The most beautiful sound in the world to me comes from pure waves crashing onto the shore. It sends my senses into a delightful state as my body begins to unfurl its tightly knotted muscles while my brain unfolds its tightly coiled threads of thoughts signaling the beginning of a vacation. All ready to turn off any sort of thinking, and abandon reality, or at least, postpone it for now, but all I really hear is the sound of Los Angeles coming to life as I wrap up this article at five in the morning on a Tuesday, all the while wishing I was back in my peaceful state, lying on a beach cot somewhere, ice-cold drink in hand and eyes on the aquamarine skies and seas.
Looking back at old pictures are fun too and it makes me look forward to the next time I visit Mexico, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite tropical destination. Both times I visited Playa Del Carmen, I stayed at the Grand Sunset Riviera Resorts and it is not hard to love this place. First off, Playa Del Carmen’s close proximity to Southern California makes the beach getaway at about 4-5 hours only nonstop flight out of Los Angeles International Airport. Once you land in Quintana Roo, the hotels are an easy 15-20 minutes drive.
Flights starts at about $250 and you can take shuttle private or shared to your hotel, or you can just as easily rent a car for $5 a week. Say what? Yup $5 a week according to Bookit.com. I’ve never rented a car each time I’ve been but I will definitely give it a shot the next time I go which is hopefully this coming June, yay!
The Grand Riviera and Grand Sunset Princess Resorts has got to be the biggest resort(s) I’ve ever stayed at. A week stay will set you back an easy $1400-$2000 depending on what type of room you book. Sometimes, rates go on sale for $160/night guests for a standard room.
The price is rightly so because this resort has everything you could possibly want in your beach vacation that you won’t want to leave! Although technically not located in Cancun, the resort lies on the Playa Del Carmen beach, a quieter side of the Riviera Maya.
The lobby is expansive and opens into white marbled pathways with halls upon halls of endless shops and offerings standing on either side. There is an indoor water pool and falls that flows out into the oceans, while restaurants sit on the outside so that guests can easily access food and arrive either on foot or by golf carts.
As soon as you enter the main lobby, the smell of the ocean greets you, and the sound of the waves definitely gives off that sense that you are in the Caribbean!
We came at a time where summer was barely starting in the U.S., meaning college kids have not arrived yet so the main pools were mostly deserted (normally a party pool).
Every now and then iguanas dart across the walk ways while chasing insects and sometimes Coatis, both being native to Cancun.
There are 4 buffet restaurants, 7 a la carte restaurants, a chill out bar and grill, beach grill, and bars in each of the pools that are in service from breakfast until 11pm each day.
Because this resort is all inclusive, everything is included in your booking, even the a la carte restaurants if you want to forgo the buffet and opt for fine dining.
Outside, the green lawns make way for white stucco buildings that houses the rooms. Either you get a platinum suite, a junior suite, a family suite, or a suite with a swim out balcony which I thought was wonderful.
The green golf carts run every 15 minutes and can take you from the main lobby to the beach, while stopping at all the buildings and amenities of the resorts.
Smaller golf carts are available for those who are checking in or checking out, or those who are being privately serviced.
Valet check-in is available if you book a suite, a guide will also welcome you and explain your accommodations.
Each time I’ve been here, I’ve always stayed at a junior suite since we spend most of the time in the water or laying about at the beach in one of their secluded water front cottages.
I love how they designed each building which are thoroughly connected by arched white halls. The whiteness of the place compliments the lush tropical plants and the fountains.
A lazy pool faces each building and cabanas line up the path, for guests to enjoy. It usually gets crowded by noon, so I created a cheat by leaving my towels on the chairs in order to “reserve” a cabana. You’re welcome!
Swim out rooms with pool access also have a Jacuzzi in the balconies. I will definitely book one of these rooms the next time I visit this resort.
The pool is endless and goes around the resort, all the way out into the ocean.
The food? To die for! There are endless selections of meats, seafood, vegetables, pasta, desserts and beverages that each time you dine, it can easily turn into hours of feasts that you might have to drag yourself out forcefully or risk falling asleep on the tables!
There is a pasta bar and grill station so your food is always cooked fresh.
The buffet seafood and meat selections vary each day, but they always have steak, fish, shrimp, and chicken.
The dessert station is always stacked with delicious cakes, flans, and other sweets for you to choose from.
And, after a full day of eating, laying out in the beach and relaxing in the water is always a great idea.
I’ve been to Playa Del Carmen in the summer and in the fall, and I can tell you that the water temperature has been warm at both times!
These particular beach pictures were taken in October, fall season in the U.S., so it was also less crowded, and still summer in Playa Del Carmen!
This was my favorite spot the entire week we were here. There is a beverage bar behind us for ice cold beer, wine, and other soft drinks for you to enjoy while you relax in the shade.
Wifi does not reach this area so if you are addicted to your phone, I suggest you plan for something else. My choice of entertainment is a good book and a good ice cold drink!
Since we humans are creatures of habits, we claimed this spot for the entire week and people seemed to notice so every time we go to this beach area, the same couples stayed in the same huts around us, leaving this spot entirely for us!
If you do get bored lying around (which I rarely do), the hotel offers free usage of water gears. We opted to rent their kayaks and paddled about for half a day before we decided we would much rather lounge again.
The views are amazing though with turquoise waters that are so clear it was fun kayaking about.
This was probably the only activity we booked during our fall vacation, most of the time we just ate, swam in the pools, swam in the oceans, laid about in the beach, went out at night for some shopping and to watch live plays after dinner, and repeated this cycle for a week!
If you want to play volleyball and you are vacationing alone, there’s always an activity guide that can play with you stationed at each activity area (wearing orange or red shorts).
The snack hut is also convenient and grills hamburgers, sandwiches and hot dogs if you don’t want to trudge back up to the buffets.
Cancun itself offers a wide range of activities and has a wonderful night culture but the most interesting part is its history that takes you back into ancient times. We were lucky to visit Chichen Itza, an ancient Mayan civilization site built around 400 AD, but since it is very special and one of the new seven wonders of the world, I will be blogging about it next time! In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this Playa Del Carmen article and choose to go there, rather than Cancun. It is more secluded, away from the party scene, family oriented, or if you are on a honeymoon, definitely more romantic!