I just returned from the Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe with my husband and 10yr old daughter. We stayed March 30- April 6, 2012. I have been to TONS of all-inclusives but never the Barcelo chain of hotels.
We did email the hotel about 7 days prior with our requests - understanding it was just a request. We did request the Michocan building, closer to the main pool, 3rd floor and a room with a king. We ended up with all of these things- room 8169 overlooking the main lobby car port and also a view of the ocean. It was wonderful. We arrived at the hotel around 1230pm and our room was also ready. We were not expecting that during high season. They were doing the hotel check in at the Chac-Halal meeting room across from the theatre. It was a large room, nice chairs and welcome drinks. We were able to walk right up and check in. We had not opted for the reqular Apple Vacations free transfer bus with 50 other people. We had upgraded to private/non stop transfers which was great. The Cancun airport was VERY busy due to spring break. We actually landed and no jetway there. We had to get onto a bus and be transfered to a door to then proceed into Customs. Since our transfers were non stop the ride was only 50 mins.
After checking in and getting our bracelets, we did go into the lobby and make our dining reservations right away as everyone had suggested. I think a Friday arrival (the Sat arrivals were crazy) and also because it was only 3 people- helped us with our reservatoins. The reservation system is very slow. Only 1 poor girl working, not very friendly, overworked and just a long system. We could not get ANY a la cartes for our 1st night unless we wanted 530pm or 930pm, which we didn't want either. We choose the buffet at the Midador/La Hacienda buffets since it was Mexican night. The variety of food was amazing and we were not disappointed at all. We were able to get dining for the rest of our stay. We liked to get the "normal" times of between 7pm-8pm. We ended up with Caribe 2 times at 7pm and 730pm, Rodizio Brazillian at 730pm, La Brasserie French 2 times at 730pm and 830pm and then Kyoto Japanese at Palace at 830pm. We asked for ANY at the other resorts and it was almost impossible for anything at those unless it was the 530pm or 930pm time slot so we were fine with what we got. The French was by far the best. The service and menu were great if you like that dining experience. I usually am okay with Brazillian but this one was just okay/not great. It is a lot of meat. Japanese food was very good, however waiters were very rushed and sweaty since this is in the Coral Grille restaurant and is open air. We had sushi, miso soup and each had a meat choice with tepanayki style served but just not the show kitchen. I had the shrimp and there were tons. Husband did the steak and lobster one and tons of meat. We only ate breakfast 2 times (just not breakfast people) however when we did go it was great. Again a HUGE selection. We always did lunch in the main buffet- it just had more choices at AC. The Coral Grille was opened longer but smaller selection and also open air. My only complaint is they need to be more organized when you walk in. You are not sure if you should seat yourself, wait for a greeter, waiter etc to seat you. Sometimes they did and sometimes you finally walked towards a table and they would tell you it was okay or not. Breakfast was more crazy. Some people would not get a table 1st. They would walk in and get their food. Then walk around looking for a table and then get one before the other people waiting since they were standing around with full plates. The workers that area also trying to serve coffee and other drinks are also running around to bus the tables and reset them. They do really need some servers that only bus tables to allow the waitstaff to pay more attention to service.
The pool at the Palace was great. It is huge with tons of in water loungers, fountains, shallow bubble pool etc. It is true that TONS of people do play the towel game. I only went down 1 time at 7am and put 2 towels down at the pool chairs and got the ones we wanted. All the other days we went down around 930am -1030am and 1 day after a Dolphin exursion we didn't go down until 2pm or so. We always got 1-2 chairs at the pool. There is NEVER a problem to get chairs at the beach. Yes- many people reserve chairs for everyone in their party and only a few people actually lay in them. We were always fine if we got 1 chair just to put our beach bag, towels,, sunblock etc. Otherwise we didn't lay in our chairs. There seemed to be more chairs available around the kiddy water park in the afternoon (maybe naps) so you can even find 1 here and 1 there and then pull them together. There was staff pulling beach loungers up to the pool area to provide more there. We did bring along a blow up chair, raft and innertube also. You can purchase them there, but it will cost much more. We also brought water balls and frisbees for the pool.
We were for sure there during the BIG spring break time. There were very large groups from many high schools. I guess I didn't realize that it is very popular in many states to travel in groups of 70-100 people from your school. It was high school seniors on spring break with either their parents or chaperones. All in all they were good, however they drank morning , noon and night. They did have beer bongs etc in the pool. Many would butt in and yell over you for a drink at the bar. It did seem that bartenders were told to pay attention to the adults and not spend all their time with the kids. They were serving lots of "rail"drinks at the pool bar, however you could ask for brand names and they would make it. New favorite drink- The Iceburg. Half beer, topped off with blended margarita. Sat was the busiest day at the pool with spring breakers. After that it seemed that they organized more activities down at the Tropical/Colonial for them. They would bus groups down to Jaguars Disco around 11pm and they were crammed. It was good that they got most of them out of the lobby bars around that time. The pool bar was monitered by a manager that would walk through the area in the swim up pool bar where the bartenders where and make the kids hold up their arms to show their bracelets. Anyone under 18yrs had on black ones.. There was a sign posted saying if a minor was caught drinking then their room would be fined $250. Of course many minors had their friends get drinks and them pour them into their bubba kegs. I did see the manager walk up to kids with the kegs, take a drink and then throw out the drinks. We also heard of kids flipping their wristbands to make them look white (one of the adult colors) and getting caught. So I do think the hotel tried the best they could. I did not see the infamous Wayzata High school group, so maybe they tried a new hotel this year. I do think Barcelo must have a name for themselves for a great high school spring break location. I have never seen so many. We stayed at Iberostar Paraiso Maya last year and never encountered ANY spring breakers except for a few kids with parents, but no groups at all. It did get old after awhile, but all in all they were good.
We did beach walk daily, the beach in from of the Palace is the most rockey. The best beach area is in fron of Caribe/Maya Beach on the far end. Walked out to the water sports pier where there were tons of fish you could either feed or swim with. Beaches were red flagged for about 3/4 days of our trip with water too rough. The watersports area was not allowing the stuff to go out. We did see 1 guy capsize his hobie cat and workers had to go out and help him.
Lobby bar was very nice, however VERY loud and bad for accoustics with large groups in there. If you got a drink and went out into the actual lobby or the outside areas it was much better. Not enough waitstaff in here so quicker to get your own drink. They always had popcorn popping and other treats like nuts, desserts and even mini sandwiches at times. I loved how every bar would give you full big bottles of water when you wanted water.
Our room was always cleaned at good time and restocked daily. Our bed was very lumpy and the pillows are very hard. The house red wine is HORRILBE, just like people say. The nightly shows are great for the quality of talent. The showroom is airconditioned and has great comfy chairs. There is tons of space so you don't feel cramped on each other. The singers and dancers are great. We went to the Variety show (sometimes a MJ show) , Fantasia (Disney show), Mexican show and Cubanisimo show. The costumes this hotel invests in is just crazy.
We did do the dolphin experience at Dolphinaris. This is only 7 mins away. We pre-booked it on their web site and got a 25% discount for prebooking and doing it on a slow day- Sunday. They provided the transfers also. It was a great experience. We did the 1/2 day morning session. We did go into Playa del Carmen 1 day around 1030am. We choose to take a cab. It was 20 min away and was 230 pesos each way.
We did do the express check out as advised the night prior. We stood in a long line in the lobby to firm up our bill and pay it off. Then we were told to just drop off our room keys and towel cards or if we didn't have towel cards (which were didn't since towels were just in room) then to leave them in the room. There was to be a special line for this. They didn't have this set up and the line was again long since a large bus was trying to check out. The check out people were not friendly and only 1-2 on staff. After waiting 15min they put up an express check out sign, we all moved to that spot and then she picked up the sign and moved it to the other side of the counter without saying anything. We all moved there then and waited for someone to help us. After someone came , then it went quickly, but really no system or organization for this to make the express check out go smoothly.
Let me know if you have any questions to my recent stay and I will try to answer them. I am sure I left tons out of my report.
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- Also Known As:
- Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe Hotel Puerto Aventuras
- Barcelo Puerto Aventuras
- Barcelo Hotel Puerto Aventuras
- Barcelo Maya Palace Riviera Maya/Puerto Aventuras, Mexico