We just got back from our 1st vacation in a couple years and I wanted to make a quick post regarding the resort that we stayed at and the service we received. Normally when you hear an article starting off like this you immediately think that something terrible must have happened, because why else would someone else take to the internet if not to bitch about something… Well I assure you that our experience at the Aventura Spa Palace in the Riviera Maya area of Mexico was anything but terrible and I just wanted to take a minute to post about our wonderful experience.
When we first started looking at resorts in the area we only had a few stipulations; had to be all-inclusive, there needed to be a direct flight, and it had to be adults only (gf’s choice, I didn’t really mind either way at the time). We didn’t want to stay in Cancun because we’re not 18 anymore and I didn’t really want to go to Cabo and my girlfriend had just been there last year anyways, so we knew that the Riviera Maya would be a good choice, but we had no clue how to pick from the hundreds of resorts in the area. We did the normal research, trip advisor, expedia, etc, to try and find a good deal and a well reviewed place, but it seemed like people had gripes about every place we looked at. We finally ended up going over to a travel agency in town and talking with them about what our options were and what our best bet was and it was there that we decided on the Aventura Spa Palace. One of the best ways is you can rent a spa salon booth
The ‘Palace’ had everything that we wanted, it was an hour south of Cancun, Adults Only, All-Inclusive and there are plenty of direct flights out of O’Hare to Cancun. The only thing we were a little worried about was the price, it was a little more expensive than some of the other places in the area. This actually wasn’t a problem though, after we discovered that the resort includes a “Passport” deal where a bunch of excursions are included in the overall price whether you go on them or not. So while we would have paid upwards of $100 per person to do the ziplining tour and the Mayan ruins at Tulum, through this resort we paid nothing extra. So that right there sealed the deal, we booked up through the travel agency and awaited our departure. (click through the jump to read the rest).
Upon arriving at the airport in Cancun we were told not to talk to anybody on our way out as they would just try to sell us a timeshare. So as much as we tried to ignore everyone a few people stopped us, but it turns out that they worked for the airport and not a timeshare company (My girlfriend still tried to walk past them). So with the help of a nice airport staff member we were able to find the company that was setup to take us down to our resort. We were told that the van ride down there would take about an hour and 20 minutes and were very surprised when he managed to get us there safely in about 50 minutes.
As soon as we stepped out of the van, our luggage was unloaded and tagged by the bellhops at the resort and we were given a wet towel to wash our hands with (I’m not used to that). They then informed us that we should go check in and once we were done to come back and give them our room number and they would take us and our bags over there. So we walked up to the registration desk and were greeted by a nice young woman who had all our paperwork ready to go, as well as a welcome drink. Check-in took no time at all so we decided to meet with our personal concierge and setup our excursions for the week (zipline and Tulum). The concierge lady was very friendly and helpful and we had our plans for the week set in a matter of minutes. We then made our way back to the entrance and headed to our room.
This may have been the only minor drawback to the resort. The fact that the property is so large and we were on the very edge made it a little bit of a hike to get to the pool and the restaurants, but considering we had pretty good weather the whole time I would say it’s a minor complaint. Upon entering the room we were greeted by an Emeraldspa jacuzzi, a liquor dispenser and a fully stocked mini fridge all of which are included, free. Room service was available 24 hours a day and breakfast can be ordered the night before by simply filling out a door hanger and placing it outside the room. The only complaint about the room was the view. Since we were on the edge of the property all we saw was a fence, the jungle, a wedding gazebo type thing, and a little bit of the ocean, but again we did not pay for the ocean view so just a minor drawback.
The resort itself is huge, but it’s broken into two parts; the Spa Palace, which is where we stayed and is adults only, and the Cove Palace, which allows children but they cannot cross into the Spa side where as the adults can go between the two. There are 7 or 8 restaurants spread throughout the entire resort, 4 on the Spa side and 3-4 on the Cove side all of which are included with no reservations needed, which is nice. I remember going to another resort in the area with my family 4-5 years ago and we were only allowed to eat at 2 of the 5 nicer restaurants during our 5 day stay, so to be able to eat at the nice places at any time at this resort was nice. There were also breakfast/lunch buffets in two of the restaurants near their respective side’s pools as well as a poolside bar that had snack type foods like nachos, hot dogs, burgers, etc.
The pool itself was a little bit on the cold side, probably due to all the rain they had gotten the week before and the lack of heaters in the pools, but seeing as how I’m not really a big pool guy anyways it didn’t really bother me. The main pool, with the swim up bar, filled up fast (as far as chairs go) so if you want to get a good seat there you had to wake up pretty early and at least put a towel down, but the side pool, which is almost attached to the main one, always had plenty of room to sit. There are also waiters/waitresses that will come by your chair and get you drinks so you never even have to get up to go to the bar…. plus there were at least a dozen or so bars on the Spa side alone, so finding a drink was never a problem. The pool wait staff was extremely friend and even remembered us after only 1 day. There was also a few guys walking around and leading pool activities like water aerobics and water volleyball and these guys were awesome. Very friendly, always excited about getting people to do things, never pushy if you don’t want to do something, just all around nice guys (thanks Eddy). The main lobby also hosted a wine and cheese bar every day at 5pm which my girlfriend loved along with more snack type foods at some point (we never saw the food just always saw them setting it up).
As for the restaurants, since we were only there for 5 days we didn’t get to eat at all of them and we actually ate at the same one twice because we enjoyed it so much. The first night we just did room service since we over did the drinking a bit early and weren’t up for a nice dinner, but the 2nd night we tried out the Japanese place. Our waiter, Andres (or Alejandro, as I thought his name was) was an amazing waiter. Very friendly, very apologetic when the place got really busy and he took a few more minutes to take care of us, but overall a great server and the food was amazing. Since it’s all inclusive you can order as much as you want, and since my girlfriend loves sushi she went nuts and ordered about 20+ rolls. While I don’t mind sushi I wasn’t really feeling it that night so I got the beef teriyaki and it was amazing. Everything from the appetizers, to the soup, to the welcome drinks were also extremely good. We recommended this place to anyone that asked after that.
The next night we tried to go to one of the restaurants in the lobby, but they were full due to a convention being at the resort that night, so we went to the Italian place instead which was good, but not as good as the Japanese place. The appetizers were the best part of the Italian place, it was some sort of pizza, but I don’t think it had any sauce, with pineapple and ham… a-mazing. For the entree my girlfriend got some sort of stuffed fish thing which she said was really good and I got some sort of steak thing which was decent, a little too fatty for me. So overall the Italian restaurant was good, but didn’t mirror the food we had the night before. Our waitress was, again, very friendly and attentive so no complaints at all with the wait staff. Then our last night there we went back the Japanese place since it was that good.
For breakfasts we ate at the buffet near the pool and it had a large array of different foods, everything from bacon and eggs to pancakes to some random stuff I would never eat but my girlfriend seemed to love. So as far as food there are plenty of choice and all of what we had was very good, so no complaints there. All the wait staff was incredible and friendly so a big thank you to them.
As for our excursions, we went on a zipline tour that was closer to Cancun so we had to take a bus. It was a half day tour and was a lot of fun. Everything is very well structured and on time so no complaints what so ever. Our trip to Tulum was also very good although I would have rather cut out the stop at the other ‘Palace’ resort and just had them take us back to our resort 2 hours earlier, but it was kind of cool to see one of the other resorts and hang out and drink by a different pool. Our tour guide for the Tulum tour was extremely well educated and an amazing guide, thanks Hector. So if the other excursions are anything like these I would highly recommend taking advantage of whatever you can, there’s no reason not to considering they are all included in the price of the resort.
The last thing I want to mention, which is probably the biggest complaint that we read on trip advisor, is the lack of a beach. Personally I could have cared less that the resort doesn’t have a beach, but I guess it would annoy me too if I planned to go to Mexico to sit on the beach only to find out that there was none. I guess I shouldn’t say that there was “none”, there was sand and water, but it’s more a lagoon area enclosed by rocks. So while it is beach feeling, it’s not a clear shot to the ocean. This area had people kayaking and snorkeling in it, but again if you’re going here to go snorkeling don’t waste your time in this lagoon, go out on the reef on a manta ray snorkel tour.
So that was that, the Aventura Spa Palace was a great resort to spend a few days away from the cold weather in Chicago and Travel Impressions did a great job in getting us where we needed to be. So on that note I would highly recommend this resort if you’re looking for a nice little getaway. We had a great time and are looking forward to going back.