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“Spa Palace/Hard Rock still wonderful!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Heaven at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya

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Heaven at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya
4.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Carretera Cancun-Chetumal Km 72, Puerto Aventuras 77710, Mexico (Formerly Aventura Spa Palace)   |  
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40% OFF + $1800 CREDIT
Ranked #12 of 15 Hotels in Puerto Aventuras
SAINT PAUL
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
105 helpful votes 105 helpful votes
“Spa Palace/Hard Rock still wonderful!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2012

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!

Room Tip: Definitely request 3rd (top) floor with ocean view.
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (524)
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English first
Greenwood, Indiana
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2012

I had the pleasure of staying at Aventura Spa Palace the week before Christmas. Everything about the stay was wonderful, from the moment we arrived. The staff were helpful, friendly, knowledgeable, and charming. All of the facilities were extremely clean and in good repair. Every bit of food was excellent! I especially recommend Mo Mo No Hana and La Trattoria. Guests at the spa are able to enjoy meals and activities at the Cove Palace next door, which adds a tremendous value to the experience! At the Cove I recommend Ventanas for dinner and Mundaca for breakfast! Everything tastes fantastic though, so go wherever you like! Atmosphere and service are as great as the food itself.
The activities/entertainment coordinators at the Spa are so much fun! They work really hard to entertain and come up with fun games and adventures.Hugo, Mario, and Daniel were awesome! There were so many fun things to do. Every day I was able to work out, work on my Spanish, and make new friends! Water aerobics is a must, kayaking and snorkeling are super fun, and just relaxing is nice as well.
If you have a chance to try Alexander's fruit smoothies they are fantastic! Also, Alejandro and Julio are excellent bartenders over at the pool bar.
The shows at the Cove in the evenings are really fun, especially the Fire Show, so be sure to check that out! Many nights there is dancing and/or karaoke after a show.
During the daytime you can be as active or as lazy as you like. I enjoyed laying out in the sunshine. It was quiet, warm, and scenic and the chairs were very comfortable. As beautiful as the place is by day, it is even more beautiful by night. You can walk along the paths and the sand and feel the breeze off the water. You can also take in the night from the hammock on your patio. It is so relaxing. At night there is no trouble sleeping. The resort is very quiet due to good sound-proofing and the absence of children!
I spent very little time in the room itself, but the rooms there are nicely furnished and comfortable as well. The mini-fridge and mini-bar are restocked as frequently as you like. The in-room jacuzzi was a lot of fun and the bathroom is very spacious and pretty.
I never wanted to leave, from the moment I got there. I can't wait to go back in a few months for my honeymoon!

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hickory
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2012

I recently had the opportunity from my Palace Resort BDM to spend 2 wonderful nights
at the Aventura Spa Palace in Mexico and let me tell you this is an amazing resort.
Yes, the resort is very large, but even though it is a massive property, the service is
fantastic. My room was kept clean and the mini fridge was re-stocked each day. Restaurants, service and location at this property leaves you asking yourself this question, " how can there be anything any better?". No, it does not have a natural beach but it does have a wonderful "man-made" beach with padded sunning chairs and the pools at this resort are great. No reason, why anyone would not be able to find a place to enjoy the sun and the "drinks". With so many places to dine at this resort, no one should leave hungry!
As a travel agent would I recommend this property to my clients, without a doubt yes! The only thing I would warn them of, if you do not like huge properties then I would suggest staying at The Playacar Palace Resort. Equally impressive smaller property. Do not hesitate to visit Cancun. Enjoy all of the wonderful Palace Resort properties!

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled on business
    • 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wisconsin
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2012

We own a travel agency and stayed at the Aventura Spa Palace last week for 8 nights. It was a glorious week! The food, service, and entertainment was superb! Everyone took time to fufill our needs and requests. This great service was not just because we are a travel agents, but is given to all their guests. We talked to many people staying there and we didn't hear any complaints. If anyone is anticipating a destination wedding, I would highly recommend checking out the Palace Resorts. The evening entertainment as well as the pool activities were some of the best we have experienced at an all-inclusive resort. We are looking forward to going back again!

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Halifax, Canada
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2012

Loved our stay at Adventura Spa Palace. Room as always was fantastic and was the service. Can't say enough about the staff Palace has; from check in to check out everything was wonderful and friendly.

Food was incredible we especially enjoyed the Italian restaurant on the Spa side-our first meal was so incredible I ordered it the second time we went. Palace knows how to provide delicious choices containing lots of fresh food and varieties of foods. There is no reason anyone would leave hungry.

One thing that we didn't do and we should have was visit the Cove side early in the week to try the restaurants and facitiles there. Don't make the same mistake I'm sure we missed out on lots of greatness.

The Kitchen Tour offered (free) was lots of fun and really interesting, we recommend it!

Loved the fresh smoothies at the spa indoor pool!

$1500 resort credit allowed us to be spoiled at the spa. The therapists were wonderful! If you have a bad sunburn I recommend the Chaya Wrap-make me feel a whole lot better.

Can't wait until our next visit weeklong visit; we'll be stopping in for breakfast on our way to Tulum next March from Moon Palace just to get a glimps.

Room Tip: There isn't a beach but lots of pools. Playa del Carmen is a short drive away and has a fabulou...
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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 1
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Richmond, BC
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2012

I stayed at this resort last week, I would say this was a fantastic resort compared to Beach Palace than last time I was in Cancun. The room is quite reasonable size and clean with a double jacuzzi. The food was excellent thru out the resort, I tried at all specialties restaurants for both the Cove side and Spa side, they were all good. I would definitely go back next time next year.

Room Tip: Don't bother spending your resort credits for ocean view room, use the money for your spa treatm...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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.
Abington, Pennsylvania
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2012

Aventura brings both a world of adventure for both kids and adult couples. The spa side is adults only. Guards are posted in the middle of the resort and turn kids away if tey try and walk from the cove side. It is gorgeous with a man made lagoon, on the beach, some of the best dining I've ever had ecpescially at Tratoriaa and Mommo No Hana. The pools and hot tubs are so relaxing, and the room accomidations are out of this world.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Heaven at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya

Address: Carretera Cancun-Chetumal Km 72, Puerto Aventuras 77710, Mexico (Formerly Aventura Spa Palace)
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Puerto Aventuras
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Aventuras
#11 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Aventuras
#11 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Aventuras
#11 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Aventuras
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Heaven at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya 4.5*
Number of rooms: 577
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

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