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“Good for what it is.”

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Mayan Palace Riviera Maya
Ranked #10 of 11 Hotels in Playa Paraiso
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 1, 2013

We booked our stay at the Mayan Palace through a discount coupon from my wife's teacher's union, so we paid a ridulously small sum for a weeks stay. With that in mind, there was almost nothing that could happen to make it "not worth the price". The Mayan Palace is what they have coined a "Private Residence Club" where people can buy into their system of sites, because they do not call them HOTELS. They stress that they do not even have a hotel license. You do not have to listen to their pitch if you do not want to but if you do, they make it worth it with incentives directly off of your bill or to use on local tours. The sales pitch starts with a free breakfast buffet, which was very good. If they tell you the whole thing will only take about 90 minutes, then count on 3 hours. I have been a salesman, so I was not pressured but I am sure some people might consider it high pressure. They went through 6 sales people by the end of it who tried to reframe and lower the price of the offer but in the end, we just said thank you and left with our incentives correctly applied to our bill. So there is nothing sneaky about it, it's sales and that's how it works. You get something for letting them try to sell to you and the package may actually be something you might use and value. Not everything is a scam, some things are just not meant for everyone. We found out later from bus drivers that it is a local joke about how many sales people they bring at you, including "el tiburon" (the shark), who is the closer at the end to try to get you to buy. It was all fun and made for great conversation later. So I stress that sitting through the sales pitch is completely voluntary! The size of the grounds and pool area are immense, so much that it made it feel decadent and fancy. It was always clean and well maintained. I have taken a lot of discount trips, so this felt nice like I was really treating myself. We were concerned that the food was not going to be great because being in the Riviera Maya area you are pretty much stuck with their few restaurants on site if you do not have a kitchennette or microwave in your room. Having more than one restaurant choice at a hotel is more than decent in the first place. Our room did not have a fridge or micro, which was ok remembering how much we DID NOT pay for the week! We were happy with every meal we ate on site and felt like we did not splurge or deny ourselves anything. There was music and/or dancing somewhere at one of the restaurants every night. They do have a deli and market if you want to buy snacks and groceries, including a decent latte, mainly for those who live in their purchased units but obviously there for anyone to shop. Their guidelines say that they do not want you to carry money but instead just sign for everything "for your own protection", including tips. The staff get a percentage as a tip, so everyone makes the same no matter what quality of service they provide. That being said, we never received bad service the entire week even knowing that they were not expecting a tip from us. In reality, it is still nice to tip the waiters/waitresses something. The reality is still that their pay pales in comparison to what we earn and we are going down there to take advantage of a cheap vacation. That's just good karma too! Be sure to rent one of the beds by the pool at least one day and reserve it a day in advance at the restaurant/snack bar. Concierge may tell you that you have to reserve it the morning of but that is not true. We almost did not get one because by the morning we wanted one, there were only three left out of about 40 available. You pay $35 +/- but get the bed "free" for the day if you buy so much in drinks, which is not hard to do and not a bad price when you are getting the larger Happy Hour cups. We brought some extra alcohol and snacks in our bag to supplement but it was hardly necessary. Some things they had availble for children we did not use were the video arcade, scheduled kids activities, toddler play area on the beach, and trampoline/harness jumping. Kids will enjoy the numerous large Iguanas and the one Coati running around as well. We would probably try another location on our next visit mainly because we are not the kind of people who go to the same place twice but if you do, the Mayan Palace is all that it claims to be. We had a good quality time there and were very pleased with our stay.

Room Tip: Try to get a room closer to the beach/pool area. If a microwave, coffee maker, and/or refridgerator...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank rslightom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 30, 2013

Stayed here using RCI points in March 2013; We have 6 children ranging from 1 year to 14 years old and we had a wonderful time at this resort. The 8 of us stayed in a 2 bedroom unit that had 1 queen bed, 2 full size beds, and 2 couches. We rented a cool huge van (Toyota Hiace) and drove to Akumal, Chichen-itza, and all around Playa del Carmen.

Pros: Awesome pool! We travel frequently and this has to be one of the best pools we have ever seen! The grounds are beautiful with wildlife. Our kids had a close encounter with a ringtailed lemur while walking back from the pool and were thrilled. It sat there and dug for grubs for ~5 minutes while kids watched from a few feet away. We were in building 10 thus a good walk to restaurants and pool, but there were well lighted sidewalks and transport carts that came around every 15 minutes or less. We felt VERY safe in this resort to the point that the kids a couple times went to places on resort by themselves using the cart transportation. Rooms were well maintained and clean with great maid service who would return for turn-down service at night. Kids loved the extra touch of chocolates on their pillows! All of the staff was extremely polite and helpful. You can tip staff but everything else is on a cashless system where you pay at end of stay. Food is tasty and plentyful but we ate a majority of our meals while out on excursions.

Cons: I expect resort food to be expensive...but be prepared for EXPENSIVE food. For instance the breakfast at the large buffet was $26 for adults, and $14 for kids. We found a cheaper buffet breakfast at the Greenbreak restaurant on site. My biggest anoyance was that we were told the tap water was not safe for drinking. We bought a bunch of bottled water at WalMart on day 2 but it sucked the first day we arrived. On site store was pretty expensive also ($28 for sunscreen). Kids club was fair..pretty typical crafts and such. The limited kitchen in our unit had a two burner stovetop, a small fridge, and a microwave. Outside of pots and pans there are no cooking supplies of ANY KIND in the unit. No cooking spray, no salt & pepper, no coffee for your first morning there. SO...bring a few items from home if you plan to cook. The store called MEGA in Playa del Carmen was our favorite for groceries and such. WalMart was disappointing so were were glad we found MEGA just down the street.

There are so many resorts in this area it really is hard to choose. We liked that this was not a mandatory all-inclusive so we could save some money by buying breakfast items and having sandwiches and hamburgers a few times. We would not hesitate to stay at this resort again and the kids are begging to go back!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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5  Thank EdandKelci
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 30, 2013

The Mayan Palace is a very nice resort with an awesome staff!

Building 18 was a quieter building due to the distance from the pool. We saw many interesting birds and animals from our balcony. We also walked every path on the resort. On our walks we saw a pen holding 2 adult crocodiles, a pen with nearly a dozen baby and young crocodiles, and a pen with pink flamingos. We also saw lots of coatis, agouti, small lizards, iguanas, and beautifully colored birds all over the resort.

We tried every restaurant on the resort, and I enjoyed every meal I ordered.
#1 Gong - If you like sushi, you have to try the Gong (dress code - no shorts, no sandals, but so worth it!). I love sushi and Mexican food. We ordered the vegetable and shrimp tempura and 3 different sushi rolls (spider, tuna, and spicy crab rolls). Everything was very good, but the Spicy Crab Rolls were a fusion of Asian and Mexican that I will likely never forget. In my humble opinion, excellent.

Tied for second place!
#2 Balche- This is an outdoor, pool-side restaurant with amazing food. I recommend the fresh fish (grouper, white fish,etc.) dinners.
#2 Havana Moon - Oceanside restaurant with optional outdoor tables facing the ocean. After hours live music. The seafood and pizza are very good.
#2 Del Lago - This is a large, roofed but outdoor restaurant that backs to a small lake. The breakfast buffet is a mix of standard (American) and traditional Mexican breakfast. They also had fresh fruit and vegetable juices. We loved it. Del Lago is also where the Mexican Fiesta was held on Thursday night. The dinner buffet and the show are well worth the price.

#3 Tramonto - This is an Italian restaurant with a dress code. They also serve steak. We are giving this restaurant a #3 because of the price and the hassle of the dress code.

Also, the Brio spa has a healthy restaurant that serves fresh juices of various kinds, as well as various healthy meals and snacks. We had them make us a juice with pineapple, cactus, and a few other things in it. Very good. Also, the spa has a special wrap for sunburns.

The room, buildings, restaurants and the grounds were kept beautifully clean, including the outdoor restrooms. The service people that clean are very friendly and conscientious.

The pools were indescribably awesome. There were pools of every shape and size, kiddie pools, heated pools, swim up bars, pools that were surrounded by sand, lazy river pools, etc... You could order drinks or food right at the pool or ocean side. Try the Mexican Pizza, yum! They make a great tequila sunrise too. And the Coronas come in an ice bucket when you order more than one at a time.

Overall, if you want a luxurious resort, with pool bars, pool and ocean-side service, golf, etc... this is a very nice location.

When we arrived at the Mayan Palace, there was a mix up and our room was not ready, but the staff bent over backward to make it up to us.

For us, we prefer a little less crowded, less luxurious experience with more adventure. We brought our snorkeling gear and could not find a decent reef to snorkel within walking distance of the resort. The resort beach is beautiful, but too rocky to comfortably walk in the water without water shoes. Nearing the end of our stay, we rented a vehicle service to take us down to Tulum to see the ruins, and then to Akumal to snorkel with the sea turtles. On our last day, we went on a boat snorkeling excursion at the Point Morales Barrier Reef National Park. Both trips were recommended by the Mayan Palace staff, and we found them very enjoyable.

Room Tip: If you do not mind walking or waiting for a shuttle, the rooms furthest away from the pool are quiet...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Reachn4Dreams
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 28, 2013

My family of 12 stayed at the Mayan Palace in January and it was paradise for all of us. We had the units that had a small kitchen and it worked out well for our family. To save money we rented a car and drove to Playa Del Carmen for groceries and our liquor. I suggest going to the grocery store that is between the Mega and Walmart. They have great produce and more variety without having to buy in bulk like you do at Mega. The pool was mind blowing and huge and was right on the beach. The beach is a little rocky but provided great sea treasures of pools with little creatures. There is a sandy swimming beach if you want to talk a short walk to your right. The place was very clean, the staff was exceptional and helpful. If you don't want to rent a car you can take a bus to Playa Del Carmen either from the hotel (more expensive) or walk to the highway right outside the resort and it is cheap. Just watch the traffic! They were not bothersome about the time share pitch. We just told them we could not make breakfast and we were left alone. Perhaps it was because it was peak season and it was busy.
This was a vacation of a lifetime for our family and we all will remember it for the rest of our life and hope to go back someday soon.

Room Tip: Say you would like to be close to the pool.
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank Sherpa1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 28, 2013

The hotel was ok as far as the room goes, but everything else was subpar. The food was so-so, drinks were super sweet, and everything pretty much shut down at 11pm.

If you have a room adjoining someone else's, you will hear everything. You can hear everything in the halls, from children crying to running down the hall playing. There was no listing for activities, everything was by word of mouth by meeting other guests. You didn't find out something was happening until you walked past it. The was property is so large, they have a shuttle service to take you from the rooms to the restaurants. I am sure we missed a lot just by not going a certain way. We didn't find out they had happy hours until our last night. We were there 8 days. What a waste. The excursions they offered were ok, but beware of the timeshare breakfast (4 hours).

One last thing. You can't swim from there beach. It's rocky.

Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
2  Thank Trotter83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 26, 2013

Visited Mayan Palace from March 8th -15th. Here's our impression. Incredible resort. We exchanged through Global Discovery Vacations. With our exchange we were placed in building 20 (as far from all the restaurants and activites as possible). We stayed in room 2223 as we had a great view of the jungle and witnessed "bird shows" most days off of our balcony. Really special. Being so far from the resort's epicenter really didn't make a difference to us, until we wanted to go to the beach or pool for the day. If you forgot something it was a long walk back. The grounds were beautiful. There were shuttles, however sometimes there was a long wait. Hey, we're on vacation.

Let's talk about the GREAT. Rooms were spacious, clean and staff was phenomenal. Make sure you tip the staff buck or two. These people are paid $4 per day for 10 hours of work, and work 6 days per week When you tip, it really makes their lives more "liveable".

There were a lot of families on Spring Break. This resort did a LOT to make sure that Teens and Tweens had a ton of great activities; beach volley ball, ping-pong, water aerobics, water volley ball, Beach Party night with all kinds of festivities. There was also dancing at Havana Moon with incredible, International bands that made it extra fun. Meeting people from all over the US and the World was really wonderful. The restaurants had delicious food (pricey) and bent over backwards to make sure we enjoyed their facilities.

Let me share the costs and shortfalls:

We felt cheated because we declined the the "Time Share" presentation to get our "discounts". We exchanged with our vacation club. I WAS NOT WILLING to give up 5 hours our vacation for yet ANOTHER TIME SHARE PRESENTATION!; been there and done that. This would've saved us 10% off or entire bill. After Sprit Airlines messed with a day of our vacation........ (OH , I digress) . Also, a basic human necessity wasn't provided -- CLEAN DRINKING WATER. REALLY??? $2 per for a 1 liter Bottle of drinking water? Most resorts in Mexico have a water cooler to fill a pitcher to drink from............ We knew we were going to Walmart in Playa in the next morning to stock up for our week, however no bottlted water to fill up a vessel to drink from? REALLY. Should've grabbed numerous complimentary bottles of water at check-in. Also, the beds are hard as a rock.!

Restaurants were pricey and we felt a bit "kept". Be prepared to spend minimally $40 US for a meal w/o cocktails. We weighed this price as opposed to going off campus to explore and enjoy some local food. If you took the cab to town for $40 round trip, it negated the savings at the restaurants. So go and enjoy all the resort has to offer.

Beach -- If you're coming to swim and snork.... It's NOT an option here. Dangerously rocky everywhere. Go south to Playa or Xpu Ha. It was nice to walk to beach, but wear some footwear as there are lot of rocks. The sand was beautifully white and we never felt too hot laying int he sun enjoying the beach chairs with the nice breeze. If you do, the pool is only a short walk behind you

All in all, the vacation was good. Just make sure you're prepared to walk, spend lots of $$ on food and libations at the resort, Hope you'll meet some very nice people. We did!

Room Tip: Book Buildings 1-7, close to the activities. If you get a room with a kitchen, hit Walmart to stock...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank Ren
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 25, 2013 via mobile

The grand mayan palace and the mayan palace are both beautiful. The basic rooms don't have coffee makers or microwaves The deli Jade is to spot to go to save $$ on all meals . Transportation could be a headache with waiting on a shuttle to get to your destination since the resort is so big. I agree with everyone else's statements about the pool/ beach etc. visit 5th avenue and Walmart if you can. The resort is beautiful but if you are going with children for a week it could be expensive. I visited Havana moon and the green break on the resorts. Didn't care for the breakfast but the meals were ok.

  • Stayed: March 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Godivacoco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mayan Palace Riviera Maya

Address: Km 48 Carretera Federal | Kilometro 48, Playa Paraiso, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen > Playa Paraiso
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#7 Luxury Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#8 Top resorts Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#8 Family Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Paraiso
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Mayan Palace Riviera Maya 4.5*
Number of rooms: 402
Also Known As:
Mayan Riviera
Mayan Palace Cancun
Wyndham Playa Del Carmen
Riu Palace Riviera Maya
Cancun Grand Mayan
Grand Maya Mayan Riviera
Playa Del Carmen Wyndham
Mayan Palace Playa Del Carmen
Mayan Palace Riviera Maya Mexico
Mayan Palace Riviera Maya Playa Paraiso, Mexico

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