This review is actually for our stay from February 18th to February 25th 2011. The trip included 3 adults and was a University graduation gift for our daughter as she is history major.
We had booked the trip with Air Canada Vacations through Sears Travel with the professional help of Margo Cormier – great service. The trip was booked in early fall 2010 and you can imagine our shock when along with the rest of the world heard about the tragic event which occurred in November 2010 at the Resort. We were not booked into the Platinum section so we did not let the event discourage us from making the trip.
We arrived in Cancun on Friday February 18th 2011 and travelled by shuttle van to the Riviera Maya arriving at the Grand Riviera Princess in just under an hour. Imagine our surprise when we checked in that we were upgraded to the Platinum section. The incredible work done by the Resort staff masked any of the signs of the tragic event. I work in the field of life safety and emergency planning and from what I seen I had no concerns for our personal safety.
It did not take long for my family to question what the naysayers had to say about this Resort. Could this be the same Resort that some people complained about? From the registration and check-in, meals, entertainment, the abundance of one’s favourite beverages, the caring nature of the staff; we had nothing but praise for this Resort. We stayed on the Riviera side however you get access to both the Riviera and Sunset Resorts. They are pretty much the same, with different restaurants and bars.
On Saturday morning we attended the briefing by our Air Canada representative. This session was very helpful as we decided on three excursions to satisfy my Mayan history buff which we chose to book through our Air Canada Rep. We took the day long tour to Chichen Itza, also the day long Coba - Mayan encounter expedition, and the half day Tulum Express. We never regretted taking these tours, fantastic and knowledgeable tour guides – and worth every peso. For your information I decided to charge the 3 tours to my credit card and found that I got a better exchange rate. Hint, hint. We spread the trips out with a day off in between to rest as there is a lot of walking, but oh so worth it. Here is a bit of information on the tours:
No visitor to the Yucatan Peninsula should leave without visiting Chichen Itza. Over 25 square kilometers, Chichen Itza is one of the most studied and visited ruins of the Mayan world. You will learn about the most impressive building, the Castle of Kukulcan (Pyramid), which rises to over 30 meters. However it is no longer possible to climb the pyramid. You will also see the war-like symbols of the Ball Court and discover the Platform of Eagles and Jaguars, and much more. Chichen Itza was voted one of the New 7 Wonders of the World in 2007. On the way you will also stop at a Cenote which is a deep natural pit or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. Especially associated with the Yucatán Peninsula, cenotes were sometimes used by the ancient Maya for sacrificial offerings.
Coba - Mayan encounter expedition
The tour will have you exploring Coba in the midst of the Mayan jungle. Cobá is one of the most important archaeological sites in the area. It was at one time a very large city spread over 80 square kilometres. The main pyramid, Nohoch Mul meaning 'large hill', is 42 meters tall (138 feet) and is the highest in the Yucatan peninsula – this one you can actually climb and the view from the top will take your breath away. You will also visit an authentic Mayan village where you will enjoy an authentic Mayan meal. Then you can canoe on a lake and if you are lucky you may get a glimpse of numerous monkeys then soar on a zip-line through the Mayan jungle – watch out for the crocodiles, take part in a Mayan purification ceremony before making a thrilling rappel descent to submerge yourself in an ancient cenote all while hiking through the jungle.
We took the half-day tour to discover Tulum, the last city built by the Maya and once a busy port. Discover one of the most beautiful Mayan cities and the only one overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Tulum is thought to have been a major Mayan port. You can explore the temple of Frescoes, the Temple of the Descending God, and "El Castillo" in its grandeur on the top of the sea cliffs. Then you can take a quick dip at one of the most spectacular beaches on the Riviera Maya.
The room in the Platinum Section at the Grand Riviera Princess was very nice and spacious - well decorated. You get a large marble shower, a Jacuzzi in the bathroom and one on the balcony which we didn't use. The Platinum building is absolutely gorgeous, and just about a 2 minute walk to the beach where there is a private area for guests in the Platinum and Villa sections. The Platinum section was located at the end of the resort but you get there in 5 minutes or less from the principal lobby with the shuttle which we only used on arrival as we needed to walk after the fantastic meals we enjoyed during our stay.
The grounds are absolutely beautiful! We had the opportunity to try almost all of the a la carte restaurants, with our favourites being Swiss Restaurant “La Fondue” (where the waiters entertain you the whole evening), and the Asiatic Restaurant “Miso”. Excellent service and the meals were delicious.
There is always something happening day and night at the resort so you can do as much or as little as you wish. Take the time to get to know the resort staff, they are absolutely wonderful people who will go out of their way to make you stay as pleasant as possible; but remember we are guests in their country and a little respect goes a long way. We truly enjoyed our stay and will be back for sure. Hasta luego to our many friends at the Grand Riviera Princess.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Grand Riviera Princess All Suites Resort & Spa is located on the stunning Riviera Maya, just three kilometers from the famous Playa Del Carmen, in beautiful surrounds, with large and spacious natural parks and the delight of a good tropical weather. Besides our fascinating beach, renowned for the clear water and splendid sea beds, typical of the east end of the Yucatan Peninsula, the Hotel invites you to discover the huge wealth of the archaeological remains of the Maya culture in this area. After crossing the spacious lobby the splendid "Paseo de los Dioses" is reached, which invites the costumers to discover the charm of the hotel. It is a gift to our senses to enjoy all our facilities that can be found to our left and right on the way to the marvelous beach awaiting for everybody at the way of the pleasant stroll.Opened in December 2007, Grand Riviera Princess offers 674 fully equipped rooms with a range of services that give the clients a variety of possibilities to choose from: Junior Suite, Junior Suite Deluxe (some with direct pool access), Platinum Suites and Laguna Villa Suites (ideal for the most romantic honeymoon).A fascinating Spa is offered to all the clients, and the most complete activity program during day and night. A range of services in the varied and international selection of top quality food provide the perfect counterpoint when sharing moments of peace and calm with excellent meals in beautiful and inviting specially decorated surrounds, some of which are by the sea. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Riviera Princess All Suites Resort And Spa
- Grand Riviera Princess All Hotel Playa Del Carmen
- Grand Riviera Princess Hotel
- Grand Riviera Princess All Suites Resort & Spa Mexico/Riviera Maya - Playa Del Carmen