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
This hotel is nice, in between Cancun and Playa del Carmen, 30 minutes away approximately from each city. The grand mayan hotel is one of the 5 hotels inside the Vidanta enormous property. When you arrive you are dropped at a central lobby and then you have to take a little train to take you to your hotel. Once inside the Grand mayan you have to walk long distances to get everywhere , to the pools, restaurants, shop, etc. We went with our 4 and 7 year old girls, the 4 year old could not keep up with the walking and asked us to carry her very often. The hotel is clean, nicely located, surrounded by nature, iguanas, chachalacas (some kind of birds), which really takes your breath away. But their transportation system within the property is not as practical as it should be, if you have a cab waiting for you at the main lobby to take you to the airport, consider leaving your hotel room 30 minutes before to make it to the cab. At the hotel they gave us cards to be traded for pool towels, one day we forgot those cards and had to go back to the room to fetch them, this took us 25 minutes, so if you are on a short trip you loose a lot of time moving to one place to another and not every path is perfectly signalized. The food at the restaurants is very good, the service is very kind. The rooms have safety deposit box but of you are not a tall person it is impossible to reach it. What we did not like is that they take every opportunity to try to sell you a vacation membership. Within the Vidanta property is the theatre where you can see JOYA by Cirque du soleil, if you are there you cannot miss it, it is a really nice show, and compared to other cirque du soleil shows you can have dinner at this one at the same time. I honestly would not go back to this hotel, I'd rather choose another option closer to Cancun or Playa del Carmen, in which just within a few feet you can get to the pool, the beach, restaurants, etc. If you are not a walker choose another option.
Need more effective and timely shuttles....that are spaced too far apart! Both in distance and minutes! When asking how to get to a certain place by shuttle! We were told different routes...very confusing and too much walking for older people especially when climate is very different
I sent my granddaughter here to celebrate her 21st birthday at her request. She had been there with me and loved it. Everything was fine until check out.
She had Montezuma's revenge and could not make it down for the 10:00 am check out. She called from the room to inform the front desk. They charged her $170 late check out fee. $170!!! She is in tears now waiting to get a taxi to the airport. This is a college kid who can not afford that kind of charge.
I called the resort to ask why and was told that there was nothing they could do.....she checked out late. They had no remorse about treating my granddaughter in such a horrible way.
Also, Be Aware that Vidanta charges a ridiculously high fee for "amenities" which I paid to the tune of $252 for a 4 day stay for this trip in addition to the exchange fee and the guest fee. It is supposed to cover wi fi, which doesn't work and seldom connects, resort transportation, which is non-existent and maid service which is actually very good.
We went and stayed here for a week as a gift. It was a wonderful gift, let's start by saying that! Disclaimer: we are not resort people. We love adventuring with a very loose schedule, walking a ton, getting to meet the culture of a place, and swimming in beaches and rivers and lagoons, so we are not the primary target for this group. But I will leave my very honest opinion on several points, because it helps to know :) Also, if you want to read my very weird story about the timeshare presentation and how it lost us time and money, skip to the end.
Staff: Friendliest staff! Every single person tried to be so helpful, and was so respectful. I did get the feeling the resort owners pressure them to be too "servant-like," which is not their fault, it's the resort's. I like how despite this, all the staff was so down-to-earth, authentic and funny. A joy to be around :)
Grounds: Beautifully maintained, lush, incredible amount of attention to detail. The pools are all such a great temperature, clean, and spacious. Never felt crowded. Loved all the iguanas walking around, and the other animals on-site. The walking was actually very nice, people who complain about walking too far probably don't exercise to save their life. haha.
Food: The food generally was great! There were at least six restaurants to eat at, and we had some fantastic meals here. :)
Room itself: We stayed in the Grand Mayan in a master studio bedroom (a studio-like space). We were surprised at how big it was! And the jacuzzi tub for two was wonderful as well. It could have used a microwave however. haha.
Food pricing: Since this was a gift, all we paid for during our stay was food and drinks. We usually split one main entree and one appetizer because we aren't huge eaters. Even with trying to stick to happy hours, and eating sandwiches in our room for lunch, we still spent $750 over six days. That is crazy! Meals were anywhere from $15 for a sushi roll, to $17 for a small hamburger, to $18 for a taco plate. A little nutty. Drinks were $7-15, depending on the place and happy hour.
Entertainment: We are two young people with no children (early 30s). I can see how this place is great for people with children, but for people with no children, this place is hard to find solace from family-friendly activities. We had one nice outing at Nektar, where they had a live local band, but other than that, everything else was very produced and family-oriented. We were a little bored all week.
The Beach: This is a beach resort....with no beach. HAHA. We found it very ironic to even be near an ocean when you can't enjoy the ocean. Definitely can't swim in the ocean. Couldn't this resort be in the middle of Iowa and still have the same appeal? Lots of pools and a theme-park feeling resort?
Now for the weirdest part of all of this: The timeshare presentation. When we arrived, one of the flashy handsome young men they have try to sell you into receiving the presentation sat down and told us, "if you sign up for the breakfast to receive our marketing information, you will get a free breakfast, whether you sign up or not. Plus I'll also give you this very cool black card that gives you tons of benefits. It'll only be an hour of your time, and you can start receiving benefits today!" So we signed up thinking ok, an hour of our time, free breakfast, and a benefits card, we can handle that.
We show up the morning of, and another young man meets us. He tells us we're very young compared to most of the clientele they invite to these presentations, so tells us how about we just skip all the bs, and we go have breakfast, and we'll say we did the presentation? We thought, "wow cool, that's fine by us!" So he takes us to have breakfast at Cafe del Lago, and we chitchat about anything and everything but the resort and the presentation. We thought "wow this is pleasant and unexpected." Then after the hour was over, we get up to go (I also had a work meeting), and he says "Wait are you leaving?" and we say "Yes, you told us you didn't want to go through it all." and he says "oh no, I just wanted to have breakfast BEFORE giving you the whole thing." And we said "That's not how you made it sound. We really have to go..." and he said "If you leave, you have to pay for breakfast." We then did a double-take and said, "Wait, you pressured us to come here, told us you didn't want to go through the whole presentation, and now want us to pay for breakfast because you weren't clear?" And he said he had to make us pay since we weren't going to stay. We wasted another 10 minutes waiting for the check, then paid $50 we didn't plan on spending because of this. We ended up losing two hours after all was said and done, and $50 we were promised we wouldn't pay.... Very very disappointed to say the least. Also, that black benefits card they offer you isn't worth it. The one biggest benefit is getting a free bottle of wine with your dinner--but the restaurant that offers that is closed hahaha. In the end, we only lost money and time with this scam, and were treated pretty terribly.
To sum up: If you love resorts, this is a very nice one. Just know you won't have a beach, you will have attempted scams, and you will pay way more than what you want to. :)
The resort pool is slowly cracking and falling apart. Beach is fair, to go out inyo ocean is horrible. View is nice though. We walk fown to another resort to go into the ocean. The resort fees are way too high now and are going to double per staff. Not as crowded as it to was in the past but because of high fees, poorly supplied kitchen (to almost force you to eat at restaurants on property ), and the pool aging, people may not be returning.