My husband and I stayed from April 20 - 27/08 and were celebrating our 28th wedding anniversary on the 26th. We booked through Signature Vacations (Holiday Market Travel). Unfortunately we had to travel on Skyservice with this package, really and truly the worst airline out there.
I see other people have complained about Air Canada Vacations not rating this hotel properly, but then neither did Signature Vacations. I believe they get the rating from the hotel themselves.
This is a decent hotel, but definitely not the promised 5 stars. As it only opened in December, there are still many glitches to work out, mostly in the service area. I attended the briefing by the Signature tour rep, and his first question was if anyone had read the reviews on Trip Advisor. Some people said they had and he responded by saying "Then what are you doing here?"
He has done this job for six years and worked at pretty much every hotel on the Riviera. He told us that this hotel had already changed management twice since opening. Theft has been a major problem at the hotel. While we were there, on about our fourth day, three men came to our door around five in the evening. We were just back from the beach, and they entered abruptly when my husband answered the door. I was changing to have a shower and scrambled to cover myself with a towel. They said they were from maintenance and wanted to know what was wrong with the room. We had a broken toilet seat which we had signalled to maintenance three days earlier, and my husband thought they were here to repair it. One man went through the room and appeared to check my balcony door all the while looking at all of our belongings scattered througout the room. The second man opened the closet door and looked at the safe (which was locked), and the third followed my husband into the bathroom.
They left shortly after, but we both felt very uncomfortable by the encounter and I brought it to the attention to the front desk who knew nothing of maintenance checks. They referred me to the concierge who knew nothing of it either, and then asked me to fill out a form explaining what happened. The form was actually a standard theft report. They said they would get back to me, but never did.
To back track a little, I must tell you that probably one of the worst experiences in this hotel was check-in. The staff was rude, surly and totally unaccomadating. Our only request was for a top floor room somewhere reasonably close to the beach. We also mentioned that we were celebrating an anniversary. My husband had knee surgery one month prior and didn't feel he could walk too much. However, as we retire early, we like to be on the top floor which tends to be quieter. We were told that they were only requests, and so none of them were honored. When my husband became somewhat annoyed, we were told to come back later. We had arrived at the hotel at about 11:15 a.m. He was initially going to give us a room even though it was before check-in, but then said we would have to wait about three hours. We went to lunch and then came back at three. The same room was once again offered. I said if I were going to take the same room I wouldn't have waited almost four hours. I had to wait again, and finally at 4:30 was begrudginly given a top floor room, but it was nowhere near the beach.
Although new, the resort appears unfinished. Everything is painted stark white, and it makes everything look blank. It appears as if the whole resort is covered in primer. A shame as there is so much potential to add some character. The lobby is bare, blank and lacking any personality or charm. About 20 statues that are supposed to be installed on the grounds are missing leaving blank concrete mounds in their place. The overall construction workmanship is generally poor. You can see the place was built in a hurry.
The resort is huge, and the walk from the lobby and main restaurants to the beach is about a 5 - 6 block walk. Our room was situated about 2 blocks from the lobby, and hence about 4 blocks from the beach. There was supposedly a shuttle service to take you around, but despite wasting 20 to 30 minutes on many occasions, it only showed up once. The vague photocopied plan of the resort gave very little clues as to where one was actually going most of the time, or as to what was available or where to find it.
The room was very well laid out, but the promised iron, iron boards and coffee maker were not there, nor did they ever materialize despite several requests. There is no pen or paper or any resort information in the room either. If you enjoy reading before going to sleep, this is not the place as the lightbulbs in the room are atrociously dim. Although the room was clean and well laid out, there was a constant sewer odor emitting form the bathroom floor drain at all times. Yes, the shower leaked under the door, but not much, and a towel on the floor solved that problem. It's unfortunate there was no shelf in the shower as you had to put shampoo on the floor all the time. Also the towel racks in the room were falling off the wall. The housekeeper usually came around three in the afternoon, except one day when she didn't come at all, but after calling, someone arrived within a half hour. The floors were swept daily, but never washed.
The resort grounds are beautiful, but several years will be needed before the gorgeous palm trees actually have any shade bearing leaves on them. Everything is newly planted and hence immature . Don't count on sitting under the shade of a palm tree. If you want shade, you must be up early. As a natural early riser, I was usually at the beach between 6:15 and 6:30. I was not alone. This was the time of day you could get a nice palapa. One morning I came at 6:50, and I believe I got the last one available. The beach is beautiful and generally clean, but not nearly big enough for a resort of this size. Chaise lounges are sardined in, and there is a roped off area on the beach which the lounges must stay behind. The larger sandy area is part of the public beach. The dirtiest part of the beach is the hundreds of cigarette butts that smokers leave behind. There are some pebbles and rocks in certain areas, but nothing to get alarmed about. I wore no shoes and had no trouble avoiding them.
To the left and the right of the hotel is undeveloped land, accessible by the locals. The beach areas to the left and right are therefore dirty, and considered unsafe. One lady had her camera ripped off her shoulder while walking alone, late morning just slightly the right of the hotel property. Besides there is really nothing to see either way, except another large resort being constructed farther down the beach to the left.
I tried to make restaurant reservations the first day we were there. I was pretty much told nothing was available. I pleaded that I had just arrived ( I didn't even have a room number yet), and that it was our anniversary on the 26th. I was finally able to secure a reservation for 7:20 in the French restaurant, and I was only otherwise offered the Japanese or the Mexican at 10:00 p.m. I declined as I am generally in bed by that time. The food at the French restaurant was good, and the only hot meal I had all week, but my appetizer (foie gras), which really was just regular liver pate was the size of a quarter in thickness and diameter. Good food, but ridiculous portions. I can't say for any of the other restaurants because we never ate there. One day at the beach I hear a couple beside us bragging that they had secured six reservations. He didn't say how, but I assumed he paid under the table.
So we ate buffet for all of our other meals, a hit and miss venture. Some food was quite good, some was atrocious and most was just mediocre. The common thread was that everything was cold, with the exception of eggs or omelettes in the morning that you had to line up to get. Of all the resorts I've stayed at this place had the least selection in all buffet areas, be it salad bar, hot dishes, bread etc.
Getting coffee in the main buffet was a task, as was wine with our meals. We were usually close to being finished before we could finally get service. This didn't seem to be the case at the beach buffets, but for some reason, other than breakfast, you cannot get a coffee after your meal unless you go out and line up at the bar. The main buffet seemed understaffed, and despite tipping everywhere it didn't seem to make any difference to the level of service.
There is a shuttle service into Playa del Carmen where we decided we would like to go one day, but when we went to get it were told it was all reserved for the next three days. We were never told ahead of time that this was something that needed to be reserved well in advance. We took a taxi - $13. each way.
A couple of nights there were beach BBQ's, One was reserved only for Air Transat passengers. Another was for Platinum guests. As a Signature guest who wasn't Platinum, we were kind of made to feel like chopped liver, as it didn't seem we were entitled to much.
We travel at least twice a year and have been to about a dozen all inclusive resorts in the past five years, six on the Mayan Riviera. So I can say I have a basis form comparison, and I must say that although this is not a bad resort, it is far from being a five star, and I doubt that it ever will be. It is a decent four star hotel, and with a lot of work may be a 4 1/2 star, but unlikely ever a 5. There are simply too many issues in regards to service, some which are difficult to achieve because of the sheer size of the resort. For the same money, you can do much better. I've stayed in resorts rated 41/2 that were far superior to this. Barcelo Maya Tropical, Grand Palladium Riviera, Riu Yucatan, Barccelo Maya Beach, Bahia Principe Akumal (all similar priced) and all far superior.
We always go away for our anniversary, and despite the travel agent mentioning it on our request list, and my stating it at check-in and to the concierge when I made a dinner reservation, this is the first hotel we've stayed in that never made any acknowledgement of the fact. Generally a fruit basket or a bottle of inexpensive sparkling wine is sent to our room, (an inexpensive gesture on the hotel's part, but one that goes a long way in regards to customer satisfaction).
On our last day our check-out was noon, but we were not being picked up from the hotel until 10:25 p.m. We asked if we could keep the room longer and were told abruptly that we would be charged $20.00 and hour for every extra hour we stayed in our room. We checked out at noon and stored out things with the bellboy. We were able to have a shower late in the day by the lobby, but there was no hairdryer, shampoo or any amenities other than a towel provided.
Would we stay here again? Definitely NOT. There are too many better places to go for the same money or less. I haven't attached any photos as there are many photos availble for this resort and although attractive, it was the least attractive of any we have stayed in, and therefore we took very few pictures. I know people say that if you go with the flow or don't sweat the small stuff you can have a great vacation. To a certain extent this is true, but there were too many small issues to overlook - I've only touched on a very small amount of them. This may also be easier to do if your are knowlingly staying in a 3 or 4 star hotel, but if you are told you are in a 5 star and expect 5 star service, this is not the place to be.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Grand Riviera Princess All Suites Resort & Spa is located on the stunning Riviera Maya, just three kilometers from the famous Playa Del Carmen, in beautiful surrounds, with large and spacious natural parks and the delight of a good tropical weather. Besides our fascinating beach, renowned for the clear water and splendid sea beds, typical of the east end of the Yucatan Peninsula, the hotel invites you to discover the huge wealth of the archaeological remains of the Maya culture in this area. After crossing the spacious lobby the splendid "Paseo de los Dioses" is reached, which invites the costumers to discover the charm of the hotel. It is a gift to our senses to enjoy all our facilities that can be found to our left and right on the way to the marvelous beach awaiting for everybody at the way of the pleasant stroll. Opened in December 2007, Grand Riviera Princess offers 674 fully equipped rooms with a range of services that give the clients a variety of possibilities to choose from: Junior Suite, Junior Suite Deluxe (some with direct pool access), Platinum Suites and Laguna Villa Suites (ideal for the most romantic honeymoon). A fascinating Spa is offered to all the clients, and the most complete activity program during day and night. A range of services in the varied and international selection of top quality food provide the perfect counterpoint when sharing moments of peace and calm with excellent meals in beautiful and inviting specially decorated surrounds, some of which are by the sea. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Booking.com, Cheap Tickets, Orbitz, Hotwire, HotelsforEveryone, TripOnline SA, HotelQuickly, Cancelon and getaroom.com so you can book your Grand Riviera Princess All Suites Resort & Spa reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Grand Riviera Princess All Suites Resort And Spa
- Grand Riviera Princess All Hotel Playa Del Carmen
- Grand Riviera Princess Hotel
- Grand Riviera Princess All Suites Resort & Spa Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico