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Barcelo Maya Palace
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Reviewed 25 December 2013

We were busy and couldn't do our annual May trip to Maya Riviera - we always stay at the Barcelo Tropical/Colonial - so we decided to do a pre-Christmas getaway and spent December 16-22 at the resort. When we arrived, we were surprised and delighted to receive an upgrade from the Barcelo Colonial to a junior suite at the Barcelo Maya Palace which is the premier resort in the complex. This was our 5th visit to the Barcelo resort complex, which is so familiar to us, we feel totally at ease here. We also used some of the resort credits which is a book of discount coupons - you have to spend a little to get the discounts but the value is worthwhile.

I was concerned about the temperature possibly being cool since it was rainy and cool the first day when we arrived. It was supposed to rain the first half of the week but instead it only rained on DAY 1 and briefly a few times the rest of the week. It got warmer every day and the last 3 days it was in the 80s and very warm at night as well.

DAY 1 - Our first full day it was raining all day and in the low 70s - kind of chilly so we stayed in the resort and went down to the shore which is very rocky with tidal pools. Exploring the tidal pools was so much fun, there are colorful snails, pink chitins, fish trapped in the pools, lots more. We got some popcorn and nuts from the bar and fed seagulls by hand - they ate the treats directly from our hands. We liked exploring the rocky shore in front of the Palace - and later when we wanted to be on a clear sandy beach we just walked farther down the beach which is really well manicured and smooth. The fact that the beach in front of the Palace is NOT a negative since the well groomed beach is just a short walk away in front of the other parts of the resort. You can see the rocky beach in front of the Palace and the main resort beach in the accompanying photos.

DAY 2 - Warmer, sunny - We went to XEL-HA, which we do every year. We spent the morning snorkeling - when we arrived, we walked directly down the path to the right, to the red section, and got our snorkeling gear and were the first ones in the water. You need 600 pesos (or equivalent in dollars) as a deposit. We saw stingrays feeding, a gigantic (over 5 ft. long) barracuda, giant parrot fish, a school of at least a thousand fish - lots more. Afterward we had lunch while being serenaded at the Mexican restaurant. We also saw a 4 foot long emerald green vine snake, lots of iguanas, and a pelican that allowed us to pet it.

At Xel-Ha, we watched a large family of coati mundis at a feeding trough the park staff provides near one of the trails. Later in the day we were able to hand feed some wild coatis which was cool. Xel-Ha has some new attractions including a bike-zipline that lets you pedal through the top of the jungle canopy at your own pace. There is even a 67 million year old fossil rock.

There is a dolphin area near the entrance and at the end of the day the dolphins stick their head out of the water and stare at the sunset - it's fascinating to imagine what they're thinking! Are they admiring the beauty, or praying, or what?

DAY 3 - XPLOR - We went to this adventure theme park which combines an underground cave system with a multi-station zipline network. This was our second visit. All the attractions branch from a central hub where the lockers are. It's EXTREMELY well planned and efficient. Everyone wears a protective helmet that contains an ID chip embedded in it so whenever you pass by a hidden camera it takes your picture and records it so at the end of the day you can buy the full set of photos documenting your adventures - the cost is about $75 and if you don't have cash to buy them at the park, you can get a code and after you go home you can buy the pictures online which is what we did. Really cool. It meant we didn't have to take a camera and still got great photos.

Most of the attractions are underground. There are cave systems that are about 1 kilometer long - also shorter routes you can take. You can swim through an underground river, raft through the watery caves, hike through the caves on well made trails. It helps to bring some type of water shoes - Crocs work but we have water shoes we bought online. The trails through the caves have well constructed paths, moody lighting, striking rock formations. It's worth going to the park just to get photos with forests of stalactites and stalagmites.

You can also drive a jeep through jungle trails, across a bridge, and through caves - thrilling - but don't damage the jeeps because they will charge you if you dent or damage the vehicles. Personally, I loved the jeep drive.

The zipline towers are probably the best zipline system in the Maya Riviera. You climb these very high cement towers and zip above the jungle canopy - physically challenging doing half a dozen long zipline runs and climbing those towers - but really fun and the best ziplining we've found in the Yucatan!

DAY 4-6 - The last 3 days we decided to stay at the resort. We walked the beach, swam in the pools, ate great food at the buffets - the food by the way is really great. One day there was a suckling pig. Large baked fish. Special food stations where they grill all kinds of meat, Mexican specialties, etc. This time of the year very large shrimps with the head on were in season and were an exotic, delicious and rare treat that I enjoyed over and over in different preparations.

We ate most nights at the buffet an 3 nights we ate in the theme restaurants - once at the seafood restaurant (where our entree was lobster) and twice at the French restaurant (the Brasserie) where our surf and turf was a steak and lobster - the appetizer called Lobster Cappucino (which is big lobster pieces in a broth served in a capuccino cup) was my favorite.

One day my wife went to the spa for a 2 hour treatment and a week after the spa she could still feel the smoothing/softening effects on her skin. She also did the "dolphin experience" which was her favorite activity of the entire trip, spending time interacting with a dolphin at the dolphin pool which is located at one end of the resort complex. The dolphin area is a new attraction at Barcelo Maya Riviera and it is extremely well managed, educational, and we have incredible photos.

I like to take photos of exotic animals and the beautifully landscaped grounds include lots of jungle islands and trails where really unusual creatures live. One day I took some nuts with me and found some exquisite blue and black Yucatan Jays - after feeding one, pretty soon there were more than a dozen all around, eating nuts and interacting in very animated ways. I also photographed agoutis, tropical birds, butterflies, lots more. We saw some Yucatan deer and agoutis from our hotel room.

The staff at all of the Barcelo Maya Riviera resorts are hard-working, earnest, friendly, considerate, caring and professional. We've had so many positive experiences and interactions with the staff at all levels and all functions that we feel like the Barcelo staff are our "Mexican extended family." The holiday decorations, jazzy and tasteful Xmas music, and holiday spirit also added to our experience.

We always feel safe in the Yucatan. To us, the Mayan Riviera is an ideal vacation destination. One of the nice things about the Mayan Riviera is that it is closer than Cancun to all the attractions - pyramids, cave systems, theme parks, scuba and snorkeling - and yet it is surrounded by large tracts of jungle so you feel closer to Nature, always. Also, the Barcelo resort complex allows us to venture out to experience lots of exotic adventures, and then come back to be pampered at an all inclusive resort where everything is provided. We have tried other Caribbean destinations but nothing seems to compare to Mayan Riviera and the Barcelo resorts, so we keep coming back every year.

Room Tip: We prefer second or third floor rooms and we don't care if we're near the ocean or farther back looking out on the gardens. All of our rooms in our 5 visits have been immaculately clean.
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank FutureTravelers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HBarcelo-Maya-Palace, Gerente at Barcelo Maya Palace, responded to this reviewResponded 10 January 2017

Dear Guest,
First of all we would like to express our sincerest gratitude for your trust and loyalty to Barceló Hotels & Resorts for your holidays and for choosing our Barceló Maya Palace hotel this time around, it is indeed a great source of satisfaction to read that once again you had a pleasant stay among us.
We are thrilled you enjoyed your All Inclusive type of meal plan, allowing our guests to take advantage of our different bars and restaurant throughout the day and are grateful for your highlight on the quality of the products and drinks including in its board, I am truly happy to know that we have managed to exceed your expectations in regards to hospitality and service delivered and will not fail to pass your comments to those team members whom you have personally mentioned. 
We are thrilled you enjoyed your recent stay with us. Thank you for making us your choice hotel when visiting the area. We look forward to welcoming you back again very soon.
The Management

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Reviewed 24 December 2013

the hotel is beautiful the food at the buffet is good and a la carte good to but the seafood a little bit salty but if you are going for the beach don't go there is more rock than anything else.

the night show are good and so as the pool activity but the staff is so so Great !

Room Tip: if you take the standard room just ask for a soft pillow and foam for Mattress !
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank manny s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HBarcelo-Maya-Palace, Gerente at Barcelo Maya Palace, responded to this reviewResponded 10 January 2017

Dear Guest,
Thank you for your insights following your recent visit. We always look for ways to improve and your comments are crucial to our future success
Thank you for your lovely comments regarding the service you received from our team members, we will make sure to share your kind words as we know it will mean a great deal to them. Thank you for your insights regarding our buffets, although we lament reading that we weren't able to meet your culinary wishes on this occasion, please rest assured that your comments will be shared with our Chefs to enhance our future guests' dining experiences.
Thank you once again for making us your choice hotel and for your constructive critics, we certaily look forward to serving you again and to have the opportunity to exceed you expectations in a not too distant future.
The Management

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Reviewed 22 December 2013

We booked Prestige class through Air Transat- this gave us priority for restaurant booking, tequila/fruit platter/pool towels in the room/bed turn-down service/room service-- all services not available with lesser packages. There is NO INTERNET unless you pay $15/day or $45 for the week. There is NO INTERNET at all in the lobby for anyone, but there is a business/internet room where you can pay to use the internet, near the lobby. The priority restaurant booking was great-- we often heard people with lower level booking saying that they couldn't get reservations, but we basically got whatever we wanted and were able to switch as well, even last minute. There are basically 5 Barcelo Resorts next to each other, with the Mayan Palace at one end of the bay, and the others side by side going further down the bay. The whole set of 5 resorts is on a 2 km long bay- spectacular white sand, lots of chairs, never a problem getting a seat. Restaurant service and food at the Brasserie (French) and Caribe (seafood) restaurants were incredible, with 2 waiters at our table often. I recommend the lobster tails. They make Mayan coffees in front of you- flaming drinks that they pour in a cascade into your cups- very dramatic at night. We ventured to the Italian Restaurant in the Barcelo Colonial next door (Palace guests can eat at any restaurant in the 5 resorts, but the other resort guests can't eat at the Palace). The food was average, but the service was greatly different, with 1 poor waitress running around looking after 15 tables; the tables were practically next to each other and no one we saw was offered coffee after dinner. After this, we decided to eat at Palace Restaurants since it is the service that counts, for us. The buffets at the Palace were incredible, filled with copious amounts of luxury items, crab, octopus, calamari, shrimp, steak, chefs that custom grilled breakfast, lunch or dinner as you watch, amazing desserts and the breads were to die for. Nothing was lacking and the restaurants (at all the Barcelo Resorts on the Bay) were impeccable. I am totally paranoid about standards of cleanliness and I was eating the cold marinated mussels (yum!). The water sports were readily available- where were all the other guests? We basically used whatever equipment we wanted, sailing sometimes for several hours a day. Kayaking was also fun. Snorkelling was good- right in front of the Palace is the best place. We tried the mini-golf--a nice little course, well kept and lots of fun. These resorts are very large--if you like walking, this is a great place to go, with lots of paths to explore. It was faster to walk than to wait for the loud clunky farm tractor that hauls a trailer full of people around from resort to resort very intermittently. The Junior Suite was just like the resort picture-large, spacious, spotless. The bed, no question, was very hard, as others have commented. Look between the mattresses for the topper and put it on. The sheets are like rubber-sticky, harsh, made me feel cold and clammy. I ended up removing the top sheet and using the duvet alone, and underneath I took a beach towel and slept on that. Definitely not what you expect from this level hotel. The pools were endless and perfect. With 2 to 3 weddings a day, this is the place to watch weddings. The negatives--NOISE. I don't mean a little, at the activity pool. I mean everywhere. They play techno-crap music most of the time (same 3 notes over and over and over), blasted onto the beach and echoes throughout the resorts, even to the "quiet" adult pool. Forget sitting on the beach quietly sipping a drink in front of the Palace-- beach games had music blaring so loudly that we could hear it underwater while snorkelling. They also had continuous yelling in Spanish one afternoon for a volleyball game, transmitted everywhere in the bay. We finally figured out to pack a bag and walk 2 km down the bay (where the other parts of the resort are temporarily closed for renovation) to get away from the noise. Even there you could still hear the music thumping in the background along with the sound of the waves. Of course, there was no food or drink, but it was worth it to get away from the noise. We did not have the option of sitting on our room balcony, facing away from the pools, because jack hammers were going on from 07:00 to 18:00 daily, as the property next door has construction. On a positive note again, the Concierge service was readily available and was extremely helpful for booking restaurants and activities. When you arrive, book all your restaurant dinners with the concierge by the check-in desk right away. The staff appeared to be genuinely happy and courteous. The staff at the boating desk were a really fun bunch! Evening shows were done by professional companies each night with elaborate costumes, with live band and singers.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank 3girlsfromLangley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HBarcelo-Maya-Palace, Gerente at Barcelo Maya Palace, responded to this reviewResponded 10 January 2017

Dear Guest,
We first would like to thank you for choosing our Barceló Maya Palace for your holidays in XXX and for letting us know your concerns relating to your time in our hotel as it gives us an opportunity to look at areas which may have for improvement and for that we are grateful.
We have taken good note of your comments on the music by the pool and sincerely lament the disturbances caused and will not fail to share your comments with our head of entertainment for information and further revision, at Barceló we believe that leisure and sport activities are part of the real holiday feeling but also understand that not all guests are willing to take part into our entertainment program therefore we always ensure that an area of the hotel remains noise free for those guests who prefer to relax and read.
We also appreciate your kind words for our staff, their kindness and helpfulness being undoubtedly one of our hotel's main assets we will definitely congratulate them all on your behalf for their contribution to your wellbeing whilst staying among us.
Thank you again for making us your choice hotel on this occasion, we look forward to serving you again in the near future.
The Management

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Reviewed 21 December 2013

Recently myself and my husband spent a 12 days vacation at this beatiful resort. This was our second visit and definitely not the last. We arrived on November,29,2013 and united there with our daughter,her husband and their 2 boys,who went there 5 days ahead of us. This was our first visit for my daughter's family and they loved it. I recommended this place to all my friends and family,thus my sister and my friends also came on December,1 and December,2 ,and all of us had a fantastic time. This resort is exceptional, service is great, rooms are amazing,food is excellent,beach grounds are always clean. We thank all people at resort who work hard to please us and make our vacation time unforgettable. Anna Kupsin , New York

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank anna k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HBarcelo-Maya-Palace, Gerente at Barcelo Maya Palace, responded to this reviewResponded 10 January 2017

Dear Anna,
We first would like to thank you for making our Barceló Maya Palace your preferred choice for your holidays in Riviera Maya , it is always a pleasure to welcome back our most loyal guests year after year.
Thank you for your lovely comments regarding the service you received from our team members, we will make sure to share your kind words as we know it will mean a great deal to them.
Again we thank you for this wonderful review, it has been a pleasure for us to read and we look forward to serving you again soon
The Management

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Reviewed 20 December 2013

We arrived Monday 12/16/13 (TNT Vacations) and we were greeted at the airport by Lomas Travel that drove us to the Hotel (45 min drive). When you get out of the baggage claims go straight outside. You will be stopped by timeshare vendors claiming that they will contact your driver and in return to talk to them for 20 minutes. Just keep walking straight outside and locate your driver. When we arrived to the hotel the bellman took our luggage and escorted us straight to the front desk. Checkin was only 5-10 minutes. We were given room 8709 Oaxaca and it was near the private pool for adults. The room was extremely cleaned, the fridge was full of soda, water, and tea (12 bottles in total) and they refill daily, The room had snacks and coffee as well. The food offered in the Hacienda buffet and Mirador buffet was great....good variety and delicious food. The Caribe restaurant was great and we sat outside on the terrace. The Brazilian restaurant was our favorite. You must ordered the skewers at the Brazilian restaurant. The only negative for us was the bed in our room...hard and the pillows were soo small and flat. Overall, we had a great time and will return in a heartbeat. Don't buy anything from the hotel store...$25 for a sun lotion...outrageous. I would recommend to check the store than go to the Mexican Market just three minutes away (a trolley stops every 10 minutes at the entrance of the hotel) and compare. I recommend to bring lots of singles so you can tip the waiters and housekeeping. The stores do not take cash all is charged to the rooms so its hard to get change. The room provided razor, shower cap, shampoo, conditioner, sewing kit, soap and toothbrush/toothpaste.

Room Tip: We had room 8709 and it was quiet and near the pool. It was also near the trolley pick-up and drop off
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Cathy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HBarcelo-Maya-Palace, Gerente at Barcelo Maya Palace, responded to this reviewResponded 10 January 2017

Dear Guest,
First and foremost, Happy Belated Birthday! Thank you for choosing to spend such an important event with us at the Barceló Maya Palace where our goal is to make our home feel like yours.
At Barceló we know that meals are an important aspect of our guests' overall holiday expérience in our hotels, this is why our team of Chefs prepare for each service a wide variety of delicacies to cater for all diet requirements and please the most demanding palates, we are therefore very pleased that we could satisfy yours. Thank you for the wonderful description of the room we accommodated you in during your stay, it is our goal to provide our guests with spotless, attractive and spacious rooms and we are really happy to know you liked yours so much.
Thank you again for this heartwarming review of your stay with us, we look forward to your next visit.
The Management

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