After reading many reviews on this, and many other resorts, before choosing Golden Crown Paradise for our stay this past March 7th through the 14th, I thought I would write my own to answer the many questions that I couldn't find answers to as well as include my opinion on things that were already covered on here. First let's begin with location. Location, in my opinion, was very convenient. Right next to the marina made viewing the large cruise ships coming and going very enjoyable. More important though, it is a quick 5 minute walk to any and all excursions that leave via boat. Zip lining, Rhythms of the Night, The Buccaneer Pirate cruise and all beach/island get-a-ways, all leave from this marina and being able to walk to and from saved on cab fare. Walmart, supermarkets and fast food also a quick 10 minute walk from resort. The Malecon (downtown)...less than a 10 minute cab ride ($5.00) from the resort, Romantica Zone (downtown) just a bit further and a $7.00 cab ride. I'll touch on safety, cost, etc. of downtown later. Check in was relatively seamless however guest services staff were neither friendly nor rude, just there, if you know what I mean. Alert...if you have paid for airport transfers to and from the airport, make sure you make your departing pick up arrangements ASAP. We did not and wrongly assumed that there would be someone waiting for us on our day of departure and not only was there not, but no one at the front desk would help us. To the contrary, we were told it was our responsibility to have made the arrangements then rudely brushed off. Next, creature comforts at the resort. Our room was ocean front and for the price difference as opposed to ocean view, we are glad we upgraded. Amazing sunsets and mountain views. Sleeping with the sliding doors open, you could here the surf crashing against the shore like it were right outside your door. Very relaxing for us. Bugs? what bugs? There were none! Our room was on the small side and definitely out dated but clean. Maid service was prompt and kept up our room on a daily basis. Our beds were firm and no soft and plush on any level. I prefer firm so I slept very well. Some might have a hard time, no pun intended. Pillows were half the size of a standard pillow so I just doubled up and I was fine. Sheets were soft and crisp. Air conditioner was old school and a bit noisy but we slept with the sliders open and no air most of the nights anyhow due to the cool nightly temps. Even being, I prefer white noise when I sleep anyhow. Again...just a preference. Shower water pressure was nice but stepping into and out of the shower was a major accident waiting to happen. Seniors or handicap will have great difficulty doing so. Toilet seat was broken off when we checked in but after calling maintenance, was fixed the next day. Pool and beach area..very nice and very easy on the eyes. Definitely in need of some painting and maintenance but only visible if really looking. Infinity pool in the adults only section where we stayed was heated, very large and comfortable and just steps away away from the beach. Plenty of cabanas on the beach but pool cabanas are limited and guests DO place there towels on the chaise lounges VERY early to stake claim. Most mornings I made it down by 7:30/8:00am and most, but not all, were already claimed. Ok...let's get to beach vendors. A nuisance in my opinion, no. Annoyance, yes..a bit. This is simply due to their shear numbers, not so much there aggressiveness. Politely say no and they continue walking. If your eyes are closed, they don't bother you. But again, their numbers are endless and this can be quite annoying to many. Waiter service by the pool and on the beach was spotty. Some days better than others. Staff was definitely limited.
Ok, lets move on to food and beverage. This was my third all-inclusive and definitely my last. Food at the buffets was neither great nor bad, just average. Food in the specialty restaurants was pretty much the same food as on the buffet but dressed up and presented on the plate like a gourmet dish. Flavor wise...far from it. Getting reservations in the specialty restaurants was, at times, a hassle but not impossible. Room service was always prompt but food again, mediocre at best. Alcoholic beverages were most certainly lacking on every level. Having bartended through college for many years, I know my liquor and all liquor ordered was so obviously watered down. Toward the middle of my vacation I began ordering "doubles" and I could still barely taste the liquor in my cocktails. All the juice mixers tasted the same, whether it was cranberry juice, OJ, or pineapple, none were fresh and all tasted like Tang. I must add that my partner and myself each tipped a buck per drink each and every time, and although very polite and gracious to the staff, it didn't seem to affect service or drink quality for the better. The difference in price from an all-inclusive to a non all-inclusive on average is about 500.00 bucks for a 7night/8day package. That is a 1000.00 dollars between two adults which could be spent on drinks and food at any restaurant, bar or eatery one "chooses." This to me, sounds much more alluring for my next vacation. Anyhow moving on...Club Nitro, the onsite nightclub at the resort. A complete joke. It is more for putting on shows, which we did not go to so I cannot comment on. As far as for dancing and hanging out, there is absolutely no atmosphere. There are a slew of nightclubs and martini lounges downtown to hang out at that are a must see. Dollars or Pesos? Don't even ask the staff at the resort because it is obvious they are not allowed to give you a truthful answer. We tried. We continued our investigation downtown and low and behold, the Canadian or American dollar is much more appreciated. Trust me, we asked everywhere and the consensus was the same. Safety and quality of downtown was par none! The Malecon and Romantica zone are must sees. When the sun goes down the city lights up. People everywhere from early 20's right up to 60's and 70's, all taking in the beautiful sights. The locals are extremely friendly, not pushy in any way. The Malecon is a long string of shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs along the ocean, closed to auto traffic now. The romantica zone begins at the end of the Malecon just over a small bridge and was like being in an old European village. Hilly and winding Cobblestone streets lined with shops, cafes, restaurants, martini lounges and bars, block after block, all within the charm and architecture of their original construction. Background...the rising mountains. People everywhere and police in eyesight of every few blocks. Never did we feel uneasy or unsafe. Taxis are also everywhere and very easy to obtain, at any hour. Rates are all standard so you never have to worry about being "taken for a ride." Do, however, establish your rate before hand just in case though. For anyone traveling to Puerto Vallarta, if you miss downtown at night, you have done yourself and huge injustice! Excursions...we did Rhythms of the Night, Marieattas Eco tour, the Buccaneer Pirate Nightime cruise and The Outdoor Adventure Canopy Zip line. All were a blast and well worth it. Only one I would change would have been the Mariettas Eco tour. We heard by many, the Las Caletas tour was much better and more to do.
So there ya go, hoping my review might help in visiting the beautiful city of Puerto Vallarta! I will be back to visit..just won't be staying at Golden Crown Paradise :(
Ocean front well worth the price of the upgrade from ocean view. Sunsets worth the price alone.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC