1. Getting there: We drove our minivan from Mexico City in a little over 10 hours. It is a beautiful drive through rolling hills and the road is good until you reach the coast. Tolls are steep at about $85 each way. The airport is obviously more convenient, but having a car was nice.
2. Parking: Valet service is 250 pesos weekly, plus tips. Public parking is a good 10-minute walk from the hotel.
3. Check-in was very friendly, and the staff spoke good English. We said no to a timeshare presentation right then and were not asked again. Ask for a room you want. The red and yellow towers are much closer to the beach and the pool than the blue tower. However, the view from those towers is obstructed by palm trees. We walked about 10 minutes from our room to poolside.
4. Pool towels: You must turn them in EACH night before 8:30pm or face a 300-peso-per-towel fine per day. It’s not the friendliest policy.
5. Grand Mayan vs. Palace: Grand is more luxurious and exclusive. Palace and Sea Garden are less so and available for Grand guests. Contrary to some reviews I read, Palace guests are NOT allowed to use the Grand pools or other facilities. If you are an owner (not RCI), you may have more privileges.