Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe Rating: 4.5 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
  • Beautiful rooms with balconies, flat-screen TVs and iPod docks
  • 3 gorgeous pools, including an adults-only pool with a massage gazebo
  • 6 restaurants, plus access to 12 more at neighboring sister properties
  • Upscale spa with couples treatments and salon services
  • Family-friendly: kids' and teens club, family rooms, kids’ spa, kiddy pool
  • Fitness center with sauna and steam room
  • Free non-motorized sports

Cons

  • Fee for Wi-Fi (except for Club Premium guests); only one device can be connected at a time
  • Some restaurants at sister properties have subpar food
  • Hotel-brand toiletries

Bottom Line

The Palace offers a high-end all-inclusive experience on a gorgeous stretch of white-sand beach 15 minutes south of Playa del Carmen. It’s the smallest, newest and most upscale of the three properties in the Barcelo complex, with 756 beautiful rooms surrounded by gorgeous pools and manicured grounds. All rooms are Junior Suites or Suites with pretty bathrooms featuring separate showers and tubs. There’s a lot for everyone here, from couples to families to groups, but those who want to party will have to walk to the hotel's sister properties next door, and non-Club Premium guests should expect to pay for Wi-Fi.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

An upscale all-inclusive experience in a sprawling complex shared with other Barcelo hotels

The Barcelo Maya Palace, built in 2008, is the newest, smallest (by megaresort standards) and most luxurious property of the hotels in the Barcelo complex. It’s got everything one expects from a 4.5-pearl all-inclusive, including gorgeous pools, a slew of amenities, and solid food. From the lobby to the service and the rooms, everything here feels upscale. 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.

Guests staying in the Palace can use all the facilities at its sister properties, the Barcelo Maya Colonial & Tropical and the Barcelo Maya Caribe & Beach, but the reverse is not true, which makes the resort feel more serene and exclusive. The hotel has its own fitness center, gourmet and buffet restaurants, pools, and entertainment -- accessible only to Palace guests -- while the spa, kids’ spa, and beach are shared with the other Barcelo properties. A shuttle running every 15 to 20 minutes from morning until late night in peak season takes guests from one hotel to the other, but waits can be longer in off-peak season and it’s sometimes more convenient to walk. However, there’s little shade and distances can be long, so those who plan to explore on foot might want to bring a hat.

The hotel's "24/7 All-Inclusive Plan" is a plus, and means that snacks and drinks are available to all guests in the lobby bar throughout the night. Food usually consists of small sandwiches and slices of pizza, plus a few sweets.

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 15 minutes south of Playa del Carmen

The Barcelo Maya Palace is located inside the Barcelo complex, a self-contained resort area 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 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, the 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 Junior Suites and Suites with all the amenities expected from a 4.5-pearl resort -- minus the upscale toiletries

The 756-room Palace is actually the smallest of the three Barcelo properties in the complex. It’s also the most luxurious, so rooms here are a notch or two above the rest, with services that include daily restocking of the minibars, and classy, contemporary decor in deep reds and dark wood.

All rooms here are either Junior Suites or Suites that can accommodate up to five people, except for the Club Premium Suites and the two Presidential Suites, which can accommodate up to three guests. Views vary, but all rooms have a furnished balcony or a terrace overlooking the gardens or the pools. Note that rooms labeled oceanfront have only partial ocean views at best.

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.

The hotel offers eight handicap-accessible rooms.

  • Rooms start at 484 square feet, and have either a king bed or two double beds with an assortment of pillows.
  • Junior Suites have two day beds in the living area; Family Junior Suites have two twin beds and a day bed in the living area, as well as a guest bathroom.
  • Large bathrooms have walk-in showers with rain showerheads and separate soaking tubs.
  • Hotel-brand toiletries in large containers, plus sewing kits, combs, mouthwash and moisturizing lotion
  • Large flat-screen TVs with cable channels
  • iPod docks
  • Minibars restocked daily with Mexican beer, water, sodas and snacks
  • Wi-Fi and hard 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

 Pool

Huge, gorgeous pools with underwater loungers, a swim-up bar, and daily activities

The pools are a highlight of the resort. There are a total of four, including a water park for kids and an adults-only pool. The main pool has a water surface of 3,500 square feet and is the center stage of the daytime activities, with aquaerobics classes and entertainment, as well as a swim-up bar and underwater loungers. There’s music from morning until evening (ranging from salsa to lounge), but it doesn’t feel invasive.

  • Main pool with swim-up bar and activities; zero-entry area
  • Adults-only pool with cabana beds, a poolside bar, Jacuzzi, and massage gazebo
  • Kiddy pool with water park and shaded area with loungers and hammocks
  • Olympic-size pool with basketball hoops and volleyball net
  • Guests also have access to the pools at the adjacent sister properties.
  • Free poolside drink service; food service for a fee per item

 Fitness Center

Bright fitness center with up-to-date equipment, sauna, and steam room

While the fitness center is located a level below the lobby, it still gets tons of light through the arched windows facing a garden. The view, while not exciting, is pleasant. There are ellipticals, recumbent bikes, free weights and strength training machines, as well as Pilates balls and steps. The work-out area also has flat-screen TVs and free water. There are a sauna and a steam room in the locker room.

Guests can also use the gym at the hotel’s sister properties, but note that while its cardio room has air-conditioning, the strength training area features only ceiling fans and is housed in a palapa.

 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. It's a long walk or a short shuttle ride away from the Palace.

  • Wellness area with 22 treatment rooms -- including a beautiful 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.
  • Beach massage huts available

 Family

A great pick for families with kids and teens

The Palace has great family-friendly amenities, including a kids’ club, rooms that can accommodate up to five guests, and a kiddy pool.

  • 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 two twin beds, a day bed and a guest bathroom.
  • Free cribs
  • Kids’ section at all buffets
  • Water park for kids
  • 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 a soccer field

 Food

Six oceanfront restaurants, plus access to 12 more at neighboring sister properties

Guests at the Palace have six restaurants to choose from, as well as access to the 12 other restaurants at the hotels’ sister properties, located a 5- to 15-minute walk or a short (and free) shuttle ride away.

The three 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.

  • Two buffets -- one serving international cuisine and one serving Mexican fare; both have kids’ sections
  • Three a la carte restaurants: La Brasserie (French), Rodizio (Brazilian), and Caribe (seafood)
  • Coral Grill opens after breakfast and closes before dinner service begins. It offers a small buffet, drinks, coffee, and an a la carte menu of comfort food.

 Drinks

Five bars, including a happening swim-up bar and a 24-hour lobby lounge with snacks, all serving premium brands

The Palace is the only one of the three Barcelo properties in the complex offering top-shelf drinks as part of the all-inclusive package. There are five bars on-site, plus many more at the neighboring Barcelo properties -- but the latter offer national, non-premium brands.

  • Carey is the 24-hour lobby bar. It features outdoor seating, live music, and snacks through the night.
  • The theater bar opens after dinner and closes when the show ends.
  • The Lounge is located next to the Rodizio, and is open during dinner service.
  • Coco is the swim-up bar at the main pool; shaded outdoor seating under the palapa is available.
  • El Cielo is located at the adults-only pool, and serves drinks and comfort food.

 All-Inclusive

Almost everything is included here -- except for motorized water sports, spa services, Wi-Fi, and room service

The all-inclusive plan at Barcelo Maya Palace covers everything from non-motorized water sports to premium 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 the nightclub, including all domestic drinks
  • Access to all fitness and sports facilities in the resort
  • One hour of 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)
  • Access to amenities at sister properties in the resort; free guest shuttle between the three Barcelo hotels

 Services

Upscale services include concierges and free daily restocking of the minibars.

  • Fee for Wi-Fi (free for Club Premium guests); only one device can be connected at a time with the same login information.
  • 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 non-motorized water sports; fee for motorized water sports
  • Fee for night lighting at tennis courts
  • Shops selling jewelry and souvenirs, and a market offering traditional Mexican items
  • Underground covered parking
  • Business center with Internet access (free for Club Premium guests)
  • Weekly Catholic service at the chapel, located between the Colonial and Caribe resorts
  • Tour and concierge desks in the lobby
  • Wedding planner on-site
  • 24-hour room service (fees apply)

 Entertainment

Daily activities at the pool, and nightly shows

The Palace offers a wide array of activities for all ages. Guests can take a salsa lesson, work out with some aquaerobics at the pool, and play soccer all before dinner. At night, guests with a little extra energy can catch the nightly show at the 750-seat 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 Palace 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 nearby Coco poolside bar serves drinks and small bites

 Physical Activities

Tennis courts lit for night play, a mini-golf course, and water sports

The Palace has its own basketball and tennis courts (lit for night play for an extra fee) as well as its own archery field, but shares the rest of the sports facilities with the two other Barcelo properties on-site.

  • One tennis court at the Palace, plus seven others at its sister properties, all lit for night play; loaner equipment available at no extra charge, but fee for the use of lights
  • 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 volleyball and pool basketball tournaments

 Business and Conventions

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

The Palace 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 offers a wide array of elegantly appointed flexible meeting rooms.

  • Convention Center with theater-style layout and 1,300 seats; located by the Colonial & Tropical hotel
  • Thirteen flexible meeting rooms with high-speed Internet access and audiovisual equipment
  • 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 throughout the resort. For civil ceremonies, the Palace provides couples with all necessary documentation.

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

 Eco-Friendly

Initiatives for reduced waste and water consumption

The Palace 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 and a zero-entry pool.

  • Wider 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
  • Zero-entry pool

 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 Palace is located inside a sprawling oceanfront resort shared with two other Barcelo properties -- the Barcelo Maya Colonial & Tropical and the Barcelo Maya Beach & Caribe -- which has a gated entrance. The beach is exclusive for Barcelo guests, so no outside vendors can access it. There are lifeguards on duty seven days a week.

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

 Bottom Line

The Palace offers a high-end all-inclusive experience on a gorgeous stretch of white-sand beach 15 minutes south of Playa del Carmen. It’s the smallest, newest and most upscale of the three properties in the Barcelo complex, with 756 beautiful rooms surrounded by gorgeous pools and manicured grounds. All rooms are Junior Suites or Suites with pretty bathrooms featuring separate showers and tubs. There’s a lot for everyone here, from couples to families to groups, but those who want to party will have to walk to the hotel's sister properties next door, and non-Club Premium guests should expect to pay for Wi-Fi.

Things You Should Know About Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe

Address

  • Carretera Federal Chetumal - Puerto Juarez, Km 266.3, Puerto Aventuras 77750, Mexico

Room Types

  • Junior Suite Deluxe
  • Junior Suite Deluxe Ocean View Club Premium
  • Michoacan Presidential Suite
  • Oaxaca Presidential Suite
  • Suite Deluxe Ocean View Club Premium

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 756
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Kids Club: Yes
Jacuzzi: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Riviera Maya, Mexico
Address: Carretera Federal Chetumal - Puerto Juarez, Km 266.3, Puerto Aventuras 77750, Mexico
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