So, I’m obsessed. With Mexico. After going twice in the last month (unplanned but happened to work out), I know why people make it their top choice for a vacation destination. Sun on your shoulders, margaritas, and some pretty amazing food are a few reasons, to start. My most recent visit was a little girls trip to Riviera Maya. We stayed at Grand Velas Riviera Maya Resort. If you missed our last one to Sea Island Georgia, you can find the full post here. Suffice it to say I was really happy with the decision.
So for those of you headed to Riviera Maya or thinking about visiting, let’s get into the details of the resort we stayed at. I always feel like a hotel review is most helpful for y’all. Riviera Maya is about 45 minutes from the Cancun airport. For those of you that read my Tulum travel guide, it’s about halfway to Tulum.
The hotel grounds were absolutely stunning. The sky high white walled entryway takes your breath away when you pull up to the gate. There are 3 hotels on the property and every one has a different feel. We stayed at the Zen Ambiance which was a beautiful jungle that felt so relaxing at all times of the day. We walked into an open air lobby at check in and were greeted with a fresh juice. Then, we took these gorgeous wood enclosed pathways to our room which was located on the edge of a lily pond. Zen Ambiance has a stunning infinity pool. We spent Friday happily sipping on spicy margaritas by the pool and snapping photos!
Shuttles take you between hotels and run regularly around the clock. Ambassador is where the main pool is and seemed to be where most people hung out. This part of the grounds is right on the ocean and you can see the water from almost every location. With an expansive infinity pool, bougainvillea everywhere, and a tiki hut, it’s no wonder why this was the most popular hang out spot.
Grand Class is right next door. While similar in style, it’s adults only so if you are in need of a little R&R, this is where you’ll find peace. We got to tour the Presidential Suite and we all oohed and ahhed the entire time! It was stunning. The marble floors, walk in showers, and expansive views literally could take your breath away. This photo was taken from the balcony of one of the bedrooms in the suite!
Impeccable. Francisco was our 24-hour personal concierge (this is standard with every room) and was beyond amazing. From restocking our Diet Cokes, to finding lost sunglasses, to blowing up pool floaties, to late night churro deliveries, the service was incredible. The staff knew when to let us be and when to ask if we needed something so it wasn’t overbearing.
Just amazing. As a vegetarian/vegan, I never really expect to have a lot of options when I travel. This was not the case at Grand Velas. While I would have been content to nosh on chips and guac all day, there were too many great options to miss out on! There are 8 restaurants on the property so you have a lot of variety if you’re staying for longer than a few days! I wish we had stayed longer just to try them all! The best part? It was all-inclusive! Here were the restaurants we ate at.
This was one of the most amazing breakfast buffets I had ever seen. From mini macaroons to a very diverse fruit bar to fresh squeezed juices, no one was left wanting. The French toast was crusted in sugar crystals and might have been my favorite thing aside from the unlimited pineapple slices. We went here twice because it was so good! If you eat out on the patio, you will be overlooking the ocean.
On our first night, we ate here because why not start off your trip to Mexico with Mexican food? We caught the sunset over the ocean on bougainvillea covered terraces. The bread basket was something dreams are made of so I knew the meal would be good! Isn’t it funny how bread can be an indicator of just how exquisite a chef is? There was also a margarita trolley visiting each table offering up a variety of flavors and concoctions.
I started with the beet and goat cheese salad because, I will always order beets and goat cheese when they’re on a menu! We ordered one of every appetizer for the rest of the table to try – the perks of being at an all inclusive. Luckily there were 8 of us so nothing went to waste! For my entree I tried the vegetarian enchiladas which were just delicious. Sometimes enchiladas can get slimy but these were done to perfection!
What meal would be complete without dessert? Our end of the table ordered the Sweet Potato Pie, cheesecake, and creme brûlée to split. I think the creme brûlée won the battle!
Bounjour! Were we in Mexico? If we were, we were transported to France for the evening at Piaf. This restaurant was the epitome of luxury with curtains of Swarovski crystals and a romantic atmosphere. I’ll be honest and say I don’t even know what I had to eat because the staff was so accommodating, the chef whipped up something off menu for me. It was a quinoa zucchini noodle dish of sorts and it was so yummy. For dessert, I went with the chocolate soufflé. Of course!
Cocina de Autor
This was hands down my favorite meal! This was an 11 course experience designed by cutting edge chefs Bruno Oteiza and Mikel Alonso. This was the first restaurant in an all-inclusive to receive the AAA Five Diamond award! The slew of other awards it has won is no surprise as the meal took us through a refreshing, thought provoking dining experience. If that sounds weird, it’s because each dish was a play on something else and was done in a way that was new and exciting. From “quesadillas” with mushrooms instead of tortillas to “snails on the soil” which was tofu with potatoes and charred vegetables, I was thoroughly entertained (and full). Again, the staff prepared an entire tasting menu that was vegetarian for me! This was the perfect last meal of the trip!
While this may seem silly to mention, it absolutely blew all of us away. This was the best stocked mini bar I have ever seen. And it was all included. There was a bottle of tequila to welcome us as well as every kind of soda imaginable. Chocolate, granola bars, Oreos, and gourmet nuts were also in there in addition to your standard snacks. I could have eaten in the room the whole time and been totally happy!
If you missed last week’s post on our spa experience, check it out here. The spa was located at Zen Ambiance which was a 5 minute walk from our room. If you’ve ever wanted to try hydrotherapy, make sure to give it a read!
All in all, this experience was an amazing one – I was so grateful to get to experience it! I could have easily stayed a few more days. I just might have to talk Matt into going back! Or I might have to pay a visit to the other Grand Velas properties at Nayarit or Los Cabos!
*In partnership with Grand Velas Resort Riviera Maya.