Barcelo Maya Colonial & Tropical Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Riviera Maya, Mexico

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • On a mile-long, white-sand beach 15 minutes south of Playa del Carmen
  • Spacious rooms with flat-screen TVs and minibars
  • 3 huge free-form pools, plus a Jacuzzi and an Olympic-size pool
  • 8 on-site restaurants, plus 4 others at neighboring sister property
  • Upscale spa with couples treatments and salon services
  • Family-friendly: kids’ and teens clubs, family rooms, kids’ spa, and a kiddy pool
  • Fitness center with sauna and steam room
  • Free non-motorized water sports available daily

Cons

  • Fee for Wi-Fi (except for Club Premium guests); only one device can be connected at a time
  • Some restaurants at sister property have subpar food
  • No in-room iPod docks

Bottom Line

The 1,012-room Colonial & Tropical is an upper-middle-range all-inclusive resort located right on a white-sand beach just south of Playa del Carmen. It offers several huge pools, eight restaurants, and a long list of activities for all ages. While many types of travelers can appreciate the hotel’s extensive features, the hotel seems to cater mostly to families, with great kid-friendly extras such as a kiddy pool, kids’ and teens clubs, and spacious rooms that can accommodate up to five guests.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

A sprawling family-friendly complex shared with two other Barcelo hotels

The Barcelo Maya Colonial & Tropical is the upper-middle-range option within the Barcelo complex, shared with the upscale Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe and the budget-friendly Barcelo Maya Caribe & Beach. It’s got all the all-inclusive staples -- gorgeous pools, slew of amenities, and multiple dining options.

The hotel comprises two buildings -- the Colonial and the Tropical, both equal is size and with the same room types and amenities. For extra luxury, the Club Premium level offers privileges such as private concierge services, free 24-hour room service, and free Wi-Fi throughout the property. The colonial-style buildings in bright colors are set on lush tropical grounds, which are maintained by dozens of gardeners.

The Colonial & Tropical shares most of its features with the Caribe & Beach hotel, but guests staying in the latter do not have access to the Colonial’s restaurants. However, those staying at the Palace -- which is the most luxurious of the three properties in the Barcelo complex -- do have access to every feature and restaurant found in all other properties (and the reverse is not true, which makes the Palace more exclusive). The Colonial & Tropical and the Caribe & Beach share the fitness center, the teens club, and all the sports facilities, including the 18-hole mini-golf course and the tennis and basketball courts.

A shuttle running every 15 to 20 minutes from early in the morning to late at night in peak season takes guests from one hotel to the other, but waits can be longer in off-peak and it’s sometimes easier to just walk, especially because of the hotel’s location right in the center of the resort. However, there’s little shade, so those who plan to explore on foot might want to bring a hat.

A plus here is the 24/7 All-Inclusive Plan, which is available to all guests and consists of snacks and drinks in the lobby bar through the night. It’s usually just small sandwiches and slices of pizza, plus a few sweets, but it’s convenient for guests who had an early reservation for dinner.

There are activities at the main pool and the sun deck around it through the day, but music stops no later than 7 p.m., so guests looking to spend some quiet time in their rooms won’t be disturbed by loud house beats after the sun sets. Note that the Club Premium rooms are the ones closest to the pools and the beach, and so might experience more noise during the day when the windows are open.

 Location

On a white-sand beach just over 15 minutes south of Playa del Carmen

The Barcelo Maya Colonial & Tropical is located inside the Barcelo complex, a self-contained resort between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. There’s nothing within walking distance aside from a handful of resorts, but a 15-minute cab ride gets you to dining, shopping and nightlife in Playa del Carmen. However, most guests don’t venture outside the resort at all, and spend the day lounging by the pool or on the lovely beach. Half and full day trips to nearby Xel-Ha natural park, the Tulum Maya ruins, and other sights can be booked at the hotel.

It used to be the home of the ancient Mayans, and after that a small fishing village, but now Playa del Carmen -- or "Playa," as the locals call it -- is full of exciting nightclubs, popular restaurants, cute boutiques, and resort hotels that sit on lovely white-sand beaches. Because many of the businesses are European-run, the rest of the town retains a hint of European flair. The main tourist thoroughfare of Playa is the cobblestone-lined, pedestrian street Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue), but there are plenty of fun outdoor activities for visitors, too, such as snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, and sailing. The offshore reef is part of the second largest reef system in the world, Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.

  • 42-minute drive to Cancun International Airport
  • 16-minute drive to Xcaret Eco Theme Park
  • 18-minute drive to Playa del Carmen
  • 20-minute drive to Playa del Carmen ferry terminal to Cozumel
  • 39-minute drive to Xel-Ha natural park
  • 45-minute drive to Tulum ruins
  • 46-minute drive to Puerto Morelos
  • 1-hour-10-minute drive to Cancun
  • 1-hour-30-minute drive to Coba ruins
  • 3-hour drive to Chichen Itza ruins

 Rooms

Large rooms that can sleep up to five guests

With 1,012 rooms, the Colonial & Tropical is certainly big, but the layout in two separate buildings shaped like a "T" makes it feel smaller. Unlike the more luxurious Palace, the property does offer standard rooms (called Superior Rooms), which have a smaller living area than the other room types, but the same amenities.

Rooms are spacious and bright, with large windows that open onto private balconies or terraces with garden or pool views. Note that rooms labeled oceanfront have only partial ocean views at best. The hotel offers eight handicap-accessible Superior Rooms and a few connecting rooms for families.

Club Premium rooms are located closest to the beach and the pools, and offer extra services and amenities, including free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel; pool towels in the room; access to the Club Premium Lounge; private concierge services; free 24-hour room service; unlimited access to a la carte restaurants, and 20 percent off at the spa and salon.

  • All rooms have either a king bed or two double beds with an assortment of pillows.
  • Large bathrooms with walk-in showers, rain showerheads, and separate soaking tubs
  • Hotel-brand toiletries in large containers
  • Flat-screen TVs with cable channels
  • Minibars stocked with beer, water, sodas and snacks
  • Wi-Fi and wired Internet access for a fee (free for Club Premium guests)
  • Ceiling fans and individually controlled air-conditioning units
  • Coffeemakers with free regular and decaf coffee
  • Superior Rooms and Suites Club Premium have a day bed in the living area; Junior Suites have two, and Family Junior Suites have three day beds in the living room.
  • Suite Club Premium and Master Suites Club Premium have a separate half bathroom.

 Pool

Huge, gorgeous pools with two swim-up bars, a whirlpool, and daily activities

The pools are the highlight of the property, and feature two swim-up bars and a huge whirlpool. There are a total of three pools, including a kiddy pool and an Olympic-size one. The main pool is the center stage of the daytime activities such as aquaerobics classes.

  • Main pool with two swim-up bars
  • Daytime activities such as aquaerobics classes
  • Kiddy pool with water park as well as shaded area with loungers and hammocks
  • Olympic-size pool with basketball hoops
  • Guests also have access to the pools at the Barcelo Maya Caribe & Beach next door.
  • No poolside service, but there are two bars in the pool area

 Fitness Center

Open-air fitness center with tons of equipment and an air-conditioned cardio room

The hotel’s fitness center is located between the hotel and its sister property, the Barcelo Maya Caribe & Beach, and is shared with guests staying there. The strength training area is housed in a huge palapa with high ceilings and ceiling fans. The enclosed cardio room, equipped with ellipticals, recumbent bikes, cycling machines, and stair machines, has air-conditioning units as well as ceiling fans. The hotel provides towels and water, and there is steam bath in the locker room.

 Spa

Relaxing spa with a long list of treatments, beach massage huts, salon services, and a "sweat lodge" -- plus a kids' spa

The U-Spa is located in the common area shared with the hotel’s sister properties, and is located between the Colonial and Caribe hotels.

  • Wellness area with 22 treatment rooms -- including a gorgeous one for couples -- as well as a flotation tank and Vichy and Swiss showers
  • The salon offers everything from manicures and waxing to packages for brides.
  • Couples Room with a round Jacuzzi, two massage beds, a starred dome, and dim mood lighting that can be adapted to the guests taste.
  • Temazcal sessions include a traditional ritual and a purification ceremony with medicinal plants in a circular "sweat lodge" similar to a steam room.
  • Kids’ Spa offers hairdressing, manicures, and even make-up sessions. The spa can arrange birthday parties with beauty sessions for kids.
  • Club Premium guests get 20 percent off all spa treatments.

 Family

A great pick for families with young kids and teens

The Colonial & Tropical is popular with for its great kid-friendly features, including an excellent kids’ club, teens club, rooms that can accommodate up to five guests, and a kiddy pool.

  • Superior Rooms can accommodate up to three guests, one of them in a day bed in the living area.
  • Junior Suites feature one king bed or two double beds, plus two day beds in the living area.
  • Family Suites have one room with a king bed, plus a separate area with three day beds.
  • Suites feature a king bed plus a day bed and a half bathroom.
  • Free cribs
  • Kids’ menu at all buffets
  • Kiddy pool with water park
  • Babysitting services for a fee
  • Kids’ Spa offering hair services and manicures
  • Barcy Kid’s Club offers supervised activities and movie nights for children four to 12.
  • Teens Center with videogames, books and sports
  • Mini-golf course, tennis and basketball courts, and soccer field

 Food

Eight restaurants, plus access to two more at neighboring Barcelo Maya Caribe & Beach

The resort features eight on-site restaurants -- including two buffets and four a la carte restaurants -- and offers guests access to four other dining options at the Barcelo Maya Caribe & Beach, located next door. Guests can also dine at the Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe's gourmet restaurants for a fee.

The four on-site a la carte restaurants are open for dinner only and require reservations. Club Premium guests have unlimited access to a la carte restaurants. Note that some restaurants close during off-peak season (September and October), and that guests staying at the Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe have access to all of the resort’s restaurants.

  • Two buffets, both with special sections for kids
  • Four a la carte restaurants: Marenostrum (seafood), Kyoto (Japanese), Capri (Italian), and Santa Fe Steakhouse.
  • Two grills near the beach and the pools serving snacks, small bites, and drinks.
  • Bar Puebla is open 24 hours, and offers drinks and coffee, as well as small bites throughout the night.

 Drinks

Six bars, including two happening swim-up bars and a 24-hour lobby lounge with snacks

The Colonial & Tropical has six bars on-site, plus three other options at the Barcelo Maya Caribe & Beach. All serve domestic beverages.

  • Bar Puebla is the Colonial’s 24-hour lobby bar. It offers drinks and snacks through the night.
  • Tequila is the Tropical’s lobby bar, but it is not open 24 hours a day.
  • The swim-up bars are located at the pools, and have shaded outdoor seating under a palapa.
  • Mariachi and Palmeras are close to the pools and the beach, and offer drinks from early in the morning to late afternoon.
  • La Habana Cigar Lounge opens before dinner and closes late at night.
  • The theater’s bar is open from dinnertime to late night.
  • Jaguar’s, the nightclub, has no cover and serves unlimited Mexican-brand drinks.

 All-Inclusive

Everything is included -- except for motorized water sports, spa services, and Wi-Fi.

The all-inclusive plan at Barcelo Maya Colonial & Tropical covers everything from non-motorized water sports to domestic drinks at all bars. Motorized water sports and services such as babysitting, room service, and massages are not included, and Wi-Fi is only free for Club Premium guests.

  • Welcome drink
  • All meals at the buffet restaurants, and dinner at a la carte restaurants (subject to availability)
  • Snacks and drinks 24 hours a day
  • In-room minibars restocked daily
  • Free entrance to nightclub, and all domestic drinks
  • Access to all fitness and sports facilities in the resort
  • One hour free use of snorkeling equipment per day
  • One free diving lesson per week at the main pool
  • All tips included (but waiters and bartenders will appreciate extra tips)
  • Free guest shuttle between the three hotels at the Barcelo complex

 Services

Concierge service and free daily restocking of the minibar.

  • Fee for Wi-Fi (free for Club Premium guests)
  • Welcome drink
  • Daily restocking of in-room minibars with bottled water, sodas, beer, and snacks
  • Free guest shuttle between Barcelo properties in the complex; runs from early in the morning to late at night.
  • Free water sports; fee for motorized water sports
  • Fee for night lighting at tennis courts
  • Shopping mall selling traditional Mexican souvenirs and clothing
  • Weekly Catholic service at the chapel
  • Tours desk in the lobby
  • Wedding planner on-site
  • 24-hour room service (for a fee)

 Entertainment

Daily activities at the pool and nightly shows

The Colonial & Tropical offers a wide array of activities for all ages. Guests can take a salsa lessons, participate in aquaerobics at the pool, and play tennis. At night, guests with a little extra energy can catch the nightly show at the theater or head to the nightclub for late-night dancing.

  • Daily activities by the pool
  • On-site theater with live music five nights a week, plus two other theaters at its sister properties
  • Jaguar’s nightclub is located between Colonial and Caribe buildings; no cover and unlimited free domestic drinks

 Beach

Directly on a mile-long, white-sand beach with turquoise waters

The Colonial & Tropical is located directly on a beautiful beach just south of Playa del Carmen. It is a private mile-long stretch of sand shared only with its neighboring sister properties, so guests are not bothered by outside vendors. The hotel does not provide umbrellas, but there are dozens of palm trees that create a large shaded area.

  • Free use of hotel loungers and beach towels
  • Several lifeguards on duty across the beach
  • No beach bar, but beach grills have drinks and light meals

 Physical Activities

Seven tennis courts lit for night play, a mini-golf course, and water sports.

  • Seven tennis courts, all lit for night play; loaner equipment available at no extra charge, but fee for the use of night lighting
  • Non-motorized water sports included in all-inclusive rate; fee for motorized water sports
  • Basketball court and archery field
  • Mini-golf course located between the Colonial and Caribe buildings
  • Professional soccer field shared with the other two Barcelo properties
  • Pitch and Putt at Caribe property
  • Aquaerobics and Latin dance lessons, plus beach volley and pool basketball tournaments

 Business and Conventions

One of Riviera Maya’s largest convention centers on-site, and rooms for all types of events

The Colonial & Tropical is a good pick for those planning a corporate event-- it’s not only home to one of the largest convention centers in Riviera Maya, but also offers six flexible meeting rooms with audiovisual equipment and catering services.

  • Convention Center with theater-style layout and 1,300 seats
  • Six flexible meeting rooms with high-speed Internet access; audiovisual equipment available
  • Catering and secretarial services
  • Business center free for Club Premium members only
  • Messenger service available

 Weddings

Wedding planner on-site, plus two chapels and several wedding packages

The hotel is a popular wedding destination both for its beautiful setting on a white-sand beach and for the myriad wedding services it offers. The hotel can accommodate small to mid-sized civil, religious and even Maya-style weddings in different locations inside the resort. For civil ceremonies, the Colonial & Tropical provides couples with all necessary documentation.

  • Wedding department on-site
  • Chapel housed in an open palapa for religious ceremonies
  • Small chapel on the beach
  • Mayan or spiritual weddings are performed by a shaman.
  • Translation services can be arranged through the wedding coordinator
  • Some packages include live music; bands, mariachis, and DJs can be hired by the hour (for a fee)
  • Vow renewal ceremonies can also be arranged through the wedding planner

 Eco-Friendly

Waste and water consumption reduction practices.

The Colonial & Tropical has been awarded the Earth Check certificate, which is an environmental management and certification program that helps the travel and tourism industry "monitor, measure and manage its environmental, social and economic impacts." The program is geared towards the reduction of waste and water consumption.

 Handicap

The hotel has eight handicap-accessible rooms.

  • Wider room doorways and lowered light switches in handicap-accessible rooms
  • Handicap bathrooms have lowered showerheads, rails, sinks, toilets and telephones
  • Sliding bathroom and closet doors in handicap-accessible rooms
  • Ramps in all buildings and common areas

 Safety

Within a gated resort shared with two other Barcelo properties

While Riviera Maya is a safe tourist destination, most resorts have some sort of security at the entrance. The Barcelo Maya Colonial & Tropical is located inside a sprawling oceanfront resort shared with two other Barcelo properties -- the Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe and the Barcelo Maya Beach & Caribe. The beach is exclusive for Barcelo guests, so no outside vendors can access it.

When arriving by taxi or shuttle from the airport, the staff take the driver’s and guest’s names before waving them in.

 Bottom Line

The 1,012-room Colonial & Tropical is an upper-middle-range all-inclusive resort located right on a white-sand beach just south of Playa del Carmen. It offers several huge pools, eight restaurants, and a long list of activities for all ages. While many types of travelers can appreciate the hotel’s extensive features, the hotel seems to cater mostly to families, with great kid-friendly extras such as a kiddy pool, kids’ and teens clubs, and spacious rooms that can accommodate up to five guests.

Things You Should Know About Barcelo Maya Colonial & Tropical

Address

  • Puerto Juarez, Km 266.3, Puerto Aventuras 77750, Mexico

Room Types

  • Deluxe Room
  • Family Room
  • Junior Suite Deluxe Ocean View Club Premium
  • Master Suite Deluxe Ocean View Club Premium
  • Suite Deluxe

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 480
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet Access: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Kids Club: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Riviera Maya, Mexico
Address: Puerto Juarez, Km 266.3, Puerto Aventuras 77750, Mexico
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