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Reviewed 16 April 2010

OK, I will be honest-- this review may be skewed due to the fact that my husband and I have traveled a lot and live in SF and thus have easy access to amazing spas, restaurants, services, etc. So . . . . . we are a bit spoiled, and maybe jaded? However, we wanted to get away and planned a last minute 7 day trip to the Adventura Spa Palace in Sept 2009. Due to the last minute nature of the trip, we decided to try an all inclusive resort (both of our first times) so we wouldn't have to worry about food, activities, etc. everyday. There were pros and cons to this decision and in staying at the Adventura in general.

Pros
Very nice and friendly staff. Amazing people, so generous and kind. No complaints at all about the staff-- wonderful!
Nice pool -- but could be loud and annoying (see cons). The pool staff were very nice and some of the games and activities were fun (volleyball, aerobics/stretching, cocktail demos, games, etc.) throughout the day.
Very good spa - also liked that we got $300 in spa credits with our deal through Travelocity as well as for sitting through the time share schpeal
We took the "kitchen tour" and really enjoyed it-- definitely recommend.
We also did the Tulum tour which was very nice-- but too short. The beach you can swim in there is amazing!
Having it be an Adult-Only hotel was nice -- although unfortunately quite a few of the "adults" were more like kids (see cons below)
It was Sept and the hotel was only at about 20-25% occupancy, so it was very empty (which we liked, but could be a con if you want more of a "scene")
We really liked that you could go to the other Palace hotels-- we also went to XPU-HA (lame), Playacar (nice), and Cozumal (medicre).
Food was just ok, not amazing (but again, we are spoiled). At the Adventura we liked the breakfast buffet and "The Hacienda" Mexican restaurant (which is on the Adventura Cove side of the resort) the best.
The best meal we had was dinner at the Playacar hotel, in the restuarnt with the large wine tower. I don't remember the name but it was excellent!

Cons
Small and plain rooms. Not very luxurious, but did like the large tub. However, definitely not a "4 star" room in my opinion.
Hallways are VERY loud, it is just tile and is enclosed, so there is no soundproofing and you can hear every footstep word of people walking by.
Snorkeling at the hotels was awful - no visibility, murky, no fish to see. We even went to the Cozumel hotel because it was supposed to have the best snorkeling-- terrible! Don't waste your time-- pay for a "real" tour and boat trip experience if you want to see anything.
Nightlife is nonexistent. The nightly "Entertainment" was VERY cheesy (Michael Jackson impersonator, Magic show, etc). Like a lame cruise ship.
No cool or hip bars to hang out at during the evening. There is a nightclub-- but again, very cheesy.
The Greco restaurant and Oriental restaurant were pretty bad. Similar to basic "mall food".
Pool can be loud and obnoxious. Many reviewers say this is not a "Spring Break" like place, but I think it kind of is-- for older people!! No, it isn't crazy teens and 20-something's going wild or anything, but it could be really annoying if you want to just chill and lounge by the pool. There were a large number of people from various parts of the US that were quite loud and VERY obnoxious-- definitely reinforcing the "Ugly American" stereotype. E.g.: drinking and smoking by the pool all day, getting drunk and yelling, cursing, making rude and off color jokes, basically being "spring break-like" annoying people but they were in their late 30s, 40s and 50s!! (FYI- my husband and I are 35 and 39). There were also some honeymooners that got wasted and basically had sex in the pool, totally oblivious to the fact that people were staring shocked and disgusted.
No beach -- I knew this going in, but missed it a lot more than I thought I would.
Pool music could be annoying with everything from blaring hip hop, crazy remixes, to Whitney Houston and Sade. Bizarre. The music did not seem to fit the mood or the crowd. Also, it would have been nice to have no guys on microphones or music at times and just chill and enjoy the silence.

I would not go back and would definitly not do for a romantic vacation or honeymoon unless you are in your early 20s or something.

Date of stay: September 2009
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Clemens-gal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 April 2010

This was our third visit to Aventura Spa Palace and it was the best yet! Service was excellent - the staff were always smiling and always ready with a happy greeting. The resort was very quiet - about 25% full at most. Rooms and food were great.

Our week at the Palace was everything we had hoped for and more! Kudos to the Management of the resort - you and your people are doing a great job!

Date of stay: March 2010
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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Thank love2travel511
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 April 2010

We stayed 7 days at the Aventura Spa in March and followed with 10 days at the Beach Palace This review is solely on the Spa. The previous reviews on this site dated March 29th outline many of feelings on this resort so I will try not to overly duplicate their comments. We booked through RCI with an excellent rate for a stay at the COVE not the Spa. We had requested a king bed. When we arrived at the Cove we were told that (apparently} the Aventura Cove has no King sized beds. However, the very customer service oriented front desk clerk made a few phone calls and arranged to move us to a king-sized bed room on the Spa side at no additional cost. It was very nice of him and also we were also assigned a very decent location with a partial ocean view and centrally located to everything. The central location is very important because the resort is huge and if your room is on the outside fringes of the resort you will have a lot more walking to do.
The Aventura Spa has a very impressive area with a huge shower room, locker room, Sauna and steam bath area located just below the covered pool attached to the main lobby. The men’s room was very large and impressive with marble and granite everywhere. (Did not see the women’s room it was locked). I do not know how often this area is used but it is very nice.
The loneliest bar at the hotel must be the juice bar just off of the undercover pool, located by the lobby and near the large locker room previously described. We felt sorry for the staff member usually there all day, with no patrons.
Our room was nice with double Jacuzzi as pictures indicate. The balcony was a fair size with a partial view of the ocean. The bar was well stocked with liquor dispensers. The service was excellent twice we had minor issues and phoned the front desk. (Once we incorrectly turned the shower taps and complained there was no hot water). They not only immediately sent someone to checkout our concerns but after the issues were rectified the front desk would call to confirm that, in fact, the issue had been resolved to our satisfaction.
As previously stated adults can use restaurants both at the Cove and Spa. I think between both you have a choice of 7 or 8 restaurants and so if you are there for 7 days you will have plenty of variety. I am a fairly picky eater (meat and potatoes) and I always found sometime good to eat. I was amazed at how they can prepare such large Buffets and carry extensive menus yet during our stay we saw very few people. One particular afternoon we counted all the people we could see at the pool, restaurants and lagoon. We counted approximately 200 people at the Spa and 120 at the Cove with very few children. I know this was not necessarily a “scientific” count however it may give you an indication of occupancy levels with something like a total of 800 rooms you might expect at full occupancy to be around 2000 guests. Needless to say you could easily obtain a good chair or a table at a restaurant was no problem at all.
We have read some people in the past were not impressed with the room service e.g. cold breakfast. We did not use room service but based on the size of the resort it may be difficult for all food to be hot when ordered through room service as your room might be a longer distance then normal from any room service kitchen
People have often discussed a lack of a natural beach and we knew what to expect. We must say we do prefer a beach (like in Cancun) and were not particularly impressed with the Lagoon although you could still sea the ocean beyond the Lagoon. The hotel offers a free shuttle bus for, up to 46 People, ever morning to Playa Carmen. The bus stops near the Playacar Palace hotel and 5th avenue (the large shopping area) the bus picks you up at approximately 4:15 pm and takes you back. We spent many days at the Playacar Palace at the beach and used their restaurants for breakfast and Lunch. The hotel is a lot smaller and obviously has a nicer beach.
Overall the resort is very good and I believe it would be especially nice for nature lovers (I am not into nature stuff). The staff was very good and the service excellent. We certain do not have anything to complain about. The resort was as good as advertised.
After our 7 days we moved to the Beach Palace which will be the subject of a separate review.

Date of stay: March 2010
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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2  Thank j5008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 April 2010

Came to Spa Palace to use it as a dive base for diving. The hotel was excellent. Every thing we expected! Food,room,resort, all excellent. You can read all the reviews and get mixed messages, however you can be a snob an expect the best, or enjoy the flavors of Mexico. There was complaints about the pool water temperatures so I checked. The ocean water temp was 79, the Ceynotes, which we were diving were 75-77, and the pools were 84.
Glad we stayed there and would go back anytime!

Date of stay: March 2010
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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1  Thank gvre
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 March 2010

Let me begin by stating, I'm not really an all-inclusive resort kind of traveler -- and this trip cemented that feeling. My parents, RCI members, suggested we use a week of their time, which was otherwise going to waste, and because my husband was dying to go to the Riviera Mayan, we took what we could get (all of the exchange options in this geography were all-inclusives).

The best parts of this trip occurred outside the resort! My husband and I rented a Jeep and planned extensive activities for each day, including kayaking and birdwatching at the Sian Ka'an, exploring Muyil (lesser known Mayan ruin) and Tulum, snorkeling with the turtles in Akumal, and discovering off-the-beaten-path cenotes where the only other swimmers were a group of Mayan teenage boys. We felt totally safe the entire time, despite whatever the media has been saying about Americans in Mexico. If you travel to this area, please please please leave your resort. There is so much out there!

That being said, the Aventura Spa Palace (the grown-up option to the kids-allowed sister resort and attached property, the Cove Palace) is a beautiful spot. The pool and ocean views are gorgeous. Everywhere one looks, there's a postcard-worthy sight. The tours in which we participated were very good (we went to Chichen Itza, which is worth the ride, and also Coba). And THE SPA WAS FANTASTIC. Definitely utilize the spa, and be sure to go early so you have at least an hour in the hydrotherapy room (which is like a Greek spa all in itself -- talk about getting pampered!). We did the "romantic massage" (couples) and if I had planned better, I would have brought some extra cash for a few more treatments. (Speaking of extra cash, be sure to bring a few dollars into the spa to tip both your masseuse AND the hydrotherapy attendant.)

I was somewhat disappointed with a few things, too... the food was disappointing. Soggy pasta at the Italian place and bland soups all around. I think our favorites options were actually the Japanese place for dinner (I'm a sucker for "welcome cocktails") and El Grecco (buffet) for breakfast or lunch (the best atmosphere as long as you don't mind seagulls stealing food off abandoned plates).

I was also disappointed with the ocean activities available. The resort has a manmade stone barrier, creating lagoons and safer, calm wading/swimming areas. The visibility of the water within is horrible, due perhaps to the drainage from the gazebos and the plethora of sunscreen film. I was bummed there wasn't better snorkeling from the resort.

Perhaps this is a normal all-inclusive thing, but I didn't like how there were imposed social classes, determined by which wrist band one had. For example, my husband and I had yellow, which I never really figured out, and others had black, clear, pink, gray, red... We learned that black and clear were the VIP folks, and they were allowed to utilize the higher quality lounge chairs, from which the rest of us lowly citizens were prohibited. I thought that was lame, particularly because no one ever gave us an option to upgrade (despite my numerous inquiries). It was really rather intriguing.

The room we ended up in was nice, albeit small. The bed was a king and very comfy. We enjoyed using the hammock on the deck and listening to the birds. The jacuzzi was very nice... although one should be advised using the WHOLE bottle of bubble bath really makes A LOT of bubbles. :) When we first arrived, however, we were assigned to a different room. Inside it was just the same as the one we ended up in, but it was adjacent to the pool, on the first level, and very, very noisy. We asked to upgrade to an ocean view on an upper lever and were told that none were available. It took a lot of pushing, but eventually they moved us to a second level with the view of some trees and the other buildings. I was promised that AS SOON as an ocean view was available --just a day or so -- we could move again (I was willing to pay whatever)... that call never came, of course.

Housekeeping was very good and the bellboys were friendly, competent and quick. We also enjoyed seeing spider monkeys in the jungle at the resort!

Overall, if you a) want a pampering vacation with planned activities, or b) LOVE a good spa, this is a great choice. But if you a) require a sandy beach, b) like to explore on your own, or c) are a foodie you might want to choose something else... we were impressed with what we same in the coastal community south of Tulum. It's mostly small, eco-resorts, and if we go back, that's where we'll stay. Akumal also has some place smaller hotels with a nice beach and snorkeling right outside the door.

Date of stay: February 2010
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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2  Thank MaineSailor28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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