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“Great All-Inclusive just needs some Tweaks”

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Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Ranked #4 of 214 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
westchester
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Great All-Inclusive just needs some Tweaks”
Reviewed March 2, 2014

Our first experience with an all-inclusive and was very pleased. The property itself is beautiful. Upon arrival you are treated very well with all staff paying great attention to detail and accommodating our check-in with efficiency. I coordinated the trip directly with the hotel and Erika was extremely prompt with emails and return calls and arranged it all perfectly and with ease. When we got off the plane the driver was there waiting for us and it was a quick trip to the resort. Overall the concierge was impeccable.

There are 2 sections to the property. The Zen Grand which is about 3/4 away from the beach and more with a jungle feeling. A shuttle can take you to the beach. The Ambassador section is right at the beach and where we stayed. I preferred this as we like to hit the beach during the day and do not like having to pack up and take a shuttle.

The rooms are large clean and have enough closet and drawer space for a family of four. Teh beds were very comfortable and I am big on bedding and I must tell you the sheets and pillows were Great! Our kids are still young enough where we can stay in one room. We had 2 queen beds and a cot and it was perfect with still enough room. If I had to do it over again I would choose a room closer to the pool and beach so I could walk out and be right by a lounge chair. I believe the rooms in the 1100 bank are right by the pool and beach. Our kids are 10 and 12 and it would have been ideal there.

There are a lot of restaurants to choose from and what I liked was that you could make a reservation which for the most part there wasn't a terrible wait….but I must admit there were 2 nights that we did have to wait almost 30 minutes for our table. Azul is the restaraunt by the pool and beach and for breakfast and lunch that is where you go. Buffet menu, good food and easy for all. Staff is hit or miss for attention to service but still okay.

The food overall was good. Some restaurants better than others. Piaf was not a favorite as the menu was tough to order from and when I did it took a VERY long time for the order to come. Perhaps it was an off night. I think there is room for improvement on the menu options and service. Frida was very good. It was our feeling as a family that the service was a bit slow overall and for dinners the kids get cranky after a certain hour. But this would not deter me from going back.

As with most resorts you must get up early and nail down your chairs outfitted with towels and personal items. Kinda of annoying but what is expected unless you want to tip a guy each day to do it for you which many do.

Not much to do as far as included activities and entertainment. You really need to arrange and plan and spend on your own. There are some all-inclusives that have an entertainment center that provide things for kids and teens to do during the day, but this was not the resort for that. I would encourage guest to go off site and swim with dolphins or do ATV and/or zip-lining. We were unsure of how we felt leaving the property but now recommend that you do as it is safe and a lot of fun and totally worth the money. If you do want to partake in activites like wave-runners, snorkeling, scuba diving etc on site…its all extra. There are resorts that do include some of these activities and I would encourage Grand Velas to give that thought…

They do have a kids Kareoke at night..which is fun and you can leave kids there and grab a bite…but I will admit after a few nights it gets boring for them.

The beach is beautiful and the grounds itself of gorgeous. The staff is attentive to keeping it neat and clean and they all worked very hard. Everyone was polite and helpful and exceeded my expectations. I would recommend the resort to families. The kids can walk around freely feeling very comfortable and safe. The layout of the land is easy.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank lbmWestchester
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GVRM, Director General at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this review, March 16, 2014
Thank you very much for remembering us after almost a year. It has been 11 months since your last visit with us and I certainly hope that you are in the planning stages for this year´s vacation. You will be delighted to know that we have already addressed a couple of your concerns and one is about the nightlife option apart from the karaoke bar. Just recently we have opened up our nightclub “Koi”, which is being received very well amongst our winter guests. From 7pm until 3am you can dance and socialize to dj music and videos. Equally successful is our Teens Club that offers different activities every day and evening and now with its new manager it is even more dynamic than ever. Both were necessary options to implement after listening to the constructive suggestions from our valued guests. I am also very pleased that your children enjoyed themselves during their stay and that the dining options were varied enough so that you could select and enjoy your favorites more often. So when the desire to relive the good times in Mexico arises, you can call Erika again in our reservations center and she will efficiently handle your needs and preferences. Thank you for your belated but informative comments and it would be our honor to host you again so that you can see for yourself the additions and improvements that have occurred since last April. Take care and kind greetings to Westchester.
FERNANDO GARCIA ROSSETTE
DIRECTOR GENERAL
GRAND VELAS RIVIERA MAYA
fgarciarm@velasresorts.com
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Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed March 2, 2014

My family, consisting of my husband and two children (ages 13 and 7) just spent a wonderful week at the Grand Velas. We travel fairly often and it was our second AI in the region in recent years; we have high expectations and the Grand Velas overall was excellent.

The resort has 3 sections; this is a great property for people with or without children given how separate the areas are. We stayed in the Ambassador section (though walked over to the Grand Class section, which was tranquil). Below are my takeaways on specific things:

Room: we stayed in an oceanfront room with a plunge pool; the room was large, clean and beautiful; the hotel positions itself as "all suites" though it is really just one, large room (with a great outdoor sitting area). The bathroom was also large with a great shower and tub and high end amenities. They kept the minibar stocked with basic snacks, a nespresso machine and even a bottle of tequila (though, without margarita fixings or accompaniments, that went untouched). My only complaint about the room was the plunge pool: it was unheated so it was very cool given the time of year we went; additionally, the hotel has beautiful flowers on each terrace and the flowers from the terrace above filled up our plunge pool and there was no net or anything to clean them out.

Food: the food was exceptionally good; there was one restaurant with a buffet and the rest had table service; the pool snackbar served substantial food starting 11am. You could also order room service any time. It was easy to indulge or to maintain healthy eating habits. We made reservations about a week before we went for each evening. We ate at the casual restaurant (Azul) on our first night and found that to be very good and ended up going back there another night. The food at Piaf was exceptional and we enjoyed the Bistro as well. I would find it difficult to find another AI with food as good as the Grand Velas. My only issues with the food were as follows: 1/2 of the restaurants on the property were for kids over the age of 12, limiting options for families. We made arrangements for our younger child to go to the kids club a few nights so we could eat at the nicer restaurants. We then got to those nicer restaurants and found other people had brought their young children – some very young (despite the policy that they weren’t supposed to be there). We wish the hotel would either maintain their policy consistently, or, even better -- have an early seating that allowed for children (especially that 6+ age group who can sit through long meals without disrupting others).

Activities / stuff to do: Grand Velas is a mellow resort but there are enough activities to keep you entertained – assuming you go there for a quiet vacation. If you want someplace with a steady stream of activities or a nightlife, this isn’t the place for you. If you want to relax, eat and join in an activity here & there, this is perfect: the gym was great, there was a mellow activity schedule and the spa was truly amazing – a don’t miss experience (it was expensive but it was incredible, all full length spa treatments allow you to use their amazing spa, so I spent about an hour and a half there on top of my massage treatment) . For adults there were things like beach volleyball and occasional entertainment pool side. My younger son popped in and out of the kids club; that also had a mellow activity schedule – it had extended hours and things like games, bracelet making, wii, etc and then added on things like magic shows, crafts, etc. He wanted to go there daily and several evenings instead of joining us for dinner (on those nights, I ordered him pizza to the room then took him to the kids club). There was a great teen lounge too. They had several activities at the main pool for kids, like a bouncy house, a trampoline and a big ball that floated on the pool that you could climb in and roll around in. My kids wanted to spend most of their time at the activity pool – it was fun and not as chaotic as the activity pool at many resorts. The beach was lovely but the water was rocky (if you are an ocean swimmer, you may be disappointed). Also, the basic wifi was free.

One night a corporate event was there and some of the people were loud in the evening – drinking, smoking, etc. (in the family section, mind you); I’d love to see the resort separate out large group events like this.

Service: the service was exceptional without being intrusive. Rooms and public areas were clean, we always had a drink in hand, everybody was polite, wait staff was amazing.

Tipping: there is no standard protocol on tipping; it is technically included in the price; I think that many people don’t tip extra but many people do; we brought about a bunch of small bills (ones and fives) and gave them out throughout our stay at meals, to the pool guys, etc.

All in all, the hotel was truly lovely and I would happily go back! It was a truly beautiful hotel with great food and excellent service that met the needs of my family.

Room Tip: Oceanfront rooms are worth the extra money; the Ambassador section if you are traveling with kids, t...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank dinanicj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GVRM, Director General at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this review, March 26, 2014
Thank you for selecting Grand Velas for your family vacation and for the valuable insights on your experiences with us. Our goal is to provide you and all of our valued guests a high level of satisfaction throughout all of our products and services.

I am pleased that your selection in suite category was the correct one based on the needs and level of comfort that you were looking for. Please excuse the oversight of not having your Jacuzzi in optimum conditions during your stay. Myself,along with my resort engineer will see to it that all of the units are revised and in optimum working order as well as being sufficiently clean of leaves and other debris.

We do try to maintain a healthy level of activities for both our kids, teens and adults alike. And as you observed we prefer to provide quality activities as opposed to the fanfare of mega resorts. It helps to maintain the nice unobtrusive tone of the resort. We do however try to limit the group activities of conventions to short periods of time whenever there is one going. We wish to promote a good time for all our guests including our non group segments. I am very pleased that you found our culinary tour to be exceptionally good.

With eight restaurants we strive to offer great quality along with a substantial variety. I will however reinforce the age requirements for our selected dining venues with my captains in order to continually provide a congruent and successful culinary experience for our adult guests during all times and without exception.

I do apologize for the inconsistencies that you witnessed and mentioned. I am overall very pleased with your comments especially coming from such a seasoned traveler. I thank you again for your valuable observations and I feel proud that you found us to be lovely and that you would happily come back. Please feel free to send me a note before your next arrival so that I can monitor the status of your reservation and afford you my VIP status.

Take care and warm regards to Boston.
FERNANDO GARCIA ROSSETTE
DIRECTOR GENERAL
GRAND VELAS RIVIERA MAYA
fgarciarm@velasresorts.com
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Bloomington, Illinois
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed March 2, 2014

Can't say much more than what's been said about the GV - if given the opportunity I would rate the resort at a 4.5 rather than a 4. The resort itself is beautiful and kept in very nice/clean condition. We took our 2 boys (4/6) as we were looking for a relaxing/friendly-family resort and the GV was recommended by our travel agent. We stayed in the Ambassador section on the 4th floor which gave us a beautiful view overlooking the pools/ocean (Zen rates are cheaper and would definitely be a good option with older kids but we found the convenience/location of the Ambassador suites to be worth the added cost). The location of our room was perfect - centrally located/away from the elevator yet close to the pools/kids club/gym. The room itself is ample size - we had 2 queen beds as well as a small bed for our youngest and there was still enough room to roam around. The patio was also very nice as it had a table/chairs as well as a lounger where you could relax. Based on our room location, however, the patio only had sunlight during the day and not in the afternoon. The bathroom was well-sized with double-sinks as well as a separate vanity area by the shower (my wife would have to move while at the vanity if we were using the shower - obviously not a big deal and only mentioned for completeness).

Service - Service overall was excellent. We did not have much interaction at all with the concierge/butlers other than the lobby concierges who were very helpful. The beach staff was excellent. As mentioned in many reviews - Victor and Pedro were excellent - always remembered our names as well as what we enjoyed and frequently checked up on us. The beach area was always much quieter than the pool area as well. The pool area was a bit inconsistent - some days there was more attention to detail and other days you had to search out someone for a drink/towel (but still better than other all-inclusives we've been too).

Food - as mentioned in other reviews - not your typical all-inclusive dining experience. We ate breakfast and lunch at Azul most days. More than enough choices for everyone and the service was excellent - shout out to Jorge! We did eat at the pool once and the food was good but you had to be careful not to leave anything out as the seagulls were stalking. We did travel to Zen to eat at Chaka for lunch and this was definitely a mistake - selection was far less compared to Azul and limited selection for the kids.
Won't mention much more about the restaurants other than all the meals were great (we ate at Frida/Sen Lin/Lucca/Piaf). The service was excellent at all the restaurants - with Piaf being far and away our favorite dining experience (Carmelo provided great service and friendly conversation) - we will definitely plan on eating at Piaf more than once the next time.
Kids-club was a definite asset for the resort. Our boys asked to go to the kids club and didn't want to eat dinners at the restaurants (typically dinner lasted from 1 1/2-2 hours) so our boys were more than happy to eat room-service and then head to the kids club while the parents enjoyed nice quiet dinners. The girls who worked at the kids club were excellent - they really did take great care of our boys and always had a smile on their faces.

Couple items that i searched for prior to going to the GVelas. I had to search out what Casually Elegant wear was as it seems to widely vary. I typically wore nice khaki's and some form of T-Bahama long-sleeve shirts to the dinners. I saw a variety of dinner-wear for men at the restaurants. From Jeans/tennis shoes/polo-shirts to a few individuals in jackets - khaki's and some form of collared shirt was the norm from what we saw and i definitely never felt under/over-dressed at any time. Tipping was also a question mark as the resort is listed as all-inclusive including tips. I ended up bringing a fair amount of small bills to tip (room service/bellstaff/housekeeping/pool service) as we are never sure how much of the resort cost is allocated to the workers when tips are "included". We also tipped at the restaurants as the service was very good. Unlike some other resorts we've been to - tips were readily accepted by the staff and even mentioned by the staff at one of the restaurants, but I don't think service was any different for those who tipped/didn't tip - overall excellent service. Basic Wifi is also complementary - some areas were hit/miss in terms of coverage but I was able to keep up on emails and do some general surfing. Just ask the lobby concierge to help with set up for one device and then you'll know how to set up additional devices.

Why 4.5 stars rather than 5 stars. The best experience overall that we've experienced in Mexico would be the Four Seasons Punta Mita resort (although if talking strictly all-inclusives in Mexico I would give the GV 5 stars). Overall I think service/attention/overall experience was slightly better/more personalized at the 4S versus the GV (would give the GV an advantage for dining/kids club). The pampering at the 4S was incredible/over-the-top (personalized items for the children, general manager checking in frequently, literally not-having to lift a finger, tranquility, the list could go on and on) while the GV was at a level slightly (subtle) below the 4S (but still excellent). There were conventions going on during our stay and for the most part it was very relaxing except for the last day the ambassador pool area was a bit loud (not the resorts fault) - but this was solved by heading to the beach area which was always much quieter/peaceful.
Having said that - when looking for an all-inclusive vacation in Mexico in the future - the GV Riviera Maya will definitely be our first choice without hesitation.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Dan K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GVRM, Director General at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this review, March 16, 2014
Thank you Dan for your helpful and informative comments on your recent family vacation with us. I am very pleased that your children had a great time and that the Kids Club staff kept them entertained throughout the days and evenings. If truly is important while you are relaxing or dining to know that the little ones are in good hands and having a great time. We take exceptional pride on our level of service and to consider us as excellent is really a true compliment. Victor, Pedro and Carmelo are all to be commended for their fine contribution to your comfort. Just so you know Dan, we wish to be recognized as a resort in the upper echelon of luxury and service and we will continue to strive towards maintaining that position. And to be considered as your first choice in an all inclusive vacation certainly speaks highly of the experience that you enjoyed. And of course, we as a team look forward to hosting your family in the future when you decide to vacation with everything included and at your fingertips. Thank you again Dan and kind regards to Bloomington, IL. Take care.
FERNANDO GARCIA ROSSETTE
DIRECTOR GENERAL
GRAND VELAS RIVIERA MAYA
fgarciarm@velasresorts.com
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Level Contributor
33 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed March 1, 2014

To start off I'm extremely picky! I have impeccable taste and have been to top notch places.. This place sets the bar high!

Rooms: large and luxurious

Grounds: beautiful and well and maintained

Beach: I live for turquoise clear water and this hit the spot. Grand cayman has the best clarity but this sufficed. The water is shallow and you can go pretty far out Which I loved and felt comfortable esp with a small child

Food: Lucca was the best. Seafood spaghetti awesome then sin Lin and Jose the server was very attentive and knowledgable. Frida was nice.

Kids Club: my son went for one night and was begging to go back and I'm usually not into that sort of thing but I felt comfortable and was pleased to know that he had a blast

Overall I'm planning to return soon and I would definitely recommend this place!

  • Stayed February 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Smartypants26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GVRM, Director General at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this review, March 12, 2014
I am especially pleased that we were able to provide you and your family with a “touch of paradise”. To have exceeded your expectations to the point of “setting the bar high” is exactly what our goal is. And I certainly understand that when the little ones are happy so are the parents. I will pass on your positive comments to our Kids Club staff so they may witness firsthand the satisfaction that they generated in your young one. I just had the truffle risotto in Lucca on Monday and I will try your recommendation of the seafood spaghetti tomorrow night. Also I will personally pass along your kind words to Jose in our restaurant Sen Lin. Thank you for recommending Grand Velas to all and we as a team look forward to hosting you and your family again so that your son can revisit the good times that he experienced on his first trip. Thank you for your consideration and for your kind comments. See you all soon! Take care.
FERNANDO GARCIA ROSSETTE
DIRECTOR GENERAL
GRAND VELAS RIVIERA MAYA
fgarciarm@velasresorts.com
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Westport, Connecticut
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 1, 2014

We loved the Grand Velas. My husband thought it was a little dated, but I don't know if I agree.

Our kids (9 & 11) LOVED it. When we first arrived, it was windy, but really beautiful and quiet. As the week went on, a convention came, and the resort was louder. Some of the guests were not "PG" rated, shall we say--and this was in the family section. I cannot imagine if the resort was fully booked how crazy it would be. Of course some people like that!

The food was good, but not outstanding. Breakfast was my favorite! The green juice in particular.

My kids would love to return. I personally like to try new things!

Room Tip: Absolutely water view, not pool side!
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Gigi180
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GVRM, Director General at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this review, March 16, 2014
Thank you Gigi for visiting Grand Velas last April and for perhaps thinking of us for this year’s vacation. I am sorry that the group that arrived later in your stay changed the ambience in which you were enjoying. Please note that we are taking concrete steps in order to minimize the effect that groups of this character have in our public areas. We will now have extra security when called for and also stage more of their events in the private areas that we have within Grand Velas. I am pleased that you found our culinary options to be good but my goal, and that of my chefs, is to leave a memorable impression on our guests for the menus that we provide. That is what we are always striving for. And if your children convince you to return to Grand Velas based on their great times, I hope that you will find everything to be to your personal liking this time. To help you with the decision, let the kids know that we have a revamped Teens Club now that they are a year older. Thank you again Gigi for visiting and for your comments. Warm regards to Westport, CT.
FERNANDO GARCIA ROSSETTE
DIRECTOR GENERAL
GRAND VELAS RIVIERA MAYA
fgarciarm@velasresorts.com
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Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
Reviewed February 28, 2014

My husband and I visited this grand resort from Jan 31 to Feb 10, 2014. We have been to Mexico 9 times and have extensively travelled to many Caribbean islands such as Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, St. Marten, Cayman Island, Dominican Republic, Cuba and our favorite Turk and Caicos. I have come to rely on the tripadvisor for great advice and pictures that demonstrate the real thing. When we travel I read many of the reviews probably a good years worth and asked many questions before booking. We chose Grand Velas because it had a great track record and visually looked stunning. We do not regret our decision to celebrate our upcoming anniversary there one bit. There was one glitch however we did experience which is why I gave the resort a 4 star instead of the 5 stars it truly deserves.

We ended up booking this resort because we needed a very relaxing vacation after a stressful year and wanted peace and quiet. And after all the reviews I read regarding how quiet and peaceful the Zen area was it was perfect for us. Unfortunately, this is where the glitches occurred. I’ll explain as I go. And sorry for the long review.

We arrived quite late almost 9pm. First impression of the entrance was jaw dropping. The Zen lobby was just beautiful. Check in was a breeze. We were greeted by a friendly concierge who explained our room location and given a fruit drink and cold towel. Another concierge who explained the resort during our walk then escorted us to our room. We requested a room near the spa shuttle which we were given but the location of the room was not desirable at all because it was right beside the concierge station and where everyone coming back from dinner or parties made a huge amount of noise. This became very evident a few days in.

The room was nice. Located in the Ceiba section of Zen. It was quite large and had a really nice flow. The bathroom was open yet very private with a nice wood door for the toilet area. The toilet paper at this hotel was better than any place we’ve been. It may sound trivial but it’s small stuff like this that is really appreciated. They used the same quality for all the restaurants, lobby and even beach and pool bathrooms. Very nice touch (literally). The shower was large and had a rain shower and hand held. We had some problems with the shower where the water was either too hot or cold. There was no happy medium. We also had a problem with the toilet making loud noises every so often. We told our butler Rudolfo, he did manage to have the toilet fixed, unfortunately the shower never worked properly during our stay. The balcony was my favorite part. Very large and had a huge bed for relaxing after a day in the sun. It was very peaceful to sit and read while listening to the glorious birds and what not in the trees and river. A couple of days into our stay our Zen room turned quite loud due to many conventions that were going on. This was a surprise as with all the investigating I did and emailing the resort to find out if there would be any conventions during specific dates we were told there would not be any. This was one of the reasons we booked at this particular time as I have read previous reviews that conventions change the over all experience of the resort. Which it did in many ways. We only booked our vacation a month before leaving so it’s not like we asked a year in advance if there would be any conventions.

Rudolfo was an excellent butler. He surprised us with fruit plates, champagne on ice, chocolate covered strawberries and flowers. He handled a few of our restaurant reservations. I made most of them via email with a helpful Claudia Perez. Maid service was exceptional. Everything was replenished daily. Mini bar was also restocked. Not daily but whenever we wanted something we just needed to make a call and it was done. Turn down service was incredible. Nothing was forgotten and everything refreshed. One night we came back to a tub full of bubbles and rose petals. So lovely!

Food and Drink
Alcohol was top shelf. The food was really good. Everything from the buffet breakfast to a la cart dinners was super fresh and delicious! We dined at every restaurant except the Azul buffet. Wish we had eaten a couple of times at Bistro. It had a more casual atmosphere, which we were not aware of. Men actually wore shorts and flip flops. If we had known we would have dined here more as my husband was uncomfortable in long pants and dress shoes. I could not imagine having to wear what the men have to wear especially in the summer months. I really get that the dress code is enforced so the resort elegance is maintained. However, women get away with a lot when it comes to dress code.

We ate breakfast at Chaka buffet every morning. This was a treat, as we didn’t have to take the shuttle first thing. Elisa and Damien were a delight. They greeted us every morning with big smiles. Elisa knew our favorite table and started to reserve it for us. We felt like royalty. You couldn’t carry your plate fast enough before someone was taking it away and bringing it to the table for you. We mentioned we were there celebrating our anniversary and Elisa planned an amazing surprise for us for our last day. Special menu accompanied by champagne and fruit mimosa. They even brought out a cake and sang happy birthday to me. I had mentioned to her that my birthday was a few days after our vacation and she remembered. Everyone was so special and caring. Service is absolutely 5 star if not better.

Zen pool staff was absolutely first class. As soon as we got there someone was there to prepare our chairs and start our day with bottled water on ice. Jorge, Diego and Gerardo were amazing. We never had to hunt anyone down. They were extremely attentive and replenished our ice, water and drinks many times daily. I have never felt so pampered. All the staff was great but my memory would never allow me to remember so many names. Wish I could though. They all deserve special mention and thanks.

Grand class pool. We spent one day at this pool as they closed Zen without telling anyone due to a convention. The service was again excellent. Jose was so attentive.

We also spent a day at the beach and it was quite enjoyable. Donato was excellent and never kept us waiting. Looking back we should have spent a few more days there enjoying the view. We just loved the Zen pool. It was really relaxing and clean. It was peaceful until the annoying conventions took it over. Zen has a couple of areas and one area was heated and the other was not. We also took this into consideration when booking because if it’s not too hot the pools are painful. However, even the colder pool was enjoyable as we had really nice weather when we were there. 30 degrees and sunny everyday!! Can’t beat that. It spat rain once for maybe 10 minutes and I didn’t even move from the chair. We got really lucky in that respect. Our last trip to Maya it poured constantly for days and was so dreary. This time was opposite and we were over joyed!

We decided to let Rudolfo know a few days in that the noise in the hallway was unacceptable. I’ll never understand in the first place why people talk so loudly when walking to their rooms late at night. Some people have no regard for others trying to sleep. I understand the resort can’t do anything about people’s ignorance however, when herds of people are going back to their rooms at between 12am and 5am and even 6am it’s not right. These people were a part of several conventions happening during our stay. They were the most annoying arrogant people I’ve ever encountered. Rudolfo acted very quickly to connect us with the General manager of Zen. We could not connect right away, as he was very busy. Finally when we went to the Zen pool for the second time to find it over run by these people we did not want to deal with this any longer. They contacted him straight away and he came to see us at the pool. He was very apologetic and handled our complaint very seriously. We told him we made our vacation plans around this time because someone told us there would be no groups. We found the email and forwarded it to him so he could investigate. He was also quite annoyed that the groups took over the Zen area. It’s called Zen for a reason and it’s advertised as a tranquil relaxing part of the resort. This was not the case during our stay. There was a small group that came into the Zen area and were acting like a bunch of animals. They were even climbing the palm trees and shouting. The pool lifeguard put a stop to it immediately. But you can’t stop idiots from being loud and obnoxious. The lifeguard actually stopped kids and adults from doing cannonballs. I’ve never seen that before.

Even after leaving the Zen pool and heading to the Grand class pool it too was being set up for a group. Certain staff told us that these group people don’t even have to make dinner reservations. They can just walk in. In my opinion this is not acceptable. The groups are highly intrusive. We walked to the convention area and it is extremely huge and accommodating to these groups. I would hope in the future they will keep the groups in this area. There is also an area outside of the Zen lobby that is very accommodating for them. Not too mention there is a huge outdoor deck outside of the Chaka restaurant that could be used for the groups. We also noticed the Ambassador pool looked extremely messy during our stay. I’m not sure if this is normal as the pictures I viewed on the tripadvisor the pool looks extremely elegant and inviting. Not sure if that was also due to the many conventions going on. That’s why we preferred the Zen area because it was extremely clean.

I feel like the Ambassador pool has a huge amount of loungers in that area. Most are covered by the wooden canopy. It’s great that they have a massive amount of these loungers especially if there are tons of people. I would however suggest they move some of those comfy cushioned loungers to the Grand Class pool area instead of having the same chairs they use on the beach. Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in my opinion.

It’s understandable on one hand that business is business. Resorts need to host these conventions to make money. But a resort this classy needs to contain them. Sounds snotty but it’s the truth. There are plenty of areas they could use that would not interfere with those seeking peace and rest on their holiday. Grand Velas has plenty of places to host them without taking away from other guests. They could probably even build another pool just for groups. I mean these people are there to work right. They are extremely lucky to be at such a beautiful place for a convention. Too bad they act like a bunch of entitled ignorant idiots. And too bad their behavior reflects negatively on the resort. In the future perhaps have the people booked for conventions stay in the less desirable areas like the room we got stuck with. Full paying guests deserve the better rooms away from all the noise and chaos. Organizing this properly will be beneficial in the end for the guests and the resort.

In the end we were pleased at how the Zen General Manager handled our concerns. He wanted to move us to the front of the resort or a more quiet room in the Zen area on our last couple of nights. We did not want to pack everything up and unpack for such a short amount of time so he offered to post someone at the room lobby to hush any of these people. We appreciated the gesture and it must have worked because the last couple of nights were much more peaceful.

We were very happy with our choice to stay in the jungle. The only negative was the damp odor, which followed us home and took days to manage. We travelled a whole lot and are used to this but it’s never been this strong. We have even stayed in oceanfront room and never had this as strong. I didn’t read about this being a problem for anyone so maybe it was just the room we were in. Even though we’ve had arctic freeze I had to open a window to try and air out everything. Then had to put it outside for a day and not sure it got everything out. Will have to bake the luggage in the sun once this horrible winter comes to an end.

We did the walk from Zen to the front a few times and it took us 20 minutes. We walked briskly and are in our mid 40’s. If you do decide to walk don’t be surprised if someone shows up on a four-wheeler to follow you for your safety. It was nice to do the walk but obviously you couldn’t do it all the time and the shuttles were great. They were actual vans. I expected golf carts. But these vans were clean and comfortable. We never waited more than a couple of minutes.

Concierge staff at the lobby and bellman Israel Huerta were always there to assist us in any arrangements we needed to make. The caliber of service at Grand Velas is what makes it stand out.

We will definitely return one day but will be emailing the Zen General Manager direct to confirm if there are any large conventions. Without them this place is remarkable!

Room Tip: If you can make your arrangements around conventions that would be ideal.
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank SunStar42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GVRM, Director General at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this review, March 16, 2014
I am extremely impressed by your travel experience and more so for your elaborate and patient manner in expressing the positive details and of the obstacles that you encountered during your anniversary trip with us. Firstly, I apologize profusely for the noisy group that marred certain times during your stay.

That is not the impression that we wish to leave with any guest, especially after trusting us and the many positive reviews that you read and studied in order to reserve with my resort. However, one of your observations concerning putting extra security in key areas when hosting groups is something really within my reach and as you mentioned it seemed to prove effective in quieting the evening crowd while walking outside of your suite. Normally the rates that we charge encourage a finer type of conventioneer. And for those same rates, we do not normally host many groups as compared to other resorts in the region, especially boisterous ones. But as we have received more than the usual amount of comments on this particular group that you are describing, we will place more security in the evenings and in the pool areas when it is felt that the character of the group is not as fine or respectable as that of our non group guests. As you so knowledgably pointed out, resorts generate income, normally months in advance for groups and conventions. And that will surely continue as long as there is the market for it. However, as a company that prides itself in caring for each and every individual reservation, we can take steps (some of which you kindly mention) to reduce their obvious presence within certain areas of the resort. I am pleased that our Zen manager Heriberto Cota along with his assistant Rodolfo did their utmost to attempt to alleviate any inconvenience for you during your stay.

I believe that if your suite assignment was different from the beginning much of this review would have been dedicated to more of the positive details that you both enjoyed. In speaking of your suite, my resort engineer has rectified the ventilation flaw that prevented the efficient circulation of airflow in your closet, but please be assured that the system is now at 100% flow. Again please accept my sincere apologies, but know that this is very infrequent and I will do my best in order to better serve you so that this is type of conduct is minimized in the future. I am grateful for your balanced comments and for the positive recognition of various members of my staff that contributed to the overall success of your vacation. Also your added photos are rated from gorgeous to scrumptious in my books and are very delightful, thank you. The many positive details that you mention in your review are a sign that in general, we are doing very well under normal conditions. But I want to do very well under every condition for the benefit of our cherished guests. Seeing that you will definitely return someday, I place myself at your service to monitor your reservation and to ensure that your future vacation at Grand Velas is a very successful one. Thank you again for expressing yourself in the manner that you so graciously did and no need to “apologize for the long review”, as it is well received and very appreciated. Take care and please send my regards to beautiful Toronto.

Happy anniversary from myself and from all who had the pleasure to serve you during your visit.
FERNANDO GARCIA ROSSETTE
DIRECTOR GENERAL
GRAND VELAS RIVIERA MAYA
fgarciarm@velasresorts.com
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 28, 2014

Service here is five star. We spent most of our time down at the beach where Victor and Pedro made us feel like movie stars. The hotel is basically three sections depending if you want privacy, adult or family. Although we were alone we could easily see bringing our children here. Victor who is over the pool and beach area is never far away and always seems to know where everyone's children are. We were always called by name and were attended to non stop. Our glasses were never empty. As for the food, it was a little disappointing. Having stayed at the Grand Velas on the west coast, this food was not as good. All the restaurants seemed like they could be changed out at any given moment. There was no atmosphere at all. The food was OK but not 4 or 5 star like we expected. Room and view were fantastic. We would go back for sure.

Room Tip: Corner suite had large portal windows that were very cool
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Carl B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GVRM, Director General at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this review, March 16, 2014
Thank you Carl for taking the time to share your comments on TripAdvisor and a special thank you for your loyalty to The Velas Group of Resorts.

I am of course pleased that you know other resorts within our group and hope that you felt a sense of consistency between them all. I will personally analyze our culinary tour for quality and ambience in order to perhaps feel where we were lacking and make any corrections and adjustments. Our culinary tour is of the utmost importance for me, and it is my onus to make every single guest feel very satisfied in their dining experiences. I am very glad that you would surely return to Grand Velas Riviera Maya and I will do my utmost to ensure that all aspects of your next vacation exceed your expectations.

Thank you again Carl for your loyalty and for your valuable observations. Take care and special greetings to Dallas.
FERNANDO GARCIA ROSSETTE
DIRECTOR GENERAL
GRAND VELAS RIVIERA MAYA
fgarciarm@velasresorts.com
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

Property: Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Address: Carretera Cancun Tulum Km. 62 | Municipio de Solidaridad, 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 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#4 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#17 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#23 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Grand Velas Riviera Maya 5*
Number of rooms: 493
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Opened in 2008, the luxurious All Inclusive Luxury Resort 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 And Spa Resort, Riviera Maya
Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort, Riviera Maya Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Grand Velas Hotel Riviera Maya
Grand Velas Riviera Maya Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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