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“Poor service resulting in extremely frustrating holiday”

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Blue Diamond Luxury Boutique Hotel
Ranked #24 of 217 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 5 January 2014

We have just returned from a week staying at this hotel, over New Year's Eve.

The good points:

The hotel itself, the rooms and the facilities are very high quality. The suites are large, the bathrooms are stunning and both the pool and spa is excellent. The beach is lovely, with a pier and is very pleasant to swim from. The staff are extremely friendly and want to help. The spa is also excellent, although expensive, I had a great massage there.

That summarises the best parts of our stay here - in itself, the shell of the hotel gives it the potential to be excellent, but unfortunately it falls short of the true luxury hotel that it touts (and costs) itself as, for a number of reasons.

Foremost of these are the service, which is really poor, and you can't charge 5* prices when you deliver 3* service. Meals can take anything from an hour to two and a half, depending on how long you find yourselves waiting for menus, drinks and food to arrive. Whilst the staff are extremely friendly and well intentioned, they aren't trained in top service - on the first day we were left waiting an hour for a table, having to ask numerous times to be seated.

The hotel is laid out across several kilometres with reception and the beach / restaurants at opposite ends. This wouldn't be a problem, but the only rooms that come with bikes are those nearest to everything. Go figure! The improvement that could be made for each room to have bikes would be immeasurable (and should be relatively cheap to implement), the golf carts they put on for transport are fine, but sporadic waiting times of up to ten / fifteen minutes can really start to grate, especially when holiday time is so precious! Similar problems included, waiting an hour for ice to enjoy a drink from our mini bar on New Year's Eve, having to ask for things 2 / 3 times before it actually happening, inconsistent room service and restocking of mini bar, often no beach towels to be found anywhere, a long wait for a sun bed to be brought down to the beach, golf carts not turning up when ordered, a taxi that never turned up on NYE and infrequent waiter service around the beach / pool areas.

Tipping is endemic at the hotel and clearly determines the quality of service you will receive (particularly in Ambar). I understand why this happens, but when you've spent as much as you can afford on the holiday itself, to then find yourself shelling out a lot more during your stay is frustrating. Service quality should be excellent, given the cost of this hotel, regardless of whether or not you are tipping. One thing the hotel should absolutely put a stop to, is guests paying the beach staff to set up and reserve sunbeds from early in the mornings. One day, a group of 8 beds were set up, empty and "reserved" whilst other guests arriving at the beach were left with nowhere to sit. Another day we got shouted at by an irate American couple who had paid the beach staff only to find us sat on their loungers, following a rain storm when all the towels had been cleared away and we had no idea they were "reserved." We were left feeling quite uncomfortable after this experience. More sunbeds on the beach would probably help as well!

The food is pretty average, and not of the standard you would expect at this type of resort - breakfast is by far the best meal. The menus seem ill thought out, and Ambar (the supposed fine dining restaurant) would benefit from a smaller more focused menu delivering daily specials rather than a hotch potch of over complicated dishes. Steak was never cooked correctly, and the meat in tacos etc was often over cooked and dried out. Cocktail menu is extensive although in reality they all taste pretty similar and are made using sickly fruit syrups rather than fresh fruit. The house all inclusive wines are, however, quite good.

One other point, we booked a "return" transfer from the airport to the hotel. On landing into Cancun, there was no transfer there for us so we made our own way to the hotel via taxi. On arrival, we were told it was our mistake as I had only booked the 2nd leg to the airport - on checking the emails I saw that it must have been a language misunderstanding, given my request for a return transfer, but something to be aware of if doing similar. Not much fun to be standing at the airport in the heat with no transport.

It really is a shame that the resort lets itself down in these ways, we found ourselves tearing our hair out with frustration towards the end of the week, when yet again we've had to walk the 15 minutes to dinner because it's impossible to get a golf cart despite being told it would be with us "straight away." If the hotel can sort out these issues then it really would be great, but as it is, save your money and stay elsewhere in Riviera Maya!

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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10  Thank emmsp2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 5 January 2014

This was a Christmas getaway for me, my sister and mother. We had a wonderful time. The staff was great. My mother and I needed special accommodations for our disabilities and the management and staff were easily able to meet our needs. The natural beauty of the beach and the property can't be understated--they are both simply breathtaking. But for us, the food made the biggest impression--it was simply delicious. The service at busier times, could be slow--but when you are on vacation and looking at the water--who really cares? You enjoy your margarita and watch the waves. I'm reading the negative reviews and I don't quite understand what they are saying. It is a new resort. There are always things to work out when starting anything new. But from my vantage point, Blue Diamond is off to a great start. If you want a smaller, intimate, luxurious resort, this is the place to be. When we needed anything, we only had to ask. The spa is relaxing and beautiful, and our treatments were wonderful. The staff from the front desk to bellmen, to the bartenders, to housekeepers were exceptional. I'm already planning my next trip back and as a family, this is going to be one of our go-to places to spend Christmas. This is definitely one place to check out. You won't be disappointed!!!

Room Tip: There are no bad rooms. You will have exceptional privacy and peace wherever you stay on the proper...
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Leticia L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 January 2014

I was excited at the prospect of staying at this hotel as I work in the hospitality industry and it is always nice to be a guest rather than a host. However, I am sorry to say that I will not be staying at the hotel as the customer service was perhaps the worst I have experienced. I called twice inquiry about a simple occupancy question and the first time was lead on a phone tree of holds before finally reaching a spanish message machine which I was unable to understand. I called again and the woman who spoke to me was not only flippant and rude but treated me as though my question was ridiculous. As someone who faces customer service needs daily I resent that a hotel could make potential clients feel this way and therefore I will be staying elsewhere and encouraging my friends to do the same should they visit the area.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with friends
    • Service
6  Thank Leila B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 January 2014

We just returned from a stay during the Christmas to New Years period. The property and rooms are great but the service is terrible. While I thought this was a steal for a 5 star property/Small Luxury Hotel, it turns out that the service is far from 5 star. I lost track of the number of times we made the same request three or four times and still nothing happened. Service at the beach restaurant for breakfast and lunch was particularly bad. Dining should not be stressful. We almost felt like it was a victory when we received all our food and drinks.

The hotel is way understaffed and under managed. They need more waiters, people to take charge or the wait staff and kitchen, pool and beach staff, and golf cart drivers.

The property is very spread out. You need either a bike or golf cart to get to beach. The hotel doesn't have nearly enough bikes and the ones they have are in terrible condition (bikes are cheap so I don't understand why they don't have more). This wouldn't be a problem if you didn't have long waits for the golf carts to pick you up.

The gym is small. There are four treadmills (one is very old), an elliptical and a bike. The bike and a treadmill were broken for our entire stay and the wait for a machine could be long. There are also several weight machines.

This hotel has the potential to be a really great resort. If only the service could match the quality of the rooms, pool and beach.

Room Tip: Don't go during peak travel times.
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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5  Thank ctlakehouse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 January 2014

Writing this review as we sit in the lush lobby waiting for our car to the airport. I absolutely love this resort-- I cannot understand the few negative reviews. Hubby and I spent 5 days for our Babymoon- the resort was exactly what I was looking for: small, initimate, and super luxurious. This property was originally a Mandarin Oriental resort, that says it all about the quality of the rooms and grounds. We stayed in a Laguna junior suite: it was huge, bathroom was bigger than our NYC bedroom! I was nervous about the walk from our room to the pool/spa/etc given that I am 7 months pregnant , but the walk anywhere in the property was less than 10 mins and it was good to get some exercise. Lots of golfarts running around if you wanted the ride.

The food was really amazing considering that this is an all-inclusive resort. I felt like we got incredible value for our money. Great variety of food and it never got old-- even after 5 days. We ate delicious lunches every day on beach chairs -- that alone made the trip special. Ceviche, sushi and fajitas were delicious-- you cannot go wrong with any of the Mexican dishes. Breakfast was always delicious, and I really appreciated that none of the meals were buffet. Drinks were all very high end. Hubby had Jack Daniels and grey goose daily-- wine list looked excellent too. There were so many little extras that made the experience above and beyond: all the snack and drinks in the mini bar are included, as well as free wi-if anywhere on the property.

Overall, a wonderful and rejuvenating experience. I would recommend Blue Diamond without reservation. My only disappointment is that this hotel is adults only-- so we can't come back next year with our bambino!

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Bethany F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 January 2014

This resort is unique on the Riviera Maya. It is beautifully located within the natural jungle with a cenote, lagoon, and streams. It is quiet and private with 128 rooms: very unlike almost all of the other Cancun and Riviera Maya gigantic, partying oriented resorts.

We did have a problem with a banging ventilation system that took 2 days to resolve by changing our room. There are only 3 restaurants, all with very good food, but the same menu and the number of servers were inadequate, especially at the ocean front restaurant and the beach.

Overall this resort is wonderful for adults wishing quiet and privacy, but access to Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Chichan-Itxa, and Cnacun.

Room Tip: All the rooms are very large, bright, very private and amongst the best resort rooms I have ever sta...
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank mchlgrnvl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 December 2013

This hotel looks great, beautiful surroundings but that is all you get.
Service is the worst I have ever experienced in a 5 or even 3 or 4 star hotel.

You have to call and wait for everything. Transportation ( wait 20 minutes at least), fill up your bath tub ( you can not do that your self) call and wait 30 minutes, ask reception to inform you about excursions, they just handover the phone and the help you get is that they do dial the number of an extremely overpriced organisation. Get a cab wait 30 minutes. Even ordering drinks takes ages.

When you make your booking online, this hotel promisses bicycles. When you arrive there aren't any. How hard is it to do the math and get each room two bicycles?

Housekeeping does not make your room untill 5 pm, if you call them and ask to do so. They totally forgot about us. The lunch at the restaurant at the beach today was a chaos. The staff was incompetent, drinks arrived by time you had finished your food. Complete mess ups. And the restrooms were even worse. Toilet broke down, no toilet papier no towels.

When we wanted to go out the resort we asked for a taxi. We had to call transportation wait for 20 minutes to get to the lobby, called a taxi waited for 30 minutes and worst of all they have fixed prices since blue diamond is an upscale hotel you have to pay 30$ dollars to go one way to playa del carmen. Normaly you have to pay around 10$.

At the time we came back we asked for a breakfast to go for tomorrow morning. We are planning to go out to Tulum and leave before the main restaurant opens. Every middle class hotel will provide you with a paper bag, coffee, juice and some sandwiches. Here at blue diamond they will not provide such a thing. You can call room service for breakfast and they will charge you for $20,- extra.

Lets see, our television was broke and the docking station as well. The phone in the bathroom kept on ringing in the middle of the night. There is just nothing relaxing about your stay here.

We complained at the reception, but got no respons. Thats almost 8 hours ago.

So if you really want to pay a whole lot of money to spent your holiday waiting, to make every arrangement by your self, there is no coordination or staff checking up on quality, then feel free to pick this hotel.

If you spent your normal life working very long hours and you want to feel completely free of worrys and get pampered do not come here. The only thing they provide is a lot of frustration.

Never again! Worst ever!

Room Tip: If you fancy really hard matrasses this is the place to stay. No luxury, just basic.
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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    • Sleep Quality
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9  Thank Jo J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Blue Diamond Luxury Boutique Hotel

Address: Km. 298-816, Carretera Federal 307 | Chetumal-Puerto Juarez, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico (Formerly Blue Diamond Riviera Maya)
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#14 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#20 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#21 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#36 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: £291 - £635 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Blue Diamond Luxury Boutique Hotel 4.5*
Number of rooms: 128
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
On the pristine coast of the world famous Riviera Maya, Blue Diamond Riviera Maya is a sanctuary of breathtaking beauty and peace, surrounded by nature mixed with luxury. This exclusive hideaway is set in 36 acres of lush tropical jungle, well manicured gardens and a spectacular palm filled white sandy beaches along the turquoise – colored Caribbean Sea, offering unparalleled pampering and rejuvenation. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Blue Diamond Luxury Boutique Hotel Mexico/Riviera Maya - Playa Del Carmen

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