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“Grand Velas - Destination Relaxation”

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Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Ranked #3 of 212 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed April 7, 2013

**Disclaimer** My reviews are lengthy as they go through each day's experience. At the end of my review I list the "what I would like to see different" but I do believe this review provides excellent insight into our overall experience, and I hope you find the information valuable!

Why you should read this review: My family and I have traveled to Mexico 10 times over 11 years so I am confident I have a good sense of comparing AI (All-Inclusive) resorts.
This trip found my wife, my 16-yr old daughter and me on vacation.

The Grand Velas Riviera Maya is a true sanctuary, tucked away nicely in norther Playa del Carmen. If you are looking for the party scene a la Cancun then this resort is not for you. If you are looking for some fun, be it with small children or teenagers, and you don't mind doing without an evening show, this could be your spot.

We spent one week there and here are my notes and details about the experience. Feel free to email me if you have questions. I'm happy to try and answer the best I can.

29-Mar-2013
Arrived in the Zen Suite Lobby around 3pm. There are two other buildings; Ambassador and Grand Class (adult-only). The Zen is tucked away from the other two buildings and it is much quieter and you feel like you're in a tropical rain forest.

We were met immediately by the concierge who greeted us by name (something that happened on a regular basis) and had us sign in. DIFFERENTIATOR: No wristlet/bracelet was necessary. The concierge said we could make dinner reservations for our entire stay. DIFFERENTIATOR: This is a far cry from some establishments that make you wake up at 6am and stand in line to make dinner reservations.

I would have liked, and this seems to be the case with most of the resorts in Cancun/Playa, to receive a much better map and explanation of how things worked. I'll get into some of the finer points later but safe to say the "campus" was extensive and it took a little while to find all the hidden pools and understand how to get around.

During our booking we chose the Zen Suite w/o the plunge pool. The suite was unbelievable. One of the main reasons we chose this resort was the PILLOW-TOP beds. Anyone who has been to Mexico, or an AI globally, knows that the beds are rock-hard. I know several travelers love that but for us, comfort is really becoming a major reason to stay in a higher-end facility.

The room was clean, no musty smell, no gritty sand, etc. It was spacious with a walk out patio with chair and chaise lounge. We were on the 2nd floor. Large shower that had a sprayer but the best feature was the rain-shower shower head built into the ceiling. There was a bench to sit if necessary. Water pressure was excellent. Water is potable but we always choose to drink the bottled water, provided as part of your AI experience.

The sinks were a little low for us (not very tall but 5'10 - 6'1) but that was not a negative. The toilet had it's own door. There was a jacuzzi tub. We didn't use it but it was spotless.
If you are not a member of Luxury Hotels Worldwide (LHW.com), as we were not, you end up paying for Internet service. VERY IMPORTANT: If you end up paying for the service, check the on-line contract prior to accepting.

The service was an acceptable price for me at $80/7 days. But I thought this was for all devices in my possession. (4 iOS devices). Unfortunately this was not the case. I went to the front desk and explained that the contract did NOT state it was PER DEVICE. They agreed and gave me a code for 3 other devices. This was EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE as far as I was concerned. I know...internet on vacation. Unfortunately I'm American. We're slaves to our devices! :-)

Since we chose not to make dinner plans for any of the restaurants (http://www.grandvelas.com/dining.aspx) we decided upon Azul, the main buffet restaurant.

Not sure if this was an off-night but the food was cold and the choices were mediocre at best. You can imagine our surprise and concern over whether or not the rest of the stay would be like this. IT WAS NOT!

One thing that bugged me was the fact that I had to sign for each meal in every restaurant. I recognize that because of not wearing bracelets this was the normal practice but I think I was just used to strolling in, giving our room # and then deciding whether or not to leave additional gratuity. We ALWAYS left at least $5USD per server as they really go above and beyond. They call you by last name and look you in the eyes. Great service.

We went to sleep early and there wasn't a ton of noise outside. Because we stayed at the Zen we were not directly connected to the beach/ocean and it was absolutely a quieter and more peaceful experience.

30-Mar-2013
We had breakfast at Chaka, which is part of the Zen campus. It was excellent. Great choices, great food. Tons of fruit, pastries, etc. The only thing I wish they had were two chefs making omelets. This took a little longer than I would like but hey, we were supposed to be on vacation with no time table! :-)

After breakfast each day we got ourselves ready for the beach. In order to reach the beach (musical reference anyone) you had to take their shuttle service from the Zen Spa area to either the Ambassador or Grand Class sites. Funny they had this type of service considering they bill themselves as eco-friendly. The amount of gas/petrol they must use daily is hard to imagine.

The ride takes 2-3 minutes and the shuttles appear about every 5-7 minutes on average. If you want to visual the route think of a triangle. Zen is on top, Grand is the bottom left and Ambassador bottom right. The Grand and Ambassador are connected.

We didn't know much about the beach area and the driver said we should check out the adult section, which meant dropping us off at the Grand Class area.

The adult area really meant that your children behaved. They didn't run around kicking up sand, they didn't shout or cry, etc. POINT OF CLARIFICATION: We love kids. There is nothing better than seeing a little toddler at the edge of the beach letting the water tickle their toes. The staff is pretty serious about having your children behave so as long as they act proper and not out of control there are no issues.

If you want to build sand castles and do the normal family day at the beach, hang out on the Ambassador side, which is really about 1.5 football (that's American) fields away and through the rest of the property.

We spent all of our time on the Grand Class side enjoying the perfectly-combed beach. Beautiful white sandy beaches with ample chairs and umbrellas. We were there the last week of most everyone's spring break so this could easily have played into the availability.

We normally got down to the beach between 9:30am - 10:30am and were met by one of two gentlemen, Angel or Cesar. Sometimes both would assist but it was their job to take care of us, and take care of us they did.

Another visual: The pool area for the Grand Class was behind us, up stairs and directly in front of the Bistro restaurant. The hut where they made the drinks was no more than 100 yards from our beachside view! Drinks normally took 5 minutes, which was great.

Ordering food off a very broad menu was great, but it did take longer than we wanted so the food was sometimes a little tepid. This was a minor issue since you could wander down to the Ambassador side and either go up to Azul or partake in the food on the beach; hamburgers, hotdogs, pork chops, salad. It didn't change on a daily basis and even though the food was excellent, that daily routine was a bit stale after 2 days.

On the Ambassador side of the property the families and fun were never ending. The pool up there is bigger and the seating area is also much larger by a 2:1 margin. We didn't spend any time in this area but clearly everyone was having a great time.

When we went back to the room the maid service had cleaned it immaculately. There was not a speck of sand on the floor. I have never seen a room so clean on a daily basis. We believe in extra gratuity when warranted and the maid deserved this daily.

Dinner was held at Frida and it was very tasty. Reservations are on the 20's so we chose 6:20pm, which seemed to be right in the middle of families w/small kids. This was never an issue. A crying baby here or there - hey, I'm sure the same can be said for any restaurant you patronize back home.

My wife had the sea bass with a side of fried crickets. Yes, crickets. Basically they tasted like chili-flavored pumpkin seeds. It was fun and off the wall. My daughter and I had rib-eye and filet, respectively. I am always impressed by the beef in Mexico. This was no different, prepared just the way we ordered accompanied by vegetables on the side. DIFFERENTIATOR: Every meal they asked about food allergies. Since my wife and daughter have shellfish allergies they were very careful to not mix, not provide samples or anything that resembled shellfish. This was something I do not remember any other resort offering.

The Ambassador offers a piano bar and across the hall a karaoke bar. The piano bar is too small and was a little loud for the space. We never saw anyone at the karaoke bar during our entire stay.

Since there weren't any shows we ended up spending time watching movies we had downloaded (iTunes) but each room does have a DVD player if you want to bring your own movies to watch.

31-Mar-2013
One thing we noticed was the lack of vendors walking the beach. While most of them are not a nuisance it was weird not having at least a few folks come up to sell jewelry, etc.

We ate at Sen Lien and found the food to be very tasty. The waiter, Eduardo, did a fabulous job explaining exactly what each course was, and once again they asked about food allergies.

Side Note: It was Easter Sunday and while we do not celebrate the holiday, I found it odd that none of the staff really went out of their way to wish others a Happy Easter. They are very religious so it was just interesting to note this didn't occur.

01-Apr-2013
Very hot day; humid. We decided to go into Playa (5th Avenue) and do our shopping. The Grand Velas offers free/gratis one-way taxi service to your destination. The shopping is about 10-15 min away depending upon traffic. We tipped the driver $5 and did the typical tourist thing.

The cab-ride back was $20USD and we tipped him another $5 so for the 3 of us to travel it was only $30USD. Very reasonable for this excursion. Speaking of excursions, we didn't partake in any but the pricing from Delta Vacations was normally $129 for most every offering. This is extremely reasonable considering some tours and offerings can top $250USD/person.

We came back to the hotel and ate lunch at Azul. The food was much better than that first evening's dinner. Spent the remainder of the afternoon on the beach until dinner.

Patronized Lucca, located in the Zen area. Grouper, Lasagna, Penne and their antipasto bar was fabulous. Again, wait staff very attentive and catered to all our needs. I should mention that dessert in each establishment was excellent. Sure you get the rubbery, unidentifiable thing once in a while but Mexican chocolate, dark chocolate is superb, and it didn't disappoint.

02-Apr-2013
Are you getting the pattern we followed? :-)
Dinner this evening was at Coccina, spanish-fusion cuisine. I have to say that it wasn't as great of an experience as we would have liked. Don't get me wrong, not having a menu and waiting to see what was coming out next is pretty cool, but how many little portions of fish can one person eat! :-0

The food was excellent, as it was in every restaurant. This restaurant (along with the French restaurant Piaf [we did not go to] is adult only. 16 years+ is what they consider adult but again, I think you can use your discretion and judgement on this.

Spring break had definitely come to an end as we noticed there was less staff than before. It wasn't enough to become troublesome but you could tell things took just a bit longer.

03-Apr
Very windy so went to Grand Class pool area. Great, not too loud. Families but no little kids. There was a Club Trip so got noisy in later afternoon. I ordered a cheeseburger and my daughter ordered the chicken baguette. Both items came out in less than 20 minutes and they were hot and delicious. The fries were pretty weak (darn) but otherwise it was very tasty.

We dined at Frida again and the experience was just as good as the first time we dined there.

04-Apr
We decided to actually stay at the Zen and go to the pool area right outside the Chaka restaurant. This was wonderful. Two pools of which both had a very shallow pool and the other was only 4' deep. It was broken into two areas; one for families w/small kids and the other for adults.

We took advantage of the SPA. We're fortunate enough to have been in other countries and seem to always compare massages to the one we received in Negril. Normally every guest has a $50USD spa credit on a daily basis. If you book a massage that is at least 50-min in length you are allowed to partake in their water experience.

It was a fun way to get relaxed and in the mood for the spa. Not only water (hot/cold) but sauna, steam room, clay room, etc. This was included in the price and while not mind blowing, it was definitely a fun experience.

Our daughter decided to order room service while my wife and I had our respective massages. She stated the food was received w/in 10 minutes and was fabulous.



05-Apr-2013
This was our last day at Grand Velas. We really enjoyed our time except for a few minor inconveniences. Checkout was a breeze and the customer satisfaction survey they have you fill out is detailed and I was appreciative they did this upon checkout.

The shuttle arrived right on time (Delta Vacations) and our trip to the airport was without incident.

Overall I would rate our stay 4 out of 5. The reason is that many times when we asked things of the front desk or concierge it took much too long for things to occur. Follow through was not nearly as expedient as we'd have liked.

For example, after our daughter ordered room service and was finished I went into the hallway and spoke directly to the staff, who understood english, and asked them to have someone come pick it up. People were not leaving their trays outside the door. Not saying you couldn't do this but clearly the message being sent by the resort is they will take care of it.

Well, two hours later it hadn't been picked up so I ended up setting it outside in the foyer on a desk.

Another incident had to do with making reservations the final two nights. I did this in person down at the concierge desk. Rather than wait they told me they would inform me when my reservations had been confirmed. 24 hours later I received this confirmation.

The one complaint I really have is that the shuttle service going TO dinner sometimes was met with towels on the seats of the van. Because they were dropping off people who just came from the beach it would be a little damp. This wasn't cool, considering how nice each of us looked.

In summary, I would absolutely stay there again and recommend this resort for anyone looking to get away from the daily grind and desiring to be pampered and treated with the utmost courtesy and respect.

Folks who were exemplary in their service to us:
Angel & Cesar - Grand Class Beach
Bardo - Waiter at Chaka Restaurant
Alejandro - Check-in/Check-out
David - Staff member assigned to Zen suites

Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
7  Thank Harlan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GVRM, Gerente at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded June 17, 2013

Dear guest,

Sunny regards from the beautiful Riviera Maya! All your comments are truly important for us and encourages to keep searching for excellence and find the opportunities to improve our service. Rest assured that we will share your review with the staff of our Resort. We hope to have the opportunity to host you in future vacations!

Looking forward to have you with us in the future.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 7, 2013

Just got back from a fabulous stay at Grand Velas Riviera Maya. Went with family, including kids 12, 10 and 8. Friends had 15 and 12 y.o. Food is off the charts great, especially for all inclusive. Spa was best ever massage. Rooms are huge and clean. Landscaping beautiful with flowering plants everywhere. Decor included tasteful art. We stayed off beach but shuttles ran literally every couple minutes. We never waited for over 3 minutes. Ocean floor is rocky, but sand and water beautiful. Very good work out facilities. Hotel arranged a trip to Tulum and a dolphin experience. Otherwise enjoyed our time maxing and relaxing by the pool. Teen club and kid club not a focus here, but the kids did spend some time there. Service is good, great in a few places. Must eat at French and Oriental restaurants. A ten dollar tip right off the bat at the pool goes a very long way, and after spending the money to get in the place, was nothing at all to worry about. We cannot, cannot imagine how you would give this resort less than 4 stars.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank kwgee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GVRM, Director de Relaciones Públicas at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded April 19, 2013

Dear Guest,

We are glad that you had an enjoyable stay with us.
Comments like yours motivate us constantly to do our best not only to maintain the quality of the service we provide, but also to go beyond our guest's expectations.

Hope to be able to host you again soon!

Kind Regards,

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Reviewed April 6, 2013

We just spent a week at the Grand Velas. This has been a challenging review to write and rate. Was it average? No. But was it very good? No. It was somewhere in between. My husband and I appreciate great food, top shelf alcohol, beautiful pools, nice rooms and of course, a wonderful beach. We search for great hotels that are child friendly. Last year, we found an ideal resort, however we were unable to rebook. So I went to TA to look for an equivalent, if not better. We landed on the Grand Velas. It was supposed to be the best of the best. Impeccable service, outstanding food, a great kids club, but it was expensive as a result of all of those things. We thought, if we're getting all of the above, we can justify the expense. Unfortunately, we did not experience these attributes at the Grand Velas.

Buffet breakfast - The food is above average for an AI but disappointing for resort of this caliber/expense. Variety was disappointing. There is an omelet station, but only one person working. No smoothie station, no one making fresh pancakes. The juice bar and the variety of fruit that they had was great (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries along with the typical Caribbean fruits).

Towel game - this resort takes it to a whole new level. They left a letter in our room (see photos) saying that towel saving would not be tolerated and that items left unattended would be removed. What a joke. We would often get to the pool and see EVERY SINGLE CHAIR "saved" by towels, pool floats, the resort straw totes, etc. And every single day, we would have to ask for the pool concierges to help find us a chair or two (as indicated in the letter). I can't tell you how many times we heard, "there are chairs, just not in my section." We would finally find a single chair and then sit next to saved chairs that sat empty all day long. One day, we finally had two chairs and sat next to SEVEN saved chairs. A woman did show up for 15 minutes and then left again for the rest of the day. I finally started to casually ask why the chairs were saved for so long and why they weren't enforcing the rules. I was told that many people pay the pool concierges at the beginning of the week to find them chairs and save them for them. One woman told me that she paid one of the men $30 up front to save her chairs and then gave him $20/day when he did. She was very proud of her plan. Ugh. We also tip well, but based on service provided. We tip after every drink. I found that after a few days our pool concierge recognized us and was much more willing to help us find chairs as he knew that we tipped well. It was fascinating.

Service - In general, terrible. Don't go in expecting Ritz quality or service. They are understaffed and the staff that they have is poorly trained. On our first morning, room service took 1.5 hours when we were quoted 40 minutes. Most of the order was incorrect and it was cold. At Azul, not one thing that we ordered arrived at the table (despite pointing to the item on the menu as we ordered). At Piaf our menu's were forgotten for 20 minutes, our food came out poorly cooked (medium rare was medium well), waiters did not check on the food after it was served, etc. One day we arrived at our room at 4 pm and our room had not yet been touched. We never received turn down service as they always came after 10 when the children were already in bed. Pool side service at Zen was particularly poor. They would have food for one guest and then be "out" for the next guest, and then have it again an hour later. At Ambassador they would run out of towels every single day. At least twice. For thirty minutes. Very, very frustrating.

Shuttles - The shuttle is a 15 passenger van that runs between the three sections of the hotel. The shuttles are older, with cloth seats (that are often covered with towels as people are coming from the pool). Some of the shuttles are in disrepair (see the photo of the panel falling off) - we were not expecting this from a hotel of this caliber. On our first morning we waited 20 minutes for the shuttle to Ambassador (three groups of people), but on all other occasions we only waited 0-10 minutes for a shuttle.

Kids Club - the most egregious part of the entire experience. My husband and I went to the spa for a massage (the shining moment of service and experience) and left our children at the Kids Club with three staff members present. When we returned to get them 2 hours later, there were 20 children in the Kids Club and one mother. No staff to be found. When I asked her where the staff was she replied "in the back. They've been in and out, but not consistently here. I couldn't leave these kids alone." We stayed and chatted with her for 5 minutes. During that time, the staff did not appear from the back. As we were leaving, someone ran out from the back and asked us to sign out. She was the only one there and said that she had been cleaning the bathroom. Needless to say, we canceled our reservation that night at Autor and did not return to the kids club. We had used it in Zen two nights before, and while they only watched movies, there were two people there when we dropped off and two people there when we picked up.

Beach - beautiful, white fluffy sand. Fantastic for sand castles and fun. Entry into the water was difficult in front of the Ambassador section as there were lots of rocks/iron shore. Definitely not for families who want to spent a lot of time in the ocean. We tried to snorkel along the "beach whales" but didn't see much. The surf was also very rough this week (red flags every day).

Food - inconsistent as above. Some things were spectacular and very gourmet. Other things were very "meh." Portions are small so order several items. We found it challenging to feed our children vegetables here. Lots of protein and lots of starchy carbs which some kids love, not so great for ours.

Was it all bad? No. The Spa was amazing. Highly recommend. The water experience is unique and sets the tone for a perfect spa treatment. The Ambassador pool was beautiful and great for kids. With three HUGE sections, two of which were heated, our kids had a blast. They had top shelf alcohol everywhere. Sapphire, Grey Goose, Don Julio...they were all at every bar. The in room snacks were great. The kids loved the M&M's and we loved having pretzels that we could easily take to the pool. The beds in the room were comfortable, the thread count was high. The shower in the room was great. Frida was incredible - the service was the best and the food was wonderful (and this is usually the lowest ranked restaurant). There were times where we saw glimmers of the service and experience others have written about. I fear that the recent lay offs, large groups (and investment firm had the resort booked for 6 weeks for their rewards trip, a new group arriving every Saturday), 100% capacity and an aging hotel have really affected the quality of this resort.

Room Tip: Do not visit during "peak" season such as Easter/Passover. Try to book an Ambassador room...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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10  Thank winterinns
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GVRM, Gerente at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded May 8, 2013

Dear guest,
On behalf of Grand Velas Riviera Maya, we would like to thank you for your preference on your last vacation with us. We certainly appreciate your comments, all of them provide us with the opportunity to improve our services.

Rest assured that your feedback will be shared to the concerning areas for its consideration. As per restaurants we are sorry that you had such perspective since all of them are very recognized.

In regards to hosting groups, l consider important to inform you that we have been hosting groups for conventions and meetings for years, handled by very experienced coordinators searching for the best way to accommodate all their requirements and of course the requirements for all of our guests.

As per the attitude perceived around the pool area, there must have been a misunderstanding since our staff is strongly compromised with providing with the best treatment and also because of the values that Grand Velas Resorts encourages to all their employees. We are very sorry if this was an inconvenience for you.

Kind regards,

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Reviewed April 5, 2013

I actually visited here in March of 2012, so I'm late (the earliest I could select was May). I spent 4 nights here with my brother because he won the trip through work and asked me to come along!

First off, for all the naysayers out there, this resort is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. Did you know such a stamp of approval exists? Go to their website: www.lhw.com. Pretty amazing! It's for this reason (and many others) that I'm saddened to see any negative review. I understand that everyone has different tastes, but this is literally one of the finest all-inclusives on Earth, so if you don't like it, it must be tough living with so few options in life.

Anyway, the food here is to die for. Even the poolside chicken caesar salad was unbelievable. The first night of our arrival, we dined at the Italian restaurant and I had lobster risotto. There was even an olive oil man who wheeled out a cart full of olive oil jars for us to choose for dipping our bread!

Be sure to try the molecular gastronomy place at least once. If anything, it'll be a great story! I believe it features 10 courses that each play with your taste buds and challenge your expectations of what food can be! Then, after you're done, stroll over to the lounge and have some drinks.

We also loved the piano bar and karaoke bar downstairs. One of my brother's co-workers tried to sing Pride by U2 and it was so terrible I laughed until tears ran down my cheeks. It was just a great time all around!

The pools are also fantastic and the ground are wonderful. If you have the pockets for it, just go!

Room Tip: If you can, stay in the Ambassador wing overlooking the ocean. The other wing down the road is nestl...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with family
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Thank HawaiiDuck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 4, 2013

My friend went last year for Spring Break and she called me and said I needed to go. So I did! My husband and I took our two kids (3 and 7) and had an incredible experience. Food was outstanding. Room was huge. The place was super clean and well stocked. Loved being able to take a shuttle to the Zen area and experience a different part of the huge resort. One of the most beautiful, detail oriented resorts I've ever been to. We were only able to go to three of the restaurants, but I heard the adult only restaurants were great too.

Pros: Food, Service, Cleanliness, ease of dinner reservation availability, grounds
Cons: had to get up early to save our seats at the pool, and the birds waking us up at sunrise every day. (which actually helped getting me up to save my seats at the pool!), drinks were possible watered down

Highly recommend it!!!

Room Tip: Ambassador suite with ocean view was the way to go!
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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2  Thank Laureenclem
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GVRM, Director de Relaciones Públicas at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded April 21, 2013

Dear guest,

We would like to thank you for your visit to Grand Velas Riviera Maya. Your constructive comments are truly invaluable since it helps us to detect the points of our service that need to be enhanced and to keep up with the ones that we have succeeded in. Thank you for taking the time to send your impressions, they will be shared with the staff that made from your stay a memorable one. A better recommendation from you we could not have!

Looking forward to have the opportunity to serve you the future.

Best regards,

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Reviewed April 4, 2013

Just spent a week at Grand Velas resort in Riviera Maya. We stayed in the upscale Grand Class area this trip. This was our second visit here, last time in the standard Ambassador Suites. While very nice for an AI, it is nowhere near a 5 star or diamond resort, just on the service alone.

Pros: The suites are very nice, in grand class you get a plunge pool which is more or less like a small jacuzzi without jets.

The restaurants are nice, have a good selection of foods, basically there's something for everybody.

The beach is above avg , each morning they collect the algae and whatever floated up the night before. You are left with white sand and turquoise water.

Cons: This list is long for what you'd expect in a 5 diamond resort but I will just list a few. First, I felt the service was lacking. If you walk up to or swim up to the bar for a drink, the bartender who is too busy in the first place, will prioritize the orders from the waiters first. This could mean you stand there for 10 minutes trying to order a beer. Unacceptable.

We were at the adult pool, 3 days they had events scheduled that evening where they would take all the chairs away from the pool and put them out in front of the pool basically on the wood walkway. This makes it cramped and you're not even facing the pool. Even though the event would be that evening, they take away the chairs all day. Some other lady wanted an umbrella so the attendant took ours while we were in the pool. I watched him do it, got out and asked what he was doing, he said he'd go get me another and never did. We just went back and spent the day in our room instead.

The restaurant Azul is the walk in anytime buffet place. Every time we'd go there, we'd have to stand and wait to be seated even though the place was half empty. The hostess just didn't seem to care. Annoying.

I tip well, maybe even when I shouldn't , but it felt like the staff was always looking for a tip. It should not feel this way at a place of this supposed caliber.

I could go on, what it really comes down to is expectations for what you think you're getting in a supposed 5 diamond AI resort vs what you really get. When I stayed there a year ago the service was also lacking but not as bad as this time. We won't be going back.

Room Tip: If you choose Grand Class, be prepared to walk a lot.
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Brian527
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GVRM, Director de Recepción at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded May 8, 2013

Dear Guest,

We are glad to know your experience with us!

Grand Velas Riviera Maya is strongly compromised with the excellence in every single way and we thank you for your feedback . Rest assured that your feedback will be shared to the concerning areas for its consideration.

Kindest regards,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2013

This is our second time vacationing here. We thoroughly enjoy this wonderful all-inclusive. The rooms are spacious and clean. The lush surroundings are picture perfect. The food is delicious. The only negatives I can say is we did have to take turns setting our alarm for 6am to reserve seats at the pool. A bit of a bummer on vacation but once you get over that, it's truly a beautiful and relaxing spot for a family vacation. My kids enjoyed both the teen and kids club and the various activities offered. We were a little disappointed that they now charge for Internet usage in their computer rooms where last year this was complimentary. Staff is friendly and courteous. We would definitely return and recommend this resort without question.

Room Tip: We've stayed in Ambassador and Zen. Equally lovely. Top floors have high vaulted ceilings.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank TB07960
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GVRM, Director de Relaciones Públicas at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded April 19, 2013

Dear Guest,

On behalf of Grand Velas Riviera Maya, we would like to thank you for your preference on your last stay. We certainly appreciate your comments, all of them provide us with the opportunity to improve our services. Rest assured that your feedback will be shared to the concerning areas for its consideration.
The internet connection is a priority for us to ensure our guests are connected properly while they are on vacation, for that reason the necessary measures are being taken in order to improve the quality of this service.

Best regards,

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, 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 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#2 Green Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#3 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#3 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#17 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#23 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: $738 - $2,210 (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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