Grand Velas Riviera Maya – All Inclusive
What We Love
- Massive guest suites that start at around 1,000 square feet
- A beautiful setting on more than 80 acres of protected mangroves and jungle, with 1,000 feet of white-sand beach
- Eight dining venues that span the globe, from French to Asian to molecular gastronomy
What To Know
- Children under 12 are only allowed in certain areas
- The resort has the largest luxury meeting facility in the Yucatan, hosting up to 3,000 people
- Spa treatments, airport transfers, certain wines and even Wi-Fi incur additional costs
- Free WiFi
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
Designed to redefine all-inclusive resorts as places of true luxury, Grand Velas Riviera Maya has earned all sorts of industry awards for its sophistication and service. Instead of buffets, the restaurants serve gourmet dinners prepared by chefs from France, Spain and Mexico, and the rooms are stylish in design and massive in space. The premium oceanfront Grand Class Suites are the most romantic of the 491 accommodations and feature plunge pools on their terraces, while the ocean-view Ambassador Suites are family friendly and the Zen Grand Suites are situated close to the conference facilities. All rooms have big windows and breezy tropical vibes with splashes of Yucatan color in bed runners and throw pillows. Best of all, they all come with dedicated butler service.
In the Area
The resort is just five minutes from downtown Playa del Carmen, a charming colonial town filled with galleries and boutiques. Nearby Xel-Ha Park is known as the world’s largest aquarium, with an array of lagoons, inlets and cenotes (freshwater swimming holes) at the mouth of the largest underground river in the world. Here visitors can observe tropical fish, swing on ropes into crystal pools and swim with dolphins. The Xplor Adventure Park has 14 zip-lines, tours in amphibious vehicles through jungles and inside caves and an underground river where visitors can swim among stalagmites and stalactites.
How to Get There
Stayed with the gal pals first week of Oct. Had the slight edge of hurricane Micheal to contend with but it only effect our first day. After that we had 5 sun filled days. This hotel is quite lovely! The service, rooms, cleanliness, landscape, pools, music, drinks, and the food was exceptional. There's no denying that it's top notch. A couple things that was missing: Candles in the restaurant.... I was surprised they had nothing on the tables. When asked it was provided for us but there was hesitation with my request so I didn't ask again. Incense.....particularly in the Zen areas.
The other thing that I was surprised with was you had to pay for Paddle Boarding. Considering the cost of the stay, this made no sense therefore...I didn't go. The other thing was when Mr. ??? arrived on the 12th....I have no idea who this man was but I was shocked at the ruckus this man brought to the pool. I don't care who he is...the CHAOS was unbelievable. Then to see this man smoke and walk up to the pool and throw his lit butt on the pool edge....was disgusting. I mentioned it immediately to security which they were watching him like a hawk...but they seemed to not have control over this man and his entourage either. There were little kids playing in the pool and I thought this man needed to leave his attitude and lack of manners at the door. Holy cow that was not enjoyable and I truly felt sorry for the staff. We left the area as he seemed just toooooo much for my liking.
Shout out to Isreal and his partner at the pool. They looked after us each and everyday:). Also, the sweetheart at the Piano and Karaoke bar. I can't remember her name but she was there each night looking after us. Bravo.
I'll be back!
I stayed in the Grand Class and it was amazing! The food was excellent and the French restaurant "Piaf" was the best! The service at the pool and beach was terrific, you they checked on you every 20 - 30 minutes.
Private Transportation & Check-in: We arranged private transportation for our family to/from the airport. Unfortunately, upon arriving at the airport, we spent 30-minutes looking for our transportation & after not being able to locate them, had to hire a taxi. When we got to the hotel & after traveling for 6+ hours, the check-in staff did not remedy this right away and wanted us to sign something saying that the transportation had been there even when it hadn’t. After about 15 minutes, they recommended that we go to lunch and resolve the issue later since we refused to get billed twice for transportation we didn’t receive (we had already paid the taxi). This was disappointing again given that all these accommodations were coordinated months in advance and we were the ones left dealing with the issue on our own. They should have just made it right immediately and they ultimately did not charge us for this transportation.
Pool: Service had significantly improved since our visit in June 2017. Isidro was our server most days & no request was too small or large for him. The drinks and food were outstanding, and service was even better. We have lots of kids and they had a blast being able to play at the pool and eat and drink poolside.
Suite Service (Room service): We used this 2 mornings when we had to get up early for excursions & our orders arrived correctly & were very good. They have an extensive menu but don’t necessarily have everything you would find at Azul for breakfast. We also used it for getting fresh fruit in the afternoons for our kids and coffee. This proved to be a great option!
Butler: Our butler in June 2017 was almost nonexistent. When we arrived this year, Daniel introduced himself as our butler and went out of his way to help us with any detail we needed. However, as the week went on, we had less interaction with him. He still did a great job, but we just didn’t need him as much toward the end of our trip as we got more comfortable arranging things for ourselves.
Rooms: The rooms are very modern and clean but their set-up is limited as a single room, i.e. you can’t have a bedroom w/a separate living room. We had 3 rooms for our family and they did a great job in ensuring they were adjoining and in the bedding configuration we requested. There is a 2 -bedroom presidential suite that we would have preferred but for some reason, they charge 2-3x the rate of 3 separate rooms for that suite. We had to get a TV switched out and it was weird that a few times our turn down schedule was not aligned with our dinner schedule as it is at most 5 star resorts, but these are minor things that were easily remedied when we spoke to our butler about them.
Food: We chose this resort in a large part because of the food quality. It is exceptional and there is great variety and there are many healthy options as well as indulgences! They are very flexible and kids can order off the kids or adult menus and as much as they want – at one point we ordered two appetizers at Sen Lin per person since they were rather small and no one said a peep (this is not true at other resorts we have been to where the food choices for children in terms of both quantity and quality are rigidly regulated). Our kids had a great time ordering Shirley Temple’s, Milkshakes, Strawberry Daiquiris. What a treat!
Frida – Frida was great. We dined here 2x during our stay. Try the Duck carnitas, Black Bean cappuccino soup, and short ribs. All of the waiters at Frida were excellent and took care of our family perfectly.
Azul – We had breakfast and lunch here almost every day. They have an extensive buffet and an option for everyone here. We traveled here during low season and it was great to see that they did not reduce their options during this time. The one complaint I have during breakfast or lunch is that when you order something from the waiters for an omelet at breakfast or steak at lunch, it would arrive by the time everyone else who ate from the buffet was done. This occurred a few times & we just discontinued ordering anything & just got food from the buffet. We also dined here at dinner one night and we were very disappointed. Despite having only 3-4 tables in the whole restaurant, the service was terrible and the waiter seemed overwhelmed by our order. One of our kids never got his meal. That is a big deal! A kid’s meal should never be missed. The one stand-out here is the molten chocolate cake, which was the best dessert that we found during the whole trip. I recommend coming here just for that after you have dinner @ another restaurant but note the 20 minute wait time as each dessert is made to order.
Lucca – Really great pasta and pizza. We ordered several & shared with our table and were impressed! I am Italian and am picky & thought it was very good. I wish they would expand their hot appetizers and also protein options for dinner such as Veal Scaloppini, and a chicken and fish entrée.
Sen Lin – Huge improvement to Sen Lin’s menu & quality of food since our visit in June 2017. Our family loved the Beef Satay & Dim Sum appetizers. Great! The Pad Thai and Teriyaki entrees were also very good. Martin was a stand-out waiter here. We also went here twice since the only other restaurants are adults only.
Wine – The wine selection was sub-par for the $$ spent to stay at this resort. Their purchase options were also very limited so we ended up spending more on a bottle of wine each night than we normally would have. Their wine selection does not match the level of other amenities of this resort.
The beach – Most of the seaweed was gone during our visit and they had an army of people on keeping the beach clean each day and the beach was really nice. Great service from the staff at the beach. I also liked that they have beach beds and you do not have to pay extra for these. I was really surprised that they charged for paddle-boarding @ $45/hour instead of including. Typically, a resort of this caliber includes non-motorized watersports.
The spa – The spa is incredible! My husband and I both went to the spa and did the water journey, which includes hot and cold pools, clay room, sauna, steam room, ice room, etc. It is fabulous! We then had 80-minute massages that were incredible. After the massage, they offered for us to do the water journey again, which was a great touch. This is hands down one of the best spas we have ever been to. If you can, I recommend going several times during your trip.
The Teen Club – Our kids are 8,8,8, and 11. The kids club had much younger kids & is more like a daycare so it is not the right option for us. However, we all enjoyed going to the teen club & playing video games, air hockey, ping pong, billiards, and foosball. A great option when it’s raining (which it did on several occasions during our stay) or when you want a break from the sun. Orlando was a stand-out staff member here.
Activities – there were lots of community activities for the kids to do when we were at the resort like riding a bull in the pool, making sand castles, painting birds, volleyball, gerbil ball, etc. It was nice to know that there was always something new to do when the kids got tired of each other.
In Summary, our trip was mostly perfect & I highly recommend it for families. Our family loved it here so much the first time, that we came back for a repeat trip & I think that speaks for itself. However, with a few small tweaks, I genuinely believe that Grand Velas could be stellar.
The ambiance and staff were amazing! There are so many people to thank for making our 6-day wedding stay so magical. Our Grand Class suite was always impeccable and we loved the snacks/special accommodations and attention to every detail. Our personal concierge, Blanca, was amazing and always on point. Our wedding team, Mónica, Pamela, Michelle, and Diego; Celtrev & DreamArt Photography made our dream wedding come into fruition. Our wedding actually turned out to be much more grandiose than we could have dreamt it to be. Pamela was there to coordinate our wedding and always available & ready to make our requests a reality!
All the staff were wonderful and attentive. There was always a friendly staff member waiting to help, Nicolas at the pool bar, Jose setting us up at the beach & Grand Class pool area, Omar at the Ambassador pool, Delia with Lupito (Eagle)
and the many, many staff members that make this luxury resort a 5-diamond oasis! The restaurants are superb and absolutely a foodie’s paradise!
Chris and I are truly grateful for the amazing experience and for making our wedding day absolutely sublime!
With much gratitude & appreciation,
Mónica & Chris
We went to Grand Velas to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. It is a magical place. We stayed in Ambassador, which has a lovely ocean view as well as a view of the beautifully designed pool. The architecture and the natural surroundings complement each other. I felt all my stress leave me as I walked through the majestic corridor of Ambassador. The food choices for a no oil plant based diet were decent. Although not on the menu, the chefs made excellent creations for us. Our concierge, Daniel, took care of all our needs. The room service was excellent. We began with some great coffee, water cooked oatmeal with berries and a plate of papaya and enjoyed lunch and dinner at the following restaurants: Bistro, Frida, Lucca, and Chaga. We did go to Pilaf one night, but I must say that French cuisine is not my cup of tea. The swimming pool of Zen is incredibly beautiful and calming. My grandchildren loved going to the kids club every day.