We travelled to the Aventura Spa Palace (now a Hard Rock Hotel) from Dec 23 - 30, 2012. We thought we'd like to try being away over Christmas and based on this experience, we wouldn't do it again! (At least not at a big hotel.)
I have been to this resort and loved it, especially the $1,500 room credit. We went the morning of our first day there to book everything - I would recommend others to do this. Others that arrived on Dec 26 & 27 went to book and nothing was available - no spa appointments, no tours, etc. Be specific when you book your appointments at the spa. I did not specify that I preferred a woman therapist, and when I went to change it, you'd think I was asking for the world! (Despite my best efforts, I never did get a woman.) The therapists I did have were great and professional.
As usual, the food at the resort was great. However, due to the Christmas season, it was an hour long wait at any of the a la carte restaurants. We adapted, but the wait was especially frustrating when we'd see many empty tables at the restaurant.
This resort has no "natural" beach - you cannot swim in the open ocean. There is a wall built so the ocean water flows through a lagoon in the resort. We enjoyed swimming in here. There are a few little pockets of quieter areas which we sought out, as the pool was way to loud for us all day. BTW, you had to be up and claiming a chair at 7 a.m. at the latest anywhere on the resort or you weren't getting one. We actually saw two ladies get into a fight over a chair!
Rooms were nice and clean. We had asked for a King bed and they did not have this available, so they put two doubles together which wasn't ideal. Also, we had booked the Aventura as it was an Adults Only resort. Right beside our room was a sign that said no kids beyond this point - our neighbours had a child in their room! It seems that perhaps the Aventura Cove was overbooked so they put families on the adult side of the resort? This was disappointing as many of us pay extra for adults only.
We had some interesting situations with room service, but nothing to worry about. They never seemed to get our wine order right, but it really wasn't a big deal. We ended up treating it a bit like a game to see what kind of wine we'd get that evening!
Checking out was a bit of a hassle as they argued with us for 1.5 hours that we owed extra on our room ($200) and we did not. Thank goodness we had kept some of our spa receipts! Finally we ended up talking to someone higher up that promptly understood the problem and cleared our account just in time for us to jump on the shuttle. This was frustrating and not a good way to end our otherwise pleasant vacation.
I would certainly re-visit the Aventura Spa Palace, but not over Christmas. They did not seem equipped for all the people.