Old Reviews – Valentin Imperial Maya

  Valentin Imperial Maya   Leonardito ~ Canada

October 2009

Leonardito’s Photos Valentin Imperial Maya

The premises are impeccably clean and well maintained, the gardens and ponds are beautiful. The room are spacious, with marble floors and a confortable bed.

The hotel owns a long stretch of sandy beach and extremely clean water.

There is a fantastic luxury buffet called Le Marche. and the  a la carte  7 restaurants are available without any reservations.  The staff is very helpful and attentive to your need.

The negative:  Not enough palapas at the beach, lots of mosquitoes, and lots of walking to get around. Lastly, in the most elegant  Alsace French a la carte restaurant, "Alsace"  and in others, we saw lots of  men wearing shorts, flip flops, and even baseball caps. No dress code whatsoever.
It really lowers the rating of Valentin to 4 stars resort.

Rooms:
5*

Restaurants and Bars:
5*

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
4*

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
5*

leonardito@leonardito.com

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  Valentin Imperial Maya   Casey ~ Connecticut

May 2009

Arrival: End of April 2009
We were greeted by a van operator from Gogo Tours. The ride from the airport should have been short, but we had so many people to drop off and so many stops to make that it took a very long time. Once we arrived at the hotel itself… everything was quick. We were greeted by someone who helped expedite check in was extremely friendly and even took us for a quick "tour" of the property. Check in was fast and easy… problem-free.

Rooms:
Our room was absolutely beautiful and spotless. The bathroom was wonderful as well. The entire time that we stayed at the hotel, the room was kept immaculate. We were extremely pleased!

Restaurants and Bars:
The restaurants were fantastic! We have done a great deal of traveling and have eaten at many wonderful restaurants in the past, but I have to say that the Indonesian, the Mexican and the Seafood restaurants were top notch. Everything was fresh, the spices were exquisite and the flavor… out of this world!

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach was beautiful and the water was wonderful, but the red flags, which prohibited swimming, were up a lot while we were there. The current was extremely strong and the waves were very high and rapid. Also, there was a lot of coral in the water… bring water shoes. It was VERY windy most of the time and I would not recommend having the "romantic dinner by torch light" on the beach near the ocean. It sounds wonderfully romantic, but it is too windy and you will definitely end up with sand in your food. It is not included in the cost and is additional. The pool was beautiful (needed some repair work… many tiles missing, etc…) and the water temperature was just perfect. There was one side which was extremely loud with activity coordinators constantly on a microphone trying to get people to participate in various activities. It was a bit too loud. Then there was another side that was a bit quieter and you could relax, swim, read a book, etc… The grounds were kept impeccably. They were constantly cleaning, polishing, scrubbing, etc…

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We went on an ATV ride through the jungle, swam with the dolphins, swam in the cenotes, etc… The ATV ride was great, but be careful when arranging the pricing. Everyone tries to "take you for a ride!" We paid double what 6 other people paid for the same ATV trip. They negotiated downtown and we booked ours through the hotel. When I went back to speak to the Gogo Tour Rep. he did not do anything for us and was not an honest businessman. The "swim with the dolphin" tour was solely about making more money off you by taking photos of you and the dolphin as well as a dvd and trying to sell them to you after for $20 per photo and approx. $45 per dvd. You couldn’t even enjoy the experience… they just kept telling you to look at the camera, smile at the camera, etc… If possible, book your tours and activities on your own and not through the salesmen in the hotel lobbies. They are dishonest and they don’t stand behind their word!

Other Comments: The hotel was fantastic… the restaurants were wonderful… the staff was top notch! Just be careful of the people who try to organize trips/excursions for you… They are dishonest and just want to make as much money off of you as possible. They are not worried about your experience at all. No matter how long they tell you it will take from start to finish… it is almost always double the time! They just want to make the sale. Then you are stuck in a van for more than double the time they tell you… Try to find an alternative way to plan it, you will be much better off! Only suggestion for the hotel itself, some minor pool repairs.

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  Valentin Imperial Maya   Carrie ~ Detroit, Michigan

May 2009

Arrival: May 2 – 9th Because of the swine flu scare, rental cars were very cheap for the week we visited. We cancelled our airport transfer and drove to the hotel ourself. We were immediately greeted by someone to park our car for us, our luggage was whisked away, and we were handed glasses of champagne and cool towels. We did request a complimentary upgrade when we arrived, and received it. I suspect this was due to a combination of it being our 10th anniversary, that we emailed the concierge several times in advance, and also that the resort was slow this week. It was much appreciated.

Rooms:
We stayed in Building 7, 2nd floor, in a Golden Suite. The room was gorgeous. They scattered our king sized bed with rose petals and towel art of necking swans. There is a separate living area that is quite nice. The bathroom is incredible, with a double sink, 2 person spa tub, and separate toilet/bidet and shower area. The only problem was that we didn’t have a clock, the minibar was empty, and only 3 hangers were in the closet. One call to the front desk, and everything was remedied in under 15 minutes. The rooms were thoroughly cleaned every day, and there is turndown service at night. We never had a problem with our room being cleaned late. We returned about 3 every day, and they were always finished. The turndown service is nice, but sometimes annoying, as they come at 6-7, when we were either napping or getting ready for dinner. So we just used our "do not disturb" sign.

Restaurants and Bars:
I think food is a very subjective thing, but with that said, here is my opinion. The breakfast buffet at Le Marche was outstanding. My favorite meal of the day. Fresh, plentiful, and a beautiful setting. We skipped lunch a lot, as we were out doing activities. But the 2 days we did eat, we ate at the pool area restaurant. Guacamole was my favorite. The rest was just OK. They did grill seafood on demand, which I heard was quite nice. But I’m not a seafood eater, so I didn’t try it. You certainly won’t go hungry, that’s for sure. And I suspect the main lunch buffet was much nicer (at Le Marche), but we always wanted to stay close to the pool. Dinner was generally quite good for an All Inclusive.

GINGER (Japanese): I was not very impressed with the tableside dining, but loved the teppanyaki. Better than Benihani or anything at home. My husband said the sushi was excellent.

L’ALSACE (French): Our first night there was absolutely incredible. I had the quiche lorraine, asparagus soup, and chateaubriand. We were so excited, that we returned the next night. I had the soup again (it was that good) and the duck. I didn’t care for the duck. My husband enjoyed the scallops and the steak tartare appetizer.

LA HACIENDA (Mexican): Neither of this cared for this restaurant at all.

IL OLIVIO (Italian): Good, not great. Certainly plenty of options to choose from. I had chicken marsala, and my husband had the lasagna.

STEAK PLACE (forget name) AND THE LOBSTER POT: These are right next to each other in the same restaurant. Thankfully, they let me order from the steak menu and my husband from the lobster menu, as I don’t eat seafood. I am a bit of a steak snob, and only like high quality steaks, such as Morton’s, Ruth Chris, local equivalents, etc. So I was not impressed with the steak place. Good, but not great. The appetizers and desserts were super though. (But the chateaubriand at the French place was terrific. Not sure why they didn’t offer such a nice cut at the Steak restaurant.) My husband said his lobster was just OK.

The room service was very good before 11:00 p.m., when the menu changes to "late night." Nothing we tried "late night" was very good. Good thing we were a little tipsy anyway 😉 The service and drinks at the bars were really outstanding, all around. If you meet Alex at the main pool bar, you’ll love him! And overall, please tip if you can. They work SO very hard, for such little money. They don’t expect it, but they sure do appreciate it.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The grounds were incredible. I’ve read reviews here and on other sites that say the pathways were dark and the walking is too much. I didn’t think so at all. The pool was incredible. We also had the separate pool area, near the golden suites, which was quiet and very relaxing. My only complaint about the main pool was that the music was too loud. The beach was pretty, and the palapas are quite nice. But I can’t say I was very pleased with the beach overall. There is a dropoff in the sand that makes it hard to walk along the water, and the rocks were plentiful. You can swim in a small area, but it’s still very rough. Red flags banning swimming were up every single day of our weeklong trip. This is not a beach lovers resort, in my opinion.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Since we had a rental car, we were in control of our own tours and activities, which is how we like it. We spent a day driving around to Puerto Moreles, Akumal, and Tulum. We liked Akumal the most, and the strip of eco hotels along the beach in Tulum. In Tulum (not at the ruins) stop for a drink at Ana y Joses, and relax on a big raised bed on the beach! Very memorable. The Tulum ruins were nice also. But HOT if you go in the afternoon.

We sat through a time share at the Grand Mayan (kicking ourselves for wasting 3 hours of our vacation) to score 2 tickets to Xel Ha for $20. Xel Ha was nice, but I was disappointed in the snorkeling. The lunch buffet was OUTSTANDING, however. And there was a section of hammocks where we napped for 2 hours with birds chirping (more like squawking) and a cool breeze. I will NEVER forget that experience. Literally, the highlight of our trip.

We also shopped in Playa Del Carmen, which was nice. It was so slow the week we arrived, we did feel accosted by the shop owners, but that is understandable. We found a nice bar called Bang on the beach, where you can sit on a swing at the bar and enjoy a nice beer which watching the passerbys on the beach. Great service there too. I cut my foot earlier, and they came to the rescue with a bandaid, saving me from buying some at the pharmacy. On our last day, we shopped in Cancun before heading to the airport, and I’m glad we didn’t waste any time in Cancun during the week. I didn’t think much of it.

Other Comments:
Overall, I was very impressed with the Valentin. I know that this particular week was probably not completely representative, but I suspect this resort is terrific even at capacity. I wouldn’t give it 5 stars. But certainly a solid 4.5.

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  Valentin Imperial Maya   Paul ~ Canada

April 2009

Arrival
It is the first stop in Riviera Maya region after Cancun so we were the first people to get off the bus.

Rooms
Excellent quality rooms to say the least.

Restaurants and Bars
The restaurants and food are of the out most quality in this resort

Beach/Pools/Grounds
Both me and my wife got some kind of skin rash after swimming in the pool and visiting the swim up bar, so we stayed at the beach the rest of our stay. The beach is top class but it was windy the entire week we were there and red flags were flown all week long.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We went on the Tulum Xel-Ha tour. Tulum was my highlight of the trip as I really wanted to see Mayan ruins. Xel-Ha was beautiful but very crowded.

Other Comments We were very impressed by the resort and our stay was amazing. We did however, find a scorpion in our room (we stayed at building # 5) it was a small scorpion and potentially very dangerous so be careful. A stay at a 4.5 or 5 star resort does not mean u will avoid dangerous tropical wildlife.

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  Valentin Imperial Maya   Ben ~ Toronto

April 2009

Arrival: Feb 14 – 21
We got there late at night. Champagne at reception was good but we did wait at least 30 minutes to check in.

Rooms
Great – huge room, whirlpool tub, good furnishings, nice shower, comfortable bed. We had an upgrade to a gold room in a separate section with a lovely quiet pool area, which we really enjoyed.

Restaurants and Bars
Excellent. We ate at the Thai, French, Italian, Seafood, Japanese (twice). Food and service excellent everywhere. We liked the idea of no evening buffet, just a la carte. Restaurants are quite full after 7 or so, but the system of giving you a buzzer and going for drinks until they have room and buzz you worked very well (there is a bar nearby no matter where you are!) Waits were never as long as they told us they would be.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beach is not fabulous, but is fine. Always chairs available (unlike at the main pool). There is usually high surf on that coast so hard to swim but lots of fun splashing in the big waves. We spent no time at the main pool – too busy and too much loud music – but the pool in the ‘gold’ area was great and quite, and the beach was also good. The grounds are lovely and will only get nicer with time.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Snorkelling half day in Puerto Morelos was good, though perhaps a bit rushed. We rented a car and drove to Ek Balam – near Chichen Itza but much less busy and quite impressive. Visitors should see at least one of the two places; the Mayan sites are amazing and worth the drive (2.5 hours each way to Ek Balam on a very good highway, so it’s easy to rent and drive yourself.)

Other Comments Service generally very good. We liked the resort a lot (our 3rd time on the M Riviera). Also good to be close to the airport.

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  Valentin Imperial Maya   Cynthia ~ Ottawa, Canada

April 2009

Arrival: March 28 to April 4
After being greeted by the wonderful Oscar, our luggage porter, with a glass of champagne, we waited approximately 30 minutes in line to check in. Once checked in, were were given a room already occupied by someone with the last name. Then were were given the worst room in the resort. Third time lucky with a lovely room. While we know that rooms aren’t normally ready until 3p.m, this arduous trial took up most of our afternoon and was very upsetting. (We were also promised champagne for our anniversary but never received it. The people with the same last name enjoyed it instead.)

Rooms
Our third room was in Building 8, and it was lovely. It overlooked the beautiful winding swim-up pool. It was well-appointed and spotless. It was a good distance from the main restaurants but the walk was enjoyable.

Restaurants and Bars
Service in all the restaurants and bars was excellent. If only we could have half the quality in Canada…. We enjoyed the French restaurant the most but most people enjoyed every restaurant. The Mexican and the steakhouse were more casual. The surprising part was that many men didn’t believe that the dress code would be enforced. Well, it is, thankfully. So be prepared to wear long pants, decent shirts, and shoes, in the evening. No-one is welcome at breakfast or lunch without a proper cover-up either. It’s not MacDonalds, it’s an elegant resort (and MCD’s requires shirts and shoes also!)

Beach/Pools/Grounds The pools and grounds were beautiful and the lobby was stunning! Everything was shiny and well maintained, with fantastic service again!

The beach, however, was a big disappointment. Most of it is rocky and impossible to swim in, even in calm weather. The Beach Activities Building has been abandoned and I never managed to get any complementary snorkelling. That was a upsetting as I adore snorkelling. We had amazing snorkelling trips from the beach at no cost at the Paradisus Riviera Cancun last year.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel We took the full-day snorkelling trip to a lagoon, an open cenote and finally an underground cenote (cavern/cave) through Aquatic Adventures, as recommended by the Nolitours guide, Isabelle. The best part was the underground cenote, aka a sinkhole connected to the underground rivers throughout the Maya peninsula. It was AMAZING! For the cenote we went to, you need to be a confident snorkeller because it was very dark, only lit by flashlights, our leaders taking us through a series of fascinating small caves, with some tight spaces, but it was fantastic! Crystal clear fresh water, stalactites and stalagmites of all shapes. I would highly recommend the underground excursion.

We also taxied to Playa del Carmen and spent a nice morning shopping 5th Avenue. For people who don’t like to barter, there are a few stores with fixed prices.

My husband golfed at the executive course located at the resort next door and enjoyed it also.

Other Comments The resort is lovely, with excellent service and yummy food. The beach was a major disappointment as we usually spend all of our time there. Our transfer from the airport to the resort was horrible – a long wait for an old van (NO A/C) and I had a broken seatbelt. Not fun when you’re barreling down the highway at 125 kmh.

Our flights with Westjet were fine but the flight hours were horrible, arriving back at 3:15 a.m.

I have travelled to many islands and always enjoy Mexico. In the tourist areas, all of the people I encountered were friendly, polite and helpful.

Finally, I have had great difficulty in getting Expedia.ca and Nolitours to respond to some of my concerns, especially the transfer from the airport to the resort without proper seatbelts. It is impossible to reach anyone by phone at Nolitours and while Expedia listened to my complaints, they will do nothing about them. It is unlikely that I will ever book on-line again because of this after-service. I will also look for a price-garantee because our trip dropped MORE THAN $1,700(Cdn) for the two of us between booking and paying for our vacation last September and February prices.

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  Valentin Imperial Maya   Darren ~ Oshawa, ON

February 2009

Arrival: Feb. 7 – Feb. 14
10/10 Best ever. They do it right.

Rooms
10/10 Golden room in swim-up section. Very nice. Lots of hot water and pressure.

Restaurants and Bars
10/10 Too good. Seafood aplenty and very tasty. No reservations for al-a-cartes is a very nice touch. Never waited for a table. Top notch food and beverages. Something for everyone.

Beach/Pools/Grounds Beach: 10/10 Coolers of bottled water & Coors Light on the beach and bars everywhere. Pool: 9/10 need more loungers and floating mats. Chairs in pool is a nice touch. Towel card policy implemented last day there. It was nice not to have to keep track of 1 towel.

Grounds 8/10 The architecture is a 10 but landscaping is still immature and lacking (fancier palms and banana trees would be nice).

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
10/10 Lots of activities. Isles Majoris catamaran was okay … never really sailed though. Island was overcrowded. Passion Catamarans were amazingly well organized.

Other Comments Been to many, many all-inclusives. This place is a steal at the current rates (at least from Toronto). We’d give it a 10/10 and that’s taking into account my wife chewed on a 1 inch sliver of glass in her ice cream. The resort was immaculate & I’m certain is was a fluke. Staff are incredible … so do tip.

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  Valentin Imperial Maya   Julia ~ Canada

February 2009

Arrival: Feb 7 – 14
We were greeted with 2 champagne glasses. Loved that the hotel was only 25 minutes away from the airport.

Rooms
HUGE – 520 feet. King bed, balcony, tv, LARGE bathroom with separate tub/shower/toilet, sofa in room. Clean, modern look. Great ipod dock with radio/alarm.

Restaurants and Bars
Breakfast and lunch buffets were great. Lots of choice, everything is freshly cooked. Steak/fish/seafood plus you can choose all the other already made food that they have.

Dinners – got to go to 7 different restaurants each night. What a great experience to have french one night, italian/mexican/asian… another. Also had fun theme nights.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
HUGE pool in the center of the complex. ALso had a smaller pool with volleyball net and another pool for residents that were part of another section of the resort. Very clean. They have lots of chairs but be sure to get up early to get one! Towel service was great. Staff comes by with drinks. Please tip them, they work hard!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
THey had activities like spanish lessons, volleyball, water aerobics. Gym onsite is good.

Other Comments Overall, I had an AMAZING time. I would VERY HIGHLY recommend it.

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  Valentin Imperial Maya   Nicholas ~ New York

February 2009

Arrival: Feb 5th through Feb 10th
We arrived late afternoon (4 hours late), no fault of the hotel’s, and were greeted with Champagne. Our luggage was taken from us and we were driven to our rooms (we traveled with friends). Our driver gave us a quick "tour" of the grounds on the way to our rooms.

Rooms:
We were given a room in building #2, which we were told was "opened" only one month. Beautiful room on the 2nd floor with balconey. Nice flat panel TV, and i-pod clock/radio that did not work. I made several telephone calls to the front desk, and at one point told "sorry we have no other radios to replace with". Since I had my i-pod I was not going to accept that as so. I noticed a maintenance person on my floor and asked him if he could possibly swap mine out with a vacant room. Hours later when we returned it was replaced. The bathoom was very spacious, all marble. Being a newly "turned over" building, I could see there are many "kinks" still to be worked out. I had some difficulty with getting hot water to the shower, but realized that it was plumbed in reverse. The whirlpool tub (we did not use) was up against a curtained wall that opened to our bedroom-nice romantic touch, but quite honestly, I prefer some privacy when I’m sitting down. The house-cleaning staff, as pleasant as they seemed, have no experience in my opinion; we had wash cloths upon arrival, but could never get any after the first day. We also has nice bath-robes that we used, but they were removed for no apparent reason, also no tissue box, which can be annoying when you need one. This time when I called the front desk, I received a box of tissues and two new robes (no wash cloths).

Again, Since we were up late a few evenings, we slept in late with the do not disturb sign on the door ’till probably noon. But since they were on our floor earlier, they would "forget" to come back. I had to call twice when we returned at 4:00pm to find our room the way we left it. I think the cleaning staff just doesn’t know what each room should have; perhaps it is a management issue.

Restaurants and Bars:
On our arrival, we quickly showered and went down to "eat at the first place we pass". There was a buffet set up in the plaza area (which I did not realize was the Plaza ’till the next day). Food was o.k., I wish they had more of a fish selection. We did enjoy the Japanese restaurant very much. The food was very good and the wait staff exceptional. We ate at "La Hacienda" as well, with once again excellent wait staff. Our other dinner choice was the lobster-pot ("Mar-Tierra")-very good food with great waiters. We had lunch several times at "Le Marche", which we always enjoyed-plenty of food, plenty of choices.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Beautiful pool (we only used the main pool). The problem with the pool is the guests. Every morning I was up early and in the gym by 7:30am. I witnessed guests dropping off towels, and other "belongings" onto the chaises and then the kept walking (probably going to breakfast). I would go to breakfast, then back to my room to shower. Whenever I returned to the pool-probably around 11:00-forget it. There would be all these chaises with towels, books, etc and nobody sitting there. I think the hotel needs to address this in some way. I had the same problem at the beach. Following my "non chaise availability" at the pool, I arrived at the beach at 10:00am. There were several chaises under beautiful straw umbrellas with towels but no one sitting there. So, I picked out an umbrella, pulled two other empty chaises with them and proceeded to read my book. At 10:20 a couple walks up to me and tells me "these are our towels". Not to be confrontational, I proceeded to get up and moved my things over one umbrella and pulled the 2 other chaises with me. At 11:00, another couple walks up to me and says the same thing. Well, I didn’t move this time so they pulled the two chaises back further-I think there should be some "policing" by the beach/pools staff and kindly inform guests that there are no reserved seats. One more thing, unfortunate and something that I and many others will never forget; there was a drowning right in front of us at the beach. The most disturbing thing about this is that the gentleman who was rescued stumbled out of the water and then collapsed, perhaps cardiac arrest. They have NO Emergency Plan here. The life guard performed CPR followed by a doctor/guest. We kept asking the staff, who were running back and forth with their walkie-talkies, about an ambulance or professional medical help. It never arrived. I will deal this in the comments below.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
No activities, no tours-just some much needed R & R.

Other Comments:
First, I would like to mention that all the help we encountered; waiters, bartenders, waitresses-they were very attentive. Always with a smile and quick to service you; and it felt genuine, not something they were told to do, but didn’t want to.

Sadly, as I mentioned above, we witnessed a drowning, which I believe could have been handled better. The red flags were up, and the surf and under-toe very heavy. I attempted to go in ( I am a good swimmer), took only to a quick dive went knee deep and struggled to gain my balance because of the under-toe (I immediately got out of the water). When the life guard pulled the gentleman out of the water, he stumbled, on his own accord and collapsed. CPR was administered, and from what I understand, there was a pulse. Several men in kaki pants and shoes ran over with walkie-talkies followed by a doctor/guest. After 5 or 10 minutes we started asking about an ambulance and professional medical help. "It’s on the way" we were told. 20 minutes passed with again several men running back and forth with their radios, but no professional help. At this point cpr was never stopped and we were told that there is a slight pulse. After about 30 minutes or so, a young, heavy set, fully clothed person wearing a red-cross on her shirt, barely able to walk on the sand with her boots, passed us with what appeared to be a bag containing a defibrillator. After just two or three minutes of leaning over the subject, she stood up and walked away. Several of us at this point confronted her and asked her where she was going. She replied in broken English "flat line" I can not do nothing". We were all in disbelief and pressured her to do something and she responded again "I can not do nothing. I have 3 children. I do not go to jail". She repeated this several times. We then asked when the ambulance was arriving and she replied it’s in the parking lot. "Why is it there", get it here- sorry, it can not go on the sand she said. We offered to pick him up, place him on the surf-board kind of thing someone brought over but again she said that it’s against the law to move him and she left! Meantime, 45 minutes have passed and still no authorities and still the guest/doctor and others are taking turns with cpr. Finally, someone walks over to us andsays "no pulse" and that’s it. We’re all standing there in disbelief and we waited, and waited and the body is just laying there with this guys wife in a state of shock, and then the tide starts to come up and still they don’t want to move him. So after an hour someone comes with a white sheet and covers him and the tide is just a few feet from him and those around him. We left in disgust after one and a half hours-and still the police never arrived! This whole incident has made me aware of how unprepared some of these resorts must be. They do not know how to handle an emergency. There is no four wheel drive vehicle, no atv, nothing to help anyone at the beach? What would happen if someone just happened to get heat stroke laying out in the sun? No way to get them help? Sorry, but it doesn’t say much for the local authorities, or the Mexican government.

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  Valentin Imperial Maya   Wayne

November 2008

Just got back from 1 week at the Valentine Imperial Hotel.

Convenient location 25 minutes from the airport.

Beautiful grounds and so large you seldom see others walking around.

The pool area is immense and service both at the pool and beach is incredible. I’ve gone to Mexico and All Inclusive about a dozen times and the staff here are the most friendly and efficient as I’ve ever seen!

The restaurants are good however a couple of points worth noting – at the Japanese if you want sushi you have to sit at the sushi bar you can only get hot food at the tables and vice versa.

The portions at the French are very small however good. The biggest difference for me between this hotel and others I have stayed at (Royal Playa Del Carmen and a couple of others) is the buffet is very under average poor selection no seafood and very little to choose from at cooking station. The food looks very unappetizing even if it was a 3 star hotel!

The Seafood is Ok as is the Steak however nothing to write home about. The rooms are nice and the housekeeping staff great as again all staff. Check in people were great and everyone helpful.

The bars are very good and usually at least at this time not crowed …great cappuccinos. The lobby bar very pretty and 1 night they had disco outside in the fountain area very cool!

Again the grounds and staff fantastic. The beach is beautiful and always lots of chairs and great not having to give room numbers fro towels you get treated as adults! The beach is not like a lot of others in the area very wavy and not good for swimming or snorkelling. The beach in Puerto Morelos is better. The barrier reef seems to be way out and not close to the beach hence rough water however if you are a pool person no problem.

If food is right up on your priority list go to The Royal In Playa Del Carmen. The buffet/ cooking stations are unbelievable with an amazing array of seafood and the location 1 block from Playa Del Carmen.

We did very much enjoy our stay because of the people/service.

PS They really need more lighting on the pathways at night.

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  Valentin Imperial Maya   Marv ~ USA

June 2008

I am a travel agency owner/manager who had the great pleasure of staying at the new all-inclusive, adults-only Valentin Imperial Maya from June 7-11, 2008. The resort is just 25 minutes from the Cancun International Airport (CUN) or to the revitalized town of Cancun, and just a half-day trip to the world famous Mayan cultural and archaeological sites such as Tulúm, Cobá, and Chichen Itza. It offers an American standard of 5-star luxury and comfort with a Mexican touch in the ambiance and service and is an excellent place for relaxation in a great location.

The public areas are immaculate and there is an abundance of lovely, well-manicured gardens. The dining, activity, and public venues are somewhat spread out but are accessible for the physically challenged. A golf cart shuttle service is available from the bellman station with a five to ten minute wait.

ROOMS
There are three categories of 396 spacious junior suites (Deluxe Junior Suites, Golden Junior Suites and Oceanfront Junior Suites) as well as 12 One-bedroom Suites with an enchanting view of the Caribbean accommodations – located in two- and three story villas. You will enjoy their amenities including a private concierge, 24-hour unlimited drinks and snacks, Satellite television with premium and adult channels, a pillow menu, and free high-speed Internet access. Your needs and comforts have been accounted for – bathrobes in an enormous bathroom with a Jacuzzi and oversized European shower, mini-bar, I-Pod dock, turndown and 24-hour room service, even a laptop-sized in-room safe.

DINING and DRINKING
Valentin’s main buffet-style restaurant has an al fresco area as well as an air-conditioned section. There is a beach restaurant plus seven of the finest ala carte specialty restaurants I have ever seen: Italian, French, Japanese, Mexican, seafood, steak house, and lobster house. No reservations are required and you will dine in a modern and trendy atmosphere.

My dining experiences were truly amazing – the variety and quality of items was served in the finest style by friendly, well-trained staff. I must mention that brewed decaffeinated coffee is served everywhere including the coffee house (for those of you who, like me, can’t stand the instant stuff usually offered in Jamaica or the DR).

There are two swim-up bars at the main pool, a lobby bar, hall bar, sports bar, disco bar, theater bar, and a cigar bar serving local beer, blended drinks and premium brand spirits with friendly bar staff. Every room has a refrigerated mini-bar restocked daily with cans of soda and beer. Unlimited bottled water is available throughout the resort. In the Caribbean and Mexico I try to drink as much bottled water as a coffee and alcohol – one for one. Hydrating is a big deal and the resort makes it possible.

ACTIVITIES
Valentin offers a wide spectrum of wellness programs and a number of water sports and other activities both on and off-site. The hotel features six swimming pools including: a free-form swim-up pool with three integrated private pools, main pool, activity pool and an oversized climate-controlled Jacuzzi.

Of course there is a full service spa with separate areas for men and women, with steam bath and sauna, beauty salon and spa boutique and a fitness center with separate spinning and aerobics room. There is a theater with nightly low-key shows and live music is everywhere all day long.

For those active travelers who want soft adventure, I highly recommend any/all four of the activities at the Loma Bonita Ranch, Marina & Beach Club located just a few minutes away from the Valentin. You will be guided on horseback, Segway, waverunners or ATV by thoughtful, competent staff and be outfitted with quality, up-to-date safety equipment. Prices are quite reasonable and the operation, in my opinion, is the best of its kind in the all of the Caribbean or Mexico.

AS GOOD AS IT GETS
The Valentin Maya does not have a recognizable brand name but it raises the bar for adults seeking to unwind in a new luxury resort. Because it opened this past winter, the “Vacancy” sign may be lit up for a while and may be priced very reasonably until it catches on. Every attempt at the resort and Loma Bonita is made to satisfy guests’ needs. The management staffs at both places are excellent. I recommend both highly to you.

Marv Weber, owner/manager Marvelous Travel, Inc.

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  Valentin Imperial Maya   B and C ~ Lethbridge, AB

March 2008

Just returned from a week at the Valentin. This was our first all inclusive and it will be hard to beat. We spoke to many people at the resort who have gone to many other resorts and claimed that this one is at the top of the list. We flew with Skyservice through Conquest Vacations and everything was right on schedule from start to finish.

We arrived late in the afternoon and were greeted with towels and a glass of champaign. After a speedy check in, we were whisked off to our room in Tower #3 which was close to the main bldg and restaurants. It was not a long walk to the pool or the beach either. We were on the ground floor and had lots of privacy on our large deck. We had a deluxe Jr. Suite which was gorgeous and plenty of room. The bathroom was incredible and the king bed very comfortable. The room was always a comfortable temp. The air shuts off while you are not in the room or if the patio door is open. This was never a problem as the room cools down quickly.

We tried all of the restauants and loved them all. The service was always top notch and very friendly. Food was delicious and fast. We liked not having to make reservations and never waited long to be seated. Tipping was not expected although we usually left a few dollars at the a la carte restaurants.

The beach was a little rocky right in front of the main walkway but to the left was much better. Always plenty of loungers for everyone. Like people have mentioned in other reviews, I think it is rather an odd practice to claim a chair for the day when you are not going to occupy it the entire time. I could not stand the stress of being up at the crack of dawn to ‘save’ a spot at the beach or pool. Just my opinion of course. Both the beach and the pool area are beautiful and very relaxing.

Overall, we had a great vacation and would go back to the Valentin in a minute!

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  Valentin Imperial Maya   Denise & Donald ~ Clarence Creek, Ontario, Canada

March 2008

Me and my hubby were at the Valentine Imperial from February 17th to February 24th, 2008 here are my review:

Pool : Very very very big pool and very clean, mattress in the pool !!!!! bonus.

Room: Very clean, nice big room, lots of space to move around.

Food: Unbelievable food, never got tired of it….like other place buffet style….always the same things.

Beach: Nice beach little rocks but nothing to go crazy on that…..water was very nice, clean you can see the bottom, found some nice coral in the water.

Weather: Always 32 – 38 degrees, with a nice hot wind.

Location: Nice place to relax nothing around, one resort on the left and some condos on the right but little far away. Ground: Very nice land, big and very vast. We went to Playa Del Carman on day around 5:00 o’clock but very busy too busy for me we were there to relax, but we did a little bit of shopping, did the Coba day trip, when swimming in a senate and visit a Maya Village. We would be back in a flash, this was very nice trip.

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  Valentin Imperial Maya   Kim and D ~ Ottawa

January 2008

We just returned from a week-long stay at the Valentin Imperial Maya on the Mayan Riviera in Mexico.

A very nice personal touch upon arrival, with warm face cloth’s immediately after getting off of the shuttle bus, champagne and comfortable check in service in the air conditioned hacienda style and immaculate front reception hall. Then a limo-style golf cart ride to our room where our bags were waiting. I’d give this a 5 out of 5.

This is a new resort, and the rooms are very modern with iPod docking radios (we used ours a lot..), flat screen TV (..rarely used..), fully stocked fridge (..luke warm canned and bottled beverages..), free in-room wireless access (..not used..) and modernly decorated. The bathroom is all marble; Jacuzzi tub (..didn’t use it..) and European walk in shower (..an issue here..read on..). The safe is included, as well as in room ironing board, iron, hair dryer, lighted make-up mirror and 4-oz size Gilchrist and Soames toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, hand cream and soaps). That being said, we did run into some quite smelly sewage backing up in the shower on the second last day. After a variety of maintenance people came and went, they moved us to a different room after 2-hours. A bit of an inconvenience due to the timing (as we were about to shower to get ready for dinner), but not a show stopper. We could hear that the neighboring room also suffered the same fate. I’d rate this 4 out of 5 because of the smell and delayed response

Reservations are not required at any of the ala-carte restaurants and although the dress code is a bit higher than some resorts we’ve visited (which I’d prefer), they were quite accommodating to those who showed up in golf shirts, jeans and the occasional sandals.

We tried them all except the Italian restaurant (Il Olivo) and all were excellent. We were most impressed with the French restaurant (L’Alsace). We normally don’t prefer French restaurants, but the service, selection, display and quality would rival any of the French restaurants in our city. The Mexican restaurant (La Hacienda) and steak place (Tierra) were also very good. You had a choice of private room with a cooking demonstration, sitting up at the sushi bar, or normal table seating at the Japanese restaurant (Ginger); which was also excellent. The seafood place (know alternately as the Lobster Pot and Restaurant Mar) was OK, but we enjoyed the others much more. There, you get lobster one night and seafood the next. The main buffet (Le Marche) was always excellent. The breakfast buffet was a treat and all of the off-menu selections we tried were excellent. A few recommendations; get a cappuccino with your breakfast; for lunch, try the Kobe beef burger at Tierra and definitely try the Chateaubriand at L’Alsace for dinner. For desert, the tempura banana’s with ice cream was delicious. Upon arrival back home, I had gained 6lbs, and it was worth it!!! 5 out of 5.

The bars were pretty quiet, but in terms of liquor, better than any resort we’ve visited (..including 2-weeks at Sandals..). They serve mostly premium brands for liquor. I was actually questioned, "what kind" of gin I wanted with my Tom Collins (Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray, Beefeater); similarly with the rum, vodka and cognac brands. All bars were very quiet, as only 100 guest of the current 800 capacity were there. No line-ups, prompt service and excellent staff. Cold bottled water available everywhere. Again, 5 out of 5.

The pool is quite massive. In addition to everything else being so nice, this is one of the best features about this resort. Half or fully shaded lounge areas around the pool, along with plenty of lounge chairs in and out of the water. (yes, along one side of the football field length pool, 40-50 lounge chairs were set up on a 6-inch deep ledge) There are two bubbling hot tubs INSIDE the pool. One on the edge and another that you swim (or wade) to in the middle. There are two swim up bars at the pool; only one was open and rarely at that, but only because of the dozen of so people who actually were swimming. Daily, an ice cream cart with fruit popsicles is rolled out to one of the bars for guests to help themselves. Quite refreshing. The pool is easily a 5 out of 5. The beach was nice; cleaned daily, although the water immediately in front of the resort does have a lot of shells and coral. No worries, we just walked down 30-feet or so, and swam. 3 out of 5 for the beach.

This is a sprawling resort nestled in a heavily treed area. As you would expect in a new resort, the grounds are immaculate and young. Smaller trees and bushes with lots of potential for growth, but absolutely beautifully landscaped (and the work continues) and a nice place to just stroll around. Most of the buildings are up, but the next set of 3-storey blocks are being built. The construction wasn’t noisy or bothersome in anyway, but our room (in building 5) didn’t face the pool or the construction area. A stern looking head grounds keeper (seniorita) was constantly keeping the grounds workers on their toes; 5 out of 5.

Although an ample amount of activities were offered (just as you would expect at any resort), many were not well attended; not because of the activity, but only because there were so few guests. The standard assortment of water based activities were available. Only once, did I see someone out on the sea kayaks, but the swells are probably a little larger than these little boats can handle. All of the small sail boats stayed on shore. Lots of activities are planned out and enthusiastically supported by the young staff. There are far too many to list, but they were all fun; we participated in Tequila tasting, local cocktail mixing, hold ’em poker, casino night and beach volleyball. I played beach volleyball twice daily; but mostly comprised of the beach staff because not enough guests would play. Other fun activities included daily in-line skating tours, mountain bike tours, morning yoga sessions and daily stretching/pool aerobics exercises. 5 out of 5 for trying; the staff sure were enthusiastic.

Nightly entertainment was average to good compare to most of the places we’ve stayed; nothing spectacular, but I must say, I felt embarrassed for the 10-piece house "swing" band, who for the most part, played to crowds of 2 (just us on our first night) to 30 at the most. I’m sure the crowds will get better when people start finding out that this is a terrific place to stay.

Work has been nuts so we decided not to do any tours this trip. One 1/2 day in Playa Del Carmen on our own was all, and that was enough.

I contemplated not writing a review because I’d prefer to keep this little gem a best kept secret. The reality is, if more people don’t find out about it, it won’t be able to sustain the same exceedingly high standard of service, so it is with regret that I submit this review; only because I know that our next visit will not be as memorable, because it will assuredly be packed with more vacationers like us. We’ve been to various other sunny destinations (Greek Isles, Dominican Republic, Bermuda, Florida, etc.) and although didn’t get the most expensive room, we "felt" like we did. Because this is a new resort and there is some minor ongoing grounds work and adjacent expansion construction, I’m sure it factored into the great deal we got, but it is dollar for dollar, the best resort we’ve stayed at.

If you want to get away to party it up, let your hair down and soak up the Mexican night life, go somewhere else; you won’t enjoy it here. On the other hand, if you have a few good books to read, and want some peace & quiet in an adult-only atmosphere, beautiful location, exquisite food and excellent service, I would highly recommend it. We’ll be back!!

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