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Grand Velas Riviera Maya
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Reviewed February 17, 2010

My husband and I stayed at the Grand Velas for our 20th anniversary. We have been to Cancun 20 times since 1987, however; this was our first time staying in an AI. We weren't sure what to expect. The staff was wonderful and always made sure to call us by name. Our only real glitch occurred at the beginning of our trip. After reading several reviews of the Grand Velas, we decided to change our reservation from the Master suites to the Ambassador Suites only because I wanted to be on the beach. I had a difficult time getting a response to my request to upgrade our reservation. I used the contact us link on the website several times, but got no reply. After calling the number on the website I was transferred to 4 different people before I finally got the e-mail address of Rodolpho who was able to help me with my request to change my reservation. Upon arrival they still had our reservation at the Master Suites and had no knowledge of our upgrade. Luckily I had printed out my e-mail correspondence with Rodolpho and after a while we were finally moved to the ambassador suites. I was pretty worried about the rough start but things got better quickly.

Our room was immaculate and nicely decorated. Very spacious with a lot of attention paid to detail. My favorite part of the room was the patio. It had a great view of the pool and ocean and flower petals would scatter across the patio when the wind blew. The blow dryer was a full size dryer and not one of the mini hotel dryers. A nice lighted make- up mirror was in the bathroom. We loved choosing our pillows from the pillow menu. The beach bag that was provided was good sized and we used it every day to go to the pool and beach. I can't say enough of the service that was provided to us at the beach. We never had a problem getting a chair or bed at the beach and someone was always there to get us towels and drinks. The beach was large and well maintained. We walked up and down the beach on both sides and the Grand Velas definitely has the best beach of the surrounding resorts.
The food was amazing. I followed the advice of others and made our reservations in advance. However; when we got there our concierge had no record of them, but again, I had printed out my e-mail correspondence and it was taken care of. Our favorite restaurant was Piaf. The atmosphere was most romantic and the food was fantastic. The lobster " veloute" in cognac soup was so good! We also enjoyed the Roquefort cheese rolls. Lucca was probaby our least favorite. The food was just ok and the staff seemed very stressed the night we were there. Cocina de Autor the signature restaurant, offered some very unique food dishes. If you are a foodie, you will love this restaurant. I loved the tea they brought at the beginning of the meal, and the grilled lobster with black corn was yummy. My husband is pretty much a meat and potatoes guy and not real adventurous at meal time, so this was not the restaurant for him. He loved the breakfast and lunch buffets at Azul. So many choices - You definitely won't go hungry.
Relying again on the advice of trip adviser members, we booked a spa treatment. At first I was hesitant to book anything as it appeared a little pricey. My husband and I did the couples massage and it was worth the price! The river journey was such a nice , relaxing treat, we just wish we could have done that part together. The river journey at the spa is a must do!
My husband and I went to the time -share presentation (I was seduced by the promise of a spa gift certificate). It was like no other time share presentation we have ever experienced. It was almost enjoyable and ended promptly when we said no thank you, we are not interested. No pressure at all!
Overall we were very pleased with our stay at the Grand Velas and would love to return again sometime.

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Kcabr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMOSRM, Hotel Manager at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded February 20, 2010

Dear guest,
Thank you for having chosen our resort for your recent vacation and 20th wedding anniversary. We are happy to learn that you were pleased with your experience at Grand Velas and consider us for future vacations. At the same time, we would like to let you know that our new digitalized reservations system for our restaurants is up and running. For the time being it is used on property only but soon will be online as well in order to ease restaurant reservation requests for our guests. We understand your worries at the beginning of your vacation due to the glitches in communication that happened. Please rest assured that this matter is being addressed by our team in order to avoid a reoccurrence of this situation. Your wonderful comments about our suites, restaurants, service and Spa are highly appreciated and we thank you for having taken your time by submitting all the valuable comments on Trip Advisor.
With kind regards,
The Management Team

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Reviewed February 17, 2010

My husband and I just returned from a babymoon at the Grand Velas. Words cannot describe how perfect this Resort is. The beach is beautiful, the food delicious, and the service AMAZING!!! We had a Grand Class Ocean view suite and life doesn't get much better than that! I highly recommend Grand Velas. The only thing to know is that it is not a HUGE resort like many of the resorts in Riviera Maya. If you are looking for HUGE - this isn't it - but if you're looking for luxury (the spa is unbelievable), then this is it!!

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank owolcott
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMOSRM, Hotel Manager at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded February 19, 2010

Dear guest,
It is wonderful to learn that your recent baby moon at our resort was to your complete satisfaction and we thank you for your kind comments and observations. We wish you all the best of luck with the remaining time of pregnancy and hope to be able to host you soon again. Please remember that we have two kid’s clubs with great activities for children as well. Until then receive our warmest regards.
Sincerely,
The Management Team

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Reviewed February 15, 2010

We just returned from a 7 nt visit to the Grand Velas and I must write a review! My husband,myself, and three daughters 16,13, and 8 are from the New York area and have traveled extensively thru the US, Europe, and many islands. The Grand Velas is amazing! This being our first all inclusive ( my husband was very hesitant ) we were so very pleased with every meal and every drink.
To start the property is absolutely gorgeous. We stayed in the Ambassador Suite and I think it is a better choice for families since it is so close to the beach and pool. Our kids are old enough now to have the freedom of being on their own a little. They met some friends and could sit and have lunch at Azul and not be far away from us. We felt very secure letting them wander around and I hardly let my kids go to the mailbox on their own!
This brings me to the friendliness of the staff, not one time in 8 days did anyone seem to be in a bad mood or annoyed about anything. Such kind professional employees truly happy to have you there! Tipping is included but these people deserve something extra!! I would love to give a shout out to a few by name but quite honestly they ALL stood out and deserve equal praise!
Now to the restaurants- Sen Lin- very, very, good.
Lucca- very good- seems to be having a hard time finding it's
own idendtity. I think it is the spa restaurant during the day.
Frieda- very good.
Cocina du Artour- Excellent, but a little different.
Piaf- Dark,romantic, and incrediable food. French chef,
really amazing! Our favorite.
Azul- breakfast buffet very good. All day casual dining , very good!
Sky Bar- Between Piaf and Cocina. Great for drinks before or after
dinner.
Kareoke Bar- fun but a later crowd when people have enough
liquid courage.
The kids had room service a few times and everything was very good.

The beach is beautiful and there were plenty of chairs and double chairs that tie closed if you want out of the sun. I think people need to realize when you travel to a large resort around Easter or Christmas break it going to be very crowded! The beach service was great, plenty of towels,beach toys, cold waters without even asking.
We booked one tour thru the hotel ,Tulum ruins / Xel-ha with private transportation .We left at 9am and returned around 5, we enjoyed the day.
Be sure to book a spa treatment. The spa at Grand Velas is so peaceful and the water journey is included when you book a treatment. This is one of the best spas I have been to.
We will return to the Grand Velas, it is a very special place!!!

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank DaneNJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMOSRM, Hotel Manager at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded February 16, 2010

Dear Dane,
Receive our warmest greetings from beautiful Riviera Maya. We wish to thank you for your review and kind comments regarding the experiences and impressions gathered during your recent stay at our resort. Your feedback is highly valued by us – particularly since it derives from such well seasoned travelers. Regarding the descriptions of our restaurants, we would like to mention that the menu of our Italian Restaurant Lucca is momentarily served in our all day restaurant Chaká during dinner. This is only temporary since Lucca will have its own site, and the menu will be served in its definite location as soon as it is ready. We hope to have the honor to host you soon again and may your kind comments encourage many other discerning travelers to visit our very special paradise.
With kind regards,
The Management Team

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Reviewed February 9, 2010

I wasn’t expecting this!!! And one rarely says this in a good way... ‘WOW!’ is all I can think of, as I´m not that much into suprises, but this trip was definitely one surprised I adored!

Ok, my husband decided we should go on a trip to celebrate our anniversay to what I obviously agreed without much diffculty! Lacking time to research and prepare as I normally do for any of our trips, he mentioned we’d be heading out to the Mexican Carribean for a second honeymoon… Then after a couple of days of suspicious quiteness after this big news, we were suddenly at the airport, luggage packed and tickets in hand, heading out to the super trendy “Playa Del Carmen”! …Two words of advise for all of you who haven’t been to Playa del Carmen: MUST GO!

What a paradise! I´m sure much of the great time we had had to do with the lovely place Mel took me to; he actually went overboard, and I had no idea he was capable of pulling such a treat together for me (since I´m the expert on travel planning matters, lol!). Apparently he realized how hot this destiantion was when he was doing his research online using search words like beach, mexico, dream vacation, etc.. and so he now tells me that the number one search for Mexico was “Playa del Carmen”, and from there he was led to find luxury and an all inclusive resorts, which was an unknown concept for him. After some research, he ran into this very good looking new resort on the Riviera Maya which is actually closer to Playa del Carmen than it is to Cancun (short 40 min. drive to Cancun, though), so he figured that was the perfect honeymoon spot. I’m not a woman of few words, so it´s hard to describe such a lovely place and be fair, but to make long story short (and since I guess this review must have a limited number of characters, lol!), Grand Velas is a dream come true!

We were simply threated like royalty, and beign called by our first name at all times truly had some effect on me and my hole vacations as well… We stayed at the Master Area or “Zen Ambiance” as the staff calls it. At first I had some strong feelings about the place for it was an “all inclusive” and it sounded like we’d be spending a fortune, but we actually didn’t. However, the luxury component was a must and we got it. I was intrigued about the resort so I wanted to explore it all, but honestly, the very entrance to Grand Velas made it for me. I then knew I was completely sold! We were escorted by to the front desk where we were greeted with fresh towels, some interesting tropical (non-acoholic) drink, and then led to our huge sexy room (over 1,100 sqf)!

We stayed at a romantic, warm toned posh decorated room, with modern tropical terraces overlooking a river and regional flora and fauna. Gotta metion this! First thing we saw as we opened our curtains: An Iguana on the rocks across our river view! Apparently waiting for us to arrive –at first we thought it was a fake one and we even joked about such an interesting “Bienvenidos”, well it ended up being that the iguana was real and decided to leave soon before we could get a picture with it... we missed the picture, but we wont forget the cute Iguana!
So much to say! Really, staying at the most affordable room –big, sexy, and techie(check out the touch screen smart phones) of the luxurious all inclusive Grand Velas made my year! The SPA was only a few steps away from my room, I had to give it a try! I got there wihtout an appointment and they still greeted me like a fine old friend. I was pampered like never before, I enjoyed a massage plus about an hour of a hidrotherapy journey and my session was wrapped up with a bubbles bed on which I actually fell sleep for a little while. I must say my husband has to be a very happy man for it was a delightful vacation for both of us, turns out that the exact same experience I was having on the ladies Spa area, was also available for gentlemen! Same area, same huge sensations pools; therefore, he decided to go for such dreamy ritual!

As soon as we left the spa, we were confirmed by our concierge –AKA the fixer, butler, call him/her however you want (she was amazing either way!), that our reseravtions for Cocina de Autor restaurant were ready and… double WOW here please! What a gift to the senses!!! Pure love is put into the creation of these dishes! Apaprently this is ‘Molecular Cuisine’ (kind of like TV Top Chefs), and as I see it now, these are dishes that didn’t exist before, they are not only a mixture of elements, flavors, ingredients, but a recreation of food for the eyes and the soul… I refuse to let that feeling and that flavor go.

I´m sorry did anyone mentioned the beach?!!! Well it was only here that it came to my attention that beign that we had chosen to stay in the the Zen Area, our suite was not right next to the beach –although the property actually extended along their super sized beach and not toward the back of the highway like most other resorts do. We spent about half of our days at the beach, some nights at the fine Karaoke, had some drinks at the Sky Bar (overlooking Cozumel lights, loved it!), and we also spent some time just wondering around this beautiful property and its may restaurants, bars, pools (I counted 8?). I sure hope to go back sometime soon

Like I said, both the place overall and our suite were aboslutely amazing, and cozy; it feelt like we were breathing a different air… perhaps it was this ambiance´s elements of wood, threes, leaves, iguanas, rivers, or the birds singing a serenade for us on the terrace while enjoying a midnight suite service we ordered… I’m not sure but it was magical: moon, champagne, natural water features…

I guess our next year anniversay is too far out for the memories of my senses to remain, and I guess anyday is good for traveling, loving and enjoying life´s little suprises. I look forward to returning to this lovely place, it´s ultra friendly staff, the wonderful facilities, and my great memories of a suite that made us reconnect with our inner child by exploring the world with new eyes! Two words travelers: Must Go.

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank World_Citizen_Style
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMOSRM, Hotel Manager at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded February 10, 2010

Dear World Citizen with Style,

What a lovely and extensive review! We have enjoyed reading your comments and colorful descriptions and also thank you for the time you invested in submitting your impressions. After a difficult last year, Playa del Carmen is becoming increasingly popular again and we hope that many more travelers will become our loyal guests after your great feedback. It is wonderful to know that you have appreciated the very special ambience in the Zen like Master section in the jungle with our beautiful Spa. Life is too short not to indulge in life’s best pleasures and little surprises, and we hope that you decide to let yourselves get pampered soon again at Grand Velas.

With kind regards,

The Management Team

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Reviewed February 1, 2010

If you are looking for a good balance between beach, pool, sun, spa, food in an upscale environment with great service. Then look no further.

My Stay:
Very simply - traveled with my family. Celebrated my 40's birthday as well as one of my daughter's birthday. Wanted to be pampered a little, rest at the beach and have access to great food.

As you have read - there are 3 buildings. The Master's (a distance from the beach) the Ambassador and the Grand Class (adults only). I had made reservations at the Master's not knowing that it was not at the beach. Once I understood how the hotel was distributed I moved to the Ambassador. Yes - the Master is more economical but with kids I found it a lot easier to be at the Ambassador for moving around. Last thing I wanted was to forget something the girls needed and board a car to get it. Once I got to the hotel and saw first hand the Master's area - I must admit, it was very nice. I would not hesitate to stay there if the budget was tighter. You still have access to all the amenities and the Master buildings were as nice as the rest. The only thing you are missing is the ocean view before going to sleep and early in the morning. As this was my birthday.

That is another thing worth noting - there are few other resorts with ocean view in the area... I walked a long way both ways of the shoreline and unless you are willing to spend 5k a night - there are none. Only a handful of villas that for the price - you can get a much better luxury private serviced house outside a hotel environment. I also noticed (and you would too) that all beach goers from other resorts, while on their shore walk - stop and ask about the Grand Velas. I saw many of them walk into the hotel and request printed material to take back with them.

The amenities that the hotel has - are fantastic. There is little that the photographs do not describe. Easy access, pleasant atmosphere - the halls, the rooms, the lobby etc. The service was excellent. Our concierges were fantastic. They arranged everything for us... surprised balloons and cakes for us, check, re-cheked and re-did our reservations, swiming with the dolphins and all sorts of questions and requests, baby sitter etc. I really appreciated their help.

Our room was great... very large, comfortable. iPod dock with the stereo, nice size flat screen, nice bathroom etc. There was a large lounging bed and bistro table on the oversized balcony which overlooked the ocean. That saw a lot of use while we were at the room. Even at night you have a nice clear sky to watch the stars.

The Spa - the spa was very, very nice. Book it... relax! It really is an experience and the service was like no other spa I have gone. I can see why there are so many comments praising it. Not booking the spa will be something you will regret if you knew what wonderful it was.

The food... the food at Azul is unpretentious, fresh, accessible and full of flavour. Perfect for when you are at the pool and beach. Good selection of produce and prepared food. The restaurants - Chaka for lunch and Cocina del Autor are not to be missed. Frida was very, very good as well. I had no chance to go to Piaf (next trip). I did not encountered the problems with the reservations as many reported. The problem must of been resolved. The restaurant dress code, I liked it. Its a small thing to do to make the experience just a little nicer. There are no evening activities which I was happy they did not.

The kids club is a must if you have kids and need a bit of time for yourself. The staff was very accomodating and they are equiped and prepared to stimulate the kids with other activities that are not watching TV or playing Wii (or you can let them do what they like). The Kids club at our building also prepared a surprise for our dauther on her birthday, which they did not have to and did it from their hearts anyways.

Did not have a problem neither with the facilities nor with the service. In fact - the service is very, very good and it really made the trip. They understand that you came to relax and they do really want to panper you by helping or letting you be.

If I had a suggestion, it would be one... in the rooms, near the internet ethernet jack - the two electrical outlets are taken by a desk lamp and the phone. There should be one left for the computer as that is the most logical place since the jack is located there. Don't add an extension cable or a multi-bar thing as the room looks nice without it... try to find a way to free one outlet somehow. That's it... that is my suggestion. Our stay was top notch. I could not had loved the Grand Velas hospitality more. I eat well, I was pampered to relaxation and I enjoyed the facilities they offered. After that long walk on the beach - I was also thankfull I was staying at the Velas and not a the neighbouring resorts as I know I would had be jelous.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank ramsesm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GMOSRM, Hotel Manager at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded February 3, 2010

Dear valued guest,
Thank you for providing us with such an extensive and very descriptive review of our property compiled with very interesting points of view. We highly appreciate your positive feedback and also are grateful for your suggestion to modify our electrical outlets. An immediate solution to think of would be to have small two-outlet adapter units (instead of power strips) available upon request. We will certainly consider your valuable opinion. Also, it is interesting for us to learn how you compared our resort with our neighbors and how you observed that our resort drew the attention to walkers-by on the beach. Once more, our goal of pampering our guests and providing them with a unique vacation experience has been met.
In the hope to be able to provide with another unforgettable vacation in the near future we would like to extend to you our warmest regards.
Sincerely,
The Management Team

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