Barceló Maya Palace Deluxe - A Resort in Riviera Maya
Traveling is by far one of our favorite things to do at The Sophisticato. Whether we are relaxing in Mykonos, visiting Mickey Mouse in Disney World, or site seeing in Ireland - traveling is definitely something that always puts brings joy to our lives. There are so many different spots on our bucket lists, but unfortunately, it will take time to check all of them off. If you follow us on Instagram, you may have noticed that I just spent a beautiful week in Riviera Maya. I definitely enjoyed my seaside retreat in Mexico. I have actually been here before, but when I realized I needed to get away, I wanted to head somewhere where I knew 100% that I would have a fabulous time. I have stayed in my fair share of waterfront resorts, but this resort really takes the cake - learn why after the jump!
Where is Riviera Maya?
Riviera Maya is the northeast coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico - located on the Caribbean coastline. The area is known for the abundance of all-inclusive resorts and its long beaches. Playa del Carmen is a city located within Riviera Maya that houses most of the beautiful resorts (that is where I stayed). Tulum is a popular tourist destination south of Riviera Maya - this is an area that has preserved Mayan ruins - definitely a must see!
Where did I stay?
I stayed at the incredible Barceló Maya Palace Deluxe - I had stayed here once before about 6 years ago so when it came to planning another getaway to Riviera Maya, there was no doubt in my mind that I wouldn't be wow'd a second time! This resort is about an hour from the Cancún International Airport, but it is worth the distance 100%. I also love the fact that the ride from the airport to the hotel is all highway, so you won't be going through areas that might make you feel uneasy. The resort will also provide a ride to and from the airport, meaning that the second your plane lands on the tarmac at the airport, your trip will be stress-free! Once you get through customs, just walk all the way through the airport and your ride will be waiting for your arrival - don't stop at any of the tour guides trying to sell you tours - I recommend booking any possible tours through the hotel.
This resort is one of the many resorts that I mentioned previously that are situated along the coastline in Playa del Carmen. This resort, like most of them in this area, is an all-inclusive resort. For those that don't know, this means that you pay one price before you check into the hotel and it covers all of your food & drinks (including fun, adult beverages), along with select activities. Think: unlimited everything!! The Barceló Maya Palace Deluxe is a five-star hotel, so there is no need to worry - all of the food & drinks are top notch!
This resort is situated on a property with four additional hotels: Barceló Maya Caribe, Barceló Maya Beach, Barceló Maya Colonial, and Barceló Maya Tropical. All of the hotels are on a walking path, making it easy to go from one to the next. While staying at the Barceló Maya Palace Deluxe, you are able to eat & visit all of the other resorts - but this doesn't go vice-versa - giving this hotel a more relaxed environment.
Where to spend your days?
I went on this trip with one thing in mind, to relax - and that is what I did. My FAVORITE part about this hotel is the lounge chairs that are cemented into the pool It makes tanning painless, as you never get too hot! If you're looking to have some variety with your days, you can always use one of the property's 8 other pools, but none of them measure up to the one I just described. The resort offers many different water activities that are included in the price that you paid:
- Water Aerobics
- Water Polo
- Water Tricycles
- Basic Catamarans
- Snorkel Equipment
- Basic Windsurf
In terms of that coveted midday meal, as you may have realized already, your options are endless. At your resort, you have three different options (a grill, a Mexican themed buffet, and an international buffet), but you can also eat at any of the other resorts. The resort closest to you (especially if you are sitting near my favorite pool) is the Barceló Maya Colonial and it has a smaller buffet that, in my opinion, is perfect for lunch! This buffet, at the Mariachi restaurant, has all of the crowd favorites, along with the best chicken nuggets within all 5 hotels - I say that with confidence!
If you need a break from the pool and beach (but, who would?!), you can always take advantage of the spa on premises. The spa is located at the Barceló Maya Beach Resort and for certain spa services, they will even come to you. No travel time necessary!
Where to dine?
Anyone who knows us at The Sophisticato knows that we are always looking for good food & a fabulous ambiance when dining out. Those expectations don't change when we are on vacation - if anything they become greater since we are looking for everything to be as perfect as it can be! With that being said, here are my top three restaurants that you should be sure to make reservations at while staying at this resort on the Riviera Maya:
- Brasserie - This French restaurant is located at the Barceló Maya Palace Deluxe and has stunning views of the Caribbean Sea. Although it does serve traditional French dishes like escargot, bouillabaisse, and ratatouille - that doesn't mean that there isn't something here for everyone! You have choices for all four courses, I chose: Prawns Two Firings (Fried Shrimp), Lobster Cappuccino (Lobster Bisque), Fresh Grilled Salmon, and Cheese Selection with Grape Sauce. Everything I got was delicious and the service at the restaurant surpassed any other interaction I had with hotel staff (not that any interaction was subpar). No to mention, the restaurant had a modern look with a mostly black and white color palette - you will certainly feel as though you're in a restaurant in the middle of Paris while dining here!
- Rodizio - This is a Brazilian restaurant that also happens to be located at the Barceló Maya Palace Deluxe. If you have ever been to a traditional Brazilian restaurant, you know that you will NEVER leave hungry. Since this was an all-inclusive (and this meal was a few days into the trip), I was not too hungry at all so I ordered the Pesto Penne and never looked back. This restaurant does, however, offer the traditional meats freshly carved onto your plate and as I saw the waiters walking around, I took a peek and the meat looked incredible! Rodizio had a very rustic vibe & I absolutely loved that about this spot. The staff here was also amazing, but not quite like the staff at the Brasserie, though.
- Marenostrum - A Mediterranean-style restaurant located at the Barceló Maya Colonial, Marenostrum does not disappoint. I will start off by warning you that this restaurant is almost exclusively seafood, so if you are traveling with anyone who doesn't like seafood or is allergic, I don't recommend dining here. With that being said, the Cream of Oyster soup is to die for! Everything here is super fresh & is cooked to perfection, so you certainly can't go wrong with anything on the menu. If you can't get to Greece or Italy - it is time to bring them to you!
What do you do after dinner?
This is the golden question - after enjoying your day, what's next? Barceló has certainly thought of this - there are activities for everyone. The hotel has a lobby bar that has live music every night - this is great for your first night if you just want to relax after a long day of traveling. Throughout the hotel property, there are three different theaters, all with a different show for every night. The performances are in no way broadway style, but they are entertaining nonetheless. These shows are also family friendly - so if you are traveling with people of all ages, there is no need to worry.
At the Barceló Maya Colonial resort, there is a brand new center called the Maya Mall. I know what you're thinking - I have plenty of shopping where I live! Yes, there is shopping here, but it is mostly filled with fabulous restaurants and activities for everyone. In the Maya Mall there is a bowling alley, a dance club for teenagers, a few different bars, and a haunted mansion.
One last option for your evening is the dance club for adults. This club is open until 2am and is located at the Barceló Maya Colonial hotel. To be honest, I was wiped by the end of every day from the sun and slight day drinking (LOL), so I never made it to the club, but it is definitely worth checking it out!
Some last tidbits before about this all-inclusive Riviera Maya Resort:
- There is a shuttle that comes every 15 minutes (it can run on island time) that brings you to each resort - making transportation to dinner, shopping, and the clubs very easy!
- Be sure to check out the Dolphin Show - it is in walking distance from the resort and the show goes on every day at either 11am or 11:30am. The show is incredible and if you time it right, you can make an appointment to swim with the dolphins prior (swimming with the dolphins is an extra charge).
- Have fun!!!! And relax :)
Some more fab views of Riviera Maya:
If I convinced you to stay here or just take a trip, don't start planning without learning about our travel secrets!