Mexico · Uncategorized

Riviera Maya and the Viceroy Hotel

Phew – finally got around to getting my pictures organized.  This post is photo overload! We returned last weekend from a 6 night stay at the Viceroy Hotel, Riviera Maya.  The hotel is located about a 40 minute drive south of Cancun and is near the town of Playa del Carmen.  We took an early morning flight from Dallas and we love how it’s such a quick and easy flight for us – just a little over 2 hours and we’re in paradise.  Customs took about 5 minutes as there was no line and about 10 agents working so we were literally off the plane and in the car on our way to the hotel less than 20 minutes after landing.  We used the hotel’s car service which is pricey but very convenient and it’s a private transfer in a nice SUV with a cold towel and waters provided.

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Beach in front of Viceroy hotel

We were starving by the time we arrived (lunchtime) so we went straight to the casual beachside restaurant and shared some guacamole, shrimp tacos and margaritas.

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First margarita of the trip

Our room was ready by the time we finished our second margarita and we were off to get unpacked and into our bathing suits.  We specifically requested the same room we stayed in last time – Room #40.  It’s a “jungle suite” and is located at the back of the property, which means it’s probably the most private room you can get.  The ocean view and ocean front rooms are great but they are basically the same room layout and you don’t have any privacy because to get that ocean view, part of your pool area is left open so you can see the ocean…and everyone can see you in your pool and hammock as well.  So, it’s a matter of preference. Privacy v. ocean view. We like privacy and we see the ocean all day anyway!

The great thing is that all the rooms have private plunge pools and outdoor living areas with a daybed, hammock and table with chairs for seating that are all covered in case it rains.

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Plunge pool and outdoor living area of “jungle room”  This is just a regular room – not an upgraded suite or anything
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In my hammock by our plunge pool
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So private and love the natural setting

The inside of the rooms are “palapa style” with tall thatched ceilings, air conditioning that works almost too well and indoor and outdoor bathroom areas.

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Very comfortable king size bed
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The “indoor part” of the bathroom.  There is also an indoor shower and toilet in separate area

I never once used the indoor shower b/c I was in love with our super clean, private outdoor shower.  Showering outside in the warm sunlight felt amazing.

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The only shower I used was the outdoor shower.  Loved it!

The hotel is spread out across several acres and all the landscaping is done in a natural “jungle way.”  You walk down paths with lush vegetation and waterfalls – you literally hear the sound of water everywhere you go on the property.

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Pathways to beach and pool
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Jungle landscaping and waterfalls everywhere

There is a little bit of wildlife as well!  A family of spider monkeys live in the area and they pass through every few days looking for a few treats from guests and staff.  This little guy jumped down to our palapa and came within just a few feet to see if we had anything of interest (we did not share our wine with him).

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Spider monkey checking us out!  There was a whole family with 2 babies as well that were riding on the mom’s back.  They have prehensile tails and are very cool to watch swing around in the trees

The main pool and restaurants (there are two – one casual and one more formal) are located by the beach and ocean.  We switched off and would spend one day at the beach in a small palapa for shade and the next day would sit by the pool.  The beach palapas are free for guests and the service is great. They set you up with ice cold water, ice buckets, towels, loungers, umbrellas, etc… Whatever you want, just ask!  Beach day photos below.  Yes, the beach has some rocks and water shoes are probably best but I didn’t have any and was just fine.

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View from beach hut.  They provide towels, magazines and water shoes as well.  Cozumel island is the buildings in the distance
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More views looking to the left of the hotel

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Our time at the pool was also wonderful and the water was cooler than the ocean and very refreshing.

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Lovely natural form pool
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Looking towards the casual beach restaurant from the pool area

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The food (and drinks) at the hotel was also superb.  We left the hotel twice and had lunch in Playa del Carmen (so bad, not worth writing about) and had a hotel snoop and sushi dinner at the Rosewood Mayakoba that was nearby (will write a separate post on that one).  The Viceroy has 2 restaurants, the casual beach side restaurant called The Coral Grille and the upscale restaurant located next door called Marea.  We actually never ate at Marea but did the Coral Grille for lunch and dinner.  Lunch is typical guacamole, tacos, quesadillas, salads and sandwiches but they also do daily specials like a paella stand one day and tortas another day.  Every night you could either have the regular dinner menu or participate in their dinner theme, which was a beach BBQ one night, a variety of street food another night, an Italian night and a surf & turf night.  We also did room service twice when we were being super lazy. Marea looks really nice but we just never felt like doing a fancy sit down dinner for 2 hours.

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Coral Grille Bar.  Cute decor for the street taco night – a fake “borracho” at the bar
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A real borracho (kidding, it’s just Steve)
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Not a great picture of my grilled fish and ancho chile chicken street tacos but they were delish!
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Coral Grille decorated for evening dinner

As for things to do, I’ll write a separate post but I admit that we pretty much did nothing this trip which is exactly what we needed.  We were both tired and stressed from work and we needed some serious downtime.  We slept in late every day and spent our time lounging, napping, swimming and reading by the pool or ocean most days and then often had a glass or two of wine or a few beers back by our private plunge pool.  I finally read a book front to cover for the first time in a long time and we just enjoyed each other’s company.  This was also my 4th trip to the area so I have already done the snorkeling, the Mayan ruins, etc…so I can give some info about that later.

Here are the last few miscellaneous pictures to show you an ocean view room, another view of the hotel and some lovely sunset shots.  If you are looking for a quiet, peaceful, romantic retreat, I can’t recommend the Viceroy enough.  Also, this hotel does not allow children under the age of 16 so everyone here is on their honeymoon or celebrating a special anniversary, milestone event or birthday.  It’s so relaxing here and you will never find a screaming child at dinner or by the pool.  There is also a small spa on the property that has a steam room and jacuzzi and Steve and I enjoyed a nice couples’ massage there early in the trip as well.

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Looking back at the hotel from the beach so you can see the loungers, day beds and palapa set up.  No need to “reserve” a palapa either.  With only 40 rooms, there are plenty available all day long.
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Sunset views from the beach
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This is an ocean view room from the path heading back to our room.  Yes, they can see the ocean from their plunge pool but I can also see you!  No privacy!
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Another great sunset – this was my favorite time of day
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Tiki torches were set up for the beach BBQ night with tables in the sand
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Waiting for our cocktails at dinner time
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A little wine back in the room

As for price, this is not a cheap hotel but there are also far pricier options in the area such as the Rosewood or Banyan Tree hotels.  Our room was $465 a night, not including taxes or service fees but that also included breakfast.  The ocean view rooms are more expensive and there are larger 1 and 2 bedroom suites as well.  They do offer a drink and food plan which I would probably do next time as we ended up staying on property more than I expected – we just too relaxed and unmotivated!  All in, including room, taxes, tips, 3 meals a day, all drinks, private airport transfers, spa treatments and some splurges on wine, the Viceroy will run you about $700 to $1,000 per day.  I did think their wine list was way overpriced and not that great so that was my only frownie face for the hotel.  Overall, we felt it was worth every penny and fit the bill for this trip. The great weather this time of year made it even better.  Our last visit was in late May and it was SO humid and hot then.  November is much more pleasant – sunny, less humid and warm enough for swimming but not too hot.

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Never wanted to leave!

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