Just got back from the Barcelo Colonial in Riveria Maya, Mexico. Here's my analysis:
1.) Flew through Mexico City (on Delta then Aero Mexico). Avoid if you can. Once you arrive you go downstairs and go to immigration. Then you find your bag and put it on a conveyor belt. Next you go upstairs to the domestic terminal and catch your flight. Kind of a pain.
2.) When you walk through the airport in Cancun you will see 2 groups of people with ID's around their neck all dressed alike. KEEP WALKING. They will ask you which shuttle service you are looking for, forget them. They want to pitch you timeshare. Go outside and you will have someone holding up a sign with either your name or the transportation service. Ours was Olympus. They were very professional and courteous.
3.) It's a long ride to the resort. Try to relax. Took us about 2 hours. You will go through 2 police checkpoints but because you are in a tourist vehicle they wave you right through.
4.) The resort, WOW! A bright, beautiful, open air lobby. A beautiful huge carving was behind the reception desk. Check-in was effortless and they gave us a drink while they explained the paperwork. We were upgraded to the Colonial because the Caribe was being renovated. It was late and we were starving and tired, no problem Senor, leave your bags here and go to the buffet. Once they put the bracelet on our wrist we went to the buffet. Dinner was great. Lots to choose from and I, being a health nut found plenty. After dinner we went to our room. My wife and I both paused at the front door. Again, WOW! Great room, it was big, had a tub with a shower, a separate shower nice size bathroom countertop and a glass sliding door which is where the toilet was located. Our room looked out to the pool and to my surprise, it was very quiet.
5.) Yes, they have two 24 hour bars. How perfect is that!
6.) Beautiful beach. The property is actually 3 in 1. Caribe has the best beach, long, wide and flat. Getting into the water on the Colonial side is tricky (lots of rocks) and there is a steep drop off 6-8 feet from the waterline, be careful.
7.) The buffet is excellent. Your on vacation, have a mimosa or three. Want an egg white omelet? No problem. Want smoked salmon in it? No problem, you will find it on the middle island (where you get your plates) and the cook will add it to your veggies.
8.) Ready for some sun? Plenty of chairs available at both the beach and pool.
9.) Need a drink? Go to the swim-up bar for a few cocktails. Oh, there are two swim-up bars.
10.) The restaurants require reservations. I overslept and missed the seafood restaurant reservation (too many mosquito coasts!) but went to the Japanese steakhouse. My wife and I were the only ones at the table and that made the show even more special. Food was pretty good.
11.) I workout 5 days/week and believe it or not, I wanted to workout while on vacation. The resort gym was beyond my expectation. Open air, pretty well equipped. Dumbbells only go up to 50, no Olympic bar but they have a Smith machine. With some modifications I could do my regular workout. They have a cooler full of bottled water and towels are within reach. After working out I went to the steam room. Couldn't ask for more.
11.) My two very minor complaints:a.) the bartenders will not pour you a strong drink. You really need to stay on them if you want it strong. b.) I wish the reservation agent told me about the black bracelet before our last day at the resort. The black bracelet gets you access to as many passes to the restaurants to match the nights you are on the property. It also gets you free room service, free wifi and the top shelf alcohol. The cost is $40/day but you may be able to negotiate it down to $30.
The Barcelo properties generally cater to a Spanish clientele, but you will be treated like gold. Most of the staff speaks English and those that can't access those that can. Be friendly, give a dollar or two tip to those that you interact with and you will have a great time. If you have a question or a problem, find a manager. They will be more than happy to take care to address your needs.
Pool side was quiet. Could be because it was off-season. Ask for hand towels, our disappeared after...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.