Beach Food & Drink Health & Wellness

SmarterTravel Spotlight: Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit

Travelers love the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, and for good reason. This popular all-inclusive resort in Mexico’s up-and-coming Riviera Nayarit region has won countless awards from TripAdvisor (SmarterTravel’s parent company), including the most popular all-inclusive in Mexico and one of the most popular all-inclusive resorts in the world.

The Location

infinity pool leading to ocean.

[st_content_ad]This Grand Velas is located in Nuevo Vallarta, and the property hugs Banderas Bay. It’s about a 15- to 20-minute drive from the Puerto Vallarta airport, which is accessible via many North American hubs. Nuevo Vallarta is a popular resort area with family-friendly activities and a beautiful coastline; there are plenty of nearby day excursions that the resort will organize, so you can explore the rest of the region and the ocean.

The 267-room all-inclusive resort has a massive infinity pool, an adults-only pool, and beach cabanas and chairs. It also has epic views of one of the most amazing sunsets you can get on the coastline.

[st_related]Why Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit Is the New Cancun[/st_related]

The Rooms

Depending on your budget and the number of people in your party, you can take your pick from a suite style that fits your needs. One-, two-, and three-bedroom suites are available as well as specialty suites for families and even a spa suite. I stayed in the spacious, two-floor wellness suite (pictured), which included a private Jacuzzi, exercise bike, one personal trainer session, custom diffusers, and daily juices.

Each suite comes with Grand Velas’ “Beyond All-Inclusive, Beyond Compare” features, like a fully stocked minibar with local specialties like agave beer and aloe water. All meals and drinks are included as well as pool, beach, and room service, access to the fitness center, exercise programs, live music, tips, taxes, and more.


You’ll find four gourmet restaurants on site: Piaf (French gourmet), Frida (Mexican), Lucca (Italian/Mediterranean), and Sen Lin (Asian fusion). These can all be booked on Open Table, and priority is given to guests.

There are also plenty of options for beach and poolside dining at the swim-up pool bar, buffet stations, and outdoor restaurants, plus beach service at the chairs and cabanas.

The Spa

One of my favorite features at Grand Velas was the exceptional spa area and service offerings. Before each treatment, you have the option to be guided through hydrotherapy stations. Choose from traditional spa offerings like facials and massages, or add on a specialty treatment like mole or tequila. I had a mole treatment done where you help mix the chocolate-based exfoliator beforehand and then relax throughout the body wrap and massage treatment. 

Extras and All-Inclusive Features

What really sets the Grand Velas apart is its attention to detail and service. For example, instead of waiting in a line for check-in, you are greeted in the lobby with a cold towel, refreshment, and a head, shoulder, and neck massage.

If you’re staying in one of the wellness suites, you even have your own concierge to specify room details and arrange workouts for you. For all guests, there is a state-of-the-art gym for use as well as group fitness classes like aerial yoga.

The property also has a kids’ and teens’ club, making it a great resort for families. The resort app makes it easy to plan out daily activities and see what’s going on at the resort that day. The concierge can help you plan and book off-resort activities in the area. The property also hosts events, weddings, and conferences.

The Grand Velas has a bilingual staff and has won countless awards, including AAA’s Five Diamond ranking.

Price and How to Book: Nightly rates start around $500 (all-inclusive) and can be booked on TripAdvisor or Grand Velas’ website.

[js_hotel_rates_cta hotel=”taid:283703″ /]

More from SmarterTravel:

Ashley Rossi stayed as a guest of Riviera Nayarit. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram for travel tips, destination ideas, and off the beaten path spots.

By Ashley Rossi

Ashley Rossi is always ready for her next trip. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram for travel tips, destination ideas, and off the beaten path spots.

After interning at SmarterTravel, Ashley joined the team full time in 2015. She's lived on three continents, but still never knows where her next adventure will take her. She's always searching for upcoming destination hotspots, secluded retreats, and hidden gems to share with the world.

Ashley's stories have been featured online on USA Today, Business Insider, TripAdvisor, Huffington Post, Jetsetter, and Yahoo! Travel, as well as other publications.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "A reusable filtered water bottle—it saves you money, keeps you hydrated, and eliminates waste—win-win."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "A week in a bamboo beach hut on India's Andaman Islands."

Travel Motto: "Travel light, often, and in good company."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Window—best view in the house."

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