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The Grand Mayan Riviera Maya
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Reviewed February 7, 2013

Spent the week of Jan. 19, 2013 at the Grand Mayan. Unfortunately we had 1 entire day of monsoon type rain and 2 other days of on/off showers. It appears to be raining more frequently in Mexico than years past, so beware of January. Also the next week in Cancun, more rain!!!
Cons:
* We had a severe "musty" smell in our room the entire week we were there. It would catch your breath as you entered the room, did not see mould, but quite possibly it is behind the walls. We went to the front desk on two occasions and subsequently a crew came into the room to "purify" the air. We don't know what they did, but there was only just a little improvement. My short term solution....microwave popcorn, it masks the smell. Our room in Building 1 faced a "jungle" greenbelt and north, so of course no direct sun. We assume this was one of the causes of our situation along with the rain causing such a high degree of humidity. Closet doors had to be left open because our clothes were smelly and damp. We ran into another guest checking out at the same time and she had the crew in three times to try to remedy the problem. Perhaps the higher floors do not have this issue. Could not see any management; everything rests on the shoulders of the front desk staff. This needs to be dealt with immediately or they will be losing guests; if you have allergies or asthma good luck. Our resort in Cancun had a dehumidifier in the room, thank goodness! Clean air finally!
*The buildings are far away from the beach about a brisk 10 minute walk for us and we were the closest building; less time if you are a pool person.
If you don't want to rely on a shuttle, request a lower # building. It is a 20 minute walk from The Jungle units to the pools.
*Beach service: food is a long wait and arrives cold (soggy nachos and cold fries), so walk the few steps to the pool deck and order directly from the pool service kiosk; drinks are good though
*Del Lago Friday buffet...only poor food was the New York steak??? which no one ate, like thin shoe leather all cooked the same; should replace this with their prime rib which was excellent
*Remote location, so if you like "action" and people watching book closer to Playa
*Nice beach, but NO OCEAN swimming, all rocky
*since this is not an all-inclusive you will be "nickel and dimed" for everything...WIFI, Bottled water in your room, laundry @$6.50; beware of your spending, you pay when you check out!!
*Cancun airport is a nightmare, so be prepared for hundreds lining up at customs; most of the flights all arrive at the same time....late afternoon
Pros:
*fast efficient check-in
*no time-share hassling; we did not answer our phone; so no excuses; if you accept their invitation, plan on a long day and get the 10% discounts in writing or signed by a salesrep; this is still not being honoured at checkout eg. food discount
* absolutely incredible pools and many quiet areas to lounge if you want to be alone (lobby area)
* great friendly staff; although many do not speak English
* good restaurants; We ate at Balche, Havana Moon and enjoyed the excellent buffets at Del Lago, expect US prices, no bargains; beach bbq "rained- out" but they set up for it, looked like fun
*if four of you are going into Playa take a taxi; ends up being the same price as the shuttle
*Mega store 2 blocks from Walmart is much nicer
*1 bedroom suite nicely furnished and spotlessly clean, EXCEPT FOR THE AIR
*fascinating wild life..iguanas, coati, flamingos, crocodiles, birds
*bed, firm but comfortable

Room Tip: Ground floors might be "musty" smelling.
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Mary T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Socialmediamanager1, Manager at The Grand Mayan Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded October 10, 2013

Dear Mary T :

We are grateful for your taking the time to write a detailed review about your experience while staying at The Grand Mayan. We are delighted to find out you and your loved onesenjoyed the pool and some of our restaurants. We appreciate your kind comment about our staff, as we consider them one of our biggest assets.

However, we are disappointed that we were unable to meet your expectations to the fullest. Rest assured your comments and suggestions will be shared with the appropriate areas.Comments like yours enable our continued pursuit of improvement for perfection on our daily performance.

With all good wishes,
The Grand Mayan Riviera Maya Management.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 6, 2013

Two (slightly) older couples from Oregon - here for a week - room in Bldg. 5 was beautiful - fed the coatis and got great pics of the iguanas; swim-up bars are a high point and great for meeting folks from around the world; used the complimentary resort shuttle on arrival and a taxi upon departure ($37 US plus tip and a quick way to the airport when you don't want to leave!) Take the shuttle into Playa del Carmen ($5 US/person) and enjoy the local vendors and get your groceries at Walmart. We did a tour of Chichen Itza (paid $109 for all 4 of us after 3 hours with the pusher man) which also got us a great breakfast at Del Largo and 10% off our total bill. Be prepared, however, for high pressure - we apparently got off lucky at "only" 3 hours! Chicken Itza is awesome and our tour guide was a wealth of information. Also spent a day at Xel-ha - if you love to snorkel, this is the place; $85 US for transportation, all-day eating and drinking, snorkel gear and (short) zipline included - lots of fun - also offers dolphin and manatee "encounters" as well as Snuba, at extra cost. The Grand Mayan grounds are outstanding and the pools almost endless - never felt crowded; didn't swim in the Gulf as there are rocks but the pier out into the water provided great fish-viewing. Keep in mind that this resort is "cashless" - you put a hold on your credit card and pay at the end - a 15% tip is automatically applied, but the staff are wonderful so that's not a problem. We had a great week and if you just plan on losing a half day, you'll save some money on your activities. If you're not interested in that, just say NO when your host at arrival wants to set you up for breakfast!

Room Tip: Try for Bldgs 1-2 - the "Jungle" is far away and you'll lose time to enjoy the pools!
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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6  Thank Sandy433
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 5, 2013

We recently stayed at the Grand Mayan as an exchange through RCI
We did not use the transportation offered at the resort as we also wanted to stop and pick up some groceries at Wal-Mart. We did this through USA transfers for $80 plus tip. I am not certain if this was worth the cost. The store at the resort had tons of stuff, yes more expensive, but it was probably a wash. I also had a box of groceries which I brought in with my as checked luggage since I did not use up my allotted bags. The resort has laundry in every building so I did not pack all that much.

We got to the resort around 7:00pm and it was dark so I did really get a good look. We left our bags with the bellman and checked in. They check in attendant seemed a little off, like he either did not understand me, or was a bit medicated. But it was no issue, I was checked in and ready to find my room. We went back to the bellman and he took us in a golf cart to our room and brought our bags in and showed us around. The pictures on the website are accurate. The suite was huge with two bedrooms and bathrooms. After the full day of traveling we just decided to get room service and crash. Room service was good overall although the calamari was just average. The prices to me seemed typical of a Chili’s with a broader menu. Filet mignon cost you about $30, carne asada nachos (big)about $14. Some people may find that a little expensive, but to me seemed normal for this type of place.

We loved the happy hour at noon and took advantage every day. The pools are great and there are tons of little coves where you can get your own little cabana and just relax the whole day. No the water at the beach is rocky, but I did not care, as I wanted to be where my little butler would come and bring me food and drink and I did not have to think.

The resort is HUGE the grounds are spectacular. We were in building 4. It was a perfect location. I had heard people complain about the shuttles, but I saw them everywhere, so I am not certain who is upset about that. Housekeeping was AWESOME! We were so impressed with the friendliness of the staff and how everyone was just cleaning everywhere, sidewalks, pools, the works.

Would I go here again? Tomorrow- I felt relaxed and taken care of. If I had any criticisms they would be:
The kitchen needs to be a little better equipped.
Maybe some of the bigger restaurants should be opened for lunch
One or two more English TV channels.

Room Tip: buildings 1-7 are the best
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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15  Thank lauraleigh9mm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 4, 2013

The Grand Mayan is a wonderful resort to relax, and is also well located to explore the highlights and attractions of the Yucatan peninsula if you wish to.

After reading some reviews of this property on Trip Advisor, we were unsure if we had made the right choice, but we are so glad we stayed there. It is a large property with beautiful landscaping, terrific pools, a wide range of restaurants, as well as daily on site activities. We enjoyed a combination of relaxing on site, but also enjoyed several half day trips to other attractions in this area. Here are some observations to make your stay enjoyable:

Locals call the resort by two names - The Grand Mayan, or the Mayan Palace. They are both on the same site but have different reception areas once on the property. We stayed at The Grand Mayan which is of a higher quality than the Mayan Palace.

Arrival - They will provide a complimentary shuttle from Cancun airport on arrival, just contact the concierge several days before your arrival. They will send you a confirmation EMail with details. Follow the details to the letter, and you will avoid the bombardment of people at the airport. It took about 20 mins from airport to resort.

Building locations - we agree that buildings 1 to 4 are in the best location, and we did contact the concierge prior to arrival to request building 1 to 4. We received a response saying that they did not reserve rooms, but on arrival I raised it with reception before they allocated a room. He asked for a copy of my EMail request - and we ended up getting building 4. Personally we thought buildings 5 to 7 were fairly close to all amenities as well.

On site shuttles - on site shuttles are by way on large electric golf buggies. We used a few times - they were great. You can request them to pick up from your building, we did this one night it rained and got priority.

Rooms - very large, and well appointed. We would describe the beds as firm, not rock hard - and did not need to request a foam pad, as we found the beds to our liking. Unfortunately no kettle if you are a tea drinker, we tried to request one but they don't have any.

Service - Exceptional service, and all the staff on the property are very friendly. We had a problem with our toaster and it was attended to and then replaced within 10 minutes - excellent. Daily room service, and nightly turn down.

Shuttle to Playa del Carmen - The resort provides a shuttle which is 50 Peso per person (one way). This runs to a timetable and goes to Walmart only. You can get a taxi for 225 Pesos, and as we were a family of four this was just as cheap- which gave us the flexibility of going and returning when you want, as well as where you want to go in Playa. We found getting a taxi from Playa back to the resort was very easy, we always asked the cost before getting into the taxi, and they all run to a fixed rate for each resort.

Hire Car - if you plan to do some sightseeing and want to hire a car, Hertz are onsite at both the Grand Mayan and the Mayan Palace. We hired a car for two days, and found driving very easy. Just watch the speed limits, because the locals don't. Essentially you are on the main highway between Cancun and Tulum, and most attractions/activities are along this road. Tulum ruins are about a one hour drive.

Groceries - there is a small grocery store on site which is useful when you arrive, and then to top up on small items. We went into Playa del Carmen on the first day to do a grocery run - it is about 20 mins to Walmart, and as we didn't plan to do any major cooking Walmart covered all our needs (food and alcohol). There is also a MEGA store a few blocks away.

On site - we had access to three pools (one is reserved for Grand Mayan guests). The main pool is huge, with three tiered levels and a couple of swim up bars. Happy hour is from 11am to 1pm - double sized drinks for standard price! The resort also looks out onto the ocean. It is rocky but with a massive pool just 20 metres from you, we saw no need to swim in the ocean. They provide a weekly program of onsite activities (adults) - every thing from pool aerobics to guided onsite cycle tour of the resort, and tequila tasting (of course!). There is also a separate kids program. There is also the 18 hole golf course. Or just find a palapa or pool chair and relax.

Restaurants - There is a wide range of restaurants on site, and we ate at most of them. Breakfast is at Del Lago, which overlooks the beautiful turquoise Caribbean sea. There is also breakfast at Greenbreak overlooking the golf course and 100 peso cheaper per person. For dining there is Taco Break (tacos, simple menu but very good); Tramondo (terrific Italian); Asian (cant remember the name but great food); and Havana Moon - casual dining. Reserve ahead if you can. We enjoyed all the restaurants, and found the quality to be excellent, service very good, and pricing reasonable for a resort of this standard.

On Thursday night they have a Mexican show with buffet - it was very good but I would describe it as a Las Vegas/Cruise boat show. The price for this show includes all you can eat buffet and drink (including cocktails and spirits). Overall it was good family entertainment.

Timeshare bandits - We are already aligned to a vacation club and don't need a timeshare or upgrade, so we planned to say NO. After check in, we were approached by a Vida timeshare representative who provided us with the resort guide and map, and was kind enough to walk us through the activities and resort restaurants. He then offered us a opportunity for a free breakfast and 10% off all activities that we book onsite, including meals. We politely declined, saying that we had just travelled for 28 hours (from Australia), and that it was unlikely we would be awake for breakfast the next day. He offered to book us in for the following day, but said we would think about it and get back to him. Our phone rang a couple of times the first few days, but no messages were left, and we heard no more.

Off site attractions/activities - we found this resort very well located to take in some local sites. We got to Coba (Mayan ruins that you can still walk up), a Cennote, and a unique experience with Spider monkeys. Most trips were only half day, allowing us to enjoy the resort as well.

We will definitely be going back to this area of Mexico and The Grand Mayan in the future. We found the area to be very safe, police presence is high as they understand the importance of tourism to their economy in this part of Mexico.

Room Tip: Buildings 1 to 4 are closest to the pools and restaurants
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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21  Thank skimamaaus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2013

We decided to stay in the Grand Mayan after reading some reviews here, thank you to those who have taken the time to write reviews they were really helpful.

We didn't spend a lot of time at the resort due to the fact that we had a rental car and we were using it as a base camp. The pools are beautiful although the beaches are rocky and small. There is no all inclusive option as the resort is primarily for timeshare use. Upon check in, any major credit card is required with a deposit of approx. 8,000 Mexican pesos for a 1 week stay. They don't charge your credit card until the check out time, they simply put a hold of that amount. The resort uses a cashless system, you simply put the deposit when you check in and everything else is just charge to your room and requires your signature.

The staff are courteous in and around the resort. Please keep all your valuables in your safe!!!! My husband lost his blackberry when he left if in the room one day. We came back in the evening and it was gone! There is a day maid that cleans the room and in the evening, another maid comes to make your bed at night! Beware! Make sure all your valuables are locked at all times! Also, our maid took the two beach towels from the room mistaking them as the bathroom towels as well as removed the bottled water from our room when we didn't drink it as the water is not free! They will charge the water in your room, please ensure they remove the charge upon check out if you did not touch it. There is no fridge in the Grand Master Room which is a downfall. Go to Walmart to get your supplies and they have prepared foods that is ready to eat as well as a bakery.

Rental car in the resort is more expensive than getting it from Cancun airport. Having a car is definitely an asset and cheaper than taking taxis or going by collectivos.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank Kayerenz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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