A couple of blocks farther south, the Hotel Plaza Pelícanos (Jose Clemente Orozco 125, tel. 322/224-1010, toll-free Mex. tel. 01-800/713-2152, fax 322/224-3618, www.plazapelicanos.com.mx), a Mexican-owned hotel, caters mostly to North American clientele during the winter, and Mexican tourists during national holidays, before Easter week, and in August. The Hotel Plaza Pelícanos is divided perfunctorily into sections I and II. Although tariffs are the same in both, the preferred section is II (the graceful former Hotel Plaza las Glorias), where a blue swimming pool meanders beneath a manicured patio/grove of rustling palms. Behind the Spanish-style stucco, brick, and tile facade, the luxurious rooms overlook the patio and ocean from small view balconies, and are tile-floored, with decor in dark wood, white stucco, and blue and pastels. All 237 rooms rent, all-inclusive only, for about $145 s, $130 d per person low season, and $170 s and $155 d high, with air-conditioning, cable TV, two pools, bars, beachfront jogging track, restaurants, and parking.
Next door to the south, find the Hotel Canto del Sol (Jose Clemente Orozco 125, tel. 322/226-0123, ext. 4142, 4143, or 4144, fax 322/224-4437 or 322/224-5236, www.cantodelsol.com). During the high winter season, Hotel Canto del Sol (formerly Hotel Continental Plaza) bustles all day with tennis in the eight-court John Newcombe Tennis Club next door; aerobics, water polo, and volleyball in the big central pool; and parasailing, jetboating, and sailboarding from the golden Playa las Glorias. The luxurious but smallish rooms ($100 s or d low season, $130 s or d high), decorated in soothing pastels, open to balconies overlooking the broad palm-decorated patio. All-inclusive packages ($110 per person low season, $130 high, kids 5–12 stay for $30 low season, $35 high, ages 13–17 for $35 low, $65 high) cover all in-house food, drinks, and entertainment. Third night is often gratis, especially during low May–June and September–October low seasons. Amenities include air-conditioning, shows, water aerobics, tennis, kid’s club, restaurants, bars, sauna, hot tub, exercise room, wheelchair access, and parking.
For another bountiful option, return a mile north to the Hotel NH Krystal (Av. de las Garzas s/n, tel. 322/224-0202, toll-free Mex. tel. 01-800/903-3300, U.S. tel. 888/726-0528, Can. tel. 866/299-7096, fax 322/226-0738, www.nh-hoteles.com). Stay here and you get more than a mere hotel: This palmy, roomy low-rise resort-village (one of the few Puerto Vallarta luxury resorts designed by and for Mexicans) is exactly what a Mexican Walt Disney would have built. Don’t be put off by the rather gloomy lobby (the new European owners are trying to save electricity), just feast your eyes on the amenities spread over its 34 beachside acres: a flock of deluxe garden bungalows that open onto private pool patios, a Porfirian bandstand that stands proudly at the center, while nearby a colonial-style aqueduct gushes water into a pool at the edge of a serene, spacious palm-shaded park. Guests who prefer a livelier environment can have it. Dancing, in season, goes on in the lobby or beside the huge meandering beachside pool, where the music is anything but serene. The NH Krystal’s 460 deluxe rooms and suites ($87 d low season, $140 d high, two kids under 12 free) include air-conditioning, phones, cable TV, 44 pools (no joke), multiple restaurants, and all sports.
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Puerto Vallarta, 7th edition