I will try to give a detailed review so heads up from now.
Overall, it was a fantastic stay and the hotel pays a lot of attention to detail such as an electronic board in front of the theatre which displays which show is on that night, what time, what time the disco opens, etc. American brands of food used (Barilla, Yoplait, Coca Cola, etc). Fully equipped bar in the buffet with great Americano coffees. Continue reading to see where it fell short for us ( a group of 5, aged mid 20s-60 ).
ROOMS AND CHECK IN: This is was the bad part which kind of started our trip with a foul taste in our mouths. The check in system was terribly disorganized and slow. Huge singular line up for a large group, not enough staff, people would jump the line to one of the other staff and they would complete check in rather then directing them to the line. This is really frustrating after your flight is delayed, as was our tour bus. I wish they would adopt a bus check in system like we have seen before, or at least have more organization. The ladies at the front desk were quite slow and inefficient. The bar staff who offered cocktails upon our arrival also refused to give us any of the non alcoholic drinks as they were "only for kids", which I couldn't quite understand why they would refuse to let us have any.
For the rooms, I emailed two-three weeks in advance to request a particular building, floor and bed arrangement. I understand they are subject to availability but we did not have a single one of our requests met despite receiving a response from the hotel at the time of the email. They went as far as to say they received a request for one king bed and two doubles in the other which is NOT what we requested. When we got to the rooms on the ground floor, they both had a terrible moldy smell as we were warned by other reviewers. I have asthma so this was a bad experience for me. The room felt moist all week, as did all our clothes. The mini fridge did not keep things cold, was leaking and the coffee maker was not working properly. The AC also would work as it pleased, on and off. We made the front desk staff aware of the malfunctioning items, but they could care less. We requested a room change and they kept putting us off to the next day, and after 3 days of heading to the front desk in the morning, we gave up as the two rooms they gave us were not even on the same floor (we are a family), and yet again, did not have the bed arrangement we needed. The 5 of us spent all week in ONE room, the one rom with the less unpleasant smell. This room was similar to a room we had in Santiago, Cuba in a 3 star hotel. This was thoroughly disappointing as the rest of the hotel is really fantastic so it just really makes you feel that 1 final star find out of the potential of the hotel.
Now for the good... :)
FOOD: FANTASTIC! We have stayed at the Grand Bahia Principe Coba (4.5 star) in Riviera Maya, and the food here is better. Some variation with theme nights. Bagels and cream cheese for breakfast, Yoplait yogurt, chocolate spread, huge selection of fruit ( We ate tasty mango all week).
ALACARTE: We reserved 4 but only ended up going to 2. The Steakhouse was disappointing, but the Japanese was really great and our chef was fantastic :) I would recommend tipping for their hard work, I felt embarrassed for the other guests at our table who did not do so.
SERVICE: Overall good for a large hotel. It was good in the buffet but below par everywhere else. All the bars were understaffed and would regularly ignore you, especially the lobby bar.
BEACH: Beautiful as everyone says!! We have been to the land of beautiful beaches (Varadero and Cayo Santa Maria Cuba), but this beach is fantasticccc at the Colonial side... with beautiful waters, not too cold, wavy on some days which was great fun, and lots of fish to snorkel with. The beach at the MAYA BEACH section was terrible, dirty and smelly, we are glad we didnt book there which is what we were originally going to do. We sometimes came to the beach at 11 am or 12pm and despite being a group of 5, always found a spot, so dont sweat the "towel game" :)
EXCURSIONS: It is so fun to stop by and watch at the Dolphinaris, but we never did an excursion there. We did Parasailing ($120 USD for a couple), and it was an amazing experience. Highly recommend and not scary, but layer on that sunscreen for the boat ride.
We also walked to the Cenote Azul (70 peso entrance per person, 5 peso for fish food). As other reviewers mentioned, walk out the hotel to the highway and cross it (the traffic isnt too heavy). Then keep walking left 500 m and voila. Really great experience, highly recommend.
We took photos with the baby lion and monkey. Although the poor lion was tired and it seemed a bit unfair, he comes from an animal sanctuary where they take great care of him (they took him in when his mom died).
ENTERTAINMENT: Great shows!! Highly recommend the Michael Jackson, Circus and Mayan themed shows. They have huge teams of entertainers and they all do amazing jobs, with great light and sound and really just great execution. It is very dark and cool in the theatre so we often found ourselves about to fall asleep during the show after having a large meal, so I would recommend to the hotel maybe adding some more light.
DISCO: was the best we have seen and it was our 9th all inclusive. It is like a nightclub down here in Canada, light and smoke shows, great effects, go-go dancers. There was ALOT of younger American groups at this hotel (high school, early college) and they really get rowdy and disrespectful both at the disco and on the beach/pool, I dont know if I can fault the hotel for this but something to be aware of. I will add that there is security inside and outside and they take their job very seriously, which is great.
GROUNDS: Incredibly beautiful!! Large yes, but you dont have to venture to the other parts of the hotel (Tropical, Maya Beach or Caribe). The way it is set up is really well planned and you dont get lost. Walking left or right on the beach will take you to the other hotels but it really is not as overwhelming as the Bahia Principe. The pools are warm and cleaned EVERY NIGHT for hours by a staff member who actually snorkels in the water to find all the leafs and other odd items in the water. We often saw cleaning staff polishing the marble all over the hotel overnight. This part is managed incredibly well.
Overall despite our issues with the room and desk staff, it was a great trip, and an incredible hotel that certainly pays attention to detail. I would likely return after a few years, I would hope however for better guest services, better check in and updated rooms.
Go and enjoy, you wont regret it!
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- Also Known As:
- Barcelo Maya Colonial Hotel Puerto Aventuras
- Barcelo Puerto Aventuras
- Barcelo Hotel Puerto Aventuras
- Barcelo Colonial
- Barcelo Maya Colonial Beach Resort
- Barcelo Maya Caribe & Beach Resort
- Barcelo Maya Tropical & Colonial Beach
- Barcelo Maya Colonial Riviera Maya/Puerto Aventuras, Mexico