My husband and I and our sons (ages 7 and 9) stayed at the Barcelo Maya Palace from March 7 through 14. As typical well-travelled Canadian family, we have stayed at many other four and five star all-inclusives in Mexico, Dominican Republic and Cuba, and overall, we absolutely LOVED this resort! We would definitely return if we could get a package for @$5000 or less. (By the way, they are soon going to build an even more fancy Barcelo resort as part of this complex so the prices for the Maya Palace will likely go down in the next couple of years!)
The best things about this resort were:
1. the beach. We are definitely "beach people" and are certified divers as well. We usually take excursions off resorts to go snorkelling and diving. It wasn't needed here though...the snorkelling was THAT good right at the resort! We swam with lovely sea turtles every day, fed giant schools of angel fish every day by hand (tip: they love the bananas from the buffet), and even saw large rays and barracuda! My boys loved this and we spent hours every day exploring the reef. At other times, we just preferred to swim or jump waves. A few times we walked to the pier and fed the fish and pelicans there. There was something for everyone at this beach. We usually go to Xel-ha but not this time...this place had WAY better snorkelling than Xel-ha. We did bring our own equipment, and we really glad we did because it was inconvenient to rent it otherwise (we heard lots of other people say this).
2. the entertainment around the pool was great! Eduardo did a FABULOUS job of getting folks involved. Our kids were too old for the Barcy club but they loved the organized water polo, water basketball, even the poolside bingo and zumba (and lots more). We gave E a big tip at the end of the week...he is one hard-working dude. The kids also spent hours everyday playing basketball, ping pong or big chess with other kids from around the world...they weren't bored for a second! Which meant that we were able to relax and enjoy!
3. the cleanliness of the resort: you could literally eat off any floor at this resort, everything was spotlessly maintained. And SO beautiful...gorgeous modern furniture and lighting everywhere. It is an exceptionally beautiful resort.
4. the food and drinks far exceeded other all-inclusives we have been to. We liked all four a la carte restaurants (BTW we booked as soon as we checked in and even got the french restaurant twice). Our favourite was the brazilian. My kids would probably say the Japanese (the waiters were fantastic and let us order as much sushi as we wanted). All the waiters were amazing, and we tipped them well. The buffets were great too--for buffets--there was always a wide variety and you could always order something cooked to request on the grill. Two things I miss are those chocolate-covered bananas at the breakfast bar...and the lovely guacamole! The buffet restaurants were so huge though...there was a lot of walking to go get something. As a result, the a la cartes provided a much more quaint dining experience for a family (we'd all be at the table all the time and could actually have a conversation).
There were a FEW things that I would recommend to the Barcelo management team that would really take this hotel a notch higher.
1. surprise, surprise--the front desk service. There was ALWAYS a long line there...why so understaffed? And even more annoying, whenever I tried to call the front desk, the line would just ring and ring and ring and ring and ring...it was VERY hard to get an answer. The customer service was really the only thing that wasn't 5 star at this resort, unfortunately.
2. The shows--the quality and variety of entertainment was pretty good...however, we were really surprised that the two shows that were really geared for families (the Disney show and the circus show) started at 9:30!! it is REALLY too bad that they couldn't offer these two shows even an hour earlier. All through the show I saw parents carrying out children who had fallen asleep during the performance. what's the point of a Disney character show when there aren't any kids to watch it?
3. The Spring Breakers who arrived en masse halfway through the week were kind of an unpleasant surprise. Some of the staff told us that they always shut down the saunas and put the premium liquor away when spring breakers are around. This kind of racuous partying is not a great mix at a family-friendly resort, when we are paying big bucks to stay there with young kids. We had to leave the karaoake show in the theatre one evening because it was nothing but really drunk teens trying to do obscene rap music on the stage...not appropriate for management to allow this. there was some overtly sexual behaviour in public as well by these young people, we tried to steer our kids clear of it and the fact that we needed to was annoying.
4. the beds! The beds and pillows were NOT comfortable, not in the least. We had heard this in other reviews and half expected it. But at least we were so tired every night that it didn't cause major concern. However, the beds at the Bahia Principe resorts (the last place we stayed) are FAR superior to these, AND they had a pillow bar. The bedding at this place left much to be desired. However, everything else about the room was fantastic, so we didn't let it bother us too much.
Overall, this resort provided us with an excellent vacation. We did NOT want to leave and when my youngest son asked us if we could move to Mexico, I knew the vacation was a success! It was 95% perfect, and that is good enough for me :>) By the way, we flew direct from Nova Scotia and paid $5400 taxes in...we were told this was a good deal. Compared to what we usually pay, I would say this was a lot of bang for the $CAN buck.
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- Also Known As:
- Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe Hotel Puerto Aventuras
- Barcelo Puerto Aventuras
- Barcelo Hotel Puerto Aventuras
- Barcelo Maya Palace Riviera Maya/Puerto Aventuras, Mexico