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!
- 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
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Blue Diamond Luxury Boutique Hotel Mexico/Riviera Maya - Playa Del Carmen