Old Dec 31, 17, 3:31 pm
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Chicago, IL
Programs: UA GS MM, DL Plat, Mariott LT Plat/Ambassador, Hyatt Globalist, National Executive
Posts: 740
Here is the full review I wrote for TripAdvisor:
Horrible hotelA change in travel plans had me looking for a getaway for a few days. I found a Plunge Pool Suite at the Hyatt Ziva in Puerto Vallarta available and quickly booked it for a few nights. Reviews seemed good and I had previously enjoyed two stays at the Hyatt Zilara in Cancun.

Prior to arriving at the hotel, I emailed the concierge to arrange transportation. She told me that she could not help and that I could book a taxi. This should have been a red flag but I thought I'd let it pass as maybe the hotel was busy and/or pre-arranged transport was booked.

Our flight was delayed and we arrived at the hotel a little after midnight. You go through a gate where they check your name both in and out of the resort. Why they do? I don't know. No one was ready when we got to the hotel. It seemed like we were interrupting the nap of "night manager," Ruben Garcia, and the other check in agent (who was not wearing a uniform but instead an Old Navy sweatshirt). Nothing makes you want to hand your credit card and passport over to a stranger than them wearing a hoodie.

Nothing seemed out of the ordinary about check in until I noticed a paper next to the agent with my name and "Club Ocean Front Hot Tub King." He was copying my passport and pre-authorizing my card for the same rate as the suite I had booked and was not planning on telling me about the downgrade. I caught on and he looked like a deer in headlights.

Ruben, the manager, then approached in an aggressive manner and told me to either take the room or get out of the hotel. I told him that I was a Globalist and wanted the room that I booked. He then went on to tell me that 1. Globalist status means nothing at the hotel 2. Hyatt is a problem and they overbook the hotel 3. Hyatt and its "alliance" (I think he meant World of Hyatt but it was lost in translation) are trouble and that he wished it was not part of what he had to deal with.

I was not asking for an upgrade. I was not asking for anything out of the ordinary. The hotel is undergoing major construction projects (more on that later) and some of the rooms/suites seem unavailable even though they are bookable.

I told Ruben that this was unacceptable. He shrugged and walked away (I guess he wanted to get back to his nap). We did not have any benefits explained, we did not get anything that I have seen described in other reviews. No welcome. And, basically they tried to pull a fast one and charge me a suite rate for a run-down room.

Club Ocean Front Hot Tub King

The room was dated and had several cosmetic defects (chipped paint, scuffed furniture, etc.). It has a hot tub (picture in this review) on the balcony but you have to fill it yourself and it looked so dirty that I would never get in it. Brown water flowed from the faucet on multiple occasions and every time we showered, water flowed through the wall into a separate room with a toilet.

Club Tower

This tower is being renovated. You will hear hammers, saws, and more all day long. You can't hear the ocean over the blaring noise of construction. I attached several photos of the way the hotel is maintained during this time. There is no mention on the site and it is a constant annoyance. The elevators are also dangerous. One was broken the entire time we were there and the second broke in front of us. We were moving to our suite (finally) and the elevator opened. It did not align with the floor (it was about a foot off the ground). A maintenance man was in the elevator with a service cart. He did not realize that the elevator was not on the floor and he fell out of it. His cart slammed to the ground and tools, screws, nails, and more spilled all over the floor. At that point, both elevators were broken so we had to carry our luggage down the stairs from the 20th floor.

Can we get what we booked?

The next morning I went to the front desk to try to talk to a real manager. I met Alejandro. After standing at the desk for 30 minutes while he was in a meeting, he finally appeared. He tried really hard to apologize but there was no recovery. The treatment at check in was so abusive that I would have left if other hotels had had availability. He told me that he would comp the first night's room and that if I waited until 5 pm that he could amazingly get me into the suite I booked. I agreed and checked out the rest of the facilities.

The Beach

The beach is great and felt pretty empty even though the hotel was booked to capacity. There are plenty of chairs and you can see some cool wildlife. The only downside is that the hotel allows random men to walk the beach selling blankets, bracelets, and primarily drugs. We were asked repeatedly all day long if we wanted to buy ecstasy or cocaine. This happened on a rotating basis about once every fifteen minutes. There are lots of families on the beach and it should not be a place to openly buy drugs.

The Spa

We did not get to use the spa because there were no appointments available during our stay.

VivaZ Buffet

The buffet is tired with poor quality food. It is always crowded and the staff seems overwhelmed. It takes a long time to get anything made to order (crepes, waffles, etc.) and when you do get them, everything is of the cheapest quality imaginable. It's as if the food service company for a prison caters here.


Blaze is an a la carte Mexican and seafood restaurant on the beach. It's meh. If you have been to Chili's than you have had a better meal than what you will find here. As you enter the restaurant, you're greeted by a dead Christmas tree. This is both a fire hazard and an eye sore. Way to make the season bright.


This restaurant says that it's Asian but that is an insult to every Asian restaurant in the world. The Pad Thai is noodles doused in catsup with some peanuts thrown on top, the fried rice has zero flavor and looks like some soy sauce was just stirred into a bowl of rice, and the Korean Short Ribs are all fat and bone with a little sauce slopped on top. If you're not nauseous yet, try the Filipino Flan. It's almost rancid. I took a bite and spit it out.

Food Carts

The hotel touts its food carts. We did not see any. What we saw was a guy making guacamole on the counter next to the beach towels. It looked completely unsanitary but the ravenous guests quickly gobbled it down. The empty bowl and half bag of Tostitos (so authentic, Ziva) sat on the counter for hours after to attract bugs.


Unlike at other all-inclusive resorts, the Ziva uses the worst quality swill. You'll find great wine choice like red, white, or sparkling. No one on staff knows what they are and there is no variety. You'll see some call liquor bottles but it does not seem they're pouring it.

Plunge Pool Suite

At 4:30 pm, we received a call that the suite was ready. It's a gorgeous space with plenty of room and a nice pool and deck. If you want to make this "resort" at all palatable, I suggest booking this room and not leaving it...at all...ever.


The Ziva might be nice once they renovate the hotel, fire the current management, fix the food, and kick the drug dealers off the beach but I don't see any of that happening.

I wish that we had never went to this "resort" as it was a disappointment from the moment we arrived to the moment we joyfully got in the taxi to depart.
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