When you enter the gates of the Grand Velas Riviera Maya, it’s immediately apparent that it’s a special place. Imagine a long drive surrounded by the Yucatan jungle and guests running along the trail, riding bikes or heading for the clear water of the Caribbean Sea. Whether you want a family trip you’ll never forget (wait until you hear about the room perks!), or if you’re considering an epic adults-only getaway (the spa alone is worth booking a room), we’ve got six reasons why this luxe resort should be on the top of your list when considering your next vacation.

1. The Location

Gabby Cullen

Located about 25 minutes away from the Cancun airport and five minutes away from downtown Playa del Carmen, with only 30% of the 206 acres developed, the Grand Velas gives off a remote vibe that feels far away from everyday life. The heart of the resort is nestled against the clear waters of the Caribbean, so you'll get the beachside getaway of your dreams.

2. The Beach

Courtesy Grand Velas Riviera Maya

The white sand beach is a short walk away from two of the three properties at the Grand Velas. It is a breathtaking sight, and the waves are fairly calm, which makes this beach ideal for families with small children. The cabanas are plentiful, the beachside service is prompt; you won’t have to wait for that fruity drink or fresh ceviche (be sure to order the tacos too!) that’s served beachside. If you stay in the Grand Class, you'll have an oceanfront view; if you stay in the Ambassador, you'll enjoy views of both the infinity pool and the ocean.  

3. The Attention to Detail 

Gabby Cullen

The Grand Velas has all the things you love about a resort and things you didn’t know you desired on vacation. From the turndown service and the Molton Brown products provided for your exclusive use to the attentive 24-hour concierge and luxury surroundings, this family-owned boutique hotel company doesn’t miss a beat. For those who love pampering, a new perk is the DIY face scrub provided by Se Spa and delivered to your hotel room. The minibar comes stocked with all kinds of goodies, and if you have kids in tow, you can request age-appropriate snacks, like chocolate milk, be stocked instead of adult items. The service is some of the best we've experienced. Whether you are sitting poolside, at one of the eight dining locations or in the spa area, you'll have someone taking your order within minutes. 

4. The Hotel Suites

Courtesy Grand Velas Riviera Maya

There are 539 suites on the property, and 75 of them are connecting suites, which is ideal for families Almost everything parents with small kids need is available at the Grand Velas. Upon request, kids will be welcomed with a tent, minibar snacks and tiny bathrobes. Essentials like a high chair, strollers, a baby bathtub, crib and a diaper genie are also available, which means you don't have to bring that gear from home. As an added amenity, many of the suites have private plunge pools.

Each experience is different. If you decide to stay in Zen, the surrounding jungle feels secluded, but the beach is a short shuttle drive away. The Ambassador is very kid-friendly; it has the pool closest to Azul, the buffet restaurant perfect for when kids need a break from the pool and the beach, and the Grand Class has the wow-worthy oceanfront views perfect for watching the sunrise or sunset (think adults-only getaway!). 

5. The Food

Courtesy Grand Velas Riviera Maya

You may come to the Grand Velas for the food alone. There are eight restaurants in total, and five of them offer an upscale culinary journey through Mexico and Europe and Asia. 

Azul is a buffet-style restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, with snacks in-between time. They’ve got a wide variety of menu options for every palate, including hamburgers and sushi. The open-air terrace has beachfront views, and the indoor space has air conditioning for when you want to take a break from the sun. There are other restaurants good for breakfast and lunch, like Chaká (also open for dinner) and Bistro.

Frida is a locally-inspired AAA Four-Diamond restaurant. One thing you must order is the tuna tartar (or three). The black bean soup is the right blend of spices, and kids will enjoy the grilled chicken with rice. If you feel like having a specialty drink, their tequila mixed drinks are your best bet. The decor is vibrant and eclectic in a nod to the iconic artist, there is often live music playing, and the ocean views don’t disappoint.

Piaf is a French-inspired dining experience for guests ages 16 & up. The wine list is expansive, and you might never have escargot as exceptional as the ones served here. The lobster bisque is creamy and full of flavor, and the lamb is a popular entree for good reason.

Cocina de Autor is a AAA Five-Diamond Award honoree—the first restaurant in an all-inclusive resort to be given the title. Celebrity chefs Bruno Oteiza and Mikel Alonso designed this avant-garde experience, which offers multi-course small plates prepared in ways that visually wow guests. This is an adults-only restaurant, so make childcare plans ahead of time.

Lucca is where you'll find Mediterranean-inspired cuisine like pizza, pasta and carpaccio, and Sen Lina is where you'll find pad Thai, teriyaki chicken, curry dishes and more. 

6. The Activities & Amenities

Courtesy Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Whatever you want your vacation to look like, you can make it happen at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya. 

Do you want to have alone time while the kids enjoy non-stop activities and fun?

Head for the kids and teen club. The kids club is open from 9 am-11 pm, and one glance at the schedule showed us that there’s something for every guest. There is cooking time, arts and crafts, movies, pool fun, movie night, dance parties and even yoga. They don’t serve food in the club itself, but staff members will take guests to Azul for meals. The Teen Club is so cool, you might have a hard time convincing your older kids to leave. Open from 11 am-11 pm, younger kids can come in to hang with their siblings until 7 pm, and after that, it’s teens only! There are Playstation pods, air hockey, foosball, pool tables and a lounge/club that sets the scene for chill time. Don’t forget to check out the piano bar or sing your heart out at the karaoke bar after your dinner and before picking up the kids.

Do you want to spend time at the adults-only spa?

Be sure to schedule a day at the award-winning Se Spa. This peaceful sanctuary has been awarded five stars by Forbes travel. Try one of their unique massages or treatments (the Sounds of the Soul is their newest offering), experience the eight-step hydrotherapy program and take a Water Journey in the sensory pool. 

Do you want to keep up with your workouts?

There are two world-class gyms, and you can schedule a workout session with a personal trainer. There are also paved roads for running and regularly scheduled bike tours.  Set in a serene outdoor setting, the Yoga class is restorative. There are also dance classes, water polo, beach soccer, beach volleyball and Zumba lessons every day, so be sure to check the activities schedule. 

The Details

Courtesy Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Riviera Maya, Carretera Cancun Tulum Km 62
Playa Del Carmen, 77710 Riviera Maya, Q.R., Mexico

Online: rivieramaya.grandvelas.com

—Gabby Cullen

Editor’s note: This trip was paid for by Grand Velas Riviera Maya but all opinions belong to the writer. 


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