We flew out with Sunwing from Calgary for a one week trip (Wed to Wed) Feb 13th
We had previously stayed a Barceló Maya Beach 2 years ago so were familiar with the resort. For this trip we decided to try Tropical as it was only $50 more per person than Beach when we looked at packages from Calgary.
We landed at 3:35 pm and were on the bus at 4:45 – we waited another 15 minutes for some additional people and left Cancun airport at 5 pm. We were told the trip would take anywhere from an hour and 10 minutes to an hour and 20 minutes depending on traffic – we arrived at 6:10 – the bus was stopping at 2 resorts and though the Barceló was furthest south, (the other 2 stops were close to Puerto Adventuras, 10 mins north of Barceló) Barceló was the first stop – dropping off people at the Beach lobby before Tropical then heading back north to the other 2 resorts.
Check in was smooth and front desk staff were friendly. I hadn’t emailed the resort prior leaving to ask for any room requests, leaving our room location to chance. We ended up in room 7126 - a ground floor room in Yucatan, right across from the theatre. We would normally request a 2nd or 3rd floor room facing away from the theatre but we decided we were due to take a less favorable room as we’ve been very lucky in the past. The ground floor room was very close to both pool and buffet – so that was more convenient than we would have thought. We never had any issues with bugs in the room, but we did find the theatre very noisy. The shows ended between 10:40 and 11 and the volume was sometimes very loud –we actually enjoyed the shows more from our patio or inside the room – they were even louder when we went to the theatre and my teenager asked to leave during the Fiesta show because the volume was hurting his ears. The Circus Circus show was excellent with some very talented performers.
If you do like to go to bed before 10:45 I do recommend asking for a room further from the theatre. The resort should turn the volume down on some of the shows as several patrons commented that it was too loud in the theatre itself.
Compared to Beach, the lobby, lobby bar and buffet areas are larger, more grand and upscale. At Beach, you find your own seat and the buffet is not air-conditioned (which is fine in Jan/Feb and probably March.) At Tropical, the buffets are glassed in, have air-conditioning and you are seated by a hostess. More often than not, service is more attentive than at Beach, though we found it a little spotty sometimes – at dinner one night we finally had to go find a waiter and ask him who was supposed to be serving our table as we wanted water. If we weren’t getting served other beverages we just helped ourselves at the bar and adjusted our tip accordingly.
The room was a little larger than at Beach, but we found we preferred the bedding at Beach 2 years ago. At Beach we had 4 new pillows per bed and crisp new white bedding while this trip at Tropical we had 2 fairly hard flat pillows on each bed, well-worn blankets and we found the sheets very “noisy.” We knew to take the thick mattress pad from between the mattress and box-spring to make the bed more comfortable but there was nothing to be done for the pillows! This and the theatre noise made sleeping a little harder but we are pretty easy going and there are enough wonderful things about the resort to offset this drawback.
Housekeeping was fine, and the fridge was restocked daily – a couple times we even received chips and extra nuts (we tipped every day – on our pillow for the maid and in the fridge for the person restocking it.)
For the first 3 days of our trip we found the refrigerator very warm – even though we kept the cabinet door open, having read about this tip on TA. We would just get a bucket of ice and put a couple beers in it, if we wanted a cold one at night on the patio. I tried to find a temp control but couldn’t see one. On day 4 the fridge was a lot colder and stayed that way for the rest of the week. I’m not sure of the person restocking it noticed it wasn’t cold and adjusted it or what, but it made having a cold beer much faster!
The buffet was generally good – we could always find something to eat and we liked the layout – with several stations/sections, it made it easy to go in and find something without long lines.
We booked a la cartes right after arriving and had decent times at all 3 of our choices – Kyoto, Santa Fe Steakhouse and Mexican (Mariachi). All three were excellent and service was great. We laughed at Mariachi as the bar is right near the entrance so after we were greeted by the hostess we were asked if we wanted a drink by the bartender. We weren’t sure if he meant they had special welcome drink, so we asked, “What kind of drink?” and he looked at us and said, slowly, and dryly, “Well… this is a Mexican restaurant , so we have Mexican drinks like Margaritas, Beer, Pina Coladas…” We asked for strawberry Margaritas but we had to laugh as we sat down – my husband looked at me and said “Stoooupid tourists!”
We never had any trouble finding a lounger beach side or poolside in the am (between 8:30 and 9ish) - it was harder to find a shady spot by the main pool soon after that and when we came back from a trip off resort on a sunny day around 3 we had a hard time finding a lounger anywhere – even on the beach. People did reserve spots (some people even tried reserving 6 prime pool spots by spreading 1 resort towel across 2 chairs and turning the side tables on top of the other ones!) On our last full day, the weather wasn’t great – it rained from 10 am to 4:30 and people began “reserving” chairs in the lobby bar – putting towels on chairs as well as beach toys!
I snorkelled in front of the Palace several times over the week and saw several turtles, a couple rays, and some fish, though the coral didn’t seem to be in great shape.
Off site trips – we walked to Cenote Azul one afternoon – it was great! My husband son thought I was crazy making them walk off the resort, cross the busy highway and then walk along beside the highway itself for a short bit. My son kept asking – “Wouldn’t it be safer to take a cab??” but I had read this cenote was only 1000 meters from the May Beach Lobby and it was. We walked past 3 others (Including Kantun Chi) to get to Azul, so there are many options. We really enjoyed Azul – entry was only 70 pesos per person. We had fun snorkelling and jumping off the cliff into the main cenote and it is quite pretty.
We also took the colectivo to Akumal one morning for a couple hours of snorkeling in Akumal Bay and did a day trip to Xel-Ha – taking the colectivo there and taxi back. At Xel-Ha there weren’t as many fish as I remembered in the past (it’s been about 6 years though) but we still enjoyed the park overall. Note – we packed light for Xel-Ha and it was a good thing my husband had a VISA with a PIN – otherwise they require ID and we hadn’t brought any with us.
At Barceló, service was fine at the pool bars and grills – though yes, there were times when it would have been nice to have more people working at the pool bar in the afternoon peak period. Service at the beach grills was always good and a couple times when the pool bar was really busy we just refilled our drinks at the beach grill bars (jus making sure we had shoes and cover-ups/shirts on before going in to do so.) We saw several people breaking the rules and entering the grill with bare feet or no shirts, and we saw one family repeatedly take food out to the pool, which is against the rules. Several people also seem to have trouble finding an ashtray, preferring to use the beach or pool deck – but this reflects on them, not the resort.
The grounds are very well kept and very beautiful and the beach is great. We always managed to find shade on the beach, under the trees. Overall our trip was good and I would recommend this resort if you like larger all-inclusives.
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- Also Known As:
- Barcelo Maya Tropical Hotel Puerto Aventuras
- Barcelo Puerto Aventuras
- Barcelo Hotel Puerto Aventuras
- Barcelo Maya Tropical Riviera Maya/Puerto Aventuras, Mexico