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“Didn't want to leave.”

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Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 18, 2010

Beautiful grounds, pool, beach. Pool feels quite cold unless it is above 85 degrees - then it feels great! No outdoor jacuzzis, but in room jacuzzi was very nice.
Great beach and poolside drink service (even when sitting far down the beach away from a bar!)
Food quite good. Breakfast buffet excellent. Dinner restaurants overall very good with only a few dishes that were under par (no big deal). All restaurants had good choices for appetizers and entrees.
Service mostly good with a few over sites in promptness every once in while.
Rooms were nice, beds were very comfortable.
Chairs (in shade) were available on the beach and pool until about 8:30, but harder to find after that. Sunny chairs always available.
A fairly quiet resort - mostly couples.
Overall excellent, especially considering the price!

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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5  Thank pmgrah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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9,668 - 9,674 of 12,260 reviews

Reviewed March 17, 2010

We stayed at the Valentin the first week of March. Before we left I must have read every review for a month prior to leaving. Let me give you an honest review.
1. People say the resort is too large, a lot of walking. If you are 100 pounds over weight this will be an issue every where you go, stop being lazy. The walks weren't very far at all. We stayed in a building right by the restaurants which was furthest from the beach, still not a long walk.
2. People say too dark, hard to find your room. It is almost impossible not to find your room after the first day unless maybe you are totally plastered from the top shelf liquor.
3. People say room is loud. I do agree with this if you are a late sleeper. They start cleaning rooms by 8:30 - 9:00am and it sounds like 2 sumo wrestlers getting it on above you. But, when its a sunny day and a beach or pool is calling your name it kinda motivated us to get going.
4. Restaurants were very good. Breakfast and lunch were buffets and you received buffet food. You can't expect a $50.00/person champaigne brunch when you are at a buffet at a all inclusive resort. With that being said it was definitely better than your average buffet. Go to Le Marche for lunch instead of the restaurant by the beach, Le Marche is much better for lunch.
5. Do yourself a favor and if you go to the french restaurant order the quiche for appetizer and the chateaubriand, it was probably a top 5 meal of all time for me. I had it twice and it was just as good the second time.
6. Skip burgers and hot dogs, the Mexicans don't do American food very well.
7. Worst two restaurants in my opinion were lobster pot and steak house. Best (see #5).
8. Some people say not enough food, however these are correct portion sizes. We Americans are chronic over eaters and it shows on the waist line. If you are not full from an appetizer, a salad, an entree and a desert you need to go to over eaters anonymous.
9. Mexican restaurant is okay, the guacamole and salsa were great, but there is plenty of authentic Mexican food in the states so it wasn't a huge turn on (but it was good) but the mariachi band was good.
10. We always found some chairs either on the beach or by the pool. The perfect location with shade, no, but we found chairs.
11. Night life was not crazy, the band in the plaza was excellent but they didn't play very long. Would have liked a little more night life, but plenty to do until midnight.
12. Beach was very nice. Rocky in the water, yes, except for roped off swimming area which was plenty large and very nice. Again, some people say long walk to the swimming area, I say get in better shape because it wasn't long at all.
13. Fun tip for swimming area. Grab some bread or a box of corn flakes from breakfast to feed fish. There are angel fish (they don't bite) around the swimming area and if you start throwing food in they swarm around you. It looks like the water is bubbling with fish. Maybe 40 - 60 fish all around you. It's really fun... take your camera too because it makes for good pics.

We went on an all day excursion with edventuretours. See things to do in Playa Del Carmen on trip advisor. It was a fun day but you must book before going, they don't offer it anywhere around the hotel. They are small groups (7 in ours) with a guide so no big bus tour with 40 other people. Check it out and ask for Hector, he was great.
Also went into Paya for an afternoon. It was okay, we had fun. Cigars much cheaper there than at the hotel. It was nice to have a good Cuban.

I have stayed at other all inclusives and this one was excellent. Great restaurants (room service food not so great), nice beach and pool area. Will everything be 100% perfect, probably not, but you can find something to complain about wherever you go. Relax, enjoy the weather, have a few drinks......you're on vacation.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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14  Thank Redwingswolverines
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2010

My wife and I had traveled to Mexico before we were Married, and vowed not to go back there. After we got Married, we decided to go back because of the price of the Valentin, and all of the good reviews. Let me just say that it wasn't terrible, but it wasn't amazing either.
We would leave our room every morning really early, and we usually would find a couple chairs by the pool (usually 7am). We would sit by seats everyday that had towels on them because someone had saved them from the night before or the morning, and nobody would sit in them the whole day. And for the first 3 days, when we went back to our room, our key card would not work. We would have to walk all the way to the front desk, and they would send staff over, and they would break into our room via the patio door (made me feel real safe). They would change the batteries, then the lock. 3 day's in a row, while we stood there for 2 hours watching them. We just wanted to relax in our room and clean up, and they could not figure out those locks. It was pretty annoying.

The first night after they fixed the lock, my Wife and I were in the tub and someone had come in and left Champagne for us. We appreciated the Champagne, and I'm sure whoever delivered it enjoyed the show, but I would of appreciated it more if it was left outside the door. Our room was also the last one to be made up (around 6pm at night) every night, even though we called the front desk everyday requesting that they do it first thing in the morning. We always wanted to take a bath when we got back in in the evening, but we couldn't because the maid would show up late.

There was a few more annoying occurrences, but I don't want this review running forever. We brought 100 X $1 bills for tipping, and were weren't very impressed w/ the service. I think it is because we are younger, and they didn't think we would tip as well as more established couples. Food was subpar. Expected amazing Sushi being that close to the water, but it wasn't very good. Same quality as you would get at a grocery store. Indonesian was good though. Pretty sure we got sick from room service, but being in Mexico, it could of been a number of things.

The people we met from other parts of Canada, and the US were great, and I think that is why people give this resort great reviews. I know people will think I am a whiner, but it was our Honeymoon, and I expected a lot more from this resort. You can take or leave my comments however you want to.......

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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3  Thank Feverj5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2010

As background, we’re 30-40 somethings on our first all-inclusive resort vacation. We picked VIM after extensive Trip Advisor research and had a fabulous time during our stay Mar 2 – 7. Rather than repeat the extensive reviews here we thought we’d share a few observations…

First, though, a note: if you’re reading this planning a vacation, check your passport. Don’t get to the security line at the airport to find out yours has expired. Not that this happened to one of us or anything…

So, on our second try, we did reach VIM, and here’s what we found:

Best Items We Packed: Bathing suit cover-up dress – wore it every day on beach, to lunch, etc. Laptop (and Ethernet cord) to use in the room.

Worst Item We Packed: Uncomfortable flip flops! Had to buy another pair within hours of arriving. What you read about comfortable shoes is no lie – none of the walking bothered us except when our shoes did. Not the place to break in a new pair.

Item We Forgot to Pack: Warmer clothes! It was cold at night, especially eating outside!

Best Advice We Followed: bring lots of singles for tips! Though not required (and we NEVER got a vibe from the staff that they were expected) we felt it was important to recognize the staff who were working like crazy to serve us!

Advice We Should Have Followed But Didn’t: don’t get caught up by the people in the airport lobby after your arrival! Follow the instructions to meet your driver (ours was outside in a little roped-off area with a sign) and hit the road without a hassle!

Best Surprise: 1) the staff. Even though we had read about how gracious they were, it was really amazing to see how attentive and happy everyone was. 2) our fellow guests. We had so many fun conversations, drinks, dinner, etc. with new friends we met along the way!

Biggest Disappointment: the pool. That beautiful, huge pool was FREEZING and we NEVER went swimming.

Disappointment #2: no Corona!

Most Confusing: the dress code. We did fine in polo’s and khakis (for him) and capri’s and sweaters (for her). Saw shorts for guys, too, and jeans, though heard that shorts weren’t allowed in the French restaurant (even nice, tailored ones) but jeans were…

Just some final notes to compare to other reviews: our room was great – an Emerald Suite in building 10 that was spotless and had no issues at all (nothing broken, worn, etc.) Second floor is a must for view and cool breeze. Path to the beach was between buildings 11 and 12 – we would hang out at this quiet beach area in the mornings and then head to the pool and swimming beach in the afternoon.

We only had to wait for dinner once and that was about 10 minutes (we tended to eat early). We noticed the “towel game” but were always able to find chairs, even later in the morning (9 - 10:30 am)

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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11  Thank ashlib
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2010

Our stay at the Valentin was amazing. I went with my two daughters who are in their mid 20's. I've stayed at a lot of hotels and this resort had the best service I have ever experienced. This service included everyone involved in any way with the resort. There was no problem with the language difference. The resort was very clean and the service was unsurpassed. The smiles on the people and the friendliness from everyone was so appreciated. Food excellent. Great restaurant choices. Pool and beach spectacular. Activities could have been better but were ok. Nightly entertainment could have been better. I highly recommend this resort.

  • Stayed: March 2010
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank 4wagggs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2010

Before I say anything else, let me say that if you’re thinking about staying at the Valentin Imperial Maya – GO!!!!

My husband and I just returned from a terrific stay at the VIM (March 5-12, 2010). We flew out at 7am from Winnipeg via WestJet and the flight was uneventful. We did the online check-in and I’m glad we did because there weren’t many seats left sitting together. We did the same thing on our way back. You can use a computer in the Business Centre and print off your Boarding Passes (you can pick them up at the Concierge Desk).

Once we arrived at Cancun Airport, I almost got sucked in by one of the time share people. For some reason, I thought they were passport security guys, but my husband told me that no, they were time share people and to keep walking. BestDay Travel provided the shuttle service to and from the airport and resort and they were super.

A newsletter (The Valentin Journal I think) is delivered to your room every day which contains info on different things, including the “Drink of the Day!”

We didn’t go on any excursions, but did take a day trip to Cozumel where we rented an old rusted-out yellow VW Beetle and drove around the island. I just wish we had more time to spend at the beaches as they were gorgeous.

Our overall impression of the resort is very positive, with just a few minor issues I thought were worth mentioning (see below under Rooms). Here’s some specific feedback about the resort:

BARS: There are bars all over the place…by the pools, by the beach, etc., so getting a drink is not a problem. The only “real” bar we spent any time in was the Sports Bar. You can play pool, play a board game or just watch a game on TV. We enjoyed watching Hockey while enjoying a bevy. The Don Miguel bar is next door to the Sports Bar, but we never went in.

GROUNDS: This is one of the areas that exceeded my expectations! The grounds are absolutely beautiful and you can tell that management has put a lot of time and effort into maintaining it. The grounds are also expansive so there’s quite a bit of walking, but unless you have some serious mobility issues, this shouldn’t be a problem. There are tons of birds and Iguanas and if you’re lucky, you might catch sight of a Coati or another animal that looks like a big rat with no tail (Agouti?), which I called “Ratos” (be sure to roll the “r” to give it a real Mexican flavor). I LOVED feeding the birds bread and sneaking some fruit out for the Iguanas. In terms of the walkways, we did bring a small flashlight with us but only used it once. We never found the walkways to be so dark that we couldn’t see where we were going. For those who like dancing, there's a dance floor and bar just seconds from the Sports Bar where you can drink and dance into the wee hours.

FOOD: OMG….what can I say about the food?! I gained almost 10lbs in 7 days!!! Anyone who complains about the food at the VIM is definitely someone who just can’t be pleased. I can’t comment on breakfast at Mar y Tierra, but the breakfast buffet at Le Marche is AMAZING!!! Eggs, sausage, bacon, cheeses, made to order omelettes, pancakes, french toast, fresh fruit, sweet rolls, fresh fruit juices, hot and cold cereals... The variety was unbelievable and everything was delicious! The lunch buffets and Le Marche and Mar Y Tierra are both great, but the selection at Mar Y Tierra is HUGE! Chips with cheddar cheese sauce, hot dogs and hamburgers with all the fixins, fresh pizza, fish fingers, made to order meats (chicken, beef, fish), salads, desserts, rice, chicken chop suey, pork with prune sauce, rolls…all of it was absolutely spectacular!!! There are no buffets at dinner, but that isn’t an issue at all. We only waited twice for a table – once at La Olivio (Italian) for about 5 minutes, and 15 minutes at Tierra (American). We just grabbed a drink from the bar and enjoyed the scenery while we waited for our table. The restaurants we visited were La Hacienda (Mexican), La Olivio (Italian), Ginger (Asian), Taman Sari (Indian), Tierra (American), and the Mexican Fiesta on Saturday night (excellent!!). We also had room service one night and the service was prompt and efficient. I LOVED the food at all the restaurants except for La Hacienda and Tierra. But that could have been due to the menu choices I made. The food wasn’t bad at all…just disappointing.

SERVICE: The service is outstanding! Every single person was friendly, with a smile and an “hola.” The folks work hard to please the guests!! We left tips for the folks who cleaned our room, the person who restocked the fridge, as well as at the tables at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Leaving $2-3 each time was worth the awesome service we got.

ROOMS: We stayed in a Golden Suite – room 7314 (building 7, room 314). While the room was very spacious, there were some slight issues. The ventilation in the bathroom area is poor. While getting ready one evening, we had the AC turned on and the fan going. The bedroom side of the room was so cold that my husband took under the covers. Meanwhile, I had sweat literally dripping off me onto the floor while getting ready in the bathroom area. It would be great if they had a fan in this area to reduce the heat / humidity. We also had a problem with the toilet. There doesn’t appear to be much water pressure in the toilet to be able to flush the paper properly and as a result, the toilet overflowed. We called the concierge and they sent someone up to help us out and they did so very promptly. However….despite calling to have someone sent to the room to mop up the toilet water (or even give me a mop to clean it myself), nobody came, so I ended up cleaning it up myself with bath towels. Not a huge deal, but I’m sure the cleaning staff were cursing us the next day when they saw all of those wet towels! The little vanity mirror light didn’t work, which made getting ready a bit challenging because the lighting was very dim. Also, the Jacuzzi seems like it would take FOREVER to fill. My feet were a bit swollen one night so I decided to soak them in the tub. It took a while for the tub to fill up just a few inches. On the other hand, I could have easily sat on the balcony drinking a beer while waiting for it to fill. Finally, one of my roll-on perfumes had disappeared. I’d brought 2 with me, but one of the bottles must have grown legs and walked away. Either that or I accidentally knocked it into the garbage can.

POOLS: As with just about every other resort, the pools are not heated which kind of sucks. But once you get into the pool and survive those first freezing few seconds, you get used to the water and all is good. We spent most of our time by the quiet pool near the golden section, but we did walk past the main pool and that place was hopping. We also walked along the beach. The red flags were up for just about the entire week we were there. The beach near the golden section is rough but the beach near the main pool area is really nice. There was one day where there weren’t any beach towels by the quiet pool so I had to walk over to the main pool to get a couple for hubby and I. There are floats available, but they’re not in great condition. If this is important to you, you might want to bring your own.


Overall, this resort is terrific. The only thing I would do differently next time is (1) bring a small portable fan for the bathroom area and (2) spend more time at the main pool or the beach area. The weather was overcast for most of the week we were there, but that didn’t stop me from getting a burn, which has since faded into a beautiful caramel tan (as described by my husband). The last resort we stayed at was The Royal PDC and I would say that while each has their own strengths and challenges, both rate the same.

In a nutshell, visit the VIM. You won’t be disappointed!! We would go again in a heartbeat!

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
13  Thank mglowatsky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2010

We have nothing bad to say about Valentin Imperial Maya. We had the best time and enjoyed the room, the grounds, the activities, the people, the staff & the other guests.

The only negative was when we left the resort to go into Playa del Carmen for an evening. We felt like we had wasted our money and a chance for another great meal at the resort. I have been to Playa del Carmen about 3 years ago, but was very dissappointed when we returned.

Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
3  Thank camsfrank
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya

Address: Carretera Federal 307 Chetumal Puerto Juarez Km. 311, Playa del Secreto, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen > Playa del Secreto
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Playa del Secreto
Price Range: $311 - $757 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya 4.5*
Number of rooms: 540
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

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