Published on March 8th, 2014 | by David Gallie0
Where to Stay: Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Located just 40 minutes from Cancun Airport and 15 minutes from downtown Playa del Carmen, the Grand Velas is a stunning property offering pampered service and gourmet dining set amongst 80 acres of mangroves, freshwater cenotes, jungles and over 1,000 feet of beautiful white sand beaches.
This is the only 5 star, Five Diamonds Resort in the Mexican Caribbean and after experiencing it for ourselves, it’s no surprise they’ve received numerous awards. David Gallie from GOGO Vacations, recently stayed at the property to experience the resort first hand and shares his experience with us:
Having travelled extensively around the world, this is one of the best resorts I have ever stayed in. From the moment you are greeted in the lobby, you feel pampered and anything you need can be arranged. You feel special; like you are the most important person on the resort without feeling that you are being too bothered.
Zen Grand Suites
The Grand Velas has three levels of accommodation; we stayed in the Zen Grand Section which is located furthest from the beach (less than a mile) and offers 24 hour shuttle service between here and the rest of the property. For the 8 days that we were there; the longest we waited for a shuttle ever was maybe a minute!
The rooms are simply stunning and tastefully decorated with an ideal layout. Our Suite was 1000+ square feet with marble floors throughout; sitting area, desk, a beautiful patio with plunge pool and overlooked a tropical pond complete with turtles, fish, and birds in a jungle setting.
The rooms include free wifi (clients can upgrade to stronger bandwith for an extra charge). The mini-bar was stocked with snacks and beverages; beer, wine and a welcome bottle of Tequila. One of the luxuries included is also the in-room dining which was exceptional. We ordered breakfast in the morning and it came on time and hot.
The Ambassador Suites
The hotel also has two other sections; the Ambassador family-friendly suites which is located around the main infinity pool and close to all of the kids activities. Most of these suites have ocean views, and a pretty spectacular one at that.
The kids activities are not your typical kids activities. They had zorbing in the pool (a giant inflatable ball that you get inside and then try to walk on water) as well as a Bungee-trampoline where the kids are harnessed in to a bungee and jump on a trampoline. They also had “Slip-slide soccer” – a giant inflatable soccer field on the beach that has water added to make the “soccer” game a little more challenging (helmets provided). Giant Velcro dart boards, jumpy castle, plus the Kids Club and Teens Club.
The Grand Class Suites
The Grand Class section is the adults only (12+ years of age and up) with ocean front view, in-suite massage tables (additional charge), private plunge pools and 1300+ square feet luxury.All rooms are decorated in the same simple but elegant style. Location is the biggest difference. The Grand Velas also boasts the most amazing Presidential Suite as well that features two bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, dining room, living room, butler service. Guests enjoy a 50 minute massage per person per day as well.
The beach is stunning – over a 1000 feet of white sand with beautiful view of Cozumel and the most amazing cabana/beach service I have ever experienced. Both the pools and the beach have concierge service where they will assist with getting you loungers or cabana, etc.; provide towels, bottled water, beverages and even meals. And the meals were amazing – I had the shrimp ceviche almost daily it was so amazing. The serviced was exceptional and we NEVER had problems getting loungers or cabanas.
A gastronomical adventure with a la carte fine dining and gourmet meals, this was by far the best food that I have ever experienced at any resort (and most restaurants). The décor is simple stunning with touches reflective of their menu, and still elegant. Absolutely fantastic experience from start to finish. The service was exceptional and any allergies or preferences will be accommodated by the chef. It is hard to say which was my favorite as they were all exceptional.
Frida: Chef Ricardo de la Vega creates the most amazing Mexican menu with a modern twist. We went twice and the scallops ceviche was our go to for an appetizer…….. you have to try the tortilla soup too!
Sen Lin: Asian fusion created by Chef Isaac Esparza and his team made this one of the best meals we enjoyed during our stay. Korean fused with Chinese, Japanese fused with Vietnamese, etc……… absolutely brilliant. Try the duck!
Piaf: The French restaurant named in honor of the famous French singer Edith Piaf provided two exceptional meals that Chef Karl Gulotta. From frogs legs to terrine of foie gras, mushroom soup with white truffle oil. For mains we devoured the Chilean sea bass, veal loin braised in sage butter one evening and the filet mignon and the roast rabbit on another.
Cocina de Autor: Chef Xavier Perez Stone provides a molecular dining experience with his tasting menu that was brilliant. A true artist in the kitchen. The menu changes in accordance to the produce available – fresh, vibrant and fantastic.
Besides these 4 restaurants we did check out their other restaurants as well and even their buffets were consistent – fresh, delicious and with great variety. The sommeliers will assist you in choosing the appropriate wine for your dish.
There is a reason that this spa was named “Best Spa in the World” in 2010 by Virtuoso. Located in the tropical Zen area of the property amongst the lush jungle, you are instantly met with a calm and peaceful setting. It covers an area of 89,305 square feet and has 40 treatment suites with separate hydrotherapy facilities for men and women.
The menu includes massage therapy for men, women, and couples, body treatments and wraps, facials, and their “Water Journey”: sauna, colour therapy steam, clay room, ice room, experience showers, whirlpool, and polar pool. You can also purchase the top of the line spa products used during your treatments.
I know how fortunate I am to have travelled as extensively as I have around the world, but this place truly impressed me. It really was beyond all-inclusive and beyond all compare.
Ready to experience Grand Velas Riveria Maya for yourself? Contact a Flight Centre Travel Consultant by calling 1-877-967-5302, finding your closest Flight Centre store, or connecting with us online.