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“Best vacation ever!! We'll go back!”

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Mayan Palace Riviera Maya
Ranked #10 of 11 Hotels in Playa Paraiso
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 6 November 2009

You CAN drink the water –we were informed after 2 days of using bottled water that all of the resort’s water is purified. Makes life easier!
Things I wish I had known or remembered:
1. Carry bug spray with you to use on your ankles about an hour before sunset. It does no good sitting in the room-oops!
2. No alcohol sales in the stores after 5 on Sundays- we tried checking out at 5:10 with beer –oops again!
3. There is a shuttle (golf cart type) from in front of the lobby to the pool with stops along the way. It has a navy flag. I quite enjoyed the long walks but hubby was relieved to learn about the shuttle after a few days!
4. There is a market at the resort but prices are still much higher than at the Mega Store in Playa Del Carmen.
5. We should have brought salt and pepper with us-we couldn’t find a small set in PDC.
6. We found a few eggs in each dozen that were bad- best to crack each one into a glass before adding them to a bowl and spoiling an entire omelet!
7. We brought masks and snorkels but should have brought fins as well, since renting was expensive. We didn’t wear half the clothes we brought, just lived in swimsuits, so we could easily have made room.
Review:
The rooms were wonderful. Our mattress already had foam over it, so it was fine for sleeping. The kitchen had a toaster, blender (important for guacamole and margaritas) and a coffee maker. The Mexican coffee is really strong; so don’t overload the coffee maker. We were not expecting much of a balcony (thanks Tripadvisor!) and so were not surprised to find that there isn’t really even room for a chair.
The grounds were gorgeous and well maintained and the pool was the best I’ve ever seen. The week we were there, the palapas had no strings attached. At 8:30am there was still a decent selection of the deluxe ones with mattresses and pillows.
It was off season (last week of Oct) and there was very little entertainment. Our days were busy though and we were asleep most nights by 9.

Our best day was when we hired a taxi and driver (Alex, Taxi # 726) for a day. He knew the best place for us to snorkel-Akumel lagoons- where the water was clear and there were no waves, but thousands of beautiful fish. At the harbour there, we swam out following the buoyed rope to see turtles. At first we saw none and came in, but someone told us that if you hang out long enough you will see turtles even when there are big waves. Sure enough, when I went back out, I saw three of them and swam with them as they munched seaweed .

Our amazing meal of the trip was not at an advertised restaurant. Alex took us to the café of his friend Alfredo Dominguez, who is a former chef from one of the resorts. There were two long tables in a very run-down area. Alex had phoned ahead and when we arrived Alfredo put out steaming platters of lobster tails, one of king crab, one of jumbo shrimp along with Mexican rice, vegetables and a big basket of fresh bread. We didn’t think we could possibly eat it all, but we sure came close! Most cab drivers can drop you there (10 ave and 59 av) since they eat there. There is no name, just ask where Dominguez’s seafood is.

The timeshare salespeople are sneaky – they make it sound like it is mandatory or make your presentation sound like it’s something else –a free tour for instance. We went to the presentation at MP which got us a nice breakfast and $100 off our bill. Was it worth it? Pretty much. We knew what to expect and had our arguments ready. They were hugely aggressive, but we were just as stubborn!

We spent about $250 total at the resort, which included some happy hours. Our shopping the first day was about perfect given how little we had left on the last day. At the back of the Mega store is a takeout counter and we bought a whole roast chicken, a large tub of fried rice and some vacuum packed fresh fish which looked safer than the exposed fish. The tinned salsa was amazing and we should have bought more than one. We added a tin of black beans to the rice which stretched it into three meals. For fresh produce we bought onions, green pepper, shredded and mushrooms for omelets . 5 avocados, limes and a head of garlic for fresh guacamole every night. We’re careful about food so we bought frozen brocolli and stir fry veggies. The produce looked fine, but it wasn’t worth the chance. The Chilean red wines are amazing and only about $7.50 a bottle!

All in all- the best vacation ever!!

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
9  Thank practicalmagic2001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 2 November 2009

Clean - cut, modern elegance. I felt like I was walking through a magazine the whole time. I was just delighted by the meandering pool with private nooks. My favorite restaurant was right on the beach with vast unobstructed view of water and their boardwalk. I didn't leave the resort because I really needed to relax and I found that I wanted for nothing. There was a convenient and aesthetically pleasing place to lounge, dine, enjoy a cocktail, whenever it occurred to me to want to. I took advantage of the scuba lessons on -site and the on-site waverunner rentals. Everyone else enjoyed the resort's golf course and shuttled excursions to more scuba diving, the big Mayan temple nearby, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, etc. I can't wait to go back there with my son! I'd be happy no matter who I was with - there's plenty of space for everyone to spread out and have their intimate moments with family, friends, lovers, etc. I actually spent the first 2 days there alone before my friends got there which is when I took advantage of a massage at the spa!

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled with friends
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3  Thank AandACleveland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 October 2009

First off there were 11 of us and we had 3 rooms all in the same building. We were very lucky and were in building 11 I think. It is the very 1st building as you walk from the pool/restaurant area. We stayed in the Grand Mayan section. The rooms are very spacious, modern & clean. There is a dipping pool on the patio and a large tub in the bedroom. The staff are very helpful and courtious. This was our 1st trip to this resort and I was a little worried after reading some reviews. Some people bash the beach at this resort becasue the shore is rocky. If the main focus of your trip is to spend all of your time in the water you may be let down. If you just want to lay on the beach you will be happy. The pools are unbelievalbe. We swam in all of them. The service around the pool could be a little faster, but you are in Mexico and sometimes you have to wait a little or go to the swim up bar. The gardens are beautiful and constantly maintained. We enjoyed the Havana moon restaurant. Good food, live music and dancing. I don't golf but the course looked great too. I came home very relaxed. We took a few side trips. First if you have not been you must go to Playa Del Carmen. The best beaches in Cancun, excellent food and plenty of shopping for the ladies. The main street there is lined with restaurants and shops. We spent a full afternoon/evening there. Also Isla Mujeres is a very nice trip. I'll stay here again any day.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled with family
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3  Thank us2alwaysmovin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 October 2009

We had a great time. The hotel is beautiful, very relaxing, amazing huge pool. People are extremely nice. The place is beautiful.

Stayed: July 2009, travelled as a couple
Thank adriperezf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 October 2009

If you like traveling to a foreign country and then separating yourself from anything that might identify said country as foreign, I suppose this place is for you. Also, if you like overpriced, unappealing, and again, inauthentic food, then this is also the place for you. I'm being fairly negative here, so I guess I should say that the pools are very nice.

We spent the week there, and only paid cleaning fees (on a swapped-out RCI timeshare), and that was about worth it. We spent the vast majority of our day time away from the resort (at Coba, Puerto Morelos, Tulum, Gran Cenote etc -- traveling in rental cars). We did take a half-day to enjoy the pools and beach of the Grand Mayan. There are sections of the pool that are secluded and semi-private, which was really nice for a family with small, loud kids.

The rooms were fairly clean (one day I noticed a line of ants coming in from outside, but I called housekeeping about it and they were gone by the time we came back from the day's activities and didn't return), and nicely appointed. The shuttle system was more baffling than annoying. Also, if you have a large group (more than 4 people), at peak usage it's often impossible to get all of you on one shuttle.

I should probably note that I had a negative experience because I'm not a "resort guy". I guess I prefer "doing stuff" when I "travel thousands of miles to foreign countries". As far as resorts go, I'm probably unqualified to really comment on the Grand Mayan, but I've heard there are better ones in the area. Go to those.

  • Stayed: July 2009, travelled with family
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2  Thank tasdemer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 October 2009

Flight – We flew out of LAX on Sept 13, 2009. Flight was fine, nothing too exciting. We flew on Mexicana Airlines. They were on time, served good food & kept the cocktails coming. All at to additional cost! They really know how to treat their customers. US airlines should take note. I would definitely use Mexicana again. At the airport in Cancun, we fell for our first (& last) trap! The time share people!! My advice is to get your bags and head straight for your limo/shuttle/taxi or whatever. Don’t stop to talk to anyone. They are not there to help you.

Shuttle – We used CANCUN TRANSFERS to pick us up from the airport. For 4 of us, we got a private shuttle from the airport to the Mayan Palace for $95 USD (round trip – this included them picking us up on our last day and taking us to the airport). Wonderful! Wonderful! Our driver even stopped at an OXXO (like a 7-11 in the US) and let us pick up some beer, ice, drinks & snacks for our room. He wasn’t supposed to, but we talked him into it. I definitely recommend them.

Mayan Palace – Beautiful Resort. When we checked in, they tried to put us in bldg 8, I asked if they could get us closer to the pool, so they put us in bldg 5. When we arrived, the room was very hot and humid, but the A/C was on and running full blast! We called maintenance and the guy came and “fixed” it. He told us to wait about 20 minutes before we would notice a change. It started to actually get hotter! So, we called the front desk and explained. Maintenance came out again and said nothing was wrong. At this point I’m getting pissed, so I called the manager and he said that his guy told him everything was fine, so everything must be fine! WHAT???!!! So I’m a liar?? Now I’m really angry. Our friend that we were with decided to call the manager, and maybe because he’s male, the manager agreed to move us to bldg 2, a new room w/ glorious wonderful A/C. There is no way we could have lived in that room for a week like that. I would have died in the humidity, we all would have. OK, enough of that. When we finally settled in, we hit the pool area for dinner at Balche. An outdoor restaurant overlooking the ginormous pool. Food was awesome, but the service was a little slow. My theory is that since the tips are already included in EVERYTHING that you buy on the resort property, the servers/waiters don’t have any incentive to work for a tip. As a former waitress/bartender, that kind of bothered me, but we were on vacation so I guess I just needed to relax and not be in such a hurry.

Pool – Way too warm! Not refreshing at all. I don’t think that they actually heated the pool, it’s just that hot in Mexico. Beach area sucked, couldn’t swim. My husband forbid me to try and navigate the coral to go out further because he was drinking and didn’t want to have to try and rescue me drunk. I didn’t blame him, it looked like only the crazy teenagers were doing that far. The pool bar by Balche was awesome, the bartenders were great and since my husband spoke Spanish, I think we got a lot of drinks on the house because he made friends with the bartenders. They loved him. My hubby and friends are “happy” drunks and are always the life of the party. We kept the pool area from getting too boring by doing shots, dancing, bringing down our iPod dock so that we could listen to good party music and so on. The employees really appreciated us being the life of the party. We played water volleyball in the pool and at the beach. We did the water aerobics too, whew, what a workout!

Playa Del Carmen – Typical tourist trap area. It’s cool if you want to shop for cheesy souvenirs and eat expensive meals. If you go off the beaten path, you’ll find those $1 tacos that are soooo good! But you really have to look for them, we had a hard time finding taco venders. Instead of pre-booking your excursions through a website ahead of time, go into Playa and book through there. We went through “Manny Chavez” and the Cigar shop on 5th Ave. We saved about $80 per person on our Chichen Itza tour (only paid $40 pp) and saved about $35 pp on a snorkeling tour to Cozumel. I think he gave us a pretty good deal. We always felt safe in Playa and there were no problems.

Chichen Itza – Considering this is one of the 7 Wonders of the World, if you are in the Yucatan, you MUST go and see these ruins. Absolutely amazing! It was hot, but there were no bugs or mosquito’s even though we were warned that there may be some. Beautiful site and very nice people.

Cozumel – Just like Playa, tourist trap. Nothing too interesting on the island. We went snorkeling and saw tons of fish and even saw a barracuda, that was scary & we kind of panicked. But all went well.

Very relaxing vacation and wonderful staff (except the maintenance A/C guy). I wouldn’t go back to this resort because it wasn’t all inclusive. We’ve gone to Jamaica and stayed at an all inclusive and it was much less stressful. At this resort, you had to wait for receipts to sign and sometimes they would have to chase you down in the pool if you got a drink and then swam away. Oops. If you can’t afford all inclusive, then you would like staying here. There were lots of kids however & we usually travel to get away from kids, but they weren’t too bad. Gold Course was nice and the guys loved it. All of the restaurants were great and very expensive, but you’re on vacation , so who cares, right!!!

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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7  Thank SoCalGal007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 October 2009

I was very anxious prior to staying at Mayan Palace, because of the reviews that were given in the past. I went with 7 of my girlfriends, ages 25-59 (wide range) and we all had a wonderful time here. We got an extremely good deal for the week ($79/each for 1 week) and we had a 2 bedroom suite in building 1.

Room: I sent an e-mail 3 days prior to arriving to request building 1. Heard that there is a lot of walking going on, and we wanted to be as close to the pool as possible. They accomidated us, we had a 1st floor room in building 1, basically as close as we could get to the main pool area. We were very pleased. The room was upated in style, the kitchen was well stocked, and included a fridge, microwave, and burners, along w/ all the pots and pans and cooking utencils we needed. The beds were pretty hard, but we requested foam pads, and they helped ALOT. They came every night and prepared the couches for bed, put all the linens on and did a second quick clean of the room. They cleaned so well all week, we felt like princesses. The air conditioning was so cold, we often had to turn it down because it worked so well. We had an issue w/ our fridge, and then w/ our TV, but we called and they had it fixed within 30 min. The operator (Felix) was so much fun to talk to and he helped us with EVERYTHING.

Pool: Beautiful. The pool area is HUGE. You really cannot fathom how large it is until you see it. They have about 15 different areas of the pool to hang out in, yet they are all connected. The servers at the pool area are attentive and friendly. We ordered food from the pool area, and it was always very good. The fish sandwich is soooo yummy. They have happy hour every day from 11-1 (2x1 drinks) and a "special" drink they serve 2x1 until 5. They also have affordable food in the giftshop area, including made to order sandwiches and salads. They allow you to bring floaty things into the pool, I brought a lounge chair from home and had no problems with using it in the pool. We also brought a bag-looking cooler and brought beer to the pool, and even though its clearly posted that its not allowed, they never said anything. One day we also ordered like 20 of the 2x1 beers, and they brought a large metal bowl w/ ice for us to keep them in. They were very very accomodating, even though they really didn't need to go to such great lengths. The pool is 24 hours, and at night there was no one in the pool. There were a few nights where we went swimming in the buff, and not a single person saw us or bothered us.

Beach: The beach was nice, but knowing that we couldn't go swimming in it, we really didn't spend much time there.

Puerto Morelos: For swimming in the ocean, we went to Puerto Morelos and hung out at a beach bar called Cabanas Ixchel. Its about 10 min from the resort. It was recommend to me by a friend that lives down there, and she was sooooo right. Its the only beach bar in Puerto Morelos, and its phenominal. Sarah, who runs it, makes the best margaritas ($3) and mojitos ($3), and the view is to die for. Its really like something out of a movie. We loved it so much we went there 2 days. There were no tourists, its a local spot, and it felt so surreal, I highly recommend. We also visited a place called "The Jungle Spa" in Puerto Morelos. Its not well known at all, and its kind of hard to find, so have the concierge call before you leave to get directions and to warn them you are coming so they can prepare. The massages are traditional Mayan massages, and they get in deep and move organs and all sorts of stuff. It was the best massage I've ever had. The massage itself is $35, and I also got an additional treatment of aloe, where the take fresh aloe and lather your body with it and then wrap you in banana leaves. Its amazing on your skin. That was $25. It was so worth it. Its not super fancy there, but these women have heart, and make it such a personal experience. Highly recommend it. We also got a personal guide for snorkling in Puerto Morales, and he was amazing. $25 got us 2 hours out in the ocean,and a very personal guided experience. Some of the girls were very scared to go in the water and snorkle, and he held their hands and made them so comfortable, soon they were loving it.

Cabs: Cabs are what killed us. They are super expensive. You can negotiate a price, just make sure you tell them upfront what you want to pay. The airport is only about 30 min away, so if you have a large group its cheaper to catch a cab back to th airport then to use their shuttle service. We also took advantage of the resorts shuttle to the Walmart in town, and we would pay $4.00 each one way to Playa. The last shuttle leaves at 6pm, so we would take the shuttle and then hang out in Playa until dinner.

Dinners: We often ate out in Playa or Puerto Morelos, and the food was delish! Talk to your cab driver about recommedations. We ate at the Blue Lobster one night, and it was fabulous, the service, everthing was amazing. We also ate out at the little taco places around town, the cab drivers were fine with making a pit stop to eat or whatever. We also got food from Walmart, and made a few dinners in our room. We never got sick, not any of us. And there was plenty of veggie eating going around. Word is that they have updated their pipes in the area. We still got very large bottles of water for our room, but I heard other people were drinking out of the tap and were fine.

Monkeys: We went to the Jungle Place near Tulum one day, and played with Spider Monkeys. Highly recommed this as well. It was $40 for 1 hour, and we got reseved alone time w/ the monkeys they rescued and raised. They were so fun and sweet. The owners Heidi and her husband took pictures of us the entire time, I think I have about 100 pics w/ monkeys on my camera. It was a once in a lifetime experience. Be sure to call or e-mail Heidi to reserve a time. They have a website just google The Jungle Place.

Nightlife: We went to a couple beach bars in Playa at night. The blue parot has free drinks for ladies on pretty much every night, and they play a mix of dance/techno/mexicana music. The dance floor faces the ocean, and the bar stools are swings! Very fun. We went to Coco Bongo on our last night. We were sceptical about paying $45 for the entry fee - but I can say they could charge at least $100 in the states and get away with it. It included all drinks, and it was the biggest party/show I've ever seen. Confetti and balloons were constantly flying around, they had dancers and music impersonators, and trapeze artists hanging from the ceiling. It was so much fun!!

The local people, everywhere we went, were very friendly and helpful. The staff at the resort were amazing. They have outlawed begging in the city, so no more harrassment of tourists. We felt very safe, being a group of ladies, and were taken care of wherever we went. From the local feel of Puerto Morelos, to the Big City experience in Playa, we had a memorable experience and will definitly be back to the area, and to this resort.

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
14  Thank flutterby00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Mayan Palace Riviera Maya

Address: Km 48 Carretera Federal, Playa Paraiso, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen > Playa Paraiso
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#7 Luxury Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#8 Top resorts Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#10 Family Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Paraiso
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Mayan Palace Riviera Maya 4.5*
Number of rooms: 402
Also Known As:
Mayan Riviera
Mayan Palace Cancun
Wyndham Playa Del Carmen
Riu Palace Riviera Maya
Cancun Grand Mayan
Grand Maya Mayan Riviera
Playa Del Carmen Wyndham
Mayan Palace Playa Del Carmen
Mayan Palace Riviera Maya Mexico

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