Hailed as the “house of dreams” by New York interior designer Billy Baldwin, the former home of “Silver” Maria Cortez is now open to house guests, thanks to the Alex Killen, who is the third generation owner of the mansion-turned-boutique Rivera del Rio hotel in Puerto Vallarta.
Here, eclectic meets lavish meets indoor plunge pool complete with fake ducks bobbing under the gentle movement of air from the balcony overlooking the city’s Rio Cuale.
But, Rivera del Rio is much more than a boutique hotel whose guests have included the likes of Elizabeth Taylor. It’s a place to unwind after exploring the vibrant Mexican town. It’s a place to mingle with other travelers. It’s a place to relish the sweeping views of the surrounding mountainous jungles and bay with a glass of chilled tequila on the pool deck. It’s a place to watch the infamous Puerto Vallarta sunsets turn the sky all sorts of magic while indulging in a little hot tub action.
With a staff that knows your name the moment you walk in, to quirky rooms boasting claw foot tubs, Rivera del Rio is a gem in the Puerto Vallarta hotel world, and for good reason.
Like it’s sister property down the street, Garlands del Rio, Rivera del Rio delivers a vacation from your vacation, creating an other-worldly place to tuck in to after being out and about. Although, with its amenities and comfort, you may not want to leave.
When I arrive to the hotel, I am greeted by the owner’s dog, a freshly made margarita and some chips and homemade guacamole, as is the custom at both Rivera del Rio and Garlands del Rio.
The manger, Oskar, chats with me for a few, walks me to my room, just off the bright sitting area where guests eat breakfast. It’s a posh room with a king bed, a fireplace, and a door that leads me to stairs which deliver me straight to the pool deck. There, I meet a couple who have stayed at the hotel for five days. Tonight, they are taking Oskar out to dinner — that’s how personable the staff are with guests. Soon, we start chatting and the bottle of moonshine I had bought days earlier comes out as we get to know each other.
I could have gone and walked the 15 minutes to the beach and my sunset bar, Sea Monkey. I could have gone in search of food. But, instead, Rivera del Rio wraps me in to its colorful clutches and I watch as the pink hotel turns a more golden shade as the sun sets.
Yeah, it’s that kind of hotel.
Rivera del Rio is a small hotel since it only occupies one gorgeous Puerto Vallarta mansion, offering four regular rooms and four suites, each individually designed.
They come with names like Mariposa, the Green Room and Maria (my room). And, if you’re lucky, they also come with gorgeous patios like the one found in the Candelaria Suite.
The room, located off the central area of the hotel, features a king bed (complete with pillow top mattress), a fireplace, along with a patio with stairs leading to the pool, honor system bar and, ultimately, the roof top hot tub.
Honestly, the property is so lovely and the people are so friendly, the only time I spend in my room is when I am sleeping. And, after a day socializing with guests, I certainly sleep.
Roof top hot tub. On-your-honor-bar. Kitchen. Living room. Complimentary home-cooked traditional Mexican breakfasts. And, we’re just getting started. Rivera del Rio other amenities included flat screen TVs in every room, complimentary wifi (that really works!), complimentary calls to the US and Canada, complimentary local calls, air conditioning (hey, not every hotel has it), plush bathrobes and more.
Bonus: Rivera del Rio is one of the only hotels in Zona Romantica to feature a filtered water system, so there isn’t any concern about drinking the water, which I appreciate greatly.
Rivera del Rio is located about 15 minutes from the beach and five from the Rio Cuale market. It’s tucked down a local road which means it’s quiet (and safe at night, don’t worry) and nearby to plenty of spots to eat. The heart of Zona Romantica is about 10 minutes from the hotel or about two minutes by taxi.
The Bottom Line
I don’t know how many different ways I can say I love this property. I. Love. This. Property. And, the sister property, Garlands del Rio, where I spent five nights in total. Staff are incredible. Rooms are so unique. The location is fantastic. I felt incredibly at home and incredibly safe (you’ve got to ring to enter or use your key to get into the hotel). Go. Stay here. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.