Stayed at Paradisus Riviera Cancun from February 9 to 16, 2010.
Your Arrival: We booked our trip with Itravel2000, through Transat Vacations. We chose this hotel because Transat had it on sale for a few days for a really good price, less than what you’d pay for a 4 star hotel. The flight was with Canjet, which turned out to be fine, pretty much ontime each way. We pre-booked exit row seats, so had lots of leg room. First time we’ve been to Mexico in many years. Landed at Cancun airport, got our luggage fairly quickly, and were directed to the bus to the hotel. Note that you should just walk out of the airport and find your tour rep, ignore the people inside who try to direct you to their counter, they just want to sell you tours and timeshares. The hotel is located about 20 minutes from the airport, so was a quick trip, and they only stopped at one other hotel first. We booked a regular junior suite, not Royal Service. We checked in and were informed we had a ground floor room. We had specifically put in a request for a room on the second or third floor, and after some searching they were able to find us a second floor room, which turned out to be in a much better location than the first room. After we checked in the girl who makes the dinner reservations called us over to make our dinner reservations. First she introduced us to a man at another desk and told us he would be our concierge and look after us during our stay. This, of course, made no sense as we did not have Royal Service. Turns out he was just promoting timeshares via discounts on tours and hotel services. We told him we had absolutely no interest in timeshares and he walked away and he never approached us again. We were not bugged by anyone else during the week re timeshare presentations. On to the reservations desk where we were able to make dinner reservations for Tuesday through Saturday. The only restaurant not available until Sunday was the Japanese Restaurant, and she told us to come back the next morning to make a reservation for that, which we did. Some of the times available were a little late, we prefer 7 or 7:30, a couple were for 8 p.m. No big deal.
Rooms: We were taken by Club Car to our room, which was in Building 7, second floor. Turns out our keys didn’t work, but the bellboy was able to get us in and later we went to the front desk and had them re-done. Rooms are very spacious, over 500 square feet. We had a garden view, actually quite beautiful, saw lots of birds. There is a regular bathroom, no Jacuzzi tub or anything (I think there is an outdoor Jacuzzi in some of the Royal Suites rooms). There is a hairdryer, makeup mirror, shampoo, bath gel, and lotion. Also a coffee maker and refrigerator which is stocked daily. Lots of bottled water available. The room also contains an iron and ironing board, and electronic safe. Bathrobes were also supposed to be there, but we didn’t have any. A couple days later we asked for some and received them in about 5 minutes, with a followup call 5 minutes after that to make sure we got them. Mattresses were quite firm, but we had no problem with that. Our room was very quiet, we didn’t hear any noise from adjoining rooms. I had brought my netbook and enquired at checkin about wireless internet in the rooms. I was told that it would only work in the Royal Suites rooms, but that wasn’t exactly true. When we got to our room I turned on the computer and did get a signal, so the next day we went back and signed up for 5 days of internet. It’s very, very expensive, $80 US for 5 days! (free if you have Royal Service). I think 7 days was $120 US. Our building was right next to a Royal Service building, so I guess that’s why we got a signal. We heard one guy complaining he had paid for the in-room internet only to find he couldn’t get a signal in his room, so best to check first, it will depend on where your room is located. Otherwise you can pay $10 US an hour in the lobby area if you have your own laptop, or go to the business centre.
Restaurants and Bars: Food and drink here was good. Breakfast is at the Caribbean Market Place buffet. (We were looked after by Ismael, we always sat in his section, the service was top notch. He would see us coming in the morning or at lunch and have our table and drinks ready for us.) For lunch we usually went to the buffet, twice we just grabbed hamburgers from the BBQ by the pool, and once we ate at the Reef Grill outside, where you order from a menu. All very good. There are 5 restaurants you can make reservations for, we ate at each one once for dinner, and twice at the buffet. The buffet wasn’t that great at dinnertime, much better at breakfast and lunch. L’Hermitage is the French Restaurant, Sumire is the Japanese restaurant, Capri is the Mediterranean restaurant, Tequila is the Mexican restaurant, and Reef Grill is the steak/seafood restaurant. They were all good. I liked the Mexican and Reef Grill the best, except the Reef Grill is outdoors and we nearly froze it was so cold that night. The others are indoors. Lots of bars throughout the resort, and they had servers taking orders at the beach and pool.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: We did not have the best weather while we were there. There was a cold front going through, and lots of cloudy days with some rain. When the sun was out it was great, but highs were usually less than 23 celsius, so when it clouded over it was a little cool on the beach. We found both the pools and ocean to be very cold, so other than walk into the ocean up to my knees, I didn’t even go in the water. We did get a good suntan though. Some nights were quite chilly. We turned off the air conditioning in our room after the first night. This weather is not the norm for this area though. Usually February is the driest month of the year. Beach is very nice, soft powdery sand – not as nice as Punta Cana in the DR, but still very nice. There is a little bit of seaweed that washes up, but it is cleaned up daily. It is a good beach for walking, which we did quite a bit of. You can walk to Puerto Morelos along the beach, we never went quite that far, we were told it’s a 30 minute walk, but I think it’s further than that. The grounds of this hotel are gorgeous. Very mature vegetation, perfectly manicured. We found we had to save a chair on the beach or by the pool by around 8 a.m. to get a good spot. No problem for us as we get up early. There are beach beds by the main pool, but these were all reserved for families there with Family Concierge. There is a separate pool area for Royal Service, lots of beach beds there. Looked pretty empty through the week though. The Royal Service pool is adults only. There is also a section on the beach reserved for Royal Service only. This is a family-friendly resort, and there were tons of kids there, although we never felt bothered by that.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: They had activities and entertainment during the day, we caught part of the Michael Jackson show one night, it was pretty good. Shows start at 8:30 and then at 9:30 they have live music in the lobby area. They also have vendors in the lobby area during the evening. Be prepared to bargain. I was interested in a picture and his price started out at $225 US, which he said was a bargain, they sold elsewhere for $450 US. I ended up getting it for $70 US (which was probably still a lot more than it was worth). It was fun playing the game though. Went to the spa once for a massage on a rainy afternoon. Found it very pricey at $110 US for a 50 minute massage.
Other Comments: Overall this was a great resort, and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. Can’t think of one thing to complain about, except maybe the weather. The staff is absolutely excellent at this hotel, they’ll do anything for you. If you have any questions, you can e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org