My partner and I are just back from a week's stay at the Blue Diamond Riviera Maya. It was, overall, a great experience, but I wanted to make sure I wrote this immediately so as not to forget anything.
Arrival/Check In: We arrived late due to United. We arrived 4 hours late on a Saturday evening. Thankfully, check in was quick and easy and we were in our room (a second floor Palafitos Jr. Suite) in no time. Our butler, Hervik, took time to go over everything with us. We made it to dinner at 9:30 pm (dinner service ends at 10 pm). Some reviews here have mentioned a surprise "donation" added to their bill which showed up on the last day. They now tell you about this at check-in and that the donation goes toward cancer research and other good deeds there in Mexico. They also allow you to opt out right there at check in.
Room: The second floor Palafitos Jr. Suite has a roof top deck. We loved the room. It was spacious and, best of all, it was very close to the beach/pools and the Aguamarina restaurant and Ceviche Tapas place. Unlike some of the reviews here, we had turndown service faithfully every single night we were there. And we were there for a week. The room was kept spotless due to twice-daily service. The view from the roof-top deck was wonderful. The biggest problem with our stay, however, involved the room. During the days the air-conditioning kept the room around 78 degrees (F). Even though we set the A/C to lowest temp, it never got below 73 degrees (F), and that was usually around 4 AM in the morning. We slept on top of the sheets. We did ask for something to be done three times. After the third try, we gave up and got used to it. This remains the one thing that put a blemish on our stay. And it is why we give this resort 4 stars and not 5 stars. Even a Motel 6 can provide A/C, and Blue Diamond could not. One staff person told us this is a common complaint.
Dining: We never had a bad meal here. Service was wonderful. And despite so many reviews stating dinner service is slow, we did not find that to be true at all. Sometimes, we actually felt it was a bit too quick between courses. But this is very subjective, as are discussions of food. We were also worried about the fact there are two restaurants when many other resorts we have stayed at have 4-8. But Aguamarina rotates between Mayan, Mexican, and Cote d'Azur. And there are also specials every night, so we never got bored of the menu. The menu at the slightly more upscale Ambar is set, but they also have daily specials that change. We thought the food was very good, much better than at many all-inclusive resorts. The complimentary wines poured were decent and included Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and a very good Malbec from Argentina. We don't drink white wine, so I cannot share much on that regard.
With regard to service at meals, it was outstanding. We had one bad server. We got him the first night when we arrived late for dinner and it was clear he was annoyed that we sat for dinner at 9:45 pm. Sadly, we had him for dinner one other night, and he was equally unengaged. But this was not the norm by far. every other meal we had the servers were wonderful. We had a server named Luis several times, and he was fantastic.
Bar Service: Outstanding. The daytime bartender, Jesus, is friendly, helpful, and after a few days almost seemed like family to us. You will never be without a drink in the pool area. Service on the beach is a bit slower, but still good.
Property: The grounds here are both manicured and natural jungle. It is stunning. The buildings are beginning to show their age, but we saw people doing maintenance work all the time to try to keep up. The beach is very small, but it is still lovely. The spa area is gorgeous. I am amazed they don't try to market this resort as an Eco-Luxe resort, because it really is naturally beautiful. Lots of birds and wildlife to be seen here. We loved that aspect of it a lot.
Activities: This is a very laid back and quiet resort. That is what we wanted, so we loved it. If you want parties and nightlife, this is not the resort for you. Our room package came with two 25 minute massages, along with the usually offered activities one can book for free. My partner did the Temzcal ritual and said it was intense but great. We did the cocktail making class. We booked the snorkeling excursion, but the weather conditions meant it was canceled. Apparently, it is often canceled.
Checkout: Our transfer back to the airport was at 1:40 pm, but checkout was at noon. They sent someone to collect us and our luggage. We checked out and then were transported by golf cart back down to the beach where we lounged, had lunch and some drinks before being carted back to the lobby for our pick up. It was all handled very well.
Final words: We loved our week here and would return again. Despite the air-conditioning problems, everything else was just fantastic. It would have to be to counter the air conditioning problems, but somehow it does. My last word to potential visitors, swing by the bank before you go and grab some singles and some fives. We tipped the housekeeper $5 per day and the dinner service $5 per dinner. Lunches $3 and breakfasts $2. We tip a $1 for drinks most of the time. I know the website says gratuities are included, but the majority of people working here make less than 100 pesos a day. The restaurant servers often make 78 pesos a day ($4 USD). This is not per hour but per day! We just bring $200 in small bills because it means a great deal to the staff. And they really appreciate it. If you are working your butt off serving meals for 8 hours a day and making $4 USD, tips can make or break it for these folks who work so hard and have families.
So, final word: We will go back, just not in summer when it is hot because we do not trust the A/C systems there.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- On the pristine coast of the world famous Riviera Maya, Blue Diamond Riviera Maya is a sanctuary of breathtaking beauty and peace, surrounded by nature mixed with luxury. This exclusive hideaway is set in 36 acres of lush tropical jungle, well manicured gardens and a spectacular palm filled white sandy beaches along the turquoise – colored Caribbean Sea, offering unparalleled pampering and rejuvenation. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Blue Diamond Luxury Boutique Hotel Playa Del Carmen, Mexico - Riviera Maya