To summarise our experience we found this hotel to be the best value for money of any resort we’ve stayed in the Caribbean or southeast Asia. You get a whole lot for your money with no major complaints. We stayed at the end of September and early October for 13 nights and being there in the low season is a major plus+ … I’m not sure we’d feel the same in peak season with 3 or 4,000 people in the resort, but it’s hard to say.
The resort is massive (which we loved and for those who complain, best you don’t stay here. To walk 10 min to dinner was nice, not frustrating), beautiful gardens and landscape, nice architecture, pools for miles, good to very good food (depending on restaurant), huge beach area, clean water and beaches, generally friendly and hardworking staff, quiet, relaxing, and plenty of entertainment. What this resort does not do well is cater for the exceptions or nonstandard type of requests. As soon as you need something different or special, their service level drops.
Overall we loved our time here and would return without question. We’ve already recommended it to a lot of people. Ultimately if you want a luxury resort this is not the place for you (5 star doesn’t equal luxury, just means there are a lot of amenities), but be prepared to pay triple or quadruple the price. If you want a very good resort for budget prices, this is the one.
Food & Drink – Buffets were decent, usually were cooking some hot food options(and fresh) and the variety was good. Not everything was super fresh but we always found something we enjoyed. Omelettes for breakfast were our favourite but it is true that sometimes the wait was 10 minutes(depends on when you go to breakfast)…this can annoy some people.
Only 1 place was open during the off hours and they only had burgers, hot dogs, popcorn, and nachos…a real shame there wasn’t another snack option and one more central in the hotel or closer to beach.
Definitely go to the a la carte restaurants for dinner. Unfortunately you have to go to a special desk to make a booking and can’t call or just show up, but it’s worth it. Miso Teppanyaki was the best (fun and fresh food), La Fleur was very French which we mostly don’t like but the beef fillet was as good as any I’ve had in the world, La Fondue was good food and fun experience…we thought the Hacienda(Mexican) and Miso Oriental were very average. La Taquiera steakhouse had big steaks, if that’s what you like, but nothing too special.
Drinks – I was surprised it wasn’t all cheap alcohol. Some brands like captain morgan, Bacardi, absolut, Corona…icy drinks used cheap stuff but that was ok. Wine was terrible but the champagne was surprisingly decent.
Rooms – The rooms are a little aged but nice and big and no major problems. Beds were comfortable and huge(king size), tv ok, a/c worked well, and great balconies. We split our trip with 2 nights in Jr Suite Deluxe and 11 nights Pool Access. We loved the pool access room and would highly recommend. Unfortunately there are mosquitos off the ground floor (none on 2nd floor room) and we got bit every night. Take spray if that is going to drive you crazy. Mini bar was stocked every day with 3 – 1L bottles of water, a couple of beers, and a few soft drinks. Only standard pillows in room and to get a different one required a refundable deposit and a bit of hassling.
Pools – We absolutely loved the pools and they just never stopped. You can just go and go and still find new places to explore. There are plenty of chairs and quiet spaces on the side pools (along with bar service throughout the day) while the middle areas are busier. You also have the “party” pools with swim up bars, music, and games…if you’re so inclined.
Beach – We read a lot of people complaining about the beach, but we enjoyed it. Tons and tons of chairs with little huts to give you shade, nice sand, and clear water. Because of the shallow slope there are little waves and with a sandy bottom the water appears murky but it’s just the sand stirred. Go out a ways and it’s crystal clear. Water temp was gorgeous! Bar on beach with bar food during the day. We also walked for miles both directions from the hotel and found the beaches clean, very little garbage, little haggling, and nice people and locals along the way. The only downside of the beach are the vendors set up in booths along the front…just ignore them (no gracias!)
Entertainment – party pool with DJ, lots of pool and beach events like aerobics, volleyball, football(soccer), etc. Every night there is a live band and this was one of our favourite things…outside bar with live music…couldn’t be beat. They also do a show at 930pm every night in the theatre…not bad if you’re bored or easily entertained but we found it a little cheesy. I went scuba diving and besides the questionable equipment, the dives were wonderful. Saw tons of cool stuff like giant moray eels, lion fish, barracuda, lobster, shrimp, tons of fish…
Service – I was a little surprised to find the service was quite good. Generally people are friendly and were quick and responsive. Of course a resort this size is going to have a few lame ducks, but overall we were pleased. When we needed something for the room like an iron, towels, water, or to fix the fridge & safe, they came quickly and sorted it out. Some would be really upset it happened in the first place, but again, this isn’t a luxury resort…stuff happens!
The ugly parts (hotel management please note!):
1) Mosquitos in the room and bitten every night
2) We wanted a pool room the entire time but was not available the first 2 nights. In the end we had to make 2 separate bookings. Though I called ahead and confirmed on arrival, to switch to our pool room was a disaster. They made us check out at 12pm and wait until 3pm to check into new room. They said they had to collect our bags during this time with guests arriving to our room. When I questioned the fact that the hotel was about 25% full, they said all the rooms were full. In the end they never picked up our bags and we could have just had our first room until the 2nd was ready. This was frustrating
3) Limited food options between breakfast & lunch and lunch & dinner. Need a snack bar or something by the main pools closer to beach with a few more options than just junk food.
4) Bad wine
5) Allow booking of restaurants over the phone and more than 3 nights in advance
6) No free internet
7) No alarm clock in room
8)No tea bags in room
9) I never once saw a comment card or someone looking like a manager. Don’t you want feedback?
10) $5 minimum to make a local “free” call.
Ultimately I'm lead to believe if you go with platinum many of these issues would be taken care of. Maybe it makes paying extra worth it?
Contact me if you have specific questions or want recommendations
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Grand Riviera Princess All Suites Resort & Spa is located on the stunning Riviera Maya, just three kilometers from the famous Playa Del Carmen, in beautiful surrounds, with large and spacious natural parks and the delight of a good tropical weather. Besides our fascinating beach, renowned for the clear water and splendid sea beds, typical of the east end of the Yucatan Peninsula, the Hotel invites you to discover the huge wealth of the archaeological remains of the Maya culture in this area. After crossing the spacious lobby the splendid "Paseo de los Dioses" is reached, which invites the costumers to discover the charm of the hotel. It is a gift to our senses to enjoy all our facilities that can be found to our left and right on the way to the marvelous beach awaiting for everybody at the way of the pleasant stroll.Opened in December 2007, Grand Riviera Princess offers 674 fully equipped rooms with a range of services that give the clients a variety of possibilities to choose from: Junior Suite, Junior Suite Deluxe (some with direct pool access), Platinum Suites and Laguna Villa Suites (ideal for the most romantic honeymoon).A fascinating Spa is offered to all the clients, and the most complete activity program during day and night. A range of services in the varied and international selection of top quality food provide the perfect counterpoint when sharing moments of peace and calm with excellent meals in beautiful and inviting specially decorated surrounds, some of which are by the sea. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Riviera Princess All Suites Resort And Spa
- Grand Riviera Princess All Hotel Playa Del Carmen
- Grand Riviera Princess Hotel
- Grand Riviera Princess All Suites Resort & Spa Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico