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“Amazing hotel and food - not so great service”

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Blue Diamond Luxury Boutique Hotel
Ranked #36 of 213 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 11, 2013

I was with my wife at the hotel for a week by the end of April 2013.

Our experience was close to perfection. It would have been perfect, if it wasn't for the service at the restaurants and for the need to walk around with money to tip (or it would be even worse).

Let's start with the positive aspects.

The hotel is extremely beautiful and well located, within a 10 minutes drive from downtown Playa Del Carmen.

The common areas of the hotel are very beautiful and well decorated. The room is nothing less than amazing. It is huge and comfortable (my wife loved the bed).

There are 3 restaurants at the hotel: Aquamarine, Ceviche Bar and Ambar. We've had meals in all of them and the food was REALLY GOOD. I would say that 80% of the time the food was GREAT and 20% just good.

The beach in front of the hotel is stunning nice. It has the perfect size and there are several chairs for the guests. There was always plenty of room. There is a beautiful pier, part of the hotel, where there are also chairs where you can lay down and relax. The pool area is also beautiful.

I've probably had three or four massages at the Spa. Spa facilities are wonderful and the staff is very professional and courteous.

The concierge staff was also always very supportive (Martina was always there with a smile, ready to help us with anything we needed).

Now, the (few) negative aspects of our experience.

When I go to an All-Inclusive resort I do not expect to carry around any money with me, since that, as the name says, everything is included. I'm not a cheap person and I know how to thank someone properly for a good service. Hence, if I received good service, I would be more than happy to tip the staff BY THE END OF MY STAY (and not for everything I request during my stay).

However, right at our first meal, we've realized that if we didn't tip for each service provided, we probably wouldn't get any service at all.

The worst part is that, even though we tipped for everything after that first meal, the service wasn't good. In every meal, we usually waited a long time until a waiter came to our table or until the food finally came. To get any service at all by the pool or the beach was very hard sometimes. Most of the times, it was easier to get up and go to the bar. Although the majority of the staff was trying hard, we felt that the problem was with the size of the team. The hotel management should really consider hiring more employees for all the restaurants and the pool/beach areas.

Another suggestion to the hotel management is that tips should be forbidden. The hotel should consider adopting something similar to some Cruise Lines, where you have an envelope to leave the tips by the end of your stay. As mentioned before, in an all-inclusive hotel, it is really annoying to carry around money and to keep worrying about having small bills to give (although the concierge was always available to change money, whenever requested).

One more suggestion for the management: BUY MORE BIKES. The hotel has about one mile from the lobby until the beach, where the main restaurant is located. Thus, whenever you need to go somewhere, you must call and ask for a bell boy to pick you up in a golf cart, Although they usually came fast, sometimes it took a while. However, some suites have bikes and do not depend on the golf carts. It's not clear what is the criteria to establish who has bikes and who doesn't. On the very first day I've asked to the concierge for bikes and never got any, despite being there for seven days. During my stay, several guests checked-in and out and some of them have had access to bikes.

These are the only 3 negative points of my stay: service at the restaurants/pool/beach, tips and bikes.

Room Tip: Room 510 was great and well located.
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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6  Thank JPBRAUN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 8, 2013

I felt so lucky to have vacationed in this absolutely pristine resort. My husband and I got to travel often and I have to say this was probably the most pristine, relaxing, beautiful resort ever. On top of that the service was great and the food fantastic. We both dropped our jaws when we saw our rooms. Spacious, relaxing, beautiful window walls, leading to a patio that looked out over the bay.The bathroom was so nice with an outdoor sunken tub and double "rain" showers. This hotel is truly a gem. If you are looking for some place first class and unlike anything else you experienced, this is your place!!!

Room Tip: We stayed mid resort - very quiet, beautiful. A bit of a walk to the beach, but the grounds were be...
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank Trish B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 7, 2013

This was my first time to Mexico and my wife and I made the BEST choice ever staying at Blue Diamond.
Overview:
To begin, Once you get there the stress from NYC life automatically melts away because you enter into an escape environment. This Hotel is carved out of the jungle and wiggles its way to the amazing beach with the blue blue water. The welcome at the front desk is awesome and completely personal, which sets the tone for the rest of your vacation. Everybody who works there begins to remember your first name and that is how you are always greeted. The rooms are ultra posh and completely perfect for a romantic getaway. Glass indoor/outdoor showers, jacuzzi you can swim in, very comfy bed with smooth linens and fluffy pillows. The service is just unreal. People are so intuitive here that all you have to do is think and a margarita appears in your hand. The food is just AWESOME!!! Blue Diamond deserves some Michelin Stars for there dining. From casual to formal everything is made to please your eye and your belly. Leaving here is so hard to do, because you just don't want to. Thank you Blue Diamond for everything! We can't wait to come back!!

Details:
Arrival:
We landed on a Sunday Morning at the Cancun Airport. We booked through Orbitz which gave us a great deal on the all inclusive package and the Palafito Room. We got a private Taxi and got to the hotel very quickly to start our relaxation. I recommend you get a private car to take you to the hotel because you might wait an hour for a mini bus with more people. Time is precious when you are on vacation.

The Lobby:
Upon entering the hotel grounds the Blue Diamond begins to reveal itself with this beautiful thatched Roof/Pyramidal structure that is the welcoming lobby. The receptionist was waiting for us at the front steps and welcomed us warmly as we gazed in aw at the beautiful entrance to what will begin our Amazing stay. She gave us cold towels to cool us down and wipe our faces from the plane ride and travel. Once we checked in Martina,(our concierge girl) and the bell boy which I don't remember his name, but he had a movie star smile drove us to our room.

The Palafito Room:
Driving to the room was fun. We saw some iguanas on the grass, other couples walking to the beach and giving us thumbs up as we heard them saw, "look they just got here". They said this with excitement because they wanted us to experience what they were experiencing.
We get to the room, Martina opens the door and says "welcome to your home". We get in and my wife can't stop jumping up and down-the room and the bathroom looks very very cool.
The Bathroom. - indoor/outdoor glass showers/ doubles sinks/ hip lighting. Awesome ..very sexy.
The bedroom: Glass walls with louver shades/ sun deck/ and ultra comfy bed with smooth linens and pillows. Also, very sexy....
On the way out Martina says, "ohh...and this is the mini bar...it is INCLUDED...call if you want a refill" The mini bar was awesome. Good shelf liquor, peanuts, M&M's, and more.
They also gave us bicycles to get around, nice touch.

The Beach:
After Martina left we applied sun screen and hit the beach right away. We took our new bicycles and felt happiness as we breezed down the wooden bridge to the beach promenade. Talk about dramatic entrance. You walk down a breezy hallway with carved & illumined walls and you can hear the waves and then you see the water, the blue blue water inviting you in.
Wow...what a place. Once our feet touched the sand, we where greeted by Elias. He a wonderful man who sets up your beach lounge chair with towels, pillows, and a big umbrella. He is there everyday and makes sure you are comfortable. Just as you are stunned on how blue the water is, Cesar greets you with a big smile and eager goodness to bring you an ice cold drink. This guy is amazing. Service is his game. He brings a ice bucket full of cold bottled water when he sees you setting up for your beach day and then takes care of you all day long. On the beech, relaxing next to us, was wonderful couple from Boston who we became friends with and enjoyed their company for the last few days they were vacationing.

The Food:
Blue Diamond has 3 restaurants. Aquamarina, Ceviche bar, and Ambar.
Aquamarina was the restaurant on the beech. Here we would have breakfast and lunch everyday and the coffee he is amazing.
Ceviche Bar right under the Aquamarina and here we would eat between breakfast and lunch. Shrimp ceviche here is awesome.
Cesar took care of us at both restaurants here for breakfast and lunch, Along with Prisciliano, Rogelio, and Santos. The 4 Amigos of great service.
Ambar restaurant . This place is fine dining. The food is Michelin Star level. The chef is talented and the flavors delicious. The waiters are very elegant and they take care of you and are always eager to take a picture. Guillermo and Guillermo took care of us with great eagerness and true warm hospitality.
This hotel is all inclusive. The food just keeps coming. It's high quality and no buffet. Ala Carte. Amazing.


The Spa:
This place is great. Secluded from the waves of the ocean and designed with the idea of serene escape. Warm pools and Palm shades make this a nice break in the late afternoon sun.
My wife had a massage and she enjoyed it. A beautiful treatment room that melts stress away.

Little Details:
WIFI- There is wifi everywhere..even on the beach. You are always connected if you want to.
The beach is private. You are far away from any other resorts.
Turn down service is great and new towels twice a day.

Conclusion:
This place is what you are looking for. Its a luxury resort. It's sexy. It's an escape environment.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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9  Thank Nikolaos P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 7, 2013

I'm so thrilled we came across this gem of a resort. Small Luxury Hotels knows how to do it right! We would go back in a second! I won't write a long review but will tell you that it's very private, the food is amazing and I'm a "foodie", the staff and service is excellent. It's not a crowded party place, it's for people (mainly couples, straight and gay) who want to relax, enjoy each other, eat awesome food and drink top shelf alcohol :) The beach is beautiful, by far the nicest along that beach strip. Great for long walks to get a little exercise in. The gym and spa are stunning, I thought the prices at the spa were overpriced so we didn't bother to get any treatments.

We stayed in the Palafito Deluxe Suites, very nice and private. It was like we were alone most of the time. The walk was about 5 minutes to the main restaurants from our room and maybe 10 minutes if you were in other rooms. If you're too lazy, tired or drunk to walk anywhere the staff will gladly cart you around. I loved that every thing was a la carte and no buffet! We didn't find eating at only 2 restaurants for dinner repetitive at all. We loved the Ambar (beautiful high end atmosphere) and the Cigar lounge. The menu is diverse, we would recommend the ribeye, beef tenderloin, grouper and shrimp dishes. The table wine was very decent too! And the desserts were sinfully good.
Everyone should have the privilege of staying at the Blue Diamond! It will be hard to beat!

Room Tip: The Palafitos were great!
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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    • Location
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4  Thank Taryn S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 7, 2013

Everything about this resort is fabulous. The service, food, accomodations, the property were all top notch. Every single staff member we encountered was genuinely professional and friendly. Every snack and meal we consumed was pretty to look at and even better to eat. The room we had was more than we expected and spottless. The property was so clean and organized we felt like someone was always 5 steps ahead of us making sure our path was perfect. I cannot think of a single improvement. I cannot wait to go back!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank MarkHouston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 6, 2013

We chose the Blue Diamond resort for our honeymoon based on the recommendation of friends of ours who also booked through Jetsetter.com. We had the patio junior suite and noted in our reservation through Jetsetter that this was our honeymoon and we'd like a more private room (ending in numbers 7 or 8 as our friends suggested) that did not face other people's patios. Unfortunately, they missed this request so they first gave us a room facing others. Upon mentioning my request, they checked the system and gave us a better situated room without hassle. It was always apparent that the staff at Blue Diamond is highly professional and approach everything with a 'how can i help' attitude.

We were at the Blue Diamond for 6 nights and at first I was keeping track of staff (Joaquin, Caesar, Renata, both Guillermos, Dagoberto, Jesus, Daniel, Noe, etc!) so I could note how amazing they are in my review, but in the end, I gave up with my notes because they are all truly exceptional. When we arrived they said 'welcome home' and that's what it felt like - home away from home. As other reviews claim, the all-inclusive takes the stress out of extra costs, but we did chose to visit the water park Xel-Ha one day in order to swim with the dolphins there. Omar assisted us with this by putting us in contact with the park representative on site and he also arranged our golfing session. We never felt like we were being 'sold' on activities, the concierge staff really just helped us figure out what we wanted to do and made it happen.

We spent our days on the beach, by the pool, enjoying our clean, quiet and comfortable suite, and dining at the two main restaurants, Aquamarina and Ambar. We loved the food at Aquamarina, and enjoyed being able to sit at the bar by the pool before or after dinner for a drink and meet other guests. Otherwise, it was very romantic and people kept to themselves while dining. We realized a few days into the trip that you can see the two crocodiles in the lagoon if you eat outside at Ambar during early evening hours (6-7pm) when it's still light out. If this freaks you out - don't worry - you need to keep your eyes peeled for the wildlife, so if you prefer you can ignore the animals just like they ignore you. The wait staff will come up and tell you their names and watch them with you, too. We got up early (7ish) one morning to take advantage of the included greens fee through Jetsetter (at another nearby resort) and saw agouti (a guinea pig-like animal) and coati (a raccoon-like animal). We often chose to walk after breakfast and after dinner to walk off our meals and kept our eyes open for any wildlife along the main path (though it was mainly just birds and iguanas). I saw this as a real testament to the property - the animals are not pets and don't see guests as vending machines -the rest of the area is forested and well taken care of and capable of supporting local wildlife. The grounds are well maintained and they use recycled water to water the lush lawns.

The patio junior room we had was perfect for a honeymoon - comfortable, romantic - I just recommend calling to ask about one of the outward facing rooms.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Marietta D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 5, 2013

This hotel is amazing!
The service is the best I've ever experienced, the food is sensational, and the rooms are beautiful.
Blue Diamond is definitely worth the money - you are treated like royalty from the time you arrive until the time you leave.
We stayed in a cenote suite and it was huge!

My only regret is that I spent a few days site seeing in Playa del Carmen, when I should have spent the time at the hotel!

I would love to stay here again and would recommend this to anyone!

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank mambo_mel123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Blue Diamond Luxury Boutique Hotel

Address: Km. 298-816, Carretera Federal 307 | Chetumal-Puerto Juarez, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico (Formerly Blue Diamond Riviera Maya)
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#20 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#28 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#29 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#36 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: $407 - $1,355 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Blue Diamond Luxury Boutique Hotel 4.5*
Number of rooms: 128
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
On the pristine coast of the world famous Riviera Maya, Blue Diamond Riviera Maya is a sanctuary of breathtaking beauty and peace, surrounded by nature mixed with luxury. This exclusive hideaway is set in 36 acres of lush tropical jungle, well manicured gardens and a spectacular palm filled white sandy beaches along the turquoise – colored Caribbean Sea, offering unparalleled pampering and rejuvenation. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Blue Diamond Luxury Boutique Hotel Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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