My husband and I stayed at the Grand Velas (for the 3rd time!) in late July, early August. We stayed with a group from my company, which took about a third of the rooms for our annual business meeting.
Once again, Grand Velas did not disappoint. We will start with the good points:
1.) Juan, Eriberto and Alfredo at the pool bar were awesome. They greeted us daily with a warm welcome, and we never had an empty glass. We decided to tip early and often, since these guys make such little salary- they survive on tips, and they earn them!! Especially amazing was Eriberto- this guy worked his butt off every single day in the blazing humid heat, with a huge smile on his face, humming all day long. Even when the pool bar was packed with kids ordering labor-intensive smoothies, he cheerfully provided top notch service to every one. Alfredo cracked jokes with us, and made sure our glasses were always full. And Juan- he was just a fun cool cat.
2.) The rooms are amazing! They are huge, elegant and very well-appointed. The sleeping room is partitioned off with slatted panels that could be opened to provide sunlight, or closed for sound sleeping. There are 2 large flat-screen tv's, a glass top table and chairs and tons of storage space. The bathroom shower was beautiful tile with a bench for shaving and setting toiletries. A long hallway from the door to the living room provides enough distance from the hotel corridors to ensure no outside sound disrupts in the room. The mini-bar is restocked every day, and is part of the all-inclusive package. Our balcony had 2 chairs and table, as well as a sofa to lounge and enjoy the afternoon sun.
3.) The restaurants are fantastic. We had dinner with friends at Piaf, and it was stellar. The tri-color soup was amazing, the filet mignon perfectly cooked and the chocolate dessert was decadent. House wine, which is included, was perfect - even wine snobs would agree it was top notch. We also ate dinner one night at Azul- and the steak and mushrooms were off the chart! Great attentive service by every staff member, all with smiles on their faces. We missed eating at Frida this time ... next time for sure!
4.) The spa ... awesome! From the moment you walk into the spa, you feel transported to a state of well-being. I had an 80-minute aromatherapy massage, which was divine. The facilities are well-equipped and state of the art. The entire feel of the spa is 5-star!
5.) Meeting rooms -- of course, I had to attend a meeting, and the room was spacious, well air-conditioned and top of the line.
Now for some not so great points...
1.) The pool bar... it's unfortunate that there is not a separate section for the kids to order their smoothies and non-alcoholic beverages. It would be really easy for the hotel to add another spot for the kids, since it was a bit of a nuisance to have kids splashing all around us while we were visiting at the pool bar. And the time it took to make these smoothies-- it was labor intensive for sure. It just didn't seem morally correct to have small children sitting alongside the adults, with beers and cocktails right there. And since some adults were also smoking, it was not a good scene with the kids. Grand Velas- please take note and maybe add a smoothie station ... maybe outside the Azul Restaurant, where you have the daily lunch bbq? Or perhaps by the activities booth, which seemed like a lot of space for just handing out towels. OR- have a smoothie cart, which would contain pre-made smoothies of various options ... it would be great for the kids, so they wouldn't have to wait, and it would be good for the adults. Just a thought.
2.) The food ... some of it was not very good. And we love this place! But the breakfast at Azul was sort of bland. Yes, there's an omelette station, but it takes a long time to get eggs. And the other options were sort of - well, blah. They were fine, but we remember the food last time being so much better. Not sure if it's because there were so many people at the resort, but the food at Azul didn't stand out as being that great.
3.) Saving chairs ... this was a frustrating experience every morning. Unless you woke up and saved a chair at 6am, you wouldn't find anything by the pool. Every day, every single lounge chair around the pool was taken at first dawn; and most of the time, no one ever used the chair. I'm not sure if the hotel can maybe inforce a time limit for lounges that have a towel and a book, but no person using it. It was just a little frustration in what was a normally awesome day at the pool.
All in all, we loved our third trip to GV. We will be back for sure. The small "bad points" certainly didn't make enough of a impact to make us reduce our review of this resort ... it's definitely 5-star all the way!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.