Just returned last week from the Viva Azteca. This was a 'mother / daughter' trip - my 3rd trip to Playa and my moms first....
The bus was waiting at the airport for us, we drove directly to Playacar and dropped people off at various resorts before arriving at Viva. Check in was quick and efficient, we were greeted with a tropical beverage. Check in isn't until 3pm, we had a few hours before we could access our room. The wonderful bell boys, Angel and Manuel watched our luggage while we checked out the resort.
The resort is housed within a gated community and has about 270 rooms. It's small and quaint and we felt very safe. Everything is literally a 2 minute walk away no matter where you are. I loved this! There is one buffet, one snack bar, lobby bar and 3 a la cartes.
We stayed in room 2332. Third floor of the second block of buildings. We were central to everything. The room was clean and spacious. The beds weren't as firm as previous vacations, this was a pleasant surprise! AC kept the room cool. There is a french balcony. Just big enough to stand out on and take in the view or hang some clothes to dry. No chairs on the balcony. There is a mini fridge, filled with pepsi, sprite, tonic water and bottled water. We left a note for our maid asking for another bottle of water and that was request was satisfied. The maid cleaned our room above expectations and left beautiful towel art on the bed.
The in room safe is $2.00 per day. I will never understand why this fee isn't included when you book, but we paid the extra fee upon check in for access to the safe. No issues with it, worked fine.
I was concerned with complaints of 'paper thin walls' in previous reviews. I did not hear anyone in the rooms next to us, however did hear people in the hallways, doors closing etc. That is to be expected.
I also want to note that I was surprised by complaints of no elevators in previous reviews. We were on the top, 3rd floor and you only encounter two flights of stairs. I was in a car accident almost a year ago and have a bad back/neck and this wasn't a big deal at all. I definatley couldn't manage my luggage on my own up and down the stairs, but just have the bellboys assist. When we were checking out, I called the front desk and they came immediately to help with our suitcases.
The buffet was clean and good. It's not a gigantic buffet, however is well proportioned for the size of the resort. The food variety wasn't huge, but the food was good. The pasta station was amazing and the omelletes in the morning were the perfect start to the day. Service in the buffet was fast - never waited long for a drink and our empty dishes were cleared immediately. There is seating inside the buffet as well as tables outside in the courtyard.
Evenings are themed - Mexican, Oriental, International and Seafood. A martini bar is set up outside in the courtyard each night as well, serving your choice of a special beverage. Inside there was an area that served various specialties, changing nightly with the theme - we had pork on the spit for tacos, crepes and flambe bananas - all were delicious!
We did not eat at any of the a la cartes as we often ate at restaurants in PDC for dinner.
The snack bar was decent, better than other snack bars I have encountered on vacation. Lots to choose from, great pizzas, fries, rice, spring rolls, veggies, pork/chicken/burgers/dogs and the best guacamole and salsa you will find. Great service, great drinks and cappuccinos. The snack bar has a wonderful view of the pool and the beach.
The pool was on the small side, but never crowded and always clean. Various activities lead by the animation staff were held in the pool - aqua gym, dancing, volleyball, crazy games etc. My mom had fun participating in some 'tequila volleyball' one afternoon and had a hard time getting out of the pool after that, lol......We are mainly beach people, but did enjoy the pool one afternoon. Lots of chairs and shaded areas. Music was played at the pool and I loved that it wasn't only 'top 40' songs. Lots of spanish songs - really set the atmosphere. Loved it!
The beach is gorgeous and underwent a major restoration a few years ago - no more sand whales. Lots of chairs, even if you were just getting to the beach in the afternoon. Many loungers shaded with palapas, if you wanted these you did have to get up fairly early to reserve them. If you were ok with a lounger in the sun, no need to get up at 6am. Beautiful clear blue, warm waters and white sand. Lots of activity along the beach - seadoos, parasailing, hobiecats and windsurfing. There is a buoyed area for swimmers and the watersports have their own area. The seaweed was cleaned up early every morning by hard working staff. Lifeguards are on duty. If you manage to wake up early, be sure to head to the beach for sunrise. It is amazing - Directly over the water and should not be missed. Everyday should start this way!
All staff we encountered were friendly hard working. The animation staff always asked for participation, but understood if you were relaxing and working on your tan. They are energetic, hard working and fun. They put in long days! We made it to one show in the evening and it was great! We were disappointed to have not gone sooner! The Lobby Bar then transformed into a mini disco where a DJ played great music. There was also kareoke in the lobby bar a few evenings as well.
Christina at the concierge desk was amazing, so friendly and sweet. Lu booked us a great excursion and Angel and Manuel carried our luggage when checking in and checking out. Since the resort is small, you really get to know the staff and build a wonderful rapport with them.
There are towel cards. In my three trips to Mexcio, this was a first for me. No big deal though. You can change your towels are often as you need and when you're ready to check out, they give the towel card to provide to the front desk. Check out is at noon, so if you are leaving later, keep your towel and you can turn in your cards later. If you need a shower to freshen up before leaving, you can grab one in the gym. No courtesy rooms here. The resort is small and they were at capacity when we were there....You luggage is stored in a locked room until you are ready to leave.
When going into Playa Del Carmen, we asked the front desk to call a taxi for us. Taxis arrived promptly and only cost $7.00 USD to take you into town. You are also within walking distance to Playa as well, I believe it's about a 10-15 minute walk.
Within Playacar, is a shopping plaza about a 5 minute walk away. Lots of souvenir shops and a Starbucks if you need your fix. The community is beautiful with well manicured streets. Houses, condos, a golf course and resorts make up this area. It's safe to venture out, makes for a wonderful morning / evening walk.
All in all, we had a wonderful vacation. The weather was hot and the drinks were cold. This resort exceeded the expectations I had based on reviewed I read before travelling. The proximity to Playa was awesome, the staff were friendly, food was good and the resort was clean. Excellent value and we would love to return!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC