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Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 2, 2010

We have stayed at the Valentin twice. The only problem encountered was that the pool water was a bit cold. The area experienced an unusually cool winter, but that is certainly not the fault of the hotel.

Some previous reviews have stated that the pools are saltwater. This is false. even checked with staff... never have been salt.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled with family
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Thank RIVERRANCHMIKE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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9,619 - 9,625 of 12,260 reviews

Reviewed April 2, 2010

Wonderful resort.
We go to one or two All-inclusive resorts a year. This place is great.
My wife and I are in our mid 40's.

We flew Continental airlines and used USA-TRANSFERS. I had booked the private transfer separately.They were very professional. In their directions they stated that you must walk out of the airport once you had your luggage. Otherwise there were a dozen or so timeshare people trying to stop you on your way out.
You MUST go outside and do not stop to talk to them or you will be stuck there. Terrible setup.
Once outside we looked for the USA-TRANSFERS rep and he had our private car there within a couple of minutes.
The resort is roughly 20 - 30 minutes from the airport.
We had a room in building # 4. Nice and central. Delux room (basic room for the resort), however we had evening turn down and towel service. Nice touch.
The food selection is amazing. From the breakfast buffet to the room service menus.
We went to all of the a la carte restaurants
The Lobster Pot was the busiest. They were all great. Selection was endless.

One of my pet peeves was the dress of the vacationers. I have yet to go to a resort that does not stipulate that men wear long pants to dinner. Not a hard thing to do.
I saw men (young and old) wearing sandals, sneakers etc.. shorts and t-shirts. At one restaurant a classy man even kept his ball cap on.
If you are going to any all-inclusive resort bring a pair of pants, golf shirt and shoes. It makes the experience better for all. If you have the attitude that "I paid to come here and I can wear what I want". Then look for a good 2 star resort and don't diminish the experience for those of us who respect the dress codes.

The beach to the left or north-side of the resort was great.
If you wanted a palapa on the beach, you had to get up between 6 and 7 to place your towels on one.
The beverage service on the beach was second to none. Excellent servers. They even had large coolers at each of the bars with bottled water or canned beer all on ice that was self serve.
You did not need to do a carded towel service. Literally unlimited towels. And some people did take advantage of it.
We saw a few of the evening shows. Michael Jackson was good, as was Mama Mia and Grease.
We found the house wine very good, Montevenia red and white. (Mexican wines)
We booked an excursion through USA-TRANSFERS to Chichen Itza ruins. Well worth the trip. However it was a long day. 13 hours.
At Chichen Itza there were a few hundred vendors. They were everywhere. Our guide was Tomas with Endless tours and he was great. Very knowledgeable.
We took a cab into Playa Del Carmen one day. The taxis have a flat rate charge system. From the hotel to town was $22 each way. The resort offers a shuttle service twice a day which cost $17 per person round trip. So two people would cost $34. And the taxi would cost $44. With the shuttle you only have a few hours to shop. Unlimited with the Taxi.
Surprisingly there was a WalMart and Sam's Club in Playa Del Carmen.

Overall an Excellent resort. Adults only. Plenty of bars and entertainment.

Highly recommend.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank NBAdvisor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 2, 2010

I just realized that I never submitted my review for our trip to the Valentin October 11-18 2009. I'm sorry if it's out of order but it's good for those of you who are looking to book in October. So here it is:

Arrival: After we easily cleared customs, we quickly recovered our luggage and headed towards our bus. A short wait and one stop at the El Dorado Royale. Second stop at the Valentin where we were greeted with glasses of champagne . 4 people to process about a dozen couples.

The room: We had the basic suite with a king size bed on the 3rd floor as requested. We were in block 3: one exit leads directly to the restaurants, another in the main pool through block 4 and the last to the swim-up suites pool through block 7. We were right next to the elevator, which you should avoid because it is quite noisy, even if I sleep with ear plugs. But you do get used to it in the end. The room is very clean with lots of small details: bathrobes and slippers, umbrella, real hangers, hairdryer that can be plugged in anywhere, high quality toiletries, paper lining in the drawers, ultra comfy bed, lit wardrobe. Yes, water splashes a little outside the shower but there’s plenty of towels to mop it up. Many complain that there is no hot water in the shower: it's weird but you have to set the handle in the middle, completely on the left and the water is only warm! My husband is a smoker and there was no ashtray in the room. After making sure with the bell-boy that we had a smoking room (some are non-smoking) I remembered someone on Tripadvisor mentionning that the supply rooms used by the maids were not locked so I went to "borrow" an ashtray! The safety deposit box can hold a laptop and if you bring a cable, you have free access to the Internet. No problems with air conditioning.

The site and pools: Many complain it's too big. We’re used to the Grand Palladiums which are huge resorts so the Valentin was not a problem for us. But it is true that for a 500 room hotel, it can never feel cramped, regardless of occupancy. No problems finding shade at the main pool at any time of day. At worst, there is always some shade at the small volleyball pool, which is 2 steps away from the large pool. You have a choice between bamboo huts with bamboo walls or palapas at the small pool. What I least liked about the main pool is that there are many people and the water becomes quite murky in the afternoon. We opted for the pool behind blocks 6 to 8 because the water is impeccable and it is paradise. Bar service at both pools is very effective. As the “real feel” temperature all week ranged between 40 and 45 degrees according to Accuweather, the water was very hot, to our delight.

Restaurants & Bars: We went 2 times the Mexican and French, once at the steakhouse and the Indonesian and ordered room service once. The Chateaubriand at the Alsace restaurant is amazing. No disappointment with the quality of food, everything was excellent. The wine, usually cabernet sauvignon, merlot, is very good, especially at the French. On average, we had a 30 minute wait if we arrived around 8:00 but they give you a beeper so you can have a drink while waiting. Lunch and dinner at Le Marché: air conditioning in the morning and outside for lunch, too hot inside (air conditioning option not available for lunch). The homemade guacamole and salsa are absolutely exquisite. Watch for the newspaper which is distributed at night in the rooms to see what restaurants will be closed the next day. The drinks are very good and can be ordered at the same restaurant, unlimited champagne, coffee, cocktails, Mayan coffee, among others, are delicious.

Ocean: A little too rough for my taste. We couldn’t get a spot in the shade, I think you need to get there by 6:00 for that, but with the breeze, it’s still comfortable in the sun. Pleasantly surprised by the portion reserved for swimming, the sand is very soft.

General: Service 5 * . We were treated like royalty. Very surprised by how few Europeans there was, I would say 80% of Canadians and Americans. Nightlife nonexistent because the bars close at 11:00 except for the sports bar that closes at 2:00. The roads are not very well lit at night but as our block was adjacent to most restaurants, no problem for us. It was our 13th trip and by far the best. This is the 1st time we want to return to the same place and that's what intend to do in the near future!

Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
Thank IceseafromMtl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2010

My husband and I vacationed at the Valentin in mid-March trying to get away from the hustle and bustle of our city life in Chicago. We picked the hotel based on Trip Advisor reviews and some other general web research. Overall, I would describe our experience as positive but definitely nowhere close to some "it was perfection" takeaways.

Our check in was relatively smooth but we were placed in a ground level, near the elevator silver suite after we have specifically indicated a few months before our trip that we wanted to stay on the top floor. We were able to move to a top floor suite the 2nd day which was handled kindly and professionally, which I appreciated. The Silver Suites are nicely appointed with marble floors, bathrooms, and modern amenities which is a nice differentiator from the other run of the mill resorts in PDC. We wanted to take advantage of the jacuzzi tub but ended up not turning on the jets after discovering how dirty they were and turned our water brown yellow. Totally disgusting!!! I know it wasn't just our room because it happened in 2 of the different rooms we stayed.

The common areas of the resort are very nicely maintaned and appealing. I was worried about the beach after some of the reviews but that was actually a highlight for me. The swimmable area was groomed and quiet away from the bar, volleyball tournaments, etc. The beach service was also commendable, with smiling and energetic wait staff serving drinks.

What was really disappointing was the general lack of efficiency around breakfast, lunch, and dinner seating. There were days where the line for breakfast had 20 couples in it although half of the tables at the restaurant were completely empty. I had never encountered that at any other resort. I also didn't like the "no reservation" policy. It led to long delays of waiting for your table with a buzzer in your hand giving it a sense of dining out at a chain restaurant like Cheesecake Factory or TGI Friday's. We always make reservations when we eat out so I'd rather would have spent 20 minutes on my first day making reservations rather than never knowing when I will be eating that night. Food itself was ok but being used to great Chicago restaurants nothing to rave about. Mexican was our favorite. The red wine at the French and Italian restaurants was disgusting - it literally tasted like pepperjack cheese.

Finally, the towel game as people describe it on here was in FULL effect. The best spots on the beach/pool were taken by 6am during our stay (confirmed by my husband who worked out near the beach at that time) and hotel does nothing to enforce the policy of removing one's belongings after 15 minutes if left unclaimed on the chairs. One way to lose your credibility. Also some people were totally inconsiderate occupying two or three palapas and securing 5 towels per couple leading to towel shortages by 12pm.

All in all, it was another all-inclusive experience with some things that stood out (beach, rooms, super polite and hard-working service) and others that were lacking (process efficiency, food/alcohol quality, etc). I wouldn't categorize this experience as luxurious by any means but good enough for a quick getaway.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank M3111DNannam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2010

We had an excellent stay at this resort. I'm so not an all-inclusive type of person that I continued to be surprised all week to find myself enjoying it as much as I did. The biggest thing I wanted to share was if you are going, enjoy the warm welcome you receive when you show up. I kept steeling myself for a sales pitch during registration that never came & so I missed out on feeling lavished upon as we arrived. One downside was that there are not enough palapas on the beach. I had to get up at 6 am one morning to reserve one. It was totally worth it, but wish there were more or another system. I also wish people wouldn't hold them all day--we used ours & then left it for others. The food is completely fantastic--that was a surprise. We ate at a different restaurant each night. Don't miss the habatchi grill! We rented a car & enjoyed a quick trip to Tulum and snorkeling in Puerto Morales. No problem with renting (we used E-Z rental) or driving. Parking is included at the resort and you just park your own car & come & go as you want. I want to go back to the area & probably stay at a non-AI in Playa del Carmen, but I would completely recommend this to anyone looking for a wonderful AI experience.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled with friends
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4  Thank Iowalien
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2010

We had a wonderful stay at the VIM. We picked it totally from reviews on the forums here on TripAdvisor. We weren't disappointed. It's a beautiful resort with oustanding staff and terrific food. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone.
We only had one problem the whole time-getting a clock that worked in one of our rooms. That's it! From the welcome with the champagne, to the efficient check-in/out, the food choices, the spacious rooms and most of all, the pleasant staff-this was one of the best AI's we've been to over the years.
The towel game, unfortunately, is played mightily here. I am a believer though, that it is a people problem not a resort problem. People reserving chairs at the beach and pool, in the sun and shade-and they do do this-are making resorts look bad. There were lots of palapas on the beach and plenty of loungers by the huge pool, but still people were left without unfortunately.
One recommendation if your have a group larger than four. Our first night we had difficulty finding a restaurant that could seat us. From then on, we went a little earlier, between 6:30 and 7PM-and had no problem.
If you go, this is a great resort.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled with family
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2  Thank arubaweek6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2010

My girlfriend and I spent a week there in the middle of March. As can be seen on most of the reviews on TripAdvisor this resort more then lived up to our expectations! All the people were very friendly. The beach was beautiful; as others have stated some parts have coral, but more then enough beach has been completely cleared for perfect swimming(this section is off to your left). You'll be swimming in clear torquise water with tropical fish that do not appear to be the least bit startled by people. Beach wait service and bar really hit the spot. The main pool was a very popular hang-out, with two swim-up bars. Having experience as a bartender I was very impressed by the bar staff and shocked with the high quality of their selections of liquor. Our room was a swim-up with its own pool attached that we used after we were finally beached out for the day. The restaurants more then met our expectations. I liked all the restaurants that we visited, but my favorite was the Lobster Pot because I love Snow Crab Legs, which I had 3 times during our stay.

The only word of advice I might give is to try to avoid the rooms by the elevators because they are a little bit noisey, but it did'nt bother us much at all. Also, people do play the towel game on the beach and pool. So to get a good place on the beach you have to be up pretty early in the morning, expect the best spots to all be reserved with the towel game by 7am. I noticed that beach chairs did'nt usually get completely full until around 11-12 though.

We would definitely revisit this resort!!!

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank kbcali
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: $314 - $759 (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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