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Resorts Suggestions for 1st timers from UK

Kent, England
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Resorts Suggestions for 1st timers from UK

Hi All,

After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between my favourite destination and Mexico I think we edging towards taking our first ever holiday there next Spring and I would really appreciate some input on resorts based on our criteria below.

Travelling from London during the last week of March

Staying for 10/11 nights on an AI basis

Budget up to around £3,500

Other Criteria:

Adults only wherever possible

Really want a Jacuzzi for two in the room

Some snorkeling from the beach would be great

Some informal evening restaurants, eg, where long shorts would be allowed (unless this is REALLY abnormal)

No preference on resort area at this stage, we just want to relax with some sort of pampering and some great food and drink where you aren't hassled for time share/tours/massages etc.

Sounds simple but there are so many hotels it's hard to choose. The Royals and El Dorado properties seem to be well within budget and good options at the moment and offered by mainstream tour operators but I am happy to look at some of the more unusual areas.

My pet hate in large resorts is noise from other guests - slamming doors etc so I would tend to favour a smaller resort but it's not a problem I see mentioned often in reviews so perhaps not terribly applicable.

Calgary
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for Akumal, Riviera Maya, Cancun
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1. Re: Resorts Suggestions for 1st timers from UK

Hmm, I see two problems here - the shorts at dinner and the snorkelling from the beach,

Let's deal with snorkelling first. There are only two resorts that I know that offer that. First is the Barcelo Maya, a mega complex of five resorts in one, none of which are adult only.

The other is the Grand Palladium - another multi resort complex but this one does have an adults only area - the Royal Yucatan Suites.

Now the shorts - the good news is that shorts ARE permitted at the buffets at the Barcelo Maya. I don't know about the Grand Palladium (I haven't stayed there).

I have a very strong preference for adult only resorts but they do have rather a tendency to be a bit more upmarket and stricter with respect to dress code and most of the a la carte restaurants are going to be long pants for men. Personally, I'd rather compromise on the dress code than on the adults only but hey, that's me. The Royals (presumably you're including the Royal Playa del Carmen) and the El Dorados are good choices. I'd also toss in the Excellence resorts (especially Excellence Playa Mujeres), the Secrets properties (especially Secrets Maroma Beach), the Iberostar Grand (unless it's hopelessly out of budget). If all of these are pushing the budget a bit, then look at the Valentin Imperial Maya and the Catalonia Royal Tulum.

One other thing - check your dates. I'm not sure where Easter falls next year but it is an INSANELY busy time of year in Mexico. Not only does this usually push prices to dizzying heights but many (most?) resorts, even some really high end ones, just don't do well when they're at full capacity. If you can juggle your dates to miss the Easter period, I'd definitely recommend you do it. You're still going to be in prime Spring Break season but unless you're willing to push your dates back to the end of April, you're not going to be able to avoid that.

So, that should give you a place to start your research .... but if none of these resorts look appealing, c'mon back and we'll try to give you some more ideas.

Kent, England
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4,473 posts
42 reviews
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2. Re: Resorts Suggestions for 1st timers from UK

Llisa, thank you very much for taking the time to write such a detailed reply, it's very much appreciated.

I will definitely have a look at GP, as I have to confess to being a bit of a 'fish geek' and I do like to snorkel but as long as I could get a few dives in I wouldn't want it to be the sole factor in my decision. I do understand the smarter dress, our destination of choice for the last three years is somewhere you don't even wear shoes to dinner so it's quite a new concept to us! I think dressing up for a few nights would be very nice but it would be nice to just be lazy at times too (I guess we could use room service for those times if it's part of our package).

I've actually just been saying 'wow' at the Grand Paraiso which comes in at over £4,000 but I never like to set my budget in stone, just in case!

Easter next year is actually very late in April (the 20th), it's caused us a bit of a headache as we are actually getting married next week and initially I wanted to go for our first anniversary but it will clash with the Easter holidays so my birthday at the end of March was the other viable time. I guess we could change it to the end of Jan.......

Hampshire, United...
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3. Re: Resorts Suggestions for 1st timers from UK

I highly recommend the Grand Palladium, however, whe we were there my husband did have to wear linen trousers to the buffet. Sometimes he wnr back to the room to change into his shorts after dinner, however, it really wasn't an issue for us.

Hampshire, United...
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4. Re: Resorts Suggestions for 1st timers from UK

Also, the snorkelling is really good on the Grand Palladium beach, we saw lots and a Barracuda, loved it.

Isle of Wight...
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5. Re: Resorts Suggestions for 1st timers from UK

Jody, just out of interest where is your usual destination? I only ask, because depending what you're used to some resorts in Mexico are just a more expensive version of Benidorm.

Calgary
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for Akumal, Riviera Maya, Cancun
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6. Re: Resorts Suggestions for 1st timers from UK

If you can stretch your budget to the IB Grand, go for it. I've never been there (too spendy for me!) but it has a VERY loyal, repeat clientele, which is always a good sign. It is pretty formal in the dress-for-dinner sense though.

About a 25 minute walk up the beach from the IBG is the Valentin Imperial Maya - I've stayed there multiple times. They've recently relaxed their dress code a bit to allow short in the Mexican and Indonesian a la cartes (there's no evening buffet here other than specialty, themed buffets which run a couple of times a week). The price point of the VIM is usually MUCH less than the IBG ...... and so it should be as it's a significant step down but still a VERY nice resort.

Check out El Dorado Maroma and maybe even Royal Hideaway as well.

Happy hunting and congrats on your upcoming nuptials!

Calgary
Destination Expert
for Akumal, Riviera Maya, Cancun
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7. Re: Resorts Suggestions for 1st timers from UK

"some resorts in Mexico are just a more expensive version of Benidorm."

True - but not the ones the OP is looking at ...certainly NOT the Iberostar Grand!

Kent, England
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8. Re: Resorts Suggestions for 1st timers from UK

Thanks again Llisa, I will have a look at those two, I have been looking at the upper end of my budget and wondering just how much the resorts at that price point will differ to those that are quite a bit lower. I have looked at the Grand Palladium but I can't seem to find a UK agent to book the Yucatan section with so might have to do some more digging!

Hi Wydcombe, I have a feeling this might not bode well............next week we are heading to the Maldives for the third year running, it's my personal paradise and will always be my number one destination but it's just not value for money any more and £4k would get me 10 days in the Iberostar Grand Paraiso compared to 14 nights in a real 3* budget island in the Maldives with a not very inclusive version of All Inclusive!

Isle of Wight...
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9. Re: Resorts Suggestions for 1st timers from UK

Hi Jody, I certainly don't want to put you off, I loved Mexico, but wish I had done more research and not gone there with such high expectations. It's definitely worth a visit, but don't go expecting the Maldives and you won't be disappointed. :)

Isle of Wight...
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10. Re: Resorts Suggestions for 1st timers from UK

PS. For the type of money you are talking my husband and I did the most amazing trip to the Great Barrier Reef over Easter last year ( if it's great snorkelling you're after) via Sydney , Bangkok and Singapore, staying in good hotels including spending money for a similar price.