Here’s what to know about Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit in Puerto Vallarta

A standout culinary program levels up the offerings at the luxury all-inclusive resort Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit.
View of Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit at sunset from a balcony
(Photo: Nina Cohen)

Grand Velas is a 100% Mexican-owned resort collection is known as one of the best in Mexico, and the all-inclusive Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit demonstrates all of the reasons why that reputation and across-the-board high ratings are well deserved.

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My experience at Grand Velas was not only a relaxing getaway to someplace beautiful, but also a full immersion in what feels like what is becoming a rare art of hospitality and service. With Four Diamond restaurants; a two-story, indoor-outdoor children’s club; warm, kind, and generous staff at every turn; and a spa experience I’ve never had elsewhere, Grand Velas really is a standout Riviera Nayarit option. 

Things to know about Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit 

person looking out at the view from a balcony at the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit
Rooms have outdoor areas for soaking up the scenery at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit (Photo: Nina Cohen)
  • Located in northern part of Puerto Vallarta (known as Nueva Vallarta), Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit’s large U-shaped building curves around extensive pool, garden, and outdoor dining areas. Perched above the beach, guests can choose to stay close or venture along the active beachfront.
  • The resort has 267 suites, including 10 different kinds of family suites, which offer myriad accommodation possibilities including 2 bedroom/2 bathroom options and the possibility of adjoining suites.
  • Before my visit, I chatted with a few people who had stayed at the resort before and who mentioned the delicious food as a reason they loved this Grand Velas the most. Honestly, I felt a bit dubious because my experience has been that most all-inclusive resorts are known for food that is somewhere between fine and good. But Grand Velas disproved this belief in a major way. The food isn’t good, or even excellent—it is downright outstanding. I kept waiting for one to be just decent or really good, but nope—they were all exceptional.
  • The Se Spa is an on-property refuge that will sweep you off to a level of relaxation you can’t even really anticipate. Its beautifully designed interior is set up for maximum privacy during treatment offerings while offering everything you need to relax before and afterwards; see note below about the must-do Water Journey.
  • Kids of all ages will not tire of opportunities of their own because Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit offers both Kids and Teen Clubs. Availability for child care at the Kids’ Club stretches from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and the Teen Club from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.

What families need to know

Families with infants can enlist a baby concierge who will make sure bottle warmers and strollers are at the ready for your room. Every suite comes with a sitting area and balcony or terrace, and as you move up to the hotel’s higher levels and out towards the oceanfront, the terraces become more spacious. If you are traveling in a large group or as a multigenerational family, multiple bedroom suites are available with full living rooms and multiple terraces. 

While sitting by the pool may be just the right speed for your family, there’s also plenty to do. We were positively tickled by the regular pool volleyball games organized by the energetic and kind staff. They seemed to be truly enjoying themselves, and worked to have guests not only laugh and play but connect as well.

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Included in your stay beyond the Kids and Teen Club (and their programming) are also boogie boards and kayaks and 30 different onsite activities including bike tours, yoga, a state of the art gym and classes, pickleball, tennis, basketball, and beach volleyball. There are also many opportunities for off-property adventures such as Islas Marietas and a trip to downtown Puerta Vallarta, known for its vibrant arts scene, shops and restaurants.

Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit reviews

tacos on a tray with the beach in the background at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit
(Photo: Nina Cohen)

Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit earns a rating of 9.4 out of 10 on Kayak, 5 out of 5 on TripAdvisor, 9.6 out of 10 on, and 9.4 out of 10 on Reviewers praise the impeccably maintained property, its outstanding food, and the attentive, friendly, and engaged staff.

Important details about Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit 


Located close to the waters of Banderas Bay in the community of Nuevo Vallarta, Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit is just fifteen minutes from the Puerto Vallarta airport and 25 minutes from downtown Puerto Vallarta. I’d recommend booking your transportation to the hotel ahead of time with the concierge to avoid the challenges (and potential swindle) of navigating a small airport that has a lot of through traffic

The property

sunset over the pool and Banderas Bay at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit
(Photo: Nina Cohen)

A magnificent, open-air lobby welcomes you to this spacious, yet somehow cozy, resort. Immaculate gardens and an expansive infinity pool are the resort’s centerpieces, and there’s also tennis and pickleball courts; Kid and Teen Clubs; and a half-dozen restaurants and bars, all of which feels close and walkable. The resort sits perched above the Pacific Ocean on a lovely piece of beach lined with loungers and sun shades as well as towel and food and beverage service. 


This all-suites all-inclusive resort is shaped such that every room is either a garden/pool view (lower floors and more centrally located) or ocean view. All rooms have terraces, and your outside space is as valuable as the comfort of the indoors. My terrace had two comfortable couches and a dining area, and was shaded enough to enjoy all day long.

With a fully stocked minibar (including snacks), a bottle of red and white wine, artisanal mezcal bottle, beach tote, and 24-hour food and concierge service, every room has comforts to have you settle right in. Each room also has at least one sitting area, and the larger family suites have complete living and dining rooms. When you book, you can ask about adjoining suites and amenities you might need if you’re traveling with babies or young children. 


The Kids’ Club area is open and welcoming and offers something for all of the little ones with art, tech, play, creative, and outdoor spaces. Connected and energetic attendants “get right in it” with your children, playing alongside them.

Similarly, the teen room felt like a dream come true for teens—with a view over the patio and tons of tech and non-tech games plus events most evenings, teens will find their own refuge at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit.

For couples or kids of all ages, day trips from the resort (for an extra fee) or included, on-property sports, activities, and classes are available year round. Check with the property for special events such as the Fall Mixology Festival, June Wellness Getaway, and holiday festivities at Christmastime.


overhead view of tacos and cocktail at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit
(Photo: Nina Cohen)

With 24-hour room service, you might be tempted to dine in your spacious suite, but resist the urge and treat yourself to as many restaurants as you can during your stay.

All of the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit restaurants offer extensive options, including vegan and gluten free and kids’ menus (though Piaf, the French restaurant, is only for 12 years and up); wait staff are highly attuned to allergies and needs; and each of our greetings included an inquiry about not only allergies but aversions as well. It almost felt like each dish was being made to my tastes.

I cannot recommend any of the main restaurants more than the other – Sen Len, Lucca, Frida – all delicious. The fish in particular—tuna tartare and miso salmon at Sen Lin; scallops at Piaf; coconut fried shrimp with pineapple salsa followed by tuna tacos—is outstanding, and is never overdone. 


The Water Journey at the Se Spa should not be missed; I highly recommend this guided experience through sauna, steam, shower, jet tub, hot and cold plunge, and water pressure foot treatment . Though alone this experience stands out (pro tip: try to book early in the day when the spa is still quiet), pairing the water journey with a massage offers a level of relaxation that at least in my life, is rare and special.

And a final thought

Though all-inclusive travel had never really been an interest of mine, Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit changed all of that. It really is and should be the standard bearer for all-inclusive travel in that there was no element of my experience that felt like a “bulk cost saver”. Even the breakfast buffet was outstanding, with a half-dozen stations for customization and table service to complement the buffet. I can’t wait to go back.

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Nina Cohen
Nina Cohen is a teacher, parent, traveler, and writer. She’s lived around the world and is an expert on travel to France, Hawaii, and the Boston-DC corridor.