Grand Velas Riviera Maya Review – Playa del Carmen Luxury Hotel (2024)

An HONEST Grand Velas Riviera Maya Review (2024)

Are you on the planning stages of your next vacation to Playa del Carmen, looking for a recent and honest Grand Velas Riviera Maya Review?

Well, you’re in luck!

The Grand Velas Riviera Maya resort is an extremely popular luxury all-inclusive among our clients. We asked one of our repeat guests if she was interested in sharing a genuine review of her family’s stay at the Grand Velas, and they were so kind to share their experiences with us and other fellow travelers. 

If you are looking for a luxurious family-friendly tropical getaway like no other, while simultaneously not staying too far away from the heart of the action in Playa del Carmen, this review of the Grand Velas Riviera Maya is definitely going to help, so keep scrolling down for more details!

Grand Velas Riviera Maya Private Tours by The Custom Tour
The Custom Tour is offering free pick-ups for guests staying at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya by mentioning this article.

“Review from our Velas experience last week”

Family of 4, two kids ages 5 and 7. This was our third all inclusive vacation as a family. Traveled between February 20-26. 

The property is as beautiful as you see in pics. No embellishments. The service is as spectacular as you hear. Some restaurants better than others – more on that below. Food is amazing and inclusive of dietary needs.


They had us seated on a couch, brought us champagne and juice for the kids. They offered to give us a quick tour but we were exhausted so asked to go to our room. We had booked a 2 bedroom suite and only one of the rooms was ready at 4pm. Assuming this is due to how busy the week itself was. 

As we got to the hotel at 4pm. We had dinner reservations for Sen Lin at 6:00 PM, but kids were definitely not going to sit. We ended up doing room service and that worked out for us and gave us some evening pool time. 

Grand Velas Ambassador 2 Bed Family Suite:

Rooms are big and bathrooms feel luxurious. We had booked a 2 bedroom ocean front ambassador suite. Our family was placed on the ground floor and could only see the ocean if we walked 10 feet out from our suite. I asked about this and our concierge said they could move us on Friday. We said “no, thanks”, so we didn’t have to pack everything again.

The rooms were super close to the pool which was convenient. We were right by the elevator, and depending on the time of the day, it could get pretty loud. Our kids are fine sleeping with noise and were truly exhausted by night time but I could see the noise being an issue in the evening for some people.

Room Amenities:

They literally have everything you will need in the room. Including bug spray, beach bag, dental kit, shampoo and conditioner, etc. The Mezcal welcome bottle was also much appreciated.

Welcome bottle of Mezcal
Welcome bottle of Mezcal


Azul was our go to for breakfast. Plenty of options at this buffet and you cannot beat the view. For lunch we ordered pool side for the kids and then would do room service for us to let the kids relax a bit. Our travel agent made dinner reservations for us for 6pm. We only went to the family friendly restaurants: Chaka, Lucca, Frida, and Sen Lin. The food was amazing at all of them. Service varied. I’m being a bit snobby here but the service at Chaka and Lucca was SO amazing that it made Frida and Sen Lin seem just okay. The other 2 were just amazing! 

Azul for breakfast with a view
Azul for breakfast with a view

I am a vegetarian who tries to be gluten and dairy free so I was a little bit worried but there were so many options available. I did cheat, but seeing the pasta menu at Lucca I had to try it! They did have gluten free pasta – but when the margs start talking…

Kids did great. We did bring activities or let them play on our phones while we waited for the food to come. They do not provide activities for the kids at the restaurants. 

Tip: the Zen pool has a secret menu. Our pool server Gabriel was AMAZING and told us about it. Best lunch we had while there! There are snack options like popsicles and smoothies for the kids at the pool. Those helped us avoid hangry children.

Asian Restaurant
Asian Restaurant

The Beach:

We did enjoy morning and evening walks on the beach. It feels very private, not crowded and quite large. This would be a great beach for young kids that are looking to build sand castles and enjoy water. Our kids wanted the pool more so we spent more time there. 

Three Different Pools: 

Kids loved the ambassador pool. It was definitely the happening place. Since we were there Feb vacation, we needed to be up early to get chairs by the pool. We would ask at 7am and were not able to get first row. Wasn’t a big deal for us but calling it out if it matters. Zen pool was our preferred pool. After our first visit we went back 3 more days. We would go there in the morning and then late afternoon would go to Ambassador if kids wanted more time.

Zen pool has different pools with different depths so it was great for parents of toddlers who may not want to get into the pool with them. Ambassador does too but its bigger so a little harder to watch kids unless you are in the pool.

Zen Pool
Zen Pool

Tip: There is mini-golf by the Zen pool. We mostly enjoyed the walk there. The kids loved it. We were able to catch a glimpse of a family of iguanas and spider monkeys at Zen. My son was so excited! 

We brought floaties with us. They knew to blow them up without asking. There were also families that would leave floaties when they were checking out. We gifted ours to the concierge so he could share with other families. 

Adults-only ambiance: 

Grand Class is a calmer area where kids are not allowed to go. The pool at the GC is quiet, with a restaurant and bar on the side, perfect to enjoy some lobster tacos and a Mezcalita with great views of the ocean.

Ambassador vs. Zen:

We debated – my husband and I are definitely Zen people but the kids loved the Ambassador pool. I can’t speak to the distance at Zen for rooms to where the pool is but it seemed more spread-out. Overall I am glad that we decided to stay at Ambassador as this is the beachfront section. Taking a shuttle was not a big deal. They provide a convenient 5 minute van ride between lobbies. Zen is calmer but located back in the jungle. 

Family Pool at Ambassador
Family Pool at Ambassador

Kids Club:

Our 7 year old daughter loved going. My 5 year old son didn’t care too much. They negotiated with each other on when they went. Spa was the only time we asked them to go. They do not allow any snacks and they do not provide any food. This was not great since our total time for the spa was 2+ hours. The kids didn’t mind much as we went to lunch right after we got back. They do have activities where they offer foods. It just didn’t overlap with the time our spa appt was. There is an option to allow kids to sign themselves out. Seeing how close our room was it was easy to do. 

Notes: Kids club does not open till 9am. If you are scheduling your Spa appts keep that time in mind. We had to reschedule. 

We ended up going to the Teens club with our kids to play some games. Mostly teens there. Seemed like they had options for independent hangout time like videogames and such.

SE Spa:

Its truly is as amazing as they say. I wish my husband and I could have done the water ceremony together. We did that at a different resort and really enjoyed having the time together. The massage itself was pretty good. They do a mind, body, soul bit which was nice. They do ask that you get there early for the Water Ceremony. If schedule allows I would give myself more time for it. 

Spa at Grand Velas


Alfonso was our concierge and super helpful. He was very attentive to my requests and surprised us with champagne and a bubble bath for the kids. They setup a tent for the kids and also brought a bag of toys for them to pick from. We tipped him $100 at the end of the trip. 


We booked 2 amazing excursions with The Custom Tour. First day we went out on a family-friendly jungle tour consisting of zip-lining, canoeing and swimming in beautiful natural pools called Cenotes, we had an authentic lunch at the Mayan Village, definitely one of our best days of the trip.

On day two we wanted to climb some Mayan pyramids so we opted for Ek Balam ruins, another cenote and Mexican lunch. Our kids were very happy but a bit tired by the end of the day so we skipped the colonial town of Valladolid on the way back.

It’s great to have a vehicle and a flexible tour guide entirely at your disposal as we were able to play it by ear on both days. Our kids loved our guide Kat as she was absolutely caring and patient with them. We tipped her $100 on both days. They sent us pictures of our tours at no extra cost. Each tour was around $800, money well spent.

Grand Velas Private Tours
Ziplines and Cenotes by The Custom Tour


We did family photos with the onsite photographer. The photographer was amazing with the kids. My kids HATE getting their pictures done. The property itself is AMAZING and so many spots to take photos – by the beach, greenery in the hallway. I do wish we went to Zen for pics but happy with what we have. Got over 130 pics by walking 200 feet. We paid $1500 and got all the pics and the movie they made. 


We had dinner res for 6. We would be done usually by 7:30 or soon after. You can go to the show once it starts. So we ended up going to some at 7:45. This was fine. We also didn’t stay for all of it. They did have food service available and a bar. Bring bug spray to the shows at Zen or Ambassador Garden.


Took a while to get our checked bags. Maybe an hour all together with customs.

We booked a private transfer through our travel agent. We were able to find them, had to wait 15-20 mins for the car. Overall took 40 mins to drive to the property. You can see other resorts as you drive to Grand Velas. The entrance at Velas was truly grand compared to others we saw on the way. The drive into the Ambassador section feels magical. The drive is long enough that it feels like you are being transported to a relaxation wonderland (could be just my expectations).

Entrance at Velas is truly Grand
Entrance at Velas is truly Grand

On the way back, no one asked us about Visitax. We did pay for it online before leaving the hotel.

We definitely want to go back. Will see if I cave to the kids repeated request to book again for next year!

– Anonymous Reviewer.

Frecuently Asked Questions about Grand Velas Riviera Maya Luxury Resort:

Is Grand Velas Riviera Maya Adults Only?

The Grand Velas Riviera Maya is a resort for all ages, however they do have areas just for adults, such as the Grand Class ambiance, for ages 18 and over. The Ambassador and Zen sections are family friendly. 

Is the beach swimmable at Grand Velas Riviera Maya?

The water surrounding the Riviera Maya is ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and other water sports because it is usually calm and has mild waves. The sand is very soft and doesn’t burn your feet. 

Is there seaweed at the Grand Velas beach?

As of February 2024 the beach didn’t get any seaweed. Sargasso issues in the Riviera Maya may occur during certain times of year, but Grand Velas is the most proficient of keeping it cleaned up! They actually installed large tubes along the shore, pumped with sand, this really helps with the sargassum and protects the beach from erosion and waves.

Does the Grand Velas resort offer baby sitting services?

Yes! Ask your concierge to assist. It’s not free but we’ve had amazing sitter service there ($20 US per hour).

Are tips included at Grand Velas?

I know they say tips are included but the extra is appreciated and goes directly to the people making your experience amazing. We always tip everyone at the hotel. Bellman, housekeeping, pool attendants, servers, breakfast cooks, concierge, spa. You’ll need more cash than you think.

Are the Resorts of the Riviera Maya safe?

When you stay at the Grand Velas or any other resorts nearby, you can unwind and take pleasure in a stunning Caribbean holiday worry-free. Cancun and Riviera Maya are also well-known for its safety. Playa del Carmen, along with other popular travel destinations in Mexico, is safe and see millions of visitors every year.

Top attractions close to Grand Velas Riviera Maya:

If you’re an outdoors enthusiast, take advantage of the resort’s proximity to world-class golf courses. Embark on guided tours to explore the Riviera Maya’s natural wonders and cultural attractions. Visit ancient Mayan ruins such as Tulum or Chichen Itza, go zip-lining in the jungle, or swim in cenotes (natural sinkholes).  

Let’s Wrap This Up!

You will go beyond an All-Inclusive vacation at Grand Velas Riviera Maya.
Savor gourmet cuisine from renowned chefs, where the Caribbean Sea meets the Yucatan jungle. Unwind on the white sand beach or lounge by the infinity pool, with great ocean views, paired with attentive service. Join an exciting excursion to explore lush jungles, underwater caves or Mayan ruins.

If you have this amazing resort booked already, we are so excited for you. If you are debating, go for it! The Grand Velas is luxury vacations re-defined. 

Looking for Awesome Things to do in Cancun and the Riviera Maya?

Feel free to leave us a comment, questions or your own reviews below.

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