Puerto Vallarta Trip Report:
Now Amber Puerto Vallarta Resort Review Part 1: Arrival, Rooms and Food
My family recently returned from a trip to Puerto Vallarta.This is a photo review of our all-inclusive resort, Now Amber FYI–some readers have requested more in-depth trip reports, so I will be diving into details for this resort review.
Arrival at Now Amber
Immigration and customs at the Puerto Vallarta airport was a breeze. We were making record time and were all set to board the private van I booked through the Now Amber resort to zip us there so that our vacation could begin.
We exited customs and found ourselves in a crowded room with a bunch of airport officials in badges. One of them asked which company I booked for my ride, and I told him. He pointed me over towards a lady behind a counter with a badge. We walked over there and she asked me for my name and confirmation number.
She said she was calling the van, it would arrive in 15 minutes, and during that time she would help familiarize us with Puerto Vallarta. She pulled out a map, started showing us where things were, etc. Wow, so friendly!
But as she dragged on and on, and my kids started getting restless, I started to get suspicious. Wait a minute! She was trying to drag us into a time share presentation! Aaah, how could we have fallen for this?!?!
We tried to make a graceful exit, and we went around the corner to go outside. Our van driver was waiting there with my name on a card. He asked us, “Did you get caught up with the time shares?” Yes! So if you are arriving at the Puerto Vallarta airport, keep going until you are outside and don’t stop. It’s very tricky!
The ride to the Now Amber resort was about 15 minutes, and we arrived around 2:30 p.m. The hotel has a pretty water feature trickling down the wall of the car port. We were greeted with cold, wet towels and glasses of champagne.
The Now Amber is connected to the Secrets resort in Puerto Vallarta. Both hotels are part of the same brand, AMResorts, but the Secrets side is adults only. The hotels are mirror images of each other.
The open-air lobby is stunning. We loved the view at all times of the day, and especially at sunset!
I was relieved to learn that we were assigned connecting rooms. I was worried that we wouldn’t be, since the hotel couldn’t guarantee it until we arrived.
Unfortunately, we had to fight off another timeshare presentation at the hotel! After we got our room keys, we were ushered to a desk for a hotel “orientation”. It was helpful to a point, until we got pressured to attend the hotel’s timeshare presentation the next day.
We were tired and just wanted to get to our room at that point! I was prepared for this based on other reviews I had read, and it wasn’t too hard to say no.
Our Rooms at Now Amber
We were assigned to rooms 1765 and 1766 on the 7th floor. First, let me back up and say that every single room in the hotel has an ocean view. The hotel is in a u-shape and there are no rooms that face the street.
The kids had a room with two double beds and a chaise lounge.
My daughter immediately said she wanted to sleep on the chaise lounge, and could not be persuaded otherwise. Fine by me! That would mean that each of our boys would get their own bed and there would be less fighting. We ordered another set of sheets and blanket, and made up the chaise lounge into her bed.
Each of our rooms had a bathroom separated by sliding wooden doors. It had two sinks, a large shower, a jetted bath tub and a private toilet.
Our room was identical except it had a king-sized bed instead of two double beds. All of our beds were very comfortable, and they reminded me of Hyatt beds.
Each room had a small refrigerator stocked with beer, sodas, bottled water and juice. The drinks were included and restocked daily. We don’t keep soda at our house, but with it so readily available in our rooms we drank a lot of soda during our stay!
We had a view of the kids pools and the main activity pool from our balconies.
Each night, we also had great sunset views!
The walkway to our rooms was open-air that overlooked the kids’ club and theater.
Food Options at Now Amber
Since this was our first time at an all-inclusive resort, I wasn’t really sure what to expect of the food variety and quality. We had many food and restaurant options that were included in our rate. I’m afraid to weigh myself to find out how much weight I gained on this trip.
We ate breakfast and lunch with our kids, and we opted to have them eat at the kids club each night so that we could enjoy a dinner by ourselves. Woohoo, date night!
Coco Café: This is a coffee shop with snacks that is open 24 hours a day, located near the lobby. We went here for a snack on our first day. The chocolate cake was great! There were always cakes and cookies out, and sandwiches made to order. It has indoor and outdoor seating.
Carnival International Café: This is the buffet that is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It also has both indoor and outdoor seating.
On our first night at the hotel, there was a Mexican buffet with a mariachi band.
I had chicken mole, a taquito, a tostada and a homemade tortilla. It was a pretty good meal!
Oh, the desserts!
At every meal, there was a Kidz Korner. Even at breakfast, there were candy and cupcakes. There were also other choices that most kids like.
My favorite meal of the day at the Carnival Café was breakfast. Each morning, there were fresh-squeezed juices. My favorite was the watermelon juice.
My son chose to load up on bacon and candy for breakfast. Why not?! He’s on vacation!
This pig was out for lunch one day. A little creepy for my taste.
The following restaurants are “a la carte” (i.e. not a buffet):
Himitsu Asian Cuisine: On our second night, my husband and I made a reservation for the hibachi table at Himitsu. This is the only restaurant where you need a reservation on the Now Amber side, and the only restaurant where kids were not allowed. The food was similar to Benihanas.
We had the best tempura fried ice cream here:
The restaurant also had a patio area where kids were allowed.
Castaways: This is a casual seafood restaurant close to the water that is open for lunch and dinner. We ate lunch here twice and loved it! I tried the fish turnovers, the smoked marlin tostadas, the coconut shrimp and the marlin burrito. All great!
Bordeaux: This is a French restaurant on the Secrets side that we tried one night. It was one of our top two restaurants.
Capers: Capers is the Italian restaurant. While the food was decent, this was our least favorite restaurant. The food wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t as flavorful as the other restaurants.
Tamarindo: We tried this Mexican a la carte restaurant on our last night. We wished we would have had the chance to eat there a second time.
My husband ordered this taco plate for an appetizer. It had chorizo, steak, chicken, cheese, fresh tortillas…yum!
Barefoot Grill: This is a self-serve grill near the kids pool. It was open from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. and had burgers, pizza, hot dogs, etc. The kids ate lunch there once or twice. The food did not look appealing to me, so I never tried it. It’s in the background of this photo on the left:
Room Service: Room service was included. We only ordered this twice. On the morning we went to Las Caletas, we ordered some cereal for the kids. One evening, my oldest ordered a sandwich and quesadillas. The menu is fairly limited, but it’s nice to have room service as an option.
Overall, we have no complaints about the food at Now Amber and I think the food quality was on par with our Disney cruises. There were a lot of choices, and we never went hungry.
Dress code: Carnival Café and Castaways had casual dress code, but a swimsuit cover-up was required. The other a la carte restaurants (Bordeaux, Capers, Himitsu, Tamarindo) had a fancier dress code that required long pants and a nicer shirt for men with no shorts allowed.
Service: The service we received from all restaurants was excellent! The servers at the buffet were quick with our drink orders, drink refills and cleaning our plates. The servers were very attentive at the a la carte restaurants, and we didn’t have to wait too long for our food.
Part 2 of the hotel review will focus on the pools, kids club and entertainment.
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.