I just returned from a trip to Barcelo Maya Grand Resort in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. If you read my last blog about my trip to Cancun, you know I’m a little bit wary about resort travel. Though I was fond of my resort trip to Cancun, I was still nervous about visiting Barcelo Maya Grand Resort as it’s a much larger property (like 10x, in fact).
I am happy to report, there were many things that I loved about my stay at Barcelo. I visited the resort during Festival Gourmet Barcelo, a food festival that they hold every year of which I was able to participate in nightly with five-course meals and drink pairings. What’s not to love about that? I was also present during Mexico’s Independence Day, and the celebrations were, as you guessed it, really fun! However, I’d love to focus this blog post on four aspects that I loved about the resort that you can experience year-round, for though they will always have celebrations on Independence Day and hold the food festival each year, you might not be able to visit during that week.
So here goes — four things I loved about Barcelo Maya Grand Resort that I know you will, too.
Barcelo Maya Grand Resort is made up of five resorts across one large property. I stayed in the Premium level of the Barcelo Maya Grand Caribe resort. The suite that I stayed in was one of a line of suites that had access to a private swim-out pool. The water was a great temperature, I had an awesome water chair to relax on, and it was complemented by an outdoor Jacuzzi. I would highly advise visitors to stay in these suites if possible, as they also offer free Wi-Fi, a private butler, and a front row seat to the pool, beach, gym and spa building.
The gym and spa
I have never been to a hotel that had such an impressive gym as the one that I found at Barcelo Maya Grand Resort. It was extremely spacious, had brand new top-notch equipment, a studio section for fitness classes like Zumba and spin classes, and a helpful front desk that offered towels and water. As someone who has a specific weightlifting regimen, I was happy to find equipment to cover all of my exercise needs.
The spa at Barcelo Maya Grand Resort was equally impressive. I was able to experience the hydrotherapy circuit (free for Premium level guests and free for those who book spa services) which included aromatherapy showers, a Turkish Hamman, sauna, hot tub, cold plunge pool, and large outdoor hydromassage pool. It was a very relaxing and beautiful area. I also had a 25-minute massage during my stay and though I’m always a bit wary of hotel massages, I had an excellent one! Candi, my masseuse, properly worked on my problem areas (my poor neck and shoulders are always tight!) with the right amount of pressure.
Though I didn’t use the services, there was a Kids Spa, a hair salon, and an area to receive beauty treatments like manicures and pedicures.
Playa del Carmen is known for having some of the most beautiful beaches along the coast and as Barcelo Maya Grand Resort is located on the edge of Playa, it had a great beach. The beach at the resort had a very natural vibe with lots of palm trees and a long coastline. Though all beaches in Mexico are technically “public beaches,” the property is walled off by jungle on both sides so everyone on the beach were resort guests. The water was warm and calm most days, the sand was smooth and soft, and there was plenty of loungers on the beach to relax on. All in all — I loved it.
Though beaches are what drive visitors to Barcelo Maya Grand Resort, many guests are unaware that just across the street are beautiful natural wonders of Mexico — cenotes. I literally walked five minutes from the resort, across the higway to the cenotes, which are underground fresh water systems that you can explore by snorkeling. There’s a couple of cenotes across the street that you can check out. Cenote Cristalino is a small cenote that costs around $10 (though I got lucky and saw it for free!). The water is so clear and perfect for snorkeling. I saw many beautiful fish!
Just a few yards from this cenote is Kantun Chi, a cenote eco-park with four cenotes that you can explore on your own for $29 USD or with a guide for $59. Unfortunately, I hadn’t brought enough cash with me so I was unable to explore Kantun Chi which was a real shame as it looked like a fun, cool experience. Next time!