This past week Travis and I spent 4 days soaking up the sun in our new favorite hotel just outside of Cancun, Mexico. Prior to COVID, we thought we would be celebrating our 10 year anniversary in Paris. However, when that didn’t work out, we decided to take a quick trip to Cancun, Mexico. For Texans, traveling to Cancun is a crazy easy trip. The flight is just about 2 hours and shuttling to your hotel once your there is easy if you do it right.
Despite our failed Paris plans, we knew we wanted to get away. We love the Cancun/Riviera Maya area of Mexico and started looking there. After the recommendation from some close friends, we started looking at the Barcelo hotel properties. Then, we booked the Barcelo Maya Riviera, an adults-only hotel that is brand-spanking-new. The pictures online looked good, but did NOT do it justice. The hotel has only been open for 8 months thanks to COVID, so it’s very new!
Y’all, we were truly blown away by the facility, the amenities, the customer service, and our entire stay! We just kept saying, “this place is beautiful” over and over. If you’re plan is to spend most of your time relaxing, you can get away with never leaving the hotel property.
Everything you need is on the property and there are even more options you can take advantage of at other properties/hotels – all walkable. For example, you can swim with dolphins, feed sea turtles, kayak, and so much more! If you like to explore, there are lots of activities and site-seeing adventures you can take with a safe shuttle ride the hotel can arrange for you. Because we only had 4 days there, we decided to relax the whole time, but we met a sweet couple that did several excursions and had the best time.
- rooms – oh man, the rooms are incredible. Each room has a spacious bedroom, a modern bathroom, and a hot tub/jacuzzi bath on their porch. The first floor rooms facing the ocean boast of swim up pools as well. Our room faced the jungle side of the resort and we honestly loved the extra privacy it gave us.
- on-site dining – like most all-inclusive hotels, this hotel had 4 restaurants on-site. It had a lot more restaurants over all of their properties that you had access to, but the top 4 are located on-site. So, for dinner your restaurant options are Mexican food, the Italian restaurant, a French restaurant, and a Hibachi-style restaurant. Breakfast and lunch are buffet style, but don’t let that fool you. The buffet is so nice and there are so many different options you never have to eat the same thing twice.
- infiniti pools – the hotel boasts of 4 large infiniti pools and each one has an incredible view of the ocean.
- beautiful beach – the beach itself is truly stunning. The sand is white and soft and the water is a clear teal/blue and perfectly luke-warm.
- pool bars – there are two swim-up bars located at the hotel. What we found so neat was that the back of each one was a mirrored wall so your view was of palm trees and the ocean no matter where you were looking.
- gorgeous lobby bar – the lobby bar on the second floor was stunning. Not necessarily the bar itself, but the lounge area just outside of the bar. It overlooked the pool and ocean and was the perfect place to watch the sun set.
- spa – like most hotels, this hotel has a great spa. We had every intention of getting a massage, but since we were only there for 4 days, we opted to spend all our time in the sun!
- room card bracelets – we haven’t been to Cancun, Mexico in several years, so this change could be old, but we found the room cards to be so neat. Instead of an actual card you have to keep track of, we had a string bracelet we wore that had a little chip on it that was our room card. It was so nice to have something you can’t loose!
Do you have to get a COVID test to come back?
Yes, the current CDC regulation states that you have to get a negative COVID test in order to enter the United States. You do not have to get one to enter Mexico, but you do to enter the US. The good news is that most hotels have a testing center on site. Our hotel made it super easy to schedule & complete.
When we arrived at our hotel we were instructed to schedule a time/day to get a test. We chose to do a rapid the day we were leaving. All we had to do from there was show up at our scheduled appointment time and within 10 minutes we had our negative test results. Our test cost $15 each. Not bad!
Do you have to get a COVID vaccine to return if you’ve been fully vaccinated?
Yes. The CDC has not changed the rule on COVID tests as of today. So, whether you’ve been fully vaccinated (like I have) or not, you still have to get a negative test result to return.
Were you scared to take a taxi to your hotel?
If you’ve ever traveled to Mexico, you know not to get into a random cab. We always book our Cancun/Riviera Maya vacations through Apple Vacations. When you book through them, they arrange a shuttle to take you to and from the airport to your resort. They are waiting for you when you arrive, put you immediately on a shuttle to your resort, and pick you up at a scheduled time to return to the airport.
What are the COVID precautions the hotel is taking?
- mask wearing in public areas
- servers at all food stations
- socially distanced dining tables
Is the hotel full?
Currently they are only able to book to 75% capacity due to COVID regulations. However, we estimated that it was maybe only 1/3 full, which was actually quite nice.
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