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Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya
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Reviewed October 29, 2013 via mobile

Playa del Carmen is one of our favorite destinations to head over the week of Halloween. We have stayed at Quite a few all Inclusives and this by far is the most disappointing as far as amenities and food go. The resort is owned by a Spanish company and not too sure they understand what their Mexican owned neighbors offer for all inclusive rates. So lets start with our room.....they have 14 buildings which are spread out to say the least and you better have good navigation skills and be prepared to walk and walk and walk. The levels are categorized silver through diamond ...we stayed in building 1 silver ocean view jr suite - as usual when you check in they want you to upgrade for an additional 50 - 100 per day ....basically all the rooms are the same give or take a better layout and size ....location is the key. Building 1,2 are very close to all restaurants and theatre/nightlife....the rest are closer to pool and beach. Our friends upgraded to a deluxe emerald building 14 beachfront ....none of which have a view of the beach( unless you have a 3 rd floor front )just the sound of the waves. The rooms are ample and offer all of the basics but if you are used to the typical inclusive( at the same price point) here in playa with fully stocked mini bar and refrigerator this is NOT YOUR PLACE. The mini bar is stocked with a few beers,soda and water....no liquor or mixers/snacks etc like most Inclusives here. The rooms are equipped with very nice bathrooms BUT they are also opened to the bedroom as well ....so toilet,shower etc are far from private and can be seen from all areas of your suite.
Each building does have an elevator and balcony / porch tiny television and good a/c.
Now for the Food.....this could be the worst food experience we have ever had here in playa ...very difficult to get reservations and each day there is a list of restaurants that are open ....all breakfast and lunch is served buffet in only 2 restaurants and mediocre at best. I guess if you have never traveled here to playa before and have nothing to compare it to .....you would be satisfied,but this resort really needs to work on better quality of food and offering more choices and times to eat. The evening offerings are Italian, Mexican, French or Asian none of which were impressive or worth telling people about. The bars offer all top shelf liquor and its evident the staff is very good in the bar department ( obviously due to tips )- pool Bars and beach bar have great service and did not disappoint ...
The beach is fantastic and has good chairs etc....nice green turtle reservation and good beverage service.
In comparison to the last few years of coming here the pros to the Valentin are the pool and beach ....the cons are poor food quality and be prepared to walk walk walk......this place is far to large and not recommended for disabled or elderly who have difficulty walking and navigating 10,000 acres with a ton of buildings all of which are very spread out.
Beautiful resort grounds and gardens but as far as a return trip ...??? Once was enough ...we will return to the Royal Playa Del Carmen next year .
Very disappointing for the price we paid .....lesson learned .

  • Stayed: October 2013
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Thank sunrisemahon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
F T, Customer Service Manager at Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded November 1, 2013

Dear Guests from Greenville,

We are sorry to hear about your negative experience in our hotel. It is always a true disappointment for both our valued clients and the resort that we did not meet your perceived expectations. We have carefully reviewed the information you mentioned above and we know and understand food is very important within an all inclusive resort of this category so please be certain we take it very seriously.

We appreciate you been mentioning some highlights of your experience as beach, pool and great staff service.

We also like to confirm and specify that we do have 7 Restaurants à- La Carte with a “no reservation policy”. No reservations required.

We will keep on working to improve our services and we hope that you will allow us another chance to restore all your confidence in VIM, so if you decide to visit us again, do not hesitate to contact us before, for sure the next experience will be totally incredible.

E mail : customercare@valentinmaya.com

Best regards

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 29, 2013

My husband and I went on our honeymoon to the Valentin Imperial Maya October 19-26, 2013! The resort was absolutely amazing:) I would definitely recommend the Valentin to anyone who was looking to go on a fun getaway. The resort was very clean, had amazing staff and delicious restaurants! It is adult only, so that was great not having a lot of kids running around and splashing you while you are trying to relax. There was always something to do... At the pool and beach they played volleyball which was a lot of fun! My husband loved playing water polo (the guys could get a little intense;)

A few things I did not like about the resort are.... The pool did not overlook the ocean and most rooms could not see the ocean. The pool did not have a snack bar close by (you had to get dressed and walk to the main resort for lunch or snacks).

Overall we would love to go back to the Valentin Imperial Maya:)

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Stephanie C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 29, 2013

We were at the Valentin from September 21-28. Before we arrived I read most reviews & set my expectations for a 4 1/2 star resort that was starting to show its age. What I can say is that expectation was met, but the natural beauty around the resort erased any vision you had of worn furniture, peeling paint or broken patio window. Thats really what we go on vacation for is to experience the natural beauty of the country, culture and people. This resort really delivers in all those areas.

Room: We stayed in an Emerald Suite, Room 11206, 2nd floor ( looked like Room 11201 had a litte better ocean view). We paid extra for it with our travel agent just so I didn't have the anxiety of having to worry about cost/availability at the resort to upgrade. When we travel we want a great room with oceanview where we can hear the waves, so we decided this time to have it all arranged beforehand. That being said, next time,if we were going in low season, I would wait to see what the hotel could offer as capacity was not completely full. The view from the room was half foliage/ half ocean, very private...and we really liked it. The jacuzzi off the deck was very nice except one of the windows wouldn't open as there was a cement slab in front of it.. we showed the bellboy but he basically said there wasn't much we could do. Oh well it was still nice to open the other window and patio door. We used the tub twice.. it did take a long time to fill but the jets worked perfectly. WE ordered room service: dessert and a bottle of house red one rainy day & sat in the tub. It was awesome. The only negative about the room was the dead cockroach in the bathroom when we arrived but HEY.. you are in the tropics! Embrace ALL that comes with it. Besides, the maid cleaned up our room very well everyday & we never had another problem so no complaints there. Our room did not have beach towels ( and no towel card ) when we arrived, but we had no problem grabbing some from the maid room we walked by one day...not sure that was right but we are opportunists :)
As well there was a curious small flashing light on the wall above the bed... at night it might bother you if you sleep with your eyes open (:
The Emerald Suites do have a private beach but it is not swimmable. The beach is perfect if you want to lay under a palapa with a good book but not go in the ocean. The bar for this beach was closed when we were there. IT would be nice to have it open as there were couples sitting at this beach everyday. Perhaps its open in high season? It was a FAR walk to restaurants/lobby but we were close to the beach. Besides we love to walk and experience the lush foliage and beautiful music piped in at night. It was surreal at times.

Food: We never had any bad experiences with restaurants we visited. Sushi was great. All were accomodating & service impecable... as well the buffets were awesome. A beach / snack bar or bbq on the beach one day would be nice instead of having to leave your palapa & walk all the way back to a buffet. The French restaurant was a great experience. Its a must see, We loved the Mexican restaurant too(went twice) Carribean night was Ok, but not enough lighting and the food was like the buffets food. Must say the salmon was spectacular. We used the room service a lot.. especially for the late night cravings ( club sandwich & pasta were great) . The Spa breakfast was great too.
Cigar bar was really cool if you like that sort of thing. Cigars are good quality. Bought cigars on the beach as well, but I would suggest not to do this. My BF felt really gross after he smoked a beach cigar. Another couple we met at the pool said the same thing.

Beach: The beach here is part of Playa Secreto ( close to Puerto Morelos-cool little town & about 5 minute drive in a taxi). I"d say it rates 2nd only to Maroma beach but a little rougher. Beautiful water tho. THe first day was rainy but the rest of the week was blue sky. The waves were bigger than usual for half the week and we LOVED it! It was far to walk to the beach palapas but always easy to find one. The bar service ( WE LOVE YOU LIZBETH!! ) was incredible. The waitresses, especially Lizbeth, were always there on time with a drink and it didnt take as long as you'd think looking at the distance they had to walk. They started cleaning up the chairs at little before sunset which was interesting... but if you wanted to stay longer you could.
WE had the privilege of releasing turtles twice during our stay. What an amazing experience. WE named one of our turtles "Trevor" .. hope he survivied! But it made sense after this as to why they don't allow people on the beach at night being that the female turtles come lay their eggs at this time. I really appreciate the love Mexicans have for nature.. they really are serious about protecting the endangered White Turtle. This memory is something we are thankful to them for.

Pools: We are beach people but did hang out at the pool a few times. Felt the bartenders were a bit moody unless the tip jar was full, but depended on the day & server there at the time. Oh well, we have lots of time to wait for drinks so it didn't matter much to us. AS many other reviews have said , the drinks were fastastic. Whatever you wanted and they weren't weak. No complaints here! There was party atmosphere at the 2 main pools but if you wanted quiet there was always other pools to go to. The lazy pool was nice at night.. quiet and we had fun quietly chasing the frogs jumping in and out of the pool.

Entertainment: Let's be honest, the shows were corny but theres a certain charm about that! The Mayan show was fantastic.. you must see it for the costumes and passion the performers have. The live band was good and upbeat. Played oldies but it was good for dancing.
The "dance club" or whatever it was in the theater hall was a bit of a joke. But after a few drinks no one cares and they play whatever you want. If you want a real night club they sell tickets for Cocobongo by the pool everyday.. again it costs more.
I think a bar thats open late on the beach would be fantastic! But I understand in low season how this may not be possible if they are more concerned with turtles coming on the beach at night.

Tips: Make sure you take enough cash with you. The gift shop had a problem with our credit cards everytime. Taking cASh out of the ATM cost a fortune!

Overall I will be back at this resort one day... probably get a cheaper room with privilege package and save money to do the romantic dinner on the beach.. it looked amazing.

Unfortuneately with the few negatives I had I just couldnt give it an "Excellent" rating but the negatives don't stop me from visiting again! In my opinion everyone needs to try this resort at least once.

Room Tip: Emerald Suites are very nice...quiet & you can hear the ocean. Get a 2nd floor suite. We liked Building 11.
  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank crazee_prairiecats
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 29, 2013

We stayed for 7 days at this beautiful resort. A rather quiet place not a lot of night life if that's your thing. One thing to advise you on, I was disappointed that there are no suites that you can view the ocean from and the walk to ocean front is a lengthy one but beautiful when you get there. The suites are unbelievable and staff very friendly. Restaurant choices were great and food very good. Pool chairs get taken VERY early and staff does not watch so people were leaving their stuff out there at 5 a.m. And going back to bed til 9-10. We had a room right outside of a small pool. It was beautiful and quiet so we didn't bother after the first day with the main pool. I would recommend anyone here, just know about the ocean view thing. I was disappointed about that. Only had 2 beers to chose from so my husband who is a beer drinker was disappointed. They may have increased their choices in the last year.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Luvtheoceandjtx2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
F T, Customer Service Manager at Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded October 30, 2013

Dear recent VIM Guests from Gurnee, Illinois

Thank you very much for your comments. We are glad that you liked our restaurants, rooms, food, pools and the amiability of our staff. It is our goal to create memories and beautiful experiences in our guest.

We will take all of your comments regarding our view the ocean into consideration.but we would like to confirm that our Emerald suites have an “ocean front" but not an "ocean view".

Regarding your observations about the Pool chairs; we are kindly informing you that the staff has been made aware to have more frequent checks of the pool to free up empty chairs for our guests.

Please be also assured that we have shared your feedback regarding our Beer selection with our B&F manager, in order to improve our beer choices in the future.

Thank you for recommending our property. It will be always a pleasure to welcome you back at Valentin Imperial Maya.

Wishing you all the best,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 29, 2013

The Valentin Imperial is a wonderful resort in every way. We enjoyed our stay from the moment that we arrived. After being greeted in a friendly manner we quickly checked in and began our week long stay at the end of September. The staff goes above and beyond what is necessary to make certain that you feel welcome. Our room was clean with a beautiful view; food was fantastic and entertainment was varied. Can't wait to return.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
1  Thank Anna A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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