I read literally pages of reviews on this place for the last three months after booking through RCI, and prepared for a disappointment: pushy timeshare people, long distances to walk, ugly beach, and a few other negative issues. When we arrived on June 29, (we just came home today!) words could not describe the extreme happiness I felt. The service was impeccable, the rooms--exquisite and clean-, amazing beds, pools that are beyond description and pristine, and service staff that could set the bar for how to cater to the tourist. They were always smiling, always friendly, never rude, never slow, and wanted nothing more than to please their guests. Please--the favorable reviews you have read are accurate. I will not repeat what others have said, but I will tell you a couple or so facts you should know.
1) You MUST have a receipt in hand to verify that you have a shuttle (free) to the Grand Mayan. I booked through RCI so this was a grey area. I did manage to get a free ride, but it was complicated because I did not realize I had to actually reserve it.
2) Expect that everything is expensive in Mexico and almost every price listed is in pesos. DOWNLOAD an app called currency converter if you have a smart phone. It was priceless to have.
3) Costs: We are not big drinkers. However, we had about 2 drinks each for our group of 5, per day during happy hour times and that was around $65 in the a.m., for 5 drinks, and $65 in the afternoon for the other 5 drinks. The drinks range from $9.50-14.00 each. Now, the food...we had gone to Mega (a grocery store 25 minutes away by taxi) on Day 2 and bought the following: 4 cases of water (4 large bottles in a case)--which was an excellent choice. A single bottle in your hotel room of the same brand is $7 usd. We paid about $3 for a 4pk. You will want this. The staff said to not drink tap water because it is loaded with minerals and sodium. We used it for our teeth, etc, but not to drink. Coffee grounds. Coffee is NOT free in the room. Napkins (doubled as filters). Bananas. Soft drinks. Candy. Peanut butter. Jelly. Bread. (We made sandwiches twice). We spent $95 USD on breakfast bars, donuts and all the other items and it was money well spent. We used all of it up. The meals at the hotel restaurants are EXCELLENT (some more than others), but seriously, folks--this is very expensive.We have traveled extensively in Europe and the Caribbean and this place is VERY pricey. Breakfast for 5 (just eggs, bacon, and the usuals) was $125-135 any given day. Room service was actually the cheaper option which I recall being about $100. Dinners usually ranged from $175-250 (i am not kidding) for 5 of us, and that was maybe with one or two total alcoholic drinks ordered.
3) You MUST put a credit card down at time of check in. This is a purely cashless resort. We averaged two meals a day at the resort, and with the bar tab added in, our total cost for our family of 5 (again, modest drinking) was $1900 USD for one week. Just be aware. We saved a ton by going to Mega--and everyone seems to do a grocery store run. We took a taxi there, he waited for us, and took us back. $45 total. The bell boys loaded a box up when we returned and brought it UP for us!
4) Don't bother renting a car unless you are planning to do MAJOR sight-seeing. We weren't, and we didn't need one. However, taxis can physically only hold 4 passengers (and tightly), so the 5 of us took a shuttle to Playa del Carmen for a day=$25 each way total.
5) Yes, it was June, so the availability of pool chairs, palapas, and everything was freely available. Who would go to 95 degree Mexico? US! haha
6) Timeshare people approached us in the airport and we simply brushed them off. The hotel also had a woman approach us. We listened to her for 5 min and said, "We will think about it." The next day, when we saw her, we said, "We are not interested" and never were approached again. No aggressive pushiness at all.
7) We asked for Building 2 and got it. Not a problem. Again, low season. We even felt that was a lot of walking but knew we got lucky to get such a close building. Building 1 and 2 are attached to each other. In the summer, there is no reason you cannot get in these close buildings.
8) Do not bring a ton of pesos. We took $150 USD (1,945. pesos) out of a Santander ATM in Mega (which is affiliated with Bank of America=no fees) You want to get it IN pesos!!! We used this for shopping in Playa. We used our Bank of America debit card at Mega. Everything at the resort is in pesos but an American translation is on your receipt. The tips are also included!! Occasionally, we would hand the waiter an extra tip (they don't care if it is a few USD) for particularly exceptional service. However, we did not as a rule tip above their tip. (They get a decent tip!) Trying to add on to the bill is a mess. Don't do it. It has to be all in pesos and you could end up giving them a paltry amount when you meant to give him more, and all the figures have to be changed.
9) The beach is beautiful but not swimmable. You'll prefer the amazing pools anyway. Always fun stuff to do. The main pool has MUCH more activity, but the little pool outside of buildings 1 & 2 had a little 'sandy beach' and was gorgeous.
10) Dress for brutally hot weather. Leave the jeans at home. Their a/c is not like our a/c. It is hotttt everywhere. However we set our room to be an icebox and it was great. We brought summer dresses for dinners, but my husband wore shorts and was perfectly appropriate.
11) Bring lots of sunscreen. You will need it! A hat would be good too.
12) These employees ALL know English. Often they will answer the phone in Spanish (many guests of course are from Mexico) and I would say, "Hables Ingles?" and they would say "Yes, how can I help you?" I am not kidding--this staff is amazingly helpful, friendly and fun.
Please email me if you have any questions. I just loved this place. It's exquisite. Hope you will enjoy it as much as we did!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- I am offering suites at The Vidanta Grand Mayan Riviera Maya resort, located on the Yucatan Peninsula. This resort has everything you could ever need to experience true happiness: JOYA, a resident Cirque du Soleil show; five luxury resort hotels; world-class restaurants; spectacular pools; shopping boutiques; a Jack Nicklaus golf course; indulgent spas and the most attentive staff in Mexico. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Grand Mayan Riviera Maya Hotel Playa Del Carmen
- Grand Mayan Riviera Maya
- Wyndham Playa Del Carmen
- Playa Del Carmen Wyndham
- Grand Mayan Cancun
- Grand Mayan Playa Del Carmen