Barceló Maya Palace Riviera Maya, Mexico
Submitted by - Jen and Troy, Bursch Travel Fargo clients
The resort was absolutely BEAUTIFUL!! The entire resort area was spotless. Our room was huge, and looked just like the pictures online. We loved the bathroom/shower area, and when it was raining there was enough room to have friends over to play cards. There was a safe in the closet which was very comforting for when we were away. Of note, the air conditioner does not turn on unless the patio door is closed (there's a sensor). Also, the bed is hard as rock but we read a review that there is a feathertop mattress cover inbetween the boxspring and the mattress- it's true! Made a world of difference. The size of the resort was quite large, so we definitely got our exercise walking to the restaurants and lobby area. Overall, the 5 Barcelo resorts are quite deserted from any other hotel so it felt like we had 2 miles of the most beautiful beach, all to ourselves!
Speaking of restaurants, the buffets were just "ok" for me. Much of the food was cold, or if you wanted to short-order something from the grill, it took some time because of all the people. We liked the breakfast buffet the best, so we usually ate big in the morning and then held out until the evening when we went to one of the specialty restaurants. Now THOSE restaurants were delicious!! :) In the future, we'd book reservations as soon as we arrived to the hotel because they filled up really fast throughout the week. We really enjoyed the bars as well. The bartenders were super fun people, but primarily because they had a wide variety of drink options. The only beer they offered was Corona, but the hard alcohol options were great. The other Barcelo resorts did not offer some of the top shelf options that we were allowed. If we went to other bars outside the Palace and ordered certain drinks, they made sure we had a white Palace wrist band on, otherwise we'd have to pay extra.
The beach and pool area were very clean, and there were plenty of lawn chairs for everyone. (unlike the cruise ships, we didn't have to get up at the crack of dawn the throw a towel on a chair to make sure we get one). The towel system was easy, no need to bring your own beach towel. The one thing we REALLY liked was that there was a separate "adult" pool area so even though it was a family resort with a kiddy pool area, we never once were bothered by the kids/families. There were tons of activities for the younger ones (basketball, ping pong, volleyball, music, etc.). Night-life was nothing to brag about, but we made our own fun. They do have one dance club that was entertaining. The outside bars and pool areas close at 7pm, so most people head to the lobby bar, which was kinda like a sports bar with lots of TVs. Of course, the boys were glued to all the NFL football games. The bartenders there made it fun, with all their tricks and drink presentations. One evening we took a taxi (booked through our hotel) to 5th Ave in Playa Del Carmen, for shopping and such. Felt pretty safe there with lots of tourists, resulting in lots of police officers.
We almost got suckered in by one of the time-share reps that were inside the Cancun airport, to book some excursions. They acted as though they were showing us to our private transportation to the hotel. **Tell people to go straight to the tour company transfer people and do NOT purchase any excursion until they get to the hotel, no matter how good of a deal!!! Later we learned that most of the dealers at the airport do not show up to pick you up, like they say they will. They have some amazing 'deals', but it's NOT worth it! The hotel offers that same exact options. We booked one excursion through the Hotel and it was easy, safe, and we had a wonderful tour guide. We went to Tulum, Zip Lines, and swiming in a cave (all in one package deal)- so fun!!
Overall, we'd LOVE LOVE LOVE to go back to Barcelo Maya Palace sometime!!!