Grand Velas Riviera Maya is an all-inclusive luxury resort for families near Playa Del Carmen. Situated on a beautiful beach coupled with incredible service everyone will love staying here.
Grand Velas Riviera Maya is the only family-friendly all inclusive resort in the Mexican Caribbean to be rated 5 Diamonds by AAA. This resort is broken into 3 sections and you have access to any of them when staying at one of them. The three sections include an adults only oceanfront property, one family friendly property with an ocean view and a property with a Zen-like tropical setting in the jungle 1.5 kilometers back from the beach. All three sections offer some of the same amenities like feature fully stocked mini bars, plasma TVs, Wi-Fi, L’Occitane amenities, tequila, and Nespresso coffee machines.
My friend and I stayed in the Zen section for our birthdays! Our birthdays are one day apart so what better way to celebrate then heading to Mexico to relax and be pampered!
Zen is a smoke free portion of the resort set 1.5 kilometers back from the beach. This part is family friendly. We stayed in the Caoba section. Each section is named after a local jungle tree. Zen is surrounded by jungle. It is a walk to get to any of the rooms in the Zen section. If you have issues with walking or stairs, I would recommend that you not stay in this section.
Also found in this Zen section is a chapel, bar, restaurant, spa, kids club, and fitness center.
Koi bar is a sports bar near the Zen lobby and it’s an awesome spot to get a drink. They make a mean Lemon Drop. It is like a Vegas lounge. At night they play music videos and have dancing. During sporting events they show them on the large projector and yes, it’s family friendly during certain hours.
The fitness center is excellent and offers Yoga lessons, kick boxing, and more. All of this is included in your all inclusive fees. I did not try out any of their classes, but saw one family getting personal training. From what I observed it was great. I was really happy with the gym, we went every day and it was never crowded and the equipment is new. There is another large gym in the other section of the resort.
The kids club is included in the all inclusive fee. Kids can play here from 9 AM – 11 PM every day. This resort grows their own herbs and teach the kids at the kid’s club about it. They also have mini golf and a rock wall.
During summer months the kids club offers a camp. Kids receive a little backpack, shirt, and a water bottle for camp. There is another kid’s club located at the other family friendly section. For children that are too young for the kid’s club they have babysitting available, but that is at an extra fee.
For kids too old for the kid’s club there is a teen club with video games, karaoke, and more. The teen club is for kids 12 and up. During the day from 11 AM until 6 PM families can come in and hang out together. From 6 PM to midnight it is teens only. The teen club offers dance lessons and mocktail lessons.
The Most Baby Friendly Hotel in Riviera Maya!
For families traveling with a baby there is a baby concierge. They make sure you have everything you need to visit with a baby including toys. Baby amenities include a crib, stroller, baby bath, baby shampoo, bottle warmer and bottle sterilizer.
One morning while Lindsey and I were having breakfast, the family next to us was getting stressed out because their baby would not quit crying. I watched a staff member come over and intervene. The staff member entertained the baby and walked him around without ever leaving the sight of the parents. I was totally blown away by this. I have never seen this level of service before.
Our favorite part of this section was the Zen pool. It was peaceful and the bartender was awesome. The Zen pool is an assortment of pools with different depths of water, which is nice for kids. If you have younger kids you can stick to a shallow pool. I cannot tell you how much we enjoyed lounging poolside indulging in tacos, grilled shrimp, and cocktails. Two of the cocktail drinks we enjoyed the most were the Pink Panther and the Bumble Bee Shot.
Pink Panther Cocktail Recipe
1 cup ice
1 ounce amaretto
1 ounce vodka
8 ounces pineapple juice
In a blender, combine ice, amaretto, vodka, pineapple juice and grenadine. Blend well and pour into a chilled glass. Garnish with a cherry.
Bumble Bee Shot Recipe
2 ounces Kahlua
3 ounces Rompope – Egg Nog Liquer
1 ounce Blue Curacao
1 ounce Vodka
1 ounce Cream
1/8 cup Ice
Blend together ice, vodka, and Blue Curacao. Set aside.
In a tall shot glass, layer: Kahlua, Rompope, and then top off with blue vodka mixture.
Around the property are various cenotes. This part of Mexico has 4,000+ cenotes. The one near Zen is an old cenote.
Grand Velas Riviera Maya Restaurants
Grand Velas has 8 restaurants, including 5 gourmet offerings, present a tour through Mexico, Europe and Asia. Sadly, we were not here long enough to try all the restaurants, but we did try several.
Cocina de Autor – created by world celebrity chefs Bruno Oteiza, Mikel Alonso and Xavier Pérez Stone, holds the AAA Five Diamond Award, the first all-inclusive restaurant in the world to win this. It may be award winning, but we hated this place. We had a 10 course meal here and to be honest, it was the worst meal I have ever had. I found one of the couples I saw dining there and ask them what they thought and to my surprise they loved the place. I think maybe I am not fancy enough, I just don’t want to eat snails, duck liver, and raw fish.
Azul – Azul is the buffet restaurant near the beach with great views. We had the lunch buffet with a ceviche bar and the breakfast buffet here. I highly recommend checking out the breakfast buffet. We hit the breakfast buffet two days in a row, and many of the items were not the same.
Frida – Frida serves Mexican cuisine and live music. The green chili and corn soup here is excellent. Everything we had at this restaurant we enjoyed. I recommend making this one of your dinners.
Grand Velas Spa
Grand Velas has a phenomenal 89,000 square foot spa. The spa is completely divided between men and women. At no point do they mix. They provide everything you could possibly need including a swimsuit. The best part of getting a treatment is the sensory experiences. If you just want the sensory experience and no treatment the cost is $80. The spa offers facials, body treatments, and massages. Massages cost around $235 for one hour.
Instead of us splurging on almost $500 worth of massages, we caught a cab and went into Playa del Carmen. There we each got a one hour massage. Total cost $45. A savings of $400+. If you go to the main strip in Playa del Carmen you will see massage ladies all over the place. It’s easy to find a cheap massage.
Riviera Maya All Inclusive Resort Amenities
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner à la carte or buffet at Bistro, Azul and Chakárestaurants
- Dinner à la carte at our 5 signature restaurants: Frida (gourmet Mexican cuisine), Cocina de Autor (creative-evolutionary cuisine), Piaf (traditional French cuisine), Sen Lin (Asian cuisine), and Lucca (Italian-Mediterranean cuisine)
- 24-hour gourmet suite service
- Minibar in the suite, stocked daily
- Premium-brand domestic and international beverages at the Sky Bar, Piano Bar, Karaoke Bar, Sen Lin Bar, Koi Bar, Aqua Bars and throughout the resort
- 24-hour Personal Concierge
- Pool and Beach Concierge
- Kids’ Clubs with daily activities program
- State-of the-art Teens’ Club
- Fitness Centers and fitness classes
- Recreational activities program for children and adults
- Snorkeling, kayaks and boogie boards
- Taxes and gratuities
If you need a taxi while staying here, call Angel +5219842113197 2753. He was our taxi driver one day and we really enjoyed him.
If you want to check out some Mayan Ruins nearby look at Tulum Ruins.