When you think of all-inclusive hotels and resorts what comes to mind? It’s very likely you don’t think of luxury, or quality food, or attentive service. Well, we found an all-inclusive that would probably be better defined as “a very exclusive all-inclusive” - its luxurious, the food is amazing and the service is good too! It might not sound like many all-inclusives but this one definitely broke the mould!
We were at Grand Velas for three nights and had heard great things about it but, if we have to be completely honest, we were slightly suspicious due to the fact that life has told us that all-inclusives are not the place to be! But from the moment we were arrived our suspicions were blown away by very attentive service including a butler service for our huge and luxurious Grand Class room and the great touches that we started to see round the room such as the plunge pool with view of the Caribbean, the extremely large tequila bottle (yes, all included) and the beach bag ready to be whisked away to one of Mexico’s most famous beaches!
The resort grounds are very large and include a huge area of protected mangrove forests and part of the resort is surrounded by this forest and even has its own cenote (a natural sink-hole) in the grounds near the spa which is in the Zen Class building. The rooms in this building are not on the beach, which is just a short 3 or 4 minute shuttle bus ride away, but this is compensated by having a room with a nicely sized plunge pool and a view onto a lagoon full of exotic fish and turtles as well as by the amazing pool.
The award-winning spa at Grand Velas is sensational - it has been voted one of the best in the world primarily because of its incredible hydrotherapy circuit which was a memorable experience. Be prepared for significant temperature changes in the water as you go around the circuit but the health and physical benefits are obvious very soon into the process! We were not surprised to hear that Virtuoso actually voted this particular spa as the best in the world in 2010.
There are several pools around the property including the jungle pool at the Zen building, a huge family-friendly pool at Ambassador class and a beautiful adults-only pool at Grand Class. Each pool has its own bar so there is no risk of getting thirsty and the waiters are keen to please. There are a couple of very well-equipped gyms around the resort as well as a teens room which struggles to keep the adults out as it’s so inviting with its pool table, table-tennis table, video games and bar (non-alcoholic of course) which even gives classes on how to make cocktails.
There are seven restaurants to choose from at Grand Velas and all of the ones we visited were extremely good quality. In fact we thought that Lucca had some of the best Italian food we’ve had outside Italy and Cocina de Autor is a fantastic avant-garde restaurant run by some of the best chefs in Mexico. This was a truly memorable experience with a total of 11 dishes including wine pairing in an intimate room with a lone clarinet player. If you’re not staying at the resort but are in the Riviera Maya area, make a plan to visit one of these restaurants - it won’t be cheap but it will be amazing! If you are staying at the resort, like us, then you won’t have to spend an extra penny as everything is included in your room rate. We are tempted to say that we had some of the finest meals we have had on our travels at Grand Velas!
When we think of all-inclusives Grand Velas is definitely a game-changer. It will change your perception of all-inclusive for good and we think this resort is a great template for how all all-inclusives should be. In fact many high-end hotels and resorts around the world could learn a thing or two from Grand Velas especially when it comes to haute-cuisine.
Who is Grand Velas ideal for? Families, groups and foodies!