It’s Spring break and once again, my family set out for Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and our favorite resort, The Crown Paradise Golden. This time around, we stayed for two weeks and our experience was different in comparison to the prior years. Some of the changes were good, and some were not.
We arrived at the resort on a beautiful sunny day and we were able to check in immediately. This year we went through RCI, which we have in the past as well. Previously we were put in a larger room than other vacationers receive, but it was also more rundown. This year, we were in for a surprise.
Martin, the Crown Paradise Club Host, said he had a special room for us. We were led through winding halls until we reached an elevator. We promptly boarded and rode to the sixth floor and then walked up another flight of stairs (because the elevator we could have ridden to our floor had not worked in a few months). He then opened the door to a suite I had no clue existed.
Inside were two rooms, one with a king-size bed, another with two full-size. Two bathrooms, a sitting room with a television, couch, leather chairs, kitchen table, microwave, and full-size fridge. Out on the patio were three chaise loungers, a table with chairs, and a pool! We had our own pool! It was small, but still, it was ours for two weeks. My mind was blown. At first, I thought it was a mistake, but then I realized that this must be an upgrade they give to their RCI members.
My family greatly enjoyed the room we stayed in. We spent a lot of time around our small pool relaxing in our chaise loungers and dipping into the pool as the day heated up. We also spent a good amount of time playing games, such as Cribbage, Farkle, and Sevens, at our outdoor and indoor tables. The rooms were quite comfortable and the only two complaints I have about the rooms are that our pool was losing water and needed to have water added twice during our stay and that the water in the showers was quite touchy and had a tendency to be too hot if you didn’t turn them on in the right sequence.
Outside of our room was where the issues became most prominent. This being our third visit to the resort over a five-year timeframe, it has become apparent that the owners are not maintaining the grounds and structures like they should be. The main pool on the Crown Paradise Golden side has broken grates around it, which I believe were broken during our first visit five years prior. The pool was very cloudy, and the hot tubs were worse. I didn’t set foot in the hot tubs this year because of how nasty they looked. There are tiles in the pool that need patching or replacing. The bridge that goes from the front of the bar across the front of the hot tub looks disgusting. It’s rusted and nasty and it’s a hazard. I see people slip on that thing every single year. They should take it out.
When you look at the photos on the website, the balconies all look perfect, but in reality, the paint is flaking off, and in large chunks in some places. Even the Sky Bar 7 pool deck doesn’t look as nice as it does in the photos, and it’s only a couple of years old.
I have always enjoyed the food at Crown Paradise Golden, but this year was different. The food at the restaurants was great, though they are short-staffed in some areas. The Mediterranean restaurant took up the most time (over two hours) because there were not enough staff to serve the patrons.
Outside of the restaurants, the buffet left something to be desired. The food was freshest in the morning at breakfast, but even then, several items were cold when they should have been hot. The poolside café served a seafood cocktail one day each week for a timeframe of two hours and it did not appear to be kept cold. I became quite ill twenty-four hours after consuming it. On that same note, in past years, no one in our group experienced gut issues. This year I experienced them twice, as did both of my parents. I came home with a parasite (I’m not saying it came from the resort, but considering the other issues, you do the math).
Another situation we ran into was a pungent smell on the first floor near the rooms by the tennis court. We met a couple who said they were in those rooms and had to leave the patio door open at night because the smell was so strong. I can only describe it as the sweet stench of a dead animal. It smelled that way for a week. I feel sad for the people who got stuck in those rooms. I couldn’t handle the stench as I walked by each day to go to breakfast.
Outside of the above items, there are several other areas where the grounds could use further maintenance. They could clean the chairs in the buffet so that there weren’t bird droppings on them. One morning we asked a server to clean a chair, and he looked at it and walked away. To be fair, he was one of the head guys, but seriously? Who wants to sit on a chair covered in bird poop? We flagged down one of the younger servers, who immediately took care of it.
On an upward note, the resort added some new entertainment. They now have bands come and play poolside for two hours on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The music was splendid. One particular band is called Three Circus. I could have listened to them all night long, as they were that good. They covered AC/DC, ZZ Top, and many other rock bands. The band also plays up the street at Monkey Business at frequent intervals.
I was happy that they still have their weekly foam party, but not happy to see that they added balloons to it. While balloon animals are fun, the balloons are going straight into the garbage after the party. It’s an unnecessary hazard to the environment.
If you’re new to the Crown Paradise Golden, and you drink enough, you may not notice the issues I listed above. You may be okay with the chipped paint on the building and the broken pool grates. You may not even notice the stench of a dead animal. That’s okay. If you’re happy, that’s all that matters.
I for one, when I’m paying $1.5k for a vacation, expect things to be in working order. I don’t care if you are an adult-only resort. This girl is going to take a break from the Crown Paradise Golden. Hopefully, with any luck, they’ll get their act together before our next visit.
Crown Paradise Golden Puerto Vallarta | Official Site (hotelcrownparadisegoldenpuertovallarta.com)