Word of caution: I'm very wordy :-)
My husband and I are well traveled to the Cancun area, this being our 4th time down in just 2 years. We have stayed at Le Blanc, Secrets Maroma, and Excellence Playa Mujeres during previous visits. If you have done any research on hotels, you know that the above 3 mentioned hotels are TOP NOTCH (Le Blanc is a certified 5 diamond hotel with AAA), but they are also about twice the price of Valentin. We booked our 8 day trip from July 28-August 4th and chose Valentin because we were traveling with a couple who didn't want to pay as much as any of those hotels cost. So, we did research and thought that Valentin would be a good choice for a great vacation. We used Bookit.com and got a good rate on the hotel and were excited until we starting reading the reviews that were going up daily - about 1 in 10 were giving the hotel very poor marks. We read a lot about people having cockroaches in their rooms, the staff not being privy to requests, AC not working, and the food not being great. We were nervous and went in thinking it was going to be a miserable 8 days (like our trip to Jamaica in 2009...)We were wrong and we wound up having a great time.
The room: We originally booked a silver suite, but when we got there we were offered to upgrade to a golden suite (the room is a little larger) for just $235 for the whole trip. We noticed that bookit had given us a $100 room credit, so once we realized that the upgrade would only be $135, we were all over it. We were in building 7, third floor. The room was great - very large and with a good view overlooking the "quiet pool." A lot of reviews complained about the bathroom and it's lack of privacy - we found the set up to be very similar to the other hotels mentioned above. There isn't much privacy, but who cares - you're on vacation. Our only complaint regarding the room was the temperature. The AC worked reasonably well, and while you could adjust it, it would only go down so low. Our said 53, the couple we traveled with said theirs wouldn't go below 67. It was not Fahrenheit as it was too warm to be 53 in our room all week, and it wasn't Celsius as 53 would be over 120 F. Who knows - it was just somewhat frustrating to wake up feeling like a 55 year old menopausal woman rather than the 29 year old that I am :-) BUT, there is a ceiling fan in each room so crank it up. The bed was super comfortable, but the pillows were a little thin. One night the maid forgot to put a pillow case on one of them so we threw that on the floor - that was kind of gross. The room has a "mini bar" in it, which had a few sodas, beers, and some waters. No liquor in your room like with other all inclusives. No snacks, either; although room service is available 24 hours a day and was actually pretty good. There is also a coffee maker in the room, but we used the regular coffee on the first day and it was never replaced. Most days the room was made up by the time we got in from the beach, although one day we got to the room at 6 pm to get ready for dinner and she was still in the room cleaning. We went in and sat on the balcony and she finished within about 15 minutes - but really, 6 pm?? We left the room every morning around 8 to enjoy the beach.
The food: It was surprisingly very good! We typically ate breakfast every day at Mar/Tierra near the water. They had tons of items to choose from including fresh fruit, hot items, made to order omelets, cold cuts, cheese, and breads. They also had crepes there, just not made to order like at Le Marche. You have to try the banana, nutella, whipped cream crepes at Le Marche - AMAZING!! And the omelets at either restaurant were great every morning!
For lunch we always at at Mar/Tierra. They have a different themed buffet every day of the week, along with a few staples available every day. Don't try the hamburger unless you don't mind it being rather pink in the middle. Since I only eat ground meat well done, I was bummed when I bit into it and it was sub-par. Everything else we had there was great, though! I highly suggest the chips, salsa, and guacamole - AWESOME. As well as the french fries and the sauteed pineapple. They also had a display of dessert every day - the best was the ice cream. The coconut ice cream was AMAZING!!! For dinner, we tried everything except for the Steakhouse and the Mexican restaurant. Mar, the seafood restaurant, was ok. I ordered the sea bass and it was the best choice at the table, although it said it was grilled on the menu but came laden with butter which lead me to believe that they pan fried/sauteed it. Italian, what we ate, was good - but the service took FOREVER. We were seated around 8:15 after waiting for 45 minutes for a table. By 10:15 we hadn't received our entrees yet, just salads and apps, so we got up and left. When we asked the waiter when we were going to get our entree he said 4 minutes...20 minutes later we got up and left because we were so fed up. The salads were ok, but the risotto and homemade focaccia were really good. I would suggest skipping the Italian unless you're dying to waste over 2 hours on a mediocre meal. We really enjoyed the French (great French onion soup, Chateaubriand, chocolate mousse, creme brulee, and baked Alaska). The Indonesian was one of our favorites - the pad thai was AMAZING!! And the rice in coconut milk with seafood was really good, too! Ginger, the Asian restaurant, was by far my favorite. We did hibachi one night - got there around 6 to make a reservation and were able to get dinner at 7:30. That was really good. We went back because hibachi was so good and ate in the main restaurant. That was EXCELLENT!!! The sushi was amazing, the tempura veggies were phenominal, and the fried rice and chicken teryaki were really good, too! And for dessert we got the tempura coconut ice cream - AMAZING! They had a Mexican night one night which was nice, the guys got to wear shorts and not sweat to death while they ate. The food was really good, too! After our disaster with the Italian restaurant, my husband was still hungry and ordered room service - chicken wings and tres leche cake. He said both were great. We also had club sandwiches one day - very good.
The beach: The best part about the trip, hands down was the beach. It is HUGE and there are TONS of palapas. We would get out there early and get one past the volleyball area. We were always right in front of the swimming area and waiters came around frequently for drinks. Make sure you ask for the nicer liquor (bicardi and finlandia were our picks of the week) otherwise you're drinking the equivalent of aristocrat all week. The best drinks were the mudslides, margaritas on the rocks, super mans, and miami vices. There's a lifeguard on duty during the day - he was great. My husband lost his $300 Raybans in the ocean our first day there, and the lifeguard helped us look! We found them two days later in the coral on the right side of the beach :-) There was another group there who lost a ring while playing volleyball and the lifeguard helped them find that!
Excursions: We were planning on going to Xel-Ha, but once we talked to Pedro on the beach about the excursions available, we decided to go on the Tortugas Y Cenotes excursion and we had a BLAST!!! We went to 3 different Mayan caves - snorkeling in two of them. We were given a light snack (banana, juice, water, and sweet bread). And then we went to Akumal Bay and snorkeled with the sea turtles!!! It was a once in a lifetime experience and SO cool. We saw probably 7-8 turtles swimming right underneath us! Anka was our tourguide, she was GREAT and so knowledgeable. She carried an underwater camera with her all day and at the end of the excursion, you could pay $25 for all the videos and pictures she'd taken - well worth the money!
The rest: The pools were nice and very large, but REALLY warm. We hung out in the main pool one afternoon, but felt like we were at MTV's Spring Break. Not our scene. But we went to the quiet half and enjoyed our drinks and fun in the sun. The grounds are immaculate - very lush with lots of birds and animals. They are constantly working on the property to make it look impeccable. It is large, but nice to walk around and enjoy the scenary. The gym is laughable. At first glance it is nice, but then you notice most of the equipment is busted. But, the outdoor activities are great - we did yoga and had a great time! I'm sure the pilates, zumba, and other activities were just as great.
I know this is a lot of info, but we rely heavily on tripadvisor when we book a trip and hope all this info helps at least one person!! We had a great time - know that if you go, you'll have a great time, too!
Silver suites are near the main plaza, which has live music until 1 in the morning - you might want...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC