I stay here from Aug 14-18. To give you some background, I have travelled all over the world, from China to Hungary. I have stayed in nice resorts, Ritz to Shangra La, to hostels with College buddies. I have high tastes and standards but I know when there is a good deal. I went here with the expectation to recieve good food, a nice beach, and a relaxing time. I switch from Ocean and Coral to Grand Princess. Then I heard about the stealing at Grand Princess and choose Valentin. Everything exceeded my expectations.
Travel: Took Continental Airlines. I cannot stand a lot of the American airline industry. If you have ever flown Singapore Air or Asiana you know what I am talking about. Overall, the flight was fine. I used USA transfers. They were on-time. We had a our own van/car. It was well worth the 80 dollars. There is a lot of construction on Puerto Moreles so it takes longer than the normal 25 minutes. Overall, it took about 40 mins to get from the airport to the hotel.
First Impression: The entrance is normal for a hotel in Riviera Maya. It is definitly not as cool as the Velas entrance but more interesting than anything Secrets has made. None of the fountains were on, but this is explained by a water main break. Driving up to the actual hotel takes about 3 minutes. The road is private and it is like driving through a botantical gardens. Everything is inline and perfect. The actual front of the hotel, the circle fountain with a cross walkway, is hidden by the road. The "front" or bell boy side is off to the side. This is the first sight. It is not very impressive but as soon as you get out somoene meets you with bubbly and a cool towel. They did not get our bags at first but then the boss whistled and they rushed over. They were not paying attention. You walk straight ahead through some Olympus tours and expedition bookers. They do not bother you. The advertise front entrance is on your left. This walkway was really nice. It feels like a colonial patio.
Check-in- Had to wait 10 mins to check in. The people were very polite and pulled out your chair. The lobby is huge. The main theme is colonial with a splash of modern. The lobby was breath taking to say the least. The front desked told us all the instructions. They told us no dress code for the food, just fyi. They did not mention the resort credit. I had to ask for it, so be sure to mention a upgrade and a resort credit. We booked the golden suite, non swim up. I did not want to move from it so I just wanted the credit. They gave it to us. They gave us a little booklet about the resort. It was all in spanish but i took it anyways. The bellboy came from outside and asked for us by name which was cool. We went to the tram and he took us to the room.
Room: We stayed at building six, room 6205. I had two doubles. With this you lose the gorgeous bathroom door that opens up in front of the tub. You can only get this with the king bed. The room was still huge and nice. Everything was made up and turned down. The air was set for a chilly 67. We never had a issue with the air. It was always at least 74. There is also a fan too that works great. So i think all issues of cooling should be put aside. I never had a issue. The tv in the living was nice as well. I thought they had lost a remote to one of the tvs but in fact the single remote works for both the tv's. I did not know this till the second day. The bathroom, as described by many, was great. It is very very large. The shower is covered in marble tile that is frankly a AWESOME color. The toilet and shower was divided. The tub was walled in, as described. One issue was that there is a triangle hole in the corner of the wall from this encloser. In the hotel pictures, there is a plant in the place. MY room did not have the plant so it looked weird and drab. They gave us shampoo condition, oatmeal soap, and shower gel. The two robes were soft and great to use in the morning. They gave us 6 towels every single day! This was really really nice. Even during the mid day cleaning and turn down, they replaced all the towels. The shower does leak a little bit but the shower can fit like 4 people inside. So the people who have water come out must be shooting it on the door. The floor is lower than the bathroom floor so it is a negative by the modern glass design. All designs similar to this have this problem. So just do not shoot the water on the door. Another issue was only one handtowel rack by design. I found this odd. The other hand towel sits on the tub.
The room every day had a little sheet that had all of the activities for the next day and the weather report. There was drawer paper in each drawer. They gave us fresh slippers and bottle water at each housekeeping visit. The mini bar is stocked with about 6 bottles of water and some beer. There is also a room directory with the room service menu. The beds were AMAZING! They are made with that tempur material that we all see on commericals. The pillow menu was nice but I had to ask 3 times for it. The sheets were always crisp, even on the rainy days. When our room got fridged during the night from the AC and the fan, I was never cold. I was also never hot when i woke up in the morning.
The balcony was huge and nice to sit on when it rained. We had a good view of the pool and the lagoon. It is kind of weird because the balcony next to you is so visible. There is no privacy because the wall is only waist high. The good thing is that you only can see one neighbor. All of the rooms are staggered. I just talked to the people next to me when it is raining. The corner rooms on the top floor of the 6 building have a much better balcony. They are actually ocean view rooms.
On a side note, there is a lot of these "ocean front" suites that are only two stories high (non golden building). They are not really ocean front. There is a lot of trees and brush in the way. You still have to walk through your front door, out on to the road and down to the beach entrance. For being such a premium room, supposedly the second nicest room on the resort, there were a lot of them. I think if you booked a golden suite you could easily get a upgrade. These rooms are still very nice with that sweet private jacuzzi with the glass shudders that open out onto the ocean. Just request a second story room and you can see the ocean just fine. The rooms though are smaller than the golden. The ocean front dexlue suite (not even advertised on some booking sites) are the largest rooms. You can see them on the silver suite buildings. The are always on the corner facing the ocean. They seem to be a lot bigger, twice the size of the golden, and have that same jacuzzi as the ocean front suites.
Pools: If you are looking for a laid back time, go to the 3 island pool next to the golden suites. Literally dead silent. During our stay, it was never full. This seems to be the pool if you just want to be alone. I hung out there in one of the islands with just a friend. It was like my own private pool. It was really nice. There is only one bar and limited service so you have to get up and go get your drinks usually. There was always shade available and room for you to float along and not hear anyone.
There is a water volleyball pool. No one is there unless playing water volleyball.
Main pool is where all the noise was. There was games and a water fall. For kicks, this water fall arch, inbetween the two poolside bars, is the main theme of the entire resort. You see it from the room designs to the beach showers. The pool service was always great and timely. I never had a problem finding shade in the many of the covered seats. There is always a place to sit down. there are two jacuzzi style seating areas. There was never any abnoxiously loud people. It is a good just upbeat feeling. Also, everyone seems to leave either their towel or float behind at the end of the day. If you have a trouble finding a float or lose your towel, people just leave them at the pool.
Yes there are tiles missing in both pools. Considering the billions of tiles in the pool, it is less that .5% are actually missing. You can see them but it is not a problem.
Beach: best beach I have ever been too. I have been to Maui twice and this beach beat Maui on several fronts. Yeah, it is sometimes dirty from rude guests and the sea weed is on the beach but the waves were huge and a load of fun to play in. The water is clear and has that nice mexican blue. There is a rocky side were the waves break about 200 away from the shore. This is full of hard coral rock so do not go walking out there. It is just to look at. This is were the only one bar on the beach, besides the privelage side. It is in front of the rocky beach. This is the calmer side. The waves never get big and you can see the waves crash. About a minute walk from the bar is the swimable side. The entire time we were there the waves were massive. Some parts of the day the waves were at least 12 feet every 5th or so. On average, the waves reach at least 6feet each one. There is a water activities center at the end of the beach. Rent a sailboat or a kayak. It is a ton of fun battling the waves. I actually flipped my sailboat. It was a lot of fun. The waves were way to strong for the sail and my sail partner was just learning the ropes. We kept getting stuck just 10 feet away from the beach because the waves were crashing over the side of the boat. I was trying to pull the sail tighter and then a wave knocked me off and then flipped the boat. The people who ran the place were very helpful and eventually just took us out because it was so rough.
There was plenty of shade, in my opinion, on the beach. Things start to fill up at nine. If you go on the south side of the Terra and Mar, you usually can find a canopy still open. I got there at 830 and had plenty to choose from. The ones on the swimable side go faster. At about 1200, people start to leave. Most people go to the pool by then. At about 4, the beach is dead.
The activities people were fun. They always tried to get us invovled.
A warning, do not swim at the beach unless the lifegaurd is present. Someone almost drowned on a YELLOW flag day. They had to rescue her. She was all the way in the corner, farethest away from the guard, on one of the roughest days of the week. The lifeguards there are really strict and they should be. The waves are strong and only for those who like to body surf and just play in the waves. Be smart. Stay close to the lifeguard stand. He does not kick people out but just moves them closer to the stand.
Food/ Service: Did not try lobster pot, steakhouse, indonesian, room service, italian. Overall, never had to wait for a table. Service was great. Only some minor issues. Nothing out of the ordinary.
French- Apple Tart and Chocolate Mouse are to die for! Amazing! The orange duck was great!!! Samuel at the frech resturant was better than many 4 star resturants I have been too. The service was great! The manager usually brings out your food. I have never had french food so i can not vouche for the "frenchness" but it was good food. Sometimes people confuse authenticity and good food. Good romantic atmosphere. Went there twice!
Japanese- I am half Chinese and sometimes find it funny when ALL of the decorations are out of place. All of the writings are in Chinese not Japanese. They are not even the borrowed characters. The buddhas in there are Indian not Japanese. These are not a big deal at all but just funny. The food was so-so. I have a high standard for asian food. The sushi was decent. I do not like fish and found it good. The show grill was fun. Talking to the other people at the table is always entertaining. The service was kind of slow but not annoying. The decorations were, besides the above, really really amazing.
Mexican- Good. I like Tex-Mex better but they had some good chips. They taste baked, not friend. Service was great and fast
lunch- My recommendation is to the skip the one at the lobby of the hotel and go to the one at the beach. I found this one TONS better. There is a lot more food to choose from and the breeze is much better. The hostess was really really sweet. She was always dancing with the music and had a great personality. She really made the experience.
Breakfast- One at the main part of the hotel hands down. They had alot more choices. The real fruit juice is great. Also, the labeled the style of food, whether healthy or unhealthy. I like this commitment to good eating habits. There is a color coded system that you can see at the table. also, try to sit in the airconditioning side. It is much better because of the lack of breeze in the resturant. I had my "worst" service experience here. The waiter was slower than usual and did not bring drinks. It was not a terrible experience. I just asked another waiter. No bigs. He picked up his game later on though.
Spa- On the smaller side. It was nice. Price was average. They treat you like royalty. Try to do one of there packages or treatments. You get a special room with like private pools and jacuzzies which are cool.
Theme nights- They had two theme nights while I was there. These were fun and different. I am glad they did this so often. It really livens up the hotel. These are separate from the normal food services.
Music- They usually had some musicial playing somewhere all the time. Go watch the music. They are amazing. I am a huge music guy and these people were some of the best. Take a drink and relax.
Enterainment- I only saw the circus show. It was honestly good and very funny. There is not much decor but it was a good show. I am use to vegas shows and I was entertained by this.
Drinks- I just had fruit drinks. They were good. I do not drink hard liquor. Never had a issue with the bars.
Issues- There is some lack of communication between the concerige and housekeeping service. Nothing huge but just minor issues.
- had to ask several times for the right pillow
-my maid service was after 4 usually
- did not show up when i asked
Other than that, the housekeeping was fantastic.
Improvments- This is only to make a true 5 star. I give it a lower end 5 star or a solid 4.5
- orginal artwork
- fixing the minor service fall outs
- upkeep on the beach
- adding that awe factor
Having been to so many 5 stars, I think the awe factor is what people want in a five star. The closest 5 star to the Valentin is the Iberostar Grand Pariso. This has true awe power. I would say this resort does not have that. I do not rate it no worse because of the lack of awe because I think it is so subjective.
Best Quality of the resort is the village type feel. You do not feel like you are at a hotel but part of a small town. The suite buildings are well placed. There is a lot of garden work. The soft music playing in the walkways is a great touch. The employees always say hello. It has a small feel eventhough the resort is a average size. This resort is not large by any means. It takes 5mins to walk from the beach to the lobby. It is a medium size resort. It has a good house hold feel. You feel like you are part of local mexican village rather than a hotel. Also, only go here if you are a couple or with a bunch of friends. The crowd here is much older and usually all the women or men or married or engaged. This is not a party resort.
Overall- Great resort. This is either a 4.5 or a lower end 5 star. It is by far better than El Cid, Ocean and Coral, NH, or even some Dreams/ Secrets resorts. Grand Princess has nothing on this resort (I do not know why it is still rated so high). It probably cannot compete though with the Excellence, Mandarin, or Velas types. So it is inbetween these. If you are looking for a 5 star that is for normal people, This is the place for you. Sometimes those other real 5 stars has guests that are rather rude. It really is valued priced for what you get. This has huge bang for buck value. I would rate this number one in value at the 5 star level. I can see why this hotel is now #10 in all of Playa. I think it will soon be higher and be #1 with a few improvements. One of the best resorts I have ever stayed at!
Please contact me with any questions.... will post photos soon!
- 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
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with BookIt.com, Expedia, Orbitz, Hotels.com, Booking.com, Travelocity, HotelsforEveryone, TripOnline SA, Hotwire, Cancelon, getaroom.com, Evoline ltd and HotelQuickly so you can book your Valentin Imperial Maya reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Valentin Imperial Maya Hotel Playa Del Carmen
- Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya
- Valentin Imperial Maya Riviera Maya, Mexico