Grand Velas Riviera Maya
10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Grand Velas - a little bit of heaven.
"My friends and I have been traveling to Mexico every February for the past 15 years. This is the best, most luxurious, staff-friendly resort we've ever visited. And the restaurants are some of the best we've ever enjoyed. Upon arrival we were greeted with a cool towel which had a very slight aroma of anise to refresh our hands, necks, whatever. Also a fruit drink with flowers in the glass - very unusual presentation but very refreshing. There are 2 sections to the hotel: Family and Adult. We stayed in the adult section. Very peaceful, very quiet. Rooms are are absolutely gorgeous and well appointed. Down comforters and pillows on the beds, flat screen TVs, very comfortable sofas, terrific walk-in shower, jacuzzis in all the rooms. Rooms are immaculate and well tended to by the housekeeping staff. Gift soaps, lotions, shampoos by Moulton Brown.
The staff is not only friendly but extremely professional and the overall impression is that they are really there to make your stay as comfortable as they can. From the butler concierge to the headwaiters, waiters, hostesses in the restaurants - everyone. We had a nice conversation one evening with the manager of the Azul restaurant; I think his name was Johnny. He reiterated the desire of the hotel to make every guest feel as comfortable as possible and that this was the aim of the hotel. Well, it sure worked with us.
The restaurants we visited Bistro, Piaf and Azul were all incredible. Piaf specializes in French cooking and from the appetizers to dessert to the wine everything was exquisite. We all felt so special being there. The Bistro is more casual but still with a formality that is lacking in every other resort we've ever visited. A lot of attention to detail including bringing small stools to our table to place our purses on rather than slung over a chair or on the floor.
They also offer such things as free trips into Playa del Carmen. Anytime you want to go to town, you just alert the desk and they arrange the transportation. Your responsibility is getting a taxi back but the ride to town is free. Upon arrival I noticed that my camera needed a new chip. Someone went to a Sam's Club to find one. I never asked anyone to do this, they just volunteered.
If you are looking for someone on a bull horn bellowing out instructions about poolside bingo, or what is being offered in the gift shop - this is not the place for you. If you are looking for a luxurious, relaxing once in a lifetime Mexican beach experience, this is it.
Karla of the front desk staff , Joaquin our own waiter on the beach, Maria in Housekeeping, Johnny at the Azul - all very sweet and part of our most wonderful experience at this incredible hotel. We couldn't recommend it more highly."
- Travel date: Tue 24th of February 2009
"Grand Velas is an incrediable hotel resort. We have stayed at many of the top resorts around the Carribean and this one might be the best. The rooms are awesome. They are large with sitting areas and 40 inch flat screens on the wall. They have sunken jaquzii tubs and balconies with chairs and tables and a bed to lay on. The food is fantastic. it is 5 star food and service in every way. It is big with 400 plus rooms but no one was there during our stay. The beach is about the best I have ever seen and the pool and chairs they use are awesome as well.
Highly reccomend this resort."
- Travel date: Wed 11th of February 2009
Stay here before it gets popular
"Stay here before the 493 rooms are packed. I prefer small boutique luxury hotel ambiance, and the Grand Velas, for now, delivers all of the personal luxury one can dream of.
Every review is right. While no one is really staying at the property now as it's new, you definitely get the "waiting on you hands and foot" brand new experience.
Cherish it now because once the spa opens, the people come, it's a little warmer outside, this property will be a dominant player on the Maya Riviera.
None of the food was exceptional, but every dish was beyond average and tasted like the chef really was trying to get it right. The waiters watched, and if you didn't like something, they asked you why. Again, they want to win.
I don't know where the staff came from but it appears as if everyone walked directly off 5star training school and into Grand Velas. They were that good.
No one has mentioned the karaoke bar, the piano bar, which are pretty much the only sources of evening entertainment.
A cab is a quick ten minutes into downtown playa.
They also give you a cute straw basket beach bag, cute flip flops to wear down to the beach. Sometimes a resort will give you things that you don't want to carry or wear, but many guests were toting the hotel bag and wearing the flip flops. Good to know so you won't have to pack one.
Stay here while you can. They are operating as if all 493 rooms are full with only 20 guests.
You will feel like a celebrity because they treat you that good.
If I could make one negative comment, do not feel adventurous and walk down the beach. You will be severely dissappointed and go running back to Grand Velas. Stay there.
Also, since they are new and opening rooms, they like to clean, move furniture around 930-10A. We had to ask them once to turn their music off but we tolerated the furniture moving.
Oh, and I have NEVER seen this at any resort. They have a tractor that cleans up the beach with about a crew of 20 every morning. Not only do they clean up all of the washed up seaweed but they also make pretty designs in the sand.
There's no need to splurge on a private plunge pool room now as the pool is totally empty. You will feel like you have the whole property to yourself.
There's about 20 staffers per guest to help you.
Stay here before it gets out of control and everyone realizes how amazing it is.
And mosquitoes, I didn't get bitten at all while wearing insect repellent that comes courtesy in your hotel room."
- Travel date: Sun 8th of February 2009
"Grand Velas is a "perfect getaway".
Beautiful and elegant with all the qualities of a 5 star resort!
Equivalent to "The Ritz".
Rooms were tastefully decorated with extreme comfort
Restaurants were comparable to 5 star dining in Manhattan.
Service could not have been any more accommodating.
Disappointed by the spa not being finished as well as no tennis courts on the grounds. They do offer to transfer you to another resort for tennis and golf but always nice to have them on your own property.
Having been a little concerned of visiting the Mayan Riviera after vacationing in Cabo for 12 years, I was pleasantly surprised by the area as well as the development of some finer hotels.
Not sure if this would be my top choice for traveling with children at the moment, but that may change with time.
P.S. Make sure to visit Ivan (trainer transferred from the Ritz) at the gym. He will do one on one pilates, yoga, etc. with you and is excellent.
- Travel date: Sun 18th of January 2009
5 Diamonds and so much better than Royal Hideaway
"We are big fans of the 5 Diamond rated Grand Velas in Nuevo Vallarta. We did not know what to expect from this property and were blown away by how nice it is. The rooms are equal or better in every way to the Puerto Vallarta property. Large well furnished excellent Molton Brown amenities. Grand Class suites have even more amenities and large take home sizes of the shampoo, lotion, conditioner, etc.
The restaurants are also a step above the restaurants in Nuevo Vallarta. The only 5 diamond competition in Playa Del Carmen area is the Royal Hideaway, which we thought was really more of a 4 star time share. The service isn't as good, the rooms are nothing compared to Grand Velas and the restaurants are no comparison whatsoever.
The Grand Velas when fully built out and when the economy improves will be able to charge whatever they choose. It's really that good.
This resort takes the notion of "all inclusive" to another level. Come here while you can at great promotion rates.
The gym is fully functional with excellent cardio and weight equipment along with plenty of classes to take and private training. Piaf restaurant has an internationally recognized chef, Michel Musticre, but be forewarned, they expect you to be in closed toe shoes gentlemen, even if you must throw on some sneakers. I was wearing Ferragamo dress sandles and that's not considered fair game here. The room is beautifully designed two story space in dark reds. It's stunning and the gourmet presentations are flawless.
The spa has not been fully built out yet, but they will send therapists to the rooms. The treatments are excellent but also very expensive. Unlike the resort in Puerto Vallarta we did not see any specials for slow days at the spa, but that's probably because it is not yet built out.
The white sand beaches are the best and they've got beach attendants for days. Because occupancy has not been built up yet, there was an abundance of staff for every guest. You barely need to glance in the direction of help and they will come running to ask what they can do for you.
The rooms have jetted jacuzzis, oversized spa showers. Large flat screens and dvd players. There's a pillow menu to compliment the high thread count sheets, duvets and down comforters. They also have IPOD docking stations. In the Grand Class wing our shades were electric and with one click of the button lower for the evening. The mini bar is fully stocked with an assortment of beer, soda and snacks. In the Grand Class there are far more snacks, nuts, wines, Patron and Spumante. We were in heaven. If you need a DVD for the player just call the butler and they will help. Extra amenities or toiletries....not a problem. Ask for one and they'll probably bring you two. The Grand Class also has plunge pools on each spacious deck along with enough furniture to seat 6 people with room to spare. The regular rooms have an outdoor bed and two chairs on their decks. I would suggest looking at the photo gallery at the hotel website, but realize the photos don't do the property justice. It's nicer than the photos portray.
The 24 hours suite service is excellent. We asked for things not even on the menu without a hitch. It's an extensive menu, though I wonder why with the array of restaurants they have.
The Bistro restaurant is open all day long and sits alongside the adults pool near the Grand Class suites. Excellent food and service. The other restaurant I failed to mention which is almost worth flying here in and of itself is Cocina De Autor with chef Bruno Oteiza. It's international Basque inspired plates are phenomenal. Wonderful interior design and of a quality any serious gourmand would approve of.
The Master area of the resort is not yet complete but there will be a variety of restaurants and bars in this area. The Master area is for conventions and large group meetings.
We are already planning a trip back within the year. The Grand Velas when fully operational will be the gold standard for Riviera Maya in the Playa Del Carmen area. While expensive it's a splurge everyone should take. We are huge fans and while we love the Puerto Vallarta 5 Diamond property the Velas brothers own, this will be our destination of choice. Don't miss it."
- Travel date: Fri 16th of January 2009
The Best yet!!!!
"WOW! I have to say, this was the best trip I had so far. I have been at the Grand Velas in Puerto Vallarta and I loved the experience, but this trip was even better. I have been waiting to go to Cancun since I heard the news of them opening a new location there, and I expected the same wonderful service as the Vallarta Resort, however, this was even more magical. I know it sounds clichÃ© but it was magnificent. I have to say that it was my first time in Cancun, the water is clear and beautiful and the resort was incredible. There is only one way to describe the room and that is: "perfect". I was also, surprised by the number of restaurants they have. I was familiar with some of them but the other new additions to this location are wonderful. The staff was so attentive and eager to serve. I can not find words to describe their level of service. We felt taken care of 24/7 and we felt like we were some kind of celebrity. The SPA is wonderful, I was able to book my time there without any problems and the installations were more than I expected. We took some local tours and we found the area beautiful and with so much history. It was wonderful to see all the amazing places and the virgin beaches they have. It was breath taking. I hope that my opinion can make a difference to your trip. I would love to share more personal moments if you need more specifics to make up your mind. I will say, try it, you won't regret it!"
- Travel date: Tue 13th of January 2009
"We just finished our vacations at Grand Velas and we almost crietd when we had to leave. Been to a lot of nice and luxury hotels, but this must be the nicest. Rooms are huge and pure luxury, the amount of staff and their willingness to help is truly amazing and each one of the restaurants a real gourmet experience.
Congratulations Grand Velas!!!"
- Travel date: Thu 15th of January 2009
Nice place but.......................
"We were originally booked to stay at the Azul Fives, but were moved to this property because of a delayed opening. Check in on Christmas morning was flawless. There only appeared to be 25 guests in the whole hotel, so the staff to guest ratio appeared to be about 5 to 1. I had two connecting ambassador suites. The rooms and bedding were terrific. This was the most comfortable hotel bed I have ever slept in (goose down comforters & pillows). The pool and beach area were immaculate. We walked both north and south on the beach for approximately 1 1/2 miles. Limited specialty restaurants were open, so we had dinner at Piaf and Bistro only. While the food quality was definately better than most all inclusives, service at times, tended to be a bit overbearing. I prefer not to have 4 people hovering over me while I eat. At the lunch buffet, a server would take your plate back to the table after you made your selection. Again, a bit much.
Overall, I highly recommend this first class hotel, but at $1100/night for two, I'm not sure I would return at that price point.
A family of 4 is required to have two rooms. With two adults and two children, you will spend $15,400 for a one week stay. Again, this is a nice place but ...................................for the price???"
- Travel date: Sat 10th of January 2009
"its open and running, we just got here..lots of tweeking to do...spa not done, kids club not ready,gym with intermittent airconditioning etc..but the place is gorgeous, the staff is great and tons of them!!! As of today the number of guests is low and staff high so things that we have found not working etc, get fixed quickly...rooms are huge (ambassador suite) pool is nice ,personal butler/concierge on top of things..food so far has been great but bring 'non-jeans' because 2 out of the 3 restaurants have a no jean policy (the 4th restaurant is adults only-over 16- and we have teens... more to follow!"
- Travel date: Fri 26th of December 2008
We have stayed at the Grand Velas in Neuvo Vallarta...
"We have stayed at the Grand Velas in Nuevo Vallarta and loved it - an amazing hotel in terms of rooms, food, ambience. We just got back from Cancun and while down in Mexico, the newspapers did an article on the new Grand Velas resort opening in the Mayan Riveria. We normally stay at the Excellence resorts (Riveria and Playa Mujeres) in Mexico but would love to know any experiences other have when they stay at the Grand Velas as we always like to try something new. The newspaper article rated the Grand Velas Mayan Riveria hotel as a AAA 5 star hotel. Food, service, hospitality, watersports (cataramaran), activities (beach volleyball) are our favorite activities. When we were at the Grand Velas Neuvo Vallarta it was lovely but VERY quiet - no activities"
- Travel date: Mon 17th of November 2008