The Westin Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta Review: Wellness, Luxury & Palm Trees Galore

Bethany Kandel Avatar

View of the Puerto Vallarta Westin Resort & Spa
The Westin Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta. Photo credit: Bethany Kandel

The Westin Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta is a family-friendly beach resort offering several options including an all-inclusive plan. Come for luxurious resort living with a wellness vibe just minutes from the airport and the Old Town of Puerto Vallarta, and close to nature activities in the Sierra Madre Mountains. This is a Vacation with capital V.

The writer was hosted.

Palm trees and more palm trees. You see them the moment you exit the airport in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. You see them lining the roads. And after a 10-minute cab ride, when you arrive at the Westin Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta, you see them everywhere.

After all, the hotel was built on a former palm tree farm.

Palm trees at the Puerto Vallarta Westin
Built on a former palm tree farm, palms are everywhere. Photo credit: Bethany Kandel

As you check in, the lush landscape and sky-high palms beckon beyond the front desk and open lobby. Catch a glimpse of the shimmering turquoise swimming pools, the sandy beach and inviting ocean in the distance. The peace and calm of the natural beauty immediately envelopes you.

You are on Vacation, with a capital V.

Anyone looking for a loud place to party or a raucous spring break will not find it here. Great news for families who want to hang by the pool, play in the sand on the private beach and spend some quality R&R time with their kids.

One of my favorite things to do at the Westin was to float on my back in the pool, looking up at the palm-fringed sky, while birds sang above and the warm water and air cocooned me. Then I’d sit on an in-pool lounge with my toes dangling in the water, a good book and a frosty Miami Vice (my new fave drink — half pina colada, half strawberry daiquiri).

Life doesn’t get better than that.

View from room at the Puerto Vallarta Westin
The view from my room was incredible! Photo credit: Bethany Kandel

Puerto Vallarta Westin

Built in 1993, and renovated many times, the Westin’s guest rooms are scheduled for an overhaul.

I found my room was perfectly lovely, comfortable and clean. It was spacious, with marble tile floor, a comfy king bed (you won’t want to leave one of Westin’s amazing Heavenly Beds), a large bathroom with soaking tub (something you don’t often find in resort hotels these days, but great for the kids) and a large walk-in shower with fabulous water pressure.

Another plus: an empty fridge. Most hotels turn the room fridge into a minibar filled with pricey drinks and snacks. Here, there’s plenty of room for you to bring your own.

With 264 rooms and 15 suites (some with hot tubs on their terraces), it’s smaller than many Puerto Vallarta hotels. This translates to fewer people in the pool area, restaurants and other public areas. No need to reserve a poolside lounge chair at the crack of dawn. It was easy to find an available one any time of the day.

Room at the Puerto Vallarta Westin
My room had wood accents and oversized windows. Photo credit: Bethany Kandel

The Guest Rooms

The views are killer. All of the rooms have at least a partial ocean view with private balconies or terraces. Room sizes range from 581 square feet to 2,906 in the Presidential suite, which comes with its own hot tub on the balcony with gorgeous ocean views.

My large terrace had two chairs and a small table, perfect to watch the sunset. Each night was Instagram-worthy, as the sky turned purple and pink over Banderas Bay, with the palm trees (again!) swaying, and the fluffy clouds hanging over the mountains in the distance.

The room decor features warm wood accents – from the headboard to the furniture, lamps and more – plus serene earth tones and natural elements, inspired by the beauty of the surroundings. Oversized windows flood each room and open up to the large private balcony with comfortable chairs and table.

All rooms have a pool and/or ocean view. Some rooms even have a window (with levered shade) that opens up from the bathroom to the bedroom, giving you a view of the outdoors right from your bathroom tub!

If you’re traveling with a baby, cribs are available.

Puerto Vallarta Westin pool
The palm-filled pool has lounges & a swim-up bar. Photo credit: Bethany Kandel

Laid Back Vibe

The Puerto Vallarta Westin vibe is mellow here. No blaring music, party-hardy guests or rowdy bachelorette groups. This is the place to relax.

Hang out at the kid-friendly outdoor pool where the lagoon-like shape means lots of low areas for kids to safely splash in. Or the adjacent freeform adult pool with its swim-up bar and deeper water. I managed to swim laps though it’s not truly a “swimming” pool; more of a dunking pool.

The pool complex has lots of shady areas as well, with the palm trees protecting you from the intense sun; another plus for kids and those with sensitive skin.

Early morning beach yoga at the Puerto Vallarta Westin.
Early morning yoga on the beach. Photo credit: Bethany Kandel

On-Site Activities

Take out a complimentary kayak or stand-up paddle board on the sea. Wake up early for a beachside yoga class. Join a volleyball game, get energized with an aqua aerobics class or, if you prefer air conditioned activity, head to the Westin WORKOUT Fitness Studio. The resort fee includes the use of kayaks, bicycles, and wellness classes.

There are also bingo, game board and ping pong competitions. Check out the schedule daily for fun activities to get you moving or to keep the kids entertained.

Borrow a bike and ride around Marina Vallarta across the street. Rent tennis rackets and hit a few balls on the hotel’s tennis courts.

Or do nothing at all. Stroll the 14 lush acres, collect shells on the miles long beach and dip into the warm waters of the Pacific. Spend the day reading in a beachfront pergola.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Join the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program before you book to get access to the best rates and other perks and to earn points for future stays.

Kids Club at the Puerto Vallarta Westin
Kids Club at the Westin Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta. Photo credit: Bethany Kandel

Westin Family Kids Club

When your kids need a break from the heat and sun – and their parents — the Westin Family Club offers air conditioning and a spot to cool off. (Use the kids club or in-room babysitting to get some personal time for the spa or to eat a quiet adults-only meal.)

There’s an outdoor playground, as well as beanbag chairs to chill with a book. There are lots of games and toys to keep kids occupied, classes in origami, painting and story time. You never know when the hotel will bring out a pinata.

But the best thing about the club is that two hours a day are included in the $20 daily resort fee, which also covers the wifi. (Internet access was strong throughout the resort.)

Outdoor dining at the Puerto Vallarta Westin
Outdoor dining at Arrecifes Seafood & Steakhouse, with steak, seafood and scenery. Photo credit: Bethany Kandel

Should You Go All Inclusive?

Standard room rates include a breakfast buffet daily. But if you like to know exactly how much the vacation will cost before you step on the plane, you can choose to add one of these meal plans:

  • Getaway Deal is the all-inclusive option. It covers three meals a day, plus snacks, drinks and meal gratuities.
  • Half Board includes breakfast and dinner, plus wine and soft drinks.

Choose what’s easiest for your family and how many meals you think you will eat during your stay. If you like to venture off property, there are lots of nearby restaurants to try, so the meal plan might not be the right choice.

Heavenly Spa by Westin at the Puerto Vallarta Westin
Relax at the Heavenly Spa by Westin. Photo credit: Bethany Kandel

Wellness in Paradise

Relaxation and wellness are key at the Westin and it’s a great place to work on your physical and mental health in paradise.

Hit the fitness center with state-of-the-art exercise equipment, cardio machines, free weights and a large workout space for stretching or classes. Or get a custom running map designed by New Balance and explore the neighborhood. (Westin will rent you workout gear if you forget to pack yours.)

The Heavenly Spa by Westin offers a wide range of wellness packages to restore your body and soul. I got a totally relaxing Feel Well deep tissue massage aimed at reducing stress. The spa also offers Sleep Well, Move Well, hot stone massages and reflexology. The Sweet Wait massage is aimed at moms-to-be in the first trimester of pregnancy.

You can even go true tropical and get a relaxing massage on the beach. Then indulge in the spa’s sauna, steam rooms and whirlpools for complete rejuvenation.

Lobster dinner at the Puerto Vallarta Westin
Lobster and Risotto dish at the Arrecifes Seafood & Steakhouse. Photo credit: Bethany Kandel

Dining

The Westin has two main on site restaurants, plus several bars that serve light fare. If you’re staying more than four nights, you may only want to do the standard plan that includes breakfast and go elsewhere for dinner.

But the food is great and there are certainly enough options to try something different every night at the on-site spots.

I had an amazing lobster and risotto dish at the open-air beachside Arrecifes Seafood & Steakhouse, which serves daily fresh-caught seafood, steak and scenery. (I was expecting a few pieces of lobster on rice, but in fact, I got three whole lobster tails and mouth-watering risotto and veggies!) Most nights you’ll also get serenaded by a Mariachi Band.

El Palmar Restaurant is the main restaurant for substantial breakfast and dinner buffets, plus a la carte dining. Be sure to try some of the local Mexican delicacies.

La Cascada is a bar that serves light fare and sunsets. Or ask about setting up a private picnic on the beach at sunset. We did and it was lovely, with huge pillows to sit on, scrumptious wraps and charcuterie platters and macarons for dessert. And the view was unparalleled.

Or go full indulgence and order in — 24 hour room service is available.

Healthy breakfast at the Puerto Vallarta Westin
Healthy green breakfast with avocado toast, apple, and green juice. Photo credit: Bethany Kandel

Eating Healthy at the Westin Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta

You’ll eat healthy with the “Eat Well” menus at the Westin’s restaurants. Start the day with a “green” breakfast: macha pancakes, avocado toast, green juice and kiwi.

Even the kids will find healthy meals on their own “Eat Well” menu. The hotel has teamed up with experts at Superchefs – doctors, dentists, chefs and dieticians — to create a menu that is both delicious and nutritious. Options like whole wheat apple-raisin French toast, spinach and cheese omelets, chicken cobb salads, fruit kabobs and yogurt smoothies are offered in place of the usual chicken fingers and fries.

open air market at the Marina Vallarta near the Puerto Vallarta Westin.
Enjoy shopping, music and more at the open-air market at the Marina Vallarta on Thursday nights. Photo credit: Bethany Kandel

Things to Do Near the Puerto Vallarta Westin

Enjoy staying in the resort bubble, or if you’re there for a few days, venture into Old Town Puerto Vallarta for a meal or souvenir shopping along the Malecon boardwalk (only a $5-7 Uber ride away).

If you’re staying at the Westin on a Thursday night, head across the street from the hotel to the Marina Vallarta. There you’ll find a lively open-air market filled with local Mexican foods, sweets, crafts and music. Make a dinner of it. There’s great shopping and you’ll get to meet some of the local artists themselves. There also are nearby championship golf courses.

The concierge can set up all sorts of local activities and adventures, including boat rides (there’s a pirate ship experience aimed at kids and families), swimming with dolphins, food tours, ziplining in the mountains and riding ATVs over El Jorullo, the world’s longest suspension bridge for vehicles.

Puerto Vallarta Westin sunset picnic on the beach.
Enjoy a beautiful sunset picnic on the beach. Photo credit: Bethany Kandel

Covid Safety Measures

When I visited earlier this year, there were no testing requirements to enter Mexico. But we did need a rapid test to get back into the US. The hotel has a convenient on-site testing facility right in the lobby with results done in minutes. Rooms come with two free Covid-19 tests on stays of 3 or more nights.

Check for the latest government/airline requirements so you know when to schedule your appointment before you fly home.

The hotel staff wears masks everywhere. Most guests only wore masks in indoor public areas and there was little social distancing. No masks were seen outdoors or by the Jacuzzi or pool areas. The hotel is very clean and I saw staff sanitizing the elevators, public spaces, lounge chairs, etc. frequently.

Check the hotel’s most recent Covid updates and protocols here.

The Puerto Vallarta Westin is located at Paseo de la Marina Sur #205, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico.

This post was written by Bethany Kandel.