We are Palace Resort members and just spent a fabulous week at the Hard Rock (see below) Spa Palace. I must say that I had been very concerned before our trip when reading some of the awful reviews! We were glad to find out that things have not changed – much anyway! It is true that non-members can have issues with not being able to visit other Palace Resorts, namely the Playacar Palace, which is 30 minutes away in Playa del Carmen and offers a fantastic beach and easy access to the ferry to Cozumel.
If you are new to coming to this resort and new to flying into Cancun, I can’t stress enough what not to do. After you get your luggage, walk directly to the outside doors and walk outside. DO NOT stop and talk to ANY of the people that may try to accost you as you run this gauntlet! They will tell you anything! If you say that you are looking for the included transportation to the Spa Palace, they may say that they are with the Spa Palace, or Hard Rock and are actually the supervisors. They are trying to sell you something – timeshares, tours, whatever. Just pretend you can’t hear them and keep walking! Once outside the doors, ask for the included transportation to the Hard Rock Spa Palace.
The Time Share “pitch” is not mandatory as reported before. You can simply say “NO”. The situation is that of the two brothers that originated the Palace Resorts, one has split away and evidently reimbursed the other and made four of the Palaces into the first ever all inclusive Hard Rock Resorts. The four are: the Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) resort, the only one with a Casino (and also a golf course), the Aventura Spa and Cove, the Cancun Palace and the Puerto Vallarta Palace. To make it clear though, use of these resorts is guaranteed to be available to those Palace Resorts members who were members before the switch to the Hard Rock brand, it is included in your contract. We ended up buying into a Hard Rock membership as well. Some of the benefits were just too good to turn down.
Because of the split, and the fact that things are so new, many employees do not have it straight, and many policies are in the formative stages, so you often may get wrong information about how things work. We had read a review where a guest complained of not being able to use free transportation to the Playacar Palace and being unable to eat and drink there, as they had done before. We actually met others at the resort that experienced the same issue and that is going to be a PR problem for Palace and Hard Rock, until they figure out how to handle the situation. If people are using a travel agent to book their trip, they may have been led to believe that everything was the same as before Hard Rock came into the picture. I think this frustration is the thing that has resulted in people downgrading the resort. It is still definitely a top luxury resort! If you are a Palace Resorts member, you still have all the same rights, including free roundtrip transportation from the airport, which is a 75 minute ride to the Aventura Spa and Cove.
We did spend part of a day at the Playacar Palace, using the transportation, doing some shopping in Playa del Carmen, enjoying the beach and eating lunch there. Though the official word is that the bus will take you to the Golf Course in Playa (which went to Hard Rock brother in the deal they made), they will offer to drop you within a block or so of the Playacar Palace and pick you up in the same place. After picking us, and maybe 12 other guests up at the appointed place, the bus did drive to the golf course, where nobody got on, and then back to the resort.
Though drinks are “light” on liquor, as mentioned by others, you have four decanters of liquor in your room and can drink yourself silly if you want. You can also request double liquor in your drinks, and the bartenders are happy to comply. One thing we often did was to get double Amaretto’s without ice to go when retreating to our room at night. Then we would put some ice in them when we were ready and sit on our balcony and enjoy a “nightcap”. This was a great way to end the day, sipping and star gazing! An overlooked “drink” source is the bar next to the covered pool and hot tubs outside the gym at the Aventura lobby. It provides quite a variety of nonalcoholic blended fruit or vegetable drinks. VERY tasty! For the last several nights of our stay there was a large group from Pepsico at the resort for a meeting. They had set up the large cement “terrazzo area” with a huge number of tables and chairs, sound equipment, a stage, search lights, etc. Those nights we were treated to the live music provided for the meeting goers, and one night they even had fireworks! A bonus!!
I would agree about the comments made about the “Romantic Lobster Dinner”. The food and service were not nearly as good as you experience at every other meal, even the breakfast buffets. They should either improve the experience or end it. Last January we spent a week at the Moon Palace, and their Lobster dinner was actually a cruise, where you were served drinks, lobster and steak, Champaign, and it was nicely done for a large group on a boat in the lagoon. It should be much easier to provide a quality product on land, and with a smaller group, (in our case there were only about 10 couples), but it was not a good thing. Service was terribly slow, steak raw and cold, and altogether not pleasant or romantic. It is a waste of $350 of the $1,500 for it. We got it for attending a timeshare sales pitch.
Other than that, the food was good, and the service from waiters exceptional – service with a smile! How can you not want to leave a tip for them? They make very little money and appreciate a few dollars. We always left $5 at dinner and often a dollar or two for lunch and breakfast. Our favorite restaurants there are always the Mundaca and the Hacienda. The waiters are so attentive, and usually at the Hacienda a man prepares table side, fresh, “to die for” guacamole for you, and there are wonderful strolling musicians.
The nightly entertainment is exceptional. We went to the Michael Jackson show and the Samba show, and both were great. I know that there is on-going fun and games at the pools, but we never seem to get involved with that. I was tempted to join a lively water aerobics class one afternoon though. We also went on the Monkey tour one day and went back another day on our own, at the appropriate time and both times had multiple sightings of the spider monkeys on the grounds. Just a little something extra! Victor, who leads the monkey tours, is also involved in all sorts of daytime and evening entertainment around the resort. He is friendly and helpful and will try to get answers to any questions you may have.
Another “disconnect” that we have not experienced before was that earlier in the week, we experienced one restaurant (Mundaca – the steak house) being closed for dinner one night. When we asked about it, official word was that “all restaurants are open every night, but maybe they closed for maintenance or deep cleaning that night”. Later in the week, when the Pepsico people had arrived, they began closing 3 restaurants each night, but there was no advance planning involved, and you needed to visit the Public Relations staff during the day to find out which restaurants would be closed that night. One of our suggestions to them was to figure out ahead of time which ones would be closed and use the TV Channel dedicated to the resort to announce that each day.
The spa, as always, was wonderful. The hydrotherapy area is a nice way to wind down before your treatment, and the lockers, robes, sandals and showers make it all very convenient. The therapists are all excellent and very professional. In order to use our $1,500 resort credit money, we each had 4 massages, and I had an 80 minute facial in addition to the free manicure, pedicure, and additional 25 minute back massage you receive as members. We enjoyed every minute of every treatment, and again at the Spa, the people are so gracious, so charming, so welcoming that they just make you happy! The 3 bottles of tequila for $100 of the $1,500 is not a great deal. They are 375 ml each, or about 1.1 liters total. A 1-liter bottle of the same tequila at the airport duty free shop was $26. But, getting the 3 bottles is worthwhile if you will otherwise not use the $100.
We usually spend a day taking the ferry to Cozumel to go SCUBA diving. Nowhere have we found better diving than Cozumel. This time, though, we originally planned to do so, we decided to just do a local dive with Dive Adventuras, the dive shop recommended by the Spa Palace, simply to keep our PADI certification current (at least 1 dive per year). We had used them before and been somewhat disappointed in the dives. This time we had a great dive, seeing a lot of great coral and assorted fish. It exceeded our expectations, and that is always great. A 1-tank dive renting a BCD and regulator was $60/person, including round trip transportation from the Spa Palace. (We bring our own flippers and mask).
I would also agree with those who suggest requesting a 3rd floor room with an ocean view! The rooms are as they always have been, beds are firm, and though I enjoy a softer bed, I slept very well. We are not fans of the large Jacuzzi (we have one at home that we never use) and would actually prefer a comfy sofa or loveseat in its place, but enjoy the balcony and find the rooms sufficient. We never have used the room service, though we saw many trays in the hallways, so I guess a lot of people do order it. We prefer to go to the restaurants and enjoy all the choices. One thing that we often did was to turn down dessert after dinner and then walk over to the “Sweet and Coffee” in the Cove lobby and enjoy dessert and tea there. Also, when walking through other times of the day, we would pick up a few cookies to go. It also has quite a selection of deli sandwiches if you are going for an afternoon tour.
The Aventura Spa Palace, now transitioning to the Hard Rock Riviera Maya, remains our favorite resort for many reasons. The relaxing, laid back, and gorgeous setting and atmosphere, the great food and wonderful tropical drinks, the fabulous spa and fantastic treatments, and the friendly people who do all they can to make your vacation special, make this the resort we return to again and again!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A blend of relaxation and adventure awaits you at this adults only retreat. Set in the Riviera Maya overlooking the aquamarine Caribbean Sea, enjoy 1,266 luxurious accommodations with double Jacuzzi, balcony (most with hammock), and 24 hr. room service. Among the facilities to highlight is the state-of-the-art spa offering a perfect day of pampering. Guests can also enjoy seven restaurants, several bars, a disco, outdoor/indoor pools, and unlimited tours as part of the all-inclusive package. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Aventura Hotel Palace
- Aventura Hotel Puerto Aventuras
- Mayan Riviera Palace
- Adventure Spa Palace
- Hotel Mayan Palace
- Adventura Spa Palace
- Aventura Palace Spa
- Aventura Spa Palace Riviera Maya
- Aventura Spa Palace Resort
- Aventura Spa Palace Mexico