We stayed 8 nights at VIM in the beginning of March 2013 overall we really enjoyed our stay but not sure if we would be recommending this place to our friends.
We ordered our vacation on Orbitz and one of the reasons was their “worry free” price matching policy. A few weeks after we booked our vacation, the price dropped significantly for the same package. When we called Orbits to get a price match they said it doesn’t apply to packages where flight and hotel are purchased together. We were able to cancel the original booking and re-purchased at the lower price but the hassle was pretty big especially when they could have just matched the price. Do yourself a favor, next time you order a vacation don’t use Orbitz. They have too much small print and their price match rarely applies.
We arrived at VIM using USA Transfers, the company charged $80 round trip in a private car. Very good email communication, very prompt, they were ready for us when we arrived in Cancun and when we were departing. The cars were new and clean. The drivers were very friendly and professional. Don’t forget to tip them.
When we got to the hotel, the first thing we noticed was the security. They called from the entrance to reception to make sure we had reservations before allowing us onto the property. This immediately gives a sense of security at this resort. At the lobby, friendly staff immediately took our luggage so we didn’t have to lug it around. We didn’t get a wet towel and the champagne but it wasn’t a big deal. Check-in was relatively smooth. We wrote emails 6 weeks and 2 weeks prior to arrival with a request for the junior suite with a king size bed and be in building 4 or 5. They did partially comply by getting us a king size bed but we were placed in building 1. They offered to move us later in our stay but we decided to stay in the room they provided. Check-in took about 20 minutes due to this discussion.
I wish we would have known just how far we would be from the beach in building 1. Maybe we would have paid for an upgrade from the start but we just didn’t want the hassle of moving in the middle or our trip. From building 1 to the non-reserved part of the beach is literally a 15-20 minute walk – its far! If you get roomed there, don’t forget anything in your room when you go to the beach!
We informed them in our emails - we were coming to celebrate a birthday and an anniversary; our door had a “Happy Anniversary” sash, which was kind of cute. The room was nice and clean, smelled fresh – not moldy, spacious bathroom, mini bar with juice, water and beer. We were greeted with towel swans and rose petals on the bed, a bottle of champagne as well as a slice of chocolate cake decorated with anniversary congratulations. After gathering up all of the rose petals to get into bed we noticed they stained the comforter in red; this was not changed at all during our stay. Maid service most of the time was excellent. They cleaned our room twice a day. I don’t know if it was because of the $3 tip we were leaving on the table each day or if that was their usual, still it was nice. Once, they forgot to clean the room at all, but after we called housekeeping the room was clean almost immediately. The bed was firm, a little too firm for my wife’s taste. We didn’t have any problems in the room. The water was hot, pressure was good, A/C worked.
As for food - Overall, we liked the variety of food and the service. We ate breakfast and lunch primarily at the La Marché buffet. We found the service and selection were slightly better than the Tierra and Mar option closer to the beach. In the morning they always had a live saxophonist playing and it stays less busy. As for Mar and Tierra, around lunchtime when everyone comes in from the beach and pool it can be too crowded. Not only will you not get good service but there may be limited food. Still it wasn’t a huge deal but I would suggest La Marché for breakfast and lunch.
Dinner - We tried to eat early (~6) so we could see the shows later. Also, getting to the restaurants early virtually eliminated the need to have a long wait. Except Ginger (Hibachi dinner) we arrived at 6 (their posted opening time) and the earliest reservation available was at 9pm. When we decided to try the other restaurants to see if we could get seated earlier we found out each one had a wait over 1.5 hours by the time we got there. This is how we learned our lesson to be sure to eat dinner early. We ended up missing a part of a really cool fire acrobatics show in order to make our 9pm reservation. Hey at least the wait was worth it. The food was great, just like Behihana back home! If you want to eat there earlier show up at 5:30.
The French restaurant was just – ok. It was a fancy atmosphere, the service was special but the food was really nothing to write home about.
We loved the Italian restaurant. The food, atmosphere and service was excellent; we even went there twice. We sat outside each time and its location is just right so you can hear the running water of the fountains and the singing in the main plaza.
Tierra steak house was pretty good. They prepared the meat tender and flavorful but the sides were a little boring. The lobster was large and delicious, definitely worth the extra $30.
The Indonesian place was a mixture of Thai and Indian foods. There were pretty common/simple dishes, like pad thai and chicken vindaloo. It is great if you enjoy a spicier palate. My wife loved it.
We ordered room service twice and got our order in 20-30 minutes. The food was still hot and tasted fresh. They don’t leave a tray for you to keep the dishes on, which we would have preferred. That way we could have set the dishes outside the room for pickup rather than sitting in the room all night. Yea, I guess we were too lazy to take the dishes outside the door one at a time ;)
Bars - all of them had top shelf liquors but make sure when you order your drink to tell the bartender exactly what liquor you want, otherwise they use the cheapest stuff.
The staff is very friendly and they keep the grounds nice and clean.
The beach was spectacular! Especially towards the left side of the resort where it is all white sand and turquoise water.
Warning: Beware of the rocks under the sand towards the right side of the beach, I learned the hard way and stubbed my toes black and blue.
The only thing that actually pissed me off was the towel games. We literally had to be at the beach at 6 am to get a shady spot. If you come by 6:15 you are out of luck. We got the impression people were coming and leaving towels to hold their spot at 3am or something! It is insane. The reserved beds for the privileged guests were empty ALL of the time, we saw them used twice in all the time we were there. They really need to build more shade for the regular guests, instead of that huge section of wasted beachfront. The drink service on the beach was fast and frequent. I brought a thermal cup and they mixed the drinks in there so it stayed nice and cold and I didn’t have to look for the waiters much.
In the big picture we enjoyed our vacation very much, we are not picky people so a few small hiccups weren’t a big deal and they didn’t stop us from having a good time. We probably wont get back to VIM because it was too big (hated the walk from the room to the shore) and I’m not a big fan of getting up at the crack of dawn to get a spot of shade on the beach.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel Valentin Imperial Maya is the new definition of paradise. Our 5 star Adults-Only (18+) All-Inclusive Resort is located a short 25 minutes from Cancun International Airport in the Riviera Maya. Set amid lavish gardens on a half-mile-long stretch of white sand beach named Playa Del Secreto (The Secret Beach), this magnificent award-winning resort boasts one of the largest swimming pools in Mexico. The location is ideal as one can easily reach Cancun and the world famous Mayan archaeological sites such as Tulum, Coba, and Chichen Itza, yet be removed enough to enjoy the casually elegant ambience of Valentin Imperial Maya. Escape into a world where your every wish is our command. Come indulge yourself....You deserve it! Valentin Imperial Maya Hotel & Spa is committed to preserve the environment by reducing the consumption of natural resources, promoting among our guests and staff, protection and respect for the environment through good environmental practices. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Valentin Imperial Maya Hotel Playa Del Carmen
- Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya
- Valentin Imperial Maya Riviera Maya, Mexico