I got very nervous reading reviews from the Barcelo Maya Colonial resort. I had many reservations. We decided to go there because my sister-in-law went there with friends and family and LOVED it. They had talked about it for the past 7 years. So here is my honest review.
We went from Jan 29, 2013 - Feb 5, 2013...yes just returned. The people working at the hotel were courteous.
ROOMS: We got our room right away and got a King size bed on the second floor which we had requested. We were facing the forest but that was ok, it was extremely peaceful and we could sit and watch the birds. We were given beach towels in our room and the room was very clean. The fridge was well stocked. The beds are hard, but I love hard beds. There were 4 pillow types (soft and hard) so you had a choice. The bathroom is clean and has a rain-shower. There were also soap dispensers filled with shampoo, conditioner and body wash. If you're picky with your products then you might want to bring your own. There is a makeup mirror and a hairdryer. The air conditioning worked well but if you put the fan on too high it made a noise. There is a good safe and an ironing board with iron. The towels were a bit rough, but they did the job. The sheets were a bit hard but very clean. Nothing you can't get used to.
I read in other reviews that people found bugs in their rooms which freaked me out. It all became very clear to me when I noticed that those who had rooms on the ground floor often left their balcony doors open. Of course you'll get bugs and maybe other creatures in your room if doors are left open.
BEACH/POOLS: Walking the grounds to the beach was really beautiful. They keep the grounds very green and clean. There weren't any huts on the beach but there were plenty off palm trees which give off shade. There were many pools, but none were heated. There was great music next to the pool so if you like the loud music and the aqua-aroebics, you will enjoy that spot. The ocean water was beautiful and clear. I brought my snorkelling kit but realized I didn't need it because the fish swam around your feet looking for food. It's beautiful. The first day we walked into the ocean, we needed water shoes 'cause there were many rocks where you enter in to the water. Amazingly enough, the rest of the week the rocks disappeared! It was great to walk in. There is not much room to swim because there is a lot of reef which is great for snorkelling, but we managed it.
FOOD: There are many buffets near the beach with a lot of variety in food, but if you test everything everyday, you will get bored. The variety is usually the same every day. The Marenostrum (seafood) and Kyoto (Japanese) were my favourite. The seafood was very tasty and the Kyoto was very entertaining and tasty as well. Men have to wear pants to the a la cart restaurants.
I can tell you I was very freaked out with some of the reviews, but really, you have to remember that you are in a foreign country! Remember that they are Spanish speaking people and you should respect everyone. Learn a bit of Spanish and it will work out well for everyone. Leaving tips always helps as well. Being away from the snow and the cold was well worth it. Enjoy it.