WOW, after nearly three months of planning, reading reviews and looking at pictures we finally decided where we were going. We are so incredibly thankful for the trip advisor reviews, photos and honesty that we read because everything was as stated.
For starters: we were looking for a five star resort that would take care of our every need. We were not looking for a resort filled with honeymooning night life. We wanted quality in the property, food, activities, as well as the cleanliness and the staff. We rate all of those things five star. We didn't have a want in the world once we got checked into our room. It was beautiful as described and shown in the Valentin's pictures and those found on TA from guests.
This was our first all inclusive resort and we feel we got every ounce of our money spent out of it. Every staff member we encountered was more than happy to assist us, make us a drink, seat us, wait on us and clean up our room. Everyone was grateful for your being at Valentin and even more thankful when they were tipped. More on that when I write my "tips".
We booked through Cheap Caribbean and do not have but one complaint. When we originally booked we budgeted for a Silver Suite because that's what we could comfortably afford, just a week later I got a bonus and wanted to upgrade to the Emerald Suite, who doesn't think that bathroom and the idea of being ocean front sounds amazing? We were unable to do any of that on the phone for the original difference we were quoted, the difference when I called was over the top. They stated that it would be best to make that upgrade with the resort and when we called them they wanted to wait until we checked in. SO - know what you want and can afford before reserving the room. Or you can't change it until you get to the resort and you're at the mercy of it being available.
That said, we also booked our transportation to the resort with CC via Olympus Tours, they were outstanding and worth every penny. We chose the private car with the champagne etc. Wonderful driver and met our expectations.
We did not book any excursions through CC or Olympus at the time of booking, we wanted to wait until we arrived, talk to people and see what they thought before making the decision. We ended up choosing Tulum Extreme which was booked through Olympus. It was $216 for both of us and included a guided tour of Tulum Mayan Ruins & market shopping, Rappelling & Ziplining in the jungle (we both have some fear of heights and were so excited to have conquered that) Cave snorkeling in the jungle (neat but a tad overrated because the cave was small, again, glad we had the experience) Ate authentic Mexican buffet lunch there, no complaints. Our guide Carlos aka "Yam" or sweet potato as he stated was GREAT! Even stopped and got special prescription lenses goggles for those with glasses to snorkel with. We left resort at 7:30 and returned around 3pm, well worth the experience to us. Safety was not in question at all.
It to me appeared that the cost of the excursions were much cheaper once at the resort through Olympus and not CC. Just an FYI.
Onto resort specific reviews.
It was a breeze, with the exception of wanting to upgrade we were met with cool towels, given champagne and offered a seat while they one by one checked people in at a private desk. Very easy, we had upgrade credits so we went from silver to emerald for $175 after our $75 credit. That was worth it to us, will we do it again, maybe not because we know what that rooms like now, we may want a different experience next time. We were in building 13 room 13105 ground floor and it was fine, you can NOT see the ocean because the resort is lush with plants and trees everywhere. However, you can hear it and walk to it via a path between buildings in just a few steps. Emerald suites are all near the beach bar and the restaurant that serves Steak and Seafood, we loved that one. Buffet breakfast & lunch also available there.
ONLY DRAWBACK: It was frustrating to only have internet access while in the lobby, not that we wanted to be online all week but calling home for us was via Face Time and only through their internet in lobby. However, reality check, it's Mexico not USA so I predicted that ;)
After pondering the Privilege Package for weeks and determining we would add it there we changed our minds. The biggest concern which sounds silly was that they wouldn't have our brand of alcohol, they did on the regular package. After being there and knowing all that's included in the everyday inclusive, there's no real benefit if you don't care about a newspaper delivery every day. We had no problems making reservations as long as we did them in the morning of the day you wanted to eat.
Had read previous concerns about first floor rooms and bugs, as long as they aren't in excess, I'm not concerned. I live in the US and we have bugs too. Saw a couple spiders and teeny tiny ants but nothing that freaked us out.
We were on bottom floor Emerald in 13 and I didn't want that but it turned out just fine, AC worked well and our room was cleaned daily by housekeeping with nightly turn down service. We left $3 per day for her and a dollar or two in the mini bar if we needed it refilled, it's different people who do that.
Excellent, 7 places to choose from all great. However, we all have individualized tastes so what I may love you may hate. We live in Atlanta, GA and have a surplus of fine dining. What they had was great considering the mass of people they were feeding daily, were they as good or better than we have at home, no. But, for our six days we didn't miss a meal and were more than satisfied every time. The filet's at the resort in French and Steak house are amazing. Lunch buffets by the beach were the best, walk around them all before filling your plates, there's everything from Grilled burgers to fresh fish. TONS OF CHOICES.
Great selections, I didn't care for the mixers as they all seemed over sweet etc. We drank Mojitos everywhere and they were excellent. The Superman frozen drink and Beer-rita were great too. Didn't care for the electric lemonade, it was fine thought because being that I didn't just pay for it, just order another. Cabernet Sav & Merlot were only reds to choose from, they were good.
Tips & Money/Pesos
We tipped everyone, that's just how we are. If you gave us a ride we tipped a dollar. If you made a drink we tipped a dollar per drink. We generally left a five at breakfast and lunch and ten at dinner. It's very nice so that's why we felt like doing that. We did however break down several hundred dollars prior to going into ones, fives and tens for that purpose. It's hard to always figure the pesos.
Generally speaking you could manage the pesos by thinking 10 to 1, so for every 10 pesos it's ABOUT 1 USD. The exchange changes and was 12.8 while we were there so if it was 500 pesos we would think on the lines of 50 USD and it would be a tad cheaper. The markets that come into the resort several times a week have Everything that the Playa & Cancun markets have, they will bargain with you as well. There are two hat are set up in the resort daily and have decent prices but don't bargain as well.
Size of Resort:
HUGE, yes it was but it was great because we walked off everything we ate or drank. Nothing that concerned us. didn't take more than about 5-7 minutes to go from the beach to the front lobby.
Swap your pool towels daily for new ones at one of two locations by the pool where dive instructions are given.
Make meal reservations in the morning.
Don't pay full price for anything in the markets, everything is the same everywhere and is made in mass quantities. Not any less attractive or wanted but they start high so offer what it's worth to YOU.
Don't let weather reports you read worry you, our trip days said 80% storms every day, it sprinkled only once on the last day.
We loved the resort, the people and the experience. Wouldn't trade it for the world and when and if we choose to go back to the Yucatan Peninsula we will definitely choose that resort.
- 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
- Valentin Imperial Maya Riviera Maya, Mexico