We arrived in Playa del Carmen on January 3rd, after five luxurious days of doing not a whole lot at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun which never seemed crowded. In comparison, the Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen was a packed to the brim. Luckily, by mid-week, it had emptied out quite a bit. However, I was still excited to stay at this brand new property that is absolutely stunning. I loved how most areas had an open-air feel, the use of natural wood, plants, and stones, in addition to the integration of the Mayan cultural heritage into the design.
I used one Diamond Suite Upgrade (DSU), an award given to Hyatt Diamond members which enables an upgrade to a suite (usually entry-level) on both cash AND “points plus cash” stays up to one week (seven days). These upgrades are a very nice perk of obtaining or retaining Hyatt Diamond status, as you’ll receive four of them each year. This is equivalent to a month of the “suite” life.
- 4 nights @ $125 plus 10,000 points per night
- 2 nights @ 20,000 points per night
- A few cocktails outside of the Lounge @ ~$60
- Total out-of-pocket cost = $732.50
- Value of our room (with upgrade to Grand King Suite) = $3,900
- Value of our room plus all food and drinks from the Grand Club lounge = $4,500 (conservatively because
Edwe ate/drank there a lot)
Why we chose Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen:
- Playa del Carmen was our intended destination in Mexico, but there was no availability over the New Year, we “settled” for Cancun.
- This hotel is only about six months old. Enough time to work out kinks and still be in pristine shape.
- There were both points and “points plus cash” availability which enabled me to use a DSU and save a great deal of money.
- The beautiful architecture. I’ve read a lot of reviews about people complaining that the hotel is too big and it takes a while to walk from rooms to reception. We didn’t mind the walk as it helped us reach 10,000+ steps each day. I love exercise that points in the direction of food and drink.
- Not having to move rooms. Because I used a suite upgrade for only four nights and points for the other two nights, they gave me the option to pay an extra $185 per night to stay or move to a standard room. Due to Ed’s finagling, we were able to stay all six nights.
- The Grand Club lounge with its incredible service, breakfast spread, evening appetizers, and free drinks. The service was truly phenomenal, especially the servers, Ana and Romel.
- Each evening, there was live music at the open-air the bar. Unfortunately, these performances were scantily attended.
- Location! The hotel is set one street away from avenida cinco so it’s more quiet though easy walking distance to everything including the ferries, colectivos, and ADO bus station.
- Security was on point. The hotel extends into the public beach and there is security at all hours of the night checking room keys to both the beach and main entrance. I didn’t think this hotel is a sketchy part of town, but it did seem like a nice gesture.
- I think as a standalone review, there is really very little to complain about. In comparison to Hyatt Zilara, it was bigger, more crowded, and more expensive. I didn’t think the ocean was as pretty, but that could be due to the weather.
We took a taxi from Hyatt Zilara, about an hour away, and the cost was $750 pesos ($40 USD). Upon arriving, we were whisked away to the Grand Club lounge on the fourth floor for a private check-in. Fancy. Unfortunately, our room wasn’t ready for a 1.5 hours. The upside was that the concierge in the Grand Club was responsible for taking care of us so we never had to wait downstairs.
My main fear, as I had read in countless reviews, was the day club (in the photo below, you can see its red umbrellas) next door where, apparently, you can hear incessant thunka thunka all day/night long. When we arrived, the day club was in full swing and it was pretty loud. I felt sorry for those who had rooms right next to the club. However, it proved to be a minor nuisance and didn’t matter that much as things died down during the week.
We stayed in the “Grand Suite King” located right above the pool. Our patio looked out to the ocean, pool, and the rooftop which felt like a garden. I loved all the contrasting colors.
Our suite had a bedroom, humongous bathroom with the best tub ever, and a connecting living room. We also had an end room so it felt extra private.
The living room had a pull-out sectional and a table to eat/work from. It felt a bit cramped, but suited us just fine. A “hidden” sliding door separated the living room from the bedroom.
The bedroom was modern, but comfortable. It looked straight out of a West Elm catalog. We slept super well despite not being smart enough to figure out how all the lights worked – all the buttons seemed to mean “turn everything one”.
One quirk of turndown service are these “Buenos Noches” packets. I thought they contained earplugs, but instead, they held delicious tamarind candy.
The bathroom was super minimalistic as compared to the rest of the suite. It actually felt really cold (both figuratively and literally) as everything was neutral except for the toiletries. The floors were a rough cut stone, luckily they they provide slippers. The shower was spacious and had shelves built in with three different shower heads sure to get you squeaky clean. I was worried about creating a mini tsunami, as I am apt to do, but the slight slope of the floor mitigated most of the situation (see photo below). I wish I took more photos of the tub. It fit two large people comfortably and had a ledge for you to rest your feet.
We didn’t spend a lot of time poolside. The weather was a bit overcast or we were off adventuring or exploring avenida cinco. I managed to take a few photos on an overcast and slightly drizzly day, which was awesome because the pool was nearly empty.
There are multiple pools and the hotel even has swim-up suites. However, these suites don’t have an ocean-view and are located on the very bottom floor. Weird concept.
We missed our free cabanas.
The adult pool was located right next to the day club, so I guess you could more easily enjoy the thunka thunka.
There was also a shallow infinity pool, great for kids. There were also cabanas and seating available on the beach which was usually quite crowded.
Below, you can see how the angle of the rooms and the location of our room, right above the restaurant, near the agave plants. I loved the beautiful whale shark mural.
I only took one photo of the Cenote Spa. We didn’t partake as it’s pretty pricey ($150 USD average for a 60 minute massage) and there was a great $25 per hour massage parlor literally across the street. This was definitely one of the prettiest spas I’ve ever seen. The spa is called Cenote because of the abundance of cenotes, natural sinkholes, in the Riviera Maya. The water cenotes are rich in minerals are are thought to be very healing. One of the coolest things about the spa is that they have a jacuzzi that’s built to resemble the pool inside of a cenote. If you look up, you see the image below. The spa also included a lap pool which was only available to people who paid the $40 daily spa pass or purchased a package.
The gym was decent-sized and had a bunch of new machines. Since I did not partake in any gym activities, all questions can be directed to Ed.
There is a Camp Hyatt on property in addition to a teen arcade called #Hashtag.
THE GRAND CLUB
Along with Hyatt Diamond status, you also get access to their Grand Club lounge. You can also book rooms with lounge access though it costs a bit more. The lounge may be our favorite part of the hotel. It was open from 5am – 11pm and you can get sodas, water, and beer all day long.
Each day, they served a great breakfast with all types of a pastries, juices, fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal, granola, cold-cuts, and hot egg dish. We ate there every day as the selection was varied each day. The amazing servers made Ed-approved custom coffee drinks.
I’ll let you all guess which was Ed’s typical breakfast and which was mine.
From 5-9pm, the lounge served complimentary evening appetizers and cocktails made with mid/top shelf liquor (e.g. Belvedere, Don Julio Johnnie Walker). We made this our dinner multiple nights as they had different “main” appetizers almost every night. We saved a lot of money this way and didn’t feel like we missed out anything major.
OMG THIS MINI BURGER. Mozzarella, portabella, and avocado.
The Club is in the back portion of the building so you get a really nice, all-encompassing view of the property. You could see the thicket of mangrove trees which the hotel was built around in order to preserve the natural environment.
We were very sad to leave.