.  Starting with top-quality ingredients really made the difference you could taste. It was smooth and refreshing, and so much fun to watch.

Fig Salad is fresh and flavorful at Frida. Photo credit: Mira Temkin

I enjoyed the Fig Salad and Salmon al Pastor, which was just delicious.

Frida is truly one of the best Mexican restaurants in Nuevo Vallarta. It was awarded Four Diamonds by AAA, certifying the highest standards in fine dining. Reservations are required and children are welcome.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Make your reservations for the restaurants of your choice before you arrive at the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit so you’re assured of your top choices.

The mushroom soup starter was rich and savory. Photo credit: Mira Temkin.

Lucca – Italian Cuisine

Dining at Lucca was like being in an Italian villa, serving Italian and Mediterranean specialties. The wild mushroom cream soup with truffle foam was to die for. Our server suggested the lamb filet. Kids in tow?  Go with one of their pizzas or something from the kids’ menu.  

Kids Are King!

No matter what the age of your children or grandchildren,  the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit has a program suited just for them. From the Baby Concierge to the Kids Club to the state-of-the-art Teens Club, this all-inclusive resort has activities to keep them engaged and happy in creative and cultural activities.  

I was delighted with the indoor Kids Club with its imaginative setup, geared for kids under 5 and another group aged 6-12. Oversized games like Tic-Tac-Toe and Twister to Snakes and Ladders, Jenga, and Connect 4 keep them occupied with camping and storytelling at night. Hockey and soccer tables keep the action going. Outdoor Kids’ Club activities also include pool and beach games on the beautiful Pacific Ocean.

Disco at the Teen Club. Photo credit: Mira Temkin.

But their teen club for 13 – 18 year olds really blew me away. The Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit really understands what the teens want and cater to their high-tech, social media world. Games, TIK-TOK, video gaming booths, and air hockey let the kids just hang out, while at night the club turns into a disco with a dance floor.

If you’re coming with babies, their baby concierge will arrange everything from a crib, pureed baby food, strollers, and even adorable baby cabanas.

Oceanfront views of the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit. Photo credit: Mira Temkin

Suites for the Whole Family

If you’re bringing a family, check out the luxurious suites at the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit. They’ve got you covered with two spacious luxurious suites which are like an apartment to accommodate your group to sleep 8. Private terraces and jacuzzi, too.  


What I loved about the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit SE spa, which means one, is their personal concierge who guides you through your treatments. They are committed to your ultimate wellness.

Choose from a variety of healing treatments like massages, harmonizing therapies, facials, and beauty salon services. If you choose the steam room, your concierge will make sure you head to the appropriate hot or cool pool. Be sure to indulge in their hydrotherapy pools before or after your treatment.

Lifting the giant wok at my private cooking class. Photo credit: Mira Temkin

Private Cooking Class

I opted for a private cooking class with Raul Hernandez, head chef at Sen Lin, their award-winning Asian concept restaurant. I learned how to make papaya salad with beef wok and salmon wok. Donning an apron and chef’s hat, I watched as the sous-chef explained all of the ingredients and made sure of my taste preferences. In my case, nothing too spicy. I watched as she mixed all of the ingredients together and then I did the same.

The wok was a little trickier. I observed as the sous-chef heated the oil, then mixed in the steak, vegetables, and other spices under a very high flame and skillfully tossed the ingredients as I watched in amazement. Could I do that? Not as well, but it was a lot of fun trying. and the beef wok was out of this world. The salmon wok was prepared a little differently, under a broiler with vegetables that were sauteed in a pan. They can arrange a private cooking class for couples or groups.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Advanced reservations are required.

Voila! Beef wok, salmon wok, and papaya salad. Photo credit: Mira Temkin.

Stay Fit

The resort also offers a fully equipped fitness center with all of the latest cardiovascular, treadmills, and elliptical machines. Play the newest rage, pickleball, or tennis courts on the second floor. Try pilates and meditation.  At the fitness center, they offer anti-gravity yoga, classes with an instructor on-site to work with you.

Tee Up!

If golf is on your agenda, there are two world-championship golf courses nearby, the Marina Vallarta and the Viva Vallarta golf courses. Vista Vallarta offers two 18-hole championship golf courses, while the Marina Vallarta gives you exquisite views of the Pacific, Banderas Bay, and the Sierra Madre mountains. Your concierge can help arrange tee times.  

When the Sun Goes Down

Live music and entertainment are available every night all around the all-inclusive resort.  We listened to a great saxophonist at poolside and saw an amazing Michael Jackson show.  

Adults-only pool at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit. Photo credit: Mira Temkin

Velas Resorts Creates Luxury for Adults-Only Too

Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit is just one of the all-inclusive hotels from the Velas Brothers collection of all-inclusive luxury resorts that cater to families. You might also want to consider Velas Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta For an adults-only experience, Casa Velas is just a few blocks away from Velas Vallarta which creates a perfect retreat.

I found out from talking to the guests that they have a high percentage of repeat visitors. I’m sure to be among them.

With more than 20 years of travel writing under her bling-y belt, Mira Temkin understands the expectations of the leisure traveler and writes to those expectations. From destinations to tours to cruises and luxury resorts, her articles cover the world: across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Central America, South America and Europe. She is a proud member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and past member of the International Food Wine Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA). Mira always has her bags packed and is ready to go! You can read her other travel stories at
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