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“Relaxing, but know what you want before booking” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Bel Air Collection Xpu Ha Riviera Maya

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Bel Air Collection Xpu Ha Riviera Maya
3.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Carretera Chetumal-Puerto Juarez Km. 265, Xpu-Ha 77710, Mexico (Formerly Xpu-Ha Palace)   |  
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Ranked #4 of 4 Hotels in Xpu-Ha
St. Louis
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Relaxing, but know what you want before booking”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2014

We visited March 12-19, 2014. This was an experience unlike other vacation spots. Xpu Ha has very pretty natural surroundings, lighted paths for walking, wildlife running free and in captivity - great for kids and adults. The palapas we stayed in were unique and rustic, although a little small inside - if you're looking for a luxurious accommodations, keep looking. The food on the buffet was very good - we never ordered off the menu - we were never offered a menu.

Since the 2006 hurricane, which destroyed 2/3 of the resort, it looks like they retro-fitted a long skinny pool into the remaining land. It is nice and scenic. There is a chain link fence with privacy strips woven in along the entire length of the restaurant and pool which hides the old pool and palapas. No doubt Xpu Ha has had a lot to overcome with this loss.

The beach that remains is very narrow and rocky, but interesting for the kids to climb on and explore, and there are lots of cool shells - we even came very close to a slithering eel - twice!

My issues with Xpu Ha are these:
They do a below-average job of cleaning the rooms and replenishing towels and mini bar items.
You cannot get a meal at all times of day...the dining room opens for lunch at 1pm.
The pool bar closes at 5pm, so if you want a drink or want to turn in your wet towel in exchange for a towel card, you have to walk or take a shuttle to the front desk, or just keep it until the next day.
You cannot check out a bike until 9:30am - by then my kids are up so that quiet window of time is gone - and, they only have adult bikes.
The pool crowd was small - in fact - it seemed a little boring. There was a karaoke machine to play music and a guy who tried to get the small crowd going, but basically the pool experience was disappointing. The pool staff were all swimming one afternoon - I even saw a guest retrieve their ball for them!
The head waiter had one large table set up in the dining room, and unless it was available, he insisted on seating our party of 8 at two separate tables for dinner, although they were adjacent and could easily be pushed together. This was an upsetting struggle.
Staff always expected a tip...this includes onsite shuttle drivers, waiters, pool bar staff, and housekeeping. The front desk stated that tipping is expected, however,our travel agent said otherwise when we booked this all-inclusive trip. It is upsetting to feel as though you are disappointing the staff. Xpu Ha management needs to be clear with staff and guests, just like their neighboring resorts have, that there is NO TIPPING.

There is no night life, so if you like a party atmosphere, find another vacation spot. This is attractive if your kids are small or you appreciate the quiet.

Room Tip: We liked the 2nd floor palapa rooms for the view and straw roof. I believe they cost more.
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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Moncton, Canada
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2014

After reading many reviews regarding Bel Air we were very skeptical, however we were out for a quiet adventure NOT the boisterous people and loud music and we got it. You must remember this is an ecopark not a exclusive spa resort. Many complained about the thatched roof (authenticity), leaves and branches (windy), your in a jungle atmosphere, I loved the birds in the morning, some don't, don't stay here. We had a monsoon rain for 10mins at one point, it was an adventure not an inconvenience......the stay was fun.
Our arrival, after leaving in a snow storm, delayed at airport, delayed at entry, long bus drive our check in was a snap. A bell boy transported us to our palapa room (upper room), showed us how everything worked and directed us to the restaurant. It was dark so it was weird following on a lighted pathway through basically a jungle theme, it worked....
Restaurant... Breakfast omelet's were awesome, potatoes, scrambled eggs, beans, pancakes...etc. Fruits always available. Mexican & Italian food was the main event with some American flair included. Each night was different, however every night you could order fish, shrimp, steak and/or pork chop cooked in front of you. We really enjoyed that feature... bread, rolls abundant. 4/5 choices of desserts or take one of each, they were scrumptious. We enjoyed the food and lots of wine. Open from 7 to 12, Lunch 1-5, Dinner 6 - 10.
Rooms... Our room was clean, large, grand jacuzzi, king size bed, great mattress, body pillows along with down pillows, large deck with hammock, 2 beach chairs, 2 cane chairs and a table. Only once did we ever ask for anything....the room was always done to perfection. We always had hot water, not bathroom mishaps, towels etc....great, mini bar refreshed each day too.
Pool... Open 9-5, Hector was the activity coordinator, great guy. Very informative. Snack bar open 10 - 5, serve hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, french fries and pizza. 3 days out of our 7 the chef served poolside mexican dishes....great feature. Thick, plush beach towels were provided each day, music always in the background. Sushi /martini bar was located far end of pool. You could sign out a bike for free and return by 5pm. During your trail walks a small snack bar and gift shop are located in lobby bar area also another shop by front desk.
Lobby Bar... very spacious. Some nightly activity from 8:30 to 11 each night, not a music group, it was fun entertainment for you to join in....salsa dancing, music trivia, casino night....Great service from waiters, we basically had 2 - Saulo and Tomas. Tomas was there the most, he was awesome, very informative and great personality. Very attentive to his job and patrons. Loved the chandelier, astronomy planets, the way of the mayans. Beautiful. Coffee, tea & muffins served for 2 hours in the morning.
Features... ANIMALS....puma, bengal tigers, lion, monkeys ( many types ) gorillas, crocodiles, etc...and this beautiful aviary....the birds were stunning. Igunanas scatter everywhere. Monkey's in the trees and McCaws all around the sanctuary. Kayaking was wonderful, the water is crystal clear and we were lucky, we saw the manatees, ( massive 2-3 meters in length and weighed about 200 to 300kg ) her two babies were there but we could not see them....around the lagoon was part of the devastation from Hurricane Emily in 2005. So being a curious onlooker, we walked around the beach front area towards the other side and the loss was massive. The large hotel itself debilitated, the rooms destroyed.....it's too bad. Not sure why they did not renew the entire area however the animal sanctuary that exists now is smaller area but wonderful. Lots to see! Even a show at 3pm....small but very entertaining.
For beach lovers there is only a rocky water area, you would really need shoes if you chose to go in. There is a shuttle to take you to another beach just minutes away. We did not use this so no info. Beachfront chairs, beautiful waters, 30 degrees, and all the cervaza you can drink and tequilla....and intoxicating cocktails.... we thoroughly enjoyed our time, met some amazing people from all over the world which surprised me.
The hotel is in the process now of doing some upgrading which looks really good. We plan to go back to Mexico, maybe not this resort ( just trying something different ) we would recommend this for a quiet, adventurous vacation. Would love to see it when renos are completed.
Check out - again. a snap....completed a comment card, bracelets cut and we were picked up by bus to return to the airport. Ivan was our bell boy, he was a newby, spoke fluent English and had a great personality.
All this being said, we enjoy the outdoors, nature. I do enjoy being pampered to a degree and the staff were always gracious, prompt and always smiling. That we really liked. When we checked in we received a photo copy of the layout, a little blurry, hard to read.....my recommendation is to hard copy the layout with the hours of operation of each area and also activities that take place. We learned only by word of mouth about some things that were happening & some we missed due to that reason. Maybe a Friday or Saturday night music band. The restaurant....we enjoyed it however it could use more variety, became tiresome. There is a menu and we only found that out the day we left. Transportation on the golf carts, more often....10 -15 sometimes turned into 30 - 45......Consistency...best recommendation for any business.

Room Tip: We were in 900, I would opt for 400 next time...closer to amenities. Opt for Palapa (upper room) if...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2014

So we got there 8:30 pm and check in. We were suppose to get a champagne welcome which did not happen, or no towels card given to us, Not a very warm greeting from front desk staff . Got whisked away in a golf cart to villas 800. The room was on the second floor, looked amazing like no other I have been in, Beds were comfortable and room was very clean.
For breakfast we were confused by having to sign receipts for meals and drinks for our all inclusive package which was a on going thing there.
We spent to next day in town of playa del carmen took local transit was easy to access. Next day we decided to go to the beach so we headed to the lobby and was advised a van will be there in 10 minutes, well 45 minutes it came. Beach was nice and service good, When we decided to leave we noticed others were waiting for the van to get back to hotel and for quite a while, We knew too many were waiting and would not be able to get on van as it would be full, So we walked back and we beat the people that were still waiting.
The resort is very big and they tell you to use golf carts transport well every time we wanted one it was going wrong way or full, So by day 3 we were both suffering from shin splints. There seemed to be only one bar opened at a time, which was unlike any other place I stayed.
So time to check out which was noon, they showed us our charges which showed all our meals and drinks were charged they cleared these all after I advised them our trip was all inclusive, They also advised us our all inclusive was cut off as it was 12 pm check out. We had a 4 hour wait till our bus arrived to take us back to airport, This made no sense to me as this was my 8th time staying in a all inclusive. I never had this issue and considering check in is at 3pm and we got there at 8:30pm.
This was a very nice resort but I would not go back.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Camrose, Canada
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2014

After seeing the reviews on here, I was a little worried. This resort surpassed our expections in every way possible! We received flawless service the whole week long stay. We had absolutely NO problem with hidden fees that have been complained about so much on this site. Our room was always spotlessly clean, the food at both the main dining room and sushi bar was delicious, fresh and plentiful, and the pool was easily one of the nicest we've ever been in. The wildlife was VERY well cared for, and the enclosures were plenty spacious and clean. The kayaking and snorkeliing offered was wonderful and we were very lucky to spot the father manatee while snorkelling. The front desk staff were extremely helpful, and never left us feeling anything but appreciated. The shuttle to the beach was only a 5 minute drive, and once we were there, we enjoyed the same great bar service and yummy food. The high point was definitely the incredible 2 hour massage I received on the beach for only $35 American. We would recommend this resort to anyone. The only down side to the resort was that we didn't always have coffee every morning in our room, but a call to the desk had it at our door within 5 minutes.

Room Tip: a little tip goes a long way, the staff did occasionally speak limited English, but were wonderful a...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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Snow Hill, North Carolina
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2014

March 8-15, 2014 went there for an affordable vacation and to celebrate our one year anniversary. Overall for what we paid it met our expectations!!! We stayed in 707 which was the top floor and VERY noisy from all the wildlife. The room was different and unlike what we had seen before. I think the bottom ones would have been cooler but nonetheless it was a great time. The shuttle to the nicer beach was a pain but worth it in the end. The food and drinks were average sometimes better than others but the breakfast of let's were outstanding just a long wait!!! We are glad we went and had the experience, but would probably stay some where different in the future.

Room Tip: 707 very noisy and a little on the warm side
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grand Rapids, MI
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2014

Visited Feb 5 - Feb 15


We have stayed at the Catalonia Royal Tulum several times in the last few years, and have been very curious about the former Xpuha Palace. All we had seen was the damaged portion from the beach, but the cabana like rooms, and what we could imagine this property looked like pre-hurricane, prompted us to try the Bel Air this year.

Check in was quick, and we were driven to our room in one of the carts. We had a 2nd story room, in the 600 villa, located near the gift shop and lobby bar. High, thatched roof was very nice, although didn't do much to block outside noise from birds early in the morning, and the one strong rain shower we had. It sounded like you were sleeping in a tent. Ground floor rooms may be quieter, but not near as spacious du to lower cieling. Room layout was nice, deck was large and comfortable to sit in the afternoon. The thatched roof seemed to drop thatch throughout our stay, and one night I think we shared the room with a mouse that was rummaging around the garbage can. Housekeeping seemed to be ok, until I had to look under the bed to retrieve something that rolled underneath, I don't think a broom had been there for several weeks. Dust bunnies and dead flies were numerous.

Went to dinner, food was good, ordered off the menu every night. Breakfast buffet was very good. Snack bar wasn't bad.

We are walkers, so we loved the grounds to walk around. Seeing the animals was fun, yes, any animals in captivity is kinda sad, but they looked well cared for. We walked the Barceló beach next door every day, which is a beautiful beach to walk.

Took the kayaks out on the cenote, beautiful clear water, but we didn't see the manatees. Bummer.

Speaking of beaches, we took the shuttle to Xpuha one day but found it to be too much of a hassle to do every day. We camped out at the rocky beach at the Bel Air, and found it very relaxing. We walked every day around to the south by the fenced off damaged section. I think there are squatters living in some of the buildings there.

I think the Bel Air acquired this property, is trying to fix it up, and offering cheap rates to fill it up, but its a big property to support with 2/3 of the rooms the Palace had no longer being used. I believe they're trying hard. While its no Catalonia, we didn't pay Catalonia rates. Having researched this place, we were not surprised, at what we found.

So, we stayed, and made the best of it and really enjoyed ourselves. We aren't high maintenance folks, if you are looking for luxury, this isn't your place. That said, being here sure beat shoveling! It was a great adventure, but we won't be returning. Next year, we are going to the Barceló!

Room Tip: 2nd floor rooms very bright, but noisy in the morning. Villas 6,7,8 and 9 are in quieter sections...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toledo
1 review
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2014

As I read some of the other reviews about this resort, it is obvious people do not educate themselves about the place they are traveling to. Luckily we did, and had a great time at this resort. I suggest reading the more helpful reviews and not just the reviews from people who are angry about a plethora of things that the resort probably had nothing to do with.

I don't usually review on here, though I always read reviews before we ever go anywhere. I feel like this place gets a bad rap, so I wanted to share our experience and maybe give some helpful hints.

We stayed from March 3-10. We stayed in room 407. 2 adults and 2 young children.

The jist - This is not the Moon Palace. Which is why you're not paying the price of the Moon Palace. It has it's own charm and we really enjoyed our entire stay here. If you're a spring breaker - look elsewhere. This is great for families, and couples looking for a quiet vacation in a beautiful setting.

First - Check in was a breeze - It did not seem unorganized at all to us. We arrived at noon, 3 hours prior to check in. They did a small amount of paperwork, and gave us our bracelets. We then got on one of the golf carts and were dropped off at the buffet. One thing that people have noted is that there are not many english speaking people here. That is true. However, you are not in England or America, so what do you expect?? The ladies at the restaurant who take your room number before eating, are both pretty good at speaking english. When we had a question, we would ask one of them. The waiters do their best and we never really had a problem getting what we asked for.

Food - The food was actually very good. I usually don't like the food much when doing all inclusives in Mexico. This was one of the first places I actually liked the food. Also, I was well prepared with Pepto in case anyone got sick from the food (I was particularly concerned for the kids). No one ever got sick at all. Not even a complaint of a belly ache. This was a great relief. The buffet can get tiresome if you're staying for a week or more (I didn't mind as much as my husband wanted a bit of a change). If this happens, all you have to do is ASK for a menu. There is no hidden conspiracy here (as some reviewers have implied). LOL. Just ask, and they will happily give you one. Also, we never once encountered the food not being served here. There was no point in time where we had to wait to eat. We also would have the kids grab an apple or banana or small box of cereal to take back to the room in case they did get hungry and we didn't feel like rushing to the buffet. The sushi bar was a nice change. You are not getting top quality sushi here. You will get something more akin to what you would pick up at the grocery store. The desserts at the sushi bar are really good. The kids loved them!

** As a side note - Every time you eat at a restaurant or start ordering drinks at a bar, they will ask for your room number. Also, after you eat you will give your room number and sign what looks like a bill. It is not a bill. All you have to do is write your name and then sign it. That is all. I believe they do this because some do not participate in the all inclusive, and they will be charged at the end of the week.

** Also, it does say that the breakfast buffet does not open until 9. It also says that there is a continental breakfast served from 6-9 am. We were always down for breakfast around 7 and the breakfast buffet was up and running. We NEVER seen a time where there was no food available, quite the opposite really. When we expected there to only be coffee and donuts, there was a full buffet. I don't know how anyone could see negative in that.

The room - We stayed in 407. We found this to be a great spot. It was within a very short walk to the buffet, pool and beach. The aviary was behind us and we could hear the birds throughout the day. I first thought that might get annoying, but it didn't. They weren't nearly as loud as I thought they would be. Once in a while you would hear some strange bird calls. It was pretty cool.

The room itself was not as big as we thought it was going to be. There were 2 double beds, the hot tub (the kids loved this too, and they give you bubble bath!), and a bathroom with a stand up shower. It didn't cause us any trouble, just wanted to note that it wasn't as big as it looked in the pictures. The balcony was huge. There was a hammock, 2 chairs and a small glass table and 2 large beach chairs, and plenty of room to move the stuff around as you see fit. It was really nice.

The mini fridge was empty when we got there. But it was filled up after we left and came back. Also, if there is anything you want in the mini fridge or need replenished, all you have to do is call the front desk and ask. They are very happy to give you what you want here. So, don't be afraid to ask.

We did have one time that we came back and our card didn't work (this was on our 5th night). Luckily the housekeeper guy was around, and I found him and he opened the room for us. Then my husband took the card up front and they reprogrammed it for us. Not a big deal.

The housekeeping is usually done in the late afternoon (at least for our room). They do bring you a late night snack (2 little desserts on a plate). We told the girls they were especially for them, and they got a kick out of it.

There were a few english speaking channels on the TV. We found a good one for the kids, and a couple for us. We weren't there to watch TV, so this didn't bother us. Also, as I said before, you are in Mexico. Expect to hear the language of the country you are in.

The Beach - Yes, there is no real swimming beach at this site. However, the "rocky" beach as the kids called it was actually pretty cool. It was small, but there was plenty of room for the kids to make sandcastles. We had fun looking for shells. Also, lifting up the larger rocks and seeing tons of little hermit crabs crawling all around. The girls really got a kick out of that.

We walked over to the resort next door to the left (The Barcelo I think), with the kids. It is a rocky walk. But the girls had no problem getting over there. We had to hold their hands some of the time, but it really isn't that bad. And, it probably didn't take us 5 minutes to get there. So, you can do some ocean swimming over there if you really want to go in.

We also walked to the right. This is the part of the resort that was ruined by the hurricane years ago. The girls named it the "Caillou Ruins". And they asked to walk over there a couple of times. Again, a little rocky, but they were fine. They really liked seeing it and asking all about hurricanes and about what everything used to look like. It is a sight to see. It is kind of sad though. It's too bad they haven't tried to rebuild anything over there. I read that the government wouldn't allow it, but I don't know the real story. You can tell this used to be a spectacular and huge resort.

Every Half Hour there is a shuttle from the hotel to a beautiful beach (XpuHa) that has it's own snack bar for you to use. The shuttle is a van that seats more people than it looks like. It's a bout a 5-10 minute drive. Not bad. And the beach is beautiful there. The snack hut has a bar for any drinks you want, and snacks (grilled ham and cheese sandwiches the day we went). They bring down beach chairs and put them under palapas for you. We went early and spent most of the day there. It was really nice. I have seen this mentioned dozens of times in the reviews here on trip advisor, yet there still seems to be people who have no idea this beach exists?? Maybe it's just me, but I don't go anywhere without educating myself as much as possible about the place I will be staying. Thank you to all the previous reviewers who made this seamless for me and my family!! And to all the future guests at this resort, do go to the beach. You will not regret it. Some of the families went over there every day. We would have if we didn't have the little ones. They much preferred the pools and just playing on the small beach at the resort.

The Pools -

First, the Kiddy Pool. Oh my goodness. They got it right here! The girls LOVED the kiddy pool. It is only a foot and a half deep (just around knees for an adult) all around. There are 3 slides. The Blue one is very fast! The red one was our daughters favorite. It is pretty big. Then there is a smaller blue spiral one that you would see at regular pools in the states. The water for the slides and mushrooms get turned on around 9AM. We did see people actually trying to go down the slides (dads) without realizing there should be water on. That was a sight to see. If only they had read the signs (posted also in English) that said the pool would open at 9. The signs also said that the pool was exclusively for the use of children. Adults should not be going down the slides. We seen some do so without seeing the signs. The pool guy came and pointed the sign out to them and they stopped. I think this is more for the safety of the smaller children. Though I would have liked to go down the slide with my littlest one who never did get brave enough to go by herself. She still enjoyed swimming all around and going under the mushrooms.

The larger pool was very nice as well. There are always plenty of lounge chairs. You do not have to fight over them as you do at the bigger All Inclusives. No need to get up at the crack of dawn to go grab your chairs. You will always be able to find an open spot.

The Pool Snack Bar - 10am - 5pm A nice change up from the buffet. They have hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries and pizza and of course nachos. The food was good here as well. I would suggest putting your order in with the waiter who comes around. If he sees you walk up to the snack bar, he will take your order. He speaks pretty good english. The cook seems really busy and I am not sure his english is as good as the waiters. The waiter will bring your food out to wherever you are sitting. He also will bring your drinks and take your empty cups and plates.

The Pool Bar - After tiring of Squirt, the girls wanted something else. I was able to order them alcohol free drinks similar to those that they saw us drinking. They had virgin pina coladas, and loved them. They can make just about anything you ask for. Just make sure you let them know they are for the children (ninas or ninos). They will come in smaller glasses than what the adult beverages come in.

The Kids Club - It is open. It doesn't look like it, but it is. We were looking in the windows and the pool activities guy (I can't remember his name) came running up. He said we could use it any time we wanted, just to let him know. We never ended up using it so I can't really comment on what all is inside. He did say they can paint and color and there other activities. He runs the kids club and the pool activities. All you have to do is ask.

The Zoo -

How many reviews have we seen that claim the animals are kept in cages that are so small?? I disagree. While we would all love to see them in giant expansive surroundings similar to where they would live in the wild, the cages here are the same size as any zoo you would see them in here in America. We have one of the biggest and best Zoos around here in Ohio, and like I said, the cages are the same at this resort as they are in our local Zoos. They are always clean. The animals look well fed and happy. We did see the Puma pacing back in forth. Of course, he was doing so in front of the spot where they feed them. So, that would explain that.

Up front right by the lobby are the Chimpanzees, Lions, Tigers and Porcupines that I can remember off the top of my head.

The small mammals (Pequenos Mamiferos as the sign says) are in some smaller glass front cages. There are signs pointing out where all the cages are.

There is a larger area that houses some bigger animals. You can walk freely through this enclosure. There is a guy who stands outside of these and will take you and let you in to walk through it and the aviary.

In the animal enclosure there are ostriches (who followed us around the whole time), kangaroos, deer (including one that looks like an albino), Capybara (Which look like ground hogs the size of large dogs) and some other smaller mammals that look like large rats with deer legs. They roam free and sometimes they come up near you and sometimes they just lay around. We went in here a couple of times as we did the aviary.

The Aviary houses all kinds of exotic birds. There are macaws flying around. There were peacocks, flamingos, smaller parrots, swans and other birds I am not sure the name of. There was this little blond chicken thing that followed us all around. Everywhere we turned, he would be there. He was really pretty and the girls loved that he followed us around.

There are other exhibits scattered throughout the grounds. There are always signs letting you know if there is one nearby. And even if you don't speak spanish, there are painted pictures of the animals, so you know what is around.

There is a section where you walk through little trails through the jungle. There are some cages back there too with what looks like a mongoose of sorts, and a pair of little monkeys that let you pet them. This is about the only place we encountered mosquitoes. They got our 6 year old pretty good. But she seems to be a mosquito magnet. She was the only one who really got any mosquito bites. Luckily we brought bite medicine with us and she was fine. Just a little itchy. If you don't have bite medicine, rub deodorant (the armpit kind) on the bites. I don't know why, but this works at helping to relieve the itching. We were told this a long time ago from people who live in Florida and have used it many times.

The Animal Show -
Every day at 3 PM. This was really neat. The girls really enjoyed this as well. It is very hands on. They brought out a little fox who ran across all of our laps and we got to feed him a piece of food. He didn't want to back into his little home, and stayed out for most of the show. He just kept running around and came and sat next to us. We didn't let the kids rush at him or try to grab him. I think that is why he gravitated toward us. We kept reminding the girls that although he was "tame", he is still a wild animal. But, there were no problems at all. We also got to pet a big pig. There was a tiny goat running around. They brought out a hairless dog. They did a show with the macaws and parrots. There was a chicken, named "Kentucky" who did a little trick. And our daughter got to hold a turtle which peed on her. LOL. And another boy got to hold a huge python. Pretty cool stuff. We were told by other guests that there are different animals at different shows throughout the week. We only went once, so I can't comment on that. the woman who put on the show spoke excellent english. She would say everything in spanish and then english. It was very informative and they stress that they are a conservation group. The animals are very well taken care of.

Kayaking at the cenotes - We never went kayaking. The girls were scared. LOL. So, I didn't get to go. We talked to another couple though, who said the manatees had been there around 1:45 pm. They come and go though, so there are no guarantees you will get to see them. I guess if you go kayaking, you get another really good look at the ruins of the resort from the hurricane. I would liked to have gone, but didn't get to. They have big kayaks that can fit 2 adults or and adult and child. So, if your kids aren't scared, you can take them out and look all around.

Golf Carts -

There are little "cart stops" all over. You can sit there in the shade and wait for the carts to come by every 10-15 minutes or you can walk and grab one as they drive by. You can also just walk around. If you're going from the lobby to the beach, it will take about 15 minutes to walk. It's not that bad, and the kids actually liked walking. We would sometimes grab a cart though. Just depends on what you feel like doing.

Bikes-
They have bikes for you to use. We seen a lot of people taking advantage of the bikes. They did not have children bikes that we seen, so we didn't use them. But they are there to use, and it would be a fun way to get around.

Towels -
You can get towels from the pool area or the lobby. They only gave us 2 towel cards initially, but we asked for 2 more so each of us had our own towels. They gave us the extra 2 towels with no problem at all. When you return the towels, you get the cards back. You have to have the cards or the towels when you check out.

Shops-
There are 2 small shops on site. One is a small gift shop with snacks and medicines. The other is a small snack shop. My husband had to buy a lighter for the cigars he bought. So, they do have little incidentals for you to buy if you need them.

Lobby Bar -
Our kids were too tired every night after dinner to go to the lobby bar. Though on the last night the 6 year old stayed up and went down with her dad. They had a little basketball game, and pool tables. They also had a ping pong table, and they put TVs up. She liked it and wished she could have went more during the trip. Like everywhere else, it is not busy there.

The spa -
We did not use any of the spa services. Though we did ask about pedicures. The were $47 for adults, and half price for children. They also did manicures and braids for kids. All the other services were adult only. The gentleman working the spa spoke english pretty well, so you can ask him and he will let you know what services they provide. We seen them down on the beach at night as well. I assume they do massages on the beach? We never went down to look because we weren't really interested. But that would be something nice to do for a couple.

Taxis -
We only left the resort for one trip. We went to Tulum. We just went down front to the lobby and told them we needed a taxi. They told us exactly how much it would cost (about $37 US dollars). It's nice knowing exactly what you will be paying. They had a little chart that told them the taxi price to go to any of the local sights. You have to use another taxi to come back. They are lined up right where you get dropped off and you just tell them where you need to go. It cost the same to come back.

Checkout -
Another breeze. I was expecting a hassle from other reviews I seen on here. Quite the opposite. We turned in our towels and key. They had us sign and fill out a little survey. They gave us a card to present upon exiting the resort and that was it. It took maybe 2 minutes. Then we went and looked at the animals while awaiting our ride from Apple.

This resort was aptly described as "rustic" by 2 lovely women we got to speak with. Thankfully they gave us pointers to. Such as asking for the menu or asking to have the mini fridge filled and replenished whenever we liked. Basically, if you ask for it, the resort will try to oblige. It is not a super huge All Inclusive. But it is nice. It is beautiful.

Oh, one last thing. The bathrooms -
The bathrooms here were always clean and never smelled bad. I have been to bigger places that I didn't even want to use their bathrooms. Especially by the pool. At the Bel Air, you don't have to worry about that. They are always clean. If you're like me, you will appreciate this. :)

Room Tip: The 400 group (ours was room 407) is right by the buffet, pool and beach. I would suggest asking fo...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jorge R, Gerente at Bel Air Collection Xpu Ha Riviera Maya, responded to this review, March 23, 2014
Dear Kimmistar,

Thank you for your preference, for taking the time to write a review and for choosing Bel Air Xpuha for your family vacation and especially for decided to experience by yourself ignoring read the reviews beforehand.. We are pleased to hear you enjoyed your stay with us.
At Bel Air Xpuha recognize that the value is particularly important for families, that’s why we try, as far as possible, have the largest number of attractions to enjoy with your family. Again it is a pleasure to read her little girls enjoyed their stay.
Ms. Kimmistar,, your comments are the best way to ensure the greatest amount of information possible so that the experiences of other travelers are like yours.
Thank you for writing such a detailed review, I am sure all TripAdvisor members will find it useful! Thanks also for sharing some of your personal experiences with your family photos.

We look forward to welcoming you and your family again in the near future.

Sincerely,

Jorge A. Rodriguez
General manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bel Air Collection Xpu Ha Riviera Maya

Address: Carretera Chetumal-Puerto Juarez Km. 265, Xpu-Ha 77710, Mexico (Formerly Xpu-Ha Palace)
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Xpu-Ha
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 4 Hotels in Xpu-Ha
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Bel Air Collection Xpu Ha Riviera Maya 3.5*
Number of rooms: 144
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Bel Air Xpu-Ha is the newly open Resort of Bel Air Collection at Riviera Maya. Feel with your family the natural environment, the perfect place to rest and delight yourself. A unique place for a romance experience. Enjoy our facilities surrounded by natural beauty in an eco-paradise. A gourmet experience in each of our restaurants, from Mexican-Italian fusion cuisine to sushi & martini delightful Japanese style, all in a la carte menu selection. Premium brand drinks and appetizing snacks in our Bars at Lobby and pool area. A unique layout of a cozy and peaceful guestrooms in liberate getaway with all the luxury and comfort of a five stars resort, refurbished indoors with jacuzzi and branding amenities; a relaxed exterior and a spacious terrace with hammock. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bel Air Collection Xpu Ha Riviera Maya Hotel Xpuha
Xpu Ha Palace Xpuha
Bel Air Collection Xpu Ha Riviera Maya Mexico - Xpu-Ha

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