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“Superb service and food!”

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Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Ranked #2 of 211 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
New England
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Superb service and food!”
Reviewed 26 March 2012

Just returned from a three night stay, not long enough! This resort was gorgeous, the food amazing and the service impeccable. Rooms - We stayed in the Zen section but there was always a shuttle waiting to take us to the beach. The room itself was gorgeous and all the extras (turn down service, Nespresso coffee, rain shower, jacuzzi tub) were perfect. Very clean and private. The birds were a bit noisy in the morning but then we didn't waste the day. Check in was handled smoothly with drinks and cool towels for refreshment and each guest dropped off by shuttle to the area (zen, ambassador and grand class). The beds were super comfy and you can even choose/request one of many different types of pillows!

We made reservations for dinner a week in advance due to near-capacity but had to change them at the last minute. The restaurant staff made sure we were able to eat at the restaurants we had initially asked for. We were asked at the time of reservation, when we arrived at the restaurant, and by our servers if we had food allergies. This happened at every meal, whether breakfast, lunch or dinner. Frida and Sen Lin - the food was AMAZING. I am quite fussy about food - if I'm eating out it has to be something I can't make! The waiters were terrific, usually two assigned to the table and they went above and beyond - offering seconds on appetizers, extra dessert. The portions were small but in a good way as you can always order another appetizer, meal, etc. I mentioned how much I loved the salmon in my husbands meal and they brought out a special plate for me just of the salmon - without me requesting it. The staff was very pleasant. Yes, you are brought out a bill at the end and to be honest we did tip extra but it is not necessary. Definitely have breakfast in-room one morning, it was amazing. Loved breakfast al fresco at Bistro as well.

Pools are all gorgeous and there is a smaller area/shallower pool for kids in the Ambassador (also an enormouse pool!). We did see quite a few families there and all the kids seemed to be having a great time playing ping pong, snorkelling, building sand castles etc. There were also babysitters and the kids club available. The grand class has the adults only pool. All three immaculate and never crowded. No hot tub but we probably would not have used it if there were one. Multiple bathrooms, places to get drinks or towels.

Arrival - I would suggest booking the shuttle in advance or a taxi, but check with the hotel to see how long the shuttle wait is as they will wait for people arriving on different flights.

Beach- the staff cannot reserve chairs for you and the chairs filled up early, but there was always a place to lie out. We loved Carlos who worked very hard to make sure we always had water, a drink or shade. You can order food on the beach. The water is really rocky - large and in some case coral covered. There are artificial breakers separating the swimming area from open ocean and you can use the kayaks, paddleboards, sailboat, snorkels, scuba, jet ski or parasail (additional $$$ but very easy to set up).

Finally, the staff. Everyone was courteous, pleasant and paid attention to detail. It seemed that other issues people had addressed here on tripadvisor have been quickly remedied (ex, the food allergies issue) and the staff not only seemed to anticipate things we needed but if we asked for anything (breakfast at 3 am so we could catch the shuttle to the airport) it was quickly arranged. I like to do things for myself so it is hard to be waited on. I never once got the sense that any staff member was put out or burnt out or anything other than professional. Note: if you want to run, do so on the beach as a staff member will follow with bottled water if you run the strip betwen the jungle and beach sections!

Absolutely fantastic. I cannot wait to go back!!!!

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank ctralNEmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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Barrington, Rhode Island
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 March 2012 via mobile

We just returned from a 10 day trip to Grand Velas, and we really want to go back as soon as we can! The resort is outstanding! The grounds and pools are very well kept-up. The flowers all along the balconies of most of the second floor rooms were lovely. The Ambassador pool is huge, with a large shallow area, nice if you have little kids. You do have to get up early to save your chairs. Kind of a pain, but worth it if you plan on being there most of the day like we were. The pool servers were always checking if you need a drink, some food, whatever. The beach is "eh" - rocky like others have said. Ok for sandcastles, though.

We stayed in the Ambassador section in an oceanfront pool suite, which was very spacious. We brought in a rollaway bed for our kids (6 and 2) and still had plenty of room. We didn't use the plunge pool very much, but it was fun when we did. Minibar was well stocked and replenished daily. A nice touch was that the man who restocked the room each day remembered that my kids liked the chocolate milk and banana chips, so he made sure we had extra. The bathroom is SO nice - huge walk-in shower with rain shower overhead (I have to have one of these now!), double sinks, vanity and huge Jacuzzi tub.

All of the resturants are excellent. The food is fresh and local wherever possible. The stand alone restaurants: Sen Lin (asian-inspired), Frida (Traditional Mexican), Cocina de Autor (fine cuisine and wines), Lucca (Italian), and Piaf (French), are all are fantastic. Cocina de Autor was spectacular- we had the 7 course tasting menu with wine pairings. Our server and sommelier were professional and gracious, spent time explaining each course and answering questions. Piaf and Cocina are adults-only, but children are welcomed in the others. We brought ours to Frida and Lucca, where they were nicely accommodated. Azul is the buffet restaurant in the Ambassaor section. It has a wide variety of options, all fresh and freshly prepared. We had breakfast there every day, offerings were fresh and yummy. We have to also point out that you get very very good service in all of the restaurants -friendly and always there.

We also want to recognize the outstanding employees we had the pleasure of meeting. Rogelio, our concierge, was fantastic. My husband had some problems connecting to the Internet, and Rogelio was more than helpful in making it happen. He got us tickets and transportation for an excursion last minute and got our dinner reservations for us. Jose is a server at Azul who went above and beyond for us every time we sat in his section. He was super nice to our kids, and was on it whenever we needed more coffee, etc. He is very thorough and attentive - an asset to the resort! Yocelin babysat my 2 year old, and she was vey sweet with my daughter - she still talks about her!

So beautiful and relaxing - it is far above most all-inclusives and has spoiled us for future vacations anywhere else!

Stayed February 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank the_golden4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GVRM, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this review, 16 April 2012
Dear Guest,
Thank you for choosing Grand Velas Riviera Maya for your recent holidays and for taking the time to write such an extensive review.
Comments like yours are the reason why we keep up the good work and we will share them with our employees, especially Rogelio, José and Yocelin.
Hope you will visit us again soon.

Kind regards,

Guest Relations Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
toronto
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 March 2012

I stayed at this glorious resort with my husband for 5 days and it was breathtaking! The ultimate in a resort, and pricey as well. The quietest resort I have been too. Great for honeymooners, very zen like, staff was amazing, service fantastic, gorgeous place from the lobby to the public washrooms, everything was outstanding.

Room Tip: We had a suite at the end of the main building, peace on earth, I would think rooms closer to the lo...
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank gorgeousmomToronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GVRM, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this review, 14 April 2012
Dear Guest,

Thank you for letting us know how perfect your stay was, we will be more than happy to have the opportunity to host you again very soon and give you once more the good service you have already experienced.

Kind Regards,
Guest Relations Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 March 2012

We had a fantastic week here. The staff could not have been better. The attention to detail and service is the best. The food at all the restaurants was perfect. No issues for us....The suites are large and very comfortable. The buildings and grounds make this place very special. The beach is great except that the swimming is tough, due to the surf and rocky bottom. The pools help make up for this.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
5 Thank JimMacKBoston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Houston, Texas
Level 6 Contributor
113 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 March 2012

Everything was very Luxury. Food was good. Wedding ceremony was good. All our family that stayed at the resort was impressed. We even had a few friends and family members come back afterwards to stay while they went on holiday because they liked it so much. We had alot of fun. Only thing is everything is was also expensive. I would recommend this resort if you are on holiday and want to stay at a Luxury resort.

Room Tip: if you want beach view you should book the rooms near the beach otherwise the other rooms have other...
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  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank MisterPham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
North Chelmsford, Massachusetts
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 March 2012

I have never stayed at such a wonderful resort. The entire staff was friendly and attentive, you could not want for anything! The suite was huge and very well appointed. The pools were wonderful and you could either sit at the adult only pool or go to the family pool which was massive! I would love to go back to the Grand Velas, it was truely amazing. The food was also top notch!

Room Tip: Chose a room on the first floor facing the pool and the beach, the veranda is a great place to enjoy...
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank Amy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 March 2012

I wanted to wait a little after our trip to see what my lasting memories and objective opinion of our stay at this resort would be before I wrote a review. My wife and 2 kids stayed here in Feb 2012 and our initial impressions were very positive. The rooms and grounds are beautiful. The service by most of the staff is exceptional. The pools are nice. The sand on the beach is really nice but the Caribbean water is unswimmable here due to an unfriendly sea bottom and the roughness of the water. The restaurants were fairly impressive - the food is gourmet and impressive. But these unfortunately are not the things that first come to mind when I look back or talk to others about my experience.

My son is like Jerry Seinfeld - he never throws up. However, during the night after eating at the Asian restaurant, Sen Lin, he threw up several times. Call me ignorant but I'm skeptical about the quality of the medical assistance that might be available at a resort so we were hesitant to call for help. Besides, every time he threw up he would claim he felt better. Of course that went on repeatedly and ruined a night's sleep and half a day of recovery for him and my wife. I would never expect a hotel to confess to food poisoning but we know that's what he got.

The other incident is even more scarier for us. My daughter is allergic to sesame seeds and tree nuts. Despite telling our waiter about this my daughter suffered from an attack during dinner at the Italian restaurant, Lucca, that was severe enough for her to throw up a few times immediately (which is actually good in this kind of situation). Between the barfing and the Benadryl she managed to avert a potentially very serious medical emergency.

Yes, "barfing" was a central theme of our stay.

So in total, we had 2 nights and half a day out of our 6 night stay that was ruined by 2 food related issues that were the fault of the hotel. This is not a cheap vacation. We splurged for what should have been an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Some friends of ours have been here before and that's pretty much what they got.

We informed the concierge of both incidents but that resulted in a "we'll look into it" and nothing else. I asked to see the hotel manager who came to see us in our room. You would think that having the hotel manager of a "premium" hotel who claims service is of the utmost concern, blah, blah, blah, stand in front of my whole family listening to our unfortunate story would result in something. Anything! But no! He said he would take care of it which just like the concierge translated into nothing. I believed his sincerity and concern, so I was really shocked that he actually did nothing about it - no attempt to make up for it, no discount given at check out time, no gesture at all that says "sorry we ruined your trip but here is how we are going to try to make up for it...".

From reading other reviews it seems their policy with complaints is to deny and deflect so I continue to expect nothing from them and perhaps even a response to this claiming that it's my fault somehow. The message to you is this: if nothing goes wrong you should have a pleasant stay. But if there is an issue, don't expect the hotel manager or concierge to do anything at all about it. I say you don’t take that risk and go elsewhere.

Oh one last thing - I don’t understand the idea of having a heavy comforter on the bed. I don’t even have something this warm in Toronto during the winter. Also all the pillows sink to virtually no thickness which I also don't understand.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
28 Thank Paul T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GVRM, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, responded to this review, 23 March 2012
Dear Guest,

First of all we would like to thank you for sharing this review.
We are extremely sorry about what happened and if this situation spoilt your vacation.
Our Manager came to your room to be sure that your sons felt well, he said that he was sorry about the situation and he offered medical service which you refused.
He said that we will take extra care of your family that is what we did, every restaurant and front desk was allerted about what happened.
Regarding Sen Lin we didn’t receive any reports from any other guests and just your son was sick and nobody else even in your family. Probably he was allergic to one of the ingredientes, maybe some algaes and you weren’t aware of it. We did offer you medical service which you refused.
Regarding Lucca, again, we didn’t receive any reports from any other guests and we didn’t serve anything to your daughter which contains sesame seed or tree nuts, confirmed the same night with Chef and Waiter of the restaurant (you ate Calamari and Shrimps, an entrée and a pizza Margherita – these dishes don’t contain any sesame seed or tree nuts). Again, we offered you medical service which you refused.
Once more, we apologize if this situation spoilt your vacation.

Kind regards,

Guest Relations Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Property: Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Address: Carretera Cancun Tulum Km. 62 | Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Green Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#2 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#2 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#17 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#23 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Grand Velas Riviera Maya 5*
Number of rooms: 493
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Grand Velas Riviera Maya is one of the newest resorts to distinguish Riviera Maya as a premier vacation destination. The uniquely Mexican world-class hospitality we provide is "Beyond All Inclusive, Beyond All Compare", and we are proud to be the only family-friendly All Inclusive resort in the Mexican Caribbean to have been rated Five Diamonds by the AAA. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort, Riviera Maya Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Grand Velas All Suites And Spa Resort, Riviera Maya
Grand Velas Hotel Riviera Maya
Grand Velas Riviera Maya Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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