I am finally getting around to writing our review~!
We stayed, played, got married, & honeymooned at the Barcel³ Maya Resorts. I would now consider us veterans of the Barcel³ Maya since we have stayed at all the properties in the Riviera May Barcel³ complex & are going back to visit for a 3rd time in December.
December 2008 – Site Visit, 7 days, Beach/Caribe side, met with Xheil wedding coordinator
May 2009 – Wedding, 3 days, Tropical/Colonial side, Claudia was the wedding coordinator
May/June 2009 – Honeymoon, 7 days, Palace side
Let me start of by saying we are very traveled, especially to All-inclusive resorts in the mid-price range. We have been to Dominican Republic, Cancun 7 times, Puerto Vallarta, Bahamas, Aruba, & Jamaica. We are typically easy to please, I don’t expect the food to be top notch if I am staying at an all-inclusive, but I do expect for there to be a. something for everyone, b. better food at the a la carte restaurants, c. at least a few menu items that I love & stick with.
Beach/Caribe – meal tickets based on length of stay; 2 a la carte restaurants options (Mexican (good fajitas) & Spanish (awesome steak)), no air-conditioned in the buffets, lobby bars, theater or beach grills
Tropical/Colonial – meal tickets based on length of stay; 6 a la carte restaurants options (Mexican & Spanish; Italian, Steakhouse, Japanese/Thai (Japanese is hibachi, it is the BEST one, awesome surf & turf & salmon), Seafood), air-conditioned buffets, Colonial lobby bar; No air-condition in the theater, tropical lobby bar or beach grills
Palace – Unlimited a la carte, Top shelf liquor; 9 a la carte options (Mexican & Spanish; Italian, Steakhouse, Japanese/Thai, Seafood; French (awesome salmon, lobster, surf & turf), Brazilian (just ok), Caribbean), air-conditioned buffets, lobby bar; theater, & beach grill (sometimes they open the windows at the grill so it hot at times)
A+ This resort is by far the best one we have been to yet.
Staff: they were wonderful, we had our favorites that got to know exactly what we were drinking, I will say though, a tip truly goes a long way, we are pretty decent tippers & the staff there only makes $5 a day & with tips they only usually pull in $20 a day total. So please tip if you want outstanding service, it truly is amazing what they will do or go & get for you for just a couple of dollars.
Great food, by far the best buffet food that we have ever had. There is for sure something for everyone, especially at dinner. Breakfast at the Buffet: Awesome made to order omelets, fried eggs, scrambled eggs, great sausage & lots more. Lunch at the Buffet or Beach Grill: To me it was hit & miss, they had some great stuff, I always stuck with the made to order chicken soft tacos or chicken quesadillas. I thought the grill & the buffet were about the same. Buffet had some more selections & was air-conditioned; grill was close to the pool for a quick bite to eat.
Dinner Buffet: Always great one night they even had grilled lobster that she was grilling right in front of you. Lots of fresh fish (delicious), chicken breast, they always had the made to order pasta bar & salad bar too.
Dinner Restaurants: We took advantage of the a la carte restaurants most nights. Hibachi was by far the best & we also loved the Spanish & French
We always went, it starts at 9:30pm & we had a blast. They are awesome performers & there is a bar in the theater to order drinks. The best night is the American music night, they call it Variete. You can see a schedule of what day it will be there in the lobby hallway. Tip, at the Beach/Caribe/Tropical/Colonial sit in the very very back on the little platform…. There is a great breeze there & it won’t be sweltering hot!
Everything I expected it to be, I would do this again in a heartbeat, it was all I wanted! We had our ceremony at the gazebo at 5:00pm, there was a nice overcast so it wasn’t too hot. We did the Sea Breeze package, got $300 off for bringing our own minister (my Aunt, we got legally married at the JP before this). We choose the Mariachi band for our “live music” for the ceremony, she won’t suggest this, but just ask for it like it comes with the package & she will do it. We had the reception in a banquet room at the Palace Chak-Halal Meeting room. It’s the one on the same floor as the lobby with 2 huge windows. It was perfect, I wanted it outside but realized I didn’t want sand & to be sweating my a** off while I was eating & dancing. I sweat enough dancing & still wanted to look good for my pictures I was SO happy we did this, so were our guests, it was a nice break from the sun & heat that we had been in all day & night since we had been there. We had the spinach salad, shrimp compote, beef tenderloin & chocolate molten cake (ALL fabulous, see attached). We didn’t upgrade anything. I though I can’t take any of this home with me, so why pay more? We had a 1 tiered cake (everyone got dessert, so everyone was too full for cake anyway we just wanted to do the traditional cake cutting. The flavor was pineapple, it was sooooo yummy! Flowers: My mom’s best friend owns a flower shop here, so she had a wholesale vendor down there that she got all the flowers from & put the arrangements together herself. Just remember you can’t take your flowers or centerpieces home so don’t waste your $$ on them. Almost forgot, we had white chairs & table liens, round tables 8 chairs to each table with cream sashes (that were provided for free, you also get to pick from royal blue, red, white, & coral sashes for free) So, we didn’t have the resort do any of our flowers, but she would take of any $$ for that.
I really advise any bride to DELGATE, all these people were here for us & I did a horrible job delegating my tasks out, so I was so stressed out the days before the wedding that I hardly enjoyed the beach or the company!
DJ, DJ Bob – A+
He was wonderful, I gave him a list of bands we like & song’s we wanted played for the cake cutting etc. or just special songs & he did a AWESOME job of keeping us all out on the dance floor… I mean everyone..,. just look at our pics. We had a blast, he had a small setup with a bubble machine & lights, it was perfect!
Photographer, Octavio Montes – A
We paid to have him for 8 hours the day of the wedding, this was so neat to have a picture from everything that went on. 1 hour before getting ready, etc. He did a fabulous job we felt like we were famous & he was the paparazzi, he was always there capturing the moment. The best time was the Trash the Dress shoot, it was a blast! We did trash the dress 3 days later. We didn’t want any prints & he customized a package for us with just the CD of all the images, met us at the airport on our way out to deliver, it was perfect!
Videographer, Winnie Vallejo – A
Her son Diego Vallejo did our video & we absolutely loved it. We also had him for 8 hours & he was extremely reasonably priced too. Octavio & him worked great together, both getting awesome shots. We truly felt famous with a video & photographer in our faces at all time It made for some wonderful moments we would have forgotten after the fact. He even made the 8 hour clip into a 3 minute video to music. It made me cry when I saw it & gives me goose bumps every time I watch it. This is a MUST, I would for sure make room in your budget for this!!! I can’t express it enough. He also make a 1 hour clip that has our vows in it too! It is so neat to watch & to be able to show those who couldn’t make it or our children someday!
Claudia wedding coordinator: F
She was horrible. We met with her on Thursday, wedding was on Saturday. She change our time from 4:00pm to 5:00pm, b/c there was another wedding. Everything was fine, but we used our own DJ, Videographer, Photographer & Florist and I don’t think she gave us great service because of that. I am sure she makes a cut for you using her vendors. Found out on Thurs I had to pay $300 to the resort photographer for NOT using him (or you can just negotiate with the front desk & reserve your photographer a room, give them a wristband & you don’t have to pay the $300). I was not happy about just finding that out. My travel agent arranged for my FI & I to stay in different rooms Friday night. We were upgrading to the Palace Saturday & she arrange with Claudia that I would get to upgrade Friday so we wouldn’t have to move bags the day of the wedding.
1.Bring Bubba Kegs, they will fill them with ANY drink you want, keeps it cold for hours
2.Bring blow up rafts from Wal-mart ($2.50), they come in handy & sell them at the resort for $7.50 if you don’t bring yours.
3.Sneak out bread from the buffets & go feed the fish at the pier, it’s amazing, there are about 100. Then jump in right on top of them, they run for cover & come back to swim really close to you its so neat! This is a MUST!!!!
4.Borrow the resorts mask & fins, (bring your own snorkel) & go venture off the pier & swim near the buoys going towards the Place, you will see so many fish, coral & some sea turtles!
5.Get a massage at the Spa (in doors near the Caribe), it was fabulous (& I don’t like massages), its $50 for 50 min
6.Centotes: There is a wonderful one Centote Azul. Go with a group, walk outside the resort, cross the highway, go to the left of the resort & walk about 500m down the main road, you will see signs for Centote Azul. Pay the guy in the shop $5 per person & follow the trails. This is a very refreshing cenote with a dock to jump off on & a cliff directly across from it that you can walk to & jump off, we had such a blast doing it… It’s a must do, I wish we would have taken our entire group there!
I hope this helps future brides, feel free to ask me anything. I am an open book!
Planning: Sent everyone 2 luggage tags each, + a welcome to Mexico letter + the most loved navigating the canun airport(attached)
OOT Bags - Green for boys, Jute for girls, 1 towel each, 1 waterproof credit card holder, sunflower seeds, trail mix, gum & hand sanitizer (These were a HUGE hit)
Dancing Shoes: Got an assorment of flip flops & had them at the recpetion labeled dancing shoes.... they were all gone by the end of the night on everyone's feet!
My Shoes: Purple.... everyone loved them!
Garter: Kansas City Chiefs (my husbands favorite team) I kept this a secret, you should have seen his face when he was under there & saw it
Shell Prayer Ceremony: we bought one shell for each person & gave everyone this card with the program & shell at the ceremony, after it was over we went down to the beach all said a private prayer & threw our shells into the ocean (this was so cool!)