My wife and I spent our third wedding anniversary at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba. We were really hyped to stay here because our friends highly recommended this luxury resort. Our friends stayed here when the resort first opened; unfortunately, things seemed to have changed in the past couple of years.
The biggest issue we had with this resort was their customer service (skip to the end of this review for a list of specific examples). A couple of minor service issues occurred our first day. We didn't think too much about it until our second day rolled around. More service issues occurred and then we started to question the quality of the resort. As we met more staff at the resort, we realized that a lot of them were new hires and perhaps that explains some of the service issues we had. There were some employees that went above and beyond. And then there were others who couldn't fix an issue to save their job. It seems that most of them were from a large hotel that closed in Cancun. Some of the service issues we experienced are listed at the end of the review so a reader or Banyan Tree management will understand what I am talking about. A resort like Banyan Tree should ensure that their guests’ needs are always met (or at the least strive to meet them upon first request, as opposed to second, third, or fourth).
Ironically, we did not get to speak to our resort host, Cheri, until breakfast on the third day of our stay. She asked us how our visit was and I responded "we have had issues". She just giggled in response and I looked at my wife in shock. I’m not sure if she just was not accustomed to having a guest express that they had had problems with the resort or what. So we took fifteen minutes to elaborate on the problems we had experienced at the resort up to that point. We later found out that she did not even communicate to her management about the poor service that we received (lack of communication between and amongst employees appears to be a problem).
Later that day we ended up talking to Pedro (food & beverage manager) and spent another thirty minutes repeating the service issues we explained to Cheri. He was very considerate and apologized for the service issues we had. Also, he was the only person to ask us "what do you want? / What can we do?" to make up for the bad service (interestingly Pedro had worked for a number of years at various Ritz properties and I presume he acquired his can-do service attitude there). Our response was we wanted a romantic dinner without any problems. Before our trip my wife had planned a surprise dinner on the beach to celebrate our anniversary. That surprise was out of the bag when we spoke with Pedro. But Pedro immediately called Alejandro (restaurant manager) to make sure no problems occurred with our beach dinner. Five minutes after the call we met Alejandro at the Copa Bar. He introduced himself and guaranteed we would have a perfect dinner. (We did!) Our trip did a 180 after speaking with Pedro. And that was the trip we expected but only a bit too late (we were leaving the next day).
If you remove the service issues, Banyan Tree would be the ideal Honeymoon/ Anniversary/ Get-a-way/ Perfect vacation spot. The grounds are beautiful and well kept. The rooms are spread out enough to make you feel like you are the only guest at the resort. It gets better when you enter the room. We stayed in a Garden Pool Villa. The room is spacious with a bathroom to match. The only thing the room is missing is a dining / sitting area. If you order room service, there is no place to sit and eat except on the bed. Also, it would have been good if our private pool was heated (when it rains or is even overcast or cloudy, the private plunge pool is too cold to actually go in!).
I would like to thank the following staff members for doing an outstanding job. Christiano and Carlos did an excellent job at the beach and pool side assisting with towels, chairs, umbrellas and magazines. William provided hours of great conversation at Copa Bar (and made killer drinks). Cecilia also was great help at Copa. Arturo and Fernando made our beach dinner one of the best meals ever.
If the Banyan Tree can provide 5 Star service we will be back for another anniversary. Until then here are some of the issues we experienced:
1) No one employee can make a situation right. For example, if you need something at breakfast you must tell your waiter. Don't ask the runners because they have to go through the waiters to make your request happen. Also, don’t assume if you tell someone you have an issue that it will be reported up-line to a manager or more senior person so that it can be rectified.
2) Staff at reception not helpful and far from service oriented. For example, our Continental/United package included a spa treatment. However our resort reservation did not reflect that. My wife had printed out our reservation and brought it with us. The front desk was to call our agent to confirm the spa treatment and return our copy to our room. By the second day we did not have an answer to whether the spa was included nor did we have our copy back. We had to make 3 separate requests to follow up on the information. We did not have confirmation regarding the spa service until the night before we were set to check out which meant my wife had to cram in the spa service the morning we were leaving. While my wife thoroughly enjoyed the spa, it would have been nice if she could have done the spa service earlier in the trip as opposed to “fitting it in” right before our departure. We had other similar issues that chipped minutes away from our vacation.
3) Little or no communication between employees. We did not see that many visitors at the resort. Why not build a portfolio of each guest and properly address the guest’s issues or needs? For instance, my wife communicated with the hotel concierge for several weeks before our arrival to organize several things during our stay (champagne in our room, romantic beach dinner – all at a fairly significant cost) and noted in the various exchanges that we were celebrating our anniversary. However, when we arrived no one at reception had a clue it was our anniversary. There seemed to be a clear lack of communication between the reception staff and the concierge. This lack of communication is also noted in other places in this review.
4) Long waits for golf carts from the beach to the main resort. It would make sense to have carts waiting at the beach like they do at the lobby. Instead, often times the beach staff have to call the lobby to have to send a golf cart, which is about a 10 minute wait.
5) We had issues at check out. We had over $200 in inaccurate charges. It was a painstaking process to get them corrected and took quite a bit of time to check out. More time chipped away.
6) Food and beverage service issues at both breakfast and the pool. For example, a waiter forgot my order at breakfast. I placed an order of eggs for my wife and myself. My wife got her omelet. I didn't get mine until she was done with her plate, and that was only after asking a runner, another waiter, and then finally the manager to check on my food. Also, the wait for food and drinks was incredibly long at the pool (which was not at capacity). Cocktails took too long to order and receive (you would think they were all-inclusive). One afternoon we waited at least 40 minutes for an order of ceviche, which we finally received but then had to wait another 10 minutes to get chips/crackers to eat with it.
7) Minor but still inconvenient – the power went out at Tamarind restaurant while my wife and I were in the middle of having dinner. Strangely, the rest of the resort had power while we did not. The power was out for at least 20 minutes and no one could explain why the power was out, or why the rest of the resort had power.
All of our concerns above were communicated to one or more Banyan Tree employees. We wanted to give our feedback to make the next vistor's stay better.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Banyan Tree Mayakoba is a site of almost mythical beauty. It flawlessly blends elegance and nature, taking the Caribbean lifestyle to an unprecedented new height. A breathtaking getaway for relaxation, rejuvenation, romance and world-class dining, it is also the region's most sustainable five-star resort. With its revitalized culinary concepts, Thai-inspired therapies at the Banyan Tree Spa, 14 event-venues and the Greg Norman signature 18- hole El Camaleon golf course, home to the PGA Tour Mayakoba Classic, the resort raises the bar for premium leisure options and event planning. Perfect for private getaways, family trips and group events, the Banyan Tree Mayakoba offers 118 villas, ranging from romantic Bliss and Serenity Pool Villas to Family Residences and Ocean Front Villas. All include outdoor areas with private pools and terraces. Inspired by the interior courtyards of houses in the Far East, each villa is discreetly built to blend with the landscape, integrating the interiors and their idyllic surroundings. East meets West in every subtle detail, from the fragrance of flowers encircling your villa, to the softness of a kimono, fine linens and essential oils on your skin. Here, even world-weary guests discover the eloquence of tranquility. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Banyan Tree Mayakoba Hotel Playa Del Carmen
- Banyan Tree Mayakoba Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen