Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Concierge service and free daily restocking of the minibar.
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.
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.
Seven tennis courts lit for night play, a mini-golf course, and water sports.
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.
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.
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.
The hotel has eight handicap-accessible rooms.
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.
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.