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Reviews summary

4
Good
6020 reviews
Brilliant
4694
Good
863
Average
273
Poor
122
Awful
68

10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog

Great Hotel, Still has Glitches

5
Brilliant
by
Reviewed 31st October 2012

"For Our honeymoon, my wife and I stayed at the Fairmont Mayakoba. Overall, it was an incredible experience, but not without it’s flaws. Check in was great with the cold towels and greetings drink, no lines and helpful service to the room. We were in a Signature Casita on the 2nd floor and absolutely loved it. We had two bathrooms that were incredible (see other reviews for descriptions) and a large living room area. The bed is definitely on the harder side but reasonable. Our second day there was a major rainstorm during which the palapa (thatched) roof of the beach restaurant was lost, so that was disappointing. The service at the hotel was incredible, which was important, because the quality of the food was not. Many of the service people had come from the Cancun Ritz Carlton which has not yet re-opened. As stated in many reviews the food is good but not great, and is definitely overpriced. For lunch, however, I highly recommend both the grouper sandwich as well as the soft shell crab sandwich. The “deli” near the main pool is also reasonable if you are looking for a quick snack—just don’t plan on buying all of your supplies at the shop. Since it was our honeymoon, the hotel sent us an exquisite floral arrangement, and was actually able to upgrade us to one of their beachfront suites midway through our trip! Now that was incredible and totally unexpected! We had our own pool overlooking the ocean and our deck steps landed firmly right on the beach. Again the service was impeccable, beyond having a butler for the suite (who we didn’t think did anything truly special), the gentlemen with towels and refreshments would stop by occasionally to check on us (while we were at our personal pool) and see if we needed anything—very very nice. The biggest problem is that this is a NEW RESORT and with that come PROBLEMS that they may not have answers to yet. For example, our fire alarm went off at midnight and 5AM and then continued to go off sporadically for the next 48 hrs. My first concern was that when the alarm went off, security never stopped by to check and make sure things were ok. My second concern was that the staff visited at least 4 times, each time claiming that it was fixed, only so that the darn alarm would go off again an hour later. As I said, new resorts don’t always have protocol for such issues. At one point they sent what looked like the three stooges (none of which spoke English) to try and disconnect the speaker system from the alarm. The ceiling rose to a point in the middle and there is a large fan that hangs from that point as well as the placement of the fire alarm. The only ladder tall enough was a telescoping style that did not have any place to lean on. So the “short stout stooge” acted as the brace while the other two flailed around trying to disconnect the fire alarm. Again, they were doing everything they could, but it takes time when something goes wrong because there is no checklist to go down to fix it. In the end the alarm stopped, but if we had a fire, I’m not so sure we would have been alerted. We used the spa on two occasions. The Willow Stream did an excellent couples massage, “the food of the gods” treatment was excellent, but the “Mayan Bath” my wife tried was awkward and unprofessional. After hearing our concerns, the manager did not charge for the Mayan Bath treatment. I would recommend sticking to the basics at the spa to avoid any problems—the staff is just not trained well enough on the other treatments. I would highly recommend getting to the spa way in advance because it is a wonderful place to relax—they have coffee, tea, water, and this awesome juice concoction. The steam room was also aromatic and the top floor pool can be used by both men and women as a meeting place between treatments or before and after. OVERALL, my recommendation is to give the Fairmont a chance—it is an incredible place, but realize that because of how new it is, you will see some glitches. If you are OK with that you will love the experience. At only 20% Capacity, there was never a wait and everyone knew who you were. I would recommend it for relaxation and quiet as opposed to partying and drinking. Lastly, my concern for the future would be around there greatest strength—the service. A lot of the workers I spoke with said that when the Ritz Cancun re-opens they will return to work there (because it is closer to their homes—almost all live in the city of Cancun). That could potentially hurt the Fairmont, and have them looking for some new staff—hopefully they are already addressing this issue. While not perfect, the Fairmont Mayakoba does everything in it’s power to make the stay both memorable and enjoyable."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 25th July 2006

Great Place for Relaxation

5
Brilliant
by
Reviewed 20th December 2012

"We just came back from a week at Fairmont Mayakoba and was extremely pleased with the choice (we thought about changing plan at the last minute given recent poor reviews and were pleased that we stuck with it). We have been to a few other resorts in carribbean including another one in Riviera Maya Positives: Very quiet. The room was gorgeous (we had a signature casita). Never had any bug problems (except one night when we turned the AC off) or card entry problems. Beautiful beach and pool. Exceptional services (not going to repeat so of the things other have said). We rented a car and the hotel provided free valet parking (gave us cold bottles of water every time we picked up the car). Furthermore, although the tennis courts at mayakoba have not been built yet, concierge arranged us to play tennis a few times at Royal Hideaway which has two very nice courts (offered shuttle service to take us there and back but we turned it down given we have a car). Lunches we had by the beach and by the pool were quite good. Negatives: if you like a busy resort w/ many things going on (disco, afternoon volleyball game), this is not the place for you. Food was expensive but not more so than other high end resorts. We had dinner at El Puerto (not impressed at all and very expensive). Could be boring when it is raining outside (probably could use an indoor game room with pool table and table tennis). Daily fee per person to use the exercise room also was a negative . I would highly recommend anyone to rent a car (ran us $190 a week). We drove to Playa del Carmen everyday to have breakfast and dinner (normally $15 each way by cab) and down to Tulum. Driving is very easy (just along highway 307). Glass Bar (restaurant at Playa) was really good (and cheap for the quality) with one of the best pasta dishes I have ever had (I go out dining a lot everywhere I go as well as New York City). There are many other restauratns in Playa that are good and cheap."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 24th July 2006

Experience Mayakoba!

5
Brilliant
by
Reviewed 9th December 2012

"Our family of four vacationed 2nd week of July and thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Had been leary of a few reviews ... however, our stay was an Exceptional Experience! My wife and I went for rest and relaxation and found it. Our twin 14 year old daughters went for the fun and sun. Staff: the Mayakoba staff spoiled us. They went the extra mile in making sure we were well taken care of. So many little extras they would do each day for the guests, I wish I could name them all ... what a job they did. Thank you! Accomodations: we stayed in a Signature Casita (635). Spacious and elegant, looking over one of the lagoon canals. Getting around: the bikes were great. Golf carts were always available, no more then a 2 to 5 minute wait. The resort is spacious, but we found walking around was a good decision too, unless heading all the way to the beach. Pools: our teens loved the pools and beach. Resort policy says pools close at sunset. However, if well behaved, you could swim at night. Food: the food was good, but overpriced. We did eat at resort and order room service, but we also shopped in Playa and brought some groceries back. So we ate breakfast and lunch in our room, then would enjoy a nice meal at night at the resort. And of course, we would enjoy meals in Playa and one day in Cozumel. Tips: Resort policy says tips are included in the daily charge, but guests may tip if they receive extraordinary service. So we tipped often, but usually kept it small for the little things (golf cart rides, putting towels out at beach or pool, maid service, etc.). And would tip waiters the usual 15%. *Exceptional service is the norm, so be prepared to tip, but that's true off resort also! Last day there was the day we were to golf. Bad storm with lightning changed those plans, so all I can say is the golf course looked great, but I'll have to wait to watch the PGA play it in February on tv! Also, Las Brisas' palapa was hit by ligtning and the main inside restuarant will be closed for some time (have no idea how long). We will be back and would highly recommend the resort."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 22nd July 2006

Piece of Paradise (but with bugs)

5
Brilliant
by
Reviewed 9th December 2012

"My wife and I were looking for something different around the Mexican Riveria. We have stayed several times at the Fiesta Americana Coral Beach, but still uncertain as to what to find, due to the Hurricane, we decided to look further south. We ran across the Fairmont Mayakoba from a advertisement seen with American Express, offering $50.00/day room credits. The pictures on line looked inviting, so we called and made a reservation. We arrived July 14th, rather than calling before hand, we picked up a van at the airport which took about an hour to get to the hotel. In the future we would reccomend a cab. Upon arrival, we were greeted with a cold towel, a drink and a smile. Check in was a snap, and we were upgraded to a signature casita. The room was great. We were on the first floor, and had a patio that looked out into what I can best describe as junglesque. Large trees, vines and flowering plants everywhere. I will say that we had occasional problems with the key to get into our room. It usually took 10-15 swipes before the door opened. The bathroom was large and had a garden bath. (Huge window looking out on to a walled minicourt yard filled with flora.) The shower was huge and had a raintype shower head. There were two sinks, and plenty of counter space. All the floors and counters were done in Mexican Marble. Both polished and unpolished. The resort is huge. Over 600 acres of which only 20% can be developed, due to Government regulations. The facility is surrounded by natural fresh water springs, and rivers. Electric boats are used for both tours of the adjoining Mangrove forest, as well as a way to get around the property. Electric golf carts, and for the more active, bikes are also used. The Health Spa and main building are impressive. They sit on a promenade of sorts and over look the grounds. The interiors are beautiful. Marble and exotic hard woods. This is a refined and quiet resort. The beach is devoid of jet skis, parasailing, sail boats, and sales people. Just 2.5 Miles of pristine white beach. The water was clear and calm. Great for floating. Perhaps the best part of the hotel was its staff. They were all so friendly and could not do enough to help. The hospitality was geniune and real. Never forced or intrusive. They all tried to make you feel comfortable and at home. Maids cleaned rooms and changed towels twice a day and more if required. The beach staff made sure that you had umbrellas overhead, chaise lounges underneath, a table at your side, and a drink or food in your hand. The Concierges were incredibly friendly, and informative, and always had time for you. The staff were always there but not hovering. The pools were fantastic. Cabanas and chaise lounges galore. What was even better, was that the pools were designed with several cubby holes or conversation areas, so you were never conspicous or grouped all together. Again, the staff took care of everything. Chilled fruit, popsicles, water, chilled towels, chocolates, sorbets and a few other delectables, were brought around throughout the day. My biggest gripe is with the value of the food and the number of bugs. There are three restaurants. One recently got struck by lightening and is closed. That left two. Although the food was good at both, they were both also very expensive, and I felt in general were of poor value. The portions were small, the dishes with the exception of the noodle and chorizo soup,(you need to try it) were predictable. It was better (cheaper) to take the $ 15.00 each way taxi into Playa and eat at one of several restaurants the Concierge can reccomend. The bugs were bad. After being back home for a week, we are still itching and scratching. The beach in the morning and evening is plaqued by some flying man eating something. Also, we had hundreds, of ants in our room. Even after spraying, they were still around. They did not bother, but they do make odd bedfellows. The golf course was fantastic. It was in great shape and reasonably priced. It was empty. A round could be done in 3 hours easy. In all we would have to say the Fairmont exceeded our expectations, and we hope to go back in the near future, before too many other people find out about this gem."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 22nd July 2006

perfect.

4
Good
by
Reviewed 23rd October 2012

"I recently visited the fairmont mayakoba with one of my best friends and my parents. it was my first time to stay in mexico and we could'nt have booked a better place. while we were there the hotel was only at 20% capacity which made our stay very relaxing. Beach: the beach was perfect. it was supposed to be rainy, but it was only cloudy for one day. even when the weather was not-so-perfect the water was beautiful. when the sun came out it was just amazing. the sand is very fine so that even on the hottest day it is still cool to the touch. the beach is clean and there is no undertoe whatsoever. i felt very safe in the water and loved the clarity of it. Rooms: my friend and i were in a downstairs room in one of the villas (not the main building). the beds were very nice. the room was clean and smelled new. the bathrooms were great. each one has a bath tub and rain shower. on the bottom rooms there is a wall of glass looking out into a small garden surrounded by a stone wall. this wall let the light in and made it feel like you were in a rainforest. very nice. Spa: the spa wasn't fully open when we were there but it looked very nice. there is a workout room that is open for most of the day. Pools: i loved the pools. the infinity pool by the beach is beautiful-- especially on a sunny day. with the ocean in the background the view is breathtaking. the main pool area is very nice as well. the main pool is an interesting layout but in a good way. there also is a poolside bar that looked very nice. there is a waterslide that goes into an ajoining pool and it is very fun. it is open very late, atleast we were on it until about midnight and nobody made us leave, and the little kids love it. the pool by the hotel is nice too, nothing very interesting about it but it was less crowded so it was relaxing. Service: amazing. the men driving the golfcarts couldn't have been any nicer. they started conversation and told us about the land. they were very inviting. when we arrived we were given a juice drink that was very good. Also, whenever we were waiting outside for a van to take us somewhere, somebody would give us water while we waited. very nice. i think the best thing was that when my friend and i were sunbathing a man came over and handed us cucumbers to put over our eyes. i definently wasn't expecting that! they felt so good and i truly felt like i was in paradise. there was a man on the beach.. i can't remember his name but he was so so nice (one of our favorites) whenever we walked on the beach whoever was on duty would find us a set of chairs and put towels on them and open the umbrella ect. shortly therafter a man would come down the beach and ask for drink orders. they arrived not very long after we orderd them. overall they were some of the nicest staff i've ever encounterd. food: well, honestly it was way, way way way overpriced for what you get. the meals are on the smaller side and extremly overpriced. i would recomend taking a shuttle into the city of playa del carmen and visiting senor frogs or some other restaurant because it will be a lot cheaper and much better. overall this was one of my favorite vacations yet. i will be returning to playa del carmen and i can't wait!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 19th July 2006

We went with trepidation

5
Brilliant
by
Reviewed 16th December 2012

"My wife and I left for Mexico the day after reading the review " We couldn't leave fast enough". Going to a "ghost town" scared us but we did took a deep breath and went. Let me tell you that our experience at the Fairmont could not have been better. The rooms are beautful. Wait till you see these bathrooms. They have glass walls, marble everywhere with every luxury detail you could imagine. The rooms at the Fairmont are all basically the same until you get into the suites. The different rates are based on location. We stayed in a basic room on the lagoon. Not a bad view of water foul, fish in crystal clear water, mangroves, the golf course and the occasional water taxi silently passing by. The maid service left nothing out. Towels changed twice a day, turn-down service every night two bottles of water left on the night table with a cute little postcard left on your pillow giving you information about a different bird found in the Rivera Maya area. The room had a flat screen TV and if you want ,access to most US stations. There is a Boise clock radio in everyroom. You might want to bring a few CD's. On to the beach, to which can you can take a golf cart , ( when we were there the carts arrived every five, six minutes) bicyle , I'm 6'3" and felt very comfortable riding or a water taxi. Doesn't matter how because when you get there you'll be happy you arrived. The beach is beautiful. Clean with plenty of chairs and umbrellas. Attendants are waiting for you with towels and are eager to make you comfortable. Right above the beach area is breathtaking infinity pool. Now we also found the resort to be quiet. I described the beach to my wife as a deserted Island with waiter service. Besides for having chairs waiting for us every morning we were offered frozen melon, cucumbers for our eyes, chilled towels and flavored ices. What a life!! If you are not beach people you have a chioce of many different pools at the fairmont including a second infinity pool overlooking the lagoon. Cabanas and umbrellas are everywhere. June and July are off season in this part of Mexico. If you need crowds to feel comfortable go somewhere else. This Hotel is 2 months old. Not yet know and certainly not crowded. A ghost town? no, We ate at all three restaurants and didn't have a bad meal. Service was great and to be honest I didn't know or care about how many other prople were eating there. We were together enjoying delicious food. good wine and beautiful surroundings. Nothing is inexpensive at the fairmont but nothing was priced any higher than other high end hotels. The Spa was one of nicest we've ever been to and our side by side massage was very enjoyable. And I can't forget the golf course which was both an experience to see as well as play. The PGA will be there in Feb 07 and I'm sure you will hear it then, the mangroves are very unforgiving. After more lost balls then I'll admit to, I have a great time. A few tips, bring bug spray for the early morning and late afternoons. During the day there is not a bug to be seen. Single dollars are always needed. The people working there are so friendly and polite you will want to tip them. Go into Playa del Carmen. Good restaurants and a fun place to walk around Oh, before I end, there are no crocodiles in the lagoon and yes I did see a snake on the golf course. Very small guy (inches long) he saw I wasn't friendly and went away. If you're considering the Fairmont go soon. When the rest of the world discovers it you will need quite awhile to get a reservation"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 18th July 2006

8 Days In Paradise!!!

5
Brilliant
by
Reviewed 16th December 2012

"Our family of three (15 year old son) visited the Fairmont Mayakoba the second week of July for 8 days. The purpose of our trip was for rest and relaxation, and that is exactly what we found. Upon check in we were upgraded from a Deluxe Casita to a Signature Casita. The difference is the view. Deluxe C. is garden or jungle view. Signatrue C. is overlooking the Lagoon. Our room was very nice. We had 2 Queen size beds and a huge bathroom with a Tub and Walk in shower. (Reminded us of the bathroom at the Marriott in Cancun, just a little bigger). During the 8 days we were there we had picture perfect beach weather except for one morning when it rained. Food-After reading all the negative food reveiws we were so afraid to eat at the resort. The first 2 days we paid cabs twice a day to take us to Playa Del Carmen (PDC) to eat. PDC is 15 minutes away. Round trip 30 US. On Monday we decided to eat at the resort and tried the breakfast buffet at La Laguna Rest. It's $24 US per PP. We were pleasantly surprised!!! The food was fresh and every day they had something different on the buffet. My son is not a big eater so he ordered french toast or pancakes with bacon for 13.50 US. Ladies, try the choclate muffin, it is out of this world. For Lunch we ate on the beach at Las Brisas Terrace. We had turkey/ham wraps, hamburgers, fish filet, guacamole etc. The food and service were outstanding. Everything was fresh and hot. We never got sick with any of the food we ate at the resort. For dinner we ate at La Laguna. Every night they had specials that were extremely delicious. The Chef even came out one night to ask me how I wanted my fish prepared--I ask for a Blackend Fish and it was very good. My son is a picky eater so he ordered hamburgers and pizza. They also provide live Mariachi music for entertainment. The manager always came over to welcome each table. Beach and Pool are beautiful. We are Beach lovers so we didn't spend a lot of time at the Pool. The beach was full when we were there, but quiet and relaxing. Mostly adults. I think the kids enjoyed the pool better. There is food service on the beach so you don't have to leave your spot on the beach to eat. In the afternoons they brought out free frozen fruit bites and popsicles. We are all over 5'9 and rode the bikes all over the resorts. We also used the golf carts to go to the lobby, beach and pools. We didn't experience any waiting problems. We also went on the free boat tour of the resort. Very relaxing. It takes about an hour. You make reservations with the front desk. Overall, we had the most relaxing and memorable vacation at the Fairmont Mayakoba. The service was outstanding and the resort was beautiful. It was hard to come back home."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 18th July 2006

BEAUTIFUL!! I left feeling like a princess!!!

3
Average
by
Reviewed 25th October 2012

"This resort is BEAUTIFUL!!! And the staff is amazing!! I have never had such outstanding customer service!! I actually felt like I was leaving my friends after my week at the resort. The rooms are very private, and the the bathrooms.... I want one just like it!! The only bad thing.... to many bugs. This is a perfect resort for someone that wants relaxation. Lots to do off the resort, but as of now, the resort has a slower pace atmosphere/"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 28th June 2006

We couldn't leave fast enough!

1
Awful
by
Reviewed 23rd December 2012

"My husband and I are in our early 30's and enjoy treating ourselves to pampering and luxury on vacation. We like to splurge for a high quality vacation experience and tip generously for great service ( last two beach trips were to the Maui Four Seasons and Maui Grand Waliea.) We had never been to Mexico before and were really looking for a luxurious beach vacation. We are definitely not "Cancun party people", so it seemed like a remote luxury resort would be perfect for us to experience a relaxing, romantic trip. Unfortunately after our trip to the Fairmont Mayakoba, we will never return. While the grounds are beautiful, the beach breathtaking, and the hotel has tremendous potential, we were extremely disappointed with our experience. I'm convinced the reviewers who had a wonderful experience early on were with a company sponsored trip that brought the resort to full capacity (900+ people)...and thus all the amenities, entertainment, and restaurants available. Our stay at the resort occured when there were less then 20 rooms booked. It was a complete "ghost town" and very unsettling to be in such an isolated area with no one else around. You would think a secluded beach resort would feel romantic when empty...but it felt creepy and desolate. Seriously. The golf carts that are "scheduled" to arrive every five minutes to drive you around the vast resort didn't run on a schedule because of the lack of guests. We often waited at least 20+ minutes to catch a ride. We were specifically told not to walk the roads to the beach by the drivers because of "poisonous snakes and spiders" in the jungle and "crocodiles in the lagoon". Gee thanks! The rest of the resort was just so poorly lit at night that it was unnerving trying to navigate. The bike racks were full of bikes, but all of the bike seats were too low. If you are at least 5 feet tall (my husband is 6'3") you could not even use the bikes. If lounging at an empty pool and walking a vacant beach weren't unnerving enough, trying to eat at an empty restaurant was even stranger. Our first meal at Laguana consisted of two burgers and two waters.. How much did it cost? It was over 50 US dollars...and the food was cold! For dinner we arrived at a Las Brisas restaurant...completely empty I might add, and were told we didn't have a reservation so we couldn't be accomodated. We laughed thinking it was a joke... but seriously, we were not able to dine without a reservation. El Puerto was closed for a "private party" though we saw no one there either. It was drizzling out, so we ordered room service. Then we called the airline to find the first flight home. We couldn't leave fast enough! Besides the lack of guests, overpriced and cold food, damp bedding, we had some other very strange experiences. We asked for bottled water since we couldn't drink the water...we were told the hotel would provide drinkable water. Nope. We had to buy two large bottles of water our first day...$22 US dollars. I'm sorry, but it is absurd that they would charge so much for a basic necessity. It was just plain water!!!! They managed to drop off two very small bottles of water for brushing our teeth on our second day...apparently we don't actually need to drink water in a hot and humid climate, just brush our teeth. Other weird experiences included the fact that our electronic room key only worked some of the time. We had a "privacy" sign on our door and had houskeeping knock on our door and ask to use our phone. What??? Seriously, two maids made a phone call from our room then left. We decided to keep the privacy sign on our door until we could check out and yet we were interupted 2 more times. When we left to try to eat dinner, it was evident someone had been in our room...and left the door open. There was a huge cockroach in the sink. The next day it happened again an there was a huge spider on our floor. After hearing about poisonous creatures from the staff, we were not thrilled. It was raining the next morning and we went for breakfast at Laguna to find it was closed. We were told to try El Puerto. Wet and hungry, we arrived only to be told the inside seats were reserved (by some mysterious party yet to show up.) We were asked to sit outside under the umbrellas since the rain was clearing up. What kind of 5 star hotel ask guests who are actually at the restuarant to eat in the rain so they can save seats inside for guests that might be coming? I couldn't have planned a more horrible experience. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried! We left as soon as we could get a flight. I resent wasting my vacation days and dollars on such a terrible trip. I have never had such a horrible trip. It is a good thing my husband and I were able to keep a sense of humor about ourselves or we wouldn't have been able to handle it. We have chalked it up to the worst trip of our lives and will be writing the management about our disappointment. While the staff we encountered were very friendly and good humored, many openly complained about all the problems the resort is experience and how many things that need changing are not a priority at this time.. That doesn't really build confidence that things will get better anytime soon. Please don't waste your valuable vacation time or money on a resort that is clearly not ready for guests."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 28th June 2006

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: Overpriced, Not 5 Star Yet

1
Awful
by
Reviewed 20th December 2012

"We arrived on May 25 to the Mayakoba and had an OK stay, but with a some significant problems... First I want to say that the staff is mostly nice and they try to help you, but while the hotel has a lot of potential for the future, it has a lot of growing pains that must be fixed. I think that the above average reviews here on this trip advisor review about the Mayakoba are by people looking past the hotels problems and justifying an expensive vacation. Folks don't readily like to admit that they overpaid for something like an expensive vacation or they may not know about the alternatives in this area... well I will admit that I did overpay at this hotel in hopes that others will know the real situation and I will make alternative arrangements the next time as the Riveria Maya is just a wonder spot and we will return, but not likely to this hotel until there is a reason to do so... I do predict this hotel will likely get better as they sort things out, but it may also get worse at some points in time...especially if there are a lot of folks that stay there at one time as there are some issues around supporting a lot of folks such as paper thin walls and really bad food and not enough things to do... the real saving grace of the place right now is that it is a bit quiet in terms of not being overbooked as it is new. Several of the staff told me that they opened the hotel knowing that there were many problems still to fix - knda like trying buggy software on computer users to use them as guinea pigs and to get money while they fix problems... several of the staff told me that the hotel was actually opened too soon to really support guests to meet expectations... I was really annoyed about some of the hotel capabilities or non availabilities that I found when I arrived as I called the hotel before we booked it to find out what was really open (as the hotel is new) and I talked to a man who identified himself as the manager... I asked him what to expect and what was open or not open yet etc. ... He said everything was open which was not the truth...e.g. I asked him explicitly about the tennis courts and we were told we could play tennis there...not true, nor were all the resturants open when we arrived (altho that aspect may be a good thing- see my other notes), there weren't stores to buy fruit juices or coffee or tea or medicines altho there were changes in this aspect as we finished our stay... (you did have to pay exhorbitant room service rates intstead for soda, juices etc), nor was the main swimming pool or water bar open (this area did open our last 2 days there), nor were there bicycles as promised to get around the grounds...yes, the golf course is open and it is nice, but again priced above other courses around the area. If you want to only go lay around on a really nice beach or play a couple rounds of really expensive golf rounds for 10 days, and also pay exorbitant amounts of money for bad food, then this is the place for you.... but there is nothing else really to do... perhaps that works for you...but while other hotels support many different activities for guests, this one has very few choices...e.g there are a lot of fish and underwater terrain to see in the waters off the beach, but there is nothing at the hotel to provide water kayaks, nor snorkling gear nor other water related activities... it is good to keep the area quiet ( free from jet skis and ATRs) and "organic", but really there are no services to provide anything more than room services and towels at the pool... it would be nice to have a bit more entertainment, tennis and water activities or healthy things to do a the hotel like Yoga etc. You have to leave the grounds if you want to do anything more than lounge around or play expensive golf. ONE GOOD THING: There is an activities company on site at the hotel that helps line up good activities to participate in outside of the hotel and we found some fun things to do and got great services from the staff there, but of course it meant leaving the grounds of the hotel to do some things that the hotel did not support but could have supported such as snorkeling. Current Status---LOTS of inefficiencies: We arrived to find the managers tried to put us in a less costly room then we pre-paid for...maybe this was an honest mistake, but I not so sure as they first insisted we stay in this room anyway and wait a day to change to the right room, and they told us that they had no rooms available at the level we booked at the time and date we checked in---- when I asked them how many were staying at the resort that day they told me about 10 couples or so....and given that there are a lot more than 10 rooms at the level we booked, we were confused as to why they told us that we had to stay in a lower cost room the first day... of course after telling us that we had to wait a day, and while we had unpacked for the day stay, they then suddenly came to get us to move us without warning interruping a nice shower we were taking... The Good: - the place is very beautiful, the beach is great and the staff tries hard - we took the boat ride around the property which is really spectacular withe the caves and rivers altho you wonder what they have really done in terms of the ecology here... i.e. is it a good or bad thing long term to open all these underground rivers to the surface The Bad - lots of nickel and dime antics to get money from the guests--everthing is ala carte - the rooms are nice inside, but without good sound proofing--- we were down stairs and for 2 days of our stay, the folks upstairs kept waking us up with their TV and with conversations... I am not hyper sensitive to noise but to hear these sounds that were not likely so loud to those occupying the upstairs room is not indicative of a 5 star hotel accomadation. There is no excuse for paper thin soundproofing between floor levels at these prices not matter where in the world the hotel room is located.. -the spa seemed to be really a rip-off to me altho we did not try it ourselves as we got word of what to expect from another guest- we got a spa tour when we first got there and I talked to a guest during the tour who had just gotten a massage for $125 for 50 minutes... she said it was OK, but that the thearapist did not show on time and also cut the treatment a few minutes short...BTW--- Playa has a choice of nice plush spas... we found the SPA Itza to be really a good value and this spa had really great therapists at prices that were more in line with other good spas in Mexico... e.g. massage for 60 minutes for about $60. - we got locked out of our room a total of 10 times as the keys, or the lock or the computer safety system didn't work properly... this was especially annoying when we came home late one night from Cancun nightlife... it took over an hour for us to get in the room in the wee hours (as we really wanted to sleep) as the master key used by the manager did not work properly either to open our room door...the resort is such that the rooms are located fairly far from the main building-- they take you on golf carts to your room and walking around late at night can be a bit strange (maybe not safe) as it is not lit up entirely for walking, so having to go back and forth between our remote location room and the main building 10 times to get someone to let us in our room was very agravating. While the staff helped, they also admitted they were having a lot of problems with locks etc... related--- one staffer told me that in April a guest got locked in the main building elevator for over 3 hours one day and that the elevators and other doors often malfunctioned... they need to straighten this out at once!!!... I heard of hotel staffer that got locked in a remote ladies room for a couple of hours one day...that must have been fun--- as the ladies room in question is not a commonly used one and she got lucky that another person came in only an hour later. -several times we came back to our room to find the door had been left open by the room attendents who had finished their cleaning efforts... this was a bit scary in terms of security for our possessions etc. - on the first Saturday night we were there, we were told that there would be some nice music in the main building and this would be a good place to relax and have drink etc, when we went there sure enough there was nice group play a harp, classical guitar and flute...but of course the hotel decided to test the fire alarm system from 7pm that night untill about 10 pm so sirens were chirping loudly the whole time --- so much for romantic modes and nice music in a a nice room.... - as they are constructing the roads inside the hotel resort area, the construction crew often made it very difficult to leave the resort or to allow other taxi's or tour operations to come in... combined with an over the top security effort at the entrance, several times it took over 45 minutes to get in or out of the resort itself... hey its Mexico, gotta put on the brakes - THE FOOD IS REALLY BAD and VERY EXPENSIVE... I hate paying $50 for breakfast buffet for two only to get some food that had been sitting for hours in bowls... we went to breakfast at 10am a couple of times and found out from the workers that things like the Guacomole and other foods had been sitting in open bowls for hours since 6am opening.. the choices for breakfast were for 3 choices.... from $35.00 to $50.00 for the buffet for 2 people .... NYC prices in a Mexico resort?.. luckily we went to Play del Carmen a bunch of times and got much better and fresher food for breakfast at nice places that cost less than $15 for 2 people most ot the time. BTW--- each day at breakfast closing there were huge amounts of foods left over from the buffets... did they recycle old spoiled food for the next day... did they waste all this food as there are a lot of folks and animals that are mal nourished in Mexico... the point is the current way they made breakfast was unhealthy, a waste of food and expensive....and the theme of the resort is to be eco friendly.. hmmmm.... - they moved the breakfast location when we were there without any communications or signs, so for a couple of days the place where we got breakfast was closed with no sign setup to anyone for where to get breakfast a the hotel... the grounds are very large, so walking around is not a great option and the staff was not fully cognicent of where the breakfast had moved to tell us... we discovered where the breakfast was a few days later by accident... but the silver lining was that we went to Playa and found some great resturaunts for our meals. - the hotel must get a kickback or something from the taxis as they make you pay $15 to go to Playa from the hotel but all the taxis we took back from Playa to go to tthe hotel cost $10... hey whats $5 anyway? who needs the extra $75 we spent on taxis to get to Playa...BTW--- unless you have rented a car or have a car or on a tour bus, taxis are your only way out of th hotel to go anywhere... not bikes, walking, etc... I understand that you can catch a bus on the highway, but this is a bit difficult and you have to walk a couple of miles to get from the hotel room to highway anyway... the point is you may want to rent a car or just know that you have to take taxi's a lot of the time to go any where. - the tipping vibe is a bit outta hand in my opinion as the staffers hit you up a lot from many areas... they don't really want you to walk from your room to the main building... instead they want you to use their stations where they pick you up in golf carts...several times we were asked for tips to get to our room or from our room in golf carts... now if you want to go around tthe resort to maybe eat or swim, it can cost you a lot of moneyif you tip each golf cart trip... of course we didn't tip all the time, but there was a vibe to do this constantly from a few of the staffers.. it got really absurd as the managers and staffers were looking for tips to let us into our rooms when their systems broke for us so we couldn't use our own key to get into our room... i.e. not only could we not get into our room many ttimes, but the staff wanted us to tip them to let us in...that is a bit over the top for me. THE UGLY-- How about losing nearly 3 days of your 10 day 5 star priced vacation because the food is so bad you get food poisioned... It was my wife's 31st birthday on May 30 and we decided to not go into Playa that evening but instead spend a simple, quiet romantic evening at the resturant and in our room...we chose to go to what is labeled as a seafood resturant in the main building, but the label is a misnomer as with the menu of about 12 choices only 3 were seafood dishes, the rest were beef, chicken and lamb... and those prices again were NYC top of the charts expensive... we opted to SPLIT a salad which consisted of 4 small slices of tomato and a couple of pieces of cheese in a few drops of some kinda salad dressing that they said was basil pesto, but if so the basil was microscopic... we then SPLIT one main course of bread stuffed chicken breast and rice with a couple of small pieces of squash as a side... the portions were actually quite small and I repeat that we split them (which upset the waiter)... with one glass of house white wine and a lemonade and 15% tip our bill was still 80$ US. Not my major complaint tho... about 3 hours after dinner both my wife and I got very very sick... the whole nine yards of sickness that I won't go into here ... in fact it took me 2.5 days to recover and I stayed in bed for 36 hours of that time - I could barely move and got really weak... interesting to note, that as we were checking out 4 days later, anothe couple from the US, a doctor and his wife who was also a doctor both told me the same food posioning thing happened to them....and that they also were completely in capcitated....they also said the person who was the head chief had been taken to the hospital that night (don't know what happened to her), but in the scheme of things, misery loves company... BTW: we went to some great resturants in Playa both before and after the food poisoning and we even went to resturants rated by Frommers and Fodors as best choices and most expensive and not once did we pay as much as we did at the hotel... and of course we had more and much better food and wine....THE FOOD AT THE MAYAKOBA IS A JOKE! - while this was not the fault of the hotel, but it should be reported to you that we rented a Ford Focus from the Alamo rental car there at the hotel (took 2 hours to wait and do paperwork as the agent didn't show up to the office on time and then required a $1000 security deposit on my credit card) and the car nearly killed us as the brakes went completely out while we were driving on the highway at night back to the hotel... luckily I swerved in to another lane at a stop light and just missed ramming a truck trailer....since the car had manual transmission, I was able to get the car back to the hotel by down shifting it accordingly altho it was interesting when the hotel staff told me to stop the car at the entry point and I pointed out that the car only stopped when it wanted to stop as there were no brakes.. while the Alamo agent was polite at the car return, he put the problem back on me which I did not appreciate and of course he reported that the brakes worked fine when I first got the car... I can say that from the moment I got the car, the brakes did work sorta, but they were very spongy...the point is watch out when you rent a car and do not trust everything unless you verify it yourself. I have rented 100's of cars over the course of my life and this was a first time with no brakes... BOTTOM LINE: this place has a lot of potential, but it is not currently worthy to be rated anything more than OK, but with some problems... they need to change the food, the resturant management, provide more choices and better prices, add some entertainment or other fun things to do to the hotel capabilities and stop using customers as guinea pigs... I am not sure what they can do about paper thin walls that are not neighbor hood friendly tho....As a Fairmont Presidents club member, I can say that this hotel does not live up to Fairmont standards yet alone have the nerve to call itself a 5 star hotel... Be careful, there are better places on the Riveria Maya to stay at this point in time -"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: 22nd June 2006

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  • fairmont hotel playa del carmen
  • fairmont playa del carmen
  • mayakoba

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