We had a great trip to this resort! For the price, it was excellent. If you're looking for some fancy schmancy resort- go elsewhere. But if you're looking to relax, have fun, & be in an easy-going carefree environment- you will have a blast! Going to break the review down a bit so I don't miss anything!
CHECK IN: Was easy & pain-free! We arrived at 230pm, was told our rooms would be ready in half an hour so we had a drink & grabbed a bite to eat at the buffet for lunch. They were ready by 3pm & our luggage was brought right up. There are only two buildings open as there is construction at the Maya Beach- both easy to find. Bonus points that there are covered walkways everywhere so you can avoid the rain!
THE ROOM: Bed is super comfy, bathroom is spacious, there were always clean towels. I don't imagine there were any ocean view rooms due to the layout of the resort- this was not of great importance to us as we were really only in the room to get ready and sleep. Balcony was very private, had two chairs & table. There's a safe in the room and lots of space for luggage so it's not in the way. There's a minibar with beers, pop, juice, etc as well as a coffee machine in the room. What more do you need? We were on the third floor of the Sayil building- room 3351 or something like that- about halfway between the pool/beach area and lobby. Perfect! It is open air and yes there is echos at times from guests in hallways- not much you can do about this and it certainly was not something we lost any sleep over or "ruined" our vacation. We had towel animals a 4-5 times in the week, which was a nice touch!
THE POOL: Service was a little slow at the pool/beach bars when it was busy. Staff were always friendly and if you give them a few dollars each day they recognize you when you come back. A little goes a long way! We brought our own cups to keep our drinks cold and so we didn't have to refill as often. The staff cleaned them for us and all, though the cups weren't SUPER TINY like other resorts so if you don't bring them it's no loss. Resort is pretty busy but no problem finding chairs in the shade or sun depending on our preference that day. There's a shallow area for kids, we didn't use this. There is also a kids club, playground, and splash pad (with lots of shade) nearby. We didn't travel with any kids so we didn't use any of these. There's a little hut where you can exchange your towels for clean ones as well. We liked that there was music and activities (water aerobics, dancing lessons, bingo, water polo) going on around the pool- was very lively! You can access the other pools as well (one under construction while we were there- again not a big deal at all), except for the pool at the Palace resort.
THE BEACH: Definitely no shortage of chairs here either. No little huts or anything but lots of shade from the palm trees. It is rocky in parts, in and out of the water. We didn't bring water shoes, didn't really feel we ABSOLUTELY needed them, but there were parts that were sandier than others. There's a pier you can walk out on and there is good snorkeling- lots of fish, stingrays, turtles, baracudas. There were activities going on at the beach as well throughout the day. You can walk all the way down through the beaches on the other resorts as well which is nice. There is also a shop where you can book jetskis/catamarans/water bikes. We did book a jetski which was $65/30 mins. This was a bad idea- it was wayyy too wavy and we are not experienced, though we didn't feel they gave us very good instructions. This was half our fault, we should have figured it was more than we could handle!
THE FOOD: Breakfast at the buffet was pretty standard- omelet/egg stations, meats, pancakes/crepes/fruit/etc. Everything was good however! Lunch and dinner at the buffet were pretty similar, with some theme nights throughout the week. Food was good, but we did have a lot of quesadillas/tacos/etc, and we really enjoyed the pasta station. Variety at these meals could have been better but the food was always yummy! We took advanace of the ice cream machines as well! The pool restaurant is more of a snack bar with things like pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, salads, etc. Again- somewhat similar from day to day but we could always find things we liked. We ate at both the spanish and mexican restaurants, both were good. You can pain $15-20 for the restaurants on other resorts- we did eat at the Brazilian restaurant and it was so amazing it gets its own headline! As far as dress codes, the A La Carte restaurants required pants, shoes, and were obviously a little more dressy, the buffet you could wear shorts or flip flops, and cover ups required for ladies in the pool restaurant and men had to wear shorts. They also wanted you to be somewhat dry when you went in.
THE BRAZILIAN RESTAURANT: Is located in the Palace Hotel and cost an extra $20/person. It was WELL worth it! We were lead out to the patio overlooking the sea- breathtaking! You start with soup/salad bar which was delicious. Then you had your choice of pasta or different steak entrees as well as the traditional skewers of meat, and dessert. After our meal our server prepared "Mayan coffee" which was not only delicious but VERY cool watching him prepare it. An awesome experience all around! Would highly recommend it!
THE LOBBY: Service was again a little slow at the bar, but it was always busy. There were snacks available here 24 hours a day (popcorn, sandwiches, pizza, cookies). Our vacation started out rainy so we spent a lot of time here when the weather wasn't so great. There's lots of space to sit as well as a gift shop with internet cafe inside. There is also a sports bar upstairs with pool tables, foozball, etc. They played baseball/hockey/basketball games here as well. Was nice again when it was humid and rainy as it was indoors and had a/c.
THE MEXICAN PLAZA: There are several handicraft/souvenir stores here as well as a few jewellery stores, clothing stores, etc. We found a few good deals here. One of the jewellery stores offers a free shuttle service to their factory a few mins down the road if you're looking for jewellery or watches. Three nights a week the plaza has special events- they are a lot of fun with dancers/performers/other activities. Also recommend going at night as it's beautiful. It's only a few mins walk from the lobby as well.
THE DISCO: We went here a few nights. Service was good, place is beautiful, there is a good mix of all ages, and the DJ was great playing music for everyone. Felt like the music was a little too loud. I mean, I know it should be loud in a club but it actually hurt and gave us headaches- and we are no strangers to nightclubs.
THE SHOWS: We went to a few. The theater itself is beautiful. Shows were well done, but we preferred to sit in the lobby then head to the disco. I don't have too much to comment on about this!
OTHER ACTIVITIES: We visited our traffic tours rep & set up two excursions- one shopping in Playa Del Carmen and one to Xel Ha. Would recommend both. Ask the concierge for coupons- she gave us a $100 off coupon for Diamonds International that came in handy!
Overall, we had a GREAT vacation and we would recommend the resort to anyone looking for a week on a beautiful resort in a lively, fun atmosphere. If you're one who would rather spend a little more for the "finer" details, maybe you should look elsewhere. We are an easy going group and have stayed many places and this one was fanastic!
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- Also Known As:
- Barcelo Maya Caribe Hotel Puerto Aventuras
- Barcelo Puerto Aventuras
- Barcelo Hotel Puerto Aventuras
- Barcelo Maya Caribe Beach
- Barcelo Maya Caribe Riviera Maya/Puerto Aventuras, Mexico