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Grand Velas Riviera Maya
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Reviewed August 10, 2014

This was my first stay in Mexico but have stayed in many elsewhere. The location is brilliant, with a beautiful beach like walking on flour. There are 7 restaurants to have an evening meal and they are generally fantastic - especially Autor, Lucca and Piaf. The rooms are really spacious and the beds are super comfortable. There are activities in and around the pool if you want to get involved and there was a BBQ and a show (gymnasts, magic etc) on the beach every lunchtime.

What really sets this hotel apart is the service. We wanted 2 rooms, one with a king bed, one with 2 queens, both with an extra single bed and the rooms to be connecting. Despite the hotel being full this is exactly what we got and then they let us have one of the rooms for a fairly late checkout. The staff remembered our names and even what we liked to drink - their customer service is top class.

Drawbacks? Not much - we were told by our travel agent that all non motorised water sports are free, but in reality this didn't include sailing and "All inclusive" doesn't include tips.

  • Stayed: July 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
2  Thank Traveller_Ian333
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DirectorGVRM, General Manager at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded August 21, 2014

Ian, thank you very much for taking the time in kindly expressing your impressions and observations on your recent holiday with us. It pleases me immensely that the special touches that we provided you and your family made such a positive impact and that the theme of your review referred to some of those. The added emphasis that we dedicate to room requests is one of the first priorities for my reception department. The flow of information throughout the resort really helps in providing you that extra personalized service. I am glad also that our culinary tour was to your great liking and that you found the cuisine to be “fantastic”. Another aspect that you point out is the size of our suites. We know that being able to relax in your suite is an important part of the overall vacation experience. And to feel the open freedom of your accommodations while you enjoy our suite service menu really contributes to the luxurious feeling that becomes more and more pronounced in the comfort of your living are and also throughout the entire resort. Please note Ian that tips are certainly included in your stay and that my staff receives a stipend every week from the accumulated income of all of our guests. I thank you again Ian for your delightful comments and please be assured that we will always strive to be unique amongst resorts in providing those extra details towards our valued guests. Take care and kind regards to you and all in Leeds, England. Cheers!

RODOLFO GONZALEZ
DIRECTOR GENERAL
GRAND VELAS RIVIERA MAYA
rgonzalezgvrm@velasresorts.com

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Reviewed August 8, 2014

We just got back from this amazing resort. We traveled in August with my family. We have 3 kids, ages 14, 12 and 9. Everyone was happy. The most notable is the service. It was really just wonderful. On arrival we were greeted with cold towels and fresh juice. Check in was smooth and they were extremely attentive. I recommend the car service provided by the hotel from the airport. The cars were large, clean and very reliable. Our personal concierge Jesus Duarte assisted us in making dinner reservations and outside excursions. He was so helpful! We stayed in the Zen section. At first I was not sure if we would mind not being beach front. But my whole family agreed that when we go again, we will stay in the Zen section again. It was so beautiful! The gardens and walkways were shady and peaceful. It was completely kid friendly even though the atmosphere was spa like. The kids loved all the pools. All the restaurants were fabulous! The food was so good everywhere. My kids were happy at every restaurant. Men do need to wear pants, collared shirts & shoes (not sandals) at the majority of restaurants for dinner. They do enforce the dress code so pack accordingly. The longest we ever waited for a shuttle was 1 minute. They were always available and when you wait for the shuttles, you are in the lobby so the areas are covered and shady. The shuttle ride from the zen section to the beach is maybe 3 minutes. It was never an issue. It was so nice to experience both parts of the resort. The beach was beautiful. The pools were great and there were lots of umbrellas and shade. It was a bit harder on the beach as there were not as many umbrellas but they did have them. There were not a lot of water activities at the beach, but there are jet skis to rent that are not included in the resort fees. The pool service for food and drinks and fresh towels was very good. In general all of the staff was happy and very attentive. My kids didn't use the kids club much. There were 2 separate areas, one for ages 5-12 and one for 13 and over. My kids likely would have used it more if they could all go to the same one but they couldn't so we didn't take advantage of that much. The spa was heavenly! My massage service included the hydrotherapy. Definitely take advantage of the hydrotherapy if your time permits. The attentive staff guide you through the sauna, steam, cold/ice room, clay room and various pools. It was unique and wonderful! We will go back and would highly recommend this resort!

  • Stayed: August 2014, traveled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank MGRWestfield
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DirectorGVRM, Director General at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded August 11, 2014

Thank you very much for expressing your fine descriptions and thoughts on your family vacation with us. As you now know the Grand Velas complex is very large with diverse ambiences throughout, allowing our valued guests multiple and distinct areas of relaxation and pampering. I thank you also for reaffirming the ease in which our guests can travel from one ambient to another, as you mentioned of our shuttle; “it was never an issue”.
As it was your first visit to our resort it pleases me to know that Jesus, your personal concierge was there to help orientate you and your family to the services and dining of the resort and of the region in general. Your comfort and enjoyment are his and all of our 75 concierge’s priority which allowed you to get more out of your holiday. I believe that after your first introduction to Grand Velas you are now a veteran, as you describe many of the facets that were enjoyable to you including our spa treatments and hydrotherapy circuit. All these services along with our culinary tour have perhaps converted you into future guests and it will always be our pleasure to be your hosts on any and all vacations to our properties.

I thank you once again for taking the time to share your family’s happiness and we wish you all the best in Westfield. See you again!

RODOLFO GONZALEZ
DIRECTOR GENERAL
GRAND VELAS RIVIERA MAYA
rgonzalezgvrm@velasresorts.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 8, 2014

You've spent hours hunched over your laptop, poring over Tripadvisor reviews, zooming in on hotel photos, sending emails to hotel concierges, reading between the lines because it is vital that you find the most perfect place to spend your precious few days of vacation and your hard earned money. You are in your 40's, well-traveled, with a love of fine food, personalized service, beautiful surroundings, decadent hotel amenities, serene views and laid back luxury. You have some kids and, as luck would have it, they are all away at sleepaway camp at the same time, so it's time to make a decision, get on a plane, cross your fingers and hope to find the bliss you seek on the other side.

If this sounds like you, or even if it doesn't, Grand Velas will not disappoint. This is the real deal, a class act, the place you see when you close your eyes in the dead of winter and imagine swaying palm trees and pristine seas.

Yes, it's true, from the moment we stepped off the shuttle, until the final hours, when Pastor, our concierge found us at the pool to give us our new keys for our late check-out our every desire was met, often before we'd even conjured it.

The hotel itself, the grounds, the pools, the beach, the restaurants, have been described in great and accurate detail here, so I will only mention the things I still wondered about when reading the reviews before our trip.

1. What possible 'needs' could I have that our personal concierge could fulfill? We've been to Secrets and Excellence and they too have concierges and I found the service excellent at both. Isn't there a ceiling at some point at which the zenith of impeccable service is reached? If so, I think we found it at Grand Velas. Pastor was our concierge in the Zen section. When we met, he took the print-outs of our dinner reservations and confirmed them all for us. Later, when we decided we wanted Dos Equis in the mini-bar instead of the Sol and Tecate provided, Pastor made a phone call and when we returned from the pool an hour later, there they were, in an ice bucked with a dish of lime beside it. The next day I brought him three letters I wanted to mail and he escorted me to the lobby for stamps. No luck there, so we went to the front desk. Nope. Finally to the boutique, where the stamps were purchased, envelopes taped shut, and back to the front desk where they were (hopefully) mailed. He probably spent a good twenty-minutes with me in search of postage, with a smile on his face and determined attitude. (p.s., if you need stamps, they're in the boutique!) Each afternoon when we returned from the pool, he magically appeared at our door, as if he'd been waiting for us, just to say hi and see if there was anything we needed. Two days before we left, we asked if he could see about a late check-out, at 2:00 p.m. The next day he told us it was done, but that we'd have to be issued new keys for the extra hours. We promptly forgot about it. On the last morning, as we lay in our cabana, watching a trio of monkeys swing through the trees at the Zen pool, Pastor appeared, smiling, to give us our new keys. He had no idea where we'd be, or maybe he did (they all seem clairvoyant!), but I thought it was lovely that he came and found us in person. So, those are the types of things a concierge can do for you, but mostly, they are like a personal host, always right there, making you feel welcome.

More extraordinary service was to be found at our favorite afternoon haunt: the Zen Pool. There, Bautista and Jacob looked after us like old friends, learning our names the first time we spoke them and shouting them excitedly whenever we returned to their little slice of heaven. Bautista was our server. He took the time to chat and seemed genuinely proud of the fantastic job he did. Sure, he appreciated the tips, but he absolutely earned them. Each time I looked at my drink and thought, 'maybe I should order another one,' Bautista would appear with a fresh glass. When we started feeling peckish, he would magically swoop down on us with chips and guacamole. It was actually kind of spooky. I can't say enough about him, but I will say this. He told us that the hotel recognizes the staff personally when they are mentioned on Tripadvisor and they even print out and share reviews that mention their names. So, if you can, and since they become friends, you probably will, remember the names of the people who take particularly good care of you, it will not go unnoticed. The morning we left, I gave Bautista a big hug. I've never hugged a hotel staff member before, whatever that's worth.

Jacob was the Zen Pool bartender. He is playful and funny and will really listen to you and craft your perfect cocktail. I did not like the margaritas I had at the restaurants on our first day or two. I explained to Jacob what I didn't like and he got to work, tweaking and tasting until it was perfect. After that, Bautista just had to tell him that 'Sue' wanted a margarita and it was perfect every time. Same for cosmos. They'll make you what you want, how you want it, and remember how to make it. Eventually, you don't even have to ask for anything.

Honorable Mentions to Alex and Oscar, both incredibly smart, professional young men working at the hotel short term to gain valuable experience between college and their pursuit of other long term goals. You would never know they were working 'summer jobs.' I'm sure they will both go on to do great things and I was astonished at how competent and professional they were as their training period could not have been very long. They were also both at the Zen Pool.

One more strange mind-reading trick: we got back to the room in the afternoon one day. It had been made up and we were in there for an hour or so. I took a shower, and noticed that there was just one towel. We were remarking how strange it was when there was a knock on the door, and on the other side, a woman from housekeeping holding and armful of towels.

Stuff like that seemed to happen all day long.

2. The food was amazing at Sen Lin, Piaf and Cocina. I live in NYC and have been everywhere. I've seen many a sauce-painted plate dotted with splotches of food that was better to look at than to eat. Not so, here. Every dish was creatively and beautifully presented, but also tasted delicious. There was no style over substance going on here. My favorites were the soft shell crab appetizer at Sen Lin and the lamb at Piaf. I enjoyed everything at Cocina, which I found to be highly creative, but ultimately, real, good tasting food. Frida was our least favorite, but that's where we ate ant larvae, so we'll always have that. The Coi bar is stunning - like a NYC boutique hotel lobby, but 20 times the size. Still, it seemed cozy and intimate. We also enjoyed the Sky Bar - the view is phenomenal.

3. The Groups. Yep, Edward Jones was still there. It seems, they are always there. Some fellow guests heard they'd been there for 6 weeks (they seem to cycle groups in and out) and they showed no signs of leaving. I don't know where they were, but they were not at the Grand Class or Zen pools. One night, there was a wedding below the Sky Bar where we were sitting, and an Edward Jones dinner on the beach. We were amused by the dueling DJ's, but it was not a huge nuisance. I suggest that if you go, find out from someone at Edward Jones how you can get a job there - the perks are phenomenal, clearly.

4. The Seating. We're early risers. All of the pools and the beach are just stunning from 7:00 a.m. on - as still as glass and the most amazing color. We lounged at the Grand Class pool every morning, but no one ever showed up until 9:00 at the earliest, and then it was just a trickle. One afternoon the Zen Pool was pretty full, but we always managed to find a shady spot, and people really don't save their spots all day, so when someone goes to lunch, their spot opens up. It's totally civilized - no chair wars. Oh, one thing I loved about the Grand Class pool - there are two raised, wooden boxes on either side of the main steps on which pyramids of towels are constantly restocked. It's so nice to grab a towel on your way out of the pool, because, you know it's a drag to walk alllll the way back to your chair to dry off. Hey, it's the little things.

5. Other Guests. Everyone was met was delightful and when we'd run into them again, it was like we were old friends. There were two couples we spent a decent amount of time with, but everyone seemed super friendly and laid back. It's a nice crowd. Not totally rowdy, but not dull either.

6. The free wi-fi is fine, totally adequate for FB, email, etc.

I'm not sure, but I think this might be my first review. It's certainly my longest. Our visit to Grand Velas was one of the most perfect vacations we've had and I (obviously) highly recommend it.

  • Stayed: August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
8  Thank shaiken
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DirectorGVRM, General Manager at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded August 15, 2014

Thank you very much Sue for putting together such a detailed and thought out description of your expectations before your arrival and also for illustrating your delightful perceptions during one of “the most perfect vacations that you have ever had”. I really had to read your review a few times to fully absorb all of your happiness and pleasant astonishment on your experiences. I have to admit that the amount of studying that you invested in these reviews, as well as the member’s forums, that I would have found it a daunting task in eclipsing and even meeting your visions of a perfect vacation. But with the team that I have here at Grand Velas, I find your great satisfaction to be very attainable when the human and personable factors of our staff are displayed. They allow us to make friends with our guests and be proactive to their needs and wants, just as we were able to demonstrate with you. Fine personas such as Pastor, Bautista and Jacob really define hotel hospitality as they perform their daily duties with a professional yet friendly service toward their valued guests. Actually Sue, all of us here realize and have it embedded in us that the resort is really the privileged one in having you and all of our guests choose to vacation with us, as it is you the consumer that have a multitude of choices in where to invest your confidence and money. And we really appreciate that you selected us and for that we try go above and beyond as you personally witnessed during your stay. To be considered to have established a new “zenith of impeccable service” is to me equal or better than earning an extra diamond or industry recognition. Because after all it is you; our valued guest that ultimately decides really how great (or disappointing) a hotel property is. But as you say Sue; it’s the “little things” that set us apart. Thank you again for your stellar account of your Grand Velas experience and I hope that we were able to raise the bar for your future vacation expectations. Take care, thank you for sharing the great photos and Bautista sends his regards as well as a big return hug for you in New York.

RODOLFO GONZALEZ
DIRECTOR GENERAL
GRAND VELAS RIVIERA MAYA
rgonzalezgvrm@velasresorts.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 7, 2014 via mobile

Outstanding facilities, pool, beach, unbelievable SPA, restaurants, and staff. Resort is definitely five stars. Just be careful leaving resort. Playa del Carmen had some rude shop keepers. We didn't feel comfortable, but there was a lot of police presence. Good prices for vanilla and kaluha. We will skip the town on our next trip.

  • Stayed: August 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank My4sonsld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DirectorGVRM, Director General at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded August 10, 2014

Thank you very much for giving your great seal of approval on our resort and for the experiences that you enjoyed within it. There really are many facets of our product and service and I am glad that you were able to partake and enjoy in many of them. Outside of the resort there are many places in which to visit, both cultural and archaeological. I am sorry for the feelings and perceptions that you felt while in the city. The great number of locals are very warm and hospitable towards our foreign friends and are very eager to please. As Grand Velas is a luxury all-inclusive you now know however that practically everything that you need to have a relaxing vacation you can find within the property.

Thank you again for your patronage and we wish you a very beautiful summer up in Greenville, North Carolina.
Take care.

RODOLFO GONZALEZ
DIRECTOR GENERAL
GRAND VELAS RIVIERA MAYA
rgonzalezgvrm@velasresorts.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 6, 2014 via mobile

This resort is perfect In every way. Frida restaurant is divine! ( it was mentioned in Luxury magazine !) the new KOI bar at Zen building is incredible! Lychee martinis were yummy! Beach was cleaned everyday and gorgeous. Go snorkeling with Sirena! Super cool! I was with my husband and 16 year old son. We stay at Grand Class. Quiet and lovely. Not one complaint! we will be back! (Again !) Very classy act

Stayed: August 2014
Thank TexasPalacegirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DirectorGVRM, Director General at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded August 11, 2014

Thank you so much for your splendid words regarding your recent visit to the resort. It makes us extremely proud to have gained your confidence in our service and product and allowing us to provide the ultimate in luxury and pampering which you so greatly deserve. The special details that you mention really culminate to create an overall feeling of freedom and luxury while you are enjoying your family time here on the property. To be considered a “very classy act” is important for us as well, as our service goal is to provide a personal yet professional experience for our valued guests.
I hope that your next vacation with us provides some more “super cool” moments and please know that your loyalty and preference really means something special to us.

Thank you again and from all of us here at Grand Velas and we send you warm greetings to the great state of Texas. Take care.

RODOLFO GONZALEZ
DIRECTOR GENERAL
GRAND VELAS RIVIERA MAYA
rgonzalezgvrm@velasresorts.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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