My husband and I spent 3 nights here to celebrate my 40th birthday. We returned yesterday. After reading all the reviews and hesitating to book our trip here, I feel obligated to share my experience.
We booked directy through Aventura's website. We booked an oceanview concierge room. After reading reviews, my concerns were about poor service at the front desk and not being able to book spa services (or taking hours to book the services) to use our $500 credit since we were only there for 3 days.
I did some research and was able to make spa reservations in advance via email.
We used a private shuttle service (Cancun Shuttle which was reasonably priced and excellent service.) We arrived at a very busy time on a Saturday afternoon. It was chaotic and there was a bit of a wait at the front dsk, but nothing unreasonable. My husband generously tipped the front desk man and requested a nice room be on the second or third floor. That was a waste of effort since the rooms are assigned in advance and apparantly they cannot/will not change anything. It did not stop him from accepting the tip though. We were escorted to our room and were quite disapponted in the view. It was supposed to be an ocean view concierge room. We did receive the concierge "amenities", but it was a big stretch to call it an ocean view room. You could not see the ocean out the patio door. You could see a very small amount of blue if you stood in the very corner of the patio. Ugh. I had booked concierge only because I read these had the best ocean views. Absolutely not. Almost anywhere else on property would have had a better view. We complained to the man escoring us and got on the phone right away to the front desk. The employee suggested we leave our luggage in the room and walk back to the desk to complain. He was nice about it and obviously knew that we would get nowhere. This must be a common occurance!
The front desk was absolutely no help. The first man asked where on our receipt it said oceanview. It did not, but that was the description on the website. He said it was because we booked it through a travel site and it was their fault. We booked it directly with ASP. He said he would have someone check the website and fix it. There were many excuses...all a waste of time. We supposedly spoke to a supervisor who also could not/ would not help but added us to a "waiting list" to change rooms tomorrow. We could see the room next to us complained as well. He said he would really make our case to the person who assigns rooms since we were staying such a short time for such a special occasion. We returned to the desk the next morning at 8am and it was as if they had no idea we even asked to change rooms. They said they could put is on the waitlist again. It was a big run around. All we could do was put it out of our minds and enjoy our trip.
While I'm still complaining, let me mention that the clock/ipod dock did not work, the safe did not work, the hammock was hung way too high to use, and half of the blackout shade was missing. We reported these things the morning we realized we were stuck with that room. They fixed 2 of the things immediately. It took another call to get a rope extension for the hammock to be hung lower and the blackout shade was never taken care of. No big deal with any of these things. Overall they were pretty responsive.
Still slightly complaining... the concierge amenities aren't worth it and in some cases just seem like an illusion. I would not recommend booking concierge! (The only reason we did was for a good view...and that was certainly bad advice.) Their was upgraded liquor in the room (we don't drink though.) There was aromatherapy which helped the mustly smell that cannot be avoided in such a humid climate. There were petite fours delivered nightly (2 one inch squares of dry cake or a piece of chocolate)...fine. The "pillow menu" was placed in our room the second day but they had nothing available. Nothing. There was a concierge room service menu with a choice or two from each of the restuarants for dinner. The choices were limited. We did not have a regular room service menu and have no idea if one even exists. We used room service for breakfast the first day and it was fine. The buffet was better. There is a breakfast slip for room service to hang on your door at night. I'm sure this is for any room, not just concierge. The beachbag was okay. Very cheap, but fine. The shampoo ect. did not appear to be an upgrade either. The worst scam is the "candlelight dinner." We called to book ours for the night of my birthday thinking this would be something special. They offered us the choice of the mexican style restaurant either on the spa side or the cove side. I had read the cove restaurant was better and we booked there. They said there would be a special menu. There was absolutely nothing different about this dinner. Nothing. We asked the waiter what was supposed to be special/different and he said we could order lobster if we wanted. No thanks. They wouldn't even have mentioned it if we hadn't asked. They really shouldn't advertise this...or they should actually do something to make it special. The only real advantage to concierge for us were the (2) 25 minute massages. Again, I wouldn't book concierge! You can certainly pay for a massage with the money saved or just use your credits for the spa anyway.
Their is no concierge lounge or desk. You simply dial "0" to talk to someone to book your dinner or whatever. I don't think they really understand what concierge usually means.
Sorry for all the complaining, but I wanted to give as much detail as possible. I know it would have helped me know what to expect and make my decisions.
Now for the good stuff...
The resort is beautiful! The room actually looks better in person than it does in the pictures. The pools are nice. The lagoons although they don't look like much for snorkeling are actually pretty good. You can see quite a variety of fish especially near the ocean inlets. The lagoon in front of the cove side is the largest and probably has the best snorkeling.
The service is very good (other than at the front desk.) I was impressed with the quality of the food overall. I haven't been to any other all inclusive resorts but I travel a lot and it was better than any cruise I have been on. The buffet food quality in particualr was better than I have had from any buffet other than at a very high end restaurant.
The service at the pool and "beach" was also pretty good. Sometimes slow, but more frequent than I expected. Nobody I encountered ever expected an additional tip (I say additional because it is my understanding that all-inclusive means tips are included.) We did often give additional tips but it was nice that it was not expected.
The spa really is the shining gem of this place. The services were excellent. I had the 25 minute concierge massage which was truly excellent! And a deep tissue massage that was very good, combined with a sensitive facial which was good but I've had better. I also had an aromatherpy massage which as very good. I didn't make use of the hydrotherapy area, but I did observe it for a while and noticed an attendant expertly manage the clients through the area and get them to their spa service on time.
We only went to one show...Michael Jackson tribute because I read good things about it. I was surprised that the room had wooden folding chairs. The dancers were good. The lip synching was terrible and it's all I heard anyone talking about. Also, the main costumes looked cheap. I'm really not a show snob, but for some reason these things bothered me. We didn't stay the whole show and decided not to give the circus show a try either.
Considering I paid about half of what I would have paid at a similar all-inclusive resort, I would say I enjoyed our stay. In addition to paying half...the $500 spa credit really made it awesome! I would have loved this place if not for the deceptive practices of the front desk (maybe it's all the fault of the way they advertise the rooms, but it is obviously so common that at this point there seems to be deceptive practices.) If you're looking for a bargain all-inclusive then this is your place. Hopefully they will get themselves more together as the ownership change is completed.
Just considering the facilities and services (excluding the front desk) I would say this is a 4 (out of 5) star resort.
- 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