I have just returned from a two week stay at the Barcelo Maya Palace resort. I was there from November 26-December 10. My wedding was on December 1. Here is my review/breakdown/tips to help you. Please if you have any questions, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be more than happy to answer them, as I have relied on this site for my wedding.
Travel Agent/Booking: Due to the hotel having a policy of holding your wedding date for 2 months until proof of booking is submitted, we booked our trip in the first week of March 2011 (for November 26 travel). Our travel agent (Fred from Holiday Market Travel in Toronto) advised us that package deals are only offered 9 months from the date of return. Therefore, a package was not available when we needed to book. We booked our flight, hotel and transfer separate and surprisingly it was cheaper than a package. We flew WestJet, hotel and transfer was through Sunquest. I would never book a package with Sunquest again. We had a private van that picked us up at the airport and took us to the hotel. Once we were at the hotel, we did not exist to Sunquest. The rep never provided us with any information on a welcome meeting (to arrange your transfer back). A binder with the Sunquest repâ€™s hours stated he would be in the lobby at another hotel and we went and he wasnâ€™t there. We had to make several calls to arrange our transfer back to the airport. We were just not happy with the customer service.
Wedding Co-Coordinators/Wedding: Our WC was Claudia and she was amazing. Her response time to emails was great (within a week). My last email communication with her was that we would meet on November 28. We attended the wedding office on the 28 at 9am and Xihal helped us. We had the Mint Breeze package. We chose our flowers and d©cor during this meeting. If you want exotic flowers (like orchids) you need to inform them before hand. I brought (from home) little votive candle holders with candles and fake flower petals as centre pieces. With the Mint Breeze package a fruit centre piece is included. It was a frozen melon that had been carved. We got so many compliments on them. They didnâ€™t push any extra cost items onto us. We added two bags of flowers and it was only because the beach walkway looked plain. We already knew that we wanted to add bridesmaid bouquettes, mother of bride/groom corsages and boutonni¨res. They gave us extra corsages and an extra centerpiece in the hall (no charge to us). We anticipated only working with Claudia and brought $100 for a tip. We left this for both Claudia and Xihal to split.
The Coordinators picked me up and took me to our ceremony location (3pm Coral Beach). They made sure that no other guests would walk by (they re-directed traffic or stopped it all together). We did a legal ceremony. I was a little skeptical about the blood work involved, but it was done very professional and clean. We choose to have the violin and it was beautiful. Itâ€™s connected to speakers so everyone can hear. The ceremony was quick (20-30 mins). We had to give our thumb prints on the certificate. We then had a toast. Then the guests went to the lobby bar (we didnâ€™t want to pay for a cocktail hour) while we went off for pictures. Our reception was at 6pm in the Chak-Hal meeting room. We were so happy with the room. It might have been too big for our party size but it was private and inside (we were concerned about the wind and weather). The room was set up just the way we wanted. They greeted everyone with a drink that matched our colour scheme. Our thank you gifts were set according to the seating chart we gave the WCs (we collect magnets and shot glasses so we bought each guest/couple a magnet and shot glass).The reception flew by. We had the salad, minestrone soup, lamb, and the caramel roll. Everything was amazing. The service was amazing and we tipped the 3 servers each $40. We did our dances in between courses and only had about 30mins to dance before 9pm. We went to the lobby bar and there decided to go to Jaguar (the resort night club) (I changed into another white dress, but other brides were there in their gowns). It was actually the older group that wanted to go there and dance. You can either take the hotel bus to it or walk (10min walk if you know the way between hotels). We brought iPod speakers to use, but didnâ€™t because we had fun at Jaguar. If you stay at the Palace entrance is free and your drinks are included (not sure about the other hotels, but I never saw anyone paying unless it was for VIP and even then $5 for women and $10 for men and its charged to a room).
Hotel: The Maya Palace was a 5*+ hotel. The service, the grounds, the pools, the bars, the restaurants were amazing. Front Desk was so friendly and if we did have any problems, they would call us to make sure it was resolved (our AC stopped working one night but it was fixed within an hour of reporting it and we were at the beach). Workers are grooming the property everyday. The buffets were amazing, there was so much variety. Some of the a la cartes were not good. We LOVED the Italian and French. We disliked the Steakhouse and Brazilian (both restaurants the meat was really fatty) and the Japanese (not a lot of selection). So we were ok going to the buffet for dinners because of the variety.
Hair/Make-Up: Like many other brides, we went with Adrian. He was amazing. Adrian does the make-up and Christian does the hair. I feel really bad for them, as the hotel has started to take a 30% fee of whatever services they provide. They came and did my trail and I absolutely loved it. The wedding day all my girls, mothers of bride/groom and myself were done in plenty of time for pictures. We tipped them a little extra because of the hotel taking a portion of their fee. I think in total he got about $100 in tips (6 people in total).
Photography: My best friendâ€™s husband does photography and we hired him. He did an amazing job. Because he was staying there for the week, we did not have to pay the $300 fee.
Videography: We used Mike Cantarell from Cancun Wedding Video. His wife is Claudia Rodriguez who does photography. We were very happy with the service that was provided. Mike was great with email and sending a contract. We havenâ€™t seen the video yet, but the 2 videographers were very professional and worked really well with our photographer. We provided them each with a meal as it was a long day for them as well. They came from 1pm-9pm. We did pay the $300 fee to use this company. We did not tip them (based on what our photographer advised. He said that photogs and video guys donâ€™t get tipped).
I canâ€™t think of anything else but that my day was perfect. I enjoyed every minute of it because of the staff at Barcelo.