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Reviewed April 10, 2010

I stayed here as part of a large group of friends on a girls' trip. I definitely wouldn't return under those circumstances, but might consider it (at the right price) if I was traveling with kids. The breakdown:

PROS
- They're always cleaning something.
- Platinum rooms are very nice. Our was extremely close to the beach and included two whirlpool tubs, one in the room and one on the balcony.
- While the main beach can be very crowded, if you're crafty, you'll head over to the Platinum-only beach in front of the Thai Beach Club on the property. As far as we could tell, they don't check for Platinum bracelets during the week. That said, it's also a hike to the nearest bar for drinks, but the quiet beach makes it worth it. When they do check on the weekends, the bar at that facility is open (waiter service is spotty), and non-Platinums can sometimes talk their way onto a lounger for $10.
- Room service is free and fast (if not delicious) in Platinum rooms, and you can order up to four beers at a time.

CONS
- The food leaves a LOT to be desired.
- The front desk personnel were quite rude when a member of our party called to point out an apparent discrepancy between what she'd booked and what she got (while we later suspected it was the travel agent's fault, the hotel could have handled her complaint more professionally).
- No hair conditioner, even in the Platinum rooms.
- Nearly zero activity at any of the pool bars (one of my favorite things) regardless of time of day.
- This isn't the all-inclusive for you if you're a big wine drinker. Don't even try it.
- There are lots of situations where you really do get treated like a second-class citizen if you're not Platinum (again with the travel agent screwup, some of us were and some of us weren't). Unless you have young kids and need to go ultra-budget, I probably wouldn't bother staying here if not Platinum.
- There was a very odd lack of activity at night (even though the resort was full and we stayed during Canadian spring break). On a couple nights when we didn't go into the city, we were looking for some fun things to do (involving a bar) as early as 11pm, and most everything seemed completely dead, especially near the beach. I like resorts where you don't feel you NEED to go into the city to have fun, and this wasn't it.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled with friends
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1  Thank onthelanai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 9, 2010

right, firstly, I've been to Mexico a couple of times and to be honest I love the place. Weather is great, the people are lovely and the scenery/culture is breath-taking. The Princess is large, very large, so if your fat/disabled/lazy/too old to walk its not for you, but seeing as I'm not any of the above I was fine. The room we stayed in was a junior deluxe, it was lovely, big, jet bath, powerful shower to be honest superb. If you go to tropical location, be prepared to get mosquitoes for gods sake, annoys me when people moan about this, if your worried/have a problem with this go to Siberia or stay at home! My fiancé always gets bitten no matter where we go on holiday, but she knows its just the way it is, some people seem to think that the hotel should be mossy free......morons! The food.............brilliant! I'm not a fussy eater and can eat anything, but I know bad food, nothing here was bad. Had no problems reserving restaurants for 6 of the 7 nights and the buffet for morning/light snacks was amazing. Absolutely no complaints on the drinks, alcoholic ones were strong but flavourful and the soft drinks were fine also. Bars could take 5/10 mins to get served sometimes but they are BARS, they can tend to be busy some of the time. WAIT!!
Staff were always lovely and helpful, we had nothing stolen from our room, safe was always locked and all monies were accounted for, iPhone, camera, wallet etc fine. But then again I don't leave £1000's in cash lying around, travellers cheques and cards much safer and easily used/replaced.
Tips here work wonders and you can see it means a lot to the workers, a $ here and there means nothing to me or you, but over there and to the staff it means a lot! So don't be tight and TIP!
Beach lovely, although a little rocky for the first 10-20 ft of the sea. To be honest it gave us endless entertainment, as I got to see my better half fall over all the time (and myself)!
The cleanliness is off the chart, everything, everywhere is cleaned all the time, and the décor/grounds are amazing.
Do as many excursions as you can, Xel Ha was a personal favourite, and the cenote diving, BUT BE PREPARED FOR A LOT OF MOSSY BITES, but still do it!!!!!!!
Ignore the bad reviews as these are either small amounts of bad experiences, or professional moaners, who are never happy with anything
We are going back for our honeymoon this September, and if that doesn't tell you something about this hotel/country nothing will ;)

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank bigpapapott
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 7, 2010

This resort was amazing ... from morning til night ~ as long as you could stay up with all you do during the day!! Excursions from the hotel were fabulous and well organized. Jacquline worked our bar daily and was always a pleasure and her smiling face along with Mango Daquiries, Pina Coladas, Captain and Diet Coke etc. etc. was always a welcome site! Tip these people they deserve it!!! We sat in Rueben's section every day and he waited on us like we were Princesses!

One thing though...people need to realize it is an all you can eat buffet but eat until you are full...I would imagine that by the third trip up you know you are going to waste food ~ it was a shame to see how much food was scraped off of plates into the garbage by the people of the country that get paid so little. Don't be greedy!!! It will all be there again tomorrow!

With some trips you get the bad...there was sometimes an odd smell as they recycle water there *smarter than the average person* and the people upstairs were dragging their chairs along the floor early in the morning .. but you tend to get up early anyway .. why waste the beauty!!

The hotel is marble throughout which you have to be careful coming in off the pool with wet feet it can be very slippery. The housekeeping staff change the entire room every day!!! Fresh sheets and towels...top to bottom..takes them almost two hours so we told them not to worry and left money on the pillow each day regardless.

We had a swim out room which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND for the extra money...if you want a quieter unit ask for building 7 .building 6 was right in the middle of the action but we loved it!

Your agent will look after you .. we went WestJet and it was fabulous..others went Air Canada and had great meals on the way down. There was free wireless internet outside the shops at the bottom of the marble staircase in the lobby..we used our ipods for that.

We will definitely go back!!!!!

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled with friends
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3  Thank k8eek8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2010

Well you certainly can't say that there's nothing to do at this resort! Between all the pools, the huge beautiful beach, the many restaurants, and the great nightly entertainment we were never bored! This resort is pretty close to Playa del Carmen which was great and convenient. The Spanish coffee's were delicious too! Great trip, great cost (we booked last minute). We would stay here again. On a side note, the bed was much softer than other all inclusive resorts I've stayed at which was a nice surprise. The only compliant I have is that the resort is almost too big, I wouldn't recommend this for a big group or wedding, you'd never see your travel companions!

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Kirbster119
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2010

This is only the second review I've done in more than 15 years of traveling, had a bad experience in the Dominican Rebublic last year and felt I had to post a review because of it, and now had a good experience so I feel I should share.

We stayed at the Grand Riviera Princess from Mar. 23rd through Mar. 29th. There is no dought the complex is very large. 15 minute walk times Ive read about in other reviews are exagerated though, unless your in your 80's or older. They do have regular shuttles to take people from one end to the other, but you may have to wait for up to 15 mins. I would estimate walk times from lobby to beach to be around 10 mins.We didn't mind the walking. The Jr. Deluxe Suites are all mid way between lobby and beach so get one of those to keep walk times lower. Plus you get access to two more restaraunts with Jr. deluxe. Its worth it.
Beach was very nice. Yes the towel game is played, but early bird gets the worm. Were all spending alot of money to go on vacation and some will go out of there way to get what they want while others swear its not fair. Niether is life, get used to it or get up earlier. I would estimate that on Fri-Sun you better have a chair picked by 7:00 am. I do agree its rude to save chairs and then leave them sit until 3:00 in the afternoon. Witnessed that, and it did anoy me.
Pools were all nice, you could always find a spot. Maybe not always near where the entertainment was but still close by.

Bars were plentyfull and you rarely had to wait more than a few minutes. They do have semi premium liquor. Smirnoff, and absolut, but if you don't specify you'll get some off brand Ive never heard of. Service was always good and friendly. We do tip some and the service was the same either way.

I only saw our housekeeper once the whole time but everthing was cleaned up daily. Only used the mini bar for water and two beers the whole time but it was also stocked daily. We did tip the houskeeper.

Food. After a trip last year that would have been rated good was spoiled due to really bad food we were skeptical going into this. Reviews were mostly good but mixed.
I can say we really didn't have a bad meal the whole time. We did eat at one of the ala Cartes every night and they were all good. The last night was the Japanese where you sit at the grill and it was fun.
Heres a hint, Mama Mias fills up fast. You can make reservations for two nights at a time. But if you make a reservation at 11:00 am for that night and also reserve for your next night, you can come back after 3:00 PM and reserve for the third night. This way you can get earlier seating times. Now other than the first night where we had to take what was left(we arrived around noon) for a seating time at 9:40 Pm, we ate between 6:00pm and 7:15 pm the rest of the time. They do have outdoor seating at most of the restaraunts and it is, in my opinion, more comfortable than being indoors. Just request it when you arrive. Another trick we learned by accident. We like to sit down and have a drink before dinner. Most restaraunts had sit down bars in the lobby. We would arrive over a half hour before our reservations and stated we would like to sit at the bar and we knew we were early. We also told them we were not in a hurry. Every single time, we were seated within minutes. I actually would have liked to sit for a bit but worried what would happen if we declined.
Tapas was good and the show was fun to watch. We happened to get a front row table for the show, made it fun.
There is a piano bar just off Tapas that never seemed to have more than a few people in it. Great place to go to get away in the eve.
Food quality was good at all the restaraunts but portions are not overly large. We never left hungry though. Service was very good everywhere. My wife worked in the restaraunt business as a server for 15 plus years working at some high end places and she was satisfied.
We ate at all but the seafood and the grill.
Buffets, were, buffets. We only ate lunch and breakfast at them. Everthing was fresh and well prepared. Omlets and eggs to order. Also at lunch they had grouper and salmon depending on the day. You could spice up you fish and they would cook it for you.
Another hint. We arrived the first day before the buffets were open. The only food was at 5th avenue the sports bar. Burgers and fries made to order. Not bad but we were stuck inside. If you go to the closest pool to the beach they have an outdoor grill where they cook burgers and hot dogs all day. They put the cooked ones in warming pans but will cook to order if asked. When we arrived and were told the sports bar was the only open restaraunt I asked about the outdoor grill and the lady didn't know what I was talking about. So we ate inside the sports bar when we could have been outdoors in the sun. Oh well. Man thats a small gripe isn't it? And that is really all we had to gripe about.

We had a blast and would go again.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Mikecran
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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