Suites are modern, and some feature ocean views. // © 2015 Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Feature image (above): The Zen Pool at Grand Velas Riviera Maya // © 2015 Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Molecular cuisine? No menu? We weren’t sure what to expect when we entered Cocina de Autor, one of the restaurants at Grand Velas Riviera Maya. But using science to create unusual dishes turned out to be positively yummy. Think scallops in raspberry sauce, vegetable foams and chocolate mushrooms. The ambiance was just as sophisticated, with hanging white teardrop lamps and green-glass-topped tables. It’s no wonder that Cocina de Autor has been recognized as one of the “100 Best New Food and Drink Experiences in the World” by Food and Wine.
Cocina de Autor is one of eight restaurants at the 539-suite Grand Velas Riviera Maya. Open since 2008, the luxury all-inclusive resort is known for its huge suites (measuring more than 1,000 square feet, many with private plunge pools); elevated all-inclusive dining (with more than 20 international wines, plus in-room minibar, included); and gracious service (it’s common to see a pool butler lay out towels and set up ice buckets stocked with bottled water). It’s the only family-friendly, all-inclusive resort in the Mexican Caribbean to garner a AAA Five-Diamond rating. But not content to rest on its laurels, Grand Velas has recently introduced new features and services to enhance the guest experience.
Clients who don’t want to miss any big games can now enjoy a wide range of frosty beers and light bites at the Koi sports bar and library. Here, large wood-carved screens slide back to reveal an enormous Black Diamond 231-inch HDTV with Apple TV for viewing top sporting events and shows. There’s also a dedicated dance floor with a DJ for late-night fun.
Visitors should be sure to check out one of the indulgent experiences at the resort’s full-service spa — the largest in Latin America. Treatments include a complimentary 50-minute hydrotherapy session with seven water features, including an ice room, a glass-tiled steam room and a massage pool. But if guests are in the mood for something less elaborate, they can now stop by three new spa cabanas at the top of the three-tiered Ambassador pool overlooking the sea for a refreshing $25 foot massage, among other options.
Grand Velas hasn’t forgotten about couples and families, either. A 143-seat chapel with jungle views and a wedding showroom are enticing additions for lovebirds planning a destination wedding, while a new mini-golf course is currently being built for children.
The resort has also added to its service options with a new Tech Concierge to troubleshoot problems for clients struggling with issues on their laptops and phones. The complimentary concierge service is available to help with everything from resizing files and fixing international phone connections to printing documents.
To get the most for clients for the least cost, Ana Mari Irabien, public relations director for the resort, offers this tip: Book clients in a Zen suite in the lush jungle section. These suites are about half the cost of the oceanview Grand Class suites, and guests may see Yucatan jays, herons and even deer from their decks, which overlook a lily-filled lagoon. They will also be only steps away from the serene Zen pool, and they’ll have the same access as other guests to all the resort’s facilities.
Sounds like a grand plan.