I highly recommend this hotel. Very clean hotel, from room to buffet to beach. I appreciate the environmental effort. Bravo for banning straws and disposable plastic glasses.
The staff was great, drinks were perfect, food was more than good, beach was glorious with lots of chairs and shade… What’s not to like?
Arrival: Flew with Sunwing. Comfortable 50-min drive to this small, 330-rm hotel, located in Playacar, a gated community, so very safe. Easy breezy check-in with a smile. Gracias Abraham at the reception and Pedro the bellboy. Both were welcoming and pleasant. Gracias also to Melisa at the reception, so sweet and such class! Gracias as well to bellboy Manuel, he was a hoot! The hotel is very clean, lots of mature vegetation. A few harmless agoutis and coatis around.
NOTE: There are no elevators at this complex.
Rooms: SPOTLESS. Room 1342, top floor of wing 1000, between lobby and pool bar, facing a luxurious garden filled with flowers, birds, and a reconstitution of a Mayan temple. Two queen beds, double sinks and Italian shower. All rooms have a screen door, which is nice. Our room had a regular balcony (the others had tiny Juliette balconies). The downside of our balcony was that the front wall was so high you could not see over it when sitting down. No worries, we only stood out there a few minutes each day. The fridge is stocked with ONE bottle of water and 2 sodas. No beer. You can fill up glasses and water bottles at several locations on the site. A BIG PLUS! Gracias to our little room gent, Juan.
Restaurants and Bars: The food was great all week. The buffet was well stocked and varied each day and night. FRESH fruit juices, veggie juices, health bars, tons of veggies/salads and big assortment of deserts, all very good. All of the meats were delish. Grouper (merou)was the only fish we saw all week but it was prepared several ways and was always delicious. Gracias to Brianda, Gustavo and Alfonso at the Buffet. We tried the Xul Ha (Mayan) restaurant, surrounded by jungle. Beautiful! The lighting was poor, however… We also tried the Il Palco italian restaurant. Very good! We were able to try Il Portofino, an a-la-carte at the sister hotel, the VW Maya, a few doors down (10 min walk). Miam! Gracias to Yvan at the Mayan restaurant and Carlos at the Portofino (VWMaya) The "placeta" or courtyard near the lobby bar and the buffet is wonderful. Several huge mature trees created a canopy of shade so patrons could sit and chat, wifi et al, and eat. A HUGE asset for this hotel, compared to the Maya lobby area which reminded me of an airport waiting room… The drinks were great all week, as was the coffee at the Lobby and Pool bars. The Pool is much quieter at night, overlooking the pool and ocean. Nice and breezy too.
Gracias to Alex, courtyard bartender, to Edilbert and Othoniel at the pool bar, Big Manuel and Olver at the Lobby bar. I’m forgetting a lot of people, but they were ALL nice.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: This hotel is small, but oh-so welcoming. Beautifully kept grounds, the entire site very clean. The pool is the smallest I’ve ever seen in an AI, used mostly by families with small children. There is a small jacuzzi near the pool. Not much shade in this area. The beach is glorious!!! Long, wide, sand like powder under your feet. Great for long walks. A bit more waves and seaweed than they were used to, I was told (apparently the full moon and changing tides had something to do with it). The body surfing was awesome!
A huge section of palm trees with TONS of chairs. A few palapas up front for the early risers. The shade was surely welcomed after our long walks. Another thumbs up!
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: There is the Hard Rock golf course across the street, and a small shopping plaza a 5-min walk away off the resort. Very safe. High-end shops and local fare. Good prices, but you have to haggle lol Of course, there’s 5th avenue in Playa del Carmen a 15-min walk or short ride away, and a short walk from the ferry to Cozumel. We did the Tulum excursion with Cancun Adventures. Very professional, with water, snacks and even a cold face cloth after our tour. Our tour guide was Jeronimo, who spoke in French and English. He was another one to say how much he loved his job. Gracias, senor J! An excellent outing. 50-min drive from the hotel. Gracias also to Alejandro of Nexus tours who sold us the excursion. Animation staff was very friendly and lively (but not too much). Gracias Sandra and Luca, both endearing. We saw one nightly show, a tribute to Moulin Rouge, which was outstanding! Gracias to Milton, Arthuro and the entire cast. Bravo!
Wifi is free in the courtyard and lobby areas. Lots of action at mealtime lol
Other Comments: I worked several years in the hotel business, so I can say that when many employees tell you "I LOVE working here" and "We are one big family", it says a lot! Big plusses in my book: Straws are banned at this hotel and reusable plastic glasses are used for drinks at the pool and beach. Water and juices are available close to the pool and beach for easy fill-ups. Recycling bins are everywhere. Bravo! The music on site was NOT loud, which made for a much more zen atmosphere. Patrons were mostly Italians, followed by Germans, with us Canucks and Americans in between. And yes, EVERYBODY behaved themselves lol