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“Barcelo Maya Palace” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hotel Barcelo Maya Beach

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Hotel Barcelo Maya Beach
Ranked #11 of 17 Hotels in Puerto Aventuras
Ottawa
Level Contributor
36 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“Barcelo Maya Palace”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 April 2009

Although I travel to the Riviera Maya back in July 2008, I though I would write this review to help those out there that may find this helpful.

As said in all of my reviews, I am a 22 year old single male. When I go on vacations it is to get away from everyday life and to relax, be pampered and enjoy the local sites and culture. For this trip I went with my best friend, as this was sort of a birthday gift to myself as well as a new start as I had just come out of a 3 year relationship. This was a fresh start for me and really helped me to move on.

I planned my trip to the Barcelo Maya Palace for the 05Jul08 departure from Toronto Pearson International with Transat Holidays. It was an early afternoon flight from Toronto to Cancun. My travel companion and I drove from Ottawa to Toronto the night before and stayed with her family for the night so we would be able to get the airport on time with ease.

Our flight was with Air Transat. Check in was very smooth and quick. We had the opportunity to do a little bit of duty free shopping before boarding our flight to Cancun.
As of June 2008, Air Transat had reconfigured there aircraft seating to allow passengers an additional 2 inches of leg room. This was a comfortable flight, the service was attentive and the food was better than I had remembered. I was able to get my hands on some free beverage coupons prior to departure so I was able to have a champagne lunch.

Upon arrival into Cancun, there was a bit of a line at the customs and immigration, it took some time, however, every time I’ve been to this airport there always seems to be a bit of a line. Luggage arrived at the carousel in a prompt timing. One thing to mention *VERY IMPORTANT* on the walk from the luggage pick up to the exit doors of the airport where you are to pick up your luggage, there will be individuals dressed up like some of the major tour operator representatives. If these individuals do not have the tour operator logo on there shirts or are not holding your tour operators logo on a sign…they are not tour operator representatives. These are people who are out to sell you excursion packages, time shares, and other crap that you do not need. They have been known to cause some individuals a lot of grief on their vacations and also some serious financial loss. These people can be very aggressive, manipulative and cause you to miss your scheduled transfer to the resort. This could be a problem because then you must find your own way to the resort, which means more money out of your pocket. All I can say is be careful! And keep walking until you get out the exit doors. It is out here that you will find the Tour Operator representatives.

The day after guests arrive at destination there is usually an orientation given by the Destination Representative from the tour operator you have traveled with. I highly recommend going to this as they will provide you with some very useful information on the area itself, things to do and not to do, places to visit and not to visit as well and information of excursions that are available.

The bus transfer from the Cancun Airport to the Barcelo Maya Complex is anywhere between 1hour 15min and 1hour 45mins. It all depends on how many other resorts passengers are dropped off at on the way.

Palace Resort and Accommodations
I had been to this resort complex 6 months prior to my planned vacation on a Familiarization Trip. I loved the Barcelo Maya Colonial so much that I wanted to come back to this resort complex again. Upon arrival at the lobby of the Barcelo Maya Palace, we were escorted to the check in counter. The lobby is stunning, marble floors and has a very open and spacious concept. Check in was seamless. The lead in category at this resort is a Junior Suite, however they do have suites available as well. There is also and opportunity to upgrade to their Premium service which gets you a room with an Oceanview and premium brand beverages. The rest of the rooms at this resort are Gardenview. There are very nice as they are more quiet then the ocean view rooms. The rooms offer 2 double beds or 1 king bed in the room. The junior suites were a great size, very spacious and luxurious. There was a separate seating area with 2 sofas and a large balcony or terrace. The back rooms have a double vanity with 2 bowl like sinks, toilet, bathtube with shower and than a separate rain fall shower beside the bath tube (yes you heard me correctly…there are 2 showers. The room has dark mahogany like furnishings.

Pools
This resort have a very large pool area with a swim up bar. Possibly the largest pool I have ever seen. There are plenty of loungers available by the pool area as well as the ceramic lounger built in the pools. Swim up bar is available in the main pool area. There is plenty or shade available for those who do not like being in the sun all day. There is also a separate pool area specifically for adults. There are day beds available at this adult’s only section. There is a bar dedicated to this area as well, however it was not a swim up bar. A little tip, it you tip the bartender really well at the beginning of the day, he will continually bring you drink.

Beach
The beach at this complex is possibly one of the nicest beaches in the Riviera Maya. It is a 2 km stretch of beach which is great for walking. There is a board walk that runs down the beach for the entire complex. This goes from the Barcelo Maya Palace right down to the Barcelo Maya Beach Resort. To be very honest, the beach right in front of the Palace is rather coarse and there is coral in the water. To avoid having your feet look like raw hamburger, take a 30 second stroll down the beach to the Tropical and Colonial section right next door. The beach here is great with powder white sand. You may use the bar and restaurant facilities at all the resorts around the complex.

Food and Restaurants
The Barcelo Maya Palace has 6 Restaurants for it’s resort guests. There are 2 different buffet restaurants. The Hacienda Buffet which is open for breakfast and dinner. There is also the Mirador Buffet which is only open for dinner. The Coral Grill is open for lunch only. There are 3 different a la carte restaurant available exclusively for the guests in the Palace Section. The French restaurant which I found to be very good. They had a good variety of traditional French items on the menu. Many of these item include fish and shellfish, however they do have many other options as well. The Caribbean restaurant was our favorite. Fresh seafood and fish prepared to order. They did have other options on the menu as well that cater to people who are not into seafood. My travel companion had the filet mignon. It was superb. The Brazilian is the last of the exclusive a la carte restaurants to the Palace guests. This restaurant was just ok. They serve up different cuts of meat with potatoes and rice. Some very interesting meat selections. You will have the opportunity to try Donkey, Iguana Sausage (tastes like chicken), Blood sausage, Beef and Pork. It’s unfortunate that all the meat seemed to be marinated in the same marinade. As these are exclusive to Palace guests, patrons from the other resorts on the complex must pay to use them. There are 6 other restaurants available to you from around the complex. There is the Mexican restaurant at the Barcelo Beach. The food here was good. Traditional Mexican food. The Spanish restaurant is between the Colonial and the Caribe sections serving up Spanish flare. There is Bali Hai at the Colonial and Tropical sections serving Asian Fusion cuisine. This restaurant is always booked so book your reservation early if you plan to get into this one. There is also a Steakhouse, Seafood and Italian restaurants available for reservations. With the Prestige Class Inclusions from Transat Holidays, when staying at the Palace you will receive 5 guaranteed reservations at the a la carte. You may book these upon your arrival with the concierge in the Lobby. There are many other eatery options available to your from around the complex. There are the buffet restaurants at each the resort sections available to you as well. This provides a better variety as the resorts do not necessary serve up the same menu. We would rotate between the buffet at the Palace and the buffet at the Colonial. For lunch as the Coral Grill can be repetitive, we would take a quick Stroll down the beach to Captain Morgans. They serve up fresh to order burgers, chicken, and fish dishes as well as plenty of Margaritas.

Spa and Fitness
The Palace does have it’s own spa available to guests providing a wide variety of treatment options. There are also massage beds available on the beach. The fitness center and hot tub are located between the Colonial and the Caribe section. There is only one hot tub on the complex and it is hidden in the fitness area. This is a very busy place especially before and after dinner. The hot tub has a capacity of 8 to 10 people.

The Complex
This resort complex is made up of 5 different sections. Starting with the Barcelo Maya Beach Resort. This is the oldest resort in the complex. Although there have been refurbishments done to this property, it has a more traditional Mexican feel to as in the décor and surroundings. The accommodation are on the more basic side offering standard room accommodations. The Barcelo Maya Caribe is the next section over. Again more of a traditional Mexican feel and standard accommodations. The Barcelo Maya Colonial and Tropical are next in line. They offer a higher standard of accommodation. Lead in room category is Deluxe Room, which are spacious and well appointed with large bathrooms and very private balconies. As the resorts in this entire complex are built back from the beach, most of the rooms are gardenview. Junior suites are available. These rooms are ocean/pool view. To this the newest addition is the Palace Resort which is at the North end of the complex.

Entertainment
There are daily activity programs available around the complex during the day. The water sports center is location on the beach by the Colonial section. Non motorized sports are included in your package. There are 2 kids waterparks available on the complex. One at the colonial and one at the Palace. Barcy’s Kids club is also available for parents that fancy some alone time (or wives that are looking to drop their husbands off before going to the spa). In the evening, there are a variety or choices for evening entertainment. There are 3 theatres around the complex offering different shows at each on a nightly basis. Some of them are very good and others are not. The lobby bar is a nice classy place to sit down and have a drink and good conversation. /you have the option of being outside or indoors with air conditioning.

Excursions
The Riviera Maya has an abundance of different excursions to offer it’s guests. You there are so many to choose from that you could come back 10 years in a row and do something different every time. During our stay we had the opportunity to meet with our destination representative. He was very informative on the different products that were available to us and arranged everything for us as well. We decided on doing the Coba Mayan Village with All Tour Native. This is an excellent tour company as the guide are very knowledgeable about the history and surrounding area. This was a full day tour. It was approx $124.00US per person and well worth the expense. They pick you up at the hotel and bring you to there head quarters located in the town of Tulum, you will be able to enjoy a good cup of coffee. For our tour we did the Coba ruins first thing in the morning, as it was July and very hot we were happy that it happened in this order. You arrive at the entrance of the Coba park and have an orientation with an archeologist about what some of the structure and building in the area are and what they were used for. After this briefing, you will have the opportunity to climb the tallest Mayan Ruin in the area. However, before you get to the ruin there is a 2 kms distance to get to the actual ruin. You have the option of walking the distance, renting a bike for $3US or renting a “Mayan Limousine” which is a bike with a seat at the front of it, there is a driver so there is no work required. If are are looking to climb up the ruin, the mayan limo is the way to go as you may be tired afterwards. The Mayan Limousine is approx $11US. After this you will have a short ride to one of the areas Cenotes (underground freshwater caves). You will have the opportunity to have a quick swim. The water is cool but really refreshing as you will be hot from the Coba climb. From here you will go to a traditional mayan village and have a traditional mayan lunch. After lunch you will do a zip line and repelling down a cliff. There is also time for a little bit of shopping for Mayan hand crafts. After this you head back to the resort.

The other excursion we did was to Xel-ha. This is kind of like an Eco-Park. It’s all inclusive so your meals and beverages are included. You have a chance to do some snorkeling and other activities such as snuba diving and swimming with Dolphins (additional $$$). The cost was approx $115.00 per person for the full day. This was ok, but once you have been, there’s no real reason to go back unless you really liked it. We going to Xel-ha they will try to hit you up for everything they have to offer at an additions cost. (ie. Biodegradable Sunscreen). I bought some biodegradeable sunscreen here in Canada and apparently it wasn’t good enough. So they made me buy theirs at $15.00 for a small tube.

Playa Del Carmen
I highly recommend going into Playa Del Carmen at least once during your stay. There is an opportunity for some great shopping and good bargains on Jewelry and handcraft items. This make for a really inexpensive night out and a great way to spend an evening. From the entrance of the complex you can catch the collective into Playa Del Carmen. It’s $2.00US per person and drops you off a block away from Fifth Avenue. This runs until approx 11pm. Taxis are also available however they do cost more.

Currency
When traveling to Mexico in general the easiest thing to do is to convert your Canadian Dollars into US Dollars. You can also convert into Mexican Pesos. I personally just find it easier to bring US currency and it is widely accepted everywhere. In regards to travelers cheques, I get this question a lot. It is best to avoid travelers cheques as they can be hard to cash and there is usually a processing fee to cash them.

Duty Free
The Cancun airport is a mecca for duty free items. They have all the international brands for cigarettes and alcohol available to you and usually always have some really good promotions (2 bottles of Absolut Vodka for $22.00US).

Gay and Lesbian Travel
Mexico has always been a hot spot for Gay and Lesbian travelers alike. Although, just like anywhere you have to be cautious, the general attitude toward Gay and Lesbian individuals is quite positive. When it comes to acts of homophobia, it isn’t usually the residence of Mexico that have an issue, it’s usually some of the guests staying in Mexico. Just be cautious and have a great time. Most importantly…be yourself!

Should anyone have any questions about the area or resorts, I would be more than happy to answer them for you. I am very familiar with this area and other resorts in the area as well.

  • Stayed July 2008, travelled on business
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
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16 Thank Travel_Connoisseur86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Edmonton, Alberta
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 April 2009

My new wife and i just returned from a fantastic one-week vacation (April 17-24) at the Barcelo Maya Beach resort, highlighted by our beach side wedding ceremony and celebration.

All told, 42 of us made the trip from cold Edmonton to the Mayan Riviera. Simply put, we were all extremely impressed with the resort, the rooms, the food, the beach . . . everything.

Registration was a breeze - they handled all of us in an efficient and timely manner and we were all in our rooms within 30 minutes of arriving. We found our rooms to be quiet, clean, and comfortable. Couple of tricks to remember: the access card must be left in the slot by the door to power the lights and air conditioner. Additionally, the air conditioner is triggered off if the french doors to the patio are opened. Kind of a nice (environmental) touch. While some have commented here on the firmness of the beds, we found them to be quite comfortable.

The food - my advice here is simple: book early for the a la carte restaurants, as they fill up fast. With more than 1000 rooms, how can they not? That said, the buffets are very good, and you'll be impressed with the variety and flavours. All 3 a la carte restaurants are amazing - all those who went raved about the quality and quantity of food. We ate at the Spanish and Steakhouse restaurants - the Blue Cheese Filet Steak at the former is among the best i've ever tasted.

The environment - 2 kms of beach - how can you go wrong?! The grounds around the resort are equally impressive. TIP: bring your own mask, snorkel and fins, as the snorkelling opportunities right off the beach are awesome. You can either swim right off the pier (north end of the resort) or swim directly out from the beach past the buoys. We did the latter several times every day and saw an abundance of ocean life, ranging from a large barracuda to rays, and everything in between. If you don't have snorkelling equipment, they can be taken from the dive shop for a $50 deposit (one hour maximum).

Our big day . . . was perfect. Seats were arranged on the beach, and my fiance was delivered right from her home by the wedding coordinator and a golf cart. The ceremony lasted about 30 minutes, with time afterward for celebration with complimentary champagne. We had time for pictures, then reconvened in a banquet room adjacent to the lobby. A sit down dinner was provided and we danced the rest of the night away with CDs made here. TIP: book a banquet room. The next evening we saw a bridal party and all guests in one of the a la carte restaurants. It appeared nice, but they did not have any privacy, struggled to sit together, and were like fish in a bowl for the other guests. It costs more, but it really makes the evening.

Service: overall, we were generally impressed with the service. Our room was always made up promptly in the morning and, with a small tip every morning, we received the little extras. Service in the buffet and restaurants was outstanding - servers were polite, prompt, and extremely friendly. Service was somewhat lacking, however, at the bars. Wait times were long, but, again, it goes with the territory. It's very hard for 1-2 bartenders to serve that many guests demanding bar service at once. My advice? Smile, wait, and enjoy the great weather!!

All in all, i would highly recommend this resort to everyone. Those with children loved all the amenities, the grandparents in our group really liked the time by the pool and the good food, and those eager to party loved the beach and nightlife in the lobby.

As an experienced all-inclusive guest (4 times now), the Barcelo Maya Beach (and its sister resorts) are simply the best places i've ever stayed. Period. Go now!

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank montezuma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
River Falls, Wisconsin
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 April 2009

Hello,

My husband and I and another couple (all in our 30's) stayed at the Barcelo Palace April 19th-24th and absolutely loved it. This was our second time staying at the Barcelo. In 2006 we stayed in the Tropical section and absolutely loved it there as well. When we return in the future it will be hard to choose between the 2 resorts. My highlight of the entire trip was the snorkeling. We snorkeled twice and both times had no problems finding the sea turtles...this was absolutely amazing!! The turtles like to hang out in the sandy sections of the beach so you will not find them in the reef (at least this is what we observed). Both times we went into the water directly out from the Oaxca (sp?) building and saw turtles immediately. I highly recommend doing this. The other highlight of our trip was the cave tour we went on at Kantun Chi. This is a park right across the street from the Barcelo which is nice because you can go on your own time and you can walk right there. We took the train to the entrance of the Barcelo and crossed the road. Kantun Chi is to your left. Once you come to the park entrance you have to walk on a dirt road for 5-10 minutes till you get to the park. We paid $40 per person for the guided cave tour and it was worth every penny. Only draw back was that they wouldn't allow pictures to be taken in the cave. The rest of the park is kind of run down. There are 4 cenotes on the grounds and there is a Monkey roped up that you will feel very sorry for if you see it. Even though the place needs some work, the cave is worth the quick trip over there. Our only problem with our trip stemmed from the transfer company we used to get us to and from the airport (so this has nothing to do with the Barcelo). We used BEST DAY TOURS and cannot say enough to NEVER USE THIS TRANSPORT COMPANY!!! We paid a lot of money to them thinking we were getting a private transfer...nope...we were the 3rd drop off. Plus before they would let us in the van they made us pay and additional $11 per person (so another $44 on top of what we already paid them). Oh well...this was one of those lessons learned and we will never fall for it again. One last word of advice...be careful with what seafood you eat at the resort. In our group of 4, 3 people got "the runs" by Wednesday. I was the only one that didn't get sick and I was the only one NOT eating the seafood. We think they got sick off the seafood on a buffet at the Caribbean restaurant. My advice is just to avoid that resaturant b/c it wasn't that good anyway. The 2 restuarants you cannot miss are the French and Japanese...these 2 are by far my favorites. Enjoy your trip!!

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank WisconsinMamasita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver BC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 April 2009

Lots of good things to say, but also a few real disappointments:

This resort consists of 5 (or is it 4) linked hotels within one complex. Each hotel has its own buffet restaurant, a la carte restaurants, pools etc. There are several theaters for live entertainment. The hotels vary in their price and amenities. You get more the more you pay - so for example guests at the higher-end hotel (Palace) can enjoy all facilities/restaurants throughout the complex (all other hotels), but the reverse isn't true. But having been to both the higher-end and the lower-end hotels of the complex on this vacation, I would say that the difference is not dramatic and would not, to my mind, be worth paying extra (in fact, the beach at the Maya is nicer than at the Palace).

We were at the Maya Beach (lower end hotel) for the first two nights, and were then upgraded to the higher end hotel (Palace) for the remainder of our stay due to some serious dissatisfaction with our first two nights at the Maya. My comments therefore apply to both resorts.

Here's my feedback:

First, regardless of the hotel you choose, the grounds are gorgeous, opulently landscaped, very well-maintained and very clean. There are iguanas throughout that my children were thrilled to see.

The children's water park is unbelievable. My girls (4 and 6) had a fantastic time, as did other children who were older (even young teenagers) - tons of different slides, waterfalls, little caves, all in a shallow pool that feels very safe for little ones but is still fun for older kids.

The beach is magical. It's a stone's throw from the pools, and is dotted with large coconut trees. The water was clean and clear, and for the most part the entry was sandy (a few rocks around the Palace beach, but easily avoidable). The sand is fine and white, and the beach has plenty of chairs to go around. The red flag (no swimming) was up for about half of our stay, but I let my children wade in and jump the waves without any concern (and I'm quite protective!).

The temperature was great/hot during the day, but it was quite windy, making it cool, late afternoon and evening.

The pools are clean and very pleasant, with swim-up bars and, for some pools, with submerged loungers. There are lots of poolside chairs, but they are often reserved by 9 or so in the morning. People vacate them throughout the day, though, so we typically had no difficulty finding a good place to park ourselves. There was an adults-only pool, and a lap-pool, at the Palace hotel. Note, though, that at the Palace hotel, it was difficult to be at the pools and enjoy some quiet: The hotel staff near the bar were always playing music relatively loudly.

The food is tasty, and there was a lot of variety (including healthy options). There was a mini buffet offering dishes suited to children, although our kids preferred to eat from the adults' buffet. At the Maya Beach, I found that some of the dishes weren't sufficiently hot. This wasn't a problem at the Palace.

Easy and cheap trip to Playa del Carmen - take the little train to the main road and hop on a 'collectivo', an airconditioned van, that takes you right into the town in about 30 minutes (90-100 pesos for four of us).

Here are the features I didn't like at this resort:

The service was disappointing. When I arrived at the Maya Beach, I specified that I wanted as quiet a room as possible because of my two young children. I was placed in a room next to the outdoor theater - something I discovered as the music started blaring when I was trying to put my kids to bed. We were moved the next day, but it was quite annoying to see that my initial request had been thoroughly ignored.

The next room I was moved to ended up being deficient - while my kids were in the bath, the lights stopped working. My sense is that this was not an ordinary occurrence for this very-well maintained hotel - just bad luck - but a pain nevertheless. We complained and were upgraded to the Palace hotel for the rest of our stay (because they did not want to refund us for two nights, as we'd requested).

The service at this resort is not consistently good. I always left tips and am completely sympathetic to the fact that many of these individuals don't make much, but it took much too long for requests to be met (for luggage to be brought to the room, over an hour; for someone to come to address the light-out situation; over 40 minutes). Another example - the waiters were really hit and miss (my request for a coffee or glass of wine would be forgotten about half the time).

The resort is very big. Don't come here if you're looking for something intimate. There are little trains you can take that drop you off at various spots in the complex - but they stop at every hotel and can really take some time to get you to your destination. The size of the resort isn't much of a problem if you plan to stay put at the beach or at a pool, but it's a problem if you're part of a larger party dispersed throughout the resort (the case of a couple I met, who felt quite cut-off from the rest of their family staying at another hotel in the resort).

There's a price to pay for all the greenery around you. No doubt pesticides are used, which is nasty for the environment, for us and for our kids. I'm assuming that this is the case for two reasons. First, the lawn is just too perfect; It screams chemicals! Secondly, the resort sprays for mosquitoes, which leads me to think that it's not eco-friendly. I learned the hard way about the mosquitoe repellent: my kids and I were walking on the road that links the hotels, looking for iguanas, when a truck spewing out the repellent drove by. The guy operating the machine stopped the spray when the truck passed us, but resumed about 100 feet further along the road - the cloud of repellent came towards us and enveloped my children and me. I was quite upset about this.

The kids' club at the Palace seemed a bit lame. My kids joined in a treasure hunt, but left half way through out of boredom. Having said that, there was pinata bash they enjoyed. If you are hoping to leave your kids there for hours, I don't think they'll be happy. But for an occasional game, it works.

Last con - you cannot eat anywhere at this resort except in the restaurants. No munchies on the beach or at poolside. Also, at the beach or pool, you're on your own to go fetch your drinks. There wasn't the option of paying someone (with a good tip) to do it for you.

I would not steer anyone away from this resort, but it also was not all I was hoping for.

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank maddievVancouverBC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
vancouverb.c.
Level Contributor
13 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 April 2009

We have been visiting this wonderful part of the world for 14 years and have stayed at many different resorts. Could write pages but will try and keep this short. Do realize that some of the services we experienced at other resorts are not feasible here because it is so large.
Negatives:
On arrival were charged $400 above what the printed confrmation from Barcelo Central Reservation (which we showed them) stated. Never received a satisfactory answer
"why"? and just paid. Luckily we had no armed guard security on us.
No welcome drink on arrival.
Charge $4 per plate for room service which arrives cold and unedible.
Only received 2 nights turndown service ( its nice to have clean towels in the morning) out of our 11 night stay.
Were put in a ground floor room which we did not request (never stay in ground floor rooms in Mexico). However they did move us to the 3rd floor the next day.
No free shuttle to Playa.
No butler service on the beach.
Room was worn for such a new hotel.
Charge $200 per night for children over 2 but don't do anything for them. (Went to Barcy Club and asked if they had anything for toddlers and the very nice girl said "We have some Play-Doh"!!!!
Cigarette butts on the beach - saw a cleaner with a plastic bag dump out a plastic cup with butts in it onto the sand and take the cup away.
No ambience/atmosphere. The Lobby Bar is cold and uninviting. No live music . No local paper. Beach chairs needed cleaning and repairing.
Positives:
Wonderful Mexican staff as always (tip them well - they are overworked).
Having all meals outside and not in cold airconditioning. All the restaurants except for Coral Grill have outdoor patios.
Barcy Club for children over 4. Fun childrens water park.
Good breakfast buffet.
Adult pool.
And of course the beach, hot sun, warm water, the turtles and fish and no jellyfish or sharks.

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled with family
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank vaucluse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
25 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 118 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 April 2009

My husband and I and our 2 children (5, 7y) went to this resort on March 31st. We were a little apprehensive with some of the reviews we read so we wanted to write something we felt was accurate about this resort which we truly enjoyed.
CHECK IN: no prob. we had arranged private transfer from the airport (45-50 min) and when we got to the hotel at just past 1 pm our room was ready. the whole process took 10 min and they had a server bring out a nice welcome cocktail for all of us. right across is the guest service desk. we suggest you book your a la carte retaurants right away since reservations are tough to get for the same night but easier if you just book right when you get there.
ROOM: spaceous, clean with nice balcony. most rooms have garden view room. bathrooms are lovely with marble and ceramic, shower and tub. loved the candles in the bathrooms which we would light when we were having a bath. toiletry products are cheap quality, they fill up dispensers for soap, shampoo and shower gel which is ridiculous for the price you are paying. housekeeping service was great. we asked for extra towels. sometimes we got them and sometimes not. but our room was always cleaned well and always on time. the minibar was well-stocked and they had turndown service as well. our room was nice and quiet at night, no sounds of music, housekeeping carts or other guests.
BEACH: nice white sand, blue water. the waves could be strong if it was windy but we did enjoy swimming in the ocean. my husband saw sea turtles on more than one occasion. nice pier where you can walk and see many fish swimming in the water. the beach is great for a walk since you can walk a long way before you have to turn back. there are a few rocks on the beach. we did not encounter much seaweed or crabs. no sand fleas either. (by the way, we did not have any probs with any bugs...no mosquitos, no cockroaches, never even saw a gecko...saw a couple of iguanas on the grounds and that was all). you could always find beach chairs any time of the day.
POOLS: loved the kiddie area with lots of slides and fountains. the hotel has one main large pool. has a zero entry point for little kids and goes to about 4 foot deep altogether. never was crowded. water was always warm. there is also a lap pool which is also used for water volleyball etc. all the pools are nearby. nice music being played and good bar service around the pools. nice atmosphere. they never run out of pool towels which is great! did water aerobics once with the entertainment team. it was lame, but they had lots of other fun activities going on around the pool. there is even an air hockey table, ping pong, basketball, lawn chess, outdoor bowling and shuffleboard right next to the pool area. can also see the beach from the pool which is kind of nice! the only downside-there are no hottubs on this resort.
MEALS: we loved the buffets. basically there are two buffet areas which are joined and serve exactly the same food. they are open for BF, L and D. service was excellent. we never waited for a table or drinks. we felt that for an all-inclusive the buffets were excellent food and we have been to Beaches, Couples, Sandals, Palace Resorts and Rius, and this was better than all of them. we went to the French and Carribean a la carte restaurants and were not impressed and would have rather eaten at buffet. did not try Japanese or Brazilian. found it more convenient with the kids just to eat at the buffet and did not enjoy waiting for a lengthy meal at the a la carte places. drinks were OK. they are not very good at making mixed drinks. there is a nice bar on the top floor near the reception area also.
FACILITIES: the grounds are immaculate. the hotel is not run down like some others. fitness area is small and they only have 4 or 5 treadmills but it was cool and clean. the kids club was excellent! great activities inc treasure hunts, beach picnics, painting, cookie baking and evening movies. plus they also take the kids swimming in the kiddie area. our kids loved it. not too many rules, just a simple sign in and sign out. the kids club was very clean, well-decorated, air-conditioned and the counselors were all nice as well. plus they have their schedule posted for the whole week so we could decide what activities our kids wanted to take part in. the spa is separately owned and operated than the resort. I had a beach front massage which was $60 for the hour and well-worth it. you have to pay by cash or credit...cannot bill it to your room.
ENTERTAINMENT: lots of poolside activities. shows are at 9:30 each night and we were too pooped to bother going after a whole day of fun in the sun, but we heard they were good. we purchased the dolphin excursion from the barcelo tour desk. $159 pp. it is a half day tour, swimming with the dolphins. was a lot of fun and they will take pictures of your whole family swimming with the dophins (and of course sell it to you for ridiculous sums of money!) but we wanted some nice memories and a novel experience for the kids and bought into it. it was a great experience and everyone wears a life jacket so you do not need to know how to swim. would not recommend for kids under 5y.
OVERALL: loved this place and would go back. we saw many families with older children, teens and couples also and there was plenty of fun to be had by all. did not have any probs with this resort and found it to be a notch above many of the other all-inclusives we have been to! if you can't have fun here....maybe you don't want to.

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank drTX2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Calgary
Level Contributor
14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 April 2009

Stayed at the Maya Beach from April 10 - 18. Went down for a family wedding and had a fantastic time. If you read the reviews you pretty much know what to expect and this resort does deliver on value although there are areas for improvement.

Arrival: Customs / Luggage was a breeze. We booked our trip without using an agent / tour company and used AGI Tours for our hotel transfer. It cost $130 for both of us return. We expected it would be only the two of us, but when we arrived they were waiting for another couple / group as well. After 10 mins waiting in the hot sun I made a comment to my wife that I booked a private transfer to avoid this exact situation, waiting!! They had several drivers there, and one heard me and we left right away without the other party. Other than that they were great. Very new/clean vehicles and professional drivers. We even stopped outside the airport for some cold Corona for the hour and half drive. I recommend them.

Check-In: Because we were not arriving by bus with alot of others, our check-in was very easy and quick. We got the building (Tulum) we wanted and the room (kingsize bed) we wanted - beautiful garden view. Our luggage was taken to our room immediately.

Room: Standard room with great garden view. Nice room, clean, but nothing extraordinary. Several hours after we checked in, our mini fridge was still warm. We were told it would take time to get cold as the power comes on after we check in. I explained we had been in for several hours and they delivered a working fridge within 15 minutes. We were impressed as we did not expect this. They also brought us a fruit basket and bottle of mexican liquore. The beds / pillows are somewhat firm, but we found no discomfort and slept very well

We tipped $2-$3 each day to the maid and quite frankly got lousy cleaning service the first few days. The maid did minimal cleaning, and except for a made-bed and clean towels, you would not know it was cleaned. We did not leave a tip the next day and then the following day left a couple bucks and some easter candy and suddenly the room looked immaculate and even got towel animals on the bed. Part of the problem may have been that initially the maid was a guy and I think it changed to a lady later.

There is a conseierge in each building. Ours was Sandra and she was incredibly friendly and helpful. She helped with any and every request. We even got extra water and beer in our fridge. I left a note and $5 one morning in the fridge and asked for 6 extra beer and 2 extra bottles of water and they were left and the fridge was always stalked with lots of beer and water. Usually they only stock 4 beer and 2 waters.

Food: Very good. The buffet has excellent quality food and it is the same from day to day, but there is lots of variety and the quality is excellent, so no one should really complain about that. It's exactly what you pay for. There are two restaurents at the beach, Capt. Morgans and Beach Grill(?). They are both very good and again, lots of variety and the service is good. They serve til 3:00 each day and then close to prepare for evening dining.

We ate at three a la cartes: the mexican, spanish and steak house. The first two were very good and fantastic service, but the steak house was absolutely great. We live in the steak capitol of Canada, Calgary, and the fillet I ate there is easily one of the best I have ever eaten and my wife says the same - she had the prime rib. If you are going to do an a la carte make sure you get to the steak house. And if you go to the spanish or mexican, order a mayan coffee. The fire show they put on preparing it is something else and it tastes extraordinary with the amount / variety of booze they put in it.

Drinks: You can get what you want, but as pointed out by other reviewers, the mixed drinks are very weak. We even questioned if there was any alcohol in them at all. I only had a few mixed drinks, and asked for additional rum on top of the drink and he poured quite a bit of booze. I figured my first sip would be strong, but could not taste much difference, so I presume the regular booze is of poor quality or very watered-down. In fact, except for a few high school / university kids, no one was drunk there; which is fine, but not usual at an all inclusive. I pretty much stuck with Corona draft in the day and scotch on the rocks at night. The wine is pretty weak as well, especially in the buffets where it is on tap. Premium club members can request premium label booze too.

Beach: It was very windy / wavey most of the week, but the beach is beautiful and clean and lots of shade. There is no need to hurry to the beach and save chairs with your towels. I do suggest to wear water shoes in the water. The first part is very sandy, but as you go to waist deep, there are large rocks there. You can't see them and they will hurt if you are bare foot, so definitely go to Walmart and get a cheap pair. You won't regret it.

Pools: There are several large pools throughout the Maya Beach resort and sister hotels. They are very clean and usually no problem finding chairs either in the sun or shade. And they have hammocks throughout the pool areas too. They have a terrific kids water park down by the Colonial or Tropical. I think it is intended for premium club guests, but kids of families we were travelling with, were not premium club, and their kids went as often as they wished, so I'm really not sure about this. The kids club got excellent reviews from parents too.

Entertainment: Only caught parts of three shows, but they were really good. No lip-syncing and music and singing were of very high quality and I would say quasi-professional. I see no reason why anyone would consider them "cheesy". They are not intended to be broadway and are certainly better than any other resorts we've been to. One evening after the main show, they played a few songs for those remaining; one performer sang Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" and she could have sang it on Broadway. Everyone remaining gave her and the band an standing ovation.

Bars: Typical for all-inclusive resorts. The service was very good, but again mixed drinks not so great. That is a reflection on the quality of booze, not the bartenders who were great. Pretty much the same service whether you tipped or not, but they sure appreciate it when they get tips and as others have pointed out, these are not highly paid people, so tipping is important especially when you see how hard they work.

Staff: They are very friendly and helpful; regularly greet you no matter what area they work in. Front desk staff very helpful and the servers in the buffets are very good. These people work hard and try very hard to please the guests.

Grounds: Impeccable. They are very lush and have literally hundreds of huge mature palm tress and lots of other treed gardens and pathways. As a matter of fact, my wife tried to lead my down one garden path, but I caught on before it was too late. There are lots of wide stone pathways for walking or jogging. The hotel areas are very clean and well cared for, including the bathrooms. And there was always a place to sit around the lobby bars or in general area of the bar. If you did not want to get your own drink, a waitress was soon there to take your order.

Excursions: Did not take any offered by the hotel, but did go scuba diving with Dive Adventuras. They are only a few 5 mins down the road in Puerto Adventuras and very professional. I did a cenote dive (caverns) and two ocean dives. Google this company and talk with Nils - he will treat you very well and take care of your diving needs.

Our group went to Xel-Ha, which is a family natural water park. It costs 90$/person if you book through the hotel or $75 / adult and $37.50 / child + your own transportation if you go on your own, which we did and it was significantly cheaper. The ironic thing is that we saved about 40% by not booking through the hotel, but they arranged our van for us and we saved the money. And that price includes all your can eat / drink for the day. The park itself has natural sea water canals and some really good snorkelling or tubing. The best places to see fish is right across from the eating areas along the shoreline; absolutely spectacular snorkelling for seeing every variety of fish and its stunningly beautiful. if you do go there, bring your own biodegradable sun screen or else you have to buy it there ($14 / tube) as regular sunscreen is not allowed, although apparently you can trade your regular stuff for a sample of the bio stuff. And if you do go to Xel-Ha, to get your money's worth, go for a full day.

Off Resort: Went to Playa Del Carman a few times. Twice in the evening, which is really a must see. There are tons of people, shops, bars and restaurents. A cab ride is 180 pesos or roughly $20 one way. An equally good, but much cheaper way, especially if going in the day time, is to walk to the main gate and wait by the highway and within a few minutes a white van called a Collectivo will pick you up and take you to downtown Playa del Carman for 20 pesos or $2 and then back again for the same price. Can't beat that.

If you are into cigars, which I am, the best place is Lauro's in Playa del Carman. It's a family owned business and they make great Cigars for a very reasonable price. There are other cigar shops on the avenue, but they sell mainly packaged and expensive Cuban cigars, but Lauro's are local grown tobacco and rolled cigars.

This is an excellent resort. You will do some walking as it is spread out, so if walking is an issue, this may not be for you. But for most people walking is a good for vacationers. If you have any questions you think I can help you with, please message me.

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank diger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Barcelo Maya Beach

Property: Hotel Barcelo Maya Beach
Address: Carretera Chetumal Puerto Juarez Km. 266,3, Puerto Aventuras 77750, Mexico
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Puerto Aventuras
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Aventuras
#6 Family Hotel in Puerto Aventuras
#7 Business Hotel in Puerto Aventuras
#9 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Aventuras
#9 Spa Hotel in Puerto Aventuras
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Aventuras
#10 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Aventuras
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Barcelo Maya Beach 4*
Number of rooms: 630
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Barcelo Puerto Aventuras
Barcelo Hotel Maya Beach
Barcelo Maya Palace
Barcelo Maya Mexico
Barcelo Maya Resort
Catalonia Rivera Maya
Maya Beach Resort
Barcelo Beach Maya Mayan Resort Riviera
Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Cancun
Hotel Barcelo Maya Beach Riviera Maya, Mexico - Puerto Aventuras

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