We have been back home in Sweden again for 2 weeks, after our FANTASTIC holiday. We stayed first 1 week at the Grand Velas, and then 1 week at the Ritz Carlton in Cancun. Here are my notes on the Grand Velas:
WE COULD NOT HAVE MADE A BETTER CHOICE!
We were travelling with children aged 7 and 3, and were looking for a very high-end resort with large, beautiful room/suite, lovely surroundings, excellent service and gourmet food. And absolute relaxation. That is exactly what we got.
I will try not to repeat what everyone else has said, but focus on what was especially good in our opinion.
First - just the feeling of the resort is so lovely: It is all open-air, open spaces, high ceilings, breeze flowing through, light colours, tropical feeling with lots of flowers, bushes etc - and almost everywhere is ocean view. Elegant, but in a light, modern, cool way.
We stayed at the Ambassador section, which I recommend if you have children and if you can afford it - because of the ocean view, and to be close to the main pool there (which is the nicest one in my opinion). (Although my oldest daughter said she would have loved to stay at Master and have the jungle view.) The pool area is so beautiful, and the whole family loved the fact that the pool is separated into 3 sections: One shallow for very little children and one slightly deeper - both nice and comfortably warm (heated) - and the third that is chillier and has an infinity-end where you look straight onto the beach. Had heard that pools can be very chilly this time of year - but not at GV. Lots of very nice loungers, cabanas and café tables both around the pool and on the beach - you could always find a perfect spot. Staff also very helpful, friendly and always available.
We don´t usually do all inclusive (worried that quality and choice will not meet our expectations) but had heard that at Grand Velas you can - and we were not disappointed! We tried most of the restaurants, and the food was so good, the menus so interesting, the presentation of the food so beautiful, the whole experience so perfect, that I cannot believe this standard is typical for other AI! No buffet-dinners or limited menus of any kind. And it really is ALL inclusive, minibar, room service, all snacks and drinks you take by the pool or in the bars, elaborate wine-lists, everything.
I must also mention:
- The kids club personell - wonderful. My 7 year old did not want to go because she speaks no English - but she agreed to go once to just sit and play her Nintendo while I was at the gym. When I return she was the center of attention of 5 staff members and loving it. She went again twice...
- The gym - very large and nice and with very nice staff. I forgot my headphones once - no problem, they found some I could borrow.
- The concierge system and our concierge Montserrat: BRILLIANT! Montserrat was always around to tend to our every need. We never really had to call her or look for her, she was always kind of around. Reminded us about reservations, made arrangements etc. Very effectively too - she wore a kind of "walkie-talkie"/headphone kind of thing, so as soon as we mentioned we were on our way to reception to go somewhere, she made arrangements so that a car was already waiting when we got there 30 seconds later...
- We had a babysitter in the room one evening, so we could go to one of the adults-only restaurants. The babysitter was a concierge at Grand Class and it worked perfectly even if the children don't speak English - we ordered room-service for the children and then they could watch DVDs in the room.
- In the water outside the beach, they have built "wave-breakers", to create a zone of calmer water inside where you can use cayaks etc. Great with little children, because there was strong wind the whole time we were there.
- I have stayed at many beach resorts, but have NEVER experienced sand this perfect! Fine, powdery, clean, and never warm to step on.
- Just little details that make a difference: iPod docking station in the room so we could play our own music. Zone-free DVD-player that played our own DVDs was good for the children. Huge shower-ROOM that fit the whole family. Nespresso-machine and no-limit access to "pods" for it - Montserrat made sure I never got any of the decaf-ones, just because I once mentioned I don't like decaf... Huge balcony with double-lounger and nice table/chairs. Lovely beds with real thick, down-filled duvets. Laundry service very quick and not expensive - practical with little children...
The staff are all wonderful, very attentive, very serviceminded and friendly, and because there are so many of them you never had to wait for service.
We went into Playa del Carmen once, and it just felt SO wonderful to return to Grand Velas afterwards and to be "welcomed home" (by name, of course).
We actually stayed one night longer than planned. After 8 nights all of us were ready for somewhere new so we moved on to the Ritz in Cancun - but that is a different story.
But just a short comparison: Although I like both, I much preferred the Grand Velas to the Ritz - for us, and for our needs. Service and food are of course equally wonderful at the Ritz and it is very high standard and elegant - but to me that felt darker and more "inside", with wall-to-wall carpeting and heavy furniture and air-conditioning. I prefer the brighter, more airy, luscious, modern Grand Velas - it feels more like holiday to me. (And my husband preferred the Ritz - so we were both happy!) On one area I preferred the Ritz though: The suites at Grand Velas are - although huge - one room only, whilst at the Ritz they had one-bedroom = 2-room suites. Better for us as a family to be able to close the door - but in terms of space the suite at Grand Velas was more than big enough for the 4 of us.
I would strongly recommend GV if you are looking for this kind of resort and it is in your price range. If you have specific questions that you cannot find answers to in other reviews, feel free to send me a personal message.
- 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 & Spa Resort, Riviera Maya Hotel Playa Del Carmen
- Grand Velas All Suites And Spa Resort, Riviera Maya
- Grand Velas Hotel Riviera Maya
- Grand Velas Riviera Maya Mexico - Playa Del Carmen