Nothing beats a luxurious stay in a tropical destination at virtually no cost, and this September I got to book a week in a 3200 sqft 3-bedroom spa suite at one of the most luxurious and grandest resorts in Mexico with eight of my friends for an affordable rate.
Grand Luxxe Riviera Maya is one of five resorts residing in the Vidanta resort property near Playa del Carmen. The other four are The Bliss, the Grand Bliss, the Grand Mayan and the Mayan Palace. Each one of these resorts is different from the other and has certain exclusivities but they all have communal areas, pools and restaurants. The Grand Luxxe was especially higher end with its four spa towers consisting of abundantly spacial multiple-bedroom suites, along with other perks! Okay, so you’re probably wondering how we managed to stay at such a resort. Here’s how…
My mom’s timeshare/property ownership with the Wilderness Club allows access to the Registry Collection, a collection of hotels and resorts around the world that owners can book by exchanging points that they receive when they book a week at their own timeshare/property. In this case, my mom had a bunch of points that were expiring at the end of 2018 with no one else using them, so I jumped on them and grabbed whatever I could with those points! There are fees tied to the booking of any trip, including an exchange fee as well as a guest certificate since we traveled without the owner (i.e. Mom), but that divided by 9 people was a steal! All other trip expenses, including food, flights and excursions we paid in full.
The suite was definitely big enough for the nine of us. It has a kitchen, dining room/living room, two master rooms each with a king-size bed, a connected master bathroom (walk-in shower, jetted bathtub, two sinks, closet and all that jazz) and wall-to-ceiling sliding doors that open to the balcony; the third bedroom is larger with two queens and its own full bathroom (just no jetted tub). The main master room is connected to a massage room built for private massages and the balcony doors open straight to the plunge pool. Yes, there is a plunge pool on the balcony!
I usually get turned off by hotels/resorts that don’t provide free high-speed wifi, although most high-end accommodations charge extra for it. So I was particularly excited that my free wifi needs were met at Vidanta! I can often tell how bougee a place is by the fact that the room is made twice daily, and yes, the lovely housekeepers made our rooms and cleaned our communal areas twice every day!
Grand Luxxe has access to three different pools. It has its own exclusive pool as well as a fantastic beach view burger restaurant right by the pool. All the resorts have access to the massive Mayan Palace pool, open 24 hours, and its two pool bars. This one has tons of seating and cabanas all around. The last and nicest pool is The Beach Club for guests and residents at the Grand Bliss and Grand Luxxe. When you arrive at the pool, there’s a beautiful granite reception area where they reserve seating/a cabana for you and your group, which can be curtained off for some privacy. The Beach Club is showcased in the pool photos above and the one below!
As you might assume, all guests have access to the fitness centre, spa, beach, massive golf course and almost all the restaurants, lounges and bars. At the property’s main lobby, there is a massive parking lot as well as a car rental place (yes, you can rent a car from within the resort property!)
Vidanta’s Riviera Maya location is well known for its permanent Cirque du Soleil show, JOYÀ , and its iconic flower-like theatre building. Just another great reason to stay at the resort!
Since we had a kitchen, we didn’t eat out at the resort as much as other guests might have. We were able to be privately driven to and from the Wal-mart in Playa del Carmen for groceries and have our groceries be delivered to our suite, and the resort’s boutique has a food item aisle to buy a few cooking essentials as well so it was extremely easy to make our own food. But the times we dined out on the property were amazing. There are 27 restaurants and bars so more than you could choose from! Each place has different price points, food styles, opening hours and needs for reservation. The breakfast buffet at the Restaurante del Lago as well as the Custom Made burger restaurant for Grand Luxxe guests are ones that I highly recommend trying!
The Overlookable Downsides
Unfortunately, we don’t get full access to everything on the resort, for example the swimming pools. Some fantastic pools including the Mayan Sanctuary pool (see photo below) and the Grand Mayan Infinity pool are only accessible to guests of those resorts. Some of the restaurants are exclusive as well. However, this is also an advantage for guests who enjoy more privacy, vacancy and exclusivity.
Although the Internet is high-speed and free for all devices in the suite, only three devices have wifi access everywhere on the resort property outside of the room at one time. So unless you’re comfortable booting your suite-mates off the server and they’re okay with it, you’re likely going to want to switch your data on if you have a severe attachment to your phone and social media life.
Walking around the resort can be nice and peaceful on the walkways, but the property can start to become overwhelmingly massive. Most spots on the property are better to get to by buggy but the buggies don’t always run on time. Sometimes you’ll find yourself making a run for it, but often you’ll be waiting for it. So be prepared and give yourself tons of time to get to your destinations! Especially to the central lobby if you’re on your way out of the resort and have a tour bus to catch.
The Final Rating
I can’t stress on this more but Vidanta met my expectations and then some. It was the most luxurious stay I’ve had without my family and I can’t wait to go back or to visit their Nuevo Vallarta location. The group and I had the time of our lives and I see us booking another trip with Vidanta very soon!
If you’d like to book with Vidanta Group, I suggest checking out some vacation home rental websites such as HomeAway and Airbnb and bringing as many people along for the ride. The Grand Luxxe even has 4-bedroom suites, villas and lofts at their Nuevo Vallarta location, which can fit a sizable party. You could be looking at your next affordable luxury vacay in no time!
Disclosure: This post is in no way sponsored by any of the mentioned brands and it is strictly a review of my experience. All photos, with exception to the last, are owned by Grupo Vidanta with all rights reserved.