We stayed at the Catalonia Riviera Maya last year and had Priviledged status, so we're kind of spoiled now, but now I'm trying to go the budget route this year. I do realize that if I am going to be on a budget I can't expect the best or top notch of anything-- but I still want to try to get the best that's available within my budget range. This time we are specifically looking at AI's in the Hotel Zone for the action and things to do. Some of the best bargains I'm finding online are Bellevue Beach Paradise, Barcelo Costa, Great Parnassus and Royal Solaris (all between $759 - $904 per person for 6 nights in July, flying from Atlanta, GA). However, I want to be near the heart of the action in the Hotel Zone (to cut down on taking taxis to go shopping, etc.). Which of these AI hotels are closest to the thick of things? Which of these AI's has the best food? Is food available 24hrs (or until really late at night)? Which has a really nice beach (for the money spent, of course)? Looking at pictures doesn't help me really b/c they all *look* good until you see it in person.
For me, I really want to someplace that has nice rooms (not posh and plush, but not too stark and overly basic either), a nice, hopefully somewhat walkable beach (with snorkeling, perhaps?), and GOOD FOOD (thinking Golden Corral--good, not shi-shi-poo-poo). Any help or other suggested (budget) AI's would be appreciated. Thanks!