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Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Ranked #3 of 211 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed April 23, 2012

We visited Grand Velas from NYC and cannot say enough great things about this resort. The whole trip felt like dream because everything went so smoothly. We were in the adults only section which was tranquil, depsite a few young teens in the area. The cuisine was creative, beautifully presented, and really opened up the senses. The adult pool was never crowded and I swear they must condition the water because you're left with soft skin when you get out!! The concierge service was excellent, quickly attending to our every request. A few things I would change: 1) the spa prices seemed incredibly high so I could bear to get the massage I wanted 2) the beach canopies were a little small and hard to control the drapes and 3) the natural forest grounds are lovely, but there are no walking paths to enjoy them. Overall, an incredible experience and I will definitely return.

Room Tip: If you are a couple wanting to save a little money, stay in the Ambassador (kids) section and spend...
  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Shera14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 23, 2012

Been vacationing the Maya Coast for 30 years and this place is by far the nicest we've seen.
Excellent service BUT you need to tip for best service as is customer in any Latin Country. Don't be naive in thinking "all inclusive" means every thing under the sun. These local peeps work hard for minimum wage and deserve a little something extra and it goes a long long way in the service you will get in return.
Our beach bartender was the bomb as was the room concierge once we tipped. The food was a little too gourmet for us but was very good as well.
Sucks the way some people pay for the cheaper rooms then migrate to the grand class bar/private adult pool to party.
Go Grand Class rooms 4th floor if you want the best of best. Amazing how they call you by name everywhere you go. Had neck problems when I arrived but the massages fixed all that, don't go there without doing the "water journey" thing. I was hesitant about it but once I did it was great.
the steam rooms are awesome. The spa is not cheap so if you are low on funds forget about it.
All in all the best place period.

Room Tip: Grand class all adult 4th floor rooms with magnificent views to ocean vaulted ceiling plunge pool, f...
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled on business
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4  Thank wjb9511
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 21, 2012

Just returned from a vacation that was as close to perfect as you will find. The rooms are very big, including a walk-in closet. We had a first floor room in the Ambassador section and would walk back and forth to the pool from the patio. Close to everything. The food is amazing. The presentation is better than the food network!! The variety of flavors was amazing. Breakfast buffet at Azul was great. We had breakfast at the Bistro one morning which has great views. For dinner we had Frida and Lucca. Both were fanstatic. Lucca has an olive oil cart with 8 or so different varieties and Frida had a salt tray with four different salts. Just a few of the many surprises at the resturants. The creativity was unbelievable. The beach was raked everyday and was very soft. The kids played soccer on the beach every day. The three pools are all different and beautiful. The Ambassador pool is so big. My kids loved it. The spa was worth the trip. There is an 80 minute water treatment included with the longer spa treatments that was so amazingl! I had a facial and never felt so relaxed. The grounds are secluded and I felt extreamly safe with my family. The staff's primary focus was making sure your needs and wishes were met. It is a great place for all...families in the Ambassador section. The Grand Class section was where you could go without younger kids and the Zen section was totally relaxing.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank PartyOfFive_Grandma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 15, 2012

We thought the hotel was beautiful, the staff excellent and the food - especially at Azul and Bistro - delicious. It was our first stay at an all-inclusive resort, and while the room was pricy, we would return in a heartbeat. We had a great view of the ocean, the pool was lovely, the sand on the beach was very soft and the service was exceptional. We never had to wait for a shuttle to the other buildings - quite a contrast to our visits to Atlantis and Disney World. It is hard to believe that there is a nicer resort in the Riviera Maya.

Room Tip: It was worth paying a little more for an ocean view room. We stayed in the Ambassador section, whch...
  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank JuliaJ49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2012

We have just returned from our 4th family vacation at The Grand Velas. As in past years we had 3 Ambassador suites for the week prior to Easter.
We found the staff to be as warm and friendly as ever. Our room concierge, Ana, was very helpful and was very attentive.
The resort was full but we never had a major problem obtaining pool lounges although they were not always in the best spots. The pool concierges were always ready to bring everything from towels to food and drinks.
We ate in every restaurant except Sin Liln and were generally very pleased. The only negative was at Frida where the servers were over worked and, because of the full occupancy we had to sit on the most uncomfortable cane chairs. Frida was our favorite restaurant until this trip.
I would advise making the restaurant reservation on line prior to your stay.
When we booked our res we were told that there was a spa incentive of $50 per day per adult. I'm sure that it is in the fine print somewhere but we were disappointed to learn that the credit was not cumulative (even if the spa was fully booked) and not transferable between guests staying in the same room. This 'incentive" really left a bad taste. They would have been better off not offering it in the first place.
Bob McK

Room Tip: Spend the extra $s on an Ambassador suite
  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank BobMcK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2012

Our family (kids ages 8 & 12) spent the last week of March at Grand Velas. For the most part it was a good trip, but there a few things that will keep us from returning.

The room was very nice, modern decor and clean. Beautiful bathroom, shower with a rain head and nice jacuzzi tub. We had a suite in the Ambassodor Section, ground floor with a plunge pool. When I booked the room, I thought we would get more use of the plunge pool, but the reality was we never used it. There is a nice "bed" on the patio however, which we did enjoy to lounge and listen to the waves.

The restaurants were a bit over the top for our liking. Good food, but too gourmet for our tastes. I didn't even enjoy buffet in Azul because it too was pretty fancy and had a lot of seafood. We dined at the following: Lucca (Italian), Frida (Mexican), Piaf (French), Bistro (Continental), Sen Liln (Asian). Our favorites were Piaf and Sen Lin. Piaf and Bistro were in the adults only section, but we were able to dine there with our 12 year old before 8pm. We ate room service for breakfast daily with the exception of our first morning where we did the buffet in Azul. I was third in line to order an omellette, but both people in front of me ended up ordering 4 different omellete's and there was only one chef at the station. Needless to say, it was quite a wait and by the time I made it back to the table, my family was done eating. Room service was good for breakfast, always on time, but food was luke warm. The guestrooms have an Nespresso machine which looked really cool, but was obscenely loud. My husband wakes up around 5am and trying to make coffee without waking up the entire family was impossible. He opted to go to Azul and get a cup of coffee. The first day he was told it was ready yet and to come back in half an hour. The next day they had a pot of coffee made, so that was refreshing, but day 3 he was once again told that it wasn't ready. We started just ordering a pot early as part of our room service breakfast order. To speak to the "tipping" comment's, yes you have to sign a check after every meal, but tipping is not required. We did tip, only because the wait staff does provide good service.

Our lobby concierge was Rogilio. He was very gracious upon our arrival, showed us to the room and gave us the tour of how to work the shower, coffee pot etc. I asked for an activities listing, which he delivered to us shortly after we arrived, however the kids club activitiy sheet was in Spanish. We saw little of Rogilio the rest of our trip. Every now and then I would pass him at the pool and get a hello, but it definitely was not what I expected when I read that there are supposed to be 14 guests to 1 "butler". I had made our dinner reservations online prior to arrival, so we did not require his assistance from that perspective. I did inquire if the gift shop carried the rafts I saw people with at the pool and he said he didn't know but would check. I never heard back and ended up going myself to get one. Speaking of the pool - it is gorgeous! My youngest son and I spent most of our time at the Ambassador pool. There is a basketball hoop for the kids and the activities staff coordinates games of water polo and then nuke 'em on the beach along with soccer, which my son enjoyed. Other than that, there was not a lot of activity. Chairs, especially under umbrella's were hard to come by if you didn't play the towel game at 6am. The pool staff was hot and cold as far as service. The beginning of the week there were just a handful of staff and they weren't very forthcoming with offering menus or coming around to take orders. Towards the end of the week the staff seemed to triple, my understanding is that week prior to Easter is their busiest week, so that's why they brought in more people to work. What a shame that a supposed 5 star resort doesn't staff to provide a level of service even when they are not sold out.

Kid's club was a nice room, with video games and a TV for movies. Pretty much the only thing I think they ever did was make bracelet's. The didn't do any organized activities, even though there is an activity sheet showing a variety of things. The staff was nice and it was good to have available for the couple of night's we went to the adult's only restaurants, but beyond that my son didn't use it as often as he has at other resorts.

Why we won't go back...
The beach. It is not swimmable, nor is it even pretty to look at. There is a bunker of some sort 50 yards off shore that must be to keep the beach from eroding, but it is an eyesore. They do a nice job of keeping the seaweed off the beach - there is a tractor out there every morning. There are also large rocks in the water, making it impossible to even walk into the water. We did take advantage of the free snorkeling via the kayak (not very well publicized), which was nice. Although for whatever reason, the lifeguard only gave my husband a paddle, which meant he had to work really hard to get us there (we had to follow the lifeguard out and back). They have Hobie Kat's, but they are only available if you want to pay for them. Based on the cost of this resort, one would think these sort of "non motorized sports" would be included.

I saw a "teen" club at the Zen lobby, but I did not feel comfortable leaving my oldest there knowing he would need to shuttle back to our "village". I think they should have a similar set-up in each village - they have 2 kid's club's, why not do the same for the teen's.

Another reason we won't be back is housekeeping left a toilet bowl brush on our sink vanity! GROSS. I wish I had taken a picture, but I was so disgusted I just immediately picked it up and put it on the floor next to the toilet.

We did not receive turn down service the last 2 nights of our stay. That in itself was not a big deal (other than the fact you would expect it at a 5 star resort), but they leave the room service door hanger at turn down, which we needed to order breakfast. The first night I called and someone brought the card pretty promptly. The next night (our last night), it took 3 calls before anyone brought it to us. We also had a similar experience with trying to get a firm pillow for my husband. It took 3 calls (this was towards the beginning of our stay).

A very minor thing - we would receive our confirmation email's for dinner 2 hours after we finished dining each night. Something must be wrong with their system. Most people wouldn't notice this, but we did purchase the internet at the resort, so checked our email regularly. (By the way, the internet service was good).

The icing on the cake was our very last experience at the resort. Check out was at 12pm. I saw Rogilio talking to a guest next door to our room the day prior to our departure and I waited to ask him details about departing and to find out if we could get a late check-out. Understandably with the resort full, we had to stick to the noon check-out. We had our airport transport arranged to pick us up at 1:30, so just prior to noon we had the bellmen pick up our bags and we went to Azul to grab lunch. It started raining at 11am and was still raining at this point. My husband went to pick up our youngest from kid's club and I went to get a table at Azul. Upon arrival the hostess asked if we were leaving. She then proceeded to tell us that we would need to pay for lunch as it was after noon so was not included in our package. This was so unexpected that I grabbed our things and left. I was very upset and waited for my husband to come back from kid's club and we went to the front desk to express our dissappointment. When I first walked up to the desk there were two attendants talking to each other, neither of which acknowledged me. Finally they realized I was there and I expressed my frustration with the situation (in tears mind you) and I did not expect this kind of treatment from a five star resort. This was our last memory of our trip at Grand Velas and it unfortunatley ruined their rating from us. Rogilio miraculously showed up during my conversation with the front desk and we were allowed to dine at Azul complimentary, but the damage had already been done.

All in all, the good outweighed the bad. The resort is well kept, the restaurants are beautiful and the rooms are nice. They need to work on their service to truly make it a 5 star resort. We are going to stick to Beaches Turks and Caicos for future trips! I was hoping to find an alternative that was a little nicer, but Grand Velas is not it.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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23  Thank Lovetovacation0022
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 6, 2012

I want to start by giving a "shout out" to Alex and Cesar for the Water Polo..."what's up homies". They entertained my kids as well as all the kids during our stay. I being a big kid wanted to say thanks a lot to you two guys. The water polo was fun.
We just got back from this truly "lovely" place.

We stayed 7 nights and 8 days in the Zen portion of the resort. It is a very quiet part of the resort away from the beach. Very "Phil Jackson" type feels to it. LOL. It is not a long ride like many people say. The shuttle ride is may be 2 minutes. The shuttles were always there when we needed one.

The suites are very nice and big. There was plenty of room for us. We are a family of four. There was me, my wife, my 13 year old daughter, and my 14 years old son. We had two queens beds and a roll away bed but my son is a teen boy and slept on the couch. :) The rain fall showers are very nice. Do yourself and favor and lie out on the couch on the deck in the evening and enjoy the breeze. It’s very nice...

The suite comes with a butler. Nice touch. Our butler was named Gabriella (very sweet woman). She was wonderful. She made all of the reservations for dinner. Whatever we needed she was there for us. Thanks you Gabriella.
The food was wonderful everywhere we went. But, I am simple. I prefer the chicken club sandwich from the pool. LOL.

The pool in the Ambassador section was very nice. It was really big. There was a lot of room. The staff was very good around the pool. They were very good at getting you food, towel, and drinks.

My kids really enjoyed the teen center. They had Xbox video games machine, pool table, air hockey.

THE BEACH…this is the only BAD part about the resort. The water has too many rocks. My son and I love waves. We have been to Costa Rica where the waves are awesome. Because of the rocks in the water we were not able to “catch a wave”.

I could say so much more but I will end with this…We truly enjoyed it.

Room Tip: The Zen is the better value. You can always go to beach section.
  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank Julius P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GVRM, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded April 28, 2012

Dear Guest,

Thank you for choosing Grand Velas Riviera Maya for your recent holidays and for taking the time to write such an extensive review.
Comments like yours are the reason why we keep up the good work and we will share them with our employees, especially Alex, Cesar y Gabriella.
Hope you will visit us again soon.

Kind regards,

Guest Relations Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Address: Carretera Cancun Tulum Km. 62 | Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Green Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#3 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#3 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#17 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#23 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: $741 - $1,833 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Grand Velas Riviera Maya 5*
Number of rooms: 493
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Grand Velas Riviera Maya is one of the newest resorts to distinguish Riviera Maya as a premier vacation destination. The uniquely Mexican world-class hospitality we provide is "Beyond All Inclusive, Beyond All Compare", and we are proud to be the only family-friendly All Inclusive resort in the Mexican Caribbean to have been rated Five Diamonds by the AAA. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort, Riviera Maya Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Grand Velas All Suites And Spa Resort, Riviera Maya
Grand Velas Hotel Riviera Maya
Grand Velas Riviera Maya Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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