Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe in a Nutshell:
This all-inclusive is the upscale member of the five-in-one Maya Beach Resort complex on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, about 70 minutes south of Cancun. The two-mile white sandy beach alone is worth the trip, with a postcard-worthy backdrop of lush, tropical landscapes where the blue waters of the Caribbean will tickle your toes. The rooms/suites and public areas are immaculate and kitchens have the highest ratings in Latin America for healthy standards. Romantic venues abound where you can relax, dance the night away or take part in myriad activities offered on property. It’s an extravaganza.
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Guest Rooms at Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe:
Design is Colonial/Mayan with a contemporary vibe. Junior deluxe suites, a good bet for honeymooners, are at the front of each building and offer views of the Caribbean from roomy balconies. Large bathrooms feature tubs and “rain dance” showers that make showering a fun experience. Rooms are entered through covered outdoor walkways. Contents of the well-stocked mini-bars are “free,” since they are a part of the all inclusive experience. Flatscreen TVs, wi-fi, ceiling fans, separate sitting areas and air-conditioning are featured in all suites, adding up to romantic luxury that is non-intimidating.
Dining at Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe:
Dining can be a nonstop 24/7 experience. Two air-conditioned buffets run from breakfast through evening meals in addition to several themed a-la-carte restaurants: Brazilian-style BBQ, Caribbean, Asian, Mexican and French. The most elegant is the black and white-themed French restaurant, where at any minute you might expect Fred and Ginger to enter and quick-step around the restaurant's perimeter — very snazzy. Cocktails, wine, and top-shelf after-dinner drinks are included. And there is always room service if you are feeling reclusive.
Destination Weddings at Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe:
There are a number of themed-packages and venues for ceremonies, receptions, and dinners. Although seaside beach weddings are the most popular, there is also a stately outdoor rotunda/gazebo that forms an impressive place for ceremonies and receptions; it's popular with couples who don’t want to get sand in their shoes. If those venues don’t ring your wedding bell, the resort’s wedding planners will be happy to help customize nuptials. Wedding packages are “free” when a certain number of room nights are booked.
Honeymoon/Romance Packages at Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe:
One night’s complimentary stay is included in the various wedding packages. Additional nights are easy to negotiate. Relax by the secluded adults-only pool with its own bar. Private cabanas are available. Couples may want to book soothing massages at the elaborate Mayan-themed spa, sip champagne on their private balcony, linger over romantic dinners for two, and dance the night away at Jaguar Discotheque. Stroll along the beach with the shimmering moonlit waters of the Caribbean at your side. It’s all included at this expansive all-inclusive.
Activities at Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe:
In addition to the 16,000-square-foot spa, water activities are the way to go: in-pool aerobics, jet-skiing, sea kayaking and the like. It can take a few days to explore the other sections of the sprawling grounds. Shop for authentic local arts and crafts, jewelry, cigars, and tequila at the shops and arcades that dot the landscape. Bargaining does occur when it comes to higher priced items, such as jewelry. In addition to the 16,000-square-foot spa, there is a long list of things to do in addition to three large theaters that offer live entertainment every night. There is also a well-equipped gym.
Nearby Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe:
This is Maya country, and no visit would be complete without a side trip to one or two of the ruins that have been preserved and turned into parks. Tulum, about 20 miles south, is the only Mayan outpost built by the sea, and it’s amazing to walk among ancient ruins juxtaposed against the blue Caribbean. There are shopping opportunities here as well. Talented bargainers do well; others do not. The resort’s concierge can arrange any number of excursions to the fun town of Playa del Carmen and the island of Cozumel. It takes a day to get to and tour Chichen Itza, another must-see Mayan preserve. Take your camera!
Drawbacks at Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe:
Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe is huge, but that doesn’t have to hamper your good time. Because it is so vast, there is rarely a feeling of being overcrowded. This is also a family resort and you will experience kids romping around--especially at the breakfast buffets. If you'd rather avoid monsters in the morning, do what sensible people around the world always do: order room service. Then go directly to the serene and beautiful adults-only pool, stake out a cabana, and ask for a mango margarita. It’s all included — and mangos have lots of vitamins. So there!
Is Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe Right for You?:
The resort is so spread out and offers so many activities that it can cater to everyone. Honeymooners are better off in this upscale portion of the resort, where they can relax and enjoy a more tranquil atmosphere. Other sections cater more to families, and the convention center is two sections away. Overall, the resort is gorgeous, with many unique touches that soothe and excite all the senses. The vibe is paradise: created with equal parts Caribbean and Mexican hospitality. And no one seems overly worried that the ancient Mayan calendar will run out in 2012. Maybe they can just start it all over again.
Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe Info and Reservations:
Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe
Carretera Federal Chetumal – Puerto Juárez Km. 266.3
Solidaridad Xpu-Ha, Riviera Maya.
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Reservations: (US and Canada): 1-800-BAR-CELO
Official Hotel Web site
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As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary accommodation and meals for the purpose of reviewing those services. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.