The Grand Mayan Riviera Maya
What We Love
- A sprawling resort on Mexico's Caribbean coast, with Latin America’s only Cirque du Soleil show
- Counting off all the restaurants, bars and pools you can visit without even leaving (total: 65)
- Hanging by the hotel’s well-maintained beach or in its lush tropical forest
- Catching JOYÀ, Cirque du Soleil’s only resident show in Latin America
What To Know
- Valet parking is available; fees may apply
- The resort is popular with families
- Some facilities recently underwent a renovation
Isn’t life grand? It sure is at the Grand Mayan, which is located within the larger Vidanta Riviera Maya and where your choice of daily activities is as sweeping as the 530 acres the resort comprises. Sprawling along a stretch of Mexico’s Caribbean coast, the property houses spas, boutiques, a Jack Nicklaus golf course, a theatre for Latin America’s only Cirque du Soleil show and even a water park with its own lazy river. The pools total 27, the bars and restaurants total 38, and the hotels total five – the Grand Mayan being the most popular.
As a guest here, you’ll have the full run of the whole resort, but you might be drawn to what’s right here already. Miles of wooden pathways wind through tropical flora and fauna, palapas shade a Mayan sanctuary pool, and French food is always on the menu du jour, at the Azur bistro. But you’ll probably be most drawn to the beach, whose facilities recently underwent a renovation that left the whole space in even more delightful shape, so you can simply laze here all day and still have a Grand old time.
Rooms and suites
The Grand Mayan’s rooms and suites are spacious and serene. They come complete with a plush king-size bed, plus a Jacuzzi tub in the bathroom. The Master room has a terrace with a view and a LCD TV.
five hotels, Vidanta Resort on Riviera Maya is home to 38 restaurants
and bars. Grand Mayan itself houses Azur, a stylish French bistro, but
you can choose from tons of other eateries that serve everything from
burgers to tapas to sushi and stir-fry. Hit Frida’s for cantina-style
apps, or swing by Nektar for Yucatán fare – there are also a taquería
and cevichería, among the tons of dining-and-drinking options.
The resort houses two spas which are welcome to you as a guest of The Grand Mayan. Brio Spa is French-inspired and includes such facilities as palapas and a fitness centre. Spatium is more exclusive and offers a cutting-edge hydrotherapy annex, with Jacuzzis, cold plunge tubs and even Mexico’s first salt-therapy cabin.
With the full run of the whole resort, you can do pretty much whatever you want, from singing karaoke to playing golf on a James Nicklaus course to learning to make fantastic guacamole. A water park with a lazy river and 27 pools let you splash about to your heart’s content, and miles of wooded pathways allow you to explore the facilities. Kids and teens will also love the respective clubs for them, and guests of all ages will delight in watching JOYÀ, Cirque du Soleil’s only resident show in Latin America. To get to downtown Playa del Carmen, though, you’ll only have to drive 20 minutes, so make sure your exploring doesn’t end at the hotel or at the larger resort.
How to Get There
We have visited the Grand Mayan in Riviera Maya from 9/13 through 9/20. This was our 3rd visit. We had a wonderful time and wanted to mention 2 restaurants. The first was Quinto which Is the steak restaurant. Food was excellent and service great. The second Tramonto. We ate in this restaurant 3 nights out of 7. It is Italian but also has excellent beef. The staff including Salvador, Miguel and Ignacio were attentive and knowledgeable. The restaurants are not inexpensive but worth the price. I would highly recommend this resort and these restaurants.
Stayed at the Grand Mayan last week of September and are already discussing when we can come back. Every aspect of our trip was wonderful, from staff to check in/out process to the food and drink.....we could not have asked for anything more. The rooms were clean and comfortable with a large deck/sitting pool. The walk to get to the pools/restaurants was a bit long but was expected and not an inconvenience. The sundry store was well stocked and the concierge desks were efficient and knowledgeable. Loved every minute of our stay.
We visited the Grand Maya 8/31/19 - 9/7/19. Do your research first so you know what to expect.
Check-in - Don't expect it to go quick. Go in with the mindset that you are on Mexican time (as we jokingly came to call it). It's the first day of an amazing vacation so don't let the small things bother you. We sent my mom with the kids to the restaurant right next to check in while we dealt with it.
Rooms - Ask for the Lago buildings low in numbers. While we were there 1 & 2 were under construction so we were put in Lago 3. Everything from there was no more than a 5-8 minute walk. Our room was clean (and kept that way). The plunge pool saved our lives after a late night walk back from Salum. I love how the bathroom door are pocket doors that can be opened from the tub (big enough for my bf and I and we're not small people).
Room service - it's going to be slow and don't order the pizza if you're American. It's nothing like you're expecting. Everything else ordered was delish.
Walkways - I'm sitting unhealthy at 250 lbs. I'm not in shape yet I managed to walk everywhere except the central lobby with no issue. All pools were within a 5 minute walk. The walkways are well shaded with the trees giving protection from the sun the whole way. Salu for us was an 8 minute walk. One night I did give up and we took the shuttle back to our building (that may have been the margaritas fault).
Breakfast buffet at Del Lago - do it at least once! We caught the early bird special form the app so saved 20-25%. I think it came out to around $20/person. The have mimosas available. The choices wow! just wow! There is a little bit of everything. Some highlights: ade to order egg station, made fresh pancake, waffles, french toast station (try the churros there being made fresh yum!), fruits so many, fresh honey and like 6 different tyes of jams, roasts, chicken, think of the best buffet you have and then increase it!
Mexican Fiesta at Del Lago - for us it was on a Thursday night. It was $60 for the adults over 12 and I believe my 7 yr old was 1/2 price. It has an open bar (the waiters stay on top of your drink needs. I never had to wait), pinata for the kids a HUGE buffet with a made to order quesadilla station and a street tack station. There were so many choices. The show itself was a bit dated and lost our interest here and there but for the most part is was enjoyable and worth seeing. The woman(?) who comes out in the skeleton suit and dress with the whistle was the best part for us loved it! There is also a lot of crowd participation which we found neat. Definitely do it!
Pools - None of them went over my youngest daughters shoulders and she's about 50". I loved that because I felt comfortable letting her feel like she had freedom to roam (where mom could see).
Beach - we left our snorkel gear behind because every one said it was too rocky to go in. Next time we'll bring our gear. Yes there are a ton of rocks but there's path ways between them to get out to deeper water where you can float and snorkel. There were a ton of fish by the pier and it was disappointing not to have our gear. When we went there was 0 sargassum (stinky seaweed)
Time of year - This will be our go to time of year. There was hardly anyone there. It was mostly locals and we were one of the only families not speaking Spanish. For us it was great. The bed cabanas didn't need to be booked and when we went down at 9 am there were still plenty to pick from. I could float in the pool and never worry about bumping into anyone. The shuttles never got crowded when we took one to the central lobby.
Shuttle to Playa del Carmen: It cost 100 MXN Pesos (about $5) per person no discount on the kids each way. There are a few different drop off points depending on where you want to go.
Tips - they are included in the restaurant and bar tabs so we did not add extra. We did however tip housekeeping 100 MXN Pesos per day and then left about 600 MXN Pesos for her at the end of the trip. I read somewhere it is better to tip in MXN Pesos than USD so they don't have to deal with exchanging and the exchange rate
Beach bar/restaurant by Salum - be prepared to wait. No matter what night we went the food took forever, the drinks took forever, the waiter took forever, paying the bill took forever BUT we were relaxed on a sofa under a star filled sky watching people dance and laugh around us. Mexican time - just go with the flow you're on vacation leave the fast pace life behind in the states
On average for lunch and drinks by the pool we spent about $200/day for 5 people (only 2 of us drink alcohol). That is with us being by the pool roughly 9 am to 5 pm and drinking kind of non stop. Happy hour you BOGO but it has to be the same drink. At night we usually spent about $150 in the restaurants (with drinks) or $30 for room service (without drinks we had wine and tequila we picked up at La Mega in PDC in the room).
Timeshare - they approached us in the lobby. We gave an excuse and walked away. Simple easy peezy. Don't do the presentation from the research I did it'll be 4-6 hours instead of the 1 and it's just not worth the discounts or free breakfast.
Jade Market - costs were only a dollar or so more than what we would spend here in the NY/NJ tri-state area. We got milk and cereal (wine wine wine) to hold us until the next day when we et into PDC and picked up a few things from La Mega.
The food and drinks were good. Bring some activated charcoal tabs with you just to be safe (My stomach definitely was unhappy the first day so I faithfully took the tabs and didn't have any more issues). I was the only one who had any issue and to be fair I have a weak system after a past surgery I had.
Bring a strong bug repellent!! The mosquitoes chased me inside many nights.
Long story short (too late!) GO GO GO! You'll love it. The resort is beautiful, the people are friendly, the pool water is warm! Wake up early (6 am) and go for a walk the coati families are out and you can enjoy watching them scamper about without anyone else on the trail. Enjoy yourself this is what you work hard for!