Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Mexico – Hotel Reviews | London Evening Standard
What kind of vacation do you dream of after all this is over?
I know what’s on my wishlist, a stay somewhere warm where I can lounge on a sun lounger all day while ordering piña colada after piña colada – and, controversially, if the money doesn’t was not a problem, all inclusive luxury is the starting point.
OK, they are not for everyone. But one look at the 5-star Grand Velas Riviera Maya on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, featuring three huge pools, a giant spa, and a private white-sand beach, and you might start to accept the idea.
Where is it?
Set on 200 acres in Playa del Carmen, running along the coast between the Caribbean Sea and the pristine Yucatán jungle, the hotel is about a 30-minute drive from Cancun Airport and an hour’s drive from Tulum.
The hotel’s 539 suites are divided into three accommodations: “Grand Class”, a beachfront offer reserved for adults; the family experience with an “Ambassador” ocean view; and “Zen Grande” for a secluded stay in a tropical setting, each with its own swimming pool and facilities. Guests are free to move between each as they please, and the hotel sets up an impeccable shuttle service to transport them around the sprawling resort town. This means that, despite the hotel being able to accommodate over 1,000 guests during peak season, it never feels busy.
Inside, the suites are huge – each spanning over 1,100 square feet – with high ceilings, polished marble floors, and mahogany furniture. Bathrooms are stocked with L’Occitane products, walk-in showers, his and hers sinks, and deep Jacuzzi tubs. All have their own private balconies – some of which also have private pools.
With eight restaurants and six bars, the hospitality offering is a big draw to this resort, and dining out is a glamorous affair, so don’t forget your gladrags.
Piaf will transport you to 1940s Paris with an opulent French menu; while Frida, inspired by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, offers upscale Mexican cuisine with a contemporary twist; Chaka offers a healthy menu for a light lunch between spa treatments; Lucca offers tasty Italian dishes; and Sin Len’s menu features a Mexican take on Asian fusion. For something special, head to Cocina de Autor for a gourmet tasting menu curated by chef Nahúm Velasco.
Breakfast at Azul, right on the waterfront, is the major highlight. You’ll want to take the time to enjoy the extraordinary selection of fresh breakfast options, including Mexican specialties, pancakes, omelets, donuts, fried breakfasts, an outrageous selection of pastries and much. sure a Bloody Mary stand – mimosas are also available on request. For poolside grazing, each pool bar has an exceptional menu of shrimp, fish and lobster tacos, all of which can be washed down with your choice of drink, be it pink, sparkling, piña colada – all inclusive really means all inclusive here.
The Grand Velas Spa, spread over more than 90,000 square feet, is known for its authentic Mexican treatments inspired by ancient practices and its seven-step water ceremony is not to be missed (use of the spa and treatments entails an additional cost). Arrive at least an hour before treatment to enjoy the invigorating hydrotherapy ritual during which you will be transported between hammams, saunas, salt rooms, clay rooms, ice rooms and polar rooms.
There our countless Mayan-inspired treatments, including the 80-minute Honey Kaab experience, which uses local organic honey and vanilla and begins with a face and body massage, followed by a bath infused with Elixirs made from the medicinal Chaka tree to heal the body for energy. The treatment ends with a Mayan Vanilla Balm to seal the skin, followed by light refreshments rich in antioxidants.
Upon arrival, each guest is assigned a 24-hour personal concierge who will help you book everything from dinner to spa treatments and yoga classes. There is an extensive program of activities including snorkeling, yoga, aqua fitness, mini golf, cooking classes – an itinerary for each is placed in your room each day at your choice. For families, there is a baby club, a children’s club and a teens’ club which also offers a wide choice of water sports. Facilities also include two large fitness rooms and an assortment of stores and boutiques selling everything from vacation essentials to designer clothing and jewelry. You really will never need to leave the resort, if you don’t want to.
Anyone who wants to enjoy the finer things in life, without having to think too hard about it for themselves (and who has the funds to do so). The crowd is mostly wealthy Mexicans and Americans, with a few Europeans.
Resorts like this aren’t meant for anyone, and of course, an overnight stay comes at a steep price, but when it comes to all-inclusive luxury resorts, Grand Velas Riviera Maya’s generous offer in terms of hospitality and extracurricular activities beats most of the competition.
For now, add it to your post-2020 wishlist.
Suites starting at $ 550 per person per night based on a 14-night stay in double occupancy for 2021.