on November 27, 2006
We chose the Viva Palace based on a previous visit to the Viva Maya in Mexico, so this review is based on comparing the pros and cons of the two resorts. Overall I should say that the Viva Maya was a more pleasant experience.Lets start with the basics. Do yourself a favor and become a member of Wyndham-by-Request before you book a room at any Viva resort. As members (membership is free) we were immediately upgraded to a junior suite (ocean view) for the price of the basic room. This is done upon arrival, ask to speak to the By-Request manager Jose Luis at the front desk. More importantly, as a By-Request member, you can make reservations for your entire stay as soon as you arrive. This is really a big deal because each morning there will be a long line at Guest Services to book restaurants for that night. Reservations are really limited, in fact by about 9am all restaurants get full, and you will be stuck eating pizza or the buffet.We ate at La Scala (Italian), Bambu (oriental) and Ibiza (temporary venue for Mexican while the original restaurant is being remodeled). We highly recommend La Scala. Given that 70% of the guests are from Italy/France, they have made this restaurant really good. Good vegetarian choices here, good main courses and desserts. Vegetarian choices in the main buffet restaurant (lunch) are limited to pasta with tomato sauce, side veggies and fruit/dessert. Bambu is more Japanese than Chinese, so be aware not to expect the standard US Chinese fare. Also, there is nothing on the menu for vegetarians here or in the Mexican restaurant. Quality of food at the main buffet La Yuca is not great but reasonable. Good chicken and pork dishes and fruit/dessert choices.Overall the biggest complaint we had was the service. Language is a big problem here compared to Mexico. Very very little English is spoken. Because of the guest mix, Italian is fluently spoken by most staff. Even with the little Spanish we have picked up living in Florida and Texas, we had a really hard time. Staff tended to be rude and unhelpful, especially when they could not understand you. Tropical cocktails were above average. While most problems we had ended up being fixed, it meant going back to the Guest Service Manager or the By-Request Manager.Rooms are very clean and beds are comfortable. An electronic safe and minibar (free) are available in the rooms. The beaches were really outstanding, and we tried archery, kayaking and went on a snorkel trip arranged by the dive shop. The beautiful white sand beaches, and palm trees really make this location a tropical paradise. Crowds, however, detracted from the experience.Overall it was a decent value, but would go back to Playa del Carmen in Mexico rather than here. We felt that the people in general and the staff were more friendly and accommodating.
©Travelocity.com LP 2000-2009