We stayed at the Barcelo the day after Christmas for a week with our 14 year old son, another couple and their twin 16 year olds. Every one of us had a fantastic vacation. The place is incredibly beautiful. The staff was extremely friendly and helpful. We arrived to find a fruit basket and a bottle of liquor (similar to anisette) in our room. Very nice! The room was stocked every day with drinks and snacks. Several days into our trip a man arrived at our door with a decorative box and a bottle of tequila. He said "regalo". This means gift. Another nice surprise. New Years Eve was incredible. They thought of everything. The place was decorated beautifully. The selection of food was wonderful. The shows were fun. I would highly recommend going to the Barcelo. There were only a couple of things you should know before you go:
The internet is almost non existent. You pay $12/day for a very bad signal. I wanted it on my laptop, but I opted to put it on my Ipod touch because I could carry that around easily and try and find a signal that would get my email. It really should be free. I own a ten room inn and we give our guests free wifi. It is something that travelers really look for and with their very bad signal, they have a lot of nerve charging $12/day for it.
The non motorized water sports should be reserved on busy days. All the days we were there were pretty busy and if you didn't reserve them early, you didn't get to use them. The snorkels couldn't be reserved. If there were none available, you could wait right by the desk and hope that someone brought them back. The problem with the snorkeling is that they rent them to excursions and two of the days there were absolutely no snorkels because they were all taken by excursions. If the hotel is going to say that you have 1 hr of snorkeling a day, they shouldn't give priority to renting them out to excursions.
Make your reservations for the ala carte restaurants on the day you check in. I waited 3 days and could only get to reserve 1 restaurant at a decent time. Having 3 teenage boys, we really did enjoy the buffet though. There was a lot to choose from and the food was very good. The grill next to the pool at the Colonial is wonderful for lunches.
On the day that we arrived at the airport, we were accosted right after customs by people at stand up desks to the left before you exit. They made us think that they needed to get information about our shuttle before we exited. They talked to us about general info for a few minutes and then started talking about a specific hotel - The Aventura Spa Palace. It was then that I realized that they were trying to sell me something. I told them I didn't want a time share, but they kept insisting it wasn't a time share. They then went on to say "Did I want to save money on excursions?" Well long story short, we accepted their promotion and it was well worth it!!! The following morning we took a short cab ride (which was paid for) to the Aventura Spa Palace, we were told we would have a 45 minute breakfast followed by a 45 minute tour of their property (which was a vacation club, very similar to a time share). It actually took about 2 1/2 hrs, but it was still worth it. They gave us coupons for all 7 of us to go on two excursions for a total of $75 - Total! So for $75 we all went to Chitzen Itza for the day (with lunch) and then another day we went zip lining. So for 2 1/2 hrs of our time, we saved almost $1200. A word of advice - don't get sucked into the vacation club. Don't ask any questions, it makes the tour longer and they then think you might be interested. Just take the minimal tour and you get your passes. One other piece of advice - If you go on an excursion with Holkan Kingdom (zip lining, 4 wheeling, horseback riding) and they bring out a binder on the bus to add on to your tour for the day, don't fall for it. We were told that there would be "waiting time" at the excursion and that if 1/2 the people wanted to do a 2nd activing there would be time. The people that were doing 2 activites would go zip lining first and then move on to their second excursion while the rest of the people would do their zip lining. This all seemed to be a lie to get you to buy a second excursion. We decided to do the horseback riding as a second activity (with an additional price tag of $75/person) since we would have to wait anyway. Not true. They first waited until everyone came off the zip line until they brought you to your second activity. While you were doing your second activity, they sent the bus home with everyone that didn't do a second activity and when you finished with yours they sent you back to your hotel in a van. Holkan Kingdom was pretty good excursion. Not the prettiest of places though.
All in all, I would say this was one of the best vacations I've been on. We went on the busiest of weeks. The hotel (which is 5 hotels in one) was all 100% booked and it didn't seem overwhelmed with people. I would definitely recommed going to Barcelo!
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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