My husband and I stayed at the Grand Velas for one week in July 2013 or our honeymoon, and we could not have been more impressed with the resort!
As many other reviewers mentioned, I had some reservations about this resort after reading some of the negative reviews. My now husband was in charge of booking our honeymoon and, after much discussion with our travel agent and after reading reviews for countless resorts, we settled on Grand Velas. I was worried about the service, food, quality, etc., but within minutes of our arrival, we were blown away by GV.
Our trip started with an airport transfer with passengers going to different resorts. We had never been to Riviera Maya/Playa del Carmen, so we didn't know what to expect. After dropping off a couple of other passengers at different resorts, we were somewhat worried---many of the "luxury" resorts we had looked at online looked pretty dumpy in person. And in order to get to these resorts, you have to drive through what can only be described as a shanty town. Not the case with Grand Velas...the entrance is right off the highway, and we checked in with someone at the gate. The road back to the hotel was beautiful---lush jungle and a well-lit road (no people walking around, no abandoned buildings, etc). We stayed in the Grand Class section (adults only). Check in was a breeze, and our butler concierge, Alejandra (AMAZING), showed us up to our room, walked us through everything, confirmed our dinner reservations for the next 5 nights (I had made them online months in advance and was certain they would be "lost" but no!), and offered to assist us with anything. It only got better from there!
Pros: We were there during the off-season, and it felt like we had the resort to ourselves. The beach was beautiful (raked daily), the foliage and grounds were immaculate, and service was amazing. We ate at all of the restaurants. Our favorite was bistro for breakfast. We loved Piaf, and Cocina de Autor was also a great experience (way too much food though--8 course dinner). The part that stands out the most was the service. Plates and silverware cleared after each course, drinks were never empty, explanations of each course in detail, etc. Everyone spoke English (some better than others), but they were all very helpful, and many even offered to take our picture at dinner (they knew it was our honeymoon from our reservation). We also loved the turn-down service every night. Beds turned down, robes hung neatly on hangers, slippers placed at bedside, fresh bottled water on night stands, etc. One night they even had rose petals, champagne, and a drawn bath for us when we returned from dinner. Very romantic and a wonderful extra touch!! Above and beyond in my opinion.
We had one issue in our room that was handled promptly--our safe broke one night and we were unable to lock it. We called down to the front desk (it was about 10pm), and they said they would send someone first thing in the morning to be fixed. My husband explained that we needed to leave early in the morning for an excursion and we wanted to get it fixed that night if possible. Within 5 minutes we had a man and a woman come up to the room, the safe was fixed within 10 minutes, and they apologized repeatedly for the inconvenience. I thought the whole thing was handled very well.
Service at the beach and pools was excellent as well, again considering we were very much alone at the resort (never more than 8-10 people on the adult beach or adult pool, but service was never affected). We did go to the Zen pool one day, and it was amazing as well. Great service at the swim up bar, and we even got to see a monkey in the trees in the jungle. Spa was also incredible--definitely worth the price (we did a couple's massage, and it was about $200 per person). Pricey, but what an experience with the water journey!
Cons: The only thing we didn't like was the "bill" that came after each meal. They have you sign your name and suite number and then give you the opportunity to leave an "optional" tip. We came to the resort with a few hundred dollars for tipping so we expected to tip for good service, but the resort is almost designed to encourage and promote tipping even though it is an all-inclusive resort. Again, we actually WANTED to tip because the service was that excellent, but I can see how many are turned off by this. The only other negative was the plunge pool on the balcony. Great concept, but we didn't feel that the balcony or pool were cleaned daily as well as the room, and the pool quickly filled with mosquitoes and other bugs. If the housekeeping would have kept up with keeping the plunge pool cleaner, we may have used it more. We simply sat on the edge and dipped our feet in while we drank our coffee.
Overall, it was an unforgettable honeymoon and I would definitely return. I imagine our experience was also fantastic due to the quiet nature of the resort during off season. I can see how it would be more loud and busy at full capacity, but I would hope that the service would not be compromised. Alejandra was very helpful and checked on us almost daily (but was in no way intruding), and we felt completely pampered during our entire stay. Thank you Grand Velas!!
- 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