Barcelo Maya Beach Resort – Page 2 – Mayan Riviera, Mexico Hotels – Debbie's Caribbean Resort Reviews

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Barcelo Maya Beach Resort  ~  Reviews Posted – 27

Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Tiger 7 ~ Canada

June 2005

Thanks for everyone’s reviews. It really helped in making our choice We are from beautiful Vancouver Canada We were there the last weekend in May for one week, just before the rainy time- We did get some thunder and terrific lightning, but it did not affect our plans- In fact the day it rained was in the evening when we were in the restaurant or our room-and boy did it rain!! Some points to add and repeat: We took Air Canada vacations out of Vancouver thru Calgary- Surprisingly, they were on time and even arrived early in Cancun. The only hang up was that we had to wait until everyone cleared customs and Immigration and then had to wait another 20 minutes for two couples who did not appear. I think they got caught up in the time shares hounds. Warning! After you get your luggage, go right outside where the Air Canada rep/driver is waiting with a big sign- don’t’ deal with the clowns inside in spite of their ‘official looking badges Check was not too bad, but there were some yahoos in front of us which slowed it a bit… When we arrived it was around 10 pm so we had the bell boy deliver our bags to our room so we could have a quick drink- found our way to the room ourselves no problem DO go to the first morning orientation with the Air Canada rep- very informative.-

Good idea to take an expired hotel card or something similar for the room, as the air conditioning etc does shut off after about 3 minutes when you remove the card. We just left our expired card in to keep the room cool.– No problem with the water in the rooms for brushing teeth, etc and they kept the fridge supplied all the time.. DO tip the maid… they only make $4.00 a day!! We left her $2 USD each day

— the water in the pools was a perfect temperature ; hardly had to wait for drinks at the pool bar, unless you were the ones that were in the water and too busy to get out and go around the other side. Great idea to bring your own insulated large mug- makes it easier and keeps everything cold for a long time. First night we stayed in building 4 at the front facing the pool, way to close to the disco, which was loud – we moved over to building 2 Tulum the next night for the remainder of our stay , and got a great corner room facing the pool.-room 2112- It made it easy to just walk right out to the pool and beach; Lots of chairs around by the pool and beach- everyone is right, you don’t have to worry about saving a chair. It is a big resort- I figure it was a 5 minute walk to the front desk area and at least 6-8 to the gym and Capt Morgan restaurant- but no big deal.. Lots of lizards and iguanas which are neat and certainly don’t bother you; Grounds were immaculate. . Food was fine in the buffets- kept changing and they had a few theme nights Not very spicy at all even though I like spicy food -Took the ‘van outside the resort to Playa de Carmen – only $2 USD, very easy to do, and nice little town.- Go to La Parrilla restaurant there – good food, lots of it and not expensive Did the Air Canada tour thur the rep to Chichen Itza for about $85 US each- very worth it !! It is a long way, narrow roads and had a great guide there- Swam in the ‘sink hole coming back – incredible to see-this also included a stop for lunch. It rained big time on the way back but I wasn’t driving so who cared

The bed was very hard. We gave it a try for one night and then asked for the foam pad, which we got right away and all was fine. Wonderful resort.!! Highly recommend it!! And it was our first all inclusive! Any other questions, be pleased to answer! Tiger 7 – email is drc007@hotmail.com

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Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Doug ~ Canada

June 2005

My wife and I went here for out honeymoon we found the beaches beautiful, the gardens well kept, the rooms clean, the staff friendly. Large enough to have quiet time and small enough you could spend time with others if you so desired. Another bonus was the entertainment centre was large and the disco dance hall was at the other end of the complex so you could sleep without noise or party the night away.

The found was A+. After visitng other resorts although I ate buffet most of the time if never seemed like you had the same thing.

Well worth the visit!

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Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Kim ~ Manitoba, Canada

June 2005

My husband and spent one week at Barcelo Maya, March 5th to 12th, 2005. We are both 30 years old and this vacation was a real treat for us as it was our first vacation without our 3 year old. I never thought I could be bothered to send a review, however upon reading some recent negative reviews I felt I must let people know how fantastic our vacation was at Barcelo. We are not well travelled, having been to Mexico only one other time, however we are very fussy people and had very high expectations due to the wonderful reviews I had read on this site.

We chose Barcelo at the recommendation of our travel agent. We wanted a resort with a fantastic beach and swimming – our other vacation was to Puerto Vallarta and neither the beach or swimming were great. I was amazed at the beach. Pictures I had seen just could not do it justice. The sand was white and soft, the water was clean and clear, the colors were so beautiful it was breathtaking. Every part of the resort was immaculately clean, and the beach was no exception. There were tons of lounge chairs available, we never were down to the beach before 11:00 and always could find chairs easily. You could wade out into the water for several hundred feet and still touch the bottom, which was great for us as we are not strong swimmers. On calm days the fish would swim around your legs as you walked out. On windy days, even when it was a red flag we would ride the waves and splash around like kids! My only complaint was the lack of washrooms servicing the beach area, there were only 3 that I noticed – one in each restaurant and one in the watersports area. We snorkeled every day and it was a high light of our vacation. You need a $50 US deposit for the equipment, and then you are on your own. Having never snorkeled before I was quite nervous, but it was easy and in no time we had the hang of it. We know people who stayed at the Iberostar the week before and they could not believe that not only could we snorkel right on site, but that it was free! We will return to BM some day with our family for this reason alone.

The food at both the buffets and a la carte was great. I am not sure how people could find anything to complain about in this area. There was a lot of “different” food, but they cater to a huge range of tastes, American and European. I never tried the ox head stew for example! But there were fresh fruits, delicious breads, hand carved meats such as roasts, relatively plain rice and potato dishes, pasta, and salads for the non-adventurous. They had lots of Mexican foods, and every night a new theme brought new choices. Drinks in all parts of the hotel were also great. We drank lots of beer, which was always cold and on tap. And as far as reports of watered down drinks, I never experienced it. If I had found that I would have just topped up my drink with some rum or tequila, in every restaurant they had bottles right beside the pop and juice. Sometimes I would just do and doctor up my own rum and OJ, mmmmm… I would like to be back there right now!

Our room was 4114, a perfect location! Close to both pools, beach, and lobbies. We loved to sit out on our patio and enjoy a beer before dinner. The mini fridge was refreshed daily, and when we wanted more beer rather than pop, we left a note and we were well stocked after that! The room was always clean, and one day when housekeeping took one of our robes we had left on the floor, we simply informed the front desk and were never charged for the misplaced item.

The resort is large, but although we walked to different areas regularly we never found there to be too much walking. But this is not a good resort for those who have difficulty walking. I loved that it was so large, although the hotel was at full capacity it never felt crowded. And a little stroll to see different corners of the area was a wonderful thing to do to wear off some of the fantastic food and drink we had over indulged in over the day! The grounds were beautiful, every thing was so well kept it was a pleasure to look at. In the mornings we would wander to the business center , near the tennis and mini golf, to check our e-mail. This was wonderfully convenient, and it was great as I was away from my daughter for the first time and it was nice to know we could find out how things were going at Grandma and Grandpa’s. 70 pesos for 30 minutes, not cheap, but so worth it.

The staff in every part of the resort were wonderful. They were fun, smiling, accommodating, and were part of the reason we liked the resort so well. We had excellent service in every aspect of the resort – from the bus boy who tried to teach me a few words of Spanish every meal time, to the housekeeping staff who must of thought my husband was having a seizure when he tried to act out that we needed a plunger for the toilet. We saw many rude people, talking down to the staff, yelling (as if they will understand English better if you yell) for no reason, and looking down their nose at these hard working people. We always joked, smiled and were polite with the staff and were always treated the same by them. We always tipped, a dollar here and there make people feel appreciated. After all if we were at a resort in Canada we would be expected to tip. We took US $1 bills, and budgeted that into our holiday. All travellers should do this – expect to spend $10 -$20 a day around the resort every day. I regret at the end we did not get a chance to leave more to our regular bus boy – he was wonderful to us and must have had a day off on our last day.

We are planning to return as soon as we can, and we will take our kids the next time. We would have taken then this time had we known how great this resort would have been for kids. The only problem was that now I am afraid all other vacations will suffer by comparison. It was perfect, exceeded all our very high expectations and I would have no problem recommending this resort to anyone! When showing our holiday photos to friends they asked what we didn’t like about the resort. My husband and I were dumbfounded, we could not think of a single thing we would have liked different. During our stay we also talked to many people who had been to BM before and they always return, which I think says a lot about the resort. Thank you Barcelo Maya for an unforgettable vacation!

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Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Jackie ~ Canada

June 2005

Just got back from the Barcelo last night. Will never go back there. They stole items from our rooms and numerous others. Called you a liar when reporting the problem."not their policy" Room safe not safe. Horrible customer serves. If you were a young adult they would not serve you at bar unless you tipped them. (of course that never happened not their policy) As I complained of having our towel cards stolen from our room, were told that nevers happens (not their policy) however the 2 others at front desk beside me had the same issue. I left tip money for the chambermaid daily however the fella stocking the bar helped himself to it. We had two rooms and it wasn’t until the 4th day I figured out his game. A great game too as he makes sure he gets into all the rooms before the maids do. Of course that doesn’t happen it’s not their policy. Even though security checked and comfirmed this. Staff unhappy, a dollar tip for a drink seemed to be an insult. The dive shop was no better. A group of us were there to get openwater cert. when the dives were completed they were unwilling to fill out our log book. So if any of their documentation went missing you had no proof. That would never happen, not our policy. After much fighting they agreed to fill out log book. We could have been out $1000.00 and nothing to show for it.

The food was very good. Too much walking. I love to walk, that was one of the reasons I chose this hotel. However there is such a thing as too much. The refreshment locations are to far apart, they are located at total opposite ends of the resort. Just believe me when I say too much walking especially in the heat. When considering staying at the Barcelomayan…..Don’t.

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Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Pat ~ Toronto, Canada

June 2005

My family stayed at Barcelo Maya for a week in March, mostly on the recommendation of our travel agent and the almost universally positive comments on this site.

Unfortunately we were disappointed.

We are experienced travellers, have vacationed in Mexico five or six times, and throughout the Caribbean.

We were a family of five, my husband and I, two teenaged children, and my elderly mother, age 83. We had requested with our booking that we be placed near the lobby and buffet restaurant, as although my mother can walk, she cannot walk far or often. The resort consists of five long narrow buildings with the narrow end facing the beach, and the buffet between bldg. 2 and 3. Picture 5 extra long railway cars parked in a row with the engine (front) facing the beach and the caboose (back) facing some shrubbery and service roads behind the hotel. We arrived on a Saturday to find our two rooms assigned to us by a check-in clerk who opened a sealed envelope and simply pushed its contents at us. She had no authority to assign rooms, authorize extra keys or address problems; the envelope might just as well have been mailed to us.

We discovered our rooms were not adjacent, not even on the same floor, and my mother’s room was literally the last rear-facing room of building number five. It is hard to imagine any room that could be more opposite our request. It took 20 mins. to walk to the buffet, 20 mins back to the room , multiply by three meals/day and forget any trips to beach or pool. We asked to speak to the manager – sorry we’re full, all rooms are occupied. We asked our tour representative to intervene. Same response. And this while literally hundreds of travellers are pouring out of the hotel and onto airport buses all day Saturday and again Sunday.
We were told try again Monday. There was no apology, no sympathy, no evidence that anyone was working on our behalf. On Monday (despite continuing checkouts and checkins all weekend) we’re still full, can’t help you. However, we do happen to have two adjoining suites available….. They were in the main building, a short walk to just about everything. We were prisoners in our room, so had little choice. We put the $2000 US on our Amex, and moved.

The suites were adequate, but not luxurious. Their best feature was the balcony hammock. The original room was spartan – clean, bare, tiny, well-used, no bugs. Worst feature – the coffee maker is in the bathroom – yuk.

The beach is lovely, the weather faultless ,the pool cold and mostly empty. The food was plentiful and not bad for buffet – better than cruise fare. The drinks are small and the alcohol is watered – standard stuff for all-inclusive. Its not a party scene – mostly families. Its price is high end, but it’s a true 3 star.

If you are elderly or disabled, Barcelo Maya is not for you. If you are a family and require more than one room, Barcelo Maya is not for you. If you appreciate, for good money paid out, even a modicom of interest in your comfort and well-being, Barcelo Maya is not for you.

We love Mexico and will continue to visit there. We will never stay in any Barcelo resort again.

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Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Julia & Liborio ~ Montreal, Canada

June 2005

My boyfriend and I had gone to the Barcelo Maya Beach Resort for a getaway vacation between May 22, 2005- June 5, 2005. It was our first time going to Mexico. There are quite a few things some of you who will be reading this will know. First of all, the Resort is beautiful. The pathways, the beach, and the remaining of the grounds are well maintained. The water was very blue, and the sand was white, if that is what you want, then your garanteed that is what you’ll get. The first couple of days we were there, we had the green flag, meaning the waters were calm, in fact they were so calm, that tropical fish will actually swim and circle around you, this is definitely worth a couple of photos. The rest of the trip we got yellow and red flags, which means waves. I found that the days that the red flags were out, the beach had some washed up seaweed that hadn’t been cleaned up. Otherwise the beach was great. When you’re in the mood of changing your atmosphere, one could go to the pools. Both pools are gorgious, especially the Beach side of the resort, it is twice as big, and all the activities take place over there. So if one wants to play waterpolo, the beach pool is the one to go too. The daily activities on the beach are great, make sure you play a couple of rounds of Bingo, you never know, maybe you could win a Tequila Bottle, but a word of caution, do not make any mistakes in the game, like for example getting a wrong number, because then the staff will give you the punishment of walking and screaming like a chicken in front of the whole crowd.

The Staff were very nice. The guys from the activities from the beach are very humorous, and make everything fun. Do get involved in the beach volleyball game, they always need players. You never know, your team may win a prize that is awarded to you before the night shows. The night shows were pretty good. The Michael Jackson show was found to be to hyped up about. If you want to listen to good Michael Jackson, stick to your own music. The singers mess up on the words, etc. Didn’t impress me. But some of the other shows were a blast, like the Fiesta Mexicana, and the cabaret on Broadway, they even do Phantom of the Opera in one of the shows which was amazing.

The Food was great at the Buffets, yet the a la carte menus were always the same for each day. Captain Morgan’s Steak House serves about 6 or 7 main dishes, that includes fresh cuts of meat, for example rib tenderloin, pork chops, rib eye steak, fish, chicken, etc. Very good. We tried both the Spanish Restaurant and the Mexican Restaurant, by the way, both you need to dress formal for, so bring a pair of pants gentalman. The Spanish Restaurant was great, most of the menu contained fish of some sort, but there is at least one meal that had chicken, for all those non-fish eaters out there. The Mexican restaurant though, was not to my liking. I found the food very dry, and was not liking what they served as meals. Overall, I suggest the Captain Morgans, and the Spanish Restaurants. Don’t worry about the Reservations, if you are going during a non peek time like June- July, I found that there were always room for people to sit, take your time with the reservations. Just don’t be late to your reservation more than 15 minutes, because then you may loose it. Out of the Buffets, I found Breakfast the best. Lots of fruit, cakes, pancakes, meats, eggs any style you want, make sure you ask. Delicious. For the Lunch Buffet, the Caribe Side Buffet Restaurant was always closed, but you still had the option of Maya Beach or the Snack Bars, which are located beside the pools. Both are great.

Room Service was like a 4 out of 5 on my list. When they clean the room they do a superb job. If you need something in particular, just write it down on paper, which is given to you in the room, and it will most probably be done or given. They were very clean. One thing to make sure, is that you leave the hanging indicator tag on the door when you want the room cleaned, this is what I found sort of discouraging, because if the maids pass your room in the morning by say a certain time, then the room probably won’t get done until late afternoon. Be aware.

Several other tips or information: Internet service was 70 pesos per 30 minutes. Long Distance calls from the hotel room are 6 USD per minute. Long Distance phone cards bought by the payphones in the Lobby cost 200 pesos for 12 minutes of use. Ceramic Painting on the beach costs between 10-40 USD, depending on the size. Snorkel Equipment needs 50 USD cash for a deposit. Bring an alarm clock or get Wake up call done to the room, the clock provided does not make a loud noise, it was very quite.

Excursions outside the hotel were pretty expensive, but definitely see XCARET if you could. Stay for the show, well worth it. Be prepared with money or credit cards. The Hotel has no bank ATM, just Front desk, and they give only Pesos.

Overall, I would go back, but if I didn’t it would be for reasons that I would like to explore the other resorts. You will like this resort.

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Jeni & Cory ~ Manitowoc, WI

June 2005

My husband & I stayed at the Barceló Maya resort May 28-June 4, 2005. I am 30 years old & my husband is 32. We had a great time & thought the resort was absolutely beautiful! We are very picky about beaches & thought this beach was wonderful. It was very long, so you were never crowded & could take nice, long walks along the shore during the day & of course for evening strolls. Very romantic! The food at the resort was never ending with a great assortment of fish, meat, fruit & veggies. The sorbets are to die for. My husband is allergic to fish & nuts & has to watch what he eats very closely. He never had any problems & no one in our group of 7 staying at the resort got sick during the entire stay. We took the ferry over to Cozumel one day where we enjoyed 3 dives with Dressel Divers. (Dressel Divers is a PADI facility right at the resort, which was VERY convenient.) We had done some research of other dive shops in the area before we left for our trip, but were pleasantly surprised that we had one right at the resort. We did 7 total dives during the week – all were GREAT & we wish we would have done more. 3 were in Cozumel, 2 were at the Cenotes (highly recommended – amazing fresh water cavern dives just down the road from the resort), 1 was a wreck dive & lastly a reef dive right off the shore of the resort. We wanted to do a night dive, but the tide was not good for us to do one. Everyone we met at the resort were friendly & just happy to be on vacation, including us. Another couple we were with got married at the resort the day before we left. It was a sunset ceremony & was done very nicely. All of the workers at the resort were always smiling & did nothing but work very hard. We did tip, as it felt awkward not to acknowledge these hard working people. We ventured to Playa Del Carmen for an evening of shopping & dinner. We had a lot of fun there & didn’t even care about the down pour we were caught in on the way to our taxi. It rained a few times during the week. A couple of times at night & once during the late afternoon, which were welcomed since it was pretty hot. The temperature was high 80’s, low 90’s. We tried very hard to make it to some of the night shows, but were so exhausted from diving & relaxing in the sun, that we never made it past 11pm. We preferred to be up early in the morning to enjoy the daylight. My husband & I truly love the Riviera Maya area & will definitely return. We would stay at this resort again, but will try other places for a change. Overall, everything was great about this resort! No complaints here!

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Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Janet ~ Ontario Canada

June 2005

Wow…that just about sums it up. Beautiful people, amazing resort, immaculate grounds, awesome food, beautiful beach, fabulous weather and on and on and on it goes. It’s one of those reviews where I could ramble on forever but “Wow” should give a person a good idea of what to expect. As for the negative comments I read in some reviews before visiting the Barcelo myself, well…some folks are harder to please I guess. I have nothing but rave reviews for this place and wasn’t even home a week before trying to fiqure out how my family and I could return to celebrate Christmas.

Received a massage by Andrew at the resort spa and would highly recommend him to anyone. I am a Registered Massage Therapist here in Ontario and was so impressed with my treatment that I returned for a second session. Twice in one week and if time allowed it I would have gone again. What a beautiful, spiritual, tuned in individual he is. His gentle approach is radiated through his touch. If he ever reads these reviews I would love for him to know that I send lots of love and light his way and thank him once again for the wonderful experience. What a hard working class of people throughout the whole resort. Had a blast and would highly recommend the Barcelo.

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Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Lucy ~ Manchester , UK.

June 2005

My boyfriend and I (26 & 28) visited the Barcelo from 2nd – 16 May 2005. The resort is fantastic and we had the best holiday ever. After a 10 hour flight we were so happy when we arrived at the huge reception !! Our room was great – we had requested a King room in Tulum (building 1) on the 3rd floor and that is exactly what we got. The fan and air conditioning were so good often we turned it off even though we had fabulously hot weather!! The bed was a little hard but we were so exhausted every night we slept really well for the entire fortnight. The room was cleaned every day – fresh bedding and towels – at first we left tips but when we didn’t tip we did not notice any difference. My only complaint would be that we had two towels – I prefer to have two each and although they bring extras immediately when you ask – the next morning the maid will take the extra two away so you have to either keep calling housekeeping or do what we and our friends took to doing which is hiding them in our wardrobe!! The mini bar was stocked daily but we did not use it that much – if u ask the man or woman who brings them in the afternoon nicely and for a small cost you can get "champagne" (cava) which we did get!!! All the staff were friendly and the service is excellent – we spoke a bit of Spanish and they really appreciated it. The beach is huge, white soft sand, and great really warm clear water there is loads of room for everyone and snorkelling is brilliant, We recommend going to the pier after breakfast to see the fish ( some people fed them ). Once due to people feeding the fish in the swimming area of the beach a stingray swam in attracted by the fish and stung a girl who was temporarily blinded – so be careful if there seems to be a lot of fish swimming near you!! there are two really big pools – caribe and beach – we tended to go to Caribe as it was the quieter one, there are loads of sunloungers and hammocks so you never have to worry about saving a lounger. We used canoes and pedaloes which was fun and we played tennis, basketball, table tennis, volleyball, mini golf all are good. The food is great – we went to all the a la cartes but our faves were Captain Morgan’s and the Mexican. the bar staff are the best!! especially Jorge at Beach side Teatro bar – try is shots and cocktails he is hilarious!! the swim up bars especially the beach side – got really busy but be patient and polite the staff are working really hard to serve everyone!! the longest i waited was 5 mins. We went to one show which was Michael Jackson and it was excellent – we really loved it. The gym is really hot as no AC but we tended to go first thing. I did get bitten in Mexico but the worst bites I got were out one night in playa del carmen and playing the mini golf at barcelo – do take sprays etc.

all in all a great 2 weeks in Barcelo Maya – we will definately go again and will recommend it to anyone,

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Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Kim ~ Illinois

June 2005

Just arrived back from a wonderful trip to Riviera Maya at the Barcelo Maya Beach Resort!

We were there May 19-26. I don’t have anything different to add from the other reviews, but I just wanted to let everyone know what a great hotel this is!

We loved this resort! We have been to Mexico several times and this is by far the best hotel in my opinion! The food is great and they have such a variety of things to choose from. We ate Agave and Don Quiote and loved them both. The beach is very, very clean and the water is oh so warm! I would say the best thing is the staff at the hotel. Every single person I met that worked for the hotel was extremely nice and friendly. I also noticed that they don’t expect you to tip like lots of other “all inclusive” resorts do. They would make our drinks and keep serving you all night and expect nothing in return. The only thing we didn’t like was the gym was not air conditioned, so if you tried to work out it was very hot. One other thing was the mosquitoes were bad, especially when the grass was being watered at night. So take bug spray! Otherwise we enjoyed staying here and would definitely go back!

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Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Alberta, Canada

May 2005

Had a great time the staff and food were all excellent I have to say I would definetly go back. I went on april 23-may 1 very nice place I also met a 19 year old from paris if she reads this email me at Antonio_bonis@hotmail.com. I am from Alberta Canada.

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Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Ron ~ Ontario Canada

April 2005

We were at the Barcelo the same week last year and had a wonderful time that is why we returned this year, oh what a difference a year makes. This trip to this hotel was the week from hell. A large group of American college students decided to show up at a first class family resort instead of going to Cancun with the rest of their friends. They took over the resort day and night, you couldn’t move on the beach during the day and during dinner they would butt their way pass you to get to the food.

After dinner they would make their way to the theater bars and take over every chair around both bars most of the time 2 to 3 people deep and stay there all night until the disco at Captain Morgan’s opened up. The other guests were forced to wait a very long time to get a drink or go to the lobby bar were there wasn’t as many students. The bartenders didn’t help the situation either, they were hitting on all the young girls and encouraging the students to drink as much as possible by pouring them beer shooters and chanting with them until they drank the whole glass down. By the time the disco opened these kids were extremely drunk.

After the disco closed around 1 or 1:30 am the fun really started they would stager back into the buildings and raise hell in the hallways forcing the guests to call security over and over again until they dispersed. This went on every night we were there. Friends of our were unfortunate enough to get a room right beside a group of them who decided to continue the party in their room. When our friends complained to the front desk the students started to harass them all night by throwing beer cans at their patio door kicking the walls and calling them on the phone over and over.

We went to the front desk on the second day to complain because the security just seemed to be nonexistent, they told us they were having the same problem in all the buildings and for us to call security if we were having problems.It seems to me that if they knew they were having this much with the students they should of dealt with it better by having security waiting for the students each night when they returned from the disco

During the week we were there the students trashed rooms 1169 and 1165 in building one, the maintenance guys were bringing in sheets of drywall one morning to repair the rooms. We had some other friends staying across the hall from this mess, they had to sleep until noon each day because it was the quietest time of the day to get any sleep.

The management did a very poor job controlling this situation they could of averted it in the first place by not allowing a spring break type of atmosphere to occur at a family resort. When 150 or so students reserve rooms four students per room it should send up a red flag that something’s not right. I’m sure alot of the guests from this week will not be returning to this resort anytime soon.

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Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Lori

April 2005

My husband and I recently vacationed at the Barcelo Maya Beach Resort (March 21-26). This was our first time vacationing in Mexico so took our travel agent’s advise and stayed here. It was a beautiful resort. Very large resort, but very clean and the employees were very friendly and always there to please.

From our flight to our check-in, everything went smooth as we had hoped. (Beware of the timeshare ‘sharks’ at the Cancun airport – they are way too smooth….)

Upon checkin, we were guided to our building (Tulum-building one, which was close to the pool area) The room was immaculate. Very spacious with a balcony overlooking a beautiful, well maintained garden area. As we had read in other reviews – YES, the beds were very hard. I had phoned down to the main reception area and requested a foam pad for our king size bed. They said they were all being used at that time and we would be put on a waiting list. I left a note for the maid the next morning and when we returned to our room that evening, we had a foam mattress on our bed!! (I did manage to leave her/him some little bottles of lotions, candy and about $3 USD – so maybe that helped, too) Leaving little tokens every morning for the maids was very much appreciated. They make about $3-$4USD/day, so leaving a couple of American dollars really made their day for them. Our fridge was well stocked every day with snacks, beer, water and soda. They also came around every night to see if you needed anything, and if you were not in your room, they would turn down your bed and leave the coffee pot all ready for you for the next morning, along with more extra snacks and candy.

We took a couple of day trips. Our first was to the Tulum ruins. (Express trip-about 4 hours) Excellent tour and guide. Their was also a lot of shopping opportunities available there, but the best place to shop was Playa del Carmen, where you could do a lot of bartering with the Mexicans. (took cab from hotel $14 USD for a 15-20 minute ride) We did not have any trouble using the US Dollar – no matter where we went, they took it, gladly!! In fact, we did not exchange ANY money for pesos the entire trip.

Our second day trip was to Paradise Reef. (bus trip from the resort) An absolute must if you like to snorkel. It was absolutely beautiful. They take you on a catamaran with about 40 people, get you all geared up and off you go! It was a little windy, but well worth the money (about $100 USD/couple for 4-5 hours) When we arrived back at the dock, we got all the beer we wanted to drink for free. (which was a treat on a hot day in the sun, and they did not serve any beer/alcohol on the catamaran – though they did have water and soda and a snack)

There was always something to do at the resort, too – if you have a family, there was always something for everyone to do. (arts & crafts, water aerobics, volleyball, etc.) The beach was massive……never had a problem finding your favorite spot in the sun or shade. The pools were very busy, but we managed to always find a place to sit and relax. Enjoy the hammocks – they put me right to sleep – VERY RELAXING!!! The swim up bars were very busy, too, but if you are a beer drinker, you have it made! The beer flowed at your fingertips whenever you wanted. There were beer taps on either side of the bar. We brought along our own insulated mugs, which came in very handy in the 90 degree (plus 70-80% humidity) weather. They serve their drinks/beer in little plastic glasses.

The food was excellent!! The buffets were incredible, so much food to choose from. Every night was something different. My favorite was their bread – I wish I could have brought some home with me. Huge variety and all was good. They have 3 specialty restaurants – (You can only make one reservation for 5-6 nights stayed) We ate at the Agave (Mexican food) The others were seafood and Spanish. The Agave had EXCELLENT Mexican food! I was told by other vacationers that the other 2 restaurants were also very good, so the choice is yours!

We only managed to make it to one of the theater shows. (Friday night was Michael Jackson night – it was a real good show) The shows started at 10PM, and by the time we ate and made it back to our room, we just did not feel like venturing back out. We are early to bed people back home and even on vacation, unfortunately……..

Would we go back?? I would recommend this place to anyone, but if there is a next time we would probably try a smaller resort – this one was so large. All in all, we had an excellent time at the Barcelo. Enjoy!!!

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Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Canada

March 2005

Just returned today from a very enjoyable week-long March Break trip! My wife and I are in our early 40’s and our children are 17, 14, 11. We have travelled to a number of destinations in the Caribbean and other warm weather destinations over the years, so have something to compare this resort to. When staying at resorts (sometimes we do the condo thing) we always target 5 star resorts. I always do a fair amount of research before booking any trip, found this site helpful, so thought I would give a few thoughts – many of which have been stated before.

We booked through Signature Vacations and had no snags. They were well organized, and gave a few helpful hints. We flew with SkyService which isn’t my favourite, given the lack of legroom on their planes (at least the ones I have been on), but it was a short flight so not a big deal. Flights were on time both ways and that’s the big deal for me.

Check in was very smooth and we were in our rooms in a jiffy! The rooms were fine (we had two) – clean with modern styling. Very nice showers and the in-room fridge was nice. Also a safe to lock up valuables. There is a reasonable amount of humidity on the gulf side, so the rooms do tend to feel damp, even with the air on (unlike the other side of Mexico). The maid service was fine and the fridges were stocked daily. Our rooms were up near the lobby and close to the buffets, but a distance from the pools, beach snacks and ocean. If going again, I would prefer to be nearer to the pool/ocean since that is where most of the trips to the room come from. Having said that, the extra walking was nice, since we all ate more than a healthy share of food! The lower the room number, the closer to the pool/ocean. For example, we were in 2183 and the low 2100’s are closest to the pool. There are several nice hidden walkways to rooms and these are also nice to take since they are in a jungle type atmosphere where spotting iguanas is very common. They are also very well lit at night.

The grounds are extremely well maintained and are picturesque. The walkways are mostly patterned concrete and are kept clean. The layout of the facility is excellent. Far enough to walk but not too far and lots to see wherever you are walking. The night lighting is extremely impressive. There was a very good feeling of safety on the grounds and I saw nothing anywhere that would have me concerned to allow my kids to be on their own. There are two lobbies, two pools, two sets of restaurants, etc., and one side mirrors the other (in most cases). You have use of both sides, and since there is very little difference, the side closest to your room is likely where you will hang out.

The pools are very well maintained and there are plenty of chairs (yes, the old towel on the chairs trick is used to reserve them, but there are so many it’s not an issue). The pool water is not heated (I don’t have this as a fact – I am just giving my opinion) and although it took a couple of minutes to get comfortable with the water, I found it very refreshing! I tend not to like heated pools in the Caribbean, as I find the water temperature to be too high. There were also plenty of chairs on the beach. The beach is very nice with Barcelo owning a significant amount of land on the beach. We didn’t take part in many watersports – too busy lounging!! but the water was quite rough most of the week and we didn’t see too many people out on the equipment.

The drink service was average at best. I found the bartenders disinterested some of the time, understaffed other times, and it was not uncommon for me to wait up to 10 minutes for drinks. The glasses are small and some did bring larger drink containers with them. I just ordered two! Given the large number of staff on the resort, it was obvious to me that the bartending staff was kept to a minimum to keep costs down somewhat. I also found the alcoholic drinks to have too much alcohol in them fairly often. I always watched my drinks being made and I noticed a few times that my glass had at least 75% alcohol. Now… I like a drink, but man!!!! Very little care was taken to make a drink consistently the same.

The buffet food was very good. I would say that it is the best I have had in my travels. Anyone who travels knows that buffet food is not intended to be gourmet dining – and you can’t go with that in mind. If you are looking for a good variety of food (at all meals), well prepared, you won’t be disappointed. There was certainly something for everyone! The layout of the buffets was excellent and although I think the hotel was close to capacity, we did not experience any unreasonable waits. My only complaint with the buffets was that we often did not get water until the end of our meal, if at all. Not a big deal, but I do like water with my meal. I was not impressed at all with the food at the specialty restaurants. We went to the Spanish restaurant and the steakhouse. The food was very average and I think a notch below what I had at the buffet! The service was good and it was nice to have a meal served, but…. I would take the better food at the buffet. No-one in our group had any stomach problems during the week and two of us have sensitive stomachs.

The entertainment was very good – best I have seen at an all-inclusive. It’s mostly musically based, and I would have preferred a bit more drama, but with more professional entertainers, dancers and musicians. Don’t miss the Michael Jackson show – outstanding! The length of the shows is great – usually finish around 10:30 pm – early to bed for the sunworshippers!! Some rude people reserve tables 2-3 hours in advance of the shows (where there is limited capacity), by putting drinks on the tables – so do what I did and move their drinks and let others take their tables!! I think it’s fair to arrive early and save seats for a few friends, but to reserve a whole section of seats and waltz in a few minutes before the show….. I don’t think so!!!!

My son and I played tennis everyday – several nice courts. Just reserve the day before and you will have no problem getting a time you want. They also have a great 18 hole mini golf course that we all played daily. A very nice touch!

Some shopping is available on site but the usual souvenirs are also available in Playa Del Carmen at a fraction of the cost – and I would recommend the visit if you haven’t done that kind of thing. It’s a neat experience to barter and for kids to get a better feel for life outside of the resort. If shopping on the resort, I think they had a decent variety of things to purchase.

I would certainly recommend this resort. I think it offers good value for the money. I have never gone back to a resort – like to try different ones – but I would go back to this one. Best of luck as you look for the right vacation for your family!!

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Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Jimmy & Michelle ~ Windsor, On

March 2005

My wife and I are in our mid 30’s and were looking forward to a nice relaxing vaction for awhile now. We had stayed in the Mayan Riviera back in Dec. 2002 at the Bahia Principe and really loved the place, so we kind of knew what to expect our second trip back. We chose the Barcelo after alot of research on the place. We both love to snorkel and the thought of being able to do it right off the beach appealed to both of us.

We flew with Apple Vacations on Ryan Airline out of Detroit and had absolutely no problems at all. From liftoff until the bus dropped us off at the front door, every thing went smooth. We arrived at 1:00 and were told our room wouldn’t be ready until 3:00. They gave us our wristbands and held our luggage and off we went. We wore our shorts on the plane and were glad we did, as it was about 90F already. We found the lunch buffet and grabbed a bite to eat, before doing a little bit of exploring. Room was ready at 3:00 and we went and unpacked. Rooms were spacious and very clean. Bed was extremely firm, but a mattress pad was avaiable if you requested one. We found by bed time we were so exhausted, we could have slept soundly on the tile floor.

The resort is amazing. The grounds are extremely well groomed and the beach is beautiful. It’s shape almost like a horseshoe, so it is pretty well protected from rough seas. Each morning the beach is raked and all the seaweed blown in from the night is raked and taken away by 8:00. The place was near capacity but never felt crowded. There is alot of space for everyone to move about. There was an endless amount of beach chairs, so there was no need to go down early and save one with a towel. The beach is also full of palm trees, so you can always find some shade if you want it, no matter what time of day.

At the north end of the beach is becomes rocky and there is a pier to walk out and catch a dive boat. Around this pier is where you wil find some amazing snorkeling. There was lots of coral and thousands of fish to see. Some people there said they seen a sea turtle, others said they seen a stringray swim along the bottom, and one said he seen an octopus stick his head out of a whole in the rocks. I don’t know, I just seen fish. By the pier hundreds of fish would hang out as people from the pier would throw bread down to feed them. It was really neat snorkeling there, with these fish almost in a feeding frenzy inches from your mask. About 100m from the pier is a small island we snorkeled out to. The water is a little choppier out there so do so with caution. To the front right of the island is some steps built in to step up. On the island are two loungers to tan and a round shaded table to sit at. Not much, but it is a nice place to just sit and gather your thoughts, or dream of what it would be like to have this every day of your life, not just one week every few years.

The rest of the beach is great for swimming and hobbie cats, kayaks, and water tricycles are available to use. Beside the pier, jet skis were avaiable to rent. Expensive though.

There are two huge pools. Both have a swim up bar and large jacuzzi tub(enough room for probably 15-20 people) built right in. There are bridges that cross over top, a large water fountain, and kiddie section. There are alot of loungers around the pool and shaded hammocks surround a large section of the pool. If I had to guess, probably 50 or more hammocks. Like I said, there’s always somewhere to lay about.

The buffets were excellent. Lots of variety and the theme changes nightly so you don’t see the same thing every night. The lunch restaurants usually had the same food everyday, with burgers, hot dogs, fries, and quesadilles(sp?) then some new item daily. One day it was steak, one day ribs, one day bbq chicken. Anyway you won’t go hungry there.

There wasn’t much shopping on site. There was a couple gift shops, a jewelllery store, a liquor store and a shop near the beach for sun block, sunglasses, and air mattresses. My wife and I only wanted a few things and didn’t feel like being hasseled in PDC, so we jumped on the collectivo out front and went down to the Hacienda in front of the Bahia and spent a couple hours shopping there. It is much more relaxed and no barginning. It brought back memories of our last trip, so it was really nice.

Nightly entertainment was actually pretty good as well. They work very hard, you can tell. The Michael Jackson impersonator was extremely good, and had all the moves down. Get there early if you want a seat.

After the shows, one of the beach restaurants turns into the disco, from 11:00 until 1:30. We never made it there. We were just too tired, and in bed by 10:30 or 11:00.

Overall, the Barcelo was the closest thing to paradise my wife and I have found. It was a wonderful resort and I would recommend it to anyone looking to go to the Mayan area. We can’t think of any real complaints. Maybe an extra bartender or two at the bars, to speed up service, but hey you’re in Mexico, relax!!

We are already thinking of when we can go back, and asking friends to join us. Can’t wait!!

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Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Joann and Peter ~ Toronto, Canada

March 2005

We went to the Barcelo Feb7th-21st, for our honeymoon.

We would rate this a 5 start resort, if it was not for one problem we had: the pools were FREEEEZZZINGGGG. They weren’t just ‘cold,’ they were freezing, hardly anyone ever spent time in the pool, and even after swimming for half an hour, your body could still not adjust to the temperature. They were beautiful to look at though, and resting on the hammocks by the pool was fantastic.

The beach was beautiful, most of the time it was clear, and it was pretty shallow for a long ways out. Plenty of chairs to choose from, and the staff were always trying to keep everyone involved and happy by recruiting them to the various activities.

Food – amazing. We could not stop eating. I actually started to put guacamole and just about everything, from salad, to fries, to hotdogs. 😉 There was so much variety, and so many different ways to change up your plate, you could eat heavy or you could eat light. I was really impressed with the food. Great job!

The a la carte restaurants were all good. We went to all three, but if we can recommend one over the others it would be the Spanish one. The food was so good, we advise you to get the beef tenderloin. It was actually about 100% better than Captain Morgan’s which ironically is the ‘steakhouse’ of the resort. It melted like butter. Also, make sure to get their specialty coffee with kahlua…they prepare it in front of you, and it tastes great.

Our room was perfect, large and clean. Fridge was well stocked. We were happy with it.

We played tennis, and went mini-golfing which was a lot of fun, and changed things up for us, since we were there for 2 weeks.

The entertainment group was amazing. The dancers were so fantastic, and well choreographed, I was very much impressed and felt like staying behind to join them 🙂 As others have mentioned, the Michael Jackson show was one of the best performances, but most nights were good.

Most of the staff was so friendly, they went out of their way to greet you and say hi. It was a little bit frustrating that many of them didn’t speak english too well, and could not understand what we were asking, but then again, I guess it is my responsibility to learn Spanish, as a visitor to THEIR land.

Day trips: We advise doing the trip to XelHa, as a full day (rather than a half day XelHa and half day Tulum) Xel Ha is so beautiful and is so vast, you really need a whole day to enjoy it all, take some walks, enjoy the waters, the fish, the mini-beaches, etc. If you want to see pyramids, we recommend Chichen Itzha, and if it is still open, you can actually climb the steps…which is VERY scary on the way down. Don’t be daring, just crawl back down and play it safe. The trip to Chichen Itzah also takes you to a sinkhole that is REMARKABLE to look at, and to experience…it will take your breath away. (make sure to bring a hat and sun protection as there is hardly any shade and LOTS of dry hot sun.

My final and most important recommendation for anyone going to this resort – GET A MASSAGE. My massage was done by a gentleman named Andrew. I have been going for massage therapy for 3 years now, due to a car accident, and not ONCE have I ever felt as good as I did when I left Andrew. Whatever technique they use, we need to bring them back home and have them teach our spouses, b/c it is phenomenal!!!!!!!! I actually felt like crying at the idea that I finally experienced a real THERAPEUTIC massage and now I have to leave.

It was like a taste of heaven, that was taken away 🙁

All in all, great resort, great place, great people.

PS – Do NOT shop anywhere other than Playa del Carmen, prices were double the cost anywhere else!!

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Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Steve and Jo-ann ~ Kingston, Ont.

February 2005

I am writing about my experience at the Barcelo. I can only add to what appears to be the popular opinion, Fantastic. We are returning from a trip there from Feb. 12 – 19th.

In the past, we have taken cruises, trips to Cuba, St. Thomas, etc. Barcelo wins. The rooms were clean, meticulous, and the bar fridge was more than stocked daily. We were asked what we wanted stocked, and how much. Food was great, although there is only buffet style, except for two trips to the restaurants, as stated in many of the other stories. One thing that I may try to clarify, is the card that is mentioned in some of the reviews. A card, such as a credit card, or room key card, can be inserted in the key holder, just inside the door. This card keeps the fridge running, as well as the air conditioner, etc. What we did was to bring an expired card, with a magnetic strip on the back. Leaving this in the slot enabled the electrical to remain on, while not taking our room keys.

One thing that took us a day to discover, was that our resort, huge as it was, had a mirror image resort. One is the Barcelo Beach, and the other is the Barcelo Caribe. It is technically one resort, just a left and right side. The grounds are immaculate, and never stopped to amaze us. The beach, beautiful, and more than enough lounge chairs. One could easily stay on the resort, and be completly content. We did not make it to the ruins, although it was a spot we had intended to see.

We did take two trips into Playa Del Carmen. For the price of $20.00 peso’s, or $2.00 U.S., you can just go to the highway,(5 minute walk), and wait for the white vans, that act as buses. Just stand there, they will stop, and tell them where you are going. It was while going to catch one of these buses that we discovered a miniature golf on the resort as well.

There is very good snorkelling off of the pier, with both sand and coral. We brought an empty plastic coke bottle, filled with bread and banana’s, and used this to attract the fish as we were snorkelling among them. Be aware, there are hundreds of them, and they are hungry, although there was no danger at all.

I highly recommend bringing your own insulated mugs….cuts down on trips to the bar, as well as sand in your drinks. It is true, that some bars were slow, not because of laziness, but because the bars are so busy……these people worked their butts off. The tips are there for the bartenders, etc., but we found that the busboys, who were rumored to make about 4.00 a day, seemed much more appreciative of the tip. We even gave a couple of dollars to the kid that was sweeping and mopping the buffet floors constantly. It was well worth the look of surprise.

In general, as most of the reviews state, you will not be sorry you chose Barcelo. The only complaint I had was the Jetsgo flight. If there were two trips available, and Jetsgo was one of the charters, I would go with the other instantly. We had no headphones, and if you wanted to rent a movie, you had to pay $10.00 for a video screen. If there were two of you together…..two screens….$20.00. the attempt at in flight food was embarrassing. Our lunch consisted of a cold piece of chicken, over some cold potatoes, and veggies. By saying cold, I do not mean, that they have cooled off. The lunch came in a cardboard box, and kept in a fridge. No microwave on board. We were graced with a free glass of water…..everything else cost. I feel that I paid enough, that a warm meal is not an unreasonable request. Maybe even a small soft drink. I did ask others that took other flights, (sunquest, and air transat), and they were given a warm meal AND a drink.

All in all……that is my only complaint, and one that I have to bring to the attention of the airlines, not the resort. Still waiting to read the review from Dennis and Kim, a couple that we had the good fortune of meeting while at the resort, even though I feel that they were responsible for a substantial headache the next day………………….Cheers….

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Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Kathy

February 2005

My husband and I, and two other couples just returned from a wonderful vacation at this resort, Feb 5-12. We have travelled before to Iberostar Tucan-Playcar, Barcelo Solymar-Varadero, have been on five cruises and several years ago to Jamaica and St Kitts.

We absolutely loved the Barcelo Maya. We stayed in the Beach Resort, Building No. 1, Tulum (as was recommended by a few people in this forum). The grounds of the resort, the rooms and the beach were just beautiful. Everything was very clean and well kept. You would hardly know the resort was at capacity as it is so spacious. It never felt crowded.

The food was great. Always something for everyone. My travelling companions all love seafood (I dont) and we were all happy with the selection of food. The food was always hot and fresh. The service was good and improved as the week went on and the staff got to know you. We tipped occasionally but the service was always good regardless of that. The Mexican people at the resort work very hard and go out of their way to help and serve you.

We tried the Mexican and the Captian Morgan Steakhouse for our a la carte nights. We had a wonderful dinner at the Mexican Restaurant. The wait staff and maitre’d made the experience great. At the steakhouse we all had either the tenderloin or the rib steak and their were no compaints. The presentation was very impressive at both restaurants.

We found the service at the bars to be fine too. Occasionally you had to wait your turn, but you could always help yourself at the beer and wine taps (and we did!). We really enjoyed the fountain daquiari machines at the lobby bar. There were bottles of rum and tequilla there so you could add your own if you wanted it.

We took a taxi to Tulum one morning. This is a must see for anyone going to the area. The taxi was cheap for the four of us that went and the entrance fee to Tulum was between 310 and 500 pesos. We also took a taxi into Playa del Carmen – 5th Ave. to shop. This was one of the highlights of the trip for me. I just love the shopping in this area. We also took the ferry to Cozumel and the ladies shopped while the men snorkelled.

The snorkelling at the pier on the resort was very good and was one of the reasons we chose this resort. The men all had their own equipment and snorkelled quite a bit.

We attended most of the shows after dinner. They were all good but of course, my favourite was the Michael Jackson Show – don’t miss it! Every night we went to Captain Morgan Disco after the show. We all like to dance and it is fun to just people watch. It’s outdoors so the ambiance is great. We needed a sweater as the evenings were cool while we were there.

In closing, we all just loved this resort. It definitely exceeded my expectations and I can’t wait to go back. Normally I like to try something new and different but this experience was soooo good I want to return again next year. I love this area of Mexico and the resort was perfect.

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Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Chris and Julie ~ Toronto

February 2005

We just returned from a vacation at the Barcelo Maya Beach Resort (Feb 5-12). We are a couple (early 30’s no kids) from Toronto on our first trip to the Mayan Riviera. We travelled with Signature Vacations after booking through Flight Centre. Hint: If you’re uncomfortable booking vactions entirely through the internet, Flight Centre (and I’m sure other agents as well) will match prices found on the internet, provided you can show its a real price.

We flew Skyservice out of Toronto, on the 6am flight, arrving in Cancun roughly 10-10:30 local time (our flight was about an hour delayed and Mexico is an hour behind Toronto). Prior to leaving, we had read the reviews in Debbie’s and other sites to make sure we had realistic expectations as far as the resort and ther area. We have to say, the reviews in Debbie’s were pretty spot on. We’re just going to add our two cents worth.

We were picked up at the airport by the Signature Vacations bus (after waiting about 1.5 to 2 hours to clear customs – get ready for that, its fun), which took us to the resort.

The resort grounds are beautiful. Check in was smooth and arranged by Signature (all the tour groups make separate arrangements for their guests at the hotel). Keep in mind that technically, check-in is at 3pm, so after we checked in (roughly 1:30), we had to wait 1.5 hours to actually go into the room. No worries though, you’re free to use the facilities until the room is ready.

Here are our comments about the resort….

Room:
We were in building 2, first floor. The room was quiet at night (we were on the opposite side of the disco, and never heard a thing), and our "backyard was quite nice – two chairs and a table, opening up into the meticulously maintained grounds. Note: buildings 1 and 2 are well away from the noise. Others we met at the resort who stayed in building 4 and 5 in particular noted that you can hear the disco at night, and during the day, the construction (Barcelo is building a sister resort right next door). We had a king size bed. The other option is getting 2 doubles. Its best to email the resort to try to get your preference. As for the firmness, the other reviews are totally accurate on this one – the beds are HARD. Apparently you can request to have a foam mattress put over the bed – a handy fact we only learned upon our departure that we both agreed we had to mention when doing our own review. They don’t tell you about this at the resort, so I imagine you have to take the initiative to make the request yourself.

Otherwise, the room was a good size, well maintained, and has the amenities (satellite tv, open well-stocked minibar, electronic keypad operated safe, keycard room entry) you’d expect from a higher end hotel/resort.

Food:
We read the reviews carefully regarding the food, so we were cautiously optimistic. In short, the buffets were fine – we had no concerns with the food. There was a wide enough variety to suit most pallets, and the pasta bar in particular was usually quite good. The only comment I would make on the buffets is that the grill on the beach was not quite as good as the main dining halls.

The resort has 3 a la carte restaurants. We were staying a week and were thus entitled to 2 a la carte meals. We booked for the Wednesday and Friday evenings. Both were booked on the Sunday and had no trouble securing our choices, though we do recommend booking earlier rather than later. We went to the Mexican restaurant and the steakhouse. Of the two, the steakhouse (which doubles as the disco later at night) was the much better option (and we like Mexican food). That being said, the service was fast and efficient in both. We heard varying reviews of the Spanish restaurant from people we met at the resort, so take that for what you will.

Drinks:
The mixed drinks were of varying quality. There was always a "cocktail of the day" which was usually quite tasty. The margueritas and other drinks were just okay. Otherwise we pretty much stuck to the beer which was Corona and another brand made by the same company that brews Corona.

Service was not the best at the beach bars – usually only had a couple of people making drinks, so if it was crowded (usually during the day at the bar near the beach) it might be fairly slow to get drink service. However, they have self-serve beer taps, so you can pour your own if you wish. We saw many people bring their own mugs/thermoses to pour beer into, which is a good idea, since the cups provided for the drinks are pretty small. One thing with the beer taps – they’re cranked up pretty high so when pouring you usually get all foam until you figure out the technique for pouring – pour without the cup for a couple of seconds until the fizz is gone, then put the tap right up against glass and pour very slowly – otherwise the beer will be all foam.

Beach:
The beach was as good or better than advertised. Its huge (2km), with beautiful white sand, which is clearly brushed by the resort staff on a daily basis. We never had any difficulty snagging beach chairs or getting our preferred spot on the beach. The water was clear blue and it was shallow – also, there was almost no algae anywhere near the shoreline, so you can walk quite a distance out without encountering any. It’s totally private; one end of the beach is bordered by rocks which serve as a natural barrier and the other end is also owned by Barcelo (where they’re building their sister resort) and as a result is totally isolated, giving you a sense of seclusion at the resort. Also, there’s also a nice breeze on the beach which can be quite a relief from the blazing sun. The free watersports are down on one end of the beach and are easily accessible – water bicycles, kayaks, hobie sailing.

Activities:
The resort has an excellent variety of activities – two huge swimming pools right near the beach (we prefer seawater so we never tried to pool), ping pong tables, bocci, basketball courts (one on the beach, one on the tennis courts), 5 tennis courts (with night lighting), mini putt (built within a beautiful forest/ravine type area), a 3 hole pitch and putt, beach volleyball, a gym, a jacuzzi and more. They’re all well-maintained and easy to access – almost never any lineups. Also, the resort has various tournaments and sporting events throughout the day and award prizes (presented at the nightly shows at the theatre) for placing.

The resort also offers deep sea fishing, snorkeling trips, scuba, jet skis (US$55 per half hour) and others. We tried the snorkeling trip to Akumal (US$29 per person). We signed up the morning of the trip and got two spots no problem. It takes about 2 hours from beginning to end and we did see some cool things (barracuda, sea turtles, corral, and an eagle ray). However, it was somewhat crowded which was a bit annoying at times. If you’re a serious snorkeler we’d recommend taking the more exotic trips. You can snorkel on your own at the resort – they’ll let you borrow snorkel equipment for a US$50 deposit (which you get back when you return the equipment). There’s also a little island about 200-300 feet from the pier that you can swim to. Nothing to do there except lie in the sun, but its nice.

Entertainment:
The resort had a different show every night, starting at 9:30. Before that, there was a pre-show usually put on by the house band, typically playing mariachi and italian folk songs as well as some contemporary stuff – the band was quite good. Keep in mind that this is resort entertainment so you should temper your expectations accordingly. Some of the shows are good – the Michael Jackson show on Fridays and the Miss Barcelo show on Saturdays are highlights. The latin-themed show (Monday) wasn’t bad either. We skipped the others as they looked a little dull. The theatre is big, with bars at opposite ends, and there are tables all over to leave your drinks on when sitting down.

Day Trips:
We went to Paya Del Carmen and Tulum. Playa was about 20-25 minutes from the resort. We agree with the others – take the bus or collectivo. Its cheap – about 20 pesos for 2 of us. There’s a stop right outside of the resort. The bus is great – its an air-conditioned coach. It takes you right into the bus terminal in town. The bus terminal is right at 5th ave, the main commercial strip in Playa. 5th ave is as described – full of shops where you can haggle over anything and they almost never take no for an answer. We were there and back in about 3.5 to 4 hours and did almost all of our shopping then – good deals to be had if you want haggle. Absolutely worth the trip in order to do you gift shopping.

Tulum was 30km in the opposite direction from Playa on the same highway. We recommend seeing it on your own and avoiding taking a tour – its easy to get to on your own, and its much cheaper to see it on your own – you can always buy a guidebook to tell you what everything is. We grabbed a collectivo to head down there (when waiting at the bus stops either the bus or the collectivo will usually come by every 10-15 minutes). The collectivo is essentially a van that picks people up on the street – runs the same route as the city bus and costs about the same. The van is air-conditioned, so no worries. Just tell the driver you’re going to the Tulum ruins and they’ll drop you off at the appropriate spot (the ruins are outside of the town). Its about a 1km walk to the site from the bus stop. Its about 35 pesos to enter (the collectivo was 40 pesos each). The ruins are quite nice – it was a walled Mayan city perched on a cliff overlooking the sea. As you can imagine, the views are spectacular and the ruins themselves are quite cool. Its takes about an hour to 1.5 hours to see it all. Afterwards, most people head down to the beach to go for a swim – its quite popular to do so. However, the steps down are quite steep so if you’ve got bad knees, its not recommended that you head down to the beach, as you’ll have a heck of a time geting back up. We’ve heard great things about Coba and Chitzen Itza, but they were both 2 hours away from the resort and would take a full day to see (remember, at this time of year, the sun sets around 5:30), so we took a pass.

Overall Impresions:
Overall, we would highly recommend the Barcelo Maya. The grounds are spectacular and there’s lots to do if you choose not the spend the whole week on the beach with a drink in hand. Its in a good location relative to both Playa and Tulum (Coba and Chitzen Itza are located inland and are about equidistant from most of the resorts on the Mayan Riviera), and its easy to get to both, using the locals buses and collectivos. The food is fine, and the service is efficient and quite pleasant. The rooms are nicely put together and very colourful (though the beds are hard). Drink service is decent but we would agree that at times the bars seem to be somewhat understaffed, although we always found the service pleasant. We avoided the day trips organized by our tour company as they seemed pricey and many of them you could do on your own (we prefer to explore stuff on our own), although we met people who tried them and had no real complaints. The beach is truly sensational, and totally private. The entertainment is pretty good for a resort (but don’t expect a broadway show – its a resort after all). Despite the sheer size of the resort, it never felt crowded (and we were told it was about 95% full the week we were there) and we were always able to access the facilities and amenities without any difficulty. We would certainly go back and recommend it to others – 4.5/5.

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Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Bonnie ~ Toronto

January 2005

OUR RATING – 4 STARS

We just returned from 7 wonderful days at the Barcelo Maya. There were 6 of us in our group and we are in our late 50’s. We flew Air Canada Vacations out of Toronto. We have traveled extensively and this was our 4th time to the Cancun/ Mayan Riviera. The day before our flight we drove to Toronto and spent the night there. That afternoon the Air Canada baggage handlers went on a wild cat strike and most flights on Jan 19th were delayed or cancelled. It was pretty scary thinking we might not be able to fly to Mexico the next day, but it was settled and we left on time and actually arrived a half hour early. A van drove us to the hotel. There were 10 of us, 8 for the Barcelo and 2 for another hotel on the way. It took us approx one and one half hours to get there. Check in was quick and easy. The porters told us we could either take our bags on our own to our room or leave them and they would take them to us later. We took our own but had to ask a couple of times for directions to our building, which was building number 4. There was no welcome drink and I was surprised that they didn’t escort us to our rooms.

The hotel grounds were simply beautiful and well kept. Everything including the room was so clean and spotless. The beach was great, although on windy days, there was a bit of seaweed floating in the water and on shore. The ocean water was warm but the pools were really cold. This could be due to the cool evenings. They didn’t have pool aerobics, they had ocean aerobics. During the day the sun was very hot but at night the temperature dropped and you needed a sweater or jacket. It would be a good idea to check the weather forecast in advance especially if you are traveling in Jan. to see what evening temperatures are forecast.

What we really liked: 1. There were lots of chairs both on the beach and at the pool. No towel games at this hotel. 2. Lots of palm trees on the beach so there was shade if you wanted it. 3. The hotel is quite large but very well laid out. 4. Food in the buffet was pretty good, lots of fish and other choices. Service was good.

5. Water sports and snorkeling off the pier was good.

What we felt could be improved: 1. Waiting time at the beach bar for drinks. Could use more bartenders. 2. Entertainment in the theatre was very good but too loud.

3. The A la carte restaurants were disappointing. There were 3 but you could only go to 2 if you stayed for a week. The steak house was the best. The food wasn’t much different than the buffet.

Our drive back to the airport only took about an hour because we didn’t have to stop at the other hotel to pick up passengers. The line up checking in at the Cancun airport was slow because they check all your bags before you can get your boarding pass. Took us about an hour and the line wasn’t even that long.

The information and tips from those of you who wrote in were very helpful and useful. Thanks.

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Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Renee and Antoine ~ Ottawa, Ontario

January 2005

My girlfriend and I (early 30’) visited Barcelo Maya Beach Resort from the 2nd to the 9th of January. We flew JetsGo from Toronto. We departed Toronto late and returned late. Not a good way to start a vacation. Luckily that was the worst part of our trip.

I love the way customs decides if they are going to search your luggage or not but I won’t spoil it for you. The ride to the hotel is about 60 minutes and you get to see a little of Mexico.

Check-in was organized through our tour operator and could have been a little better. It took a while for our luggage to arrive to our room but it also took us a while to get there because we walked by one of the bars and then we just had to see the beach.

Room
It was big and clean. The smell was present only one day. We had planned to use a card to keep the air conditioning going but we found it unnecessary as the power was always on. We did keep the card in just in case. The fridge was re-supplied every day to the point that bottles fell out when opened. The previous people in the room had locked the safe before leaving. We had to call the front desk to have it opened. It took no time at all. We stayed in room 2255. The outside noise did not keep us awake at night.

Food
The buffet had a good variety at all meals. I thought the food would be spicy but it wasn’t. The local alcohol bar at the buffet was well stocked. The red wine was not very good and it was kept cold. The servers were polite and quite happy to offer to go get us tequila shots from the bar. We tried the Mexican and Spanish a la carte restaurants. Both were extremely good. The sangria at the Spanish restaurant was quite good. The bars were busy so we ordered our drinks through the waitress. We quickly learned to appreciate the art of tipping.

Beach The beach and the snorkeling was the main reason why we had picked this resort. We were not disappointed. The beach is clean and the sand does not get hot. Beach volleyball is played all day long and lots of people take part. My girlfriend took some dance lessons and stretching classes. If you want peace and quiet stay away from the center of the beach because the sound system can get annoying. The water is clean and warm but with lots of waves.

The best location for snorkeling is right by the pier. Most people stay along the pier because of all the fish there. But by swimming away 20 meters, we saw better looking fish, including sting rays, blue tangs and many others varieties. If you plan on doing a lot of snorkeling, bring your own gear.

Sports
The gym was quite nice for a resort. It was well equipped. The tennis courts and mini put are also well maintained.

Shows
The night of our arrival was the crowning of Miss Barcelo. It was more funny than serious. That evening’s show was my favorite. The others were good but not my style. The entertainers appeared to be professionals. Another show that should not be missed is the Michael Jackson evening.

Weather
If you plan on getting married there, do it in the morning. Two weddings were rained out while we were there. It was beautiful in the morning and early afternoon. The clouds would roll in late afternoon. It rained three times. Twice during weddings and once at night. They were very short in duration. The average temperature was 28-30 Celsius. The wind kept things comfortable.

Staff
The staff was friendly. A few did not understand English very well but they tried to be accommodating. Although we tipped on a few occasion; tip is not required to receive good service.

Day trip We did 3 trips out of the resort. We spent an afternoon in Playa Del Carmen. We took the collectivo. It takes you to the bus terminal. It is about a 3 minute walk to 5th Avenue. Excellent for souvenirs and it must be fun at night. We were not bothered by time share agents. We did a morning of snorkeling at Shel Ha. Plenty of fish to be seen. We recommend doing the dolphin experience. Our last outing was to the Coba ruins. It was $99 US to spend half a day at the Mayan ruins and the other half walking in the forest with a meal included. The walk in the forest includes a rappel into a cenote and a Zip line across an open cenote. The visit to the ruins consists of a 30 minute brief by a guide and then you are left to walk or rent a bike to the main pyramid. The pyramid has 95 steps to the summit. It is a nice view from the top.

The highlight for us was the Mexican meal.

Overall
We were very happy with the resort. We plan on returning next year. If you have any questions about this resort, please do not hesitate to cont

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Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Eugene

January 2005

Just returned from second trip to Barcelo. Excellent as always. One day they will perfect coffee.

For the Canadians. Take coffee filters and Timmys coffee. That will make the the week worth while.

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Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Philadelphia, PA

January 2005

My husband and I just returned yesterday from a 4 day 3 night trip to the Barceló Maya Beach Resort in Mexico. I won the trip on the radio. I had 23 different Caribbean resorts to choose from. My first choice was the Fiesta Premium Resort and Casino in Costa Rica until I found out the airport was four hours away, and transportation was not included. Thanks to your posts, I was able to make my decision. We did not have to do a cost analysis or anything because it was free but maybe in the future, this is the right place for the price. This is our 1st stay at an All-Inclusive Resort. Three years ago we went on a 10 day Caribbean cruise. 15 years before that, we went to Disney World with our four kids and stayed for 5 days. That’s the extent of our major vacations.

Before posting my review, I went back and read all your posts again (and looked at pictures); just to keep from being redundant. Just about everything has been said. It was funny that most of the posts here were from Canadians and sure enough, most everyone at the resort was from Canada. My husband is African American. I saw only one other African American man and woman there. OK with us, just an interesting fact. I’m part Colombian so the language was not a problem. Even with the problems we encountered, I found myself thinking, “Wow, what a great place to stay!”

There are a few things that we found problems with but I do realize that some of it had to do with our limited time, as well as our age, 46 and 50, and size. My husband is a big guy in weight. His ideal vacation does not include the sun, heat, or the beach.

We were booked through US Airway Vacations and had a direct flight from Philly to Cancun! No problems with customs in Mexico or state side. We were one of the lucky ones that did not have to have our bags manually inspected. We did have warnings about time share sharks in the Cancun airport. As one reviewer wrote, they looked like airport security of something. I recognized what they were about in about 2 minutes. My husband, none the less, went for it. The appointment was for the next day and we got to spent $150 US at there resort gift shop, a sweet deal. (No, we did not buy anything from them.)

Our van to the Barceló only charged $2/Corona, not $4. The driver was very informative. He said that we could feel safe in the area. It is primarily a resort area and crime is almost non existent. He was of Mayan descent. He said that we will find many friendly “short men with big heads” (That is how he described himself.) I said, “Oh, my husband must be Mayan.” They both got a kick out of that one! J

When we arrived at the Barceló, the entrance was impressive. The landscape was spectacular! I felt bad later because I took more pictures of the fountains, buildings, landscapes, and seascapes than I did of us! The weather was beautiful in January. Not awfully humid or hot at night. However, it was humid enough to cause our room to smell moldy, and for the tiles at the buffet and building hallways to be slippery. I was afraid my husband would fall. I was surprised that there were not any caution signs up.

I took your advice and emailed asking for a room in building 1 or 2 on the ground floor. We were in room 1151. Yes, it was quiet, but far (for my husband and I) to walk to the buffet and front desk. The gym was at the complete opposite end of the resort by building 5. My husband went to work out and felt faint after 20 minutes. The walk was exhausting and the gym was out doors. No way for him to cool off between stations at the gym. An air conditioned gym would have been healthier. Go cart service around the resort would be a good idea too, kind of like the tram cars on the (New) Jersey boardwalk by the sea shore.

Our bags did not arrive in our room until two hours after we arrived. We had to call twice. Also, we wanted to charge our cell phones and rechargeable batteries. The outlets are all recessed. Those battery chargers have a big plug. We did not get the adaptors we needed until the following evening after about 3 phone calls to the desk. One time, when I said I needed an adapter, they sent maintenance because they thought I said air conditioning!? Another tip I got from here was the card for the power in the room. I used a plastic library card in the slot by the door to keep the power on (AC and fridge) while we were out of the room. The fridge was barely below room temperature. We just used the ice from the ice machine.

Our cell phone rarely got reception bars and when we did get them, we still could not make a call. We had our phones set for international calls and still could not get or receive calls. We had to get a phone card to use with the room phone; otherwise, we were paying $6/minute. In order to get a phone card from the vending machine in the lobby, we needed $200 pesos. The two times I went to the desk to exchange dollars for pesos, the desk was out of pesos. I had to wait an hour each time. In the mean time, my husband grew impatient and dialed directly for the room to the states. Our phone bill was $86.00 for just a few minutes.

The beach was great. Someone mentioned rocks but I did not find them by building one. There was about a 6 inch drop to pebbles that soon turned into smooth sand. I never did walk out far enough to be totally submerged in water (unlike the murky waters of the Jersey shore.) I laid out on the comfy (so they seemed) beach chairs only on the third day. The following morning, the third day of sleeping on a very hard mattress, I had a back age. I had to take the following day off of work and went to see the chiropractor! I’m not sure if it was the mattress, my husbands back hurt too but not as much as me, or the beach lounges. They were very comfortable.

We took a cab, $14 US, to Playa de Carmen for some shopping. There was no way my husband was going to take a jaunt to the main road and wait even 5 minutes in the sun for a bus. The cab was there within 30 seconds. They must wait on the street for the call.

The satellite TV kept “hiccupping”. My husband said, “And this confirms why I don’t want satellite TV at home.” I’m not sure if this was a Mexico problem or a Satellite problem.

A 2 second power outage two days in a row caused us to have to reset the clock for the alarm. I did use the wake up call as a backup was untrusting of the timeliness at the front desk.

I saw no bugs! Only 3 flies by a trash can one day. I looked for bugs but did not see any others!

Someone suggested the croissants. I never saw one.

All in all, the experience was very safe, very clean, beautiful, great weather in January, and a wonderful beach. If it was offered to me again for free, I would do it again. If I have to pay, I would like to try something different, maybe Japan, Greece, or Egypt.

Questions? Email me at waastschool@comcast.net.

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Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Lee ~ Canada

January 2005

As promised just returned a few days ago and wanted to write a review to hopefully help future travellers. Should anyone have any additional questions or concerns please email me anytime at chevys10@telusplanet.net

We flew from Calgary with Air Canada and it was the first time there were no delays. We took off on time and arrived on time. The flight was very good and went with no sign of any turbulance even. Arrived in Cancun around 7:00 PM, Mexico time and took about an hour to get through customs and security. They went through all our luggage and then it was off to the bus. Be very cautious of people offering to take your bags – we ignored this and found our bus and it was off to the resort. However as it was dark there was not much to see.

Check in went very smoothly and our bags arrived at our room within ten minutes. As it was after ten by then we headed to the Captain Morgans disco for a bite to eat. They have a buffet here at night as well as dancing. We feasted on hot dogs, pizza and burritos then it was off to bed as a day of travel was tiring.

Our room was large with a not so great view of construction for new buildings but was okay just the same. Our safe took some learning but once we figured it out it worked fine for the week. The only complaint was the beds are very hard but we got through it okay. Also we did not have an adapter or coffee maker but I called the desk and they were both delivered within the hour. The fridge was kept stocked every day with beer, water and various snacks and pop. To ensure daily stock of the fridge we would leave a dollar in the fridge as well as little gifts on the pillows for the maid. We got some different animals made out of towels and our beds were turned down each evening. The last day we were there I gave the maid a full bag of various gifts and ten minutes later the front desk called and explained that for security reasons I had to sign a form or else the maid wouldnt be able to take the stuff out of the resort. I guess the staff gets checked before leaving each day to increase security. I thought this was excellent. We also had a baby lizard in our room which was quite cool as well. We were not afraid but pleasantly amuzed and it made for great videos.

The food was excellent with many choices at the buffet at all times. None of us got sick and there was always stuff to choose from. Never a complaint at all. We did venture to the steak house one night and it was also very good. One day we left for steak and lobster to a little cafe at Peurto Aventurous and it was also excellent.

The beach and both pools were also excellent and there were always plenty of chairs and hammocks to choose from. Although cool the pools were kept very clean and never seemed too busy at all. The only complaint was the massage people as we couldnt get in. If you want a massage please book at least three days in advance or you wont get in. Not a big deal but if you want one make sure you book ahead.

The service was good at all the bars and the staff was excellent, very helpful and informative. Overall this was a good resort however a little to big for us. We prefer the smaller type of resorts to the larger ones. Just a personnal preference and no complaints as it was an awesome place. Would we return – maybe – but a smaller one would suit us better.

As for trips we did not take any day trips only went out on our own which was an economical way and very enjoyable. Thats about it hoping to get to Jamaica next.

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Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Susan ~ Calgary

January 2005

My husband and I (in our early 50s) spent the week of Dec 3-10 at the Barcelo Maya Beach resort, in the Mayan Riviera. This was our first trip to Mexico. We chose the resort based on this web site’s reviews and had a wonderful time.

Room, Beach, Pools : We were assigned a room in building 5, at the end farthest from the beach and near the tennis courts. It was convenient to the buffet restaurants and very quiet. With the patio door open, we could hear the music from the theatre, but the shows ended by 11:00 PM and didn’t disturb our sleep. We found the bed mattress firm, but not hard – softer than a futon. Maid service was excellent, with special touches like the artistic towel arrangements.
The room’s distance from the beach and pool wasn’t a problem for us. We enjoyed the walks through the tropical landscaping. Due to the beach/pool setup we didn’t need to return to our room during the day. From our lounge chair (plenty available) in the palm tree shade, we moved from beach to pool to swim up bar to lunch restaurants and washrooms, all within easy reach. The pools were large, beautiful and clean. We loved the beach, but found it a bit tricky to enter and leave the water due to the shoreline drop to a few rocks. Also, seaweed accumulating at the shoreline wasn’t cleared a few of the days. Once in, the water was lovely and warm and the bottom sandy, although the sandy part doesn’t get deep. I participated in the noon water aerobics activity and had fun.

Food: We enjoyed the buffet meals. Lots of variety, good quality (for our taste) and good service for a buffet. Waiters often offered to bring me wine and coffee, even though it was available self-serve.
We also liked the restaurants’ open air atmosphere. For our 2 a la carte meals, we ate at the Mexican and steakhouse (Captain Morgan’s). The Mexican food was great, although the servings were so large that we were almost full after the appetizer. At Captain Morgan’s, my medium steak was more rare than I like – I should have ordered well-done. Otherwise, I liked the Captain Morgan’s food and it was nice to eat outside at night, but the Spanish restaurant might be fun to try for more exotic fare.

Entertainment: We went to six of the seven shows and were impressed by the singing, dancing and costumes. I liked seeing the same performers at each show, as I felt I got to know them by the end of the week. While you have to arrive early to get the best spots, whenever we showed up there was always a chair with a decent view.

Side Trips: Since we were enjoying the resort so much and the weather was perfect for the beach, we limited our side trips. We took the Collectivos twice and found them convenient and cheap. You just walk up the Barcelo entrance road and wait for one of the Collectivo vans at the stop. They run frequently and there was never a long wait. One took us to the Tulum ruins, which were wonderful to see. There is a (new?) staircase down to the nicer Tulum beach, but the staircase was closed that day, so we didn’t swim. Instead, we went to Tulum town. We started to walk there by the shoreline road, but it was much farther than we thought – several miles away – and we wound up grabbing a taxi. You could also get there by Collectivo along the main road. I’m glad we went to Tulum, which has the flavour of a Mexican small town, although there’s not a lot there aside from a main street with cafes and shops (It’s a good place to buy hammocks).
The Collectivo to Playa del Carmen takes you right into town. From the stop, it’s a short walk to Avienda 5 (pedestrian street) which is bustling with stores and cafes – worth experiencing. The Playa beach bustles, too, and is an interesting walk. To maximize our Barcelo beach time, we went to Playa late in the day (around 3 or 4 PM). This way, we could see the town before dark as well as neon-lit after dark. We returned by Collectivo, had a late dinner and night swim in the pool alone. Afterwards, we lay on the beach lounge chairs to watch the stars.

In short, we had a terrific holiday and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Barcelo Maya resort to anyone travelling to the area.

Thank you for offering this informative site.

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Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Debbie ~ Ontario, Canada

January 2005

Quick review of the Barcelo Maya Beach Resort, Mayan Coast, Dec. 18 – 25, 2004.

Positives first. *The resort was beatiful *Beach great for everyone, clean, warm, lovely snorkelling *Lovely facilities *Great Christmas decorations, beautiful lights on palm trees, etc. *Nice range of recreational activities available

*Clean rooms and well groomed gardens.

Negatives: *Food was average at best *Service at bars and in the buffet area was quite slow, line ups everywhere. Perhaps they did not realize this week was part of the Christmas holiday vacation schedule and were understaffed? *Felt like we were in a slightly upscale cafeteria (everything was self serve, even after meals coffee) *Could not get a mixed drink / cocktail at the buffet restaurant e.g. daquiri, margarita. *They had some type of house wine which came out of the tap with a foam on the top *Only 2 out of 21 meals were "coupons" alacarte meals. These could be used at the Mexican, Spanish, or steak house restaurants. These meals were good. However, these were the only two times we were ever offerred a drink, a coffee, or anything else for that matter. *Buffet food choices for picky kids quite poor compared to other resorts we have been to *Entertainment at night (shows) began to sound the same after about 3 nights. Same performers in the show were having their songs played in the restaurant at night (no break from it!) *Things that were not functioning in the room e.g. fridge and t.v. games /movie system were reported 2 times, "service" person said they weren’t functioning (yes we knew that) and could not fix them *It was difficult to know how to access / participate in the daily activities unless you were within range of the megaphone used by recreational staff (beach is very large and you could not always sit close enough to "hear" what was happening. We did figure it out but it would have been helpful to have some information in the welcome package that explained this

*Beach chairs were in poor condition compared to some at the pool which had clearly been re-strung with new fabric. Poor beach chairs = sore backs!

We have stayed at a number of 3, 4, and 5 star resorts in a number of countries, including two others on the Mayan Riveria. We doubt we would return to the Barcelo and other couples we talked with said the same thing. (very similar concerns)

We would choose to return to the Bahia Principe Akumal (Mayan Riveria) in a heartbeat over this resort. Why? Everything is equally beautiful, clean, and well cared for. However, at the Bahia Principe (same dollars by the way if not a little cheaper), we were given service, and treated like we were guests on vacation. When a family of four spends in excess of six thousand dollars on a holiday, a LITTLE service goes at long, long way to make you feel welcomed and special. At the Barcelo Maya we just did not experience that.

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Barcelo Maya Beach Resort Canada

January 2005

Ola. We stayed at Barcelo Maya from Dec. 19-26th 2004. Between us we spanned the ages of 10-82 and all had a wonderful time. We can’t wait to go back. You will not find one negative thing about the resort in my writing.

Language
They offer Spanish classed on the beach – they are worth taking. People seemed to appreciate attempts, no matter how feeble, to communicate in Spanish.

Rooms
We had two rooms on the second floor of building 5 – there was an elevator, which was a great relief to the 82 year old in our group. We could certainly hear the disco at night but had brought earplugs so it was not a problem. There is a hair dryer and a universal plug if you need it. Our room had a coffee maker and a safe. The beds were harder than we are used to but it did not seem to matter – we all slept very well.

Buffet Fantastic food and wonderful staff. Christmas eve was spectacular – candle lit tables, massive ice sculptors, watermelon sculptors, champagne and an extraordinary assortment of food.

Spanish Restaurant

Great experience and again the food/service was outstanding.

Steak House

It was OK. I think we would try the Mexican next time.

Entertainment

No Cost First of all I must tell you the entertainment staff this resort employs are incredible. They made us feel so welcome. Between our group we participated in volleyball, basketball, chess, archery, air guns, kayaking, water bikes, snorkeling, water polo, dancing, Spanish classes, bingo, trivial pursuit and stretching classes. On Christmas Eve they had piñatas for the children and Santa appeared on the beach Christmas day with posh gifts (Barbie dolls, trucks etc.) for all the kids.

One word of warning – you have to listen to the announcements they make on the beach or check the board at the front desk to know about all the events.

Shows
Every single show was fantastic – I think the Mexican one was our favorite. You do need to show up early to get a good seat.

Disco
Too tired – never made it – heard it was great

Day Trips
Tulum We took a taxi to Tulum. The taxi cannot take you to the entrance, only to place where you take the tram – don’t even think of walking. The site was very interesting but once was enough. Glad we took our swimmers as there is a beautiful beach. Don’t forget to take drinking water from the hotel. In truth, it was way to hot to stick around for long – really glad we did not hire a tour guide – The taxi waited for us (no extra charge) so we were back at the resort in time for lunch.

Xel-ha

This is a must do for anyone who likes snorkeling. We actually bought our tickets at Tulum so we did not have to wait in line to pay. We opted not to go with a tour so we could decide our own arrival and departure time. I think doing Tulum and Xel-ha in one day would have been too much us. We had taken much of the gear we needed but rented a snorkel or two. They also give you life jackets to use – you just need to give them a deposit. The lockers are family size and hold heaps of stuff – you can also rent towels there – never a good idea to take towels from the resort off site – A tram will take you to the top of a very lazy river. You can load your gear in plastic bags and collect it at the other end. We wore the life jackets and flippers so we only had to collect our masks and snorkels without having to go back to the locker. They give you a plastic tube to ride down – there are doubles but you have to ask for them – I must say, the flippers helped us get down the river quite quickly but were still able to enjoy all the sights. The snorkeling was simply fantastic – we even saw a barracuda! Staff are floating around in tubes with cameras wanting to take your picture – the pictures are posted by the exit and you can buy them if you want.

Dolphin Discovery Puerta Advenuras Royal Swim

Swimming with the dolphin was a great experience but we cannot recommend this place. We had booked it from home and the email confirmation stated prices for photo’s and video that more than doubled by the time we got there (10 days later) They offer something similar events and for a lot less money at Xel-ha.

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