My best friend and I stayed at the Barcelo Maya Tropical from January 9-16 2009. We had a fantastic time and would not hesitate to return to this resort, or the Colonial resort next door.
We arrived in the evening and check in was quick and easy. Our room was on the ground floor of the Veracruz building, close to the pool, snack bar and theatre, though we did not hear any theatre noise at all. The room was exactly what we wanted, with 2 double beds and enough space for 2. The room was cleaned daily and the sliding door is secure with both the door lock, and an extra bolt in the centre that snaps up into the frame. There is a guest services person located in each building which we used to make reservations and read the spa menu on a rainy day.
As mentioned in many reviews, the grounds of this hotel are gorgeous and very well maintained. Several times I saw workers pruning the gardens and planting fresh plants. I found the property to be very clean. I also did not find the hotel to be as large as it appears on the map. Yes, it was a bit of a walk to go over to the older side for dinner one night, but navigating on the Tropical side was very simple.
Neither of us had any issues with food at all, and enjoyed the buffet, beach grill and restaurants. We had breakfast at the buffet daily and dinner there twice. The food service part of the buffet is not huge, so I felt that I could get a look at everything without my selections getting cold. Service was quick to slightly slow, though I found once I got the attention of a waiter there was no problem. The buffet also has a bar where you can serve yourself coffee and tea, beer and wine, soft drink and juices. You can also get an espresso or cappuccino, or a mixed drink. At the coffee and tea station there were paper cups to take a hot drink to go. We had lunch at the Palmeras grill on the beach most days and again, had no problems with food or service. Yes of course, there is some repeating from the night before. The grilled hamburgers here are great. For dinners we ate at the Steak House twice, the Italian and the Mexican. Each restaurant provided a different atmosphere and we enjoyed all of our meals. Reservations are required, and we made those either in the lobby or at the guest services desk in our building. We had no problems booking for the next day at a good time. All of our reservations were for 6:30 or 7 pm. Service was very attentive in all of the restaurants. The beer on tap everywhere is Corona, and the house white wine is pretty good.
We spent most of our time at the pool. For the early morning the small activities pool is outfitted with lanes for lap swimming. This pool feeds into the larger free-form pool with swim up and dry bar. There are fountains in the pool as well. Water was cool, but turned to refreshing in the afternoons. There is a hut at the pool with a shop, the games desk, towel desk and a washroom. The animation staff plays their music here, and we found that if we sat a little further from the swim up bar the sound of the fountains would tone down the music. The pool and pool deck were very clean. It wasn’t until my last couple of days that I started seeing stray cigarette butts on the deck. A daily sweeping might be a good idea. The Colonial side of course has the kids water park, which has several slides and water features. There are a lot of chairs and palm trees for shade. There are also rows of palapas with chairs underneath as well as hammocks.
The beach is long, with a pier at the end where the dive shop is. Walking along the pier you can see small and large fish hanging about looking for food. The beach is a little rocky, but there were lots of people in swimming every day. There are plenty of chairs and palm trees for shade. My only complaint about the beach is the people who use it as their ashtray. Please stop putting out your cigarettes in the sand!
We took a taxi into Playa Del Carmen to shop when the clouds rolled in. Remember to negotiate your cab fare with the driver before you get in the car. I asked the bell boy, and confirmed with the driver, and a trip into Playa is $18 USD, We stopped at a taxi stand for our return trip and were quoted the same price. It’s about a 20 minute cab ride, but can be longer with the construction on the highway.
The shows at the Barcelo were actually very good. The only one we did not enjoy was the Prehispanico show. Most shows involve a live band, live singers and what seem to be professional dancers. The theater was full every night.
Though the weather didn’t always cooperate, we had a fun and relaxing vacation full of good food, good drinks and good times. I totally recommend the Barcelo Maya Tropical!