Barcelo Maya Beach
7 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
We stayed for 2 weeks all-inclusive at t...
"We stayed for 2 weeks all-inclusive at the Barcelo Maya resort on the Riviera Maya in Mexico. The charter flights with Airtours were as expected, very basic, only 1 meal for a 10 hour flight and all snacks/drinks had to be bought. This was the low-point of the holiday. The resort itself was fantastic:-
The food was great with plenty of variety among the various restaurants/snack bars. The room was spacious, clean and well-maintained. The grounds were very well maintained, the beach and pool were fantastic and there was a huge variety of activities to keep you busy.
We went to the Barcelo as a couple but the resort would be equally ideal for families. There are many activities for children and entertainment in the evening for the adults.
As for Mexico itself, I would recommend it to anyone. We did several trips away from the resort. One was to the ancient Mayan city of Chicken Itza which you really must see if you are visiting the Yucatan. The other two trips were to Eco-Parks where you are able to snorkel among a myriad of unusual fish and even walk across the ocean floor. A particular highlight was being able to feed a wild turtle.
Overall, we really enjoyed this holiday and we will definitely be returning to Mexico again in the not too distant future."
- Travel date: Wed 31st of March 2004
"Wife & I have just returned from a 14 night stay at the Barcelo Maya. (Oct-Nov 2002) This all inclusive hotel is superb, you have to be a complete whinger to be displeased with this hotel. We have been on vacation to many destinations, from Mauriius to the Med and this holiday topped them all.
The hotel is fairly new (about 2 years old) and is prestine. The beach (2km wide) is fantastic with typical blue/green and turquoise Caribean waters. The water supports facilities are good, although motorised water gear is NOT included in the all-inclusive package.
The hotel staff were ALL very friendly and helpfull and VERY, VERY hard working!!! Some struggle a little with English but they do it with a smile. My wife and I were so impressed with the Mayan folk. They may be small in stature but man do they work hard.
The hotel rooms are 5 star, although not as fancy as say the Moon Palace resort. However, they all have air con, plus ceiling fan, all inclusive mini bar, good t.v. channels (if you want to catch the latest news or a movie before bed) We found the rooms more than adequate and always very clean and not smelly as reported at some hotels in the Cancun area. Anyway, if you plan on spending a lot of time in your room, you're missing out on what the hotel has to offer.
There are 2 sets of very large swimming pools, each with their own swim up bar facilities with excellent service. The pools are very attractive and extremely well maintained.
There are two main restuarants for breakfast/lunch/dinner, as well as 2 "a la carte" restuarants - one for Mexican, the other for Spanish cuisine. We really enjoyed the Mexican restuarant. There are 2 large open air restuarnants located near each of the swimming pools. The first is Captain Morgans, which runs as a disco in the evenings (great fun!!) and Rancho Grande. Both are open from about 10:00am through to about 5:30pm and serve everything from snacks/drinks to full meals around mid day. Drinks can be had from the two reception areas as well. You will not find a single minute of your day where food or drink cannot be had. And don't believe that staff are sparing on the liquor - they aren't. If you really want to get skunk drunk on Tequillas etc, they will be quite happy to accomodate.
The food is very good, with an excellent selection. Possibly too good, I put on 6kgs!!
In the evening, the hotel provides entertainment from 9:00pm, with the main events starting at 10:00pm. Each evening is different but the entertainment is pretty good, especially Michael Jackson night. The entertainment takes place in the very large and modern open air theatre (theatre Kukulkan), which also has 2 very large bars on either side.
The hotel also offers other facilities, such as a gym, sauna, massage parlour, tennis courts, mini Golf, 24 hour doctor (not included and will charge about US $70.00 for a visit) etc.
There are several gift shops where you can buy everything from stamps to cameras. There is also a beach shop. However, like the rest of Cancun and the Mayan Riviera, shopping is expensive. If you're going to Mexico to buy cheap, forget it! This area caters for the US & Canadian markets and we found the prices very expensive. Even in the other small towns, like Playa del Carmen, prices are high on everything. If you want a souvenir, such as a stone carving, remember this.... do not offer to pay more than a third of the asking price. You will almost always get what u want at 1/3. If u don't haggle, u'll pay big time!! And avoid buying drinks etc out of the hotel, u will pay a fortune. It is such a shame that such a poor area of the World lose business by being over zealous in their pricing. They'd sell a whole lot more if the'd be more realstic.
When travelling away from the hotel (like a trip into Playa Del Carmen), I would recommend using the mini cabs and not the taxi services. The mini cabs are clean and safe and 1/7th of the price of a cab.
If you're into Scuba Diving and want to get cetrtified, try "Dive Aventuras" at Puerto Aventuras (5km away). They're slightly cheaper than the Barcelo and have a 5 star rating. They are recommended by most of the travel agencies and for good reason - they're excellent!! The dive centre at the hotel is ok and convenient but we found the service better at Dive Aventura (They will pick u up from the hotel reception at what ever time you wish to do a dive - a 3 day PADI Open Water certification will cost about US $325.00 per person) Another tip - if you pay by credit/debit card, all hotels etc will charge u a 5% commission. Always pay cash in $US and u will probably get a 10% discount on top of this too!
Tipping - Wages/salaries in Mexico are very low and most locals rely on tips to pay the rent. Whilst at the hotel, u only really need to consider tipping when u leave - and I'm sure u will. However, outside of the hotel, u'll feel like your hand is always in your pocket. So, make sure you have a lot of US$ 1.00 notes to tip.
The Barcelo is a very large and spead out hotel, so you never feel like you're somewhere in Tenerife. The grounds are well maintained and very attractive.
We will be back next year - this hotel is fantastic and I'm sure you will see what I mean should you be fortunate enough to go.
- Travel date: Thu 7th of November 2002
More than I hoped
"We had read all of the reviews before we went and I thought maybe we would be expecting too much. But it was amazing. Six nights was not enough. We were there from 26 Oct until 2 Nov 2002 and it was fabulous. The water around the hotel is a perect combination of sand and coral waters. Places to swim, places to play and places to explore the reef life. The pools are beautiful and virtually empty. The only criticism of the pools is that they were not deep and not the best for just swimming.
The food was very good. It was not quite like a first rate restaurant in quality, but the selection was amazing. To make that much food of so many different varieties is very hard to do. For mass produced food, it was as good as it gets. It is very easy and cheap to get around in the local colectivos (vans that run up and down the highway constantly).
The only down sides are: Phone rates and internet/fax rates from the hotel. $6.00 per minute U.S. In Playa del Carmen there is a phone centre at the big supermarket where you can go online for and HOUR for a $1.50 U.S. and where you can make calls for about 0.60 U.S. per minute.
Anything you do beyond the all-inclusive stuff will cost you a bundle. I would not take tours from the hotel. We got a taxi driver to give us an all day tour for $50 U.S. and we went to Tulum and CobÃ¡, went shopping for souvenirs along the roadside and even went to the grocery store in the town of Tulum. With four of us that came to 12.50 per person. You can't get tours for that price.
But, most of the time... who wants to tour? It is so hot that you want to be close to the water and the water is at the hotel. Relaxed is the word. If you want full-time excitement... go somewhere else. If you want a romantic, quiet, lovely relaxed holiday.. you can't beat the BarcelÃ³!!"
- Travel date: Tue 5th of November 2002
"My husband and I stayed here for 5 nights. It was incredible. Granted, the drinks were weak, the meals got sort of old, but the beach, pools and water were just incredible! I've been to Maui and Costa Rica. This beats both by far! Secluded beach and resort. I beg every day to go again!"
- Travel date: Thu 31st of October 2002
"What a holiday! We got home yesterday. Six of my friends and family went from October 13 to October 19. Though the bus ride from Cancun was a bit long, once we got there, we were thoroughly impressed. The hotel and grounds are beautiful and clean, the beaches are fantastic fine sand and the service was fabulous. The drinks varied from bar to bar on quality, so we stuck to one. We toured the area a lot. Having gone later on in the year it wasn't busy (hurricane season). We had a bit of rain on the day before we left, and it started to pour the day we left (oh well, sucks for the people arriving!) Being low season, the hotel was at 45% occupancy (low, low low). We practically had the beach to ourselves. I would go there again in a second. Can anyone lend me some money?"
- Travel date: Sat 19th of October 2002
Take it from a seasoned traveller
"Here's the straight scoop...I have been going down south to escape cold winters for many years now and have stayed at some of the finest resorts and I will tell you that the Barcelo Maya was the finest. In terms of cleanliness, service, courteous staff and relaxing accoommodation, this resort deserves a 6 star! Exciting, vibrant and exotic nightly entertainment. Steakhouse as good as the finest in Calgary. Buffet (3 times daily) that would rival an expensive cruise liner. Spanish a la carte restaurant that will have you remembering your meal for years to come. Dress code is in effect at dinner but not that strict that you can't be comfortable. Neat slacks and shirt for the men and anything but shorts for the women. Rooms are equipped with everything - well stocked and reasonal gift shopes in case you've forgotten anything the hotel doesn't have.
A group of 10 of us go some place down south each year - Cuba, Antigua, Jamaica, DR, Margarita Island, Aruba...but this hotel is better than any I've stayed in. The drinks aren't to shabby either. Write me if you want more info [email protected]"
- Travel date: Thu 17th of October 2002
"BRILLIANT week spent at probably one of the top hotels complexes in the whole of the Cancun/Riviera coastline. You WONT be dissapointed. Superb food, Disco 11pm-2am adjacent
glorious palm fringed beach, free drinks on tap, great evening entertainment (DONT miss the micheal Jackson show night)in a magnificent theatre. Suggest you find other sites under BARCELO MAYA GARDEN / BEACH HOTEL and believe it!!"
- Travel date: Sat 5th of October 2002