On a whim, we decided to give the Riviera Maya a try for our recent vacation. It looked quite touristy, but we figured it would be less crowded since we were vacationing during the off-season. After researching many "luxury boutique hotels" in the area, we decided upon the Viceroy Riviera Maya and were consistently reaffirmed in our decision throughout the trip.
The area is jam packed with HUGE resorts (you can tell they really cater to the all-inclusive, spring break crowd) and were we so glad we didn't choose one of them. The Viceroy feels like a secret space only few are lucky enough to stumble upon. While it appears to be located right in the fray, the resort actually feels miles away from all the craziness of the area. Tucked away in a small patch of jungle with only 40 rooms, the feeling of the resort is always serene and peaceful - it was the perfect escape for us, as we were looking forward to quiet time to renew ourselves. The fact that the resort does not allow children has to be one of its BEST features - it was mostly all couples, who all seemed to posess the same mission as we did. This place is ideal for those looking to escape the resorts that cater to families (no splashing at the pool for us, thank you!) and the partying, drunken spring break crowd that seems to be abundant in the area.
The property is beautiful - it blended into its natural surroundings and avoided the overly-manicured look of a lot of luxury properties. We loved strolling through the shaded jungle pathways, always keeping an eye out for the chance monkey sighting and relishing all the peaceful bird sounds, especially while in bed in the mornings. The rooms are gorgeous with all the creature comforts, yet still feel a part of the nature around you. The outdoor shower was such a nice way to start the day.
The service at the resort is really what sets it apart. All of the staff, from the landscaping crews to the restaurants to the concierges all seemed to be genuinely concerned with making sure we had the best stay possible. People seemed to enjoy their jobs and work hard at creating the ultimate guest experience. From the moment you arrive (one of the best arrival experiences I have ever had) throughout the rest of your stay, you feel at peace and so well taken care of. Two of the main concierges - Alberto and Oscar - really went out of their way on a daily basis to check in (although never in an overwhelming way), to make sure we were happy and had everything we needed. The pool attendant, Pepe, was seemingly always available, calling us by name and refreshing our favorite cocktails and bringing us special poolside treats. The restaurant staff were incredibly professional and always at the ready. The spa staff was also excellent - I highly recommend Carla for massages - had to visit her throughout the stay because she was so talented in the art of relaxation!
As far as activities go in the area, we weren't all that impressed. While Playa del Carmen was nice for evening strolls and dinners off the resort, during the day it is hot with not much to do. We were expecting nicer boutiques and shops, but it's mainly all over-priced tourist crap. We arranged a day trip through the hotel to visit the ruins in Tulum and a few other stops - the driver provided by Viceroy was excellent and maintained the service level of the resort. However, the ruins were a disappointment which we quickly left, due to the overly tourist experience - packed with people, buses, and knick-knack shops with no authenticity left.
If you're looking for a trip to mainly stay at a resort and enjoy a luxuriously serene experience, I highly recommend this place. The food, service, and facilities were excellent and often left us wondering why we even left anytime we decided to venture outside the property - which says a lot, considering we are people who usually only stay on property a night or two of a trip.
We were highly impressed with our experience. This was our first time staying with Viceroy and are definitely going to be looking out for their properties next time we travel and will definitely return should we ever visit this area again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located just 35 minutes from Cancun International Airport and three miles from popular Playa del Carmen, Viceroy Riviera Maya is a serene hideaway set on the turquoise Caribbean amid a lush jungle ambiance. As Riviera Maya’s #1 resort in Conde Nast Traveler’s 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards, Viceroy offers world-class amenities, personalized pampering, exquisitely appointed villa accommodations with private patio and plunge pool, refined Mexican cuisine accented with international touches at La Marea and Mexican-Mediterranean fare at the seaside Coral Grill. Mayan influences abound, from the Mayan Blessing performed on arrival by the resort’s Shaman to the Mayan healing techniques offered at the award-winning spa. A Lagoon Pool, private pier, fitness center and traditional temazcal sweatlodge are among the resort’s many other pleasures. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Viceroy Riviera Maya Hotel Playa Del Carmen
- Tides Riviera Maya Hotel
- Tides Riviera Maya Resort
- Ikal Del Mar
- Viceroy Riviera Maya Mexico - Playa Del Carmen