accommodation options for Puerto Vallarta

For my first couple of visits to Puerto Vallarta, I played it safe and stayed in well known and well rated beach resorts. But I am too adventurous a traveller to stick to the predictable.


Velas Vallarta is a great choice for a beach resort in Puerto Vallarta.

So on my most recent visit to Puerto Vallarta, I wanted to search out alternative forms of accommodations that would reward me with some unique experiences I would long remember.


Puerto Vallarta offers a wide variety of accommodation options. Staying at Villa Azalea gave me a serene place to connect with nature and my inner thoughts.

unique accommodations in Puerto Vallarta

hotels with great art

I spent three nights at the Villa Azalea Inn and Organic Farm, situated just minutes from the Vallarta Botanical Gardens. As I was speaking at and attending the Cacao and Chocolate Festival at the Gardens, staying at a place that is in close proximity made good sense. It also provided me with the opportunity to have a unique experience at a quiet villa that grew its own herbs and produce, and offered lovely grounds to stroll and ponder a more quiet existence.


Villa Azalea has many quiet places to enjoy your own thoughts.

The staff at the Villa Azalea are friendly and helpful and ensured my visit would be just what I wanted. But what really stood out for me about this location was the art! Everywhere you look at Villa Azalea, you’re surrounded with original local art that is stunning, inspiring, and contemplative.



I had the good fortune to stay in the Sunflower Room facing the courtyard, where I was intrigued by the art in my room and in the courtyard. The amazing work of art above is called “Platanos Delfines,” a creation by Jorge Luna Sanchez, with a price tag of $14,500 USD. I was fortunate to have it hanging in my room at Villa Azalea.


The inner courtyard at Villa Azalea offers whimsical art, a small pool, and some comfortable seats you can relax in.

On my final night in Puerto Vallarta, I had a completely different, yet in some ways similar experience, as it was a place where you could enjoy interesting art and quiet solitude if that is what you are seeking. I had the Candelaria Suite at Rivera del Rio, a small boutique hotel located in downtown Puerto Vallarta along the Rio Cuale, a small river that runs through Puerto Vallarta.


Looking for unusual accommodation options in Puerto Vallarta? The Hotel Rivera del Rio is a hidden gem located right in downtown Puerto Vallarta.

From the street, you see nothing. But upon entering, you are transposed into a mystical world where you will find unique art and furnishings.


The lobby/sitting area at Rivera del Rio gives you a good idea of the colours and ambiance of this small boutique hotel.

The piece of art below is probably the most intriguing at Rivera del Rio, but there are many more. I’m coming to realize that properties with great art are the ones that are most memorable to me.


In addition to the interesting rooms and artwork, Rivera del Rio has a rooftop pool where you can lounge and relax and enjoy views of the cityscape. And they offer reliable internet and free calling to Canada and the US. Both great features are included with your room.


The pool is on the top floor of the Rivera del Rio and offers a great view of the surrounding area.

This is a slightly quirky place that may not be for everyone, but every guest I spoke to was thrilled with their choice and the complimentary made-to-order breakfast offered them each morning.

Have you stayed at Villa Azalea or Rivera del Rio? Have you found an off-the-beaten-path getaway in Puerto Vallarta? Do you specifically seek out hotel properties of unique accommodation options with great art? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment thread below, and please share the post if you like what you read. Thanks, and stay tuned for more intriguing coverage on my tour of authentic Mexico.

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I researched and wrote Volume I of Chocolatour that won a Readers' favourite Award in 2014. Always enjoy experiencing new destinations and flavours.

44 Responses

  1. Markus Magnus says:

    I’m not sure what other people think but to me “Platanos Delfines” looks creepy AF.

  2. You’ve listed some amazing options! I have to check some of these out on my next trip!
    Joe Ankenbauer recently posted…Chanko Nabe: A Taste of Sumo TownMy Profile

  3. Rivera del Rio looks stunning, the suite is very Moulin Rogue and I could get lost in those views from the rooftop pool (!) Have you been to Nicaragua? I was researching our route and found a chocolate museum and hotel in Granada, thought of you!
    Gemma Two Scots Abroad recently posted…Mount Pleasant on the Eye – POTF #18My Profile

  4. Jennifer says:

    Amazing photos! Maybe one day when I don’t have small kids we can stay in places like this! Hope you had an amazing time!

  5. Elizabeth says:

    These look lovely. I really like the banana dolphin painting, it seems so obvious one you see the picture but it is really original.
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  6. You’ve totally found a place I would love to stay. I love the unique and unusual–the places where you can get to know the owners and staff. Those experiences have always been the most enriching.
    Rose M Griffith recently posted…I Have a Thing for Door KnockersMy Profile

  7. I have never stayed at a hotel that had nothing but the usual standard mass produced art before.
    This place seems very unique. It is another stop for me to add to my bucket list.
    Thanks for sharing this.

  8. Lux says:

    This is amazing. Like paradise! I wish I can visit someday. 🙂
    Lux recently posted…Post-birthday ReflectionsMy Profile

  9. Phoenicia says:

    What a beautiful country. The blue skies and palm trees are a far cry from the grey skies we have here in the UK. Oh how I miss the sunshine!

    The hotel looks cosy. Much thought has gone into the decor.

    The art piece of the dolphin shaped bananas with the blue hand coming out of the sea is simply amazing. How creative to even think of such an idea and it works!
    Phoenicia recently posted…Are you drowning in paperwork at home?My Profile

    • Hi Phoenicia and welcome back to the blog. It’s been awhile since your last visit.

      Yes, I love thought-provoking artwork such as the Platanos Delfines. It is simply remarkable in every way.

      I hope you get more sunshine where you are. It can certainly bring the spirits down when the weather is bleak. But having art in your environment that lifts the spirits would certainly help!

      All the best for 2016 to you.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…accommodation options for Puerto VallartaMy Profile

  10. Erica says:

    Those hotels both seem fabulous. There is something to be said for staying in a place with character. I especially love the painting Plantanos Defines. There is something just so interesting about that one.
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  11. Lenie says:

    Hi Doreen – what a life you lead in your search for the world’s best chocolate. I like the first hotel but must admit that the room in Rivera del Rio is pretty impressive. Not my style – a bit too much but definitely something to admire.
    I like the rooftop pool – and also the view from there.
    Beautiful photos and interesting reading.
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  12. I’ve never been to Puerto Vallarta. But, it looks wonderful. I love the idea of looking outside the usual accommodations for vacation. I will keep that in mind on our next trip. Thanks for sharing.

  13. I love trying new places and that roof top view from Rivera del Rio is amazing. Thanks for sharing Doreen, always enjoy reading about your travels and seeing your beautiful photos.
    Marquita Herald recently posted…Simple Ways to Give a Gift of Kindness This HolidayMy Profile

  14. Ken Dowell says:

    Looks like a great place to stay. I always enjoy staying somewhere that reflects the character of its location. Too many resorts come out of a cookie cutter. Villa Azalea is clearly not one of the those.

  15. Hi Doreen, I had to chuckle when I read unique experiences that I would long remember. That could be really good or really bad. Glad to hear it was good. . Its fun to try new things and be places now and then, especially when you are pleasantly surprised. The roof top pool was beautiful. Some of the artwork, banana dolphin, was a little too odd for me, but definitely makes you think.
    Susan cooper recently posted…Mulling Spice Sachets: #RecipeMy Profile

  16. Pat says:

    Loved the Platanos Delfines art work!! The place does look quirky but unique!! Both looked like great places to stay.

    • Hi Pat. Yes, that’s an incredible piece of art.

      It is the Rivera del Rio that I found to be kind of quirky, not the Villa Azalea where the Platanos Delfines is hanging. Both memorable and different!

  17. Both Villa Azalea and Rivera del Rio look like great places to stay. I love the art and the slight quirkiness.
    Donna Janke recently posted…The Medieval Cathedral City of WellsMy Profile

  18. Ooh , these two places look fantastic. My favorite image out of all the great ones you give us was the one with all the little boxes at Rivera del Rio. Def. on my to go list.
    Kathy Andrew recently posted…Winners of The Creative Zone #Coloring Book & Free #Coloring PagesMy Profile

  19. I haven’t been to Puerta Vallarta but my dad and his wife were there last year and they loved it. I don’t remember them mentioning the artwork in the hotel where they stayed, but if it was anything like what you’ve shown, it was beautiful.
    My husband Jim has taken photographs of some of the artwork in the motels or hotels where we’ve stayed and most of the time, it is “so bad that it’s funny,” is the expression that comes to mind.
    It’s great to have such a warm and inviting place to call “home” when you are away. Otherwise, it’s just a place to sleep and doesn’t add anything to the vacation.

  20. Catarina says:

    Both Villa Azalea and Rivera del Rio sound and look like great places to stay. Like you I usually pick a well-known 5-star hotel first time I go somewhere. After that I like to find interesting places like these two and usually prefer them to the safe option.
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  21. Beverly says:

    Thanks, Doreen, for explaining alternate places to stay while travelling in Mexico. Your article gives me lots to think about.
    Beverly recently posted…exploring CancunMy Profile

  22. So glad you visited the Del Rio. It’s such a special space and so lovingly, uniquely put together. Very glad also that the recent Patricia hurricane missed sweet Puerto Vallarta. Thanks for the memories.
    Elaine J. Masters recently posted…Past perfect inside Clifton’s downtown LAMy Profile

    • Thx for stopping by the blog, Elaine. Yes, PV was truly lucky and missed the hurricane.

      By the way, the owner of Rivera del Rio had opened a new place right on old town PV. I didn’t get a chance to see it, but Rocio said it’s nice. Cheers & happy travels.

  23. Esther says:

    Wow, I would love a holiday like that!
    Esther recently posted…Adrenal FatigueMy Profile

    • Hi Esther: You definitely would enjoy a holiday to this type of small accommodations in Puerto Vallarta. It provides you with an entirely different experience than staying at a large beach resort–which is certainly nice, too. Just different!
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…exploring CancunMy Profile

  24. Linda Strange says:

    These places look and sound amazing. The thought of peace and quiet calls to me at the moment. Thank you so much for documenting your memories.

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