Located steps from Fifth Ave at 1a Avenida Esquina Calle 26, Colonia Centro
Playa del Carmen, there’s an abundance of shopping and dining. Fifth Ave is Playa’s most visited attraction with hundreds of local and name band shops and restaurants.
The Grand Hyatt opened its doors in June 2015 and was designed by acclaimed Mexican architect Sordo Madaleno and New York-based Rockwell group. It has 314 guest rooms, 36 of which are suites with terraces. Its beachfront location faces the turquoise waters of the Caribbean with a view of Cozumel some 15 miles offshore.
This is about as full service as a hotel could get. You could really spend weeks here and not have to leave the property. We spent four nights and I’d recommend spending a few more because four just wasn’t enough.
I booked a Grand King room with a AAA discounted rate of $166.50 plus taxes and fees. They do charge a resort fee of $25 a day. The total for the 4 nights was $892.54. Since we were staying four nights I booked the stay on my Citi Prestige credit card instead of my Hyatt credit card so I could get the fourth night free, a benefit of the Citi Prestige credit card which I’ve talked about in other reviews. So, by utilizing the fourth night free benefit, I was able to save around $220, dropping the total down to $670. I also applied a suite upgrade to the reservation. Being a Hyatt Diamond member you are given four suite upgrades a year. I’m really glad we did because the suite was gorgeous and we had stunning views of the Caribbean.
If we were to pay outright for the suite it would have cost us $2558.54 but by utilizing hotel status and credit cards we were able to book for $670. Quite the deal if you ask me.
I earned 5,440 Hyatt points for the stay which under some experts valuations is worth just a shade under $98. I tend to think I’ll get a little higher value for them. Also 5000 Hyatt Gold Passport points are worth a free night in a category 1 room.
I also earned approximately 2010 Citi ThankYou points, which are valued at around $32.
One other thing I’d like to talk about is resort fees. Its one of the most irritating things hotels do. All they have to do is just add $25 to the room rate. I’d much rather them hide the fee in the overall room rate than nickel-and-dime me. There have actually been several times were I went to book a stay and saw they were adding a resort fee and I chose to stay elsewhere. It blows my mind hotels still do this.
Cancún International Airport is 35 miles from the resort and takes about 45 minutes, depending on traffic. There are several transportation options to choose from or you could have the hotel arrange it. If I remember correctly (per flyertalk reports), if the hotel arranges transportation it’s around $200 round trip.
I booked Cancun Express online for $92 round-trip. I believe they are now called Cancun Shuttle (per email they sent me). I booked my reservation online then paid with a credit card using PayPal. We were immediately greeted outside the airport exit doors at around 7:30pm and had a comfortable ride in a Chevy Tahoe to the resort.
On the return trip to the airport we had a 5:30am pick-up time. He showed up at 5:33am. Only three minutes late but I was starting to get nervous that he wasn’t coming. They’re supposed to be there ten minutes before pick-up time but nonetheless we arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare.
Overall I’d rank Cancun Shuttle very high and recommend them to anyone as their prices are a little lower than everyone else I saw.
We arrived around 8:30pm. The receptionist greeted us and once she knew my name she acknowledged my Diamond Status. She then escorted us up to the fourth floor to be checked in at the club lounge. I suppose that’s where all diamonds get checked-in, otherwise you’d use the reception desk in the main lobby.
Check-in was easy and smooth. She offered us beverages upon arrival to the club lounge. After handing over my ID and credit card we were escorted to the room to finish checking in. She spoke solid English and really the whole stay there were no language barriers. Everyone around Cancún and Playa speaks pretty good English. My Spanish is pretty much nonexistent. I can say, “Gracias!” and, “Uno mas Cerveza, por favor.” I think that covers the essentials.
As a Diamond member you are entitled to a welcome amenity or points. She offered us a bottle of Mezcal as the welcome amenity or 1k Hyatt Gold Passport points. I chose the points. I’ll typically also choose points over the welcome gift unless I’m staying at a Park Hyatt. Park Hyatt’s really do welcome amenities over the top.
Pulling up to the hotel you are always checked by security. Once you got past him you go up the hill to a circular drive way.
They have bikes for rent but I never bothered to find the price.
The whole reception area is open air with a view that stretches all the way down to the beach.
Just to the right of the reception desk is the elevators.
Our room, 542, was located on the bridge overlooking the pool.
It was probably the farthest room away from the lobby but I certainly didn’t mind the walk everyday. The view from the bridge had great shots of the main lobby area and surrounding gardens as well as the rest of the hotel.
The huge chandelier hanging from the ceiling around the corner from our room was beautiful at night.
The room was 615 sq ft. Upon entering you come into a small entryway with the bathroom on the left then it opens up to the living room.
The view from the balcony windows was incredible.
On the balcony was a lounge chair and one set of regular chairs.
We didn’t turn the TV on one time during the stay so I can’t tell you what channels they had but the dresser underneath the TV had the mini refrigerator and coffee machine housed in it.
They had a great selection of snacks and drinks.
The prices were very reasonable: probably the best I’ve ever seen at a hotel.
The drapes and curtains were controlled by a switch on the wall so they were all automatic.
The bedroom was simple: bed in the middle, nightstands on each side, and the TV located directly in front the bed on the wall. Thankfully, the night stands had adequate outlets.
Every night we came back to the room we had a different kind of sweet waiting for us on the nightstands.
The bathroom was huge. You could enter through the entryway door or from the bedroom. The only closet in the room was against the wall on the right.
Inside the drawers in the closet was the laundry kit. Prices for the laundry were decent.
The rainfall shower was located in a room separate from the toilet.
The shower had three heads but you could only use one at a time.
We also had a huge soaking tub which I failed to use.
The double sink was on the other side of the shower. I loved the fresh flower they put in the room. It was such a simple touch but it really freshened up the bathroom.
The toiletries were well scented and they weren’t afraid to give us a bunch of them. They replaced them everyday even if we had just used a little from the ones before. They had a set each for the shower, the sink, and the soaking tub.
Also on the sink were mouthwash, lotion, sunscreen, and a dental kit consisting of a toothbrush and toothpaste.
I’ve never seen this brand of toiletries used at a Hyatt before but I was a big fan. Much better than Hyatt’s normal brand.
Club lounge is located on the fourth floor just right of the elevators.I’m guessing it was off-season because the place was empty every time we went. Breakfast is served there for Diamond members and club level guests.
The breakfast spread always consisted of meats, cheeses, smoked salmon, and a different kind of scrambled egg everyday.
There was a gorgeous spread of pastries and bread.
They offered three kinds of juice everyday, alongside some fruit.
And the lovely associate working every morning always welcomed us with any type of coffee we wanted. I wish I would have caught her name because she was so friendly and just a joy to see every morning.
Evening hors d’oeuvres changed daily but usually had one hot item and a few different salads and vegetables.
The dessert spread was phenomenal. The chocolate cake was on point but the dark horse was the marshmallows. Underneath the marshmallows it had some kinda of a warm cookie. Game changer.
During the evenings they practically had a full bar to order drinks from. The only thing I wish is that they had a better beer selection. The only beers they had in the lounge were three different types of StrongBow. If you’re unaware of StrongBow it’s a cider. Not really my first choice when it comes to drinking beer.
We always ate breakfast inside but the two times we went to the lounge in the evenings we sat outside on the patio overlooking the grounds. It was a great spot to sit and have a cocktail and watch the sunset.
This was one the best club lounges I’ve been in. The staff was always in a good mood and made sure we had everything we wanted and the food and drink options were great.
The Grand Hyatt offers three infinity pools that overlook the Caribbean. They supply towels and sunscreen as well as water at the towel hut. There are several servers working the pool and beach so ordering drinks and food wasn’t a problem. One afternoon they brought around cold towels to freshen up with.
On the North side of the main pool was an adults only pool.
We never bothered going to it because the pools were never crowded and the day club right beside the adult pool would play loud music throughout the day. They were also doing a little bit of construction. I’ll get into the day club a little later.
We spent most of our time at the regular pool. The water temperature was just right and having the ability to order drinks and getting them fast was right up my alley.
I’m not one to get up early but Marianna did some morning swims and the water reflections were really stunning. The Caribbean and pool water almost had a chrome tint to them.
The service was fantastic. The bar is close by so you never had to wait long for a drink.
Just as with the pool there was tons of seating at the beach. This is a public beach so anyone can post up in front of the lounge chairs but we were there at the right time of year so traffic around the water was never an issue.
We had a couple of storms roll in a few days but that didn’t stop us from swimming. It reminded me of the water in St Croix a little. The water was warm and I love how just a few hundred feet away you could see a storm but it would be sunny over us.
As with all beaches, Hyatt had a place to shower off before coming back up to the pool.
I just loved the layout of the pool and beach. I’d rank this as one of my favorite hotel pools for sure.
Besides room service they offer three different restaurants. The Grill at 1 26, La Cocina, and El Paseo.
We didn’t eat at The Grill but it’s located on the north end of the pool facing the Caribbean.
We had lunch twice at La Cocina, which is located just across the pool from The Grill at 1 26.
The first time we ate at the outside bar. The bar menu wasn’t all that great but the second time we sat on the patio overlooking the water and the menu was far superior.
We had two apps: jalapeños and pulpo.
Both were good but the pulpo (“octopus”in Spanish) was fantastic. It might have been the most tender octopus I’ve ever had and the chickpea pico de gallo was a great complement to it.
For entrées, Marianna had the cochinita pibil tacos. I preferred her tacos over mine.
I had the ole mole tacos. The reason I liked Marianna’s over mine was hers were more spicy.
Service during lunch was surprisingly attentive. Each server that came to our table cleared dirty dishes and loose paper every time they dropped by. I would recommend sitting at a table instead of the bar as I was impressed by the level of service.
El Paseo is what they call their extension of La Quinta ave. It’s located just past the reception desk down the main lobby walkway toward the beach.
Here’s a pic to get an idea of the long, stretched lobby where El Paseo is located.
It has three different concepts. A coffee bar, a raw seafood bar, and El Kiosco.
El Kiosco had smoothies and sandwiches.
Raw bar is open from 1pm-9pm.
Coffee bar is open from 6am-6pm.
As you can tell, it’s all open air seating but is covered by the canopy roof that stretches from the entrance to the beach. As with most things with this hotel, you had a beautiful view of the water no matter where you sat.
The spa was arguably the best I’ve ever used. It was recognized in 2015 by Interior Design Magazine for best of the year project award, beating out several other spas from around the globe. This also makes it the only spa in Playa to earn an international accolade.
On our second day the weather was looking bad so we decided to use the spa and buy a day pass. Diamond members get 30% off day passes. Regular passes are $40 so with my discount it came to be $56 for the both of us. We were also tempted to buy a massage. When buying a spa treatments the second one was 70% off.
Upon arrival, we were cheerfully greeted by an associate. We were given a tour and then each of us was assigned someone to look out for us and show us the men’s and women’s locker rooms. I had a young fellow named José who was eager to show me to the men’s locker room and made sure I had everything I needed.
The men’s locker room was elegantly designed.
I was given a locker to put my personal things in while I was there. They offer men’s swim trunks, flip-flops, and robes.
Both the men’s and the women’s locker rooms have a sauna and a steam room.
The steam room was appropriately hot. I could only stay in about 10 minutes before I was burning up. It would easily hold 6 people but I had it all to myself.
I didn’t use the sauna but poked my head in just to see how hot it was.
In the room next to the sauna and steam was a hot and cold plunge. I loved the vibrant lighting reflecting off the ceiling.
There were several rainfall showers aligned on the back of the locker room, with some really great toiletries.
After putting my things away I went for a quick swim in the 25-meter lap pool that is located just outside the locker rooms.
From the walkway to our room on the fifth floor we had a good view of the lap pool.
On the way to the treatment rooms is a small relaxation area.
The main attraction in my opinion is the house-made Cenote jacuzzi. The jacuzzi is centrally located surrounded by all the treatment rooms.
As you walk in you just get a sense of relaxation. The dim lights and the colors coming out of the jacuzzi reflecting off the cenote walls were, dare I say, tranquil.
As you can tell this was the highlight for both Marianna and me.
At the top of the Cenote you could see a little bit of light coming in.
The design was perfectly placed with the top of the cenote being visible from the lobby.
The staff was fantastic and made sure we were happy and had everything we needed. It’s easy to see why they are one of, if not the best, spa in Playa. We only stayed about 2 hours but they told us the day passes were good until they closed at 8pm.
The Salon is located right beside the Spa and Fitness center on the bottom level. I only saw it one time during the whole stay. They do nails, haircuts and make-up. Men haircuts are $46ish, depending on the exchange rate and Women cuts for $56. They do list prices of all their treatments on their website.
The Fitness Center is located one level below the pool deck, right across the open hallway from the spa. There are two rooms for the Fitness Center. One with all the cardio and weight machines and another for yoga or for anything you’d need space to move around with.
As you can imagine, everything is state of the art. There are tons of weight machines and cardio equipment, as well as free weights.
The back wall is covered in mirrors with three TV’s attached.
Near the entrance door is where the water and towels are located.
Overall the gym is as well-rounded as any you’ll find. Only thing that struck me as odd was the smell. The odor smelled strongly of a fresh coat of paint. I actually didn’t workout but I thought it would have been a little hard to smell that the whole time if I did.
I’m really disappointed I didn’t get to play around in here. It says it’s for teen kids but I could have easily spent a couple of hours in here playing around. There were ping-pong tables, air hockey, skee ball lanes, and stadium seating to watch movies on the over head TV’s.
Underneath the stadium seating was another room full of X-boxes and PlayStations with bean bag chairs. I was extremely impressed. There was another set of TV’s behind the wall you see in the picture.
There was one associate working when I arrived early in the day. Their desk is located by the main entryway. As you can tell, they had several snack options including popcorn. It was by far the best hotel arcade I’ve ever seen.
If I remember correctly they don’t open until 11am and close around 8pm.
Camp Hyatt is located just down from the spa and fitness center on the bottom level. I took a quick peak just to snap a few pictures.
From what I can tell they offer a ton of different activities for the kiddos aged 4-12.
There’s also an outside play ground for the kids to play in.
Prices are $65 for a full day, $35 for half day, $15 per hour, and night camp, which is Friday & Saturday 6pm-9:45pm is $45. The weekend price includes dinner. Reservations are highly recommended.
Located just down the hall from the reception area, it has snacks, beverages, sandals, hats, sunscreen, medicine, and just about everything else you could think of.
I’ll give service a 9/10. It was about as solid as it could have been. The associates working the club lounge were awesome. I ended up getting my iPhone wet one afternoon. It’s a bit of an inside joke but no one knows how it got wet. The true mystery of the Riviera Maya. Anyway, I asked the receptionist in the club lounge if they had any dry rice in the back so I could put my phone in it and hopefully dry it out. They searched the back and came up empty-handed but he sent one of the servers all the way to the other end of the hotel to La Cocina to bring back some for me. I can think of a lot of hotels that would just tell me no but here they went out of their way to help me. I was very thankful for their effort but after about 30 hours in rice the phone never came back to life.
On our first morning in the lounge we spoke to the receptionist and asked if he could set us up with a driver to take us to Tulum and a Cenote, about an hour away. He had no problems arranging everything and the price was cheaper than what I thought it would be. $120 for 5 hours. Here are some pictures of Tulum and the Cenote we went to.
I can’t think of one bad experience I had with any associate. Everyone seemed eager to help and all of them seemed to genuinely care about the service they were providing.
A couple of things that need to be pointed out but the hotel really had no control over was the day club that’s located on the north side of the hotel and a swarm of huge grasshoppers. I don’t know what they are really called but looked like grasshoppers.
Every morning our balcony and hallway outside of our room was covered in these huge flying grasshoppers.
They weren’t aggressive or anything like that but I think it’s worth mentioning. The hotel said it was quite unusual that they were there. They had never had a problem with them before. So I’m guessing it’s just a one time thing.
Now for the day club. It’s actually in the confines of the hotel along the beach but isn’t run by the hotel. I think Hyatt really hates that it’s there but for now they are stuck with it. They play music everyday from like 1pm-8pm-ish. It could really be bothersome. If you have a room on the north end of the hotel I wouldn’t expect to get an afternoon nap in. You could easily hear the music when you were at the pool and especially if you chose the adult pool because it’s located directly beside it. Overall I think it could be overlooked but something to consider.
With that said, we absolutely had a great stay and neither of the two things just mentioned stopped us from really enjoying the place. I’d recommend anyone to come here and I will definitely be back. I’ve stayed at the Banyan Tree in Mayakoba just down the road and it’s a high-end property with prices to match. I can easily say I enjoyed the Grand Hyatt over the Banyan Tree without a doubt. To get the same experience there I’d have to spend several thousands of dollars more just to equal what I got at the Grand Hyatt. The hotel location really can’t be beat and I hope service and hotel quality stay where they are now because they could continue being a great property for a long time.