A la carte restaurants require advance reservations
Buffet restaurants receive mixed reviews
Some complaints about construction noise
Bars by pool and beach may close on the early side
Service can sometimes be slow to individual rooms
The 672-room Grand Riviera Princess All Suites Resort and Spa is a hacienda-like big resort outside of Playa del Carmen. There are a plethora of options at the hotel and its sister property Grand Sunset Princess: nine bars, seven restaurants, 12 pools, and a variety of sports on-site (tennis, scuba lessons, a fitness center, and more). The resort is meticulously manicured and laid out around a network of pools and outdoor lounge areas. Multiple guests have noted that upgrading to platinum status can significantly cut check-in time and provide access to more desirable rooms. Rooms are contemporary and chic with modern bathrooms; some rooms are swim-out. There is a spa with indoor pool and big fitness center, but there's a fee for internet and the buffet restaurants receive mixed reviews. There is no significant difference between the Grand Sunset and Grand Riviera as all features are shared, so book at whichever side has cheaper rates.
Beautiful beachfront megaresort with plenty of activity options, particularly for families and couples
Connected to its sister property, the Grand Sunset Princess, the hotel occupies a vast complex attractively laid out around 12 pools on a beautiful stretch of uninterrupted beach near Playa del Carmen. Fashioned after a Spanish hacienda, this resort has bright, airy lobbies with marble floors, doric columns, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Room buildings are never more than a few floors tall, which contributes to a more relaxed atmosphere than can be found at resorts with tall towers -- however, it also means the grounds are sprawling, so guests should be prepared to walk or take the resort shuttle. There grounds are beautiful and well-maintained, though some have noted that the pool bathrooms seem to be cleaned once a day only. The resort appeals to families and couples in large part, though it is also sometimes frequented by groups of partiers.
40-minute drive from Cancun airport, a short walk to the beach
The Grand Riviera Princess sits a few hundred yards from a long stretch of sandy white beach 40 minutes south of Cancun and a 15-minute drive from the tourist town of Playa del Carmen. The resort has a shuttle bus that runs into Playa del Carmen for a small fee. There's also a trolley to shuttle guests to the beach; the resort is sprawling, so guests that don't use the shuttle shoud expect a fair amount of walking to get around.
Some swim-up rooms; all with updated fixtures and elegant, minimalist decor
Decor varies by room type, but all of the 672 rooms are sleek and contemporary, with chic padded headboards, tile floors, sleek wood accents, and rainfall showerheads. All rooms have ceiling fans, air-conditioning, and flat-screen TVs. Larger rooms and suites -- some of which are designated adult-only -- have private whirlpools, direct access to pools, and bathrobes/slippers. Platinum Suites have access to adults-only pools. Those worried about theft (which can happen occasionally anywhere, including here) may want to employ the safe deposit box that is available in all rooms, and ensure it is in good working order. Minibars are stocked with soda, water, and a few beers.
Plenty of restaurant options (though average food) as well as multiple pools and bars
Reservations and a dress code are both required at the seven à la carte restaurants; it is recommended that dinners in these restaurants be booked several days in advance. The food at both the a la carte restaurants and the two buffets is generally average.
The hotel maintains a well-manicured stretch of beach with plenty of palapas and a bar with a daily BBQ; guests can reach it by walking (it's about a half mile from the lobby, and depending on the room location, it can be a bit of a trek) or by taking the resort trolley. An adults-only section of the beach is available for Platinum Guests. Note that staff members at the beach can sometimes be persistent in offering spa services.
The nine bars include several swim-up bars, as well as a 24-hour sports bar. The main pool can sometimes get a bit lively -- there are often plenty of people drinking at the swim-up bar here -- but there are a total of 12 pools across the property, including quieter adults-only options (one reserved for Platinum Guests only).
There is a well-equipped fitness center stocked with a good number of stationary bikes and exercise machines. There is a medical practitioner on staff 24 hours a day.
There are plenty of activities for kids, including a teen club, and babysitting is available for a fee. The Mini-Club for ages four to 12 has a pool and outdoor patio with games. There aren't many options for the three-and-under set, however, so the resort may be better suited for parents with older kids. There are plenty of activities adults will enjoy, too, including evening shows, and one scuba lesson per guest is covered under the all-inclusive rates.
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