My husband and I stayed at the Bel Air from March 11-16th and had a wonderful time.
We got to the resort right at check-in. Cesar told us where to park our car and gave us mimosas. While we waited for a golf cart, we looked at the big beautiful lions and pumas just around from the lobby. We went back to check and had another mimosa while looking at the porcupines, tigers, and chimpanzees. The lobby area and the Mayan pathway down to the lobby area with all the beautiful sculptures, and hammered copper mosaic chandeliers. It was easy to check in although I did ask if we could be in the 900 section and they said all those rooms were full, we were in the 400 section, which is closer to the restaurants, the lagoon, and the pool. They got us our room keys and our towel cards and we got on a golf cart with a different guy who drove us all around the resort and showed us where everything was-you can’t take it all in because there are so many things to see. They need to give better copies of the map of the resort. A small color one comes with the key card, but all the information is on the copy. The ATM is kind of beside the spa in a little separate space. We didn’t use it, but it wasn’t out of order.
Room-I had emailed the resort asking for a king bed as my husband is pretty tall, but we got the double beds, we just made do with it and only used one bed, you couldn’t push them together because of the light in the middle. The beds were comfy and had plenty of pillows. We were in Room 414 which faces the path, I would have preferred to have more privacy and face the jungle, but it was convenient to get on the golf carts though we walked everywhere most of the time. The huge double Jacuzzi was so luxurious. The separate sinks and mirrors and the circular design of the room was very functional, for 2 people anyway. There were plenty of drawers and closet space and a safe. You had to leave a keycard-or the do no disturb card in to keep the utilities on, we have seen this in other eco-resorts. The terrace was very inviting and spacious with chaises, table and chairs, hammock. We would sit out there every night and saw a raccoon, lizards, an agouti, and coatimundis. There weren’t any bugs anywhere-I brought Off and never used it. While you don’t get towel art, they keep your room clean, and we would just leave out a tip on top of the fridge asking for mas cerveza and & 7up (or whatever) and they would leave it. Same deal with coffee, just “mas café” and you’ll get enough to last the morning, because you want to sit on that terrace and drink coffee in the morning. They left us plenty of water as well. We did get little treats in the evening twice, Mayan white and dark chocolates, and macaroons one night. They were good about giving you more shampoo, bubble bath, and lotion; though we never got conditioner, so bring that. A/C and Wi-Fi worked fine. 1 big window is frosted, so you can leave uncovered to get light.
Beach- we have stayed at Catalonia Royal Tulum nearby, so we knew we would love the beach club, however, the resort beach, while rocky, is very interesting. Put on aqua socks and wade through the tide pools to see lots of shells and wildlife. We walked to the Barceló Beach and to the abandoned side of the resort; there is a beautiful protected lagoon that is full of French Angelfish, Blue Tangs, Sergeant Majors, etc. We didn’t get in there, but it appears to be part of the public beach. Go early to the resort beach and get either of the shaded areas to the right or the left, or right down in front under the umbrellas. Since many people head out on excursions or have kids and need to be at the kiddy pool, this area was very unpopulated and has a great view. We drove to the beach club; you get a pass to give to the attendant at the gate. The guys working the beach club gave great service, constantly getting you new drinks, good drinks. We did not eat anything there because we were always too full from breakfast. This beach is one of the prettiest in the world; we went snorkeling down by the old abandoned resort pier further south and saw tons of fish, rays, and pelicans. Xpu Ha Beach is perfect for swimming and they have nice palapas and lounge chairs and tables for you to use. You take your towels (which you can get at the front desk with your towel card) with you. They will also fill a big cup for you so you can walk further down the beach, and your stuff is safe, you can go shopping, whatever. We watched the kiteboard guy do tricks and you could pay to go to the reef, get a massage, go shopping, There are clean restrooms also.
Dress-It really is casual dress. They don’t allow swimsuits without cover ups or being wet inside the restaurants, but other than that, you can wear flip/flops and shorts for guys, women wore sundresses, shorts, we didn’t see anyone very dressed up, my husband wore polo shirts. Everybody kicks it in swimsuits and maybe a t-shirt to walk around and to go to the animal shows, leading me to my favorite part of the resort:
Animals- This was my reason for booking the resort-we loved the animals! It was so surreal to able to walk and look at all the animals all the time. Go and get bikes early before they are all gone, you have to ask at the towel hut or the Kid’s Club, or the waiter at the snack bar, and it makes it much easier to get around and figure out where everything is. There are also paths through the jungle where they are working on more habitats. There are gorgeous macaws and parrots on perches in several places, and we loved the “pequenos mamiferos” little spider monkey, capuchin monkey, marmoset, chipmunk, a lemur, and a couple of other cute fuzzy babies. The jaguars are located away from the other cats right now as they are working on a new habitat for them. I don’t think they are full grown yet, but they were so enchanting, they played like kittens, the yellow spotted one has sparkling emerald green eyes and the black one is so elegant. We went to the animal show, which was very fun, I got to hold a beautiful red macaw, Ella, and pet a little grey fox. We enjoyed the show, the trainers, the birds, and the weird hairless dog. The naughty little white goat, Cassie, was hilarious. I didn’t know that they will let you in to feed the kangaroos and deer in the farm enclosure, but apparently you just ask someone and they will let you in, we saw a family doing it. We tried to go to the Aviary twice and they were cleaning it and working on a habitat and it wasn’t open, so we missed out on that. We saw the capybaras, crocodiles, a badger, and just so many animals. I thought the animals had overall nice habitats, like our local zoo, maybe not as large, but all the animals looked healthy. When the big lion roars, it is so wild. We missed seeing the manatees, but lots of other people saw them. The manatees have the best habitat, of course, with their own estero.
Grounds-in addition to the winding pathways through the jungle, there is a deck out over the lagoon where they serve “Sunset Champagne”. Michelino was our waiter there and it is actually sauvignon blanc, but it was good. This is at 4:30 pm and it was just lovely. The lagoon is crystal clear and you can see little fish in it, the blue cenote has different fish and so does the green one. These areas are surrounded by mangroves. We went snorkeling at the estero one day while waiting to kayak. I wore my wetsuit because I get really cold in cenotes. They loan you all the snorkel stuff for free, it is a different landscape underneath, saw turtles and many tiny fish. They don’t let you snorkel too far, but you can go a lot further with the kayaks. We got the single person kayaks-I like those better so you can mosey along and look for manatees and at the destroyed side of the resort. The kiddy pool was something else-I cannot imagine kids not loving this resort. A whole little princess party sat next to us at dinner one night, you can even do the animal park as an excursion without staying at the resort. It has its own website, even if you don’t stay here, the animal park is great and I think they do special shows and feedings for people that are not staying there.
The Food- On the first night we went to the sushi bar. The chef made my husband a special dish since he is allergic to shrimp and most of what they have contains shrimp. It was pretty basic; the sashimi was the best part of what we got. They don’t know to put more olive juice in a dirty martini, but the pear and chocolate ones we got were tasty. We got fried ice cream for dessert.
Breakfast-We always had Ofelia and she was a great server. She would always teach us something in Spanish and we would try to talk to her in Spanish. She could see we were trying to practice and help us. You can get mimosas and cappuccino for breakfast. Go to the omelet station and order an omelet first-in Spanish if you can, I asked for “everything”. It was really good. They had chiliquiles, my Mexican breakfast favorite, but could have used more chorizo on the buffet. They had plenty of fruit, yogurt, and healthy stuff, if you’re into that.
Snack Bar- They made paella out at the pool one day, and we had cheeseburgers/fries one day which were basic but good, nachos were like Taco Bell. Kids would be happy, they had chicken nuggets. The waiter will bring you any drinks you want from the bar. Nice tables near quiet pool. There is a shaded area there too with loungers away from the swim up bar area.
Italian/Mexican- Caprese salad was good, the lasagna was the best, had a marinara and béchamel sauce. The beef red wine dish was excellent. Eggplant tapenade on toast was yummy. I also got a pizziola appetizer that the waiter, Marcelino suggested and it was very good. We had lots of red wine and dessert was good also. Marcelino was really on his game. The next night we went back trying to get the same and were told “only buffet”. I can understand it is easier when they have large groups of people, it is easier for them to do the buffet, but when it is just the two of you, and you don’t want to eat off a steam table. The buffet food did not hold up well on the tables, and they do have a guy that will grill you steak, chicken, etc. on some nights. The menu food was really good. Other patrons were also having the problem that they wanted to order off the menu, and were told “no menu, only buffet”. We asked the front desk about it the next day and they told us you can always order off the menu and who to ask for that night if you have a problem. We went to Xel Ha one day and the buffet there was amazing, chicken mole, custom tacos, chorizo, and ceviche. The very last night we were there, we asked for and got the menu, but it took a really long time to get served because everybody was busy doing a wedding, so we had to wait a really long time to get served. Nikolas gave us good service that night keeping the wine glasses filled.
Not much going on at night, you can’t even hang out after 5 at the pool, the Lobby Bar is the only place to go get a drink. We pretty much stuck with wine and beer because even when we tipped, the drinks weren’t strong at all. Tomas was always the bartender at the Lobby Bar. We walked into a trivia game that the activities guy, Hector was doing, he is pretty funny.
I would come here again because the resort grounds are great (imagine getting to live in a zoo for a week) and maybe not do the all inclusive, because they have room service but you have to pay extra for that, and I would have done that had I not already felt I had paid for three meals a day. It would be great to eat out on your terrace day or night. I just think maybe if you went to one restaurant if you want the buffet and the other if you want to order off the menu. It seems to me that would be a better plan than trying to do both in the same space, because some of the servers seem to not know what to do. It is 1 big restaurant, with two different dining spaces, after all. We also did love our room with the Jacuzzi, all our animal friends, and having 2 different beaches.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Bel Air Xpu-Ha is the newly open Resort of Bel Air Collection at Riviera Maya. Feel with your family the natural environment, the perfect place to rest and delight yourself. A unique place for a romance experience. Enjoy our facilities surrounded by natural beauty in an eco-paradise. A gourmet experience in each of our restaurants, from Mexican-Italian fusion cuisine to sushi & martini delightful Japanese style, all in a la carte menu selection. Premium brand drinks and appetizing snacks in our Bars at Lobby and pool area. A unique layout of a cozy and peaceful guestrooms in liberate getaway with all the luxury and comfort of a five stars resort, refurbished indoors with jacuzzi and branding amenities; a relaxed exterior and a spacious terrace with hammock. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Bel Air Collection Xpu Ha Riviera Maya Hotel Xpuha
- Xpu Ha Palace Xpuha
- Bel Air Collection Xpu Ha Riviera Maya Mexico - Xpu-Ha