We just returned from the Barcelo Maya Tropical. This was my second visit to the property, having stayed at the Beach/Caribe resort the last time I visited.
Check-in was a breeze. We immediately got our keys, instructions on pool towel cards and a map to the property. Best of all, there was no seeing any "representatives" for a timeshare pitch! We got to go right to our room without any hassles whatsoever.
The room was a basic room with a king-size bed, a good-sized balcony and a lovely bathroom. There was plenty of closet space and a free-to-use safe. Although comfortable, the rooms can be quite noisy when people are out in the hallway--particularly in the afternoon, when the maids are cleaning. The doors must be slammed to shut properly, so anytime anyone leaves their room, you'll hear it loud and clear in your own. If you're interested in afternoon naps, your best bet is to nap on the beach and let the sound of the ocean lull you to sleep!
The beaches and pools at this resort are amazing. There is never a shortage of places to sit or shade if you desire either. The pools are not heated, and those used to warmer climates will likely find them chilly, but being from the Midwest, we found them to be pleasant after the initial shock wore off. There is a lot of great snorkeling right off the beach, particularly in front of the Palace resort and near the on-site pier, where there are tons of fish and other wildlife. We saw stingrays, urchins and other interesting critters. There are stinging ants on the beach though, so watch where you stand. I came with itchy welts after getting bitten by a swarm that had overtaken my flip flops while I wasn't paying attention.
Service was hit or miss. We received extremely slow service in the Italian restaurant, but found the waiters in the seafood restaurant to be extremely accommodating and quick to respond. Bars were also inconsistent. At busy times, you could wait for quite some time while people holding out tips would get service first. I have tipped at all-inclusives before (at the end of the week, when service has consistently gone above and beyond), but tipping as an incentive only seems to encourage poor service overall.
The food is good, drinks are good, and the property is beautiful. A few cons: no free wifi. As you'll notice in my previous reviews, any hotel charging for wifi automatically will not receive 5* from me. When a Motel 6 can provide free wifi, it is unthinkable that a 5* "all-inclusive" hotel is unable to do the same. Room service is also not included. You must pay to have anything brought to your room. I've stayed at much less expensive resorts that include this in the cost of their rate, and find it a bit appalling that if you're willing to pay to "upgrade" to their "premium" room ($400 a week to upgrade), you can receive free wifi, room service, and "premium" liquor. Our vacation wasn't cheap to begin with, and it's sad that this kind of cruise line nickel and diming has started at all-inclusive resorts as well.
Also, this resort has some beautiful theaters. They're gorgeous, with lots of seating. However, the shows are horrible. They are not engaging or entertaining. We are in our early thirties and were nearly put to sleep by the shows. It's a pity that with such beautiful theaters the shows aren't better.
Overall, we had a great time and would be happy to return. The resort is lovely, and with a few minor improvements, the almost paradise could be a total paradise.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.