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 large hacienda-inspired resort outside of Playa del Carmen. There are a plethora of amenities shared between the hotel and its sister property Grand Sunset Princess: nine bars, seven restaurants, 12 pools, and a variety of sports including tennis, scuba lessons, and a fitness center. 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 modern, and the best have beach views or swim-out pool access. The spa and fitness center are nice, 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 that's attractively laid out around 12 pools on a beautiful stretch of uninterrupted beach near Playa del Carmen. Fashioned after an 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. The grounds are beautiful and well-maintained, and 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.
Pleasant, modern decor, many with beach views or swim-out pool access
Decor varies by room type, but all of the 672 rooms are pleasantly modern, with padded headboards, tile floors, sleek wood accents, and neutral tones throughout. Standard features include ceiling fans, air-conditioning, safes, and flat-screen TVs. Balconies open onto views of the pools, grounds, or the beach. Unfortunately, Wi-Fi isn't included in standard rates. Larger rooms and suites -- some of which are designated adult-only -- have private whirlpools, direct access to pools, and bathrobes/slippers. Platinum Suites include access to adult-only pools. Minibars are stocked with soda, water, and a few beers. Bathrooms are attractive, and include rainfall showers plus generous counter space and toiletries.
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 a 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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