I recently escorted a group to Cancun for a friend & client's 40th birthday celebration. While we stayed in Cancun, I did take some time out to visit several hotels along the Riviera Maya so that I could bring back to you, my valued clients, my personal expertise on these properties.
BARCELO MAYA (Maya Beach & Caribe, Maya Colonial & Tropical & Maya Palace Deluxe)
This resort is really FIVE hotels in ONE! It is all ALL-INCLUSIVE. If you look at the picture above at the resort map, you'll see to the far right is the Maya Beach, then Maya Caribe, Colonial, Tropical & Palace. There is a hierarchy at this resort with the Palace being the BEST. If you stay at the Palace you have full run of all 5 properties and can use all the facilities. If you stay at the Tropical/Colonial you have access to all but the Palace. if you stay at the Caribe/Beach you only have access to those two resorts. The resort was initially built in 3 phases: 2 resorts, 2 resort and then the final Palace.
Now as for rooms, I inspected rooms within all 3 phases and I really didn't notice any differences other than color choices and the older phases looking just a bit more used, but only by slim margin because the soft goods (linens, etc.) have been recently updated. So for all interior purposes the resort is fresh. I really did like the grounds of this resort. It is very expansive, so there is a shuttle that takes you around and the beach is beautiful. The most expansive beach is at the Caribe/Beach resorts- it's huge! The beach thins down a bit at the Tropical/Colonial resorts but is still pretty decent. It then slims down quite a bit at the Palace, but you have full access to the other beaches.
The Palace had the best water works- nicest swimming pools and water play grounds for kids. They also had a lap swimming pool that was separate. I appreciate that because sometimes while on vacation I'd like to swim laps and most resort pools are not conducive to that.
Now to break down the amenities at the resort:
Maya Beach & Caribe:
6 Restaurants, 7 Bars, 1 Theatre, Barcy Kids Club, 1 Splash Deck, Business Center, 2 swimming pools with whirlpools & children area, Gift shops in the lobbies.
Maya Tropical & Colonial:
8 Restaurants, 8 Bars, 1 Theatre, 1 kids pool with water park, 2 swimming pools, Barcy Kids Club, Business Center, Gift shops in the Lobbies.
Maya Palace Deluxe:
6 Restaurants (all with oceanviews), 5 bars, Theatres that is air-conditioned, Club Premium Lounge, Gym, Barcy Kids Club & water park, 4 pools including 1 adults only and 1 semi-Olympic, Business center.
"Complex" Amenities include:
a discotheque, chapel, spa, shopping center, medical center and beautiful pathways suitable for jogging or long walks.
Kids Clubs are for ages 4-12.
I was entirely impressed with this hotel complex and would highly recommend it to all clients. It is great for families but there are also quiet areas for couples and with the nightlife entertainment & disco it's a great place for singles as well. It's a great property for GROUPS because you can find a large variety of price points throughout the five resorts. This is also a wonderful place for any CORPORATE groups. In fact, I know of a friend whose company has rented out the entire complex for a week for their Corporate Incentive trip.
You can view pictures of my inspection here:
The link below will take you to the general page for the Barcelo Complex and you can then click on teh individual resorts for more information:
What a stunning resort! This really was a beautiful resort to see, but then the Fairmont has a great reputation! The Mayakoba Resort area is tucked away, very private and you'd have no idea that there are now three resorts hidden behind the security gates. The Fairmont Mayakoba was the first resort to be built in this area and the grounds are very lush, very tropical & green. It's a beachfront 5 star resort and is NOT all-inclusive. However, they are starting to introduce some packages that include some meals & beverages for added value.
The resort is expansive and filled with two story buildings. There are bikes around the resort for guests to just pick up and ride to another part of the resort. There are also golf carts driving around and picking up guests at different points to drop them off at other parts of the resort. The rooms are huge and beautifully decorated. All the comforts from home & the luxuries that you'd expect from Fairmont. One of my favorites was the Oceanfront casita suite...963 square feet with your own plunge pool that looks right over the beach. Your own private staircase down to the sand. It was AMAZING! I was ready to just sit there and stay the entire day!
The resort has 4 restaurants and several bars. There are multiple pools with a fantastic infinity pool overlooking the beach, so if you don't get one of these really cool Ocean Front Casita Suites, you can still enjoy this type of pool view from the Infinity pool. They do have a kids club with a variety of activites and our tour guide said they do get a fair amount of kids over holiday periods, but in the off season very few. You don't see kids running around or misbehaving, it is a luxury resort not a party zone for unruly kids.
There is of course the spa facility which is quite amazing, beautiful gym and a few shops to do some damage if you are so inclined. Overall, I loved the resort. It would make for a great honeymoon escape or any couples romantic retreat. It would be ok for families where kids would be ok making their own fun in the kids club with potentially a small number of other kids. It's not a resort big on entertainment, so you would need to go outside of the resort for that. It was really a beautiful resort.
You can view my pictures of the resort here:
You can also read more about the hotel at their website:
RIU PALACE RIVIERA MAYA:
Our last stop on this day was at the RIU Palace Riviera Maya. I was anxious to see the RIU because I do send clients to the RIU's in Cabo & Puerto Vallarta quite often and wanted to see one of their resorts for myself. I will have to say that I have mixed feelings on this specific resort.
Rooms- I thought they were beautiful and they were decorated with rich, dark mahogany furniture. Beautiful granite & marble throughout. All rooms have a partial ocean view. All rooms are stocked nicely with bathroom amenities and a fabulous bar.
The hotel has several restaurants and bars all of which seemed to be very nice and a lot of good menu selections and a lot of variety. The spa was on the small side, but very adequate for the guests needs and really nothing to complain about here.
What I didn't like was the main pool area- it's a raised pool that overlooks the other pool and the raised portion just didn't look right. It looked like an after-thought and an over-sized, super-sized hot tub. I just didn't like the esthetics of it. The beach area was nice, but overall the resort seemed very limited on space. I would expect the place to feel very crowded when its at full capacity. So for those two reasons, this is not one of my favorites of the day. It's too bad because the resort does have a lot of pluses, but the two minuses are enough for me to seek other places for my clients.
You can view my pictures of the resort here:
You can also read more about the hotel here: