Published on June 22nd, 2012 | by Mark Chesnut
HOTEL REVIEW: Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Mexico
|The Grand Velas Riviera Maya resort, on Mexico’s Caribbean coast.|
BY MARK CHESNUT
During a recent visit to Mexico’s Riviera Maya for the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Americas Summit, I stayed at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya, a beachfront Mexico resort hotel. Here are my impressions of the property.
THE STYLE: Set on a sprawling natural piece of land on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, the Grand Velas Rivera Maya — a member of Leading Hotels of the World — is a luxury resort with an elegant but casual style with contemporary touches, graced with lots of woodwork that blends well with its lush natural setting. Its large scale is apparent as soon as you drive up to the massive lobby (whether it’s the front lobby or the beachfront lobby). The property is actually more like three hotels in one: The adults-only Grand Class Suites, which have views of the Caribbean, the family-friendly Ambassador Suites, also with water view, and the family-friendly Zen Grand Suites (where I stayed), which are located in the jungle and conveniently walking distance to the main lobby (especially good for me, since I was attending a conference). The hotel offers an all-inclusive option, but not everyone takes it — and the property definitely does not feel like a standard all-inclusive.
|A room with a Caribbean water view at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya hotel.|
THE ROOMS: They’re all called suites, but the accommodations at Grand Velas Riviera Maya are essentially variations on spacious guest rooms, complete with couch, desk and a large bathroom. Rooms range in size from 1,069 to 2,793 square feet. Since I stayed in a Zen Grand Suite, I had a small terrace that looked out on the jungle, with not a building in site, creating a soothing sense of privacy. Rooms are well equipped and also offer WiFi ($16 a day)
|The beautiful Zen pool, at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya resort.|
THE AMENITIES: My Zen Grand Suite was walking distance to the Zen pool, a peaceful, very attractive swimming pool in the jungle. If you’re looking for easy beach access, go for either the Grand Class or Ambassador Suites, which are on the water (and also adjacent to a large swimming pool) — although my room was a quick shuttle van ride from the beach.
There is also a spa, large gym, children’s club and convention center. On-site shops sell upscale clothing and gifts (but you won’t find much on-site in terms of convenience items like snack food, so bring your own).
|Piaf, one of the eight restaurants at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya.|
Eight restaurants serve a variety of cuisine (several have dress codes). Unfortunately I didn’t have time to experience any of the restaurants first hand (although the catered food was quite good at our conference). It’s worth noting that Grand Velas Riviera Maya Chef Xavier Perez Stone was recently crowned Mexico’s “Chef of the Year,” after semi-final competitions completed throughout the country. The Grand National Final was held June 6-7 at Centro Banamex in Mexico City during the 11th Annual Alimentaria Expo Mexico, the country’s largest food & beverage trade show.
All-inclusive is an option at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, but again I didn’t get to partake. You can get an all-inclusive package for prices starting at U.S.$299 per person, per night, based on double occupancy.
BEST FOR: Vacationers with a relatively strong wallet seeking a luxurious, peaceful setting on the Riviera Maya, as well as business travelers in need of a well-equipped hotel for meetings.
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