Grand Velas: Raising The Bar on All-Inclusives

Raise the Bar: Achievement is largely the product of steadily raising one’s levels
of aspiration and expectation ~Jack Nicklaus
Grand Velas, Riviera Maya, Mexico, luxury resort

I was on my way to the Grand  Velas in the jungles of Mexico. I was hired to photograph the 10th anniversary of the Festival of Life and Death (Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead) for Experiences Xcaret. I couldn’t be more excited about my assignment! As a former physician who was forever captivated by bones and skeletons to a traveler and writer who is intrigued by all-things-Mexico, I was about to embark on a cultural journey to experience Mexico’s celebration of the dead. From Mexico’s language, dance, interior design, architecture and music, this was just another chance for me to see one more side of Mexico’s fascinating culture.

Grand Velas, Riviera Maya, Mexico, luxury resort, Dia de los Muertos

The first hint of the opulence to come was my smiling-faced driver, who stood across the street from the marbled floors of the newly renovated Cancun airport. He stood there in the sun with his sign that read “Maloney”, which for me always spells “happiness” when I see a sign with my name on it! He attentively took my bag, offered me a cold bottled water and a scented, cool towel. We were quickly off – to great start I might add!

Once we arrived at the turn-in along the road to this extraordinary destination, I squealed inside when I realized this was my turn off!

Grand Velas, Riviera Maya, Mexico, luxury resort

I have driven this road many times before, passing some of the most opulent entrances along the highway, quickly flying pass them each time for a different destination. I had always wondered what was behind that wall. With its gorgeous crystal-clear white facade and stark light-blue pools of water, I was excited to see what would be revealed to me behind this partition.

Grand Velas, Riviera Maya, Mexico, luxury resort

Grand Velas: Raising The Bar on All-Inclusives

At first glance when I arrived in the foyer of the Grand Velas Riviera Maya, everything about it suggested a sophisticated Mexican residence.

Grand Velas, Riviera Maya, Mexico

The staff, with smiles, warmly greeted me with a hibiscus, iced-tea and asked me to sit down for check-in. At this moment, I knew that the Grand Velas Resort was going to be a bit different, catering to my weary body and soul, to relax in the luxury of their Mexico ambiance.

Grand Velas, Riviera Maya, Mexico, luxury resort

Grand Velas: Raising The Bar on All-Inclusives

Escorting me to my suite, the massive door swung open to reveal a modern Mexican decor of upscale furnishings decorated in regal red and snow-white colors with brown metal textures and travertine floors. My 1100 square foot suite was ginormous with an equally giant balcony including a hand-woven and cushioned beach chaise and chair. L’Occitane en Provence bath products were in the equally oversize bathroom with lush-inspired bathrobes and slippers.

Grand Velas, Riviera Maya, Mexico

A quick review of the Grand Velas Resort:

Grand Velas, Riviera Maya, Mexico, luxury resort

The Grand Velas luxury resort has three separate sections, though you can easily go between them via a 3 minute waiting shuttle. Mine, the “Zen Ambiance”, as the staff calls it, has lush jungle views, while the Ambassador and Grand Class Suites are beachfront.

Grand Velas, Riviera Maya, Mexico, luxury resort

The Grand Velas Luxury Resort is a destination within itself, where you will never really want to leave! The personal butler along with the all-inclusive room service and bottle of repasado tequila in my room had me at “Hola” (Hello)!

Grand Velas, Riviera Maya, Mexico, luxury resort

“Grand Velas, You had me at hola!”

The resort has private beaches, infinity pools, butler service and world-renowned dining and spa.

Grand Velas, Riviera Maya, Mexico, luxury resort

Grand Velas: Raising The Bar for All-Inclusives

The culinary journeys alone are worth the trip, while you dine in, not one, but seven restaurants, of which five are gourmet.

Grand Velas, Riviera Maya, Mexico, luxury resort

Room service breakfast!

Grand Velas, Riviera Maya, Mexico, luxury resort

Room service lunch!

Grand Velas, Riviera Maya, Mexico

Two of my favorite restaurants at the Grand Velas, Riviera Maya:

FRIDA – How can anyone come to Mexico and not know about this magnificent lady, artist and wife of the famous Diego Rivera? To me, her art trumps his. She is my favorite artist of all time, with her deep , rich colorful art that represent the heart of a life lived. This restaurant does well in representing her heart and soul by the magnificent food that they have created in her honor.

Grand Velas, Riviera Maya, Mexico, luxury resort

Grand Velas, Riviera Maya, Mexico

PIAF – Who knew there was an opulent French restaurant in the middle of the Yucatán jungle? Certainly I did not, as I entered the fine French cuisine restaurant that oozed romance, sophistication and flair. The ambiance itself begins to seduce you into believing you are in Paris for a moment!

Grand Velas, Riviera Maya, Mexico, luxury resort

Grand Velas, Riviera Maya, Mexico, luxury resort

Grand Velas, Riviera Maya, Mexico, luxury resort

The decadent deserts

 

Grand Velas, Riviera Maya, Mexico, luxury resort

The most amazing chocolate nugget ever!

Grand Velas: Raising The Bar for All-Inclusives

But there is so much more at Grand Velas:

Grand Velas, Riviera Maya, Mexico

While you are at the Grand Velas, you must visit the spa, where you can enjoy the tranquil environment through their luxury facilities. Here they have a private oasis where you can go on a water journey for an exhilarating spiritual experience: a hydrotherapy area with hot and cold plunge pools. They also have a dry sauna, steam room and a relaxation area that has floral mandalas (fresh flower petals) floating in Mexican pottery water bowls. You will also have your own personal spa butler at the time you arrive until you leave the spa: perfection!

Grand Velas, Riviera Maya, Mexico

A floral mandala

Grand Velas: Raising The Bar for All-Inclusives

Grand Velas, an all-inclusive vacation paradise, has won both the Leading Hotels of the World and AAA Five Diamond Awards (the only resort in Mexico to receive this, other than its sister resort, the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit!). I know you are realizing that this all –inclusive is unlike any you have ever been to before!

And with its location on the Yucatán Peninsula, Grand Velas is close to Mayan ruins, natural cenotes, and amazing adventure parks, like Xcaret and Xel-ha Park, so there is plenty to do if you even want to leave the luxury resort!

In the sizzling Mexican heat, I needed to clear my head in order to receive inspiration as to why I am here. The Grand Velas provided the quietness I needed to be ready for such a deeply cultural event. But for me, it wouldn’t be Mexico without doing the most luxurious thing of all… which is doing nothing. I let my mind rest before going out to photograph this genuinely-loved, cultural experience. Once again, I enjoyed my amazing Mexico!

Disclosure:  My trip to the Grand Velas resort was sponsored by Xcaret.

2017-05-16T20:37:29+00:00