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Grand Velas Riviera Maya
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Reviewed July 14, 2013

Grand Velas is a beautiful resort situated on the Yucatan Peninsula across from Cozumel. We took a family vacation there this July (off season) and it was like you had the entire place to yourself. Weather was a bit dicey, mostly hot, humid and partly sunny but one day of what seemed almost a tropical storm and another half day unsettled. Staff was courteous and attentive, if you like doting especially at breakfast you'll get it. I prefer, however, to carry my own plate back to the table. During high season, I imagine the resort would staff accordingly to keep the service level high. Beach is excellent, cleaned and combed daily, signs of sea turtles having come ashore and laying eggs, Ospreys dive for fish in the surf, non-motorized and motorized watersports available although not all associated with the hotel on the beach, para-sailing, snorkeling tour, kayaks, day sailers, etc.. Infinity pools meld with the sea for a stunning visual display, grounds well kept and lush. Swim up bars, snack shack, Azul for breakfast all great. Overall, food was very good, not really 5 star level in my opinion. Several restaurant choices available for good variety of dining experiences. Room service accurate, timely, convenient when required or desired. The Xplor Park and others are accessible by shuttle from resort for ziplining (absolutely fantastic), ATV runs (OK), cave swimming also close by, $140 per person for the day at Xplor, worth it but ouch... Day trip by cab ($23 fare) over to Playa Del Carmen (OK) where incessant street hawkers and very expensive refreshments combine to irritate, your call. It's an up and comer for sure, not as mature in its life cycle as some other resort destinations around the world and very expensive even off season. I can't say I'll be back again, only because we'll hopefully move on to further explore the rest of the world...

Room Tip: If you can swing it, go Grand Class with ocean view - stunning...
  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank November342L
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 July 15, 2013

Dear Guest,

Thank you for your comments and its is truly an honor to know that our facilities and services have fulfilled your expectations. Your comments about the food will be shared with out Food & Beverage Managment for their consideration.

Hopefully we can host you again in the future,

Kind Regards,
JESSICA GONZALEZ CASTRO
Subgerente Ejecutivo Grand Class
Grand Class Executive Assistant Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 12, 2013

First off, I have to say that I was a little nervous going on our honeymoon after reading some of the reviews... THANK GOD we chose Grand Velas b/c it was AMAZING!!! Everything from getting picked up from the airport to leaving, was perfect! When we arrived, we were greeted with tea and cool towels. Check in was very quick and Sebastian, our concierge (who we saw EVERY DAY!!!) walked us to our room. The room as beautiful and the plunge pool was awesome! We only got in it twice, but was a nice view :). The food was pretty amazing, especially for being all inclusive. We went to Piaf, Frida, Sin Lin & Lucca... Our favorites were hands down Frida (Seafood enchiladas!!!) and Sin Lin (tuna tartar, duck and the tuna steak). We also did a romantic dinner in the room and that was AMAZING! The food was the best food we had the whole stay. Our server was kind enough to go to Frida and get the bottle of wine that we really liked! They decorated our room with roses 2 different nights (first night and the night of the romantic dinner). It was beautiful! The pool service wasn't bad at all. They do have a lot of people that they are serving, so if we didn't see our waiter for 10 minutes or so, we just walked to the bar and ordered from there, but the pool service was by no means bad! We loved the piano bar and talking with the bartender, Edgar. He was fantastic! All in all, the trip was amazing and we are ready to go back. We love traveling and we love staying in nice hotels... this was one of our favorites! Sebastian and Edgar really made the trip that much better!

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Lindsey H
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 July 15, 2013

Dear Guest,

Thank you for your comments, we are very happy that we made your Grand Velas Experience a memborable one and your comments really encourage us to continue with this effort.

We will definetly well share this with Sebastian & Edgar, and we truly hope to host you again in the future.

Kind Regards,
JESSICA GONZALEZ CASTRO
Subgerente Ejecutivo Grand Class
Grand Class Executive Assistant Manager

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Reviewed July 10, 2013

The hotel did not deserve the average rating I gave it, but was better than poor - for clarification.

Grand Velas was nice, clean - and the beach and pools were above average as well. The food and service was so bad, however, that we were almost in disbelief. It felt like their game was to make anything included so bad that you would not want to use it. Toward the end of the trip we ate at hotels nearby and there was a significant difference. We knew some people who had a different experience the prior year, but opinions over the holidays were pretty consistent that the place had gone downhill quickly. Somewhat annoying was the way the hotel uses the menu to make you think you were getting value. If you ordered a hamburger at lunch, they pretended it was a $30 hamburger (instead of a $5 one) and then showed how you saved all that money. Pretty cheezy stuff. Our "free and included" dinner was more than $1000 according to the bill. Again way off and far from believable. In the end, we had to fight to get spa treatments taken off our bill that we did not use. They threatened to not let us head to the airport without paying the bill first. It was clear that they have a lot of dissatisfied customers and they use this pressure tactic (of stopping your car to the airport) to gain leverage. There was a whole line of people dealing with the same stuff. Given our experiences, we would be unable to suggest Grand Velas to others. And of course, AMEX took the bogus charges off the bill when we returned home.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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13  Thank ObjectiveRater
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 July 21, 2013

Dear guest,

First of all, I would like to thank you for your visit to Grand Velas Riviera Maya on you most recent trip.

All your comments a very important to us since they are the way we find an opportunity to enhance the excellent service that we already offer. . As per restaurants we are sorry that you had such perspective since all of them are very recognized and popular among our guests.
And at our restaurants give you a bill for you to sign because it is part of our all inclusive report and we just want to make sure to have a signature to confirm your presence at the restaurant. We are really sorry if there was some kind of misunderstanding.

We are really surprised about the threat of not letting you go to the airport this is not very common with our guest due to the confirmation of the charges and signatures on the bills.

Hopefully we will have the pleasure to host you once again in the future.

Kind Regards,
JESSICA GONZALEZ CASTRO
Subgerente Ejecutivo Grand Class
Grand Class Executive Assistant Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2013 via mobile

I've been very hesitant to write this review, as I've seen how defensive the hotel's responses to negative feedback have been, but I feel it's only fair to share our experience with those looking at these reviews to make a decision about traveling here.

This was our second trip to GVRM. The first time was amazing! Everyone went above & beyond for us. We even decided to have our wedding here (after being discouraged to do so by a destination wedding travel agent) because everything was was so wonderful the first time. Big mistake! When we arrived this time there was nothing special about it. The first time we were here we were asked to have a seat after a long day of travel, offered a drink & a brief neck massage, this time....nothing. Our whole group stood in line at the check-in counter, hot & sweating, as they asked to see our travel vouchers. We were sent off to our rooms with our concierge, who we never saw after the first day.

Our rooms were in the Zen section of the hotel. There was a musky smell upon arrival, the water pressure in our restroom was very weak & we had to call maintenance for assistance within the first few minutes. Our room had a plunge pool on the patio, but we never used it because there were so many mosquitos.

Late one night, when we came back from dinner, we had very large ants in our room that crawled through the patio door even though it hadn't been opened. There was a can of Raid in the closet that they suggested we use, but we asked to be moved because they were everywhere. They, hesitantly, moved us after several calls & over an hour of waiting.

Our wedding, actually, turned out beautiful. How could it not in such a beautiful location? But my wedding coordinator was a nightmare. After having to switch coordinators because of a lack of response from the first one, the new coordinator & I communicated for months before the wedding to make sure everything would go as planned.

Before our trip, I received a final invoice showing a substantial credit. I double checked with the coordinator to make sure this wasn't a mistake. She insisted it was correct & even suggested I add extras to the wedding to offset the credit. (Ploy to get us to spend more money, maybe?)

However, while my family & I were at the spa (the day of the wedding), my wedding coordinator showed up & said she'd just sent me an email stating she made a mistake & I no longer had a credit, but now she was surprising me with a rather large bill! Clearly upset by this BIG mistake, we asked to speak with her manager to see how a mistake like this could've happened. For the record, we would've taken care of the entire bill, if it was determined we were at fault. We were just upset a mistake was made to begin with, & especially, with the way it was brought to our attention in front of everyone at the spa just hours before the wedding.

After all was said & done they owned up to the mistake, but told me I no longer had a credit, but was left with a bill at the spa. It was "supposed" to be my special day & I didn't want anything to ruin it, so I agreed to pay it, so we could just put the whole thing behind us.

From that moment forward, everyone's attitude toward us changed. The people at the spa were no longer as attentive or friendly, except for Nadia who did my hair & make-up & who was was so supportive as she tried to console me during this whole ordeal. Our wedding coordinator was just hostile and rude to my mom, who, actually, had to make last minute changes to the ceremony site because it wasn't finished. The coordinator did put on a smile in front of my guests, but just made us feel uncomfortable for the rest of the night.

When you look back on your wedding day, it should be a joyful memory. We made the best of the day & enjoyed our friends & family, but when I look back on our day, I can't help but feel sad that this whole situation could've been avoided if I would've just chosen a hotel who values their guests more than GV. Needless to say, we won't be returning or recommending this hotel to anyone.

  • Stayed: June 2013
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18  Thank Billy C
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 July 21, 2013

Dear guest,

On behalf of Grand Velas Riviera Maya, we would like to thank you for your preference on your Wedding.
We certainly appreciate your comments, and we are truly sorry for all of the inconviences that you had on your stay. But mostly for the inconvience at the SPA with your wedding coordinator.

All of your comments have been shared with the concerning areas. And hopefully we can host you again in a future.

Kind Regards,

JESSICA GONZALEZ CASTRO
Subgerente Ejecutivo Grand Class
Grand Class Executive Assistant Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2013

LOVED LOVED LOVED Grand Velas and loved it even more that this was the resort were we had our wedding.

The ++++ about the resort:
- Ambiance is unreal! As soon as you pull into the resort it was just amazing. We loved the attention to the detail with the decor, architecture, plants and flowers. It was just amazing! Also the staff provides you with this wonderful tea as your checking into the hotel. I must say what a personal touch
- Food. Probably one of the best foods we have had at any all-inclusive resort. Try to go to the french restaurant and ask for the bread stuff with Roquefort cheese. Just thinking about it makes me salivate okay not really. The buffet (Azul) in the morning at the Grand right on the beach is just a huge collection of different types of food and goodies. We preferred going there than breakfast in our suite because of the food selection. I know lame but the breakfast in bed was romantic the food choices and omelets were not as good as the Azul restaurant. We didn't get a chance to eat at the bistro for lunch or breakfast but we heard it was one of the better restaurants for lunch from our wedding guests.
- Pools. Mainly we stayed at the main pool and all of our wedding guests migrated there. We ordered food and drinks from one of the waiters and he was more than happy to provide us our drinks and food. Definitely ask for the following drinks blueberry mojito, dirty monkey, any frozen goodness.

now the - - - negatives
- Beach. The water was blue and gorgeous however there were rocks in the ocean. I recommend that Grand Velas remove these items so guests can enjoy the beach.
- Water activities. Since there were rocks in the ocean I was a little shock they offered paddle boarding as an activity. My husband was paddle boarding and unfortunately slipped and hit his shoulder on the rock. It wasn't anything serious thank goodness but it could have been. For the staff at Grand Velas this is a situation that can be avoided and could cause the resort financial harm if not addressed.
- WiFi. For the price you are paying for there is no free WiFi but we found that this is common at most Playa del Carmen resorts because we are in the jungle. However, at least provide free WiFi in the lobby or local areas.

My husband and I have stayed at 3x at Playa Del Carmen and by far Grand Velas is one of our favorite resorts. It is pricey but definitely worth it. The service was amazing and the people were just so generous and kind. If you don't like the price point at Grand Velas then check our El Dorado Maroma beach which is another great boutique resort if you don't like the crowds.

Here is some feedback for anyone planning a wedding at Grand Velas:
Unfortunately I had about 4 different wedding planners during my course of planning my wedding which didn't give me the confidence as a bride that things would be taking care of. However, Yazury which I highly recommend was just amazing and took the reins of helping me plan my wedding. Some things to look out for if you are planning on having an event at the zen pool at night is there are mosquitoes so please make sure you bring repellant spray to not annoy your guests. Negotiate negotiate everything the flowers, DJ, lights, all of it. I brought most of my decorations to the resort but I had to travel with them on the plane. Be careful if you do this because you will be stopped at customs if you are bringing tons of bags and they will ask you to unpack your bags. Try to have family take some of bags with them. If you spend more than 300 dollars on decorations or gifts they will ask you to pay taxes, so luckily I did everything handmade and stretch the truth somewhat. I will say that was the most annoying part about the whole wedding planning was dealing with customs and having them look through our bags. We had our wedding ceremony at a catholic church not on 5th avenue but another location. I recommend the church on 5th avenue. However all in all, the wedding was just stunning and beautiful I couldn't have imagined it any other way. We did a cake tasting the day we arrive at Grand Velas which was a good thing because we didn't get a chance to eat our cake at the wedding. I was also worried about my hair and make-up at the spa but I did a trial, and I could not have been any happier. My husband and I were just so pleased how wonderful our wedding was and our friends to this day say our wedding was "epic." cheers to the staff at Grand Velas and good luck to the destination brides to be

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Jackie R
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 July 12, 2013

Dear guest,

Allow me to thank you for choosing Grand Velas Riviera Maya for your wedding destination, It is such an honor to know that our facilities and services have fulfilled your expectations and made a memorable experience for you and your family. Providing with the best service to our guests is one of our priorities and we are glad that we made it possible with you!

We hope to have the opportunity to host you again.

Kind Regards,
Jessica Gonzalez

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