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“Ditto to Vickio from Vancouver”

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The Grand Mayan Riviera Maya
Ranked #8 of 11 Hotels in Playa Paraiso
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 26, 2013

We spent a week here in December. Our suite was in bldg 13, about ther furthest from the lobby/pools, etc. We 'walked in' a few times, and had no problem waiting for shuttles the other times. Our unit was clean and nice. As Vickio mentioned in her review, the 'presentations' are never worth attending. We have avoided those at all costs for years, no matter where we swap. Buy your time share on resale from a real estate agent, get an RCI red week, and YOU WILL SAVE THOUSANDS. We paid $2000 for one of our weeks, $2400 for another, and have not regretted it for 25 years! You just stand firm upon check in and say NO, tip them a couple bucks, and walk away. They will call your room the next day, and you just say NO again, then they give up. Yes, there was a musty smell in our suite, which is common for the jungle environment we were in, but nothing a can of good quality room spray purchased at the MEGA store in Playa del Carmen didn't take care of. We took the $5.00 shuttle into Playa del Carmen a couple of days. Had some meals there, as well as brought back a few bags of groceries / snacks / liquor, etc from the excellent MEGA store where the shuttle stop is. The meals we had at the resort were pretty good. GONG was my personal favorite (the JALISCO DREAMS cocktail was SO good). I ordered a steak without paying much attention to the price, and regretted it a bit when the bill came, but hey, I wasn't paying attention and hadn't noticed that it was the most expensive entree on the menu. The Deli sandwiches are fine too. If you get something there, just remember to 'borrow' some sugar, salt, and pepper packets to take back to your room. We had a coffee maker in our room, but no filters, creamer, or sugar. The filters we got at the MEGA. The resort is beautiful. The beach there is not a good one for swimming, but great for volleyball, relaxing and to lay out. Pools are great. Acivities are pretty good. (Blackjack by the pool in the afternoons was a lot of fun. Rogilo, the activities guy, was the BLACKJACK MASTER and dealer, and made sure everyone had fun..... free drink voucher for the winner). Only complaint might be that the drink / food service by the pools and on the beach was not good at all compared to other places we have stayed, and we were tipping extra. The FIESTA NIGHT on Thursday also could have been better, considering the charge to attend..... a bit amateurish compared to the fabulous one we attented at Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay in Cabo a few years ago. But overall, the employees there were great, and we are going back again in March, this time to their sister hotel next door, the Mayan Palace.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Garam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 24, 2013

This was my second stay at the Grand Mayan. As many have stated, the rooms are well kept-immaculate and comfortable. However, this time around, we stayed in a studio, separated only by a door from the family staying next door. There is nothing blocking the sound from the hallways or adjacent rooms. Last time I stayed, we were a ten minute hike (at least) from the pool area/restaurants/beach/gym. This time I requested a room close to all of this. They switched us to a room "very close to the pool." This was still a bit of a walk. Basically, there aren't any rooms close to the pools, etc. It's a nice walk and the grounds are lovely but it is a pain every time you want to pop back to the room for something. One bedroom's and larger have kitchenette's but the Studio's do not. While we knew this, we were surprised to find that we didn't even have a small fridge (minibar), coffee machine or even hot water cooker for tea/instant coffee. Upon request, the staff brought us up a coffee maker but no cups. It is clear that you will not only have to hike for your morning coffee but also that you will pay close to $5.00 for each cup. If you want to order your coffee to the room, it takes about 45 minutes for room service to deliver.

The pool area is gorgeous and the week before Christmas it didn't seem crowded-enough space for people to spread out across the pool areas. Again, all facilities are spotless. The service provided by any and all staff is top notch. They are friendly, polite and eager to help. Among the best anywhere I've stayed.

While the staff are top-notch, the resort leaves one feeling taken for every dollar. Internet costs $7.00 per hour or $80.00 per week and this is only for one device. For a luxury resort, one would expect to not be strapped with a huge service charge for an amenity that is free at McDonalds down the street. This being said, in a country where the tap water is not potable, the resort does not provide any bottled water at all. You can purchase a 16oz bottle of water for an amount so ridiculous I don't even remember. However, it was an amount that made us decide to go into town and purchase a week's supply for the same amount as that one 16oz bottle in the resort. Seriously, go into Playa del Carmen and go to the Walmart or Mega (Mega has much shorter lines) and stock up on essentials such as water, cereal, snacks and you will save enough money to pay for your next vacation.

We had dinner at Frida's, the Mexican restaurant at the resort several nights. The guacamole is delicious and the other food is not bad. However, for a starter of guacamole and two salad's and two beers, we were paying $50 each night. This is a lot for what you get. It's much cheaper to go into town. By the way, there is a breakfast buffet option. It costs $30.00pp. Bring ziploc bags to breakfast and bag your lunch!

We also decided to rent a car for $65 per day. This is a much better deal than paying over $100 pp for excursions from the resort. We drove ourselves to the sites and spent significantly less time and money than we would have if we did the organised tours. Driving in Mexico was not difficult at all, just look out for the numerous speed bumps who's paint has long faded.

Bottom line-we found the resort to be lovely and friendly. However, given the constant feeling of being taken for every dollar at every turn, we'd rather put our money elsewhere and not feel as thought we are paying for our vacation every single minute.

Room Tip: Ask for a room close to the pool to avoid half of the hike.
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  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank jris53
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 February 19, 2014

Dear jris53 :

Thank you for providing your comments about your vacation at The Grand Mayan. We are pleased to learn our staff’s service was top-notch. They work tirelessly - day and night, to make our guests’ visits the most enjoyable experience ever. We are also happy that youthink our resort is beautiful, that you perceived the cleanliness of our facilities; as well as truly enjoyed the guacamole served at our Frida’s restaurant. We are certain our culinary experts will gladly receive your feedback as they always look to please our guests with their creations.

Your feedback is very important to us, and we will gladly follow-up with the appropriate areas as creating ideal vacation experiences is our main goal. We would like to point out as well that our prices are competitive compared to other resorts.

We hope to have an opportunity to welcome you back in the future to truly impress you with what we have to offer.

Sincerely,
The Grand Mayan Riviera Maya Management.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 23, 2013

The Grand Mayan isn’t a bad hotel. Our room in building 4 was spacious and convenient for restaurants and other hotel facilities, the staff (especially Enoc on pool towels and Maryvel at the concierge desk) were friendly and courteous and the food, while being rather bland, at least came in good sized portions. The beach is a disappointment with a line of rocks making sea bathing virtually impossible.

So why only a 1 star rating?

Firstly, the hotel employs the tactics of the confidence trickster to sell “vacation opportunities,” which presumably includes time share. We arrived after travelling for about 20 hours and after checking in at reception we were passed over to a “host” to give us more information on the hotel facilities. He was a friendly guy who not only told us about the hotel but told us that the hotel would give us vouchers for a complimentary breakfast, take 10% off our bill and offer us a discounted tour to Tulum - a Mayan archaeological site. To guarantee our free breakfast we had to leave a refundable deposit of $20 with our host just to guarantee our attendance, It wasn’t till the following morning when we looked at our deposit receipt that we realised that this was a selling tactic. In practice the smiling faces and free gifts are simply designed to get you to sit through a sales presentation by Vidanta. In fact, the first thing you are asked when you present yourself for the free breakfast is your ID and credit card details! There is no voucher as such – you are accompanied to breakfast by the sales person who presumably continues the sales pitch while you eat. This wasn’t the way we wanted to start a relaxing holiday so we simply declined the breakfast and recovered our $20 deposit.

Clearly when something seems too good to be true then you can virtually guarantee that it probably is.

Having declined the “free breakfast” we decided to go to the restaurant and buy our own. This is where the second incident prompting a 1 star rating occurred.

The Del Lago restaurant is in building with open sides giving views over a lake. The open sides allow access to birds and not just those the size of Sparrows, but birds as large as Magpies. Just as we finished our meal, one of these birds perched in the roof space defecated on my partners brand new silk top bought specifically for this holiday from Zeugari and costing $180. Although upsetting in itself, especially when realising that these bird dropping could end up in your food, it was the subsequent reaction of the hotel management to the incident that really left a bad taste in our mouths.

They offered to clean the top which we accepted on condition that if it was damaged they would be liable. They of course refused liability and proceeded to ruin the garment by whatever cleaning process they deployed. After much negotiation with the hotel management their final offer was to refund the cost of our breakfast, approximately $60 which we declined.

The concept that great customer service means exceeding expectations of the customers especially when something goes wrong. This is a concept which is completely lost on the management of the Grand Mayan. They would rather find excuses than find acceptable solutions.

The combination of the hard sell coupled with the lame excuses of management for the emergence of situations which they should be able to control, means that the Grand Mayan won’t be on our list of return destinations.

Room Tip: If you must go to this place the a room in buildings 1-4 is essential. It cuts out waiting to be shu...
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  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank JohnSCD
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 February 19, 2014

Dear JohnSCD :

Thank you for taking the time to provide us your detailed feedback about your recent stay at The Grand Mayan. We are delighted to learnthat our staff was welcoming, as this is what we strive for every day. We will gladly share your feedback with the staff mentioned,as working to anticipate and exceed your every need is very important to us.The same way, it is pleasing to find out you liked the portions of our food options.

Nonetheless,we are surprised to learn about the inconveniences experienced during your stay. Your observations will be shared with all areas concerned as our staff has a strict regimen of training and supervision in order to provide the highest level of service our guests expect from us.

We would like to point out that as one of the most successful companies in the Mexican tourism field, we clearly communicate the terms and conditions associated with accepting an invitation to our sales presentation and we appreciate their visit whether they decide to acquire our products or not. We host thousands of satisfied guests every week, as well as attending them and we measure the caliber of our quality through several mediums in an attempt to improve on a daily basis. In fact, the company employs and trains thousands of individuals that work hard day and night to satisfy each and every guest. We are all committed to excellence, integrity, and above all your satisfaction.

Your feedback is always welcome. It is very useful to us in our continued pursuit of improvement for perfection on our daily performance.

Sincerely,
The Grand Maya Riviera Maya Management.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 22, 2013

The hotel is amazing. It's absolutely beautiful and has such a tropical feeling. The pools are gorgeous and there are many. One of the workers said it's the largest pool in Latin America. Everyone who worked at the resort was super friendly and willing to please.

We were in building 5 which was a fine location for us. Our room was on the ground level and looked out at some sort of facilities building which was unfortunate but not that bothersome. We often didn't feel like waiting for the shuttle and would walk to and from the lobby and take in some amazing views of the iguanas sunning on ledges.

I had a wonderful time and and I had only 2 real concerns-

1 - We did not take the sales presentation and we were pretty firm at check-in that we were not interested. My exact words were "I'm on vacation and I'll take up any issue with RCI's class action suit upon my return home". Our rep also told us that there were hucksters that would take advantage of us so if we had booked any outside tours with a promise of a free breakfast or tour to please be honest with her and let her know so that she could offer us some protection. I can't tell you how much that annoyed me and I was on the defensive from that moment on.

The next morning when we tried to leave the resort we were stopped no less than 3 times including by one employee who told us he was on the "rescue team" and when the employee at the gate told us she was collecting any vouchers that we may have been given by a competing firm, well that was the last straw and I ask if I was being kidnapped and not allowed to leave the resort. A bit dramatic perhaps but I was fed up with it all!

Concern #2 is that there are just not enough dining options for me at the resort. Del Lago was undergoing renovations so that was not available, the Italian was outrageously overpriced. We enjoyed Havana Moon which had an excellent band, and found Jade perfect for coffee and pastries in the morning. We ended up at Balche 3 times because it seemed the best value and we got a very good bottle of Inspiration Cabernet each time for about $23.00.

The room was very spacious, the beach was not bad for sunning, but since we are not beach swimmers we didn't go in the water but could tell that the rocks are a danger. Near Del Lago restaurant you can see the work that is beginning on the new beach area.

We went to XCaret for a day tour which was really cool but we were tired and didn't want to wait for the tour bus to return so took a taxi from there to Playa del Carmen for the evening and the taxi rate was $15.00. You can get the ADO bus (terminal across from McDonald's) heading to Cancun and get dropped off at the entrance to the hotel for about $1.50. From there it's a pretty long walk to the lobby area, so when it started to rain so we decided against it and took a taxi back to the hotel for $23.00.

I would recommend this resort highly and would absolutely return.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Marilyn W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 22, 2013

I just returned yesterday from a 1-week stay at the Grand Mayan with 3 other friends. We stayed in Building 12 on the 3rd floor (small elevator accessible). It was very quiet there and a nice distance from the main lobby and other areas. We never had any problems catching shuttles to and fro every 15 minutes or so (Shout out to Roberto!!). The rooms are well appointed. We had a two bedroom, living room and kitchen. The rooms are decorated nicely (just like the pictures advertised) with jacuzzi tubs in each room and king size beds which are very hard. The kitchen had all the basic tools you would need to include a refrigerator, 4-burner stovetop, microwave, and coffeepot. There is a small infinity pool on the balcony although we never got in. Housekeeping came 2-times a day and replenished as needed.

Overall, the experience was peaceful. Check-in was quick and uneventful. It is a cash-free resort so you do have to open a tab. Upon arrival, we were greeted by a timeshare representative telling us about a "breakfast" presentation that should last 90 minutes. We decided to go and listen. We already own a couple timeshares so we wanted to hear about what was new and being offered. In the end, it took a full day out of our vacation and we did purchase but later rescinded. We rescinded because it wasn't a good purchase for us at this time not because there was anything wrong with the package itself. Ultimately, you are purchasing 1-2 weeks to vacation during the year with the option to exchange elsewhere. Everything else should be taken with a grain of salt except for the fact that you are making an investment and must get the best deal for you. It is high pressure but everyone was very respectful and did their best to answer all questions in the best light possible to encourage the sale.

The resort is designed to keep you inside and does a very good job at it. To sum it up, the location is very lovely surrounded with high shrubs and greenery to give it that secluded feeling. It is very clean and always being maintained by the staff. You have the option of going to Cancun (45 mins away) or Playa del Carmen (15 minutes away). It is set far back from the road and the main road to Playa isn't something you can walk safely. Some rented cars but we opted not to because the driving is hectic at best. The resort does offer a shuttle for 5.00 per person each way every couple of hours...which wasn't bad for us. We ate the majority of our meals on the resort and the food was very good most of the time. The drinks are decent but you will pretty much have the same drink menu at every restaurant. We did enjoy quite a bit of time at Havana Moon where there is music and a dancefloor and the Wine Bar. Del Lago has a great buffet style restaurant throughout the day and shows on particular days. The pools are really spectacular and there were always plenty of chairs to access. We walked the beach a couple times as I wasn't compelled to get in...choppy waters and all.

We went into Playa del Carmen, 5th Avenue, a few times to purchase souvenirs since we had all visited Cancun before. As with many of these places the prices are super inflated. Many of the items for purchase can be bought anywhere and there was nothing really unique to the area outside of various tequilas which we did buy. The same goes for the resort. We spent close to 1,000.00 U.S. just on eating out at the resort (for two people). If you go with kids you will want to make sure you stock up at the 24-hour Walmart on groceries because everything is double priced and the pesos add up quickly.

Unfortunately, we didn't get to do many activities as the weather was a bit unpredictable for a few days and before you knew it, it was time to head out. They offer excursions to Tulum (50.00 per person) and Isla de Mujeres (95.00 per person) which I would have opted for and scheduled at the resort. I compared excursion prices to those being offered in Playa and there were the same. Most of the people in Playa are working for the major resorts so there are no great deals to be made.

I recommend the resort to others if you are looking for a sedentary get-away. I saw plenty of children around but not quite sure what was there for them to do other than enjoy the pools. This is definitely a place where you can take the elders in your family and simply bond. I heard there were some activities available such as Casino night that quite a few were looking forward to. FYI...Wi-fi has to be purchased for 88.00 US a week or 16.00 per day.

If you decide to go have a great time, it is a lovely resort and the staff take very good care of you.

Room Tip: The lower the building number the closer it is to the main lobby where everything is.
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  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with friends
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4  Thank gal13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 22, 2013

I went back again to the Grand Mayan and once again it was wonderful. The grounds, the rooms, the food, the pools, and the bars are still beautiful and very well ran. No problems at all with any of the arrangements. The trams seemed to take a long time so I started timing them. The longest was 7 minutes of the ones I timed. Not to bad at all. I am sure some where as long as 12-15 min when I didn't have my phone to time it. lol.

Room Tip: i recommend the Grand Mayan. It is just that much nicer than the Bliss.
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  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled solo
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3  Thank Beachbum1956
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 21, 2013

Un hotel gigante, hermoso, muy bien cuidado. Unas piscinas gigantes, las habitaciones alejadas de todo pero hermosas. La atencion superior. Lo negativo la playa es terrible comparada con el resto, demasiadas piedras.this hotel was beautiful. It has a lot of restaurant options and a large pool area. The ocean is nice as well, however it isn't the white sand beach you see in the cancun area.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with family
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Thank ernesto l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Grand Mayan Riviera Maya

Address: Km 48 Carretera Federal, Playa Paraiso, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen > Playa Paraiso
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#5 Luxury Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#6 Spa Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Paraiso
#9 Romantic Hotel in Playa Paraiso
Price Range: $200 - $500 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — The Grand Mayan Riviera Maya 5*
Number of rooms: 500
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
I am offering suites at The Vidanta Grand Mayan Riviera Maya resort, located on the Yucatan Peninsula. This resort has everything you could ever need to experience true happiness: JOYA, a resident Cirque du Soleil show; five luxury resort hotels; world-class restaurants; spectacular pools; shopping boutiques; a Jack Nicklaus golf course; indulgent spas and the most attentive staff in Mexico. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Grand Mayan Riviera Maya Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Grand Mayan Riviera Maya
Wyndham Playa Del Carmen
Playa Del Carmen Wyndham
Grand Mayan Cancun
Grand Mayan Playa Del Carmen
The Grand Mayan Riviera Maya Playa Paraiso, Mexico

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