The Grand Velas Riviera Maya, situated along the Yucatan Peninsula’s Caribbean coast, is everything you want in a luxury all-inclusive holiday… and more.
It’s the food.
It’s the location.
It’s the beach.
It’s the pool bar.
It’s the kids club.
It’s also the perfect base for visiting Xcaret parks (see more).
And while I could describe in infinitesimal detail the outstanding service, the incredible mouth-watering cuisine, the spectacular views or my giant bubble bath, I’m going to let Josh’s photos do the talking. And let him take you on a virtual journey through a true luxury all-inclusive resort.
One that will have you booking a stay next weekend.
Sigh. Please, can I go back right now?
View of resort pool and Caribbean Sea from our private terrace at sunrise.
Chill out in the garden amongst swaying palm trees.
Watching the sun rise over the Caribbean Sea.
Ambassador Section of resort, consisting of 195 spacious 1200+ square foot suites.
Resort lobby area for Ambassador. The Grand Velas Riviera Maya resort is separated into 3 regions: Grand Class, Ambassador and Zen Jungle. Each has its own lobby.
Our Ambassador Queen suite – with private terrace, ocean views, interior Jacuzzi, stocked mini bar, cable TV, and more.
Our bathroom, with retractable divider to the bedroom. Every detail exudes luxury, including the L'Occitane bath products and walk-in shower room.
Possibly the best part of our suite – a perpetually stocked mini bar. And it was fully included with the room. Yep, snack as much as you like and the next day it would be magically refilled. The complimentary bottle of local tequila was an unexpected surprise.
Free kids club. Are there any 3 sweeter words for a parent? Our kids enjoyed themselves every day with the caring and qualified supervision. Grand Velas Kids Club is available for 5-12 year olds and is packed with fun activities like games, movies, and toys plus hands-on crafts like make-your-own-tshirt (included for free).
Next door to the kids club is Grand Velas Teens Club. While we visited in a quiet period, the facilities were available to kids of all ages until 6pm (then it became a teens only hangout spot). So we could all enjoy the table tennis, foosball, lounges and even video games…
…but not just any video games, the latest titles in funky booths with comfy seats that had built-in speakers for a more immersive experience.
Breakfast is supposedly the most important meal of the day, and we relished starting it at Azul. Featuring delicious international cuisine and gorgeous sweeping ocean views, Azul was also our kids favourite lunch stop.
Breakfast at Azul included everything you could imagine – traditional options like eggs and bacon, as well as fresh fruit, and hand-squeezed fruit juice…
…and my favourite, macaroons! Yep, macaroons for breakfast. Now this is a vacation! If you’re feeling adventurous enough (and I was), you have to try the blueberry cake for breakfast.
Food at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya is not restricted by four walls – after a refreshing swim in the infinity pool, we relaxed with a fresh spread of guacamole, salsa and corn chips. Yum!
We also tried breakfast at Chaka in the Zen section…
…with perfectly cooked omelettes, fresh fruit and delicious eggs Benedict.
If you don’t feel like leaving your suite in the morning for breakfast, it can come to you! We enjoyed a delicious breakfast on our private terrace.
Every dish at each restaurant was a work of art. We enjoyed fine Mexican cuisine at Frida, and that was no exception.
More from Frida… Red salad with caramelised nuts, cranberries, raspberry, tomato ice cream, watermelon, strawberries and lettuce leaves. Yes, you read that right, tomato ice cream. Uh-mazing!
More from Frida… Cheesecake with poblano chile stripes and a side of corn ice cream. Completely new flavor combinations I’ve never tasted anywhere else.
We took a quick peek behind the scenes in one of the restaurant kitchens. Grand Velas has attracted masterchefs from around the world to run each themed restaurant. It is just like travelling to all best fine restaurants around the world… except they’re brought to you, all in one location. No extra airfare required.
Need a break from all the delicious food? Grab a drink at one of the two swim-up pool bars. Since this is an all-inclusive resort all alcoholic drinks are included.
Speaking of swimming… our kids thought the infinity pool looked so inviting they jumped straight in – clothes and all. Now that’s refreshing!
Piaf restaurant specialises in French cuisine and is under the direction of Chef Michel Mustiere. He is one of only 7 chefs in Mexico, 300 in the world, to attain the prestigious Master Chef of France title.
The international food journey at Grand Velas continues with Cocina de Autor. Headed by 2 experienced chefs, along with their star pupils are all ranked in the top 100 chefs in the world according to Restaurant Magazine. This restaurant is suited for 16+ years and offers a 14-course tasting menu. Every single course stimulated the eyes, nose, taste buds, and mind. The menu changes on a daily basis depending on seasonal produce and the unlimited imagination of the chefs.
More from Cocina de Autor… every dish was not only delivered exquisite, complex flavours but was a visual delight.
More from Cocina de Autor… delicacies focus on contrast in colour, texture and flavour.
More from Cocina de Autor… chocolate froth with a golden sphere and more hidden surprises. Are you drooling yet?
More from Cocina de Autor… all the senses were given a treat, even the ears. A live musician serenaded guests with beautiful ambient tunes.
In between the outrageously amazing food, we chilled on the private beach and played in the warm Caribbean Sea.
Day bed on the beach? Yes please!
Sunrise over the adults-only infinity pool in the Grand Class section of the resort. When our kids were in the kids club, we managed to find a few quiet hours here.
Pathways around the resort feature intricate rock patterns, bright spaces and clean lines.
The front driveway. Grand Velas Riviera Maya is situated several hundred meters from the main highway giving it a completely remote beachside atmosphere.
Travelling between the Zen Jungle and 2 other resort sections is easy with the complimentary on-demand shuttle.
Pool area in Zen Jungle. This more budget-conscious section is situated further from the beach, but you can take advantage of all the same facilities around the resort including restaurants, pools and beach.
Azul restaurant situated between the beach and a large free-form pool.
Deck area in Ambassador section. The perfect place to soak up the sunshine, enjoy a drink or chat with friends.
If this train-inspired dessert from Bistro restaurant doesn’t make you want to visit, nothing will. The creativity and attention to detail at each restaurant is second to none
More from Bistro… even the humble lemon meringue pie received a modern, elegant twist with this mouth-watering interpretation.
Just in case you need a bit more time to relax, let’s chill by the pool a bit more. Throughout the day hotel staff organised various activities including pool volleyball and even water aerobics which Erin tried out.
Even though it seems counter-intuitive to wake up early while on vacation, I can’t highly recommend enough taking a quiet stroll at sunrise to soak up the views around the resort. You’ll have the place to yourself.
Eventually all good things come to an end… and a heavenly vacation, even at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, has to finish. But one thing was for sure, after our 5-night stay I’m already thinking about when we can return. Once is never enough.