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Grand Velas Riviera Maya
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Reviewed 12 April 2014

We discovered Grand Velas walking along the beach while staying at Viceroy last year. I typically prefer a smaller boutique style property but was intrigued by how beautiful the pool looked from the beach. We were returning to the area for spring break with 2 of our children and thought the kids would like the larger resort with more activity options.

I rely on fellow travelers reviews and Grand Velas ranks high. It did not disappoint. The fact that it was an all-inclusive was a plus for the kids although I have to admit I was leery because in my mind I had an image wearing a bracelet or being on a cruise ship. Wow, was I wrong!

First let me say, the property is absolutely GORGEOUS! Every area is beautifully designed and meticulously maintained. It is a large property but has an intimate feel because of the way it is layed out. We stayed in Zen, which I ended up loving. It was so quite and peaceful. I loved the covered walkways and the landscaping. The balcony has a jungle feel with beautiful foliage with fish and turtles swimming right off the deck. I loved sitting with my coffee every morning listening to the birds. We had a plunge pool, it was nice to look at but I wouldn’t spend the extra money to have it as we never used it. The suites are large and well appointed. The stocked mini bar is really nice for snacks and was always fully stocked. Maid and turn down service was top notch. Our room was always serviced perfectly.

Each area has a butler who takes care of all your needs. Jesus and Freddie did an amazing job of rearranging some reservations for us and making sure we were well taken care of. We had a complicated reservation because 2 of us came later and had to be added but Jesus navigated the entire situation beautifully.

The Koi lounge is not to be missed. It is stunningly beautiful and all the cocktails are hand poured. Jasmine was the sweetest girl with impeccable service. We loved going there each night for a drink before dinner. The coconut Grey Goose martini was the best I have ever tasted.

We spent all our time at the main pool, which is called Ambassador. Even though the resort was full there is never a problem getting chairs. The pool service is top notch and constant. Santiago and Rodrigo took such good care of us. You honestly start feeling a bit guilty because you are so indulged. The pool servers work very hard and are always greeting you with the most sincere smiles and are genuinely happy to bring you whatever you want. They are constantly refreshing your ice buckets ,bringing around cool towels and Evian spritz cans on ice to cool off with. All the drinks and food at the pool are delicious and good quality. The shrimp cocktail was my favorite.

In addition to the regular service at the pool staff periodically comes around and makes sure you are not in need of anything else. We had the pleasure of being taken care of by Victor. He set up a private snorkel tour for us with one of the lifeguards (also Victor) that was the highlight of our stay. He led the tour in kayaks quite a ways out to a reef, tied up all our kayaks and even cleaned our masks. I highly recommend doing this. The beach is large with plenty of room for everyone. I wish I had brought water shoes, as it is a bit rough swimming out. We did some paddle boarding, which was fun, an additional small charge.

The restaurants are all great, we never had an issue with waiting to be seated. It is a good idea to make your dinner reservations in advance. I did ours before we arrived and did make a few changes once we got there. The signature restaurant Autor is a bit on the “ too creative” side. My 14 year old couldn’t appreciate the gastronomy and we ended up ordering room service after that meal. Lucca was our favorite. Azul every morning is great for breakfast, the fresh squeezed juice divine!


There was a large group that came a few days in but to me it wasn’t an issue at all. I was kind of anxious about it after reading some previous reviews but it didn’t impact our stay in the least, if anything it made it more fun because the people were all having a good time, some of the guys got a game of catch going in the pool which my son LOVED! He didn’t use the teen club but it looked really cool.

The Wifi could be better. It is spotty and slow. You get basic for free and can pay additional for high speed, which is just plain silly with the price point at this resort.

We didn’t use the spa although I wanted to. Everyone raves about it. The $50 per adult per day spa credit is like the discount coupon you get in the mail from Macy’s. You basically can’t use them. It is not accumulative so you can only use $50 off a service over a certain dollar amount, (over $200) a massage is $210 up to $310 so you are not really getting a discount in my opinion. I just didn’t feel like spending that much and was annoyed with the misleading “promotion”.

This is not a cheap vacation BUT do you get what you pay for? YES!
Our expectations were exceeded in every area and we would definitely return.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
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9  Thank kimberlysue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DirectorGVRM, General Manager at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded 24 April 2014

I am very happy Kimberly that you were able to reserve with us after walking by our beach on a previous vacation. To have had the foresight to inspect our property resulted in a very positive vacation experience for you and your children. Your curiosity combined with your investigative abilities on TripAdvisor helped you come to the conclusion that our product and service were worth it. And now perhaps we will have you as a loyal repeat guest in the future. I thank you for your greatly detailed review. It will be a great help for future guests in deciding where to visit, just as it helped you and now you have come full circle. Congratulations Kimberly. I do apologize however for the inconsistent internet signal. We are actually in the process of locating any zones of the resort with low signal strength in order to improve our range in those areas. I will also review how the spa certificates are administered and make any necessary changes so that it is clearer on exactly how the promotion is best taken advantage of. But I am very pleased with your overall happiness that you and your family felt while our being our guests here in Grand Velas. I will have your comments posted for my staff to read and I am sure that your positive words will motivate them even further in their duties, especially the employees mentioned by you. I hope that next time you can introduce me to your family so as I can thank you personally for your comments and for your beautiful photos. And maybe even share a coconut Grey Goose martini prepared by Jasmine. In the meantime have a great summer and all the best to you and your family in Minneapolis, MN. Take care.

RODOLFO GONZALEZ
DIRECTOR GENERAL
GRAND VELAS RIVIERA MAYA
rgonzalezgvrm@velasresorts.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 April 2014

I am a world traveler and also reviewer, I will just say why I did love this resort to it's MAXIMUM.

There is no other resort in the riviera maya, that will offer what you pay for, our last vacation was 2 years ago, I could mention the name of the place I've stayed at but there's no point doing it, we were really doubting, on going back to the Caribbean side of Mexico, but we gave it a go! Well we did Arrived to this amazing place, what it gives that feeling you are at the beginning of a new adventure, it is the main entrance an amazing great white wall, when they open that gate you do really immerse to the actual purpose and main idea of the resort, I let my self and family to be driven by it, we arrived to the main lobby (Ambassador) the first thing you see is a guy awaiting for you with a refreshing drink, which most of us need when you are not used to tropical weather like this, we were greeted and sat in this beautiful lounges ( which others do not have, and make you wait standing, after a long day traveling ) on arrival we had an issue regarding my rooms location, there is when I thought this is not going to be good and, sent me back to my previous experience, we tried to get the rooms we were meant to have, and it did not happen, for the simple reason there was a group/convention going on in the property, I was really disappointed, and I didn't want my family to notice how I felt, but to be honest had this feeling that make me think and say I will never go Back to this part of Mexico, after then, they called my butler guillermo (Kawa) who was so self trusted, he saw my face and after introducing him self to us, his first words were "I will make you Enjoy your stay" he showed us the whole place, introduce every single bit of it, he got along so well with my two Gchildren, we spoke to him briefly about dinners, and a place where we could have lunch, next day he comes very early in the morning, asked us about last night how was the dinner and if we had any issue, then I said at least someone is looking after us, or trying to make this better, for my long stay, he sent me and Gchildren to Xplor a zip-lining park 20 min away from the resort, and one day he saw me sun bathing by the pool with my wife and said, have you ever been told that you look like 007? and I reply with a laugh, he made my day and I just kept a nice relation ship with him, the pool staff are just amazing and a big applause for them, hard workers and all long day under the sun! Our pool Concierge was Raul if I am not wrong, we enjoyed so much those days when there was performances at the pool, it gives a different touch to it, the restaurants for dinner are just amazing! in our long stay we could only got to the kids friendly ones, my GChildren specially loved Luca Italian! Me and my wife liked so much frida, there is only one thing I could add, even there was group there it didn't feel like there was one, well organised team, and, I want to say thanks to him who made my stay pleasant and wonderful and made me 15 years younger by calling me 007! Thanks buddy, me and family are in debt with you . Thanks again to all the Grand Velas team. Looking fwd to see you next year! Sorry if I did give you hard time at the beginning.


Best. 007

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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1  Thank J H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DirectorGVRM, General Manager at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded 25 April 2014

I am very pleased that you decided to take a chance on returning to Riviera Maya and I am even more pleased that you selected us with the hope of changing your perspective of this destination. We strongly believe that first impressions are extremely vital to the overall satisfaction of the vacation. And just as you described, we were able to set a very impressive tone for you and your family with just driving through our gates to begin your holiday journey. A special recognition goes to Guillermo your concierge for helping you feel comfortable in your new surroundings and for the caring bond that formed between him and your family. And special kudos for Raul in the pool area for taking your family under his wing and making you feel pampered and 15 years younger (Mr. 007). I am very proud that we were successful in making your vacation unforgettable and I hope that in the near future you and your family can find the opportunity to visit us again and relive the nice times that you just experienced this past March. Thank you for taking the time to express your delight with everybody and from all of us at Grand Velas we send warm greetings to you in NYC. Take care.

RODOLFO GONZALEZ
DIRECTOR GENERAL
GRAND VELAS RIVIERA MAYA
rgonzalezgvrm@velasresorts.com

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Reviewed 11 April 2014

This is an amazing resort without compare in many ways. And we have travelled to over 30 countries and have stayed at many luxury resorts. But the Grand Velas is one of the best in terms of service, the size, elegance and comfort of the room and the overall beauty of the property. We stayed in the Zen section of the hotel and thoroughly enjoyed the peace and quiet of being tucked away in the jungle. Each morning sitting on the secluded patio we enjoyed watching the bright colored birds and interesting looking turtles and fish in the pond. And one morning walking to breakfast a jungle pig scampered across the walk way right in front of us! This was a unique experience and one that we thoroughly enjoyed. A quick shuttle ride away we also enjoyed the beautiful beach area. No complaints about the food either - lots to choose from and we did not have a bad meal. We stayed 4 days and never left the property. The only reason I do not rate this hotel a 5 is the fact that everything is so spread out. There are many long walk ways and corridors to contend with no matter what you want to do. As an example a couple of times I needed to go to the gift shop to pick up an item like toothpaste and sunscreen, and it was easily a 10 to 15 minute walk one way. But as long as you have a comfortable pair of shoes, even this did not seem like much of an inconvenience considering the superb accommodations and overall beauty of the resort. Great stay!

Room Tip: Choose a Jungle Zen room for a unique experience
  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled on business
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Thank Lou C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DirectorGVRM, General Manager at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded 24 April 2014

I am very happy that we were able to exceed your expectations when comparing us to your previous vacations and travels. We do wish to be unique in many ways and the generous lay out of the property certainly lends to that freedom and comfort that our guests feel. To be able to walk throughout our natural surroundings and just listening to the sounds of nature and to see the rare “jungle pig” is another example of that uniqueness that sets us aside from many other resorts. Please remember Lou that if you ever require something delivered or bought from our stores you can always count on our butlers to do those chores for you. I am glad that the Zen ambience was to your personal satisfaction and I am especially proud that after your experience of visiting many lands you consider Grand Velas to be amazing. I thank you very much for your splendid words and it would be an honor to have you revisit us in order to again feel the uniqueness that we offer. Special greetings to you in Indianapolis and great success in your business endeavors. Take care.

RODOLFO GONZALEZ
DIRECTOR GENERAL
GRAND VELAS RIVIERA MAYA
rgonzalezgvrm@velasresorts.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 April 2014

First, we've been on many family and couple vacations, including all-inclusives, cruises, standard hotels, timeshares, etc. It is safe to say that the experience we had at the Grand Velas is arguably the very best of all of them.

PROS:

1. Fantastic service! I really can't say enough about the friendly, responsive, deliver more than asked, find ways to deliver even more, do whatever it takes, service! My wife and daughter felt exactly the same as they received service individually and together that was consistently excellent. Two very special mentions here:
a. Fernando our personal concierge was attentive, effecient, and effective, without being annoying. He was always finding ways to exceed our expectations, including swapping the diet pepsis for diet cokes after overhearing my wife mention to me that they only had diet pepsis in the mini-fridge. He jumped in to help with transportation, suggestions for excursion options, and I would have trusted him to handle any arrangement for us.
b. Bautisto our pool concierge at the Zen pool was incredible! Wow - there is no way I can tell you how he impressed us. I'll leave it at the fact that we were never without towels, drinks, food when wanted, and great humor to go along with it all.

2. Great dining experiences! We weren't able to try all of the restaurants, however the experience at the ones we tried were consistently excellent, and that is compared to great dining we've experienced all over the world with personal and business travels. We had a wonderful time at The Bistro, Concina de Autour, and Frida and even enjoyed the very nice buffet dinner at Azul on our first night there.

3. Although the staff said they were busy, the resort didn't feel busy or cramped and was very calm and quiet when and where needed. We spent a couple of days at the beach, but of our "sunning" time was spent around the Zen pools that had the right amount of energy, relaxation, water, and even humorous soundtrack that had my wife and 18 year old daughter laughing.

4. Rooms were great! Even the "standard" rooms at the Zen were large, spacious, clean, welcoming and great. It was fun on the ground floor to have our own pond off the back patio with friendly fish, as well as turtles and lizards that kept their distance.

5. The gym, at least at the Zen, was better equiped than any resort gym I've even seen. They were also friendly, cool enough, good air circulation. I made it to the gym 5 of 6 days, something that is rare for me on vacation. Also, my wife and daughter went to the "abs" class one day and came back raving about how good it was.

6. Super beach! The Grand Velas did a very smart thing and built a private breakwater cuts way down on rough water while still allowing fresh water to circulate. The sand was super clean, there were always chairs and umbrellas available.

7. Great for family and adults alike. There are "adult" areas, however there were plenty of other areas that were adult friendly too. We also noticed that the kids at the resort were having a great time, including kids clubs where they had real planned kids activities as well as staff that seemed great with the kids.

8. The location is great. The 35 minutes ride from the airport was quick and painless. We didn't end up going to "town", but Playa del Carmen is only a 10 minutes taxi ride and Cancun is only 35-40 minutes away if you want to enjoy the nightlife and different scenery. At the same time, once you were on the property, you would have thought you were 100 miles away from anyone else, unless you walk down the beach to other resorts.

CONS
1. Spa pricing. This is my only real complaint with the experience. We have been to lots of spas, including at resorts around the world, and we have no doubt that the Zen Spa is probably one of the best. However, it was dissapointing to arrive with $50 credit per day per person, only to realize that treatments were all $250+, and most $300 each. The $50 credit actually created a big annoyance factor, knowing that we'd have to part with an additional $250 for a massage. It would have actually been better to not offer the credit, or offer it so that it covered at least 1/3 to 1/2 of "list price" for the treatments.

2. The shuttle transportation between Zen, Ambassador, and Grand is really great, with staff and service consistent with the rest of the resort. However, it would have been really nice if there was a covered walkway available to walk from Zen to Ambassador and Grand to enjoy the fresh air and a nice pre-dinner or after-dinner walk or just a nice warm up before sitting at the beach for the next few hours. It would be perfect if they built it like the walkways between buildings at Zen.

BOTTOM LINE

The Grand Velas got it right! If you are considering going there - DO IT!

Room Tip: Really not a bad room at the resort.
  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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2  Thank VPYoud
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DirectorGVRM, Owner at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded 25 April 2014

Thank you for sharing your very detailed and informative observations on your first visit to Grand Velas. With such travel and vacation experience as you have we are proud to have been considered by you to be “arguably the best of them all”. Your pampered comforts within your spacious suite were designed with luxury in mind. And I am glad that the patio fish ponds with turtles was to your liking. Fernando and Bautisto are to be commended for providing you and your family the personalized, professional attention in helping you to enjoy a complete vacation experience. Please be assured that your kind words will be shared amongst my personnel in order that they see the magnificent work that they are providing. I hope to be your host again in the future so that we can demonstrate the consistency and improvements of our service and product and continue to provide some of the best experiences for your soon to be 21 years of vacationing. As for your cons, I would like to explain our reasoning behind our decision to have the spa credits the way they are designed; our goal is that you enjoy the water journey and a spa service of at least 50 min to really appreciate our spa, which by the way was named “Best of the Best” by Virtuoso in 2010. So your whole experience at our spa will be approximately three hours or more of personal bliss. That I believe makes the $250 investment well worth the experience for our clients. We would love to be able to have a walking path from the Zen to the Ambassador and Grand Class ambiences. Unfortunately we are not allowed to build it. The reason being is that the vegetation that you see in the area where there is the connecting single road lined with palm trees is all mangrove. And fortunately here in Mexico there is a strict environmental law that prohibits building on any mangrove area since it is part of the ecosystem that gives life to many species in the sea and the main reason that the Caribbean has so many reefs. The road that now exists has been there for 40 years and it was the only area that we could use to access the beach. I thank you again for your splendid comments and suggestions and on behalf of the 1,300 employees of Grand Velas I send you warm greetings to Cary, NC. Take care.

JUAN VELA RUIZ
VICE-PRESIDENT
THE VELAS GROUP OF RESORTS
jvelavr@velasresorts.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 April 2014

We selected the Grand Velas based on all the wonderful reviews on Trip Advisor that we read prior to booking our trip.
We were impressed just driving into the property. The staff is truly all about service. They all smile, ask you if you need anything and are always willing to help with anything.
The food was very good and far better than other resorts we have stayed at in the Riviera Maya area. The pools and jungle views are not only beautiful but very relaxing and quiet.
You are able to tell from the first day that the management staff at this resort does a fantastic job of making sure that all the little details are attended too.
Great vacation. Great resort. We will be back soon.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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Thank longdrvr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DirectorGVRM, General Manager at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded 25 April 2014

Thank you very much for sharing your kind words with everybody on TripAdvisor. And thank you for investing the time to revise our TripAdvisor comments in order to make your vacation decision. I am glad that you and your family were able to live the wonderful experience that you read about previously from other valued guests. It makes us proud as a team to know that all the elements of your vacation were to your great satisfaction and to be compared very favorable to our competition makes us feel very motivated to maintain and to perhaps improve even more on our product and service. Thank you again for your splendid descriptions and we would be highly honored to host you and your family again in this little part of “heaven”. Take care and kind regards to Sussex, WI.

RODOLFO GONZALEZ
DIRECTOR GENERAL
GRAND VELAS RIVIERA MAYA
rgonzalezgvrm@velasresorts.com

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