Oceanside luxury takes shape in the form of Grand Residences Riviera Cancun, a five-star and Leading Hotels of the World property that reminds savvy travelers visiting the Yucatan Peninsula that this part of Mexico isn’t overrun with all-inclusive, pack-them-like-sardines mega-properties with 1,000-plus guestrooms, but rather it’s a cultural, historical, and people-friendly destination that seeps into your skin and keeps tourists coming back for more.
This past fall, Recommend had the pleasure of staying at Grand Residences only weeks after the property’s grand opening in December. How’s business? According to general manager Carlo Bicaci, “Grand Residences has fared very well in the past six months. In addition to a number of repeat guests, we are also continuously attracting new guests. We attribute this to ways in which we’ve differentiated ourselves, such as the amenities we offer our guests, from a complimentary weekly sunset cruise aboard our private catamaran to the fact that our snorkeling headgear is single-use, meaning that each guest has brand-new equipment and does not share with anyone else.”
Before we get into that complimentary sunset cruise, let’s take a tour of the hotel’s “grand residences.”
The moment we stepped into our suite (one of 103 at this all-suite property), we were immediately swept away by the luxurious decor and impressive layout.
Accommodations at Grand Residences range from the 646-sq.-ft. Junior Suite, which is really a couple’s cozy haven with a private outdoor jacuzzi, to the more-than-spacious 8,816-sq.-ft., 4-bedroom Penthouse Presidential Suite made for up to 13 guests (multigenerational clients? you bet). The suite is divided into two Master Suites and two Junior Suites, each with a private entrance, and features a private rooftop garden, private swimming pool, a jacuzzi, a bar, and grill.
The 1,862-sq.-ft., 1-bedroom Master Suite was more than enough space (and this room actually accommodates up to five guests) for this reporter traveling alone. It features a large bedroom with a king-size bed; an impressive gourmet kitchen where the resort’s chef can prepare a dynamite feast for only $70 per meal; elegantly furnished dining and living room with Murphy beds, an impressive bathroom with dual sinks, a soaking tub, shower, and Bulgari bath products; and a laundry room. The added amenities didn’t disappoint either: flat-screen TV, WiFi, a DVD player and iPod dock.
When it comes to onsite dining, the El Faro Grill serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner; The Heaven Beach Bar, where we tried a scrumptious mango mojito and gobbled down a yummy hamburger, is great for munching beachside; the Lobby Cafe and Bar is where your clients can grab a coffee, tea, sandwich or cold beer; the Pool Bar, open from 10 a.m. to sunset, is swim-up; and at the Natural Food Gourmet Market, guests can find snacks and foods to cook en-suite, as well as laundry detergent and other forgot-to-pack items.
Also onsite, guests can find a spa, four pools (one is an adults-only lap pool), tennis courts, bike rentals, a kids’ club for ages 4-12 and teens’ club, too. The resort also offers guests salsa and yoga classes, ceramic painting, tequila tastings, Spanish lessons and other fun-filled activities.
a grand experience
- There is so much to do while visiting this side of Mexico, and the staff at Grand Residences made sure we got to experience all of it and then some. Best part is, these activities weren’t put together exclusively for us. Your clients can also experience:
- A catamaran sunset cruise. With staff on board serving cocktails, snacks and delicious bites, this complimentary cruise sails past the picturesque Yucatan coastline. Pure bliss.
- Snorkeling the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. The great part about this excursion was waiting for the boat on the dock at the nearby fishing village, Puerto Morelos, and watching fishermen bring in their catch or get ready to head out into the open ocean for a day of work. During the trip, the reef was tranquil and the fish and coral life was abundant ($50 pp).
- Lunch at El Merkadito. This laid-back restaurant in Puerto Morelos, which is only a few minutes’ drive from the hotel and great for shopping and people-watching, serves fresh seafood and authentic Mexican dishes in an outdoor, rustic atmosphere. We recommend ordering a few mug-sized glasses of michelada—a spicy and quite tart cocktail concoction made with Mexican beer and clamato juice, don’t forget the lime.
- Cooking classes with Chef Yann Cozic. Also complimentary for guests, this cooking class with the resort’s chef taught us how to make fresh guacamole and ceviche—judging the chef’s final product was the best part.
fall & winter rates
Rates for the fall and winter 2014 season start at $422 for an Ocean View Junior Suite and $572 for an Ocean Front Master Suite.
Says Grand Residences’ general manager, Carlo Bicaci, “Grand Residences will continue to expand in 2015 with more rooms, for a total of 144 suites by the end of the year. However, no construction is necessary since the buildings were completed during the initial construction, so the remaining suites are being decorated and
furnished. In addition, the resort will expand its culinary options, opening a second restaurant on site in December 2015, called Flor
de Canela. The restaurant will be Mexican-themed and will complement El Faro Grill’s steak and seafood offerings.”
Grand Residences Riviera Cancun: (888) 387-4702; grandresidencesrivieracancun.com