We traveled early February with our two kids, eight year old twins, and had a wonderful trip. We have been to several high-end, all-inclusive resorts along the mayan riviera and elsewhere in the caribbean and thought this ranked among the best.
TRANSPORT AND CHECK-IN-
We booked a round trip private van from cancun transfers (we have used them before) and they were quick and reliable again. It took us about 55 minutes to get to the resort. We arrived around 1:30 and luckily had a really quick check-in and we found the front desk staff to be very polite and accommodating. We had emailed a request for a room close to the facilities a few weeks prior and were given one in the first building in the Michoacan building. It was a really nice location and less than a five minute walk to the lobby. We also were able to make reservations right away and were only given a bad time for the day we arrived (9:30). Every other day we were able to get a 6:30-7:00 reservation for the restaurant we wanted.
Overall we thought the rooms were nice and were happy that they were large since we were all staying in one room. We had thought about getting a family suite but since they are located at the end of the property, and cost so much more, we didn’t think it would be worth it. Our room had a bit of a damp smell when we got there but it didn’t last and we never felt like our clothes were damp and our swimsuits dried easily overnight. The things we didn’t like about the rooms.... the beds. We didn’t think they were that hard although the mattress topper was already in place. What bothered us the most were the stiff, sandpaper-like sheets and the hard pillows. After a few days I requested softer pillows, which came quickly, and that helped a bit. The other thing we didn’t love about the room was the bathroom set-up. All of the bath elements (sinks, vanity, shower and toilet) are located in one large area with no doors separating them. It wasn’t super convenient with 4 of us staying in the room and having to wait for someone to shower, use the bathroom, etc. whenever you wanted to use something else. Not a huge deal- just not well laid out for families.
One the things we liked best was the layout of the resort. Other than the rooms aside from club premium, all of the buildings and facilities were located near the beach and water which gave you a very tropical and beachy feeling. The main pool, sports pool, lobby, bars and restaurants were just steps to the water. So many newer properties along the mayan riviera have everything set very far back and that is not our preference. Also, it was great having everything in a central location with two 8 year olds. We would get chairs near the bar and central part of the pool and could keep an eye on them if they were in the pool, the waterpark, the basketball court and games. We felt really comfortable that they were not far away and were safe. It was also nice that the main pool was no deeper than 4 feet at any point so they could always stand in the water while swimming.
BEACH and POOLS-
The beach was great! It was rocky in parts but there were plenty of large sandy parts too. Really beautiful and we enjoyed walking down to the pier and also down to the other resorts. We would often take a walk along the beach to the other resorts and then take the stone pathway that ran along the beach on the way back. This boardwalk was really pretty at night... well lit with lights and framed by palm trees. The snorkeling was great! We brought our own equipment and saw turtles, schools of fish, eels, etc. It was a really nice added feature to be able to walk a few minutes from the pool and swim with the turtles. The water was a nice temperature and got warmer throughout the week. The main pool was nice too although the water was definitely cool! It was huge, clean and very pretty and it was very easy to find chairs throughout our stay. There was always sunny and shady chairs available even later in the day. We thought it felt like there was always a lot of extra space even though I would think that the resort was fairly full in early February. We didn’t use the adult only pool but it looked very serene and beautiful and there was a quiet bar there as well.
KIDS CLUB AND WATERPARK-
One of the reasons we chose this resort was because they had a kids waterpark and kids club hours that went into the evening. We were hoping to get a few dinners alone after sending the kids to the evening activities and that worked out well. Without having to pay a babysitter! We were told that the babysitter was $30/hr ($15 per child) and were were usually tired pretty early and didn’t think it was worth it. Overall, the kids club did not seem that well attended with usually just a few kids at many of the activities. And most of the kids were very young. FYI- they state that only kids from 4-12 were allowed but many times it looked like they allowed toddlers there as well. So I would try to send your kids if they are younger and they want to do an activity. Our kids enjoyed the water park and liked going to dinner with the staff and the 7:00 activity but i think were too old for the daytime activities. They have a basketball court, ping pong, and pool table near the pool which was very popular with the older kids.
FOOD and DRINKS-
We thought the food was very good. The buffets were pretty standard for what you would expect for a higher end all-inclusive. They would cook many items to order so you can get fresh, hot entrees. The a la carte restaurants were very good. We liked the French the most (great onion soup and surf and turf), and were happy with the caribe, Rodizzio (sp?), and japanese. We did not go to any of the restaurants in the other Barcelos. One of our highlights was that you could always sit outside near the water and we enjoyed the ‘reception’ area before you went into the french/caribe/raddizio. They made great drinks there and had some fun, light apps.
We thought the drinks were so/so. A lot of over sugary drinks that you find at all inclusive places and like others have said, the wine was not even close to being good. We would have been happy to purchase a bottle of a decent chardonnay, but not at twice the value here in the US. I brought a BOTA box in my luggage for a glass of wine in the room and I was happy I did. It did not fit in the fridge so I had to add a little ice but I was still happy to have it!
There have been some very negative comments about the customer service there and overall attitude by the staff. We were so pleasantly surprised to find that the staff there was just wonderful. I think if you go in to your stay with a positive attitude and treat everyone kindly and with respect you will get the same. We may have encountered a crabby bartender or two, but other than that, we found the staff to be very friendly and very accommodating.
We didn’t make it to any of the shows since they started at 9:30 and our kids were done well before then. It would have been nice if they started a bit earlier... at least some of the nights. We also did not do any excursions since we were having so much fun at the resort! I am sure we will do some of those in the future when the kids get older.
Overall, we really loved the Barcelo Palace and our trip. We are already thinking about our going back next year! Please feel free to email me with questions.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.