Bel Air Collection Resort And Spa Riviera Maya

Bel Air Collection Resort And Spa Riviera Maya
3.533.533.533.533.53
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Excellent family resort

, Winnipeg, MB
2016-03-21
Our family of 4 had a great time in March 2016 at the Bel Air. With a 6 year old and 4 year old, we always think about what the vacation will be like for our family, and because kids don't just relax on vacation, we tried to make sure we had a morning activity and afternoon activity every day, with a siesta/nap time after lunch. Bel Air offered lots to do for our family - we spent a full morning exploring the resort, especially finding all the animal pens and enclosures. We fed the animals twice, paying $1usd for a small pail of feed for kangaroos, deer, and goats. We also enjoyed the animal show one afternoon at 4:00pm. We went to the beach only once, as our kids preferred the pool. We went to Akumel to see the sea turtles, and because we brought our own snorkel gear from home it was free, other than the transportation there and back. You can book a tour, but you don't need to, and you can just rent the equipment without a guide. We also went to town on the collectivo - also good for a morning activity. Our kids only went to the kids club twice, but they loved the movies and games there, and it was nicely air conditioned. The waterslides are also something you don't see at many resorts, and that was good for a few afternoons of fun. We snorkeled and kayaked in the cenote, and once brought crackers to feed the fish. Every day our kids went to bed exhausted from the activities, sun, and fresh air, and most days napped. We appreciated our very large veranda to sit and read, play games, and relax while our kids napped and after their bedtime at night. One reason we chose Bel Air is because of the space on the deck for us when our kids were sleeping. Our kids have a gluten intolerance (allergy) and not speaking Spanish made this hard to communicate to the staff, but the chef was very good about explaining what was safe to eat from the buffet (most things were fine). All together, to get a resort with these features, with a room this size, Jacuzzi tub, huge veranda, and all these activities for the price we did felt like a very good value. Oh yeah, and good quality free Wi-Fi. [Details]
  • Room
  • Quality - Price
  • Front desk & Reception
  • Beaches
  • Location
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  • Cleanliness
  • Food & Restaurants
The strong points
Room size, huge veranda, lots to do, zoo, snorkeling in the cenote, kids club, waterslides, quiet, not crowded, location, strong and free wi-fi.
The weak points
Some signs of age in the rooms(maintenance fixed a hole in our deck), later mealtimes (lunch started at 1:00pm, supper at 6:00pm).
Certified

Interesting and unique resort. Worth checking out!

, Winnipeg, MB
2016-03-01
My girlfriend and I spent a long time looking for the perfect resort, and after reading several reviews about this hotel we booked our trip. The resort was definitely unique and different, and we enjoyed our stay.

One thing to consider and keep an open mind about, is that there is a lot of walking involved and the shuttles (golf-carts) are not always around or free to drive you around. (when you see them they're usually already full) The exercise was nice however. Layout of the resort is interesting and likely isn't found anywhere else. The animals were entertaining and the big cats were beautiful. The black jaguar would always come up to the glass to see us when we walked by. Some reviews complained about poor living conditions but keeping in mind that these are rescued animals and are essentially living in a zoo, that is generally par for the course.

The staff was mostly friendly and accommodated most of our requests. The main people that went above and beyond were Augustin (who speaks perfect English and is just a great friendly guy) and the other guy working the lobby bar. (Shorter, older guy who is always in a great mood and spoke English well) The guy working the pool bar was cool too. A majority of staff only spoke Spanish and most guests were Spanish-speaking as well. I liked that almost everyone around was speaking Spanish (it really makes you feel like you're in Mexico) but I can see how it could make some people that do not speak Spanish uncomfortable when trying to communicate. I know enough for (very) simple requests and understand some of it but was still a bit of a barrier. Not a huge deal though for me. I suggest bringing a basic Spanish book if you're not fluent. For example, there are no ice machines so you need to call room service for a bucket of ice, and they don't speak English...so I had to figure out how to order a bucket of ice in Spanish. (was a challenge but it forced me to learn a bit more Spanish!) The food was alright, I would suggest ordering from the menu if you're looking for more options. Omelettes are good and I had one most mornings. Drinks were cold, as expected. Ask for "dobles" if you're looking for a good time though, they don't put a ton of booze in them otherwise! I don't think they mentioned it when we checked in, but all the food (other than room service) and drinks are included - disregard the prices on the menus and the bills you have to sign. I would suggest at the very least learning how to say your room number in Spanish as you'll have to provide it anytime you order something. I forgot to ask why you needed to sign when it's all inclusive but forgot.

Room (506) was cozy, bed was good. Pillows a little stiff. We tried to use our Jacuzzi one night and when draining it, the water came up through the floor drain... someone came to try to fix it but the only way around it was to drain it very slowly. We didn't use it again (not the end of the world). Cleanliness and housekeeping was good, I requested extra beer and water a few times and they happily provided it.

The pool was nice and refreshing and mostly empty all the time. Beach at the resort isn't suitable for swimming but if you go for a walk down the right side of the beach there are some amazing views. You can see all the destroyed huts from the hurricanes which is sad to see but worth checking out. It provides a glimpse into what that resort must have been like before being mostly destroyed. Puts things into perspective in terms of how much bigger it used to be. Go a little further and you will find an amazing cove that would be perfect for snorkeling. (I'm not 100% sure if you're allowed up to that point so if you go, do so at your own risk. We only went up to the "do not enter signs" then came back)

The beach club is definitely worth checking out. We went 3 times during our week long stay and weather was perfect 2/3 days. You hop in a van for a short 10 minute cruise to the beach were Bel Air has an area just for guests. Beautiful white sand beach and nice water to swim in. There is also a bar and snacks, which are included. You can walk down the beach and check out a few stores (to the left) with nice crafts and things.

All in all, we had a great time and enjoyed our stay. My expectations were slightly jaded as we stayed at a 4.5 star (Grand Palladium Puerto Vallarta) last year which was unreal. If you're expecting a luxury 4-5 star resort, this isn't it. If you're interested in checking out a very unique resort in the heart of the jungle and are open to new things, then you'll enjoy it! I would recommend this resort for couples or families as it looks like the kids were having the most fun, thanks to the animals and wildlife. Adults looked like they were having a good time too(ourselves included) but the nightlife and entertainment was non-existent. Which is fine, unless you're expecting a crazy party scene - maybe Cancun would be better suited for that. (from what I hear)

If you want entertainment, go into Playa Del Carmen. You can take the Collectivo (public transportation, large white vans that look like Sprinters) for a few bucks per person. Just flag them down on the highway and tell them where you're going. You pay when you get out (we usually gave them around $3 USD per person) Both times we went into town we just stayed on until the last stop then walked down to the markets/beach. I believe it is around 15th ave (where you get off) and the main market strip is 5th ave. Very loud and busy and not for the faint of heart, but lots of neat shops and restaurants. Get ready to do some negotiating and don't expect to pay what the asking price is. A lot of times the vendors would eventually just ask you what you want to pay for the item and as long as it's not ridiculous they'll accept it. Don't get carried away as they can sometimes get insulted - I had one guy tell me to have a nice day and walk away, which was a first! (I guess I pushed my luck)
There are even a couple of McDonald's for those who are homesick. The beach is beautiful here and we enjoyed a nice dinner there one night. (gets a little chilly and windy at night, so bring a sweater)
We didn't feel like talking another Collectivo back to the resort at night so we took a cab for $25 USD. This is a better deal if you can have others join so you split the bill, but was still worth it for us to get back quickly (warp-speed actually...going 130km/h most of the way). Roads are a little crazy out there but entertaining! If you choose to take the Collectivo home you can get on at the same stop (around 15th ave I believe) and just tell them you're going to Bel Air. Once you reach the Barcelo resort just say "Bel Air por favor" and they will stop there next. You just have to run across the highway from there and you're back home.

We only booked one excursion as we didn't want too many things set in stone. We took the Coba tour with ALLtourNATIVE and it was worth every penny! Very interesting excursion which was a nice combination of adventure (hiking through the jungle, canoeing, ziplining, rappelling into a cenote) and culture (authentic Mayan lunch, ceremony from a Shaman, and a tour of the Coba ruins). The ruins were very interesting and climbing the temple was challenging and fun! We got hit with a huge thunderstorm as we were arriving at the main temple and got drenched, but it only added to the excitement. Was a welcomed refreshment after the extreme heat. The company (ALLtourNATIVE) apparently is locally owned and helps support the local Mayan communities, which was nice compared to the usual commercially owned tour companies. Our guide (who's name escapes me) was excellent and spoke very good English, along with Mayan and Spanish of course. He was a character.

I suggest renting (free) bikes to get around and explore the (resort)grounds. The kayaks are also fun and we found one of the (huge) manatis in the lagoon. Otherwise you'll get to see most of the resort just from walking between your room and the front lobby and restaurant.

This is my first review of a resort so it is likely a little long-winded, but I thought I'd included everything.

To sum up my review - this resort is worth checking out if you are adventurous and open minded. Nice and romantic for couples, and seemed fun for families with kids. We were pleased for the most part and made the best of our stay. Lots of great memories, now time to plan our next adventure! [Details]
  • Room
  • Quality - Price
  • Front desk & Reception
  • Beaches
  • Location
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  • Staff / Crew
  • Cleanliness
  • Food & Restaurants
The strong points
Beautiful (offsite) beach club, Interesting layout, Onsite zoo, Proximity to Playa Del Carmen/Tulum/Akumel
The weak points
No onsite beach, Nightlife/Entertainment, Bit of a Language Barrier, Lack of Bars
Certified

Lots to do.

, Winnipeg, MB
2015-03-12
Palapas instead of apartment style hotel is the best thing about this place. Top floors are great with the grass ceiling and the large verandas with the hammocks, (which are on the bottom floors too). Lots to do including swimming with a sea lion in a cenote. Didn't like that some of the animal enclosures seemed too small and that there wasn't information about how they got there and why they can't be in the wild.
Service was very good by most staff, especially at the restaurants. Pool is decent.
Would like to have known that the destruction of the palapas by the water by the 2009 hurricane was never repaired and that there are no waterfront palapas. The jungle view was still pretty great, was not disappointed and would go again. This is not a place for people who want to party, great for those who are there to relax. [Details]
  • Room
  • Quality - Price
  • Front desk & Reception
  • Beaches
  • Location
  • Bathroom
  • Staff / Crew
  • Cleanliness
  • Food & Restaurants
The strong points
Animals, cenotes, veranda & hammock. Food was pretty good though a la carte was better than the buffets.
The weak points
Having to take bus to get to the beach,(not that big a deal though) too much pork, (also not that big a deal).

Xpu Ha Bel Air

, Fonthill, ON
2015-01-20
This is a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the sun. What they offer is unique accommodation in individual two story, thatched roof buildings in a tropical forest setting. The resort is a wonderful zoo, you stroll by anilmal enclosures everywhere you go. The staff are incredibly friendly and work hard to make your stay a lovely experience. Walking to the lobby bar after dinner and having Thomas get you drinks was really nice. What they don't offer is dicos and shows. So, if these are important to you, don't go. You have to shuttle to the beach but when you're there it's classic carribean white sand and clear blue water. There's a reef about 300 yds off shore for you snorkelers. Oh yes, don't forget kayaking on the Cenote and watching the manatees their! [Details]
  • Room
  • Quality - Price
  • Front desk & Reception
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  • Location
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  • Cleanliness
  • Food & Restaurants
The strong points
Natural park like setting, friendly staff, great rooms, cenotes with manatees, the zoo, the Mexican food
The weak points
Remoteness, a shuttle bus to Playa del Carmen would be nice.
Certified

Lovely and quiet

, R.V. Of Thode, SK
2013-02-11
Staff were very helpful and courteous with the exception of one waiter who avoided me,I got the feeling it may have been because I was travelling alone.The jungle setting is beautiful,rooms are older but very nice also very clean.Great place to come and relax but if you are into socialising it may be too quiet.Acces to a good beach is by bus so if you are mainly a beach person it might be better to go elsewhere.Overall I would rate it a 4.I did enjoy this resort. [Details]
  • Room
  • Quality - Price
  • Front desk & Reception
  • Beaches
  • Location
  • Bathroom
  • Staff / Crew
  • Cleanliness
  • Food & Restaurants
The strong points
The lovely jungle setting,freindly staff,cleanliness,attractive rooms and balcony,animal life and mini zoo
The weak points
There were not very many people at the resort when I was there so the amount of activities were few around the pool area,beach access by bus,distance from airport
Certified

Xpu-ha vacation

, Pincher Creek, AB
2010-02-04
we loved every minute of our stay.The food was exceptional,the staff were unbeatable.This hotel is quiet and peacefull,if you want night life this is not for you. [Details]
  • Room
  • Quality - Price
  • Front desk & Reception
  • Beaches
  • Location
  • Bathroom
  • Staff / Crew
  • Cleanliness
  • Food & Restaurants
The strong points
The food and exceptional staff.
The weak points
No beach,youhave to use another hotels beach if you want sand,not much in the way of night life.
Certified

Great Family Vacation

, Newmarket, ON
2009-06-10
We loved Xpu-Ha Palace. It was a cool place to stay for both adults and kids. The staff were fantastic and our daughter loved Livia, the young lady who ran the kids club. [Details]
  • Room
  • Quality - Price
  • Front desk & Reception
  • Location
  • Bathroom
  • Staff / Crew
  • Cleanliness
  • Business Services
  • Food & Restaurants
The strong points
The staff are great.
The weak points
Most of the beach was lost due to past huricane.
Certified

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