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“Another relaxing stay at Grand Velas” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Grand Velas Riviera Maya

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Grand Velas Riviera Maya
5.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Carretera Cancun Tulum Km. 62 | Municipio de Solidaridad, Quintana Roo, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico   |  
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Ranked #18 of 198 hotels in Playa del Carmen
Windsor, Canada
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“Another relaxing stay at Grand Velas”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2013

My husband and I have been to this resort twice and the property on Nuevo Vallarta as well. The staff is always top notch and the food spectacular. It is a very relaxing environment and the spa is out of this world--one of the best I've ever been too. My only complaints (if I had to come up with one)--both times we stayed on the main floor and found the hallways noisy--it is open concept with cement flooring, and both times we would be woken up by footsteps or conversation early in the am or late at night--it sounds like people are right in your room. Not sure if an upper floor would be better? All and all though we will go back. Not sure I would bring the kids for longer than a few days--it seems to be a more adult oriented venue.

Room Tip: Upper floor or away from the main lobby
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (288)
Date | Rating
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English first
Sittingbourne, United Kingdom
1 review
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2013

This was our 2nd trip to Mexico, but out 1st to GV, and after our wonderful trip last year a big disappointment. This hotel seemed to geared very much towards for the vast amounts of Americans that holiday there. As a professional couple we like to sound our holiday spending quality with our 2 children aged 9 and 15. We were disappointed that most of the themed restaurants were booked most nights prior to our arrival, and we could not eat early even though the 2 nights we managed to get a table at , after pleading to get a table, we were the only ones there for the whole hour. My children found the hotel very quiet and boring, with nothing to entertain them at all ( they are both girls so the over zealous male dominated water polo did not appeal) we ended up in bed asleep most nights by 9, as apart from a karaoke bar there is little else to do. There was also lots of people who seemed to be going down with the dreaded winter vomiting bug, which spreads very quickly, especially when people brought their I'll commuting children down to the pool so they did not miss out on topping up their tans, needless to say my eldest daughter ended up ill, when I tried to explain to the reception staff, that they had a vomiting virus problem, they pretended to plead ignorance, being a health care professional I kept my daughter out of action holed up in the room till she was 48 hours clear, it's a shame others did not do this. To give some positives our room was in the ambassador section overlooking the pool, so excellent to get our seats around pool early, but only 3 rooms away from the lobby and the god awful karaoke bar, that woke me up every night and goes on till the early hours. I also got sick and tired of those who liked to walk back to their rooms late at night whooping and shouting, although I find for the vast majority who holiday here that is probably their normal volume for speaking. Our butler concierge, and waiting staff could not have been more helpful and were so friendly, all the staff we met could not do enough for us. The spa is to die for, and I recommend highly the complimentary water treatment which is given when you book a treatment, I possibly had the most relaxing 3 hours I have ever had in my life. The hotel grounds are beautifully kept, and our room was very clean and comfortable. I loved the nespresso coffee machine so much, I have since purchased one on my return home. I would recommend having a photo session on the beach with dreams, yes it is expensive, but worth every penny for the beautiful photos that were taken of my family.We will be returning to Mexico this Christmas and New year coming, but will be looking to book another hotel which is more teenage/older child friendly, and also gives some recognition to the Christmas season on the Rivera Maya. If you are looking for a holiday where you can palm the kids off with a child minder and slope off every night for late meals as a couple only, then this is the hotel for you. If like us holidays are about spending quality time together as a family including dinning together, so wonderful memories can be created then I am sad to say it won't be for you.

Room Tip: Choose the ambassador section if you can.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Henderson, Nebraska USA
2 reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2013

Had a wonderful time. Brought our family with children's ages ranging from 15 to 24. The service was excellent. We stayed at the Zen Grand and were worried about not being right on the beach but we never waited more than 2 or 3 minutes for a shuttle. You can't walk to the beach, although it would have been a pleasant walk, because they are worried about people being hit by vehicles. Walking trails would have been nice. It was amazingly quiet in the jungle and we enjoyed seeing a lot of wildlife on the covered trails. We did make reservations at the restaurants before leaving and were glad that we had done this. The evening restaurants are very gourmet and we don't normally eat this way so it was a fun experience. Our young adult children really got into room service and had late night pizza and morning breakfasts. My husband and I went to the buffets for breakfast and really enjoyed the Azul in the morning. The only critique would be that the pools close at 8:00 pm and there is no nightlife but the nightlife in Playa Del Carmen makes up for it.

Room Tip: Zen Grand is very quiet but farther from the beach.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GVRM, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this review, April 19, 2013
Dear guest,

Allow me to thank you for choosing Grand Velas Riviera Maya on your most recent vacation, It is such an honor to know that our facilities and services have fulfilled your expectations. Providing with the most relaxing stay to our guests is one of our priorities and we are glad that we made it possible for you!

We hope to have the opportunity to host you again.

Best regards,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glen Ellyn, Illinois
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2013

I traveled with a group of 11 (extended family & friends) during the 1st week of January, 2013. We stayed in the Grand Zen section before moving to the Ambassador section for the last 4 nights of the trip. One of the best decisions I made since we were so much closer to the beach and main pool. However, if you want some serious peace & quiest, stay in the grand zen section which is 5 minute shuttle ride east of main resort/lobby area. Positives: great ala cart dining in all but one [Azul] restaurant (need reservations, pants, shoes...etc); expansive white powdery sandy beach; great personalized service; close to playa del carmen and theme parks, beautifully kept flora & fauna; big rooms with comfortable beds; clean overall hotel.
Negatives; no formalized activities desk around pool/beach which we are used to having at other mexican all-inclusives resorts; dress code at all but two of the restaurants; pressure to tip at all of the restaurants; rocky beach in most areas unless one walks further up/down the beach. All in all; not sure if this resort worth the price tag. However, it does appear to be one of the best in the Playa del carmen area.

Room Tip: choose the ambassador section
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2013

We were very disappointed with our Christmas vacation at the Grand Velas in Riviera Maya. We have been taking the family to a resort in Mexico for about 12 years now. We have stayed at some very nice all- inclusives, but none of them have been nearly as expensive as this one. I decided to splurge because we were celebrating a milestone birthday of mine. Maybe I had my hopes up too high, but I had heard so many nice things about this resort.

We were put in the Zen building so we had to take a shuttle to the Ambassador – or main hotel. When we got to the Ambassador in the morning after breakfast, we couldn’t get chairs ANYWHERE either around the pool or on the beach. What we came to find out was that people were paying the beach and pool staff to reserve chairs early. When we went over there at 7:30 in the morning, we still had problems getting more than a couple of chairs. Having to return to the Zen building was far less than ideal since there wasn’t a restaurant where we could eat lunch! There was a limited “snack” menu at the Zen pool but that was it after breakfast. For the amount of money we spent, this was so totally unacceptable to me.

There are other things about the resort that bothered us, and I feel they should be “visible” before you book the hotel. For example, we are runners/walkers. You cannot run or walk anywhere in the hotel area without someone following you. In a million years I would never have agreed to this. Also because of this, the gym was overcrowded and it was often hard to use a machine without a long wait.

I will speak highly of most of the staff, but when we had a difficult time trying to get dinner reservations (and yet all the restaurants were half empty when we did go!), the concierge told me to get a baby sitter instead of trying to book reservations at a convenient time for a 2 year old. The rooms themselves were lovely and the housekeeping staff very efficient and courteous.

Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, PA
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2013

We stayed at the Grand Velas with our 2 year old son for 5 nights/6 days, and had an unbelievably fantastic vacation. The resort was beyond our expectations.
1. All the pictures you see are true, it really is that beautiful! The property is only 4 years old and is immaculate. Rooms, grounds, pool area, restaurants, covered walk ways, all spotless.
2. Staff were uniformly friendly and in a genuine manner. Some people complained about tipping in their reviews here on TA. Disregard them. I brought $100 worth of $1s and $5s (still came home with about $30). Left $10 for dinners in the restaurants, $3 for room service, $2 for buffet breakfasts/lunches, and $1 for poolside drinks. Not a big deal. The tips were appreciated and it was excellent service. Come on, if you can afford to stay here, you can afford a few bucks a day for tips to genuinely nice people.
3. The food was AMAZING. The breakfast buffet at Azul was a daily event. We ate at Sin Lin 3 nights we loved it so much, and Freda once. (kids can only eat in Azul, Lucca, Chaka and Sin Lin; the others are for adult dining which I totally understand). The food and environments were on a par with any top restaurant in NYC, Philadelphia, Chicago. Quality of ingredients, creativity, flavors, preparation and presentation all top notch. The service, atmosphere and decor were exactly what you would expect of a 5-star hotel. They are a little picky about reservations, so make them in advance on-line at the hotel's web site. You can always change them once you get there which is what we did. Oh, one more thing. Adults can't wear shorts or flip flops in the nicer restaurants. So be sure to bring a pair of long pants. Jeans and sneakers passed their test just fine, dressier if you are so inclined.
4. Zen Garden vs. Ambassador - We stayed at the Zen Garden view, which was significantly less expensive than the Ambassador, almost $200/night less. True that the major pool (especially for 2-3 year olds) and beach are at the Ambassador, but the savings was well worth it. The rooms are the same (try to get a 2nd floor room as we had at the Zen, because they have cathedral ceilings due to the building's design and feel really large. Ambassador and Zen rooms are the same in terms of size and amenities, very large, with a huge bathroom and balcony on which you can enjoy room service. I was apprehensive when I read that there is a shuttle from Zen to Ambassador. Put your mind at ease. They are air conditioned small mini buses, they run constantly (we could not say about anything past 9:00 as the 2 year old doesn't let us out past then LOL). The ride is about 3 minutes long, and they don't wait for a full bus. If you are the only one there, they take you immediately. They are not running on a schedule such as every 15 minutes or something like that, because they just keep going in a circle back and forth between the two locations. In fact the 2 year old enjoyed the bus and kept asking for it. I was envisioning open trams like Disneyland that sat there until it was their time to leave. No such thing.
5. All inclusive means just that. All wine, beer, mixed drinks were included (some we were told are not, I think top shelf perhaps?). Sin Lin had a wine cart with about 15 selections, drink up! And you can eat as many times as you want. We ate very early dinner at 6:00 (that's when the restaurants open) and a couple nights had additional room service out on the balcony after our son went to sleep - all included.
6. Don't worry about the water. Bottled water is EVERYWHERE and included. We ate whatever we wanted, including fruits and salads and no one got even the slightest bit ill, even the baby.
7. Families - This is no Disney resort type place. Probably 75% no kids, 25% with kids but we all felt welcomed and there is a huge end of the pool at the Ambassador by the beach that is about 18 inches deep, perfect for toddlers. It was a perfect blend of family friendly and adult. We really enjoyed meeting other families at the pool.
8. Getting from and back to airport. Thank god the hotel was so fabulous, because after dealing with Cancun airport you'll need a drink and something beautiful to look at! It took us about 3.5 hours to fly from Philadelphia to Cancun. It took nearly 3 hours to get from the plane to the hotel (once on the road the hotel is 35 minutes from airport, absent traffic which we did not experience). Immigration and customs were chaotic with swirling, unmarked lines that Eurotrash kept cutting into. All this is unavoidable. We made the mistake of thinking we'd just get a taxi and take it to the hotel. Doesn't every airport you've ever been to have lines of taxis waiting? Not here. We paid $95 USD inside the airport for a cab. They don't tell you that you have to wait in line for 1/2 hour more for a cab. Every 5-10 minutes a single cab pulled up and took one party to their destination. We waited at least 1/2 hour. Sooooo, to come back to the airport we arranged at the hotel desk for a private minivan to get us back to the airport. They were there promptly at 11:00 a.m. and it only cost us $75. Next time and for all you who are going, my advice is to arrange with the hotel to have a private minivan meet you at the airport and don't take a taxi. That was our major lesson learned. BTW, it was easy to leave the Cancun airport. No real lines, as their security procedures are no where as onerous as ours are in the USA. Keep a few Pesos if you are eating there. You get ripped off if paying in USD. We paid $18 for one food-court Chinese platter since we had no Pesos left.

The best testament I can give is that we want to go back the same week next year. Jan-4-9. perfect weather too with low humidity and a breeze usually in low to mid 80s.

Room Tip: Request a top floor room for the cathedral ceilings they all have owing to the architectural design...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Jersey
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013

Our family went to Grand Velas for the 2nd year in a row. We returned because we had such a wonderful time the first time we were there and because the resort goes out of its way to accommodate those who must eat gluten- free, with the chefs at the varied gourmet restaurants making them delicious meals that fit their diet.

This time, however, the resort was a bit more crowded than our first trip and so we had some glitches at some of the restaurants. We were especially disturbed at the restaurant Lucca. The waiter didn't want to bother the chef and wanted to offer my daughter a plain piece of fish. However, the manager took note and came over and all was well.

The people at Azul, the buffet restaurant were vigilant, and treated my daughter very well. All her meals were individually prepared so that there was no contamination.

I wanted to mention that Aaron, one of the beach waiters, went out of his way to find my daughter a gluten-free meal she could eat on the beach! Bravo to him.

One of the problems we encountered this year vs. last year is that the resort changed wireless internet providers and guests could only use the service per device. At $89 per device for 4 people (some of us had two devices), we felt that was a bit steep, especially for a resort that is so expensive. While the management was willing to discuss the price, we decided that we would only sign up for one device and buy by the hour. Still the hassle took a bit away from the relaxation.

You can see that I rated this property 5 stars, despite some of the difficulties. It is just lovely and I long to go back. The spa is wonderful. I had a message and went with my daughter on the water journey and I would recommend it to anyone. The beach is beautiful, the rooms spotless, the butler concierge takes care of your every whim. For me, that is the definition of the ultimate beach vacation.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GVRM, Director de Relaciones Públicas at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this review, January 17, 2013
Dear Guest,
We would like to thank you for choosing Grand Velas as your holiday destination.
Our hotel is always open to receive coments or suggestions, as our mission is to exceed the expectations of our guests.
We will forward your comments to Aron. Regarding the internet, we would like to offer you a sincere apology for all the inconvenience caused, we are working in provide you a better internet service.
We would love to host you again, Thank you for your preference
Warm Regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Also Known As:
Grand Velas All Suites And Spa Resort, Riviera Maya
Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort, Riviera Maya Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort, Riviera Maya Hotel
Grand Velas Hotel Riviera Maya
Grand Velas Riviera Maya Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
Address: Carretera Cancun Tulum Km. 62 | Municipio de Solidaridad, Quintana Roo, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 Business Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#12 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#13 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#15 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#17 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#22 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Grand Velas Riviera Maya 5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Opened in 2008, the luxurious All Inclusive Luxury Resort Grand Velas Riviera Maya is one of the newest resorts to distinguish Riviera Maya as a premier vacation destination. The uniquely Mexican world-class hospitality we provide is "Beyond All Inclusive, Beyond All Compare", and we are proud to be the only family-friendly All Inclusive resort in the Mexican Caribbean to have been rated Five Diamonds by the AAA. ... more   less 
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