... but not "five diamond" IMO.
We'll get the two negatives out of the way first:
1. Our check-in was a disaster. Fortunately, I kept copies of everything and was able
to finally -- after alot of unnecessary drama -- get the exact rooms and prices that Irma Perez,
the Vacation Specialist who handled our booking, had promised us in writing two months ago. Management never apologized for the chaos and would only say that the confusion resulted from another family having the same last name. ??? BTW, we have a very peculiar last name. If your last name is rather common ... uh, Smith ... Jones ... you are in our prayers.
2. The beach itself was above average but the swimming was borderline dangerous. The ocean floor all along the Riviera Maya was shallow and rocky. Water shoes are a must.
Now, to the good stuff:
1. The service was outstanding! Kudos to Rodrigo and Santiago (big pool), Fernando and Mar
(beach) and Natalia (conceirge). They exceeded all expectations.
2. The big pool (a/k/a Ambassador area) is arguably the nicest pool we have ever experienced in our 25 years of traveling.
3. Our two Ambassador rooms were elegant, fairly quiet and well located. My wife and I had a king bed and our teenagers had two queen beds in their adjoining room. We were in rooms 2003 and 2004, overlooking the beach and very close to the big pool. This proved to be a very desirable area of the resort.
4. If you are a golfer, by all means, take your clubs! It is worth the hassle. I highly recommend you play Playacar and/or Iberostar (home of "The Big Break"). Both courses are within 15 minutes of the resort and your green fees (about $120 p.p.) include the roundtrip taxi. Both courses are truly incredible ... comparable to Hawaii or Scottsdale. You will not regret this
In closing, here a few traveler's tips to consider:
1. Take about $200 in U.S. ones and fives. Tipping is encouraged and the staff members strongly prefer the American dollar over the Mexican peso.
2. Book your spa session several days in advance. The spa fills up quickly during vacation season.
3. The resort food is above average -- a little too gourmet for my taste -- but better than most
all-inclusives we have visited. If you are looking for a diversion, go next door to The Fairmont
and try their steak and seafood restaurant. It is really, really good!
4. Finally, we stayed 7 nights but, realistically, 5 nights would be ideal. This place is expensive March thru August. If we go back, we will target October or February so we can
save about 50%.
>>> This is a great resort, by any definition. Five diamonds? You decide. <<<
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Grand Velas Riviera Maya is one of the newest resorts to distinguish Riviera Maya as a premier vacation destination. The uniquely Mexican world-class hospitality we provide is "Beyond All Inclusive, Beyond All Compare", and we are proud to be the only family-friendly All Inclusive resort in the Mexican Caribbean to have been rated Five Diamonds by the AAA. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Velas All Suites And Spa Resort, Riviera Maya
- Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort, Riviera Maya Hotel Playa Del Carmen
- Grand Velas Hotel Riviera Maya
- Grand Velas Riviera Maya Mexico - Playa Del Carmen