First of all... if you rate this spot any lower than a 4 star, you are probably letting extraneous things get to you on vacation!! (i.e. other travelers, weather, etc) Don't be that traveler! Enjoy your few days away and just relax!
This spot is a little chunk of heaven. Upon arrival you are greeted warmly and given a cool cloth, told "welcome home" and directed into check in.
At this point, you may or may not have a room ready (depending on your arrival time), but regardless, you can start taking advantage of pool, restaurants, and the facilities.
The whole resort is beautiful, and even at 100% capacity, we never felt crowded, pushed aside, or unattended to. We were lucky enough to have an Emerald suite in building 11, and felt it was a fantastic location. Being on the 2nd floor we could see the ocean through the palms and hear the waves, but we were some of very few who had that kind of view. No one in this resort will have a completely unobstructed view of the beach. It won't happen, so don't go in with that as your expectation and you will be just fine! This is vacation, don't worry about the views... walk to the beach if you want to see the ocean! They are clean, soft white sand, have a cool breeze and plenty of chairs and palapas for the taking! We even enjoyed a game of beach volleyball. The bars are close enough to walk to, and the water was clear, cool, and refreshing. We had a school of angel fish playing around us each time we went into the water, which was very cool to see.
As far as restaurants go... this is our take.
They had fabulous food for Mexico resort standards! We enjoyed every meal. Most of it is not on the same caliber as "big city" food in the states. We have yet to find a resort yet that is -- even the "gourmet all inclusives". That being said, this was really good food!
Surprisingly, our favorite was the Indonesian. We do not eat much (any) Indonesian food here and decided to try something new. The Pad Thai and the Seafood Curry were the best food that I ate my entire trip!
Our second favorite was the French, the Filet Mignon was incredible - like melt in your mouth kind of good! The onion soup was great as well, and we have heard the baked Alaska is a must try, but were just too full to do so!
We also ate at the Japanese restaurant, hibachi and non-hibachi, and this was our biggest let down. If you don't have the pleasure of having a hibachi restaurant near your area at home, you should do it. It is a fun little show and a great atmosphere. However, if, like me, this is one of your favorite foods -- I'd skip it. It just isn't quite up to par with home for me. Still ok, will just skip it next time. The non-hibachi was also just ok. Sushi is pretty good in the Dallas area and this wasn't that great. Same goes for the rest of the food. I did really enjoy the tempura appetizer!
We ate breakfast and lunch every day at Mar and Tierra on the beach. It was the best view, comfortable enough with the breeze, the selection was fine, and we had outstanding service! We went every day because of Omar. He was a pleasure to see and never let our mimosas get more than halfway empty!
We chose to tip at every meal. Not because we had bad service without it, but because the people at the resort were so kind and work so incredibly hard for what they have. We are talking 11 hour days (minimum) with only one day off per week. So we felt it was only fair to leave a few dollars at each sit down meal. It was truly the least we could do!
The best part of the trip was that fact that you could find a spot to be to suit your needs regardless of your desired activity or non-activity level. If you wanted to hang out in the pool and have some good drinks by the bar, there was always room and always neat people to meet. We met some really great couples that we have exchanged info with!
If crowds and drinking aren't your thing, or if a group is being a little too rambunctious (this happened with a couple of wedding crowds during our stay), no big deal, head over to the "lazy river" pool or head to the beach. You are never too far from water to cool off in and you are never too far from drinks. You really can find whatever atmosphere you prefer if you just go look for it! Don't let others ruin your fun.
The main pool, as many have stated, is HUGE. We are early risers, so we would go set our towels out and then head to breakfast. Our towels were never moved, and we never saw anyone struggle to find a seat--- they may just not have gotten their first pick. Honestly, I don't think we sat in our pool chairs a single time. They were mostly just a home base for reapplying sunscreen and drying off to go to the bathroom. Spots on the beach were a little harder to come by, so if you want to hang out in a chair all day sunning, you may need to head down there to pick out a spot by 8 or so.
****Best advice we can give is to bring a collapsable cooler. There is an ice machine at each building and you can take the drinks from your minibar along to the pool or beach with you. The bars on the beach will also give you cans to pack into it! Keeps them cold all day long -- especially great to have on the beach where you can't float to a bar...*****
We brought plenty of sunblock (reapply often!!) and bug stuff, but didn't need that at all. I am assuming that it depends on the weather as to if you really battle the bugs or not. I will pack it again next time though -- better safe than sorry!
We chose to go into Playa one evening and had a great time with another couple having dinner and shopping. Felt very safe the entire time. It will cost you a pretty penny though. About $60 round trip in a cab, we had a very nice dinner for about $80 (with drinks and apps), and then shopping. But it was worth it and lots of fun.
We also did one half-day excursion to go swim in a cenote and with the sea turtles. Great time was had by all. Just prepare to be gone longer than you expect (or are told). It would also be a good idea to plan this earlier in your trip rather than later. We did ours on our last full day there and wished we had more pool time later or another day to chill and relax.
Think that is about it! Go and have fun! We had so much that we are already booking another trip for September or October!
- 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