Check-In: We arrived about 3:30pm and were told our room was being prepared. My wife thought they were adding some finishing touches as this was our honeymoon trip. So we asked where we could eat, and were sent to the outdoor Mediterranean restaurant. We came back about an hour later and were taken by the bellhop in a golf cart to our room. The bellman swiped our just-programmed cards, opened the door, and a second later slammed it shut, as there was a large man in our room in the hottub! Well back to the lobby, where the bellboy spoke with the manager who was in disbelief, as her computer said the room was empty. Oh well, she gave us another room, and that went better. This was to be typical of the occasional breakdown, in the otherwise good experience. We just took the attitude that we would keep our expectations low, so as to be happy; rather than the other way around - which would have made us complainers all week.
Food: Average to good. Breakfast was very good especially the omelets and waffles made fresh. Juice was good. Lunch was so-so in the buffets. The desserts were gelatinous and bland mostly. Dinners were fair in the ala carte restaurants. Most lacked flavor and spice. The italian restaurant was our favorite, and we went twice. Kudos to the waiters and manager there! As we were honeymooners, they arranged a special honeymoon-dinner for us at the Mexican restaurant, which is on the Cove "family" side of the resort. Does that make sense to have it there? Anyway, as we were seated at our "special-table" (less decorated!) at 7:30, the mariachi band finished playing and left the restauarant. My wife joked that they would probably reappear as we leave. Humorously enough, that's exactly what happened. So much for romantic music! You are given a special menu which had only 1 choice; and it wasn't lobster which incidently is not offered anywhere. We could not stop laughing throughout the meal, as we noted how unromantic it was to have the diner-like kitchen open to the dining area, with the pea-green walls clashing with the otherwise lovely Spanish decor. Our special-dessert consisted of a slab of cake, with no knife to cut it, and a white chocolate plaque saying "Happy Honey Moon". In general the service was excellent in the restaurants. However there were always lillte quirks like bread-plates and butter-knives always on the table but bread and butter rarely being offered. It also was not unusual to be given coffee without a spoon, or to be missing a salt or pepper shaker.
Drinks: Frozen drinks are watery and mostly without flavor. Very bad pina coladas. Top shelf liquor is displayed, but if you don't ask for it you get generic liquor. What's with that? they should charge a few more dollars per day and do away with the Blatt Vodka. Pool and beach service were fairly good.
Transport: No problem, right on time, and good drivers.
Tours and palace shuttle: We took the Chichen-Itza tour which was great except for the vendors that sell all over the site. The Tulum trip is not to be missed, but way too short. By the time you get onto the ruins you have a little over an hour, and you might want to do the ruins and the beach. We only glimpsed the ruins and chose to enjoy the beach, which is almost perfect. The 2nd part of the Tulum trip is Xpu-Ha Palace which is very nice to visit, to see the animals and vegetation. We also went to the Playacar Palace, which we wouldn't want to stay at as it is smaller, but had a great beach, a heated pool, and a great bartender at the pool.
Entertainment: The shows at night that we saw were great - Michael Jackson, Mayan Soul, and Magic Show. Karaoke and the disco were okay. The poolside entertainment was typical Disney-type fare. We thought it rather tame considering it was an adults-only resort. The pool crowd was rather quiet, with 1/2 the people planted in their lounges all day with a book; and hardly a smile. This is not to say people weren't friendly, but I couldn't tell you how many groups I walked by who were talking about their jobs, their aunt in the nursing-home, or the car accident they had 3 months ago. So don't go expecting there to be drinking-games; you have to make your own fun. Additionally, the first we saw of a weekly listing of daily events was the day before we left.
Pools: related to the above atmiosphere at the pool. What's with closing the swim-up part of the bar at 5pm? 5pm? Why are the pools closing around 6pm? Would it be so unusual to go eat, and then want to go for a swim at 10pm. This is the tropics, and it's adult-only (shouldn't that be romantic?).
Rooms: Nice as many have listed. Several nights though between 5pm and 7pm we were trying to nap, sit in the hottub, or get dressed for dinner and we had multiple workers come to the door. We had mini-bar restockers, turndown service, and more towels people knocking on the door. So we had more service than we wanted.
Overall the workers there work hard, are very polite and 95% of the stuff was right. It was just a little bit of basic stuff that you didn't have without asking, and then they tried really hard to get it. One last thought, on how quirky the resort is, was that when you go the buffet they pull the chair out for the senora, and then using tongs lay the napkin across the diners' lap. You just get all comfortable and covered, and then are invited to get up and help yourself to the buffet. So you just have to take the quirkiness lightly, appreciate that you really get a lot, and just realize that you're not at a 4 or 5-stars is not like back int he states.
It's worth staying here for the tours and use of other Palace resorts. We would stay somewhere else in the area next time, now that we've done the tours.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A blend of relaxation and adventure awaits you at this adults only retreat. Set in the Riviera Maya overlooking the aquamarine Caribbean Sea, enjoy 1,266 luxurious accommodations with double Jacuzzi, balcony (most with hammock), and 24 hr. room service. Among the facilities to highlight is the state-of-the-art spa offering a perfect day of pampering. Guests can also enjoy seven restaurants, several bars, a disco, outdoor/indoor pools, and unlimited tours as part of the all-inclusive package. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Aventura Hotel Palace
- Aventura Hotel Puerto Aventuras
- Mayan Riviera Palace
- Adventure Spa Palace
- Hotel Mayan Palace
- Adventura Spa Palace
- Aventura Palace Spa
- Aventura Spa Palace Riviera Maya
- Aventura Spa Palace Resort
- Aventura Spa Palace Mexico