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The newly renovated Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya has all of the amenities and activities clients have come to expect from a four-star, all-inclusive beachfront resort — swimming pools, a day spa, a variety of delicious cuisines and endless sunny places to lounge. The 1,264-room property also offers the rock n’ roll edge that the brand is known for, from Elvis’s brightly colored bathrobe that greeted me in the lobby to a high-energy cover band that rocked me to sleep at night with hits from Def Leppard and The Beatles.
What makes this resort especially memorable, though, are all the subtle discoveries guests are bound to make throughout their visit.
When wandering around outside, guests might find themselves in a Zen garden. Those who open their closets might find a funky giraffe-print ironing board. The curious guest who picks up a card on the bedside table will find a pillow menu from which they can order an assortment of pillows they never knew existed.
The expansive, outdoor layout means that guests can take a different path just about every time they leave or return to their rooms. On my nightly walks, I came across stark white loveseat benches, cleverly designed so that lovers will find themselves facing one another. Along the way, wild monkeys taunted me from the trees while iguanas posed on the lawn with bored supermodel expressions saying, “Take a picture of me if you must, paparazzi.” One night, I grabbed a seat at the main stage theater and was blown away by a crew of local break-dancers, who mocked gravity with their stunts.
While I waited for a table at Frida, the resort’s on-site Mexican restaurant, the host encouraged me to sample the restaurant’s exotic-fruit-infused tequilas, which made the wait for a table seem too short. I loved that Frida’s guacamole was made fresh at my table and was briefly set on fire with flaming tequila.
The Hacienda side of the resort, meant for families, features a fortress-like play area for children, called Little Big Club, located between two swimming pools. The brave explorer who climbs to the top will find that it houses an indoor water slide. (It’s a short ride, but completely in the dark.) Another pool offers a tight-rope walk for the young, daring and soon-to-be-wet.
If your clients’ ideal all-inclusive resort is one where the staff hovers, waiting on them hand and foot, then this is not the place for them. The Hard Rock Hotel Maya Riviera has a laissez faire approach to hospitality. It is important to note, however, that the staff is polite and available whenever guests seek them out, which is great for travelers who like to relax, meander and discover things for themselves.