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Reviewed 24 July 2009

The reviews I meticulously read on trip advisor is the reason we ultimately booked our trip at the Valentin Imperial. And may I say, THANK YOU reviewers!!!

From the moment we arrived in Cancun airport all went as planned. we booked private transfers through Cancuntransfers.com, a very kind gentleman was waiting for us with a sign with my name on it, and whisked us to the parking lot to the air conditioned car, took care of our luggage, and on our way to the VIM we went...

Upon arrival at VIM they were waiting for us with cold towels and sparkling wine, a lovely touch, took our luggage and walked us to the front desk. Our front desk rep was darling... sweet and very friendly. We were upgraded to the silver suite and given $100 in spa credits. The whole check in process was very quick (take note- the staff are extremely efficient and accommodating). We were given a brief tour of the resort- as lush and lovely as all previous reviews have noted- and to our room we went.

Oh the room... We stayed in building one close to everything IMHO... extremely clean, all amenities, mini bar, internet (BRING YOUR OWN CABLE), hydro massage hot tub, roomy shower, large drawers & closets, double sinks, incredibly comfortable king size bed, a/c, large balcony, couch, tv... everything you could want.

A quick walk through our building and building 2 we arrived at the pool. HUGE!!! 2 swim up bars, floaties, a jacuzzi area and fun games. We only went in the pool twice the first night we were there and the second day for maybe 20m. Note: We are in our mid 20s. We were there for some serious R&R. Perhaps we would have spent more time in the pool, but there were about 20 30-40 somethings acting like they were in college. Rambunctious and loud. Seemed like a bit of an american football bar crowd, IMO annoying :/ So we stayed away...

To the beach! Vamos a la playa!!!! Well there isn't much to say about the Carribean sea that most don't already know. Crystal clear, warm, all in all stunning. When you initially walk out on the wooden plank walkway there is a bar to the right and a bin filled with beer and bottled H20. Each day we picked up 2 bottles of agua, a mojito for my bf, and a pina colada for myself. We walked past the first of the palapas (red flags there- not swimmable) to the second loooong stretch of chairs and palapas where the yellow flags were. We reside in Los Angeles, so we are to say the least "Beach People" There is a large area in the ocean sectioned off to swim. They've combed this area to get rid of most of the kelp, seaweed that washes on shore and keeps the water clear. We saw a few fishes (at most maybe 10) through they entire 6 days. Not exactly a snorkeling area, but great if your a little squirmish about our friends in the sea. Saw lots of people doing water activities, from jet skiing, to snorkeling to (my fav) para sailing!

We took a day trip to Tulum. We booked at the resort, and it was $50 each for the simple excursion. Transportation, tour guide, water, max 16 people, the basics. Met an awesome couple from our resort on the van. :)
Also a day trip to Playa del Carmen- which I quickly noted is a mash up of Venice Beach and 3rd Street Santa Monica, and just as touristy.

When we arrived it was about 60% at capacity, even at 100% I cant imagine it ever feeling full. For breakfast we had Le Marche, which is the best breakfast buffet I've ever had.
Lunch we never ventured far from the beach, opting for the lunch buffet at Mar&Tierra, good, nothing special, but certainly not lacking in choices :)

Dinner options at VIM are great, we tried Ginger (Japanese), La Hacienda (Mexican), Indonesian, Lobster Pot, and the Steak.
Ginger was great- try the chicken curry and tempura ice cream
La Hacienda- probably the best! can't miss the Flank Steak served in a stone hot pot, very authentic
Indonesian- Just okay... again where we lived we get fantastic indian and thai food which makes a bit particular. If you go keep in mind the Lamb Vindaloo- hello spicy!!
Lobster Pot and Steak- both fine... guaranteed you've had better, but hey, its an all inclusive and certainly edible and fulfilling.

On our last day we spent our $100 spa credit on two 30m massages. Came to $130- so basically $30 plus $10 tip each (we were very generous tippers the whole trip)

I want to say going in I had my concerns about this resort and any all inclusives for that matter, from the moment we arrived it was impossible to remember why we had any hesitation at all. Valentin exceed my expectations, we made some great friends, saw some great shows (The Mayan Show! Fantastic!), all while maintaining the relaxing, romantic getaway we wanted. :)

Date of stay: July 2009
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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11  Thank calilaura
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 23 July 2009

We booked an all inclusive for 3 days at the Valentin Imperial Maya and from the moment our trip began until the very last moment everything was wonderful!
The hotel is beautiful, the grounds are immaculate and the staff could not have been nicer. We definately will return and hope that it will be soon. The only thing that could have made it even better would have been if they had more menu selections for vegetarians. That was a little bit limited. However, everything else was top of the line!

Date of stay: July 2009
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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7  Thank Isabella09
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 22 July 2009

Here it is in a nutshell The grounds are nice and well kept, the rooms are big, and if you can take care of yourself you will have a fine time. If you are coming and expecting to just relax with no issues (like you should at a 5 star) then forget it.
When the hotel is at low capacity, like it was in the spring and early summer due to flu fears, things were probably great. However now that things are starting to fill up the quality goes down. Let me give you a few examples. Check in was no problem, but we had to wait 20 minutes until a cart came to take us to our room. The bell hop met us at the front, took our bags, walked us to a waiting spot and told us he would be back as soon as he could get a golf cart. I wish I would have known he would have taken so long, I could have walked back and forth to the room 5 times during the wait. By the way - the walks are not long. I read so many reviews where people complained about how far things were - just walk it!
We get to the room and it is nice, pretty clean, and only a few of the bugs people complain about (what do you expect, it's Mexico, deal with a spider or two). We turned down the sheets to find a couple quarter-sized blood spots on the top sheet. ---? How did someone making a bed not notice? They were right in the middle. Also, our swim up room outside chaises didn't have cushions. No big deal, a call to the desk and an hour later both things were fixed. We called for other things like pillows and they came quickly. However after the guy gave us the pillows he asked if we wanted hangers and we asked for five. He said he would be right back, but he never showed. I felt like an idiot sitting in the room waiting while my wife was at the pool.
The pool is nice, but as with other resorts good luck getting a float. This situation is caused by two problems - first there are just not enough of them, and second people are jerks and hoard them. I saw a few hanging from 2nd floor balconies.
The beach is also very nice, but to get a spot with some shade you have to get down there at around 7am and lay out some towels to claim a spot. I walked the beach at 9 looking for a spot, but found that they were all "reserved" even though only about 20% actually had people sitting there. Once again, an instance of your fellow guests being jerks, but I don't want to get into an argument during my vacation by moving someone's stuff. I came here to relax but found out that I had to put together a daily to-do list if I wanted to get the ammenities I expected.
We've been to Mexico's all-inclusives before, the last being the Excellence, and the food here was probably the most disappointing of them all. Very, very bland unless you consider too much pepper a flavor. Everyone has their own opinion on food, but I feel that this was cafeteria at best. Too bad, because the other resorts had done it so much better.
Overall the place is ok, Just don't expect great food and be prepared to fend for youself for what you want. The staff is very nice (they probably need a bad cop to take away hoarded floats and towels that hold a place for someone who is never there). If you do come please tip well. We always gave our drink person at least a dollar and the wait staff 3-5. They are working hard to give you a nice vacation and tipping is a nice gesture.
So if mediocre food doesn't bother you, you'll have a great time just bring your own blow-up float and beach umbrella. That will avoid you the aggrevation I had that took away from what I was hoping to be a carefree relaxing vacation.

Date of stay: July 2009
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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5  Thank nitrofish
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 22 July 2009

My husband and I stayed at the Valentin Imperial Maya July 13-18 for our 35th wedding anniversary. My husband is really picky - we always fly first class and when on business stay at Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton hotels. We booked a Jr. Jacuzzi Suite and were upgraded to a Golden Suite without asking for the upgrade.. The room was better than rooms we've had at Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton properties in the U.S. Unlike others we had no issues with mold, bugs or moisture in our room. The ocean and poolvview room in Building 8 was spotless, large and had a great bathroom. I would prefer more storage for clothes, but other than that it was great . I particularly liked the turndown service. So nice to come back to the room and find the bed turned down and fresh towels in the bathroom. We were actually glad that we had a long walk to get anywhere since we ate and drank way too much.

The food was very good - we enjoyed the Mexican and French the most. Breakfast and lunch were great with a wide variety of items that changed daily. I have food allergies and the waiters checked the ingredients with the kitchen staff if there was any question about the way a dish was prepared. The house wines were just fine- much better than at other resorts. It was nice to sit in the elegant Cafe to have a coffee after dinner and be able to have a quiet conversation. We found the evening entertainment surprisingly good, especially the Circus and Mayan shows. For those wanting more action they had trips to Coco Bongo in Cancun. They also offered daily shopping excursions to Playa del Carmen for $15.00 per person or $35.00 with lunch at Carlos and Charlies. On Thursdays they offer a shopping trip into Cancun and on Saturdays they offer a trip to Tulum. I don't remember the cost, but remember thinking that it was way cheaper than the tour operator trips. The hotel also offered free internet service so I didn't have to buy minutes - on our cruise in May it cost me 64.95 for internet use.

The beach was the best we have encountered in Mexico. It was wide with soft white sand and the ocean floor in the swimming area was soft sand without coral or rocks. A special thank you to Beach Butlers Jazziel and Miguel for their great service, even at the farthest end of the beach. We were able to get a palapa every day a long as we got out on the beach by around 9:30am. Of course there were those annoying people who put out towels at 7am to save seats, but at least there were fewer of them at the Valentin than at other places, perhaps because there are so many shady places to sit at the pools and beach.

Our return flight was not until 6pm. Late checkout was unavailabale due to the large number of incoming guests. Esmerelda at the front desk reserved a courtesy room for us. We were able to stay on the beach until the last possible moment before showering and changing in the courtesy room and having one last drink at Don Miguel. We booked our air, hotel and transfers separately. We always use Lomas Travel for our private transfers and they were there on time as usual to pick us up. We had a nice conversation with Jesus on the way back the airport. We never worry about them speeding because they are not allowed to go more than 80KM when they have clients in the vehicle.

Even though the Valentin is an all inclusive and the price we paid included gratuities, we tipped the wait staff at every meal and left the maid money every morning with a thank you note and tipped the beach butlers a large amount daily. Was our service better than what others got? Maybe, but then again the staff works so hard they deserve whatever we give them. FYI - minimum wage in Mexico is the equivalent of $6.00 USD per day. If you can afford to stay at the Valentin you can afford to tip.

We met people who had honeymooned at Sandals Negril and they felt the Valentin was so much better, both in terms of rooms, food, service and value. We didn't hear any complaints at the resort - everyone we spoke with was thrilled with the place and planned to return. We normally like to stay at a different resort each trip, but may rethink that since we liked the Valentin so much. We liked it better than the El Dorado Royale - both the room and service were better at the Valentin. Our basis of comparison in Mexico is the Presidente Intercontinental Puerto Vallarta, El Dorado Royale, Oasis Grand Cancun, Sheraton Cancun, Oasis Grand Riviera Maya, Club Med Ixtapa and Occidental Grand Cozumel as well as Sandals Montego Bay and Sandals Royal Caribbean.

Date of stay: July 2009
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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13  Thank DebJ14
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 20 July 2009

My husband and I just returned from this wonderful resort, we spent 6 lovely, romantic, relaxing fun filled days. The staff was wonderful, especially Alberto and Fredie. They took care of our every needs, we felt like royalty and everyone was so friendly and helpful. We really enjoyed the Lobster Pot and the Omelet Station, the pool was excellent, this was money well spent, they even took liberty in upgrading our room since it was our 7 year anniversary. We cant wait to return, we even made friends with some very lovely couples.

Date of stay: July 2009
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank krispykremelovers
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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