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Reviewed December 21, 2011

We are currently on our last night here at the Grand Riviera Princess digesting some very nice grilled T-Bone served by the friendliest server Juan.

We booked one week in the Villa Laguna section and let me tell you it's worth the upgrade! You have your own private section in the middle of the villas that have beautiful lounge beds and tapa beda. There was a very helpful and friendly concierge Jonathan who helped you avoid any line ups for booking a la cartes, and Coli was a fantastic bartender that brought you drinks all day long made from all top shelf brands. You get free room service 24hrs (try the clubhouse!) and there is nothing better than having breakfast out on the deck!

The room is very nice and comfortable with a large two person jacuzzi tub. Free Unlimited Wi-Fi!

We went to the beach a couple of
Times, very nice but it was a windy week so the water wasn't very nice to jump in to and there are definitely some rocks in the water, could probably avoid them if the water was not so rough and choppy.

A la cartes were very good, however I must say (and I mentioned this to the hotel as well) the buffet breakfast and lunch (never did a supper because villa guest can eat every night in the restaurants) has cold and blah food. But with free room service order in!

Watch your step it's slippery, the walks are not bad.

Cheers

  • Stayed: December 2011
    • Value
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17  Thank Cheers2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 19, 2011

This is a detailed review of our stay from December 12-18, 2011 which will hopefully help you better determine if this hotel is the right property for you to visit. Of course, everyone has different wish lists as to what is most important to them. Let me start by saying the beach is probably the most important aspect for us, with things like cleanliness, service, pool, food, kids entertainment also important. I will separate this review into main categories and add a comparison/rating for each against the Iberostar resorts (which we've stayed at 3 different times). As a general introduction, let me say that overall the resort was good, but not great, I would give it 3.5-4 stars, with Iberostar Riviera Maya 4.5 for comparison. This is one of those things where if you haven't stayed at a better resort previously you will probably love this place for the most part, but if you know there is better out there at a similar price, then you'll be a little disappointed. By the way, we have also stayed at the Riu Palace and I would rate that in between these two properties. Note, I would absolutely recommend upgrading to the Platinum room, as you definitely get your money's worth in numerous aspects.

BEACH
One of the reasons we chose this resort was because there we several good reviews about the beach. However, I was disappointed. The beach up until the ocean's edge was good, however things well downhill quickly from there. Overall, there was plenty of seats available at the beach, access from the hotel was easy and quick, and the sand was generally in good condition. However, there were extensive areas of rocks and reefs immediately in the water. Also, the beach was dirtier than I would have expected, with some trash (cups, straws, etc) floating around. The water was also darker (dirtier) than other resorts in the area, but this was our first visit in December and may have been a function of the time of the year. I can say the beach at Iberostar is much better, with far fewer rocks and a much cleaner feel. Also, the beach at Riu Palace, although overall smaller was also cleaner and had less rocks. Platinum definitely provides an advantage here, as you get an exclusive area of the beach just for you and a hotel staff representative taking drink orders at the beach.
Beach rankings:
Iberostar 5 stars
Riu Palace 4.5 stars
Grand Riviera 4 stars

POOL
Good, not great. As usual at these resorts, the pool isn't heated, so it can be cold. Plenty of seating areas. Note that we only used the pool areas nearest the beach. The pools were clean. There were separate pool areas for the kids as well, but they were fairly small. The good thing is they warmed up faster during the day. These also turned out to be a great place to meet other parents. We met a lot of great people from all over the world, so that was a bonus. The pools were not all connected, which was unfortunate, as you really couldn't explore the resort from the pool alone. There weren't any special things for the kids, no wave pools, lazy rivers, etc like Iberostar.
Pool rankings:
Iberostar 4.5 stars
Riu Palace 4 stars
Grand Riviera 4 stars

FOOD
About what you would expect at a large all-inclusive resort serving 1000 people a day, ok but nit great. The buffets were average, you could certainly find enough edible food or have something made for you. A big benefit of the Platinum upgrade is you also can order from a menu at each meal which includes numerous items which are not available from the buffet. Very nice. We ate at the Japanese (Miso), the seafood (Los Olas), the International (La Fleur), and Italian (Mama Mia). All were good, with the International probably the best. Would have like to try the steakhouse, but didn't have time. Service is pretty slow at each, so just plan for that. Also order room service mainly breakfast and dinner. Again usually takes a long time to arrive, but helped fill in the gaps. Also, I believe room service is only available for Platinum, but not sure.
Food rankings:
Iberostar 5 stars
Riu Palace 4.5 stars
Grand Riviera 4 stars

ROOMS
This was the highlight of our stay (not necessarily a good sign). We have a top floor room (5214) at the far end of the resort, right by the beach. Outstanding views, large room, very well appointed-nice tub and shower, etc. The jacuzzi on the patio was great. There have been complaints of it not being clean an I know this was the case at a friend's room we met, but ours was great, so maybe just the luck of the draw. I loved being in this location, because we were right by the beach, right by the Platinum pool and lounge, and right by the buffet. Of course, it did take a bit of a hike to get to the lobby/entertainment/restaurant areas at the front of the hotel, but the exercise was good for us.
Rooms rankings:
Iberostar 4.5 stars
Riu Palace 4 stars
Grand Riviera 5 stars

SERVICE
The hotel seemed to be understaffed overall, with slow service at the restaurants and uniformed staff at other times. However, most of the staff was friendly and tried to help when they could. This is one of those things that brings this resort down a level from others. This isn't a huge deal and wouldn't by itself be a reason not to go to this hotel, but when combined with other issues, it's not good.
Service rankings:
Iberostar 4.5 stars
Riu Palace 4 stars
Grand Riviera 3 stars

ENTERTAINMENT
Again, like service, another area that by itself wouldn't be enough not to go with this resort, but when combined with other issues, it just brought the overall experience down. First, the kids show does start until 840pm-this is way too late for young kids. Second, the program is poor, just basic dancing around with a couple of simple dancing games. They could do much better. The adult show wasn't much better, just basin theatrical reproductions of standard shows (Grease, Alladin, Rocky Horror Picture Show, etc).
Entertainment rankings:
Iberostar 5 stars
Riu Palace NA
Grand Riviera 3 stars

Other thoughts, overall the hotel seemed understaffed, as most of the restaurants were half full at best and slow service. However, the staff seemed to be working hard and most were friendly. Also, I did tip my room service, maids, and others who worked to bring me something (ie drinks on the beach) and anyone who seemed to go out of their way to make a situation better. However, I'm not sure if it really matter, probably would have had the same level of service without the tips, but what the heck it's only a few dollars here and there, not a big deal.

Room Tip: Room 5211-5226 are the best, top floor with ocean view, we were in 5214. These are Platinum room and absolutely worth the upgrade. I email the hotel about a week before and mentioned we would be celebrating a special occasion and would like a room on the top floor with an ocean view and definitely got it. The best part of the trip was definitely the room.
  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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16  Thank ColoradoWeatherMan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 19, 2011

Better then I could wish for , staff very friendly , room lovely and clean, food was fantastic and pools loads to choose from.
I would say it needs more entertainment in the evening but apart from that it was well worth the money .

  • Stayed: October 2011
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3  Thank Tealyboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 17, 2011

My wife and i were here for a week in Oct. I must say that the first thing that comes to mind when i think of the GRP is the word "Pristine". This place is kept immaculate. The grounds are really spotless. You will see people all day long working on the upkeep. It seemed to us that you could not even find a blade of grass out of place.
This resort is huge. But not as big as many of these reviews make it seem. The walk from the lobby to the beach is about 10 minutes. The walk winds through this beautiful place lined with Mayan Statues and perfect landscaping so it makes the walk a pleasant one. There are lots of pools so that what ever mood your in you have a choice. If you want to party and listen to loud music you can. if you want to just chill and relax you will find a pool for that also.
We stayed in a swim up suite and we loved it. If you are getting hot you just take 3 steps off your balcony and you will be in the pool. A 2 minute swim to the pool bar for a cocktail and then back to relax on your water lounger right in front of your room. We took our Bubba mugs and the bartenders had no problem filling them up. They will keep your drink cold and they are much bigger than the cups from the bar. This makes for less trips.
Food at the buffets was pretty good. There is a huge variety so we never had a problem finding something we liked. We loved breakfast. Nothing like having a fresh omelet made right in front of you. We ate dinner at the steak house twice because we loved it. The seafood restaurant and Miso Japanese were also very good.
We loved hanging outside every night up by the lobby. They had a live band playing every night.
For the price you really can't beat this place. The employees were all so friendly. The grounds are beautiful. There is plenty of food and drink and you are only a 10-20 minute taxi ride to Playa del Carmen. I found the overall experience to be great. I don't understand why people have too nit pik about the little things when they are on vacation.This place is not 5 stars but i give it a solid 4 stars. I've learned through my travels that if you want the best you have to pay for the best. So to all the complainers, pay the hundreds of dollars more if you want the "True" 5 star treatment.

Room Tip: Go with a swim up suite and you can't go wrong.
  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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3  Thank chief791
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 16, 2011

I have stayed at all inclusive resorts in Mexico and Jamaica. They all have there own personality with pro's and con's with each.

First let me say that anyone that says the walk from the main lobby to the beach is more then 20 mins must have physical limits because I did it in 7 mins several times a day. Its really not that big of deal. We stayed in a Villa Suite. The perks included with the suite were great and spoiled us. We had free Wi-Fi in our suite and a special pool with a bar a Pool Concierge. The Villa was the quietest room I have ever stayed in. Room service was included and we had breakfast on our veranda every morning. The server set the table so lovely every-morning. We spent a lot of time at the Villa pool. Even on beach days, we would end the day with the quiet at the Villa pool. They had a snack table set up with small sandwiches and chips and salsa everyday.

People that complain about the Beach must not be willing to "walk" (again) to the north end. There were plenty of lounges and no vendors. There signs that state adult only. Its so peaceful and you can put your lounge right up to the waters front. You get an ocean breeze which is also delightful. This area also has another beach bar that is not so busy. The waiters took great care to keep us with a drink at all times. A special shout out to Paty! The center area of the beach is the area you hit first when you cross the center bridge of the property. It is crowded. The air is not moving. No breeze. Alot of children and yes, vendors. This is also where the daily barbecue lunch is set up. The far south end of the beach is the Chillout area. Its $10.00 per person a day. The lounges are padded and the music is spa music. Its nice. Has a bar and very nice rest rooms. We spent the last day there. However, the service was lacking. We had to go get out own drinks several times. The liquor is better quality and you can definitely taste the difference. Also pretty glass cocktail glasses, but still, not worth the price. Had the service been excellent, I would say it was worth it.

The swimming from the beach was more difficult at this resort. As long as we had on our water shoes we were fine, but there are rocks as you walk out in the water.

We walked by the party pool everyday and they were having fun. There are definitely some swimout rooms that I would watch out for if you dont want the noise of the party pool. Actually back to the subject of accommodations.... I think that the accommodations you choose at this resort definitely will have an impact on your stay. There is something for everyone here. You need to choose your accommodations wisely. I am a stickler about this. Its part of being a travel agent. Its kind of like there are several different types of resorts all at the same place here. Party, Family, and Adult spa type atmosphere's all at one resort.. It really does work, and I have to say this is the first place I have seen this work so well on one property.
The newest block of rooms are the Yucatan swimout suites. This area is also adult only, as are the Villa suites. The Yucatan block is at the far north of the Riviera lobby.

I agree with most of the reviews when it comes to the food. Its is by all means not bad at all. Just nothing to rave about. Honestly, the best food we had was at the Buffet dinners. The seared Tuna steak was to die for and the sushi with small lobster tails were also great. The "A la Carte Restaurants" were hit and miss. IF I were to stay there again, I wouldnt bother with them. They all lacked atmosphere and 2 of the 3 we did had VERY slow service. One thing I want to point out about Restaurant atmosphere. They are all in the same building which has windows and commercial "store front" doors which really is kinda odd for what they are trying to accomplish with having A la Carte Restaurants. Picture a strip mall. Men must wear long pants and closed toe shoes at the A la Carte's and they are strict about it.

Entertainment. The court yard is the place to be in the evenings and I have to say this is one of the nicest area's for evening entertainment that I have seen at an A.I. resort. There is a Band Stand and Bar and it was fun every night. There is a theater with some kind of a production every night, but I must say, a bit corny. I am used to the production shows on cruise ships. These are more like the Jr. High School productions.

We saw two weddings take place while we were there. One in the beach gazebo and one at the chillout. The Gazebo wedding was the nicest. Everyone was very pleasant. Our room stewards, room service, mini bar service, EVERYONE was very nice and aimed to please. The chillout was the only poor service which really is ironic considering what you are paying for in this area.

Grounds. The grounds are spectacular. Absolutely gorgeous. They even stencil in the Princess crown in the sand of the ash trays. Very nice.

I want to mention Value. When I originally booked this week in Cancun, I was booked at an adult only resort. A few weeks later I noticed that the Grand Riviera had a rate that was more then half less then I was paying and it also offers an adult only experience. I was NOT disappointed. I notice the rates do very, but the particular week we stayed, 12/7 - 12/14 the rate could NOT be beat. I would return.

Room Tip: decide what you want from your stay and THEN choose your room.
  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
12  Thank PilotsMom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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