My family (wife+me, kids 6, 4, 4) just got back last night from a trip to the Barcelo Maya Palace. This inclusive resort was a great way to visit the Maya Riviera. Though I'm rating it 5 stars, it is not a perfect place, but it was definitely 5-star worthy.
This is a beautiful and incredibly well-maintained resort. The grounds are immaculate, the beach is very calm with very soft white sand and a very gradual drop in depth, so we never worried about our kids being in the water or on the shore. It took about 1 hour to get to the hotel from the airport, and it's about 20 minutes to get to either Playa del Carmen or Tulum if you want to go shopping for souvenirs.
Service: 4.5 stars
Like some others have said, the people were incredibly friendly and helpful. Special props to Fernando in the Brasserie. He goes above and beyond when you're trying to have a nice dinner and your kids are getting a bit bored. We found everyone to be very friendly, wait staff were mostly very attentive, and people at the front desk and in other roles were all also great. We found a few who would forget to deliver drinks or other small things, but they always responded when we asked a second time.
Rooms: 4 stars
Very clean and very spacious. I deduct one point because there was a lot of noise from adjoining rooms and from the hallway. We found the minibar restocked every night, and it was nice to be delivered a bottle of tequila when we arrived. The bed had a waterproof mattress cover that was very annoying, but we took it off on the first night and the cleaning staff never put it back on the bed.
Facilities: 4 stars, probably 5 stars in summer when the pools are warmer
Lots to do, if you like being in the water. Our trip was in mid January, so it wasn't particularly hot (80 deg F / 26 C) but the sea was still warm and very swimmable. The pools are massive and interesting, but all unheated, and they were too cold for my taste. My kids liked the water slide pool, but even in this shallow pool the water was chilly. I tried swimming laps in the lap pool and I was never able to warm up enough to get past the cold water. In the sea, the hotel has snorkeling, kayaks (1, 2, or 3 ppl) and catamarans that you can use (no extra charge). I didn't see too much to do if you're not a water person, but they did have some nice basics such as table tennis, pool tables, and shuffleboard for the times when it was too cold to be in the water.
Food: 3.5 stars
There are two conjoined buffet restaurants that serve as the main offering. Like others, I got bored with the variety, and found it tough to eat healthy food since I was trying to avoid salads (worried about stomach problems). The omelet bar was nice, and you can get egg whites. I was surprised there wasn't more traditional Mexican food, but it was sprinkled around in the various stations. 3 stars for the buffets. There are also about 4 fancier restaurants which are available by reservation only. We tried Brasserie (French), Rodizio (Brazilian steakhouse), and Caribe (seafood). They were all good, with a simple set of choices but enough variety for everyone to be happy. 4 stars for these restaurants.
It was our first time in Mexico, so it's hard to compare the Barcelo against other options, but we were very happy we went, and we'd definitely go back to the Barcelo again. The people at the Barcelo left us with a very positive impression of Mexico as a tourist destination, and my 6yo girl was happy enough here that she said she's going to move there to live the rest of her life at the resort.
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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