from Cleveland, Ohio
Submitted on 27-09-2016
This was my 5th visit to Ocean Maya Royale and my husband and I really enjoyed our two week stay. I apologize for the delayed review, but TripAdvisor had me wait 3 months after I posted my last review from earlier this year! We are in our late 30ā??s and early 40ā??s and have visited OMR with a wide range of people from different walks of life. It never fails - everyone has a great time! Ocean Maya Royale has become our vacation mecca. It checks off every box on our wish list and we have found e...
This was my 5th visit to Ocean Maya Royale and my husband and I really enjoyed our two week stay. I apologize for the delayed review, but TripAdvisor had me wait 3 months after I posted my last review from earlier this year! We are in our late 30ā??s and early 40ā??s and have visited OMR with a wide range of people from different walks of life. It never fails - everyone has a great time! Ocean Maya Royale has become our vacation mecca. It checks off every box on our wish list and we have found every reason to return time and time again. We never leave the resort, so donā??t ask me about excursions or 5th Avenue. We are perfectly happy with everything they have to offer. We were joined by our two friends for the last ten days of our trip. This was their third stay at OMR and we have decided on this annual trip together. We had so much fun! I've said it before and I'll say it again, in this big world, vacation seems to bring everyone together with a common goalā?¦Have fun, relax and enjoy!
Very little has changed since my last stay in May 2016 so this may be a little redundant for some readers but Iā??ll continue with my full review for new viewers. If youā??re looking for even more thorough recaps with lots of pictures, take a look at my blog (SMS Trips and Travels) where you can read even more about my trip in July 2016 as well as my stays in May 2016, July 2015, July 2014 and July 2013.
Check In and Rooms
We started our trip on a United non-stop flight from Cleveland and arrived at the Cancun airport at approximately 9:15 am. After customs, baggage and a quick 30 minute airport shuttle, we had arrived at OMR. Although we werenā??t able to check into our room, we were able to enjoy the amenities, including a drink at the lobby bar. Once you step onto the property, you immediately take notice of the layout of the resort. Rather than your typical ā??hotelā?? set-up, Ocean Maya has 320 rooms, including 33 eight-room villas and 56 rooms in the privilege building. We really love the layout and the grounds are always kept immaculate. We had previously stayed in building 12, but this year we had two lower level rooms in building 9 - another stellar location with a slight ocean view. We also upgraded to the privilege package and were checked in at the exclusive air conditioned privilege office. The rooms are ample in size and I always bring a few extra hangers and my own pillow.
There are five restaurants at OMR, including four a-la-carte and one buffet restaurant. We are usually very satisfied with the food at OMR, but after my trip in May, we were encouraged to eat more seafood because itā??s the highlight of nearly every menu. Although we tried almost everything on every menu (two weeks will do that!), there were a few dishes that we couldnā??t wait to try again. Everything was excellent.
La Hacienda is the buffet restaurant which is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are so many options with many items changing daily. For breakfast we always ate in the Privilege lounge, but our friends decided on La Hacienda a handful of times. The fruit was fantastic every day and the bread and bagels were always fresh. They also have made-to-order omelets as well as traditional breakfast fare and a fresh smoothie bar. The self-serve mimosa, bloody Mary and screwdriver bar is also a nice touch. None of us ate at La Hacienda for lunch or dinner simply because the food elsewhere was better and we donā??t really enjoy buffets.
Historically, La Dolce Vita has been our favorite restaurant and this year Privilege dinner gave it a run for its money. In addition to the food variety, the atmosphere at La Dolce is what sets it above the rest. Itā??s open air and right on the water which allows for a nice breeze in a comfortable setting. We lost count of how many times we ate dinner at La Dolce and we did a pretty good job of ordering almost every item on the menu. Our favorite items were the arugula salad, beef carpaccio, eggplant parmesan, salmon, lasagna and spinach and ricotta ravioli we occasionally asked for extra vegetables. For dessert we often ordered tiramisu with Bailey's.
Yookoso is the Japanese restaurant and only open for dinner and offers both hibachi and a-la-carte dining. We dined at Yookoso once at the hibachi table with four other people. They serve sushi in addition to the main course of fried rice, shrimp, chicken, beef and vegetables.
Blue Moon is only open for dinner and is considered the most high-end of all of the restaurants. It is air-conditioned so there is no open air and you really have no idea that you're at the beach. Men are supposed to wear long pants and close-toed shoes, but we saw that rule broken on countless occasions. We decided to dine at Blue Moon one time during our stay. Although it's a nicely air conditioned and fairly romantic environment, we simply enjoyed eating dinner elsewhere near the water and beach. For appetizers, we had the lettuce hearts & rose petal salad, warm beef salad and clam chowder. From the entree selections we tried the beef short rib, sea bass, cornish game hen and pork medallion.
El Charro is open as a small buffet for lunch and a-la-carte for dinner. In years past, we have shied away from El Charro because we didnā??t consider the food authentic Mexican. The menu has changed a great deal since last year so we decided to eat at El Charro once for dinner. We were pleasantly surprised. Our meal started with chips, guacamole, salsa and a strawberry margarita. We all loved our entrees, which included the cochanita tacos, barbacoa tacos and the mixed grill molcajete. We highly recommend all of them. We also enjoyed a snack and ice cream from the buffet at lunch a handful of times as well as tacos and (our favoriteā?¦haha) the bacon-wrapped hot dog from the outdoor grill. Although convenient, El Charro's lunch buffet did not offer the same variety as La Hacienda nor the ambiance of the Privilege lounge. Despite the occasional snack at El Charro, we ate lunch at Privilege every single day. No kidding.
The Privilege lounge is the final restaurant and only available to privilege guests. My husband and I ate breakfast in the Privilege lounge every chance we could. There were 2 or 3 times when we woke up too late and we had to opt for a smoothie instead. Privilege offers a beautiful and relaxing setting with an a-la-carte menu. We always ordered mimosas and fruit, in addition to either the yogurt fruit cup, eggs your choice, crepes, omelets (vegetarian egg whites or your choice) or eggs Benedict. Although the fruit plate isnā??t on the menu, we ordered it every day and they are happy to accommodate. The fruit selection varied by day, but it was always delicious. For lunch we enjoyed Privilege tapas EVERY SINGLE DAY. Sure, the portions were small, but high-quality. We tried everything on the menu from the octopus with aioli to the Chilean sea bass stuffed piquilo pepper. The sliders, patatas bravas and cheese fondue were our favorites. Our server Manuel happily accommodated our request for mas patatas and mucho salsa de tomate! We enjoyed dinner at Privilege a few times (with excellent service from Alberto!) Similar to La Dolce, we tried nearly everything on the menu! One option we took advantage of was the opportunity to order from the La Dolce menu while dining in Privilege. They share the same kitchen, so the menu was presented to us every night. We mostly took advantage of this for the arugula salad and beef carpaccio because they were our favorite go-to items at La Dolce. Our favorites for dinner were the tataki tuna salad, seafood carpaccio, sea bass, beef tenderloin and spinach and cheese ravioli.
We ordered room service on two occasions. The food is adequate and it's convenient when you're hungry and don't really feel like getting ready to eat elsewhere. The menu offers basic breakfast, lunch and dinner items. Breakfast is only available to privilege guests, but lunch and dinner are available to everyone.
Mikeā??s Coffee Shop opens at 4 pm every day and serves delicious coffee drinks as well as a limited number of pastries and sandwiches (also has amazing air conditioning!) We stopped in often before dinner for a cappuccino, latte and espresso. If you want coffee prior to 4 pm, you can simply visit the lobby bar and they have an espresso and cappuccino machine ready.
The romantic dinner on the beach is always one of our favorite experiences. Included with our privilege upgrade, last year we started enjoying dinner for four simply because it's a fun experience. We paid extra to upgrade our menus to include lobster and steak instead of the standard shrimp option. The meal started with a dry vodka martini followed by a tomato bisque soup salad with shrimp. We had one lobster and three beef filets. All were excellent. Last was our dessert, which was a strawberry flan and a cream puff with vanilla ice cream.
There are two main bars at Ocean Maya in addition to a smaller bar outside of El Charro (also a smoothie bar). Dos Equis and Dos Equis Amber are available at the main bar and the pool bar. There is a plethora of liquor available at all of the bars as well. The pool bar is located in between the loud pool and the quiet pool, but also has a swim-up bar on the party pool side. Miguel and Ignacio were both phenomenal at the pool bar. They were efficient, kind and funny. We mostly drank Ketel One, Campari (or grapefruit) and soda, traditional and strawberry mojitos. We also had the occasional Mexican Gatorade, mudslide (they'll fool youā?¦), dirty banana, purple rain (RIP Prince), margarita (Ignacio's top-shelf margarita will knock you out!), Long-Island, Long Beach (will also knock you out!)
At dinner, we typically drank either red or rose wine. After dinner, we found ourselves at the main bar. The courtyard outside of the main lobby is where we spent every night. Yovonnetti, Tila and Ana were exceptional in their service. They work so hard, while still remaining kind, eager to please and always remembered our drinks from previous nights. They all remembered us from past visits and seemed genuinely happy to see us again. We watched the outdoor performances, danced and enjoyed cocktails such as Ketel One martinis, Manhattans, 1800 Anejo, black Russians and amaretto, among other things!
Pools & Beach
There are two pools at Ocean Maya and most people refer to them as the quiet/relaxing (or big) and loud (or party or swim-up bar) pools. We spent all of our time at the quiet pool with the exception of the two foam parties. Occasionally, pool chairs were a little hard to come by, but there were several days where none of us were up early, but were able to drop our towels on the way to breakfast. It really wasn't a big deal and we were never without two pool chairs for the four of us.
Of course we couldn't miss the foam party at the party pool! Every Friday, the entertainment team hosted a foam party in the party pool. We enjoyed it twice during our stay and it was a lot of fun. We made great use of our waterproof cameras! The worst part is that it was a little difficult keeping our drinks foam-less :) The entertainment team hosted several other activities throughout the days including, paella-making competition, sushi-making, sangria-making, guacamole-making, cards, water polo, volleyball, water aerobics, etc. etc.
There is also a small beach with plenty of chairs and a separate Privilege beach area. The water was clear with very little seaweed, but if you love a large beach then this is not the place for you.
My first minor complaint was the photography. Having been my fifth stay, I have purchased photos during all of my previous visits so I know to expect a high price tag. I have typically paid around $10 for each digital file and donā??t request any prints because they have been poor quality. Itā??s 2016, so I want the digital file so I can post them to my blog and share with friends and family. During this visit, we had a very different experience. Once they learned we two couples would be purchasing pictures together, they just stopped taking our pictures. We had to request they take our picture (and that never happensā?¦) When it was time to purchase the pictures at the end of our trip we were told we could not obtain the digital file of any of our group photos. Initially they wanted us to purchase a 200 picture package! I take 1,000+ pictured of my own, so really just wanted a handful where they were able to capture someone I couldn't because I didn't have my camera, etc. It my previous four visits, I have always purchased group photos and was never given a hard time. My visit in May was with my mom and sister - Were they really going to tell a mother and her two daughters they can't share a picture? How is this any different? Last July, my friend and I shared a CD and it was no big deal. It's called technology. We're not selling them. They wanted to charge $12 per print and still no digital file. We were simply frustrated. Itā??s discouraging that there are no prices listed and then they rolled their eyes at us when we simply said we wanted 10 digital files for $100. We are always so kind to the photographers and we were disappointed with our experience on this trip. Having had this experience, we will no longer oblige with the often-silly pictures they request.
My second minor complaint was the inconsistent air conditioning in the Privilege Lounge. This is most important during the summer months because I find it too warm to sit outside and eat. AC is one of our favorite aspects of the privilege upgrade, so it was unfortunate that it wasnā??t working on a few occasions. We actually had to leave on at least two occasions because it was so uncomfortably hot. A technician was eventually called to fix it and we were reminded again of how much we love the privilege lounge. Yookoso can also become uncomfortably warm, but I've learned to expect this. I do not expect it in the Privilege lounge.
Once again, the service at OMR elevated our trip to another level. Every aspect and every person went out of their way to make our trip extra special. It is the highlight of this resort and the #1 reason why we continue to return time and time again is the staff. From top to bottom, everyone treats you with genuine reverence and kindness and is always eager to please. Groundskeepers, housekeeping, bar staff, dining staffā?¦I could go on forever about their seemingly genuine attempt to make every guest happy.
Although everyone went above and beyond, there were a few members of the staff who specifically impacted our trip. First, we want to extend a very special thank you to Manuel in Privilege breakfast and lunch. He was efficient, kind and personable. He always knew to bring us quatro champagne and mas patatas when we arrived for lunch. Victor from Privilege also provided stellar service and made sure all of our needs were met. Alberto in Privilege and our romantic dinner server provided flawless service every night. He always had a smile on his face and went well out of his way to accommodate any request.
Oli, Eber, Yovonnetti, Tila and Ana from the lobby bar and courtyard have always stood out and remember us from previous stays. This trip was no different. They take excellent care in ensuring we are happy and our drinks are full and perfect!
Finally, Denise from guest services is a great asset to the h10 and OMR companies. During the several months leading up to my stay, she was quick to respond and accommodate every question and request. I can't thank her enough for helping to make this such a memorable trip for all of us! I am sad to hear she has recently left OMR, but excited for her opportunity at a much larger h10 resort in the Riviera Maya.
Overall, the staff at Ocean Maya Royale is phenomenal and should be proud of what they bring to the h10 organization. Manuel, Alberto, Victor, Yovanetti, Tila, Ana, Eber, Oli, Miguel, Ignacio, Daniela from the entertainment staff and Denise ALL truly made our trip memorable and an outstanding experience. I was excited to see Miguel Roman again and hear he is the new guest services manager. This was my 5th visit to Ocean Maya and the staff always exceeds our expectations. We are already planning out 6th and 7th visit to OMR for 2017. Thank you!