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Heaven at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya
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Reviewed 17 February 2012

We had been to this resort 2 years ago..loved it, but things have changed since then...This is an all inclusive resort. (We are Palace Members) Absolutely gorgeous property and rooms. However, the owners of the Palace Resort chain have divided the hotels. Some will stay Palace, others will become Hard Rocks.This one is slated to become a Hard Rock Hotel within the year and they have already started to make some minor changes. The most obvious and annoying one? Day one. Go to breakfast at an outside table. Lovely panoramic view of the ocean and lagoons. The seagulls are soaring, the ocean waves are making that soothing noise as they break on the water...and what do we hear?? "CAT SCRATCH FEVER" is being BLARED over the speakers at the restaurant. Talk about a mood killer.. This is at 7 am in the morning! I am fairly young and like music, but come on...not appropriate music for the setting. If you want to always have background music, play some of the more mellow coffee house/ballad type songs by the famous artists..ok..the day wears on. Live band is playing cheesy covers of American 70-80s bands by the pool. Drunk swimmers are hooting and hollering to the music. We move as far away from the pool area as we can get to escape the noise. Can still hear the music blaring. Again, buzz kill! I understand you will always have two kinds of vacationers, some want to party, but some just want to get away and relax and unwind. You would think at a SPA property, the emphasis would be on relaxation? Not here. Still not letting things get to me, I'm on vacation in Paradise, have $1500 in resort credits to use....Now the fun really starts. This resort is in love with paperwork. To the extreme! In order to book spa, golf, outings, anything (except the Kodak picture package) you have to go to the Vacation Planners office. Its a little coroporate office off the lobby. You walk in, tell the desk what you want and then get to sit and wait for another person to help you make the appointments. I can deal with that. Not a bad wait, but then... the person trying to book our spa and golf appointments is clearly having a hard time with the computer. It took over an HOUR AND A HALF to book two spa appts and one round of golf. I lost over 900 spa dollars because their computer system was so messed up the poor guy couldn't get me appointments,so I couldn't use them. Same thing when I tried to book services at Beauty Salon. Ridiculous! The kid told me they have a new computer system due to the split of the chain. It is obviously causing all kinds of problems...mostly at the expense of the guests! Another example. When we arrive, we get to our room, the bellboy opens the door and ..its already occupied! Good thing the couple inside was dressed and not in bed!! So we stand in the hallway and wait...(again) for the bellboy to call the front desk and get us another room. The rooms, food, and Spa themselves were all perfect. It is the annoying things like the loud, inappropriate music, wasting hours trying to book services, and get credits resolved that ruin an otherwise perfect setting. We had transferred here from the sister resort in Playacar. and our resort credits for some reason (those darn computers again) did not. You would think this would be resolved by one person and one phone call??? NO, we must have spoken to over 8 people on at least three separate occasions (and always when we were trying to use them, and had to divert to waste time on this) and as of the day we checked out, they were still messed up. One of the things I wanted to use my credits on was "unavailable"( The spa blisse takeaway package). They had run out. Really??? My theory is that they make it so hard to use the credits you give up. The credits are $ given to them by the Mexican government to promote tourism. I'm beginning to think they (the resort) get to keep whatever isn't used. If not, then they really need to get some consultants in there to help them with their computer systems and appointment software before they lose more business. I'm a calm person and never lost it, but I witnessed two other people go nuts about similar messes and one guy actually said he was leaving because of it. Everyone we talked to had similar issues. The resort needs to understand a fundamental fact about people on vacation. We are there to relax, drink, eat and enjoy the sun, NOT WASTE VALUABLE vacation time sitting in an air conditioned office waiting, and waiting, and waiting...I was joking with one of the vacation planners, just give me $1500 in play money and let me spend it. Why do I have to keep coming back here? For example, to use my $100 credit at jewelry store. They couldn't just charge it to my room and let the computer track it. I had to go make an appt, wait, get a voucher and then return to the store with it! Nuts. I would estimate we spent well over 6 hours of our week waiting on the computers or working out issues with our resort credits. If you don't plan on using the resort credits, then you may not have these issues. Again,do not be discouraged by the above, the resort is gorgeous, the staff are wonderful. the food was excellent (except room service food was not up to par). I feel bad for the staff. They didn't say it, but you can tell they are unhappy with the changes being forced upon them as a result of the switch to Hard Rock. They want to make the customer happy, but do not have the tools to do so. I hope this works out for the owner, my theory is that by changing over to Hard Rock he will get more business, but it will not be from Palace Members. The level of service was not the same this time as it was two years ago. It might just be growing pains, maybe it will settle down..but we will probably not come back here again when we can go to the other existing/remaining Palace Properties that cater to the customer and provide an unsurpassed level of service that was sadly lacking at this resort.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank mlb50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Customer Servic... A, Guest Relations Manager at Heaven at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded 8 March 2012

On behalf of Aventura Palace, I thank you for taking the time to send us your comments and observations about our resort. Feedback is extremely important to us as it helps us know how we are doing in terms of service and facilities.

We regret to know that the music in our areas is not of your entire satisfaction, as you may know, it is part of our transition to the Hard Rock Hotel concept, please note that guests are able to request certain types of music to which can be played.

We regret to learn that the benefit of the Resort Credit was not to your entire satisfaction, and deeply apologize for the inconveniences this may have caused.

However, you may rest assured that we take all of our Guests comments with the utmost importance and based on such, we take the necessary steps to prevent the occurring of inconveniences to our Guests. Adjustments are being implemented continuously to enable us to keep providing excellent service. We are confident that as a result of these actions we will continue being reliable and customer responsive. Your comments have been shared as well with key Staff in our organization, most importantly including our Management Team.

Our goal is that every vacation will be a memorable one and we in Aventura Palace hope that you will give us the opportunity to host you at any of our Resorts in Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

Best regards.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 February 2012

Adults only all inclusive spa resort. What's not to love about this?
Not one bad thing to be said; this place was amazing! I will definitely plan to stay again.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled with friends
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2  Thank ChennyEsq
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Customer Servic... A, Guest Relations Manager at Heaven at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded 8 March 2012

We very much appreciate your kindly comments, and we are glad to know that our resort fulfill your expectations.

Our goal is that every vacation will be a memorable one and it will be a pleasure to host you again at any of our Resorts in Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

Best regards,

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 February 2012

The hotel location wonderful. The restaurants were excellent with the exception of the sushi restaurant. The beverages and entertainments were awsome.
The only bad part was the vacation sales people, like Mr Rock who will lie to trick to sign a contract. When you ask him "so what is this mean? " he just gave his explaination and made us dummies sign. The best part is they will video tape you signing the contract which gives you as a buyer an assurance that you are going to be ok because you have all the explanation on the video. We asked Mr Rock why are you video taping us to sign the contract. He explained that it is company policy to make sure the client understands the contract while signing and there will not be any misunderstanding.
Two months later we tried to book a trip and it was a hassle. The reservation agents were like " I am sorry you cannot do this and cannot do that".
Not to forget the RCI diamond hotels that Mr Rock promises you are not even 1 star hotel according to Tripadvisor or any other website.
All of them far away from the center of the town.
This hotel is amazing, just avoid the vacation sales people. Your whole one day will be wasted and possibly your life saving.

Room Tip: all rooms are good. Every room faces the beach.
  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank mujak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Customer Servic... A, Guest Relations Manager at Heaven at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded 8 March 2012

We very much appreciate your kindly comments, and we are so glad to know that your overall stay was as you expected.

We would like to extend our heartfelt apologies for any inconvenience our staff may have caused during your stay; this is certainly not the image we strive to portray at Aventura Palace to our valued Customers.

Our goal is that every vacation will be a memorable one and it will be a pleasure to host you again at any of our Resorts in Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

Best regards.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 February 2012

http://www.palaceresorts.com/aventuraspa/default-en.html
We went to the Aventura Spa Palace which is all inclusive. The property was beautiful with lots of things to do. This resort is connect to another resort with is family friendly. Each room had a jacuzzi, a stocked mini fridge with tons of drinks that they refilled. There was also alcohol in the room should you want a drink. Our room faced the Nature trail. I enjoyed the view and even saw a monkey swinging Each room has a patio or balcony with table, chairs, and hammock. The restaurants were wonderful. There were many choices. The staff was top rate! Included in the price was "Vacation Bucks". My husband had a massage and I had a manicure. With the vacation bucks you could take many day trips (Chichen Itza, Isla Mujeres, Coba, Wet’n Wild, Tulum, Xcaret eco-archeological parkand Swim with the Dolphins. They also had a tour that was called a lobster dinner cruise. DON"T do that! You have to sit on a Catamaran where you can't get up, so you can only talk to the person next to you. They took pictures of you when you went in, but upon leaving would only sell you a disc of the pictures. While it was beautiful when we got off the boat as there were screened in rooms on the beach, the food was horrible! Go for the romantic dinner at the resort instead. The didn't have a beach, but a protected inlet off the Caribbean Sea, wade, swim, snorkel and kayak in the tranquil waters. There are several pools including an Indoor pool (I burn really bad) was beautiful with Stained Glass ceiling. We used some of our vacation bucks on a trip to Tulum (kind of a let down if you have be to Chichen Itza), Lobster dinner cruise, and swimming with the dolphins.
The point is: Great restaurants, wonderful staff, beautiful resort, great rooms, and the vacation bucks saved us from spending any of our money on side trips. I would highly recommend this resort!!!!

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank moakley64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Customer Servic... A, Guest Relations Manager at Heaven at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded 8 March 2012

We very much appreciate your kindly comments, and we are glad to know that our resort fulfill your expectations.

We regret to know that the Catamaran Tour was not of your entire satisfaction, please note that this service is provided by an independent contractor which the resort cannot be held liable for.

However, we are very glad to know that these inconveniences did not affect your overall experience at the Resort.l

Our goal is that every vacation will be a memorable one and it will be a pleasure to host you again at any of our Resorts in Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

Best regards.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 February 2012

A little about me, I am in my mid thirties traveling with my spouse and 4 other couples of the same age range. I have traveled the world from Asia, Europe and central America, stayed in a multitude of hotels from 3 to 5 star and ultra luxury hotels. This is my forth visit to the Riviera Maya area and my 8th trip to Mexico. I have stayed at Riu, Bahia Principe, Barcelo, Palladium properties and a recent stay at the Iberostar Quetzal Tucan in 2011. I always try to budget an all inclusive getaway per year keeping in mind my max is 1300-1400$ per person.

I would also like to remind reviewers that hotel ratings vary from country to country, from vacation providers and such. For example the European rating system only takes into account amenities offered on the resort whether there’s a mini bar, pool, spa etc determines the star level nothing else. Vacation providers use a similar rating system, taking in to account customer experience and profitability (they appear to favor hotels that give them a kick back). Furthermore big hotel chains such as Riu’s, Iberostar’s and Bahia Principe’s etc. offer different 5 star options at different price points remember the higher price points such as the Grand Hotels (Iberostar) Palace (Riu) etc. will give you newer hotel with more elaborate amenities and options. This by far was a true representation of a 5 start resort other than the beach.

Location: 5/5 15-20 min. safe taxi ride to Playa Del Carmen. The resort is located about 5 min from Puerto Aventuras Resort area 10 min to Akumal Beach (recommend). Travel time from the airport is about an hour depending on other stops. However during this trip we were the first ones off with subsequent scheduled stops to Barcelo, Grand Sirenis and Bahia Principe. Free shuttle service to Playacar Golf Course is available through the hotel twice a day 8h30 or 10h30 with a scheduled return at 15h10 and 16h10. You can walk to Playa Del Carmen about a 10 min walk from the Playacar Golf Course. I have read other reviewers saying it was in a bad area which is completely false the golf course is in the Playacar Resort area where the Riu, Iberostar, Wyndham among others are located many clients including myself walk this road many times it is very safe monitored by the Tourist police frequently. A nice plus during our stay was that the shuttle dropped us off at the Playacar Palace entrance and day passes are still available however it is unclear whether this option will be available once the name change happens.

Check-In: 4/5 We initially booked rooms on the cove side of the resort however upon arrival we were dropped off at the Spa end of the resort as the Cove lobby was closed due to our late arrival. We were advised that we were upgraded to partial ocean view rooms on the Spa side as we were all adults in our party. Checkin was quick however they failed to check us in for the entire 7 day stay which created an issue with the $1500 credits which was quickly rectified the following day. However, it still was a nuisance. No bracelets required throughout the resort which is a huge plus!

Beach 3/5: Despite being well aware that there was no beach or a man made beach prior to booking we remained optimistic and hoped the lagoon area was swimmable. Well it wasn’t the man made beach area has hard sand. When entering the lagoon you realize that there is algae at the bottom and do not want to swim further. I hope with the upgrades planned for the Hard Rock transition, they will add fresh sand on the beach area so that it could be used for sun bathing. There’s not much they could do about the lagoon. Not much to offer for snorkeling. On the plus side they still offer access to Playacar Palace which is a definite plus as the playacar beach is one of the best in the riviera. Hopefully the rumors of ceasing to offer this perk when the transition happens are false as this was the main reason why we decided to go ahead and book this hotel. Other alternatives in the area are the Puerto Aventuras Beach and Akumal Beach. The latter is about a 10 min ride at 13USD per way from the hotel. Akumal beach is beautiful offers great snorkeling with sea turtles, sting rays and a pretty good reef.

Grounds 5/5: Beautiful lush mature vegetation is located throughout the resort. Most restaurants are located beach side and ocean front. Waterfalls, fountains and all other expected amenities and decor you would expect from a 5 star resort and the associated wildlife.

Pools 5/5: There are 3-4 outdoor pools, and 2 indoor located in the spa area. Two huge free form pools the largest located in the Cove side which includes a pool bar, was empty throughout our stay as it was on the family side of the resort. The spa side free form pool features a pool side bar, 3-4 whirlpools, most adults congregate in this area as the activities music are located there. There’s a small current pool which is in a quiet area. Overall there is a place for everyone to find an area by the pool. No Towel cards which is a definite plus

Bars: 5/5: Top shelf drinks readily available pick your poison never had an issue with top shelf availability. Service was great. Wait staff around the pool and at the bars were great. Excellent service throughout. Not as much service pool side on the Cove side. As the area was empty.

Rooms 5/5: Linens, towels readily available and frequently changed. Amenities such as shampoo, soaps ect. restocked daily. Alcohol dispenser available, mini bar restocked daily, rooms cleaned thoroughly. The whirlpool tub does take a lot of room but is a nice feature we used it often. Hammock available on the balcony. Elevators available in every building. Room Service was quick, breakfast in bed available. Excellent!

Entertainment 5/5: Entertainment staff available throughout, lots of activities available, nightly shows are run of the mill resort shows. Activities included fun, group oriented poolside activities to sports oriented. Great Fitness Centre with Spin, Yoga etc. Live bands poolside on Mondays, music throughout mostly Rock due to the transition. Live rock, latin, piano performances in both central courtyards at the Cove and Spa. The Disco is in the Cove section needs to be renovated as it is showing it’s age. The conventions that were going on during the week we stayed there kept it hopping. Late night bar on the lagoon spa side is great for having a couple of drinks ocean side.

Food 5/5: Above par run of the mill resort hotel food with better choices than some never left hungry. Wait staff was excellent. Never had an issue with access to the A-la-cartes no reservation required the Italian was the most popular. Never eat at the buffet during the evenings as there a multitude of A-la-cart options available throughout. The lunch buffet was above par. Breakfast was OK. For those with children staying on the Cove side you will not have access to the 3 restaurants located on the Spa side as they are adults only which limits your selection however the options on the Cove side are very good.

Spa 5/5: As all know this is the highlight of the hotel. If staying on the Spa side you can use all 1500 of the credits towards Spa services. Book early as space is limited. We booked on our second day. Availability was a nuisance however we were able to schedule Deep Tissue, Hot Stone and couples massages which were all great. Facials, pedicures and wraps had good reviews. One in our party had used the spa credits for a wax and a haircut. Spa had a steam rooms and tubs etc. Excellent

Service 6/5: The strong point of this hotel Exceptional attentive staff from all points. Buffet and A la Carte service was excellent. Maid service excellent. Beach/Pool service excellent. Lobby bar service excellent. Service with a smile at all times. The only hiccup was the credit issue but it was quickly corrected by guest services who hunted us down to tell us the issue was resolved.

Overall I would highly recommend this hotel, if not for the lack of a beach. The hotel would be an exceptional 5 star hotel should they have one. I will return if they continue to offer the access to the Playacar Palace as its a good alternative to having a beach on site. Don’t listen to the bad reviewers I find they are usually from Palace Time Share members that expect too much for what they paid for. I doubt the hotel will be offered at this price point once the conversion takes effect as the Punta Cana prices have shot up about 500 to 700 dollars when it converted so take advantage of the low pre conversion rate!

Room Tip: Take a cab to Akumal for a great day trip to the Beach and Good Snorkeling!
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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9  Thank CanSunSeeker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Customer Servic... A, Guest Relations Manager at Heaven at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded 8 March 2012

We very much appreciate your kindly comments, and we are glad to know that your overall stay was as you expected.

Regarding the access to Playacar Palace, we encourage all of our guests to visit our web site in order to have updated information as soon as the transition concludes.

Our goal is that every vacation will be a memorable one and we in Aventura Palace hope that you will give us the opportunity to host you again at any of our Resorts in Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

Best regards.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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