I am here. The marina area is right next to the airport, built up with resorts, shops and restaurants as well as a marina for boats. It is not right in downtown but an inexpensive ride to downtown.
Nuevo Vallarta is north of the airport by about 15-20 minutes. It is a newer resort area, mostly large resorts and condos there. Not much else. If you are looking at RIU, it is even further north and a long way out. The beaches in NV are very nice, long, good for walking. Can't comment on the Marina beaches yet.
People seem to like the Marina area. REsort area but still close enough to go into town. We have not stayed at Velas Vallarta yet, but I know it is connected with Grand Velas and have read good reviews on it. I like the fact is has been completely renovated so no construction going on, big rooms, not crazy with activities all over the place, loud-etc. WE don't like those kinds of resorts. Comfy beds, good food, don't think you can ask for much more.
Hope this helps a little.
Thanks, do you know since these two two resorts are connected with one another, if your staying at one do you get to use any of the facilities at the other?
That I highly doubt. Sorry.....