by Whitney Rife
The Mayan Palace Riviera provides a total transport into the Mayan culture with grounds covered in tropical lush gardens, underwater caves and natural forming pools. Spacious rooms have a chic, modern decor. All suites include fully-equipped kitchens, living rooms and bedrooms. Larger families can spread out comfortably by choosing adjoining rooms and suites. A handful of casual and upscale restaurants dot the premises. Guests can choose from a variety of cuisines, including Italian, Caribbean and American.
There are plenty of fun things to do at Mayan Palace. Kids can swim to their hearts content in the pool, or spend time at the playground. Mayan Kids Club plans daily supervised activities for children ages 5 through 12. Kids will get to meet other vacationing youngsters, while going on ecological adventures, playing games and watching movies. If your family likes golf, Mayan Palace offers the perfect stay with its own onsite golf course. Families may also enjoy the crocodile farm, housing over 20 huge crocs! If you visit from July to December, you may spot some baby sea turtles making the journey across the beach from egg to sea.
Our Editor Loves
- Kids' Club
- Crocodile Farm
- Onsite golf course
Where to begin? We went here for a destination wedding so we had little choice in lodging. In short, if you're looking for a twenty something place with lots of stimulus and night clubs this isn't the right resort. The average age here is a little older and the place kinda shuts down around 11 or so every night. No night club on site. I have to admit, I was a bit confused about "Full Service" resorts vs. "All Inclusive" resorts but this being my second full service experience, I'm more educated. I will provide a few tips that should make your experience a little less confusing, at least they were things I was looking for while doing my research.
They will provide you with a wrist band on check-in. Everything gets charged to your room except tips for servers other than in your restaurant. They will ask you to pre-authorize (secure with credit card) charges to your room. If you hit the limit, you can't charge any more until you authorize it. Check your room charges daily and either save your receipts or take a picture of them to compare like we did. If you see an unauthorized charge, they will show you a scan of the receipt for verification.
Personnel and service were extremely good on our trip. The staff is very friendly, attentive and appreciative. TIP! These people work to serve you as a tourist. Show your appreciation with a few cash dollars (or Pesos) each time someone provides good service. Tips are included in each bill you sign for food and drink. Your total bill will be shown in Pesos and US Dollars on your ticket.
The restaurants we ate at all served delicious food but it is not cheap. You are at a resort so expect to pay about $25 per person for burgers, tacos, etc., more for sit-down meals and room service. Drinks range from $5-6 for rum and coke to $9-10 each for fruity drinks.
The concierge at each building is a huge plus since they can provide you with a list of all charges to your room on request (Concierge is there from 7:30am to 10:30 PM every day). No need to run to the front desk every time you need something. Grand Mayan 1 bedroom was large, clean and had daily room cleaning as well as dily turn-down service. TIP! Yes, this resort is HUGE since it is basically four resorts in one. Walking from pool to Grand Mayan building 12 was 19 minutes. It's confusing to find your way around and the signage is not great. If you don't mind walking, the wood walkways are shaded and quite scenic. The shuttle drivers are very nice and we never had to wait more than 3-5 minutes for a ride. They have a small convenience store and deli named "Jade" where you can buy staples but again, it's not exactly cheap but you're on vacation. If you are there for an extended time, you can catch a shuttle from the resort to Playa for $6 per person each way. There is a wal-mart in Playa where prices are good and you can get food, snacks and alcohol to take back to your room. Carry an insulated cup and a small flexible cooler for your own food and drink if you are worried about expenses. However, it's a long way back to your room from the pool and beach. One thing I didn't understand early on is "Salum" is not a restaurant on the property but an area of the property. You can go to "Salum" and get food from any one of four restaurants in the immediate area. Your waiter/waitress will have multiple menus. They also had nightly DJ, music or some sort of entertainment almost every night except Sunday. "The Custom Burger" restaurant at the Grand Luxe is the bomb. hard to find but really good. Again, not cheap but very, very tasty. We did not do any of the reservation restaurants but heard good things about them.
We opted to tolerate the time share presentation. It's strictly voluntary so if you're impatient, just say no when they ask if you want to attend. I think this part largely depends on the person who is chosen to sell to you. Our guy was very nice and not too high pressure. Took us about 2 hours. Another couple we were with took 4 hours and said it was a horrific experience for them. If they offer transfers back to the airport or a discount on your bill in return, ask questions. How many people are in the taxi service back to the airport? Discount on exactly what because there are time and location exclusions that will annoy the heck out of you. In the end, they did provide us with complimentary buffet before the sales pitch and took 10% off our final bill. Timeshares have their place for certain folks, just not these folks. I don't blame them for trying, you just have to say no thank you if it's not for you. In the end, I think we came out cheaper than if we had booked all inclusive but keeping up with daily charges and service fees can be a real pain. They will add a "voluntary donation" to your bill so if you prefer not to donate, simply ask to have it removed. It was annoying to me that it was automatically added and you had to ask to have it removed. There are also mandatory rooming fees and taxes added for each day's stay that they fail to mention on check-in but they are minimal (about $4-$5 I think). Finally, you just have to choose whether you want to eat and drink yourself silly at an all-inclusive or be more frugal at a full service resort. We also don't drink to our limit every day and buying booze off site and bringing it in makes some sense. If you're there to eat, drink and be merry with absolute bliss, go all inclusive. In all, I had a good time and the service staff made for a really nice stay. Most employees will place their hand over their hear when greeting you to show you their gratitude.
by Scott V
Amazing Pool, Great Food, Generous Drinks and Great Service from Lois, Alejandro, Roberto and Victor. This is an amazing resort that is so big, it hides how may people are really there very well. Just avoid the High Pressure Sales and you will have a great time!