Free transportation throughout the resort property via golf carts
Convention center with meeting and event space
Access to features at Hacienda side of the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya complex
Beach is man-made and fronts a lagoon, not the ocean
Partial ocean views can be distant and obstructed by foliage
Sprawling property; guests can expect a lot of walking
Wristbands and towel cards required
Main pool can sometimes get loud and rowdy (pro for some)
Rooms are on the small side for the area
The luxurious Heaven at the Hard Rock is the adult-only side of the larger all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel complex. There are 577 rock-themed rooms, all with jetted tubs and balconies (some with ocean views). Features include four restaurants (plus six more at the sister resort next door), the Rock Spa, and the Body Rock Fitness Center, a nightclub with live DJs, and a man-made lagoon beach. Restaurant reservations are not required, a major upside, but guests do have to wear wristbands. For a natural beach on the ocean, consider the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun instead. Families with members under 18 should book next door at the "Hacienda side" of the resort.
An adult-only all-inclusive resort that caters to both partiers and quiet-seekers
Formerly the Aventura Spa Palace, The Hard Rock resort opened in the spring of 2014 after a major refurbishment. The resort is almost unrecognizable now; it fully delivers on brand expectations, with modern, glitzy, rock-themed decor. There's music piped in throughout the resort, and memorabilia and replicas decorating the walls in the common areas. Guests can even borrow one of the hotel’s Fender guitars (limited by availability) for jam sessions in the privacy of their rooms, complete with free video courses. Those who liked the Aventura may feel the look is a little too Vegas-like, but most will agree that the changes were for the better. Some vestiges of the resort's past remain, however, in the way of minor wear and tear that crops up here and there.
The layout of the resort is exactly the same as its sister property's, just with different building colors. The main lobby and lounge area is surrounded by some of the restaurants and a variety of shops, selling items ranging from clothes to personal hygiene items to jewelry. The Body Rock Fitness Center and the Rock Spa are upstairs, and are also used by adult guests from the Hacienda side. Because the resort is sprawling, those planning to take advantage of the fitness center and spa will likely appreciate their closer proximity. The huge pool complex is a high point, with bridges, waterfalls, and palm trees enhancing the ambience. During the day, most guests spend their time swimming, snorkeling and kayaking in the lagoon, engaging in activities with the poolside animation team, and spotting wildlife such as iguanas and tropical birds (lucky guests might even spy spider monkeys in the trees on the outskirts of the resort).
Though the Hard Rock brand has a party-hearty reputation, the Heaven is able to appeal to a variety of activity levels. Those who want to party certainly can, whether at a foam party at the pool, or one of the bars (there are more drinking options here than at the family-friendly Hacienda side of the complex), or the nightclub with a live DJ. But those seeking peace and quiet can find it as well.
Guests must wear wristbands to reflect their status; VIP guests (Hall of Fame, Diamond, or Premier members) get access to exclusive pool and beach areas, as well as dedicated events such as barbecues and cocktail parties.
In the heart of the Riviera Maya, close to adventure
activites but far from the airport
The Hard Rock is on the Puerto Aventuras coast, an area known for its combination of jungle lagoon, sandy beaches, rocky points, and beautiful sunrise views over the ocean. The snorkeling here is a major high point, but the beach itself is man-made and a bit of a let-down.
The property is a good hour-and-a-half from the airport with traffic, and the all-inclusive rate does not include airport transportation. The resort is situated about midway between Playa del Carmen (a 25-minute drive) and Tulum to the south (a 40-minute drive), known for its adventure parks such as Xcaret or Xplore. During the day, some guests head out for activities such as zip-lining, turtle spotting at Akumal, boating, or exploring the ruins at Tulum, all of which the resort can help arrange.
Valet parking is available at the Hacienda lounge. Golf carts operated by staff are the easiest way to get to Heaven, although you can also walk from the main entrance and be there in roughly 10 minutes.
Modern rooms with jetted tubs and balconies and terraces; some have ocean views
There are 577 rooms at the Heaven, most of them Deluxe Rooms with identical or nearly identical layouts. The rooms don’t feel that big; there are only a couple of feet between the bed and the jetted tub, for example. The suites, however, are a significant upgrade, and the top option here is the Bret Michaels Rock Star Suite, which was co-designed by Bret Michaels and features some of his personal pieces. Amenities in all include mini-fridges, a 24-hour room service menu, liquor dispensers, free Wi-Fi, streaming music, flat-screen TVs, slippers, robes, in-room safes, and coffeemakers. Those who upgrade to the Diamond category get special extras such as liquor dispensers with premium brands. Decor is in line with the common spaces on the Heaven side of the property, with a palette of turquoise, grey, brown, and cream. Wood floors, and rock and marble accents on the wall, contribute to an overall upscale feel.
All of the rooms have either a balcony or terrace with hammocks and lounge furniture, but not all of them have ocean views. The buildings are perpendicular to the ocean, so there are few direct views of the water. Some rooms look out over buildings and the interior of the property.
A major feature of the rooms are the whirlpool tubs, which sit in the main room adjacent to the bed. They are adorned with mosaic tiles and set against a flagstone block wall. The bathroom is just behind the tub, and continues the rock wall finish; it also features marble accents, granite countertops, patterned tile floors, and dark-wood cabinets with glass shelves. There are separate toilet rooms, and Kohler and Rock Spa toiletries are standard.
Note that there is a special class of rooms available called Pure Rooms, which have an air filter within and are specifically designed for guests with allergies.
An impressive pool complex but a disappointing man-made beach
The four pools are the highlight of the Heaven. The big oceanfront main pool is where you'll find a large swim-up bar, whirlpool, and animation team leading activities (such as the popular foam party); it can be noisy, and occasionally rowdy. The nicer cushioned loungers here are reserved for VIP members. There's also a pool for VIP members that is usually pretty empty, as well as a Semi Olympic Pool for swimming and volleyball. The Cross Current Rhythm Pool has, as the name suggests, a current, and meanders around islands and under bridges. All of the pools on the Heaven side are for adults only. Guests here can also access pools at the Hacienda side, including one which has a waterslide.
Those looking for a quieter atmosphere can usually find it at the man-made lagoon-facing beach. Don't expect a beautiful, white-sand expanse -- there is white sand, though, and calm water thanks to the rocky barrier. Snorkelers will see a variety of fish.
Club Heaven is the hub of nightlife at the property, with live entertainment -- such as DJ sessions -- kicking off around 11 p.m. While the club is generally only open from Thursdays to Sundays, it’s worth checking with staff to find the exact schedule.
The hotel operates a Limitless Resort Credit option that allows guests booking longer stays (from three to 15 days during our visit) to earn points that can be applied towards a variety of features at the property, such as spa treatments or adventure tours offered by third-party vendors.
There is 87,017 square feet of meeting and event space available (including outdoor event space), as well as a business center and dedicated conference service manager. Audio/visual equipment is available for rental upon demand.
Four restaurants (no reservations required) and several bars
There are more bars at the Heaven side of the resort than the Hacienda side, which is appropriate given the adult-only clientele. They include the Rhythm Bar, which is part of the Rock Spa and located just across from the current pool; The Dive poolside bar, and the Martini Bar. Guests can also hit up the two bars on the Hacienda side.
Guests can eat at any of the restaurants over at the Hacienda side of the resort, and the Heaven side has four adult-only eateries. Toro is the seaside steakhouse, with a la carte as well as buffet options. Ciao is the Italian buffet and a la carte experience located inside the main building, but also with seaside views. Le Petit Cochon focuses on French cuisine, and Los Gallos specializes in Latin American options. Reservations are not required, a major upside. Note that all of the restaurants and bars have their own unique schedules and some are only available in the evening. Seasonal changes may be in effect depending on the time of year you visit.
The Body Rock gym is open during daytime hours, as is the huge and gorgeous Rock Spa; both are for adults only.
The Body Rock gym features a full array of modern workout equipment, including cardio gear, weight machines, and free weights. Guests can schedule time with personal trainers, and there are also yoga classes and other sessions available. Towels and bottled water are provided upon entrance.
The Rock Spa features 75 treatment rooms. There are hydrotherapy rooms, rhythm and motion beds, the POSH Beauty Salon & Boutique, and a Temezcal hut where guests can partake of a traditional Mayan sweat lodge ceremony experience. Reservations made at least a day in advance are preferred.
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