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Barcelo Maya Riviera - LIVE - June 20-28


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Good news. I forgot I had a bunch of unread emails built up...I think it was from the six weeks I was furloughed last year. I only actually had about 265 new messages while I was on vacation.

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I get copied on a lot of extra emails, or can see what is going on in the first sentence and do not need to open things.  So my unread number tends to scare people, this one is work.  My personal emails are both at or over 100K unread.  

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12 hours ago, maluhia87 said:

I get copied on a lot of extra emails, or can see what is going on in the first sentence and do not need to open things.  So my unread number tends to scare people, this one is work.  My personal emails are both at or over 100K unread.  

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OMG...lol.. you must be related to my kids....they have that in their inboxes...I'm so OCD....can't stand an unread email....but then I'm retired and have nothing else to do and they are not work related...thank goodness!!

.Greg...thanks for taking us along...really enjoyed your trip!  Waiting on the next one!

 

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, jbhcw said:

OMG...lol.. you must be related to my kids....they have that in their inboxes...I'm so OCD....can't stand an unread email....but then I'm retired and have nothing else to do and they are not work related...thank goodness!!

.Greg...thanks for taking us along...really enjoyed your trip!  Waiting on the next one!

 

 

Just 8 weeks from Friday I fly to Orlando. I'll start my thread 7 weeks from Saturday. I'll have some additional pre-cruise stuff in that thread after 18 months passing by since I got off of Panorama. 

 

Edited by Saint Greg
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On 6/29/2021 at 9:08 AM, mopedmom1 said:

Thank you for sharing your vacation with us. I would be interested to know how you compare this trip to your PH stay.

 

Let me know if I left anything out.

 

 

Rooms

 

The quality of the rooms I felt were equal. Not surprising considering their openings were only about 14 months apart. I liked PH TV better because you could toggle between english and spanish and they had better information like the schedule of events and the restaurant/bar times. I believe all Barcelo rooms have hot tubs on the porch/balcony so that would be a step up from the regular ph junior suites. One thing about ph is every room is close to something. I wasn't close to the beach but I was close to the restaurants and super close to the scene bar. I think PH would be better for older or disabled because the shower had a bench. I'm assuming they all do. Mine at Barcelo didn't. Not to say they don't have any accessible rooms it just didn't come standard. I did like that I could still see the ocean from the shower at barcelo. I dreaded the walk down that long hallway at Barcelo though. 63 rooms I had to pass..on one side. I think it was at or near 1/4 mile walk to the lobby or buffet.

 

Food

 

Breakfast - I'm not a huge breakfast person. The coffee shop at PH with pastries is really all I need. Not a fan of the buffet breakfast. But since I left they have added an a la carte breakfast on the adult side in the brazilian restaurant. That was the one right on the other side of my swim out. That would've been a big winner for me. The raisin pancakes with banana syrup from the buffet were great but I never saw them again after that day. I did like the empanadas and chimichangas on the Barcelo Riviera buffet. There were probably a lot more options for buffet fans. It was really huge. They had a bread bar. They had a bar that was nothing but different cheeses. A bar that was nothing but different sliced fruits. A bar that was nothing but yogurt. They had a lot of stuff I didn't cover at that riviera buffet. It probably has 3 times as much as the PH buffet. And then going over to the palace was nice. They had churros, other live stations, and better service. But the coffee/pastry shop and now an a la carte restaurant make it PH for me. If you're a buffet person you may favor Barcelo.


Lunch - Again Riviera has a huge buffet. And some high end live cooking stations with the steak or prime rib or lamb or chicken about five different seafood options. At Palace I could usually find some good options that weren't self service like tacos or that paella. But at PH I really liked Guy's burgers and sitting down and ordering off of a menu at the italian restaurant or the seafood restaurant. If you're a big buffet person, you're going to like Barcelo better because the buffet is huge and the PH lunch buffet was in the smaller building by the beach. Then there are all of the beach grill buffets by the pools at barcelo.  I think a big buffet person would prefer barcelo but I go with PH again.

 

Dinner - I hated having to plan all of my dinners out in advance at Barcelo especially because I had all of the trips planned and didn't know what time I would eat lunch...or if I would even eat lunch at all some days...or even what  time I would be back at the resort. That said I felt the Barcelo dinner restaurants were higher end. There was no lobster at PH without an a additional charge. I had it twice at barcelo and big lobsters were an option at the japanese restaurant. They didn't have that at PH. They had salmon instead of lobster. For dinner I go Barcelo for sure.

 

Bars

 

Barcelo was very difficult to find bars you could sit at. Really just the lobby bars and the coco bar. The bartenders were less fun. They didn't really talk to you. Didn't make fancy shots. Didn't stack up drinks on you. I liked the bars, bartenders, and drinks at PH better. Now if you like something like Don Julio. You had to be star class at PH for that there. At Barcelo they just had it. Now I don't know if every bar had it. They definitely did at the Riviera pool bar and the Coco bar..which is only accessible by Palace and Riviera guests. It is possible the lower tiered resorts didn't have Don Julio. I'm not sure. I did find a couple of lobby bartenders I liked at the tropical and colonial lobby bars near the end of the trip. But the riviera ones weren't very good and they would like make you a drink then go way down to the other end of the bar where there are no guests and just chit chat. One night before dinner I was going to have a second drink there and opted not to because the bartenders were in their own world at the other end of the bar while I sat there with an empty glass. For bars and bartenders I go PH.

 

Beach

 

The only thing I liked about the barcelo beach was the sand was easier to walk through. And it had that sidewalk you could walk down. You didn't have to walk over a bridge to get to the beach. There was more seaweed at Barcelo...Alot more. There was so much seaweed fighting going on it could be difficult to enjoy the beach. The PH beach beds were free and popular. They didn't have anything like that at Barcelo. I liked the beach bars at PH. They didn't have them at Barcelo. Coco would be the closest.

 

Activities

 

There is definitely a lot more to do at Barcelo. Actitivites PH didn't have include the bowling alley, casino, dolphins, thrill park (currently closed), haunted house (currently closed), and jet skis. Actitities PH had that barcelo didn't would be the lazy river and the theater (barcelo has one in the bowling alley but I think it's just for watching sports). I enjoyed the lazy river and it's bar a lot. But I also enjoyed having the Casino at Barcelo. PH it felt like other than the 9:30 show there was nothing else to do at night. Karoke every other night in the sports bar. Night club at weekends but not until 11pm or something.

 

Shows

 

At Barcelo the shows were all musical shows. And I think they did those better than PH did. They have a bigger stage. It wasn't as high as PH. They had more seating closer to the stage. I liked the live band that was incorporated into all of the shows. But I liked the variety at PH adding in a circus night. A glow night. A super hero night. Barcelo making Karoke their entertainment for Sunday night which was 2 of my 8 nights was a big flop. I think  at 100% when they have more stages going with more options, Barcelo could be better but for now I'm going to go with PH for their variety and not wasting a night on karoke.


Shopping

 

If you are a shopper it has to be Barcelo. Each of those resorts has a gift shop. Then you have the maya mall and plaza mexicana. At PH they had a few stores by the restaurants. One of them duplicated the stores they have down by the pools. Then the PH store. That's it. They brought in some outside vendors one day.


Pools

 

I have to go Barcelo Maya Riviera with the three huge infinity pools. Now if I were at one of the other barcelo hotels, I would change that to PH. They were packed in at the other hotels. No way I would've gotten into one of those pools.

 

Location

 

Definitely liked being close to Playa Del Carmen, Tulum, and really Cozumel if you wanted to go there from Barcelo. I think Barcelo is better for day trips. PH is better for staying at the resort every day. And that's the way I did it.

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Thanks for the AWESOME comparison.  The amount of walking or bus riding really turns me off at Barcelo.  I'm also not sure how comfortable I would be doing day trips by myself as a single woman closer to 60 than 50.  Looks like PH may be a better fit for me!

 

Thanks again!

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/7/2021 at 12:55 AM, mopedmom1 said:

Thanks for the AWESOME comparison.  The amount of walking or bus riding really turns me off at Barcelo.  I'm also not sure how comfortable I would be doing day trips by myself as a single woman closer to 60 than 50.  Looks like PH may be a better fit for me!

 

Thanks again!

Yes we're in our 60's and have been coming to the Riviera Maya for 20+ years and we prefer the more intimate resorts. We've always gravitated toward the Playa area just because it's centrally located for many of the sights we want to visit. The gated community of Playacar at the southern end of Playa is a great area to stay, several great resorts choose from in a nice, safe community, and a gorgeous beach.

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3 hours ago, blue_water said:

Yes we're in our 60's and have been coming to the Riviera Maya for 20+ years and we prefer the more intimate resorts. We've always gravitated toward the Playa area just because it's centrally located for many of the sights we want to visit. The gated community of Playacar at the southern end of Playa is a great area to stay, several great resorts choose from in a nice, safe community, and a gorgeous beach.

Thank you for this great info.  I am not sure when I will be going but I NEED a vacation. It will be the first one after my husbands' passing last year and I think I just want to lay somewhere warm and do something new we hadn't done together. He was not a beach person so on most of our excursions it was an activity not a layabout day. I'm ready to do nothing for a week!

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18 hours ago, mopedmom1 said:

Thank you for this great info.  I am not sure when I will be going but I NEED a vacation. It will be the first one after my husbands' passing last year and I think I just want to lay somewhere warm and do something new we hadn't done together. He was not a beach person so on most of our excursions it was an activity not a layabout day. I'm ready to do nothing for a week!

I am so sorry for your loss...And with the world shut down for over a year on top of that...There are some amazing destinations with gorgeous beaches, our experiences have been limited to the Caribbean just because we love it so. You really can't beat Barbados or St Martin or Antigua or even St Thomas for fantastic beaches and island views. St Thomas is an easy flight from the east coast of the US with no passport, and we love renting a condo at the Sapphire Beach Resort & Marina complex. Sapphire beach is one of our favorite throughout the Carib, and you can rent very nice studio or 1 - 2 bedroom condos right on the beach. I have owner contacts we rent from if interested. Taxis are plentiful if you don't want to drive, and you can also take a short ferry to St John for the day, or even one of the islands of the BVI (passport required for the BVI)! Of course right now some Carib nations are experiencing an upsurge in active covid cases, but others are doing well.

 

We built a retirement home near Playa 6 years ago after vacationing here for 20+ years. We chose this area over others like the USVI, BVI, and the Mexican Riviera to experience the wonderful culture and people here, along with that beautiful Caribbean water and sand. We have favorite adults-only and family-friendly resorts here, as well as boutique beach hotels away from the AI crowds...

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, blue_water said:

I am so sorry for your loss...And with the world shut down for over a year on top of that...There are some amazing destinations with gorgeous beaches, our experiences have been limited to the Caribbean just because we love it so. You really can't beat Barbados or St Martin or Antigua or even St Thomas for fantastic beaches and island views. St Thomas is an easy flight from the east coast of the US with no passport, and we love renting a condo at the Sapphire Beach Resort & Marina complex. Sapphire beach is one of our favorite throughout the Carib, and you can rent very nice studio or 1 - 2 bedroom condos right on the beach. I have owner contacts we rent from if interested. Taxis are plentiful if you don't want to drive, and you can also take a short ferry to St John for the day, or even one of the islands of the BVI (passport required for the BVI)! Of course right now some Carib nations are experiencing an upsurge in active covid cases, but others are doing well.

 

We built a retirement home near Playa 6 years ago after vacationing here for 20+ years. We chose this area over others like the USVI, BVI, and the Mexican Riviera to experience the wonderful culture and people here, along with that beautiful Caribbean water and sand. We have favorite adults-only and family-friendly resorts here, as well as boutique beach hotels away from the AI crowds...

 

Thank you for the condolences.   The pandemic certainly put a few roadblocks in the way of getting things done as well as being able to start the healing process.

 

Thanks for all the great info. I have been to many of the islands you mentioned while cruising, of course only for a few hours at a time. I am on the west coast so will probably stick to Mexico for now. Not feeling up to schlepping transcontinental by myself currently. 

 

Your retirement home sounds like it's a perfect paradise for you. I will definitely be checking out the area more!

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/29/2021 at 10:19 AM, Saint Greg said:

It was nice not being able to check work email. But this is what I get.

 

 

448C54CD-DD1B-43DD-98C1-9339728FA026.jpeg

I don’t miss those days! One of the perks of retirement is that Inbox is GONE! 😉👍☺️

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On 7/18/2021 at 1:41 PM, mopedmom1 said:

 

Thank you for the condolences.   The pandemic certainly put a few roadblocks in the way of getting things done as well as being able to start the healing process.

 

Thanks for all the great info. I have been to many of the islands you mentioned while cruising, of course only for a few hours at a time. I am on the west coast so will probably stick to Mexico for now. Not feeling up to schlepping transcontinental by myself currently. 

 

Your retirement home sounds like it's a perfect paradise for you. I will definitely be checking out the area more!

Yes we experienced much of the Caribbean by cruising before returning for longer visits. Cruising is definitely a great way to see so much in a short time.

We recently spent a week at Secrets in Huatulco (in the state of Oaxaca), nice area to visit with the towns of Crucecita and Santa Cruz. The beach at this resort is made up of coarse sand and is hot, but there are nicer beaches in the area. We saw whales from our room and enjoyed meeting locals in town. 

 

We also enjoyed spending time in Puerto Vallarta- again not the Caribbean beaches, but the romantic zone is a nice area.
 

sorry to steal your thread Greg, enjoyed your blog!

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