More about Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort, Riviera Maya
heaven on earth!
We just returned from a long weekend at Grand Velas Riviera Maya. We were blown away by every part of the hotel. The service was exceptional. The rooms were gorgeous. The food was amazing. I have seen some gorgeous spas and none of them come close to the Grand Velas Spa. It is truly a unique experience. If you know you want a relaxing vacation in a beautiful setting, and you know you want to be treated like royalty by incredibly nice staff, and you appreciate gorgeous design and architecture, you should book your trip to Grand Velas. I could provide more details in this review but part of the beauty of this hotel was that I knew little and was so surprised and blown away at every turn. Go and Enjoy!
Even Better than Puerto Vallarta...
We are big Grand Velas fans, having stayed at the all-inclusive resort in Puerto Vallarta 3 separate times. We had to stay at its new property in the Riviera Maya during a recent visit to the region and were not disappointed. It is FABULOUS! It is first-class in all respects and is perhaps the most outstanding property in the Cancun / Riviera Maya area. The rooms, beach, grounds, amenities, staff, service, etc. are the equivalent of a 5 Diamond Hotel (...which should be recognized soon) and the food, especially at the Signature restaurant, are totally gourmet, headed by renowned chefs and manned by competent / professional staff. We never left the property and were totally immersed. If you have a chance to go to this resort, especially during the economic downturn, you will not regret it. Hat´s off to the hotel management for staying with a successful blueprint and having the confidence and capital to take it to the next level. BRAVO!
We stayed at the Grand Velas the second week of March with our four children ages 19, 16, 11 and 8. Everyone had an amazing time!! The resort is beautiful. They have done a great job with the architecture. The room was first class with high end fixtures. The beds were VERY comfortable and bedding was perfect. The view from the room was incredible. The pools are infinity and amazing. The kids had a blast swimming in the pools and the ocean. There are boogie boards to check out. We also had free hobiecat (sailboat) lessons. The kids loved that! The beach is wonderful to walk along. You can walk for miles in either direction. Since there are so many people walking the beach I appreciate the fact that there was security not allowing people into the resort who were not staying there. The service was top notch. Never did you have to search out someone for a drink or anything at all for that matter. They have an amazing workout facility. You can also have free personal training sessions or yoga. The younger kids LOVED the kids club! They had all kinds of things for the kids to do. The spa was probably the most beautiful spa we have been to, a definite must do if you are staying here.
The food was incredible. We are definite foodies and we loved it! Our favorite was the French restaurant. This is an adults only place so we ordered room service for the kids and enjoyed an evening to ourselves. There are clear requirements for pants and shoes for the restaurants on their website. Who vacations without shoes? Who wants to eat in a restaurant with people without shoes? The breakfast buffet was great. Easy to find something for everyone to love. Also the lunch menu was extensive! The kids had no problem finding what they like and the same went for us, everything from great sushi to pizza.
We have stayed at the Atlantis in the Bahamas to the Four Seasons in Maui and the Grand Velas would rank right up there if not higher. Don't hesitate to stay here...it is amazing and worth every penny.
We just returned from a fantastic vacation at Grand Velas. The resort is beautiful and immaculate. The service everywhere was outstanding. The place is still quite new and was not crowded at all. Our kids felt like royalty. The kids club was terrific because of Brenda. Our butler concierge was Luz, and she was wonderful, too. There were limited restaurants open for dinner (when you travel there with kids you can only dine at certain restaurants)--we ate at Sen-Lin and Frida (Bistro)--both were very good. Azul was great for breakfast and lunch--wish it had been open for dinner, but I'm sure it will be as the place gets more people coming to stay. The pool and beach service were also excellent--we never needed anything! Even though this resort does not have a ton of activities, it was very relaxing, and our kids always found something to do. Everyone on the staff was so nice and friendly, and the place was so beautiful, that it was really tough to leave after 5 days!!!
Luxurious and laid back...
My wife and I stayed at the Grand Velas from 2/21/09 through 2/28/09. As a point of reference, we have stayed at other true 5 star all-inclusives in Mexico, including the Iberostar Grand Paraiso and the Grand Velas in Nuevo Vallarta. We were through the airport very quickly, found our Cancun Valet driver, and were on our way. It was about a 30 minute drive to the resort.
The entrance to the resort was impressive. It was a towering vertical concrete wall with imbedded fountains. In front was a moat of sorts, and we drove over a bridge to a huge set of solid wood gates on either side of a guard building. I immediately had flashbacks to our stay at the other Grand Velas. The security staff all wear small headsets like you see the Secret Service wear. They checked our reservations at the gate and gave our driver instructions, since there are different entrances and check-in areas for different parts of the resort. They slid open the large wooden gate and we drove down a palm lined road for about a half mile until we reached the resort.
Since most of the help is wired and in constant communication, we were greeted by name at the entrance, as they were expecting us. We were welcomed with the traditional chilled cloths and welcome drinks. Check in was fast and we were led to our room where our luggage was waiting for us. We were given the complete room tour by the concierge, and they offered to assist us with unpacking, etc…, which we declined.
Well the room was incredible. It was by far the largest suite we’ve ever stayed in. We used a popular travel auction site to book this room, and were prepared for any type of room. Incredibly, we were put in the nicest part of the resort, in the adults-only ambassador grand section. The suite was huge with a complete wall of glass looking out to an equally huge balcony with private pool. The balcony had a swiveling bed lounger, a table and chairs, and another set of lounge chairs with a foot stool. The railing was wood and the pool had a plexiglass wall. We were on the third of four floors directly overlooking the beach. The suite had a large bathroom with a glass walk-in shower and large Jacuzzi tub. There was a large assortment of bath amenities. There was a large double sink area, a private doored toilet area. The closet was a large walk-in with shelves, bins, hangers, bug repellent, and a large electronic safe. The bed was separated from the large couch and ottoman by the large flat screen TV on top of a refreshment center console with a well stocked refrigerator, glasses, wine opener, and snacks. The TV swiveled in any direction so you could watch in bed or from the couch, or even while you were in the shower or sink area. There was even a remote controlled set of motorized blinds which lowered down from the ceiling. Definitely cool. There was also a desk and chair in the room. The entrance had a table with a pod type coffee and tea maker, and even a bottle of Don Julio with shot glasses and salt.
There are three distinct sections to the resort. About halfway down the palm lined entrance road, is the entrance to the Jungle section. It has a large central building with a reception area, the Sen Lin restaurant (more on that later), the conference center, the spa, and another restaurant. Off the main building are covered elevated walkways through the jungle to the rooms in this part of the resort. We did not get to see much of this area, since it is not entirely complete yet, and we went at night to eat. The conference center is huge, with large escalators to the second floor. You can tell this is going to be geared toward large corporate events, conferences and expositions. However it is a good distance from the main resort and you have to take a shuttle to get there and back. The large curved section of the main resort is the family section. It has another large reception area and opens out to the main pool, and eventually the beach. It appeared as though there were 3 different sized suites available in this section. This section also housed the Azul restaurant, and the Frida restauarant, although that was still under construction. It also contained a piano bar and karaoke bar. The remaining (long straight part) area of the resort was the adults only section, with a separate pool area, the Sky bar, the Piaf restaurant, the Cocina de Autor restaurant, and Le Bistro. All of these rooms are beachfront, with private pool on the balconies. All of these rooms appear to be equally sized.
The general impression was one of casual elegance. For any one who has stayed at the other Grand Velas in Nuevo Vallarta, you will recognize a lot of the same features carried through this one, like the imbedded black stones in the pathways, and the flowers lining the balconies of the resort. The resort was not crowded. In fact, several times, we were the only ones eating in the restaurant. The service was impeccable the entire time we were there. The staff all spoke English very well, and would do anything to help you. Sometimes we felt as though we and a select group of other guests who were there at this time, were VIP’s who had exclusive use of the resort. The grounds were nearly complete. A few stairs to the beach were still being completed, and the sod still needed to mature, but otherwise I was impressed at the landscaping that had been accomplished.
There was an infinity pool in the adults only section with a pool bar. It was heated, and sits right outside the patio area of Le Bistro restaurant. While it was a beautiful pool in a beautiful setting, the seating area felt cramped and slightly confined, and it did not get the sun all day long. Consequently, we hung out at the large pool for the duration of our stay. It felt spacious, had sun most of the day, and allowed us to move our chairs with the sun. There were three sections to the pool. The smallest and shallowest nearest the entrance, was the kiddie pool, and was heated the warmest. The middle section was heated, but not as much as the kiddie pool. The remaining section closest to the beach was very cool. Because of the lack of guests, there were no activities to speak of by the pool. There was an activities board posted with daily activities by the towel hut, however. On the most crowded day, I counted about 30 guests around the pool.
We ate at all the restaurants, some more than once. Suffice it to say, there were no losers. Every restaurant had incredible service, excellent food with elegant presentation, and beautiful surroundings. The wine selection was excellent. For example, if you ask for a Chardonnay, they have a choice between, California, Australian, French, and Chilean varieties. They also have a wine list (quite expensive) if you really want to experiment. At Cocina de Autor , we felt like the judges on Iron Chef, since all the dishes are prepared based on a theme, which changes weekly. The sommelier even served us a different recommended wine for each course. The Sen Lin was in the jungle section, and you need to take a short shuttle ride to get there. It is a beautiful restaurant with a large bar area. Piaf was our favorite restaurant. The food was as good as we’ve had anywhere. Frida was temporarily housed in Le Bistro, until construction is complete on the permanent location. Most nights, we stopped in the Sky bar after dinner for a while. Needless to say, they have almost anything you desire, although we did stump them on Navan. We did go to the piano bar a couple of times, but again, we were the only ones there. We passed on the karaoke bar, and never once saw any one there. It was actually kind of eerie this way all week. Every restaurant and bar would be completely set up and ready to handle a large crowd, but there would only be one or two couples at any one venue.
The beach was a work in progress. I‘ve attached a number of pictures to this review, and I think a picture is worth a thousand words. The beach as it currently stands is very nice. It is white powdery sand, with palm trees and wonderful loungers and beds. Just like at the pool, the waiter service is wonderful. There are a number of whales near the shoreline. Every night there were two tractors dumping sands in front of the whales for the ocean waves to spread out. Offshore, there was a break wall in five sections approximately 100 yards long. This worked to eliminate waves, and reduce erosion. It appears that they are trying slowly to enlarge the beach through a slow methodical spreading of sand. Every morning all the sea grasses would be raked up and cleared away.
All in all, we had a wonderful week with our every whim catered to. This resort is wonderful for a luxurious, laid back vacation. If you are looking for a lively night life, this resort is not for you. Maybe after the resort is completed, and attendance goes up this will change.
Our stay from 2/22/09 – 3-1/09 (LONG)
This resort is incredible, by far the finest we have had the pleasure to stay at and we have been to most of the top resorts in Cancun and Rivera Maya. The reviews posted are all true and really don’t begin to capture all that Grand Velas offers.
We arrived in Cancun @ 10:00 am, and located our private transfer to Playa Del Carmen. We used Cancun Transfers and were pleased to see that we had a brand new black suburban loaded to the max. The driver told us that it would be about a 40 minute drive and he was very helpful.
Upon arrival at the moated front security gates we were greeted by the head concierge and informed that we would be staying in an Ambassador Suite, a nice surprise and upgrade but we didn’t realize how great until we checked in. He informed us that his staff was waiting to assist us at the resort. The winding road back to the resort has been cut through a Mangrove habitat and is quite beautiful, we noticed posted security officers along the way. About halfway back you will pass the Convention Center building which we later found out is where the jungle suites are located also. They are being completed now and will soon be ready for guests. This area has pools and restaurants but is quite a distance form the main resort and all its amenities; they will have shuttles to the main resort. While dining at Sen Lin at the convention center we asked about the wildlife, the waiter said, yes there is wildlife, monkeys, etc. He then realized we were talking about if there would be wildlife near the suites and quickly tried to cover himself; not sure that would be our cup of tea in the jungle!
Raul and 3 others greeted us with cold anise scented towels, took our luggage and Raul escorted us to reception. Raul stood by as Maria checked us in while we sipped on iced tea that had what they called a strawberry flower or blossom in it; it was delicious.
Raul guided us to our room on the 3rd floor and pointed out some of the resort shops, bars, and high points. We meet Tony, our concierge upon exiting the elevator; she and Raul took us to our suite which was close to the elevator. When Tony opened the 4 foot wide large ornate door to the suite, we were in awe. The room was appointed very well with anything and everything you could want, walk-in closet with a room safe that is large enough for a widescreen laptop, high-speed internet connection, smart phone that is internet connected and accesses the resort facilities, fresh flowers, I mean everything! The terraces on the 3 floor seem to be larger than other floors because of the way the building slopes back. The view from 2316 was amazing, overlooking the pool and water. The landscaping is beautiful, especially the way they have planted flowers on all of the balconies that cascade over. These flowers drop petals on the balconies, so every morning there are white and pink flowers on your deck; romantic!
The staff, where to begin; never have we been treated so well, it’s like they anticipate your needs before you can think of them, deliver to you and offer things that you would never think of. Tony was the best, she went way beyond any expectations that we had. Daily she would locate us by the pool to assure that we had all that we wanted and asked if there was anything she could do for us. I had her choose and make our reservations at the restaurants and she arranged transportation for us to the ones that were a long walk because I am pre-op for hip replacement and walking with a cane right now. I mentioned to Tony that Tiger Woods was playing in his first tournament back this week and it was not on our TV. She thought that I wanted to go to the PGA Mayakoba tournament that was being held next door to the resort and said that she could get me in. I explained that I really would like to go but I couldn’t walk around a golf course, she said, oh you will not be walking we will get you VIP status with a cart. This offer we free of charge and astounded me; I declined but this is an example of what they do for their guests. By the way Tony had a satellite feed for the Golf Channel set up in the Bistro Lounge so that I could catch some of the live golf coverage; Tiger was knocked out in the 2nd round but it amazed me that she would go to those lengths.
The food: crazy good, service, presentation, selection; we enjoyed all they offered. The room service menu is quite extensive but if there is something you want that is not there just ask; No does not seem to be a word that is used at this resort. Don’t be taken back when they ask you to sign a bill, it’s just a way for them to inventory and you will not be charged.
The Spa opened during our stay but we did not use it. We heard that it’s fabulous and the prices seemed to compare to other resorts that we have stayed.
I should mention that the resort is somewhat split; family and adults only. Adults can use the facilities at both but dining with children in the adults section has limited times. The kids club is open and operating.
Pool and beach service is great; the moment you set down they are bringing you an iced bucket with bottled water and asking if you need anything else, food, drinks, more towels, etc.
The resort was only between 10-25% occupied during our stay so we felt it was all ours. Tony said the week before they had a convention and were full. The service staff, chef’s, waiters, were plentiful and eager to make sure our stay was one to remember. They succeeded and we look forward to another stay at Grand Velas.
Special thanks to Tony (concierge) Raul (Bellman) Marco (Azul) & Omar (Azul) & Claudia (pool service)
If I can help answer any questions send me a PM and I will try to help.
All in all, this is one beautiful property. Virtually every material - be it stone floors and countertops, bathroom fixtures, furniture and lighting and even the art is first class. They clearly spent a fortune. If you look closely at finish details, particulalry in the suites you'll notice that the workmanship might not be what you would demand for your own home, but one can overlook such things while on vacation I suppose.
One caviat as I proceed - We visited during a time when the property was about 5% occupied. Therefore, we had the attention of the entire staff morning noon and night. For the most part they aren't perfectly polished but they are friendly, aim to please and always mean well. Secondly, the restaurants weren't all up and running normally, nor were all of the bars. That being said, the food was pretty darn good on most occasions. The fine dining rooms from an architectural and design standpoint are often amazing. As lovely as anything you'd see anywhere albeit on a large scale. Azul the all day dining room on the beachfront was only open for breakfast and dinner. This posed a problem for us since we have little children who don't do well in two hour dining experiences.
The butler service for the suites was helpful but a little silly sometimes. They aren't really butlers. They are more like concierges.
The pool and beach service is great. These people ofter towels, water, food and drink what seemed like every few minutes. Food is delivered in large wooden tray/boxes which is a really clever way of serving food, especially on a breezy beach.
Everyone must visit the spa. Wow - architecturally speaking it is magnificent. The service borders on theatrical which to us seemed a little silly, but again, they mean well.
Two complaints : one was with the bedding. I wish they used a crisper sheet, rather than the ones they use which is a damask. It is still top quality though. The second complaint has to do with the water and water pressure. The water, although treated by the hotel is very hard and leaves your skin very dry. They need to soften it. Furthermore, the shower is large with both a rain head and a handheld, but the pressure is weak and the temperature is difficult to regulate.
Final complaint : The all inclusive system is wonderful in a high end resort. The property describes the all inclusive price as including all taxes and gratuities, BUT, every time you eat or drink something you are required to sign for it, and then fill in a tip. The pressure here is huge to add a tip, otherwise, why would they require you to sign off? We did not tip for a few days and started to notice that we weren't treated well. Then I decided to make a huge tip to see what happened. Needless to say, it was as if we were kings. My guess is this is how the management incentivices the staff. For my money, and everyone else i spoke to at this resort, we would all prefer to be charged more upfront and then to never be bothered again with having to ask for a check and then tip. What a huge pain!
Anywway - all that being said, you will have a lovely time here. It is first class in nearly every way - albeit with a Mexican flavor.
Was denied access to food at a restaurant because I hadn't packed pants and shoes. We packed casual for a beach vacation in the Mexican Riveria, not a night out in Vegas. The butler told me he would arrange for room service from the restaurant as a substitute, and then couldn't even follow through on that. So, it was pretty disappointing that food which was supposed to be included (as this is an all inclusive resort) was denied. General feeling of being ripped off. I wished I had stayed at the Ritz or Mandarin instead, they know how to treat guests. No chance I will ever return here. Also, I got their Ambassodor Class Suite, not worth the $1,600 a night. It's just an average oversized room. Nothing fantastic about it.
Beautiful but empty and with an arrogant staff
We did not stay at this hotel. We were staying near by and decided to check it out since we were just up the beach and because the reviews were so great. The property is spectacular although the beach is very rocky and mucky with seaweed. As we walked up to the hotel it was a little spooky because there was nobody - I mean no body there. We were told by one of the workers that they were at 6% occupancy. As we walked towards the pool to check it out, we were greeted by a lifeguard who stopped us. We asked him if we could take a look and he told us it was against the rules and shuffled us along.
My husband and I were shocked at his rudeness! I would think a hotel with so few guests would be more than happy to have visitors speculate & view the property.
There is a reason this property is completely empty. I don't think in this economy, travellers want such arrogance.
very very disapointed, dont go
im very seasoned high end traveler three or four times a year , to five stars and five diamonds resort, said that because im not afraid to paid over 500 dolars a night, anywhere, but i paid 1200 for a ambassador class, and in this hotel you dont paid exclusively for the room, you paid for all of the benefits of an all inclusive top ressort in the world . so... again i paid 1200 a night ... i cant understand why... example,in the bar if you want a red bull you might paid 3 us$ . no kidding, the best champagne you can find is a unknown and bad french one wich the cost it is no plus than 8 us$ . How many bottles of champagne per guest or red bull can drink per day, remember you paid 1200 per night it is not make the diference, i never return to this resort at this prices cost and benefits must be under 500.
the total ocupancy at this time is about 10 percent , the resort is 500 rooms, and for this prices when it is full ,overcrowded not for the profile of clients leading hotels of the world
choice paraiso the la bonita or maroma resort.
The Riu staff assembling
zoom in and see 5th ave!
I am going to Cancun soon for a vacation, but the flights to Cozumel are better priced and have better schedules. What are my options to get my wife, myself, and our luggage from the Cozumel airport to our hotel in Cancun, and then back again?
it might end up being pretty expensive. that is surprising it is cheaper to cozumel. have you checked spirit airlines?
you would have to take the ferry to playa del carmen which costs about $11 per person each way. then you can take a bus to cancun which costs about $3.50 each or a taxi which should't cost no more than $40 to cancun.
First a taxi to the ferry terminal in downtown San Juan ( I'll guess and say $15USD), then as gfinesilver already mentioned, the ferry which runs every hour for $11USD pp. The ferry ride is 45 minutes. The Playa bus terminal is about a two minute walk right up the street and the bus to Cancun leaves every hour and it's cheap. As you enter the Playa bus terminal, the Cancun bus ticket office is immediately to the left, not where all the main ticket booths are. The only glitch, if you want to call it that, is that the Cancun bus terminal is a fair distance from the hotel zone and it might cost you at least $20USD to your hotel. You could take a local bus but with luggage, I wouldn't. I'm going to guess again and say it would take up to four hours from the Cozumel airport to your Cancun hotel. I'm surprised there are more/better flights into Cozumel than Cancun. Have you considered staying in Playa? IMHO, Playa has much more to offer than Cancun and you could easily make day trips to Cancun if you so desired. Have a great time.