The Grand Velas Riviera Maya Resort is for those who like all-inclusive resorts and, especially, for those who don't. Situated on more than 80 acres in the Riviera Maya — not far from Playa del Carmen — Grand Velas is a rarity: an all-inclusive property that's earned AAA's highest rating of Five Diamonds.
The accommodations, located in three areas called "ambiances," rank as suites, not for their multiple rooms but because of their size. At 1,000 to 1,200 square feet, the rooms are larger than some city apartments. The adults-only Grand Class is beachfront. Of the two family options, the Zen units, set amid the tropical trees and mangrove thickets near the spa, require a shuttle ride to the beach and main buffet. The oceanfront Ambassador section is much more convenient.
At the supervised children's program, ages 4 to 12 make piñatas, fly kites, fashion jewelry and pair up for Wii tennis and bowling. Outdoors, teens play beach volleyball, swim and sunbathe. The new teen hangout features air hockey, foosball, billiards, Xbox and other games. During holidays and summer, the resort ramps up the teen program.
Grand Velas works well not just for families with grade-schoolers, but for those with college-age and adult children and for grandparents accustomed to luxury resorts with upmarket amenities. At the 89,000-square-foot spa, among the Caribbean's top-rated facilities, you and your family members age 16 and older relax first with a water journey. Soak aching shoulders under waterfall jets and soothe tight muscles with water sprays. Inhale calming herbal mixes in the steam room, slather on medicinal clay in another area, then shower and cool down in the ice room. Afterwards, indulge with a healing massage or treatment.
Unlike at many all-inclusives, the food is not only abundant, it's also good. Cocina de Autor, the resort's signature restaurant won a AAA Five Diamond award. Serving Spanish fare, the chef's inspiration for flavors and sauces comes from the items' chemical composition. Other good choices are Frida, the Mexican restaurant, and Sen Lin, the Asian restaurant.
Grand Velas isn't perfect. While the umbrella-shaded beach stretches for 1,000 feet, the swimming area is relatively small. Most families congregate around the large Ambassador pool with its ocean view.
Those wanting luxury and an all-inclusive price in Mexico's Riviera Maya will like Grand Velas Riviera Maya.
From: USA today