Grand Mayan at the Mayan Palace

The Grand Mayan is within the Mayan Palace complex. It is an extremely large resort that is still under construction, but we had a great time anyway. We would definitely return here.

The Grand Mayan

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by dalefried on May 14, 2004

Best Things Nearby:
Unfortunately, there is nothing nearby. It's 15 minutes to Playa del Carmen and 25 minutes to Cancun.

Best Things About the Resort:
The pool. It is the largest pool you have ever seen. It is spectacular! The water temperature is excellent also. Their activity staff is great too. Service is stressed here too. I have never received better, faster service than here. FYI: The gratuities at the restaurants and bars are included.

Resort Experience:
We had a two-bedroom ultra modern unit with a living room, kitchen and dining area, and two bathrooms. The kitchen had a coffee maker, two-burner stove, microwave, and small fridge. You can drink water from the tap. It is 100% safe. They also supply you with a coffee starter kit. Our terrace also included a personal pool! The beds are on the firm side, but we never had a problem falling asleep. We checked in at 2pm and the smaller room was ready, so we were able to go to our room immediately even though check-in is supposed to be at 5pm.

Distances: The distance from the lobby to my room was about three minutes. The walk from our room to the pool was a little longer, but it really wasn't bad at all and I was traveling with my 80-year old stepfather! We used the vans once in a while, especially from the front gate to our room. That is impossible to walk.

Transportation: We opted not to rent a car. While we waited for the bus on the highway, taxis would stop and offer great prices into Playa del Carmen. One time we took a taxi for only 40 pesos, which was the same as the bus fare into town! Take the Mayab line to the last stop, which is the Playa del Carmen bus terminal. It leaves you off at the corner of Juarez and 5th Avenue, which is right near shopping, the beach and the Cozumel ferry terminal. Of course a car would be more convenient, but I think we saved a lot of money by taking public transportation.

Activities: We had so much fun with the staff. There is aquarobics, bike tours, Bingo, dart tournament, bracelet and necklace making, morning Yoga, and salsa lessons. We had so much fun with the salsa lessons. We got the basic steps, but the advanced moves had us baffled. Joanna, a dancer from the show, tried to help us out, but we were too hysterical. The shows at night were spectacular. The Mexican fiesta night was good too, which included an unlimited bar, mariachi band, dancers, etc. They especially catered to the children too. The cost was US$42.

Beach: It's true that you can't swim on their beach. We walked about 10 minutes south, which wasn't too easy because there was a lot of garbage washed up on shore, but I don't think the Mayan Palace owns that land, so it's not their fault. The spa is not ready yet nor is the children's water park. We didn't want our vacation to end -- we had a wonderful time! When it is totally finished, it will be awesome.


Member Rating 1 out of 5 by dalefried on May 14, 2004

We thought the food was horrible. It is true that it is more upscale with a nice view of the magnificent pool, but we were so disappointed with the food.

My husband and I ordered ravioli. The waiter told us it was cheese ravioli. I don't know what was really inside the ravioli. I couldn't identify it. The waiter said it was spinach, but I know what spinach looks and tastes like, and shouldn't spinach be included in the description on the menu? My parents each had chicken parmigiana with a side of pasta. The chicken cutlet was deep-fried and there was no sign of cheese or sauce on top. There was a black stringy, greasy lump on the plate also. We asked where the pasta was and the waiter pointed to the lump! He explained that it was cooked in the ink of squid! Yuck! Who thought of that? How do you surprise people like that?

Other people have recommended this restaurant, but we despised it!

Breakfast Buffet

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by dalefried on May 14, 2004

The breakfast buffet was $15 per person. We ate here most mornings. It was very good and we weren't hungry until dinnertime, so it was a good value. A chef makes omelets in front of you and a chef on the other side makes French toast, pancakes, quesadillas, and waffles. There was a long line the first day for all these dishes, but it was better later on in the week. This is where the timeshare salespeople bring their customers. They have side dishes with entrees also. The fruit was so delicious!

The supervisor of the waiters (Abelardo) was so kind to my parents. He waited on them personally, carried their food from the buffet, brought them anything they wanted, and the tip is already added to your bill! The service was the best I have ever experienced anywhere.

Tum Tah by the Beach

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by dalefried on May 14, 2004

Tum Tah Restaurant was our favorite and we ate there twice. It is right on the beach. The pizza was very good and my parents enjoyed their chicken dishes. I had a grilled shrimp and salad dish, but it was small, so only order that for an appetizer or if you are not too hungry.

The ambience is beautiful and the service was wonderful. Romantic music is piped in. I highly recommend this restaurant.

Balche Pool Snack Bar

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by dalefried on May 14, 2004

This restaurant has daytime bistro and happy hours, and at night, it has dinner buffets. The Oriental buffet at the Balche Pool was not worth US$20. There was no rice and no lo mein. There was good stir fry and sushi if you like that, but it’s still definitely not worth the money. We didn't go to the Caribbean buffet or the BBQ buffet.

Happy hour at pool #1 was 11am-noon and 4:30-5:30pm. Everyone waited for happy hour because they served two-for-one drinks. Two pina coladas were $6. My husband saw the amount of liquor they put in the drink, so I know they were not watered down as other people stated. Otherwise, it is $6 for one pina colada.

We ate lunch at the Balche Pool one day and we all loved our meals. I had the veggie sandwich, which came with a large plate of fries, my husband had quesadillas, and my parents had hamburger platters. The food was delicious and the price was not expensive at all. I do not recommend the dinner buffets, but I recommend their daytime menu and the happy hour drinks.

Carlos & Charlie's

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by dalefried on May 19, 2004

Carlos & Charlie's is a Mexican restaurant chain and a fun place. It doesn't matter which location you visit -- you still get good food and have a great time. The tablecloths are made of brown paper. The music is rockin' and the waiters sometimes come over and sing along and play air guitar!

My husband and I had Cilantro Queso, which turned out to be Mexican mozzarella sticks. If you are very hungry, you will need to order more food. My parents had a chicken entree (as usual) and they loved it. There is a DJ and a dance floor, and he took requests from the customers who seemed to love disco. The dance floor was hopping and everyone had a great time. When the waiter asks if you would like to see the dessert menu, they stamp the brown paper tablecloth with the menu items! When they bring you the bill, they accompany it with complimentary Sombrero cocktails in cordial glasses. We were so surprised and the Sombreros were delicious.

The bill only came out to $40 for the four of us, although we didn't order appetizers or dessert, so consider that. My parents loved this place also.

Carlos & Charlies
Blvd. Kukulcan Km. 8.5, Local 10 y 10 C
Cancun, Mexico, 77500
+52 (998) 883-4468

Mayan Ruins

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by dalefried on May 14, 2004

We didn't take a tour because we didn't want to spend a lot of time here. We took a cab to the Playa del Carmen bus terminal. We got a great cab fare of US$1 per person, which cost the same amount as if we had taken the Mayab bus. The bus to Tulum only cost $3 per person, which is a tremendous saving. The bus was air-conditioned, the seats reclined, and they even showed a video on the way! It makes stops at Xcaret and Xel-Ha first, so the entire ride takes about an hour from the bus terminal.

Tulum is extremely hot. The sun beats down on you because you are up on cliffs with the Caribbean below. There is a lot of climbing. My 80-year-old stepfather had a challenging time. He didn't feel like going anywhere after this, but it is extremely beautiful.

It costs about $3 admission, but if you bring a video camera, it costs an additional $4. The view is breathtaking. It is extremely far to walk from the entrance to front gate, so I recommend that you buy a $1.50 ticket to the tram. A personal guide costs $40, which I felt was extremely expensive, so we didn't hire one.

If you are not taking a tour, I recommend that you bring a guidebook. Bring fruit for the iguanas! They are all over the place. Then bring your bathing suit and swim in the gorgeous Caribbean! Have fun.

Muyil Mayan Ruins
25km South Of Tulum On The 307
Playa del Carmen, Mexico

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