I recently visited the AAA Five Diamond Grand Velas Riviera Maya ultra-luxury resort during my yearly Travel Writers Academy mastermind. Nine travel writers and bloggers and I spent three nights and four days at the all-inclusive Grand Velas Resort during the 2019 Travel Writer’s Mastermind.
Hugging the coast where the Caribbean Sea meets the Yucatan jungle, Grand Velas Riviera Maya truly takes you beyond all inclusive. Grand Velas was the perfect place for our mastermind and an even better resort for a luxury Mexico vacation.
If you want to have the most indulgent spa experience, love an ultra-luxury experience, enjoy seriously delicious food and relish an all-inclusive resort; Grand Velas Riviera Maya should be your next vacation.
Set on 206 acres of pristine jungle dotted with mangroves and located on the finest white sand beach in the Riviera Maya, Grand Velas is one of the most beach beautiful resorts in not just Mexico, but the world.
The resort offers three distinct areas to choose from including oceanfront, ocean view and a Zen-like tropical setting with flora and fauna of the Yucatan Peninsula’s jungle.
I asked the travel writers and bloggers who attended the mastermind to share some of their favorite things about Grand Velas and before I knew it, we had come up with 52 Reasons to visit Grand Velas Riviera Maya.
As well as my favorite things about Grand Velas, below you’ll also find a bit of information about each of the travel writers and bloggers from the mastermind, their favorite things about Grand Velas Riviera Maya and links to their articles about Grand Velas.
52 Reasons Grand Velas Riviera Maya Should Be Your Next Mexico Vacation
1. The beach infinity pool in the Grand Class area. Lounging under an umbrella with gorgeous views of the Caribbean sea is high on my list of ultimate relaxation!
2. I felt like I had stepped into a cover of Travel and Leisure magazine at Zen pool. The zen pool area offers several pools and lounging areas. It’s peaceful and has sections of sun and shade.
3. The lobster tacos served at the Zen pool were some of the best tacos I’ve ever eaten. They were tender and full of flavor. These tacos alone are worth a return visit!
4. Yet another gorgeous pool in the family-friendly Ambassador section of the resort.
5. Sunrise is worth waking up for in the Riviera Maya. Head to the beach near the Ambassador lobby for the best view of the sun and location to greet the day.
6. The rooms are spacious and beautiful! All rooms are designer-like suites and exceptionally spacious with more than 1,100 square feet. All have a balcony, and some have private plunge pools.
7. The jacuzzi tub in the guest rooms is huge! There are French doors that open from the tub area to the bedroom and showcase views of the balcony and beyond. It’s quite luxurious! Oh, and they offer bath bombs for the ultimate relaxation!
8. The fresh fruit and juices available at all the restaurants are delicious. My personal favorite is green juice and it’s phenomenal at Grand Velas.
9. Brunch at Azul Restaurant. This is equivalent to the best brunch you might find anywhere. You’ll find everything from fresh juice and fruit, hot and cold stations with freshly prepared entrees, seafood, pastries, and desserts. Between the gorgeous view and delicious food, you’ll want to plan enough time to savor every minute.
10. There is a resident guacamologist creating unique and tasty guacamole made to order.
11. Speaking of food, there are eight restaurants at Grand Velas including five gourmet offerings. The restaurants were carefully curated to create a tour through Mexico, Europe and Asia. Cocina de Autor, at the hands of world-renowned celebrity chefs Bruno Oteiza and Mikel Alonso, holds a AAA Five Diamond Award, and Grand Velas is the first all-inclusive restaurant in the world to win this prestigious distinction.
12. The cooking class at Chaka Restaurant. The chef prepared and cooked grilled shrimp in chimole sauce, coriander rice, and baby vegetables in butter with pickled onion. We were able to watch the entire cooking process as well as plating. We were then each able to plate our own dish after the chef shared his techniques for creating a beautiful plate of food.
13. Location, location, location! Grand Velas is located in Riviera Maya, a beautiful destination south of the hustle, bustle and touristy Cancun area. Riviera Maya also has some of Mexico’s best beaches!
14. Beach time! I love feeling the soft sand between my toes, hearing the waves lap the shore and seeing the gorgeous colors of the Caribbean Sea.
15. Water Sports. At Grand Velas, they offer lots of fun options such as boogie boards, kayaks and stand up paddle boards.
16. They have a great mixologist specializing in craft cocktails. They happen to be gorgeous and delicious (I’m talking about the drinks and the mixologist)!
17. Nightlife and the clubs. Our favorite hangout was Koi. It was a cross between a sports bar and club. It had one of the biggest screens showing music videos I’ve ever seen.
18. I found a new favorite cocktail! They make a delicious Carjillo (a cocktail popular in Mexico made with espresso and Licor 43).
19. Watch the sunset on the beach. It’s the perfect way to end the day and start your evening.
20. Se Spa is the region’s largest spa sanctuary at more than 90,000 square feet, known for its authentic Mexican treatments. In fact, SE Spa by Grand Velas Riviera Maya won the “Best Spa in Mexico” for delivering the “best” experience for both body and soul.
21. Se Spa Water Ceremony. A hydrothermal journey like no other. The signature seven-step water journey is the ultimate in spa decadence!
Tips from the 9 Travel Writers and Bloggers from the Mastermind:
Susan Decoteau-Ferrier is a travel blogger and creator of the Gen X Travel community as well as a tour operator. Her passion for travel and desire to connect eager explorers from Generation X has guided her to this calling. Here are Susan’s favorite things about Grand Velas Riviera Maya:
22. Grand Velas is an amazingly beautiful resort and the level of service and detail is outstanding. It really is all in the details.
23. The minutiae are what sets Grand Velas apart from other [hotels]. It’s the design elements in the rooms and around the resort. It is little things like placing a mat and your slippers beside your bed at turndown service. They even put my shoes in the closet for me. My concierge wanted to know if I desired anything special that wasn’t included in the complimentary mini-bar. These are the kind of details I’m talking about.
The level of service and detail is outstanding
24. The check-in experience certainly stands out. I love that you aren’t left standing at a desk working your way through the check-in.
25. At Grand Velas Riviera Maya, you are welcomed like you are their only guest. It’s as if they have been waiting for just you to arrive. You are greeted when the van pulls up to the lobby. You’re guided to comfy seating and given a moist towelette and a welcome drink.
They have a folio with all your information prepared in advance. They had my spa reservation and a letter with all the details I needed to prepare for that treatment (which I wouldn’t have for another two days). After the check-in processes is complete you are introduced to your personal concierge who is available to you for the duration of your visit.
26. Spaaahh! I’m a spa girl but this was over the top. The water ceremony was like nothing I’d ever done before. This is a 60-minute session of hot and cold experiences along with water therapy. The process includes more than 10 steps. I don’t want to give too much away. It is simply a must-do experience.
27. The Organic Kaab Honey Experience. This spa treatment is steeped in Mayan traditions. It was 80-minutes of pure bliss!
Check out Susan’s article A Luxurious Girlfriend Getaway at Grand Velas Resort.
Bob Bales is a travel, food and lifestyle writer concentrating on places of historic interest, cultural experiences and places most tourists just don’t know about. With a passion for good cigars, local foods and cocktails he writes about things that make people want to travel and see the world. Here are Bob’s favorite things!
28. I was really impressed with the level of hospitality in the way they looked after every need you might have. You never really saw anyone running around but every time I left the room and returned someone had been there to straighten up, fold any clothes and place them neatly by the bed and replenish everything.
The food was elevated, well prepared and absolutely delicious
29. The food was top notch. From all the restaurants to the room service and waiter service at the pool; the food was really good. It is no wonder though since they have several high-quality chefs working at the various restaurants. The food ranged from 5 stars to fusion, to everyday staples like fajitas but it was all elevated, well prepared and absolutely delicious.
Check out Bob’s article Grand Velas Riviera Maya All Inclusive Luxury Resort and Spa, Playa Del Carmen
Erika Beach is a Wine and travel writer from Temecula Wine Country and founder of “With Love Paper and Wine”. Erika focuses on the road less traveled and has a soft spot for Spanish speaking destinations. Here are Erika’s favorite things!
30. I was overly impressed with their restaurants and food at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Resort. Not only was all the food delicious, but it was also beautifully and artistically plated with many options for dining.
I loved the peacefulness at the resort, making you feel like you were the only guest.
31. The best chilaquiles I’ve ever tried was at Chaka Restaurant. They were so tasty, with the tortilla chips perfectly toasted with the just the right amount of green sauce. The presentation was beautiful.
32. I also loved the food and ambiance at Frida and at Cocina de Autor.
33. I really loved the resort in itself and how luxurious it was. So many details and it was super clean.
34. I enjoyed how we had access to every property and its amenities. I loved how easy it was to get to each property and vans were always ready for guests. I loved the peacefulness at the resort, making you feel like you were the only guest.
Check out Erika’s article (check back soon for the link)
Jon Bailey is a travel blogger focused on family travel, lifestyle, and parenting. His website, 2DadsWithBaggage features travel stories and tips from around the world, as well as the everyday adventures of two gay dads raising two teen tempests. Here are Jon’s favorite things!
35. Se Spa is the best spa I have ever experienced and I have been to a LOT of spas.
The grounds, pools, beach, restaurants all exceeded my expectations.
36. The quality of the food for an all-inclusive was top level and totally surprising in quality and service.
37. The grounds, pools, beach, restaurants all exceeded my expectations.
38. The mezcal tasting. It was interesting and fun to learn about the different mezcal-making regions of Mexico, and why some brands taste sweeter and others taste smokier because of the way the agave has been roasted.
39. The grand entrance looks like the Good Witch came to Narnia. I loved approaching those tall white walls, reflecting ponds and guarded gates.
40. Every room has a patio with day bed, which guests can use to lounge and relax in shade or sun. I caught up on emails and processed photos from my trip while relaxing on this great patio.
Check out Jon’s article The Spa at Grand Velas Resort Riviera Maya: An Obstacle Course of Water Therapies
Rina Baraz Nehdar is an award-winning broadcast journalist and founder of the blog, L.A. Family Travel. She has also written for a multitude of outlets and contributes monthly to Global Traveler Magazine’s Wherever Family. Below are Rina’s favorite things about Grand Velas Riviera Maya.
41. Grand Velas Riviera Maya was one of the most exceptional hotels I’ve ever stayed in. The food was unbelievable. Our dinner at Frida’s was so full of amazing combinations of spice and texture with the fabulous wine pairings, easily one of the best meals I’ve ever had.
Dinner at Cocina de Autor was like attending an art show where the food was the art.
42. Dinner at Cocina de Autor was like attending an art show where the food was the art. Every dish was delicate and unique. I felt spoiled and pampered with every bite. I couldn’t believe this was part of an all-inclusive resort.
43. Every restaurant at Grand Velas would have a line out the door in the real world.
44. My room was so spacious and luxurious I loved the whirlpool tub and opened the bathroom shutters to look out into my private patch of jungle just outside my sliding glass patio. And the 24-hour room service was the best!
45. I loved the pillow menu and ordered most of the pillows to try and find the perfect one. I felt like the princess and the pea.
46. The hydrotherapy treatment was like stepping into a fairy tale set in a spa. This was a complimentary treatment offered before every massage and the seven steps in the treatment were so detail oriented and unusual with the clay mask in the sauna and the eucalyptus towel in the cool room and all the water bubbles set in strategic areas around the infinity pool, including the stone bed! It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced.
Marcea Cazel is a marketing and social media manager who loves to travel! Her blog, My Cornacopia focuses on travel in Florida as well as trips to places such as Cuba and Washington DC. Her articles include solo travel, traveling with kids and couples travel. Here are Marcea’s favorite things.
47. The service. Being at Grand Velas Riviera Maya felt like I had won the lottery. Every employee treated the guests like royalty and accommodated requests quickly. From the time you’re picked up at the airport by your driver are handed a chilled washcloth to when you check in and meet your personal concierge, you were made to feel special.
I forgot a charger for my portable battery pack. At most hotels, you’d be directed to the hotel store to purchase one. Not at Grand Velas – they supplied me one at no charge and brought it directly to my room!
48. The food was incredible! Having stayed at other ‘all-inclusive’ resorts I was surprised that not only was all food (including 24-hour room service and the mini bar) included in the cost, but we were able to eat at AAA 4 and 5 Diamond rated restaurants. Each restaurant offered something different and the food and drink provided were high quality and well thought out.
49. My spa experience was out of this world. I have been to spas in the past but nothing like the SE Spas at Grand Velas. The water ceremony was wonderful – 75 minutes of sauna, clay room, cold room and water jets that were so relaxing.
50. 80-minute organic honey massage If the [water ceremony] was the only thing I did at the spa, it would have been amazing. But I also got to participate in an 80-minute organic honey massage. The massage was the right amount of pressure and included a soak in a whirlpool bath as well. The spa’s attention to detail was unreal – my masseuse even took her shoes off so she didn’t make any noise while I was getting my massage!
Check out Marcea’s article Luxury At Its Best – Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Melanie Pollard & Marla Monk are the duo from Grans on the Go. Melanie is a travel blogger and freelance travel writer. She is founder and creator of Grans On The Go, a travel guide for adventurers over age 50. Marla is a baby-boomer traveler with over 40 years of experience as a photographer and loves writing about the tempo of a place and to convey the mood of the surroundings, people, and culture.
51. The natural beauty and serene surroundings were our favorite things along with the understated service available everywhere.
52. The 10-course meal at the Autor restaurant!
Check out Melanie & Marla’s article Girlfriends or Couples Will Love This Luxury All-Inclusive in Mexico with a Peaceful Vibe
More About Grand Velas Resort Riviera Maya:
- The resort offers three separate ambiances including oceanfront, ocean view and a Zen-like tropical setting embraced by the flora and fauna of the Yucatan Peninsula’s jungle.
- All 539 designer-like suites are exceptionally spacious, more than 1,100 square feet each, all with balconies, and some with private plunge pools.
- All feature fully stocked mini bars, plasma TVs, Wi-Fi, L’Occitane amenities, artisanal mezcal, and Nespresso coffee machines.
- Bathrooms deserve special mention with walk-in glass shower, deep soaking Jacuzzi tubs, and marble interior.
- Eight restaurants, including five gourmet offerings, present a tour through Mexico, Europe, and Asia. Cocina de Autor, at the hands of world-renowned celebrity chefs Bruno Oteiza and Mikel Alonso, holds the AAA Five Diamond Award, the first all-inclusive restaurant in the world to win this prestigious distinction.
- Other features include 24-hour Personal Concierge; 24/7 in-suite service; three swimming pools; two fitness centers; water sports; innovative Kids Clubs and Teen’s Club; Karaoke Bar; Koi Bar; Piano Bar, and business center.
- Grand Velas Riviera Maya was built and is operated by Eduardo Vela Ruiz, founder and President of Velas Resorts, with his brother Juan Vela, Vice President of Velas Resorts.
About Velas Resorts: Velas Resorts feature five spectacular luxury resorts, including Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, Velas Vallarta Suites Resort, Casa Velas in Puerto Vallarta, Grand Velas Los Cabos, Mar del Cabo and of course, Grand Velas Riviera Maya in Playa del Carmen. With contemporary luxury accommodations, world-class spas, gourmet restaurants, and gorgeous landscapes, they each offer an indefinable hospitality experience.
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A huge thank you to the Grand Velas Riviera Maya for their generous hospitality. I enjoyed this visit as a professional blogger, but as always, all opinions are my own.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.
Alexa Meisler is the editorial director of 52 Perfect Days. Born in Paris, France she has since lived in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. She currently resides in San Diego with her husband and son where they enjoy exploring California and Mexico.
Travel has always been a part of her life; traveling to such places as Morocco, Tangiers and Spain as a young child as well as taking many road trips to Mexico with her grandparents as a young girl. Since then, she has traveled abroad to locations such as Russia, Taiwan and throughout Europe.
Prior to working at 52 Perfect Days she was a freelance travel writer; focusing on family and women’s adventure experiences.