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Barcelo Maya Beach
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Reviews (9,326)
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Reviewed March 24, 2014

There were some things that I liked about the Barcelo. The property itself is really beautiful including the pool areas and beach. The beach was my idea of a perfect beach to enjoy. I had three spa services, a hot stone massage, a relaxation massage and a facial. I must say much to my surprise the services were excellent especially the hot stone massage and the facial. The massage and facial were some of the best I ever had. The spa is definitely a gem on the property. Unfortunately, my stay did not start off well. The lobby was packed with people checking in and it took a long time. I felt they need more people to help with check in at busy times or they need to add computers! I also had a difficult time making dinner reservations. I waited about an hour and fifteen minutes to meet with a concierge. It then took another hour to make reservations for 5 nights. There was only one person in the lobby to book reservations while the lobby was filled with people checking in.....why not put another person (or two) at peak times??? Also, they did not seem to have a computer system to make the reservations. They had to call the Barcelo Palace when we wanted to upgrade for one of our dinners. Automate......it would make everyone's life easier and better! I probably would not return to the Barcelo even though there were things I enjoyed. I think for the price I can find better service and food.

Room Tip: I definitely would want a premium room by the pool. It is a little walk to the lobby but that was my preference.
  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with friends
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2  Thank lburns0822
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
asistentedireccion, Director General at Barcelo Maya Beach, responded to this reviewResponded March 25, 2014

lburns0822; First of all I would like to thank you for spending your vacation at the Barceló Maya Beach Resort, we are glad that you enjoyed your stay, however, I would like to apologise for the incidents you mentioned that meant you were not able to fully enjoy your vacations. Thank you for the valuable time you have taken to share you experience with us, only through customer feedback, both negative and positive, we are able to improve our services. Kind Regards,

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Reviewed March 23, 2014

My husband and I have travelled to over 30 countries in the last 5 years and that includes hostels to 5 star resorts. We are in our early 30's and definitely appreciate experiencing a vacation/trip based on knowing what we are expecting is the reality. Unfortunately Barcelo Maya Beach was a disappointment. Besides the lobby area the hotel rooms were old, moldy and totally outdated. It felt as though we were staying in a motel on the side of a highway. Not only that, our safe was accessed and $ was taken, luckily our passports were left behind. My husbands suitcase was rummaged through and a few of the clothes I had left on my suitcase disappeared. When reporting it to the hotel staff an apparent investigation was completed but resulted in the hotel being unable to do anything because they could not pinpoint the crime to a specific person. We have backpacked through countries where high crime is expected but this experience to an apparent 4 star hotel made me feel the least unsafe.

Trying to be unbiased the food was okay and the beach was nice. Be careful of all the hidden costs such as wine on the table etc. Also beware if you are offered vouchers don't get too excited. For example you get $400 off a room upgrade but you would be expected to pay $1500 on top.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Dallas D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
asistentedireccion, Director General at Barcelo Maya Beach, responded to this reviewResponded March 29, 2014

Dear Dallas D; Many thanks for your comments which are very important to us. we are sorry you have left with a negative view of our resort, however, I can confirm that the security of our guests and their belongings is of utmost importance for us. Our security procedures are designed to assist our guests and to anticipate any situation that may arise.
Security measures include trained personnel, full cctv system, digital door locks and digital safety deposit boxes with timed print outs of access to those devices.

In your case there was no evidence to suggest the loss of your property as you describe, however if you would like to contact us directly to secretaria.direccionbeach-caribe@barcelomaya.com, I will be happy to revise the results of our investigation in your case with you. Sincerely yours,

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Reviewed March 22, 2014

This is my second trip to Mexico, my first visit being to Puerto Vallarta. This was our honeymoon.

I booked an all inclusive package, first time to do so. I always heard my friends and family complain about being stuck with buffet food the whole time, so I was apprehensive. Not much of a drinker, but I thought I'd give it a try.

First of all, the Riviera Maya has an acrid, sulfuric smell permeating everything. At first, I thought it was cigarette smoke, but after a few days, it dawned on me that it's coming from the earth. If you don't believe me, try this test: soak a used shirt in water. Watch the water turn a smokey gray. The acrid smell will permeate your clothes, hair and skin. Oftentimes it is hard to inhale. Even on our return trip, I could smell it in my jacket. LOL.

The resort is clean, well kept and tidy. At first glance, it looks like a four or five star resort. But upon closer inspection, you will see that the construction materials are not what they seem to be. The beautiful stone tiles on the floors and bathroom walls are porcelain printed with a stone pattern. Nothing wrong with that, but this seems to be the prevailing theme of this resort: On the surface, it looks elegant, but dig deeper and the artifice cannot overcome the truth underneath it all.

The air conditioning was cold, which is better than hot, I guess, but because of the high levels of humidity, there was a clamminess in the air that never leaves you.

The pools are magnificent and well kept.

The resort is huge, so there is a lot of "Donde esta" questions. Don't bother asking: many employees have no idea where anything is, and will point willy nilly just so they can say that they are providing service. It is almost a sin to tell someone, "Sorry, I don't know where that is." And by the way, I speak Spanish fairly well, so language barrier is not an issue.

Upon checkin, we were encouraged to upgrade, which we did, an additional $600. This would allow us access to free room service (!) and any of the ala carte restaurants on any of the five huge hotels on the property. We were upgraded to a lovely room facing the ocean, and had a jacuzzi tub out in the lanai.

Sheets were clean, didn't have an issue with that. Bed was hard, but I like firm beds, so I slept well enough.

When we tried to book a restaurant, we were told there were no availabilities, followed by "Didn't you book a reservation yet, at this point?" The concierge, an ill-tempered French woman named Audry, got the full brunt of my New York upbringing. I told her we had just checked in the day before, and it is unconscionable to offer restaurants when they are not available! Her reply? A consistent, "That is what is showing in the system."

Miraculously, she located three restaurants with 6 pm bookings. A little early for dinner, but with jet lag, we decided to go. Here are my reviews:

Don Quixote Spanish restaurant. Service was overly familiar, no sense of decorum. Tried to get me to buy a bottle of wine. My partner ordered chicken breast, with instructions to lay off the salt. He got a hockey puck that tasted like a salt lick. There is a lot of flourish (covered lids, unfurled with style!) but underneath it all is cafeteria food made with absolutely no culinary skill whatsoever. My grilled chicken was slightly better, at least edible. The tapas was a disaster. Worst Spanish restaurant in my memory.

Santa Fe steak house: Salad bar, ugh. We ordered prime rib, which is hard to screw up. It tasted precooked, no sear at all. Ugh. Walked out after a bite of the dessert. Two stars. At least the steak was edible, but I cook better at home.

Seafood restaurant: OMG. THIS PLACE IS A TRAVESTY. Best description: the seafood tasted frozen, thawed, frozen, thawed. And then microwaved. And then grilled. By far, the absolute worst seafood restaurant I have ever been to. I didn't even complain. Again, the service was zip zip zip, but try to get them to stop and listen. Didn't matter, we walked away.

Before you think we are food snobs, our favorite restaurant in Puerto Vallarta was a father and son team on the beach. They served fresh tilapia on the grill, with fresh salsa and guacamole. Fresh rice and beans. We ate that every day. We went to a restaurant with fancy-schmancy decor only to walk out after being served warm carpaccio. Ugh. Back to the tilapia. Yum.

What does it tell you about a hotel where the restaurants aren't anywhere near as good as the buffet? You get the idea: the surface beauty with all the ugly underneath. Seems like everything is overprepared, to the point where food freshness is sacrificed.

BTW, the buffet: Pretty good! Choices were plentiful and fresh. The restaurants can take a lesson from them. I loved the choices of fruit. Vegetables were tougher, since the chefs in Mexico smash, kill, burn and then boil vegetables until they are unrecognizable.

BTW, we met a lovely family from Canada, whose matriarch told me: "If you are looking for refined, delicious food, stay away from Mexico. That's not what you are here for. You are here for the weather, but beach, the laid back attitudes."

She is lovely, but for heaven's sake, how can restaurants have the heart to serve swill to their guests? Thank God it was "free" with our upgrade.

And here it is, my friends: Sad to say, there is a reason why, culturally, some resorts will never reach the apex of service. The subtext to all service here is this: this is a beautiful resort that I cannot live in, so why are you complaining, you disgusting, selfish American?

I notice people rushing to and fro, especially at the buffet restaurant, all to fill as many glasses of water, cups of coffee, etc, as quickly as possible. Along the way, they bump into clients, chairs, tables. I get the feeling that all this buzzing around is in the service of speed, and not efficiency, and certainly not service. Nobody really listens here, and I have seen smiling employees quickly drop their smiles when no one is looking.

There was money missing from my wallet, about $50, just enough to make you crazy. But I didn't bother to report it. We are, after all, in Mexico, and I expect theft to occur. How sad is that? How do you respond? "Well, at least it was only $50."

We were tipping pretty generously in the beginning, but then we realized that very little changes with tips, so we stopped. We figured hey, this is a Barcelonian resort, we'll just be European, and save us a few bucks on tips. Tipping didn't make a difference on the service, so save your cash.

The beach was gorgeous! Ah, location can't be beat. White sands, turquoise surf. We didn't ask for towels (brought some from our room, read enough reviews about towel issues). And there were plenty of seats.

Also, this place is HUGE! Get prepared to walk, walk, walk everywhere, every single day. If you take notice, where you are walking privately, the quality of the construction materials is shoddy, with slippery tiles everywhere. The moment you walk out into a pavillion or a lobby, suddenly the materials are world class, with soaring ceilings and great architectural detail. Everywhere else looks like the Holiday Inn, if you squint a little.

We booked our airport transfer through Amstar. The woman at the desk is lovely enough, and we booked a fabulous excursion through them, which I will review momentarily. However, on the day of departure, I walked over to confirm our trip. Guess what? Our confirmation information was missing. Why am I not surprised? She said, jokingly, "Well, you have to stay!" Ha ha ha. I waited patiently as she rifled through paper after paper after paper. The joke? She had a Mac laptop she barely touched. And again, here is this underlying bureaucratic BS underneath it all. Despite all the advantages of modern technology, this woman could not locate that one piece of paper that confirmed our bus trip back to the airport. This process-driven, inefficient, cover-your-butt style of service is a symptom of what ails this resort. Any sense of embarrassment, remorse, contrition? Absolutely not, since in her mind, she was being efficient, rifling through the papers over and over until she found another pile of papers to rifle through and, at long last, locate that last piece of paper with my name on it. This confirmation took all of 20 minutes, but then time is of little meaning to bureaucrats.

So, would I go back? Not to this resort. It's too huge and exhausting to do one little thing. The beach was great, yes, but then I hear so are the other resorts.

By the way, I'm dumbfounded as to the thousands of four star reviews. How can this be four stars?! If you read the most recent reviews, they are all nearly one star, with "I'll NEVER go back" comments.

My experience wasn't as bad as the others, but I can sense how one small disaster can change your stay at this resort. If things are going well bureaucratically, they you're OK. If something untoward happens, I can clearly see how your pleas will go unheard, how reason is trumped by policies and procedures, how they can fling a lifesaver to you as you drown, and the staff will say, "Well, we threw you a lifesaver! What are you complaining about?"

How can this place improve? I seriously doubt that it can ever rise about their challenges. There is a cultural malaise permeating this resort, about as acrid as the sulfur that hovers through the very air itself. Until Barcelo makes basic, cultural changes in their service level, they will continue to get bad to middling reviews, all well deserved and well earned.

Will we go back? Nah, there are better places. We'll try Puerto Rico next, and see what happens!

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Saintlars
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
asistentedireccion, Director General at Barcelo Maya Beach, responded to this reviewResponded March 29, 2014

Saintlars; Many thanks for your full review and your comments which are very important for us. we will be happy to take your remarks into consideration as a means to improve our services. We are happy that you enjoyed many aspects of your stay with us, however we would like to apologize for the factors that meant you were not able to fully enjoy your Vacation at Barceló Maya Beach. Kind regards,

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Reviewed March 21, 2014

We booked the Barcelo Maya Caribe, then on arrival we were told we were now staying at the Barcelo Maya Beach next door.
This hotel is beautiful. It has just been fully refurbished to a very high standard and is very styish and modern it looks like a brand new hotel. Even the gardens are new.
The food in the buffet is very good, the drink service sometimes could be a little slow but the waiters were making sure all the tables were made spotlessly clean for the next diners. You could always get your own drinks. Only the hot water from the machine was not hot enough for the tea or coffee so it's better to wait for the waiter.
My husband is very fussy about his beer so he was very happy when on arrival we went to the lobby bar and he was served Corona in a cold glass from the fridge. I was very happy with the white sparkling wine and the Xtabentun. Also the fresh fruit juice was a lovely change from the horrible syrupy juice often served in all inclusive hotels.
The beach and pool were beautiful, the beds round the pool were new and laid flat which I like, but I like the breeze on the beach and some of the beds were ok and some a bit old.
The entertainment was pretty good better than average and the entertainment team were brilliant.
The a la carts were good too but my husband got served warm flat beer and I was served warm flat wine in the sea food restaurant. The Mexican was rather dark. The fillet steak dinner on the beach was very good. (As was all the steak in this resort).
Food on beach was also very good. The fruit, nuts, popcorn and biscuits in the lobby were a nice touch.
Our room was in the Tulum block. The room was bigger than average with an extra large bed,
large sofa and well stocked minibar. I slept very well here (no banging doors or noisy neighbours) and the bedding was quality. The bathroom looked a little tired but everything worked. The bathrobes and slippers were a nice touch even though we didn't use them.
Arrived feeling tired and run down left feeling relaxed and refreshed.
Would definitely recommend.
This was my 6th time in Mexico and I've loved every visit.
This resort even has it's own dolphins.
We looked at the other hotels in this resort and they all looked lovely. The Barcelo Maya Caribe was more traditionally Mexican but did look slightly tired after seeing the Barcelo Maya Beach.
Most nights were lovely and warm but one night in particular was chilly, so pack something just in case.
My only real complaint was the dining room was air conditioned and the plates were cold and the so cold hot food was often cold or just warm which was cold when you got back to your table. Hot plates would help. Cold chewy chips and cold soup, yuk.
On our first day and our last day they run out of beach towels. Which was a bit annoying especially on your first day when all you want to do is lie down to recover from the long flight.
Without these little niggles I would have given this hotel 5 stars.

Room Tip: We stayed in the Tulum block and had no problems. There was sometimes a slight musty smell but I have found you often get this in the Caribbean, I think it's the humidity.
  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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5  Thank janet o
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
asistentedireccion, Director General at Barcelo Maya Beach, responded to this reviewResponded March 22, 2014

janet o; Many thanks for spending your vacation at the Barceló Maya Beach Resort and your contact through Tripadvisor . I would like to let you know that we take all feedback very seriously as we know you help us to improve our services.

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Reviewed March 20, 2014

We booked our trip simply based on some other friends heading to this resort. Reviews from trip advisor were mixed, and the resort we chose, Maya Beach, was more or less listed as the lowest end of the 5 resorts on the property. Since we had 5 in our family, they put us in the jr suite. Little did I know this was the key move put us into the premium club. Premium club was awesome. Upgraded beverages, wifi at no charge (only for 1 device though), no towel return hassles, more restaurant options, and more. Maya beach was just remodeled recently and you saw the results everywhere. Our room was awesome. Beautiful, clean, beds for my wife and I and three kids. I was really glad we weren't at colonial, tropical or caribe as they were the more popular ones, especially with the HS kids who if were 18, we enjoying the drinking and doing what most kids who can drink do. Maya Beach was less crazy. Food, service and drinks across the resort was great. If I had any complaints, it was at most food buffets the hot foods were cold; fries, waffles, pancakes, etc. Tons of kids (18 and under) getting drunk at the theaters every night was less than impressive too as I tried to explain it to my 9 and 13 years. They need to increase the supervision. Place that handled snorkel rentals was terrible. They had plenty of equipment to rent if you were doing an excursion, but I think they only had 20 or so for hotel guests to use as part of the 'free for an hour' hotel program, so of course they were always 'out', or you had to wait around for an hour to see if someone brought some back. Hotel grounds were impressive. Staff was very friendly and professional and worked hard. I would recommend tipping as a few dollars took your service from good to fantastic. As a first time Barcelo visitor, I was very, very satisfied. I would recommend Barcelo maya beach and hope someday to get back.

Room Tip: Get the jr. suites at maya beach or make sure you get the premium club included. It was well worth it!
  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with family
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3  Thank Tjmcclain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
asistentedireccion, Director General at Barcelo Maya Beach, responded to this reviewResponded March 21, 2014

Tjmcclain: Many thanks for your comments regarding your stay at Barceló Maya Beach Resort, it is one of our main goals to exceed the expectations of all our guests. we look forward to serve your again in a future, Best Regards,

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