My husband, 2 year old daughter, and I just got back from a week long vacation at Iberostar Maya and had a pretty good time. However, we probably will not visit this resort again. Partially because I like to visit different resorts every time we go (3rd visit to Riviera Maya and 5th all-inclusive experience) and partially because the food was overall pretty poor. I read lots of reviews before I went and saw that the major complaint was the food. I thought that people must have been exaggerating or expecting too much (the all-inclusives I have been to have had pretty decent food), I was wrong. The food wasn't good and it was such a bummer, because the rest of the stay was great!
We have stayed at the Barcelo properties in Puerto Adventuras and overall that resort and food was better than this Iberostar property and if you don't mind the additional 30 minutes of driving time to go a little further south I would recommend that resort over this one.
However, I'm going to write this review with tips on how to make your stay at this resort better if you choose to go there.
Definitely the worst part of our trip. The resort has all the normal foods you'd expect, but none of them taste very good. The food just seemed bland, not cooked well (either too much or too little), or just boring. It's hard to describe as there were a few things that were decent, but for the most part I just got bored of eating the food after day 2 and I eat the same thing everyday when I'm at home! There has been only one other all-inclusive that I've been to (InterContinental in Los Cabos, which is now Holiday Inn) where the food was worse and that includes 4 cruises I've been on too. If you choose to stay at this resort, just know you're not getting high quality food and you will eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch each day. Having said that I'll tell you more about each of the food options.
Breakfast is either at El Tapatio (near bldg 60), La Marina (in the lobby), or La Laguna (Lindo Lobby), or even El Fogon (Lindo near bldg 60). We ate at El Tapatio the first morning and it wasn't good. I strongly suggest even if you're far from the lobby that you take the time to walk to either the Maya or Lindo lobbies to eat there as those breakfast buffets have more options and the food is cooked better. Also, the service at the lobby restaurants is much better. We had a very rude waiter one morning at El Tapatio, but other than that all other waiters and food service people were amazing with great helpful attitudes!
The biggest difference we saw in the Lindo vs Maya restaurants was just Maya had waffles and more fruit options, other than that Lindo had paper napkins and Maya had cloth. Not much difference. We started trying the Lindo options towards the end of our stay and we wish we would have tried them earlier!
Lunch options are similar to breakfast, you can eat at El Tapatio, on the beach (weather permitting), or one of the Lindo restaurants in the lobby. And I would again recommend you walk to the lobby and eat there, unless you're on the beach and are OK with hamburgers (pretty good) and hot dogs (not good).
As for dinner, my husband and I liked the seafood restaurant the best. My husband got the lasagna and I got the shrimp. I also tried the lobster, but it was a little over cooked. The steakhouse was good too, we both got the ribeye and were happy with it. The steakhouse and the seafood restaurants share a buffet area that you can use for appetizers, kids food, and desserts, but really you could eat your whole dinner there if you choose. The food is pretty good at that dinner buffet, but again you're getting the same thing each time you go, but there are lots of options. Also, don't expect great desserts, but there is always ice cream!
We were scheduled to try the Japanese restaurant one night, but there's 12 people that sit around a grill and the last people that came into our group were very drunk and inappropriate, so we left.
We also ate at the Mexican restaurant, El Tapatio, which we were very excited about, but it didn't live up to our expectations. We both got versions of street tacos (their recommended food) and they were just OK; we were disappointed. We had planned to eat at the rodizio in Lindo, but our reservation apparently didn't go through and they called us the day before to tell us we didn't have a reservation! Another disappointment!
Lastly, we tried the room service the first night we got there because we got in so late and it was TERRIBLE! They only offer about 10 items and they are the same things you get at the dinner buffet area except colder. We never ordered room service again!
You have to make all dinner reservations through your building concierge and building 60's person was definitely there on limited hours. But we found her on our first day there and booked our restaurants for the rest of our stay and she told us we were definitely booked for the Lindo rodizio too, so we're not sure what happened with that one. Other than that mix up (which did bum us out), using the concierge to book the dinners was fine. You can also exchange your pool towels with your concierge, which we found to be easier and closer than going to the towel place near the pool.
One of the reasons we chose to stay at the Maya was for the Junior Suites and we were happy with that decision. The room was large and it had a separate living space (not a separate room) with a couch, small table, and desk with a chair. It made our stay a little easier with a toddler and her naps. The bathroom was large with a shower, toilet, double vanity, and a large jetted tub that fit all three of us! The bed was probably the worst part of the room, it was very hard. My husband likes hard beds so he was fine, but it did bother me and I had trouble sleeping. The crib they brought for our daughter was good, the mattress seemed comfy and they provided sheets and a pillow, but I recommend bringing a thicker blanket if you're traveling with a a little one.
Just know there are only a few outlets spread out throughout the room and you can only plug in one thing to each outlet. There is a small fridge with water, soda, and beer that is restocked every other day. There is cable with a limited number of English speaking channels and a DVD player, so I recommend bringing a few DVDs.
We had requested a corner room, which we got, but it did not have a wrap around balcony, so if you want a larger balcony you have to specifically request that, not just a corner room. We had also requested the top floor, but we got the second floor. It was fine, but you can hear the people above you moving chairs, which can be annoying if you're trying to sleep.
The cleaning service was great and we requested that they come before 2pm everyday because of our daughter's naps and again our request was granted. Overall, if you are looking for space, this hotel will give you that.
There is decent wi-fi in the lobbies of all 4 hotels and at the pools. We were near the pool in building 60, but did not get wi-fi in our room. Someone came to our room on the last day saying they were going to fix our wi-fi, but we were leaving so we never found out if we should have been getting it the whole time. I would just count on not having wi-fi in your room.
I had read reviews prior to going on vacation and we emailed ahead of time to request building 60, which is the closest to the beach and we were granted our request. It was a nice location if you think you will visit the beach often. It is also right next to the El Fogon (Lindo) and El Tapatio (Maya) restaurants. You have your own private pool for only people in that building too. This pool is small, but quiet and very often empty. 60 is farthest from the lobby and it took us 7-10 minutes to walk to the lobby from our room. Building 61 and 62 are near the main pool and parts of 61 are near the same restaurants, but I don't think there's any reason to stay in either of these buildings. 63 and 64 are right in the middle and therefore central to almost anything, which I think would have been nice. They had a private pool too, which looked a little larger than the one at building 60. Some of the rooms of 63 & 64 looked to have views of the pool, I believe most other views in the resort were of foliage. Buildings 65 & 66 were closest to the lobby and most of the restaurants, which would be nice too. They are also closest to the kids water park and play area, which might be helpful if you have little ones. Some of the rooms in 66 have views of the water park. All buildings looked well taken care of and had nice landscaped areas. Which building you would want to stay in would all depend on what you would want to be closest to. I recommend you find a map of the resort online and check it out before going and email the resort before you go with your request.
The service is actually really good! All of the staff (minus one) were very friendly, helpful, and responsive. Most of the staff was very friendly to our daughter too, except for a few women working in one of the gift shops, they followed us around thinking she would break something. We found the servers to be quicker and better at the Lindo restaurants we went to, but overall everyone was very nice!
This resort has a lot to offer, especially if you have kids. We loved the wave pool, kids water park, lazy river (there is no current) and all of the pools (even the Beach/Del Mar pool was very nice). There is a place to get ice cream during the day right outside El Tapatio above the main pool, I recommend you check it out as their ice cream was very yummy!
The beach was very nice too. There were plenty of chairs and large umbrellas and we never had a problem finding a spot on the beach to sit. The water was very choppy when we were there, so it wasn't as clear and blue as we've seen before, but it was still nice. We don't drink a lot, but it was nice to enjoy a (watered-down) cocktail while sitting out watching the ocean! I would also say watch out for the Coatis! They are a Mexican version of a raccoon and if you have food that they want, they will take it! So, I recommend leaving food back in your room instead of bringing it to the beach, and really, don't feed them!
I used the gym twice when we were there and it was definitely big enough. One of the times I was the only person in there and the other time all 6 treadmills were taken. They had 6 treadmills, 2+ ellipticals, a few stationary bikes, free weights, a handful of weight machines, and a space for aerobics. They had their own towels there, but no water bottles, just water from a water cooler. They had bathrooms, a jacuzzi, and I steam room (I think). Outside of the gym they had tennis courts as well and it looked like you could rent bikes. I jogged for a little bit one day and there was lots of space to run.
Out near the gym there is a mini-mall with a number of shops that sell shirts, souvenirs, jewelry, cigars, alcohol, clothes, etc; it was a nice place to just go walk around. They had an ice cream/crepe place that was great, a taco place that was not, and a hamburger spot that was never open. They also had a merry-go-round that was never working when we were there. There wasn't much difference in price from the stores in the mini-mall versus the resort gift shops, so if you see something you like just buy it. What we did see was that one gift shop would have a deal on certain items and a gift shop at one of the other hotels would not, we thought that was a little silly. The gift shops seemed to be reasonably priced for most souvenirs, but WAY overpriced for things you can bring from home, so make sure you don't forget anything!! But the all of the stores on property were a WHOLE LOT cheaper than the airport, so don't wait to buy stuff at the airport, you will regret it!
We didn't stay at the Lindo hotel, but I walked through that part of the resort a number of times, as well as ate at a few of their restaurants and I would say if you want to save a few dollars and don't need the extra space in your room, I would consider staying at the Lindo. I think you basically get all of the same amenities and the restaurants are sometimes better than the Maya ones. I could see that their balcony furniture was a little less nice than the furniture at the Maya, but other than that I didn't see much difference from the outside, as the Lindo outdoor spaces were just as nice as the Maya ones.
I also walked around the Beach and Del Mar hotel areas and went to the pool over there and again they were perfectly nice hotels. I didn't eat at any of those restaurants, so I can't speak to that, but if you want to save some money and don't care about the wave pool, kiddie water park, lazy river, and larger rooms you could stay at one of those hotels and I'm sure you'd have just as good of a time. The Beach/Del Mar pool was just as nice as the Lindo/Maya pool. And yes it had a swim-up bar too!
And as for the adults-only hotel on the property, it looked NICE! From what I could see the balconies had better furniture, the beach was a tad nicer, the chairs and such at their beach were a whole lot nicer, it was more spread out, and there were rooms that faced the ocean (no ocean facing rooms at Maya). If they had better food, I'd consider staying at that property if I didn't have a child!
I find it pretty sad that the food was so bad because looking back at our trip, we really did have a great time and there are so many positives to this resort, but since you have to eat multiple times a day bad food starts to outweigh the other positive aspects!! Overall, if you think you can overlook the terrible food, then this resort is great: nice outdoor spaces, great pools, lots to do, nice beach, great service, family-friendly! If you are really looking forward to great food, then go elsewhere, because you will definitely be disappointed!