We went to the VIM with another couple from June 29 to July 3. We are seasoned All Inclusive vacationers and rank this resort among our favorites. We went to Sandals Grande Riviera last year and intended on returning, but VIM was substantially less so we gave it a try. Although it cost much less I did not feel that we were getting much less and thought that VIM was a substantially better value than the Sandals resort.
STORM DAMAGE - I understand that there was a major storm that flooded the whole resort and caused extensive damage on June 1. This was a major concern for us, however, there was little to no evidence of this flood and the resort management and staff did a terrific job of getting things back up and running.
CHECK IN - This resort is only 25 minutes from the airport. At checking you are lead to a comfortable seating area where you are given champagne while you wait to be checked in. very comfortable and relaxing way of doing things.
THE ROOM - We stayed in a silver suite, which was clean, spacious and tastefully decorated. The bathroom layout is a bit strange. Although it looks beautiful and open with a huge jacuzzi as the focal point, you lose all privacy while doing your business. Consider yourself warned. Otherwise the room was great. We were in building 1 on the third floor, which was convenient to the lobby, restaurants, theatre and night life. It was a three minute stroll to the pool and a five minute stroll to the beach.
THE GROUNDS - The Resort is fairly large but not overwhelmingly so. The grounds are immaculate and beautiful and meticulously maintained. There is an abundance of wildlife and beautiful fauna throughout. There are golf carts that will take you around, however, we really enjoyed strolling the grounds and never took advantage of this service.
THE BEACH - The beach is a long stretch of white sand that goes on for as long as you can see. However, there is no reef in front of the resort, so the waves can get a little rough. We actually enjoyed this a great deal, but it is a little out of character for the serene, placid caribbean beach. We took a long walk to the north and checked out all of the beautiful beachfront houses.
THE POOL - The pool was amazing and had a quiet and active side. We really enjoyed the pool bars. My only complaint in this regard is that they close too early. In retrospect this is a good thing as we would likely be in the pool all night if they did not kick us out!!!!!! We were told that the lazy river pool was only for the use of the golden suite buildings adjacent to the pool. Is this a new policy? Did we misunderstand what we were told? Regardless, we went to check it out and found it deserted. We very much enjoyed the active pool with the swim up bars.
DRINKS - Drinks are plentiful and very good. Top shelf liquor of all varieties is readily available, but you do have to ask, otherwise you get well liquor. Earlier reviews suggested bringing Bubba Mugs because the drink glasses are small. Totally not the case at the pool bars, where drinks were HUGE. I drank Icebergs pool and beachside all day, which is a beer topped with a frozen margarita. Also, sipped on don julio tequila.
FOOD - All of the food was exceptional for an All Inclusive resort. As long as you judge the food against other All Inclusives, and not fine dining in a major US city, you will not be disappointed. We did room service for breakfast every day, which came quickly and was hot, fresh and delicious. The low-point in All Inclusive cuisine is usually the buffet, however we had no complaints and really enjoyed the lunch buffet every day. For dinner we ate in the French, Indonesian, Mexican and Sushi. All were excellent. Indonesian and sushi was our favorite. I loved the French, but my wife did not.
DON MIGUEL - Our only let down was the sushi situation in the Don Miguel bar. Other reviews mentioned sushi appetizers in this bar. We met there every night for drinks before dinner and found no sushi. However, we did find a beautiful bar, friendly staff and a relaxed atmosphere.
THE STAFF - FIRST RATE!!!!!. I cannot say enough about how wonderful the staff were. They work very hard to insure that your vacation is perfect. I brought $100 in fives and $100 in ones and tipped very generously. It was most appreciated by the staff who took great care of us during our stay. It should be noted that they also took great care of those that were not tipping, but do not use this as an excuse not to tip. Please take good care of those who take care of you!!!!
HOUSEKEEPING - Our maid did a very good job at cleaning our room and providing a turn down service. We had beautiful towel art every day.
EXCURSIONS - We went on the Tulum/Akumel excursion. It was very expensive, however, our guide was exceptional and the lunch on the beach was great. Tulum was beautiful and snorkeling with the sea turtles at Akumel beach was amazing. However, we could have just taken a cab to Tulum and Akumel and saved several hundred dollars. We spent a day in Playa Del Carmen and had a really good time. It was nice to get off the resort and stroll down fifth avenue. We looked at a beautiful botique hotel called the Hotel Lunata and we are considering staying there next time, for a whole different vacation experience.
GYM - Very small and very outdated. But it was sufficient to get me moving and sweating, which is all I really need while I am away. A gym upgrade would be most appreciated. There were a variety of fitness classes every day, but I did not attend any.
THE GUESTS - Mostly American from all over the country with a few Canadiens and Brits thrown in for good measure. Ages ranged from early 20's all the way up with the average age being late 30's to early 40's. Everyone had a good attitude, was easy going and very friendly. In some cases a bit overly friendly!!!!!!!
OVERALL - The VIM is exceptional on every level, is a terrific value and is one of our favorite all inclusive resorts.
I read over a hundred of these reviews, most of which were glowing, and consistent with my experience. There were several negative reviews, however, they all left me with the distinct impression that these people would fine some nonsense to complain about regardless of where they were staying.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel Valentin Imperial Maya is the new definition of paradise. Our 5 star Adults-Only (18+) All-Inclusive Resort is located a short 25 minutes from Cancun International Airport in the Riviera Maya. Set amid lavish gardens on a half-mile-long stretch of white sand beach named Playa Del Secreto (The Secret Beach), this magnificent award-winning resort boasts one of the largest swimming pools in Mexico. The location is ideal as one can easily reach Cancun and the world famous Mayan archaeological sites such as Tulum, Coba, and Chichen Itza, yet be removed enough to enjoy the casually elegant ambience of Valentin Imperial Maya. Escape into a world where your every wish is our command. Come indulge yourself....You deserve it! Valentin Imperial Maya Hotel & Spa is committed to preserve the environment by reducing the consumption of natural resources, promoting among our guests and staff, protection and respect for the environment through good environmental practices. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Valentin Imperial Maya Hotel Playa Del Carmen
- Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya Mexico