About the Resort
Part of the sprawling Vidanta resort complex in Riviera Maya, the Grand Luxxe tower seeks to redefine what a luxury hotel should be. Offering top-shelf accommodations, food, pools, and service, this resort is a must-visit.
Key Property Facts
Disclaimer: My friend Jordan and I were given a free 3 night stay at Vidanta Grand Luxxe, including accommodation, food, drink and entertainment in exchange for our honest, unbiased review of the resort.
If you’ve read any of my guides about Mexico, you’ll know that I love this tropical paradise. I live in landlocked Nebraska, so it’s nice to hop on a plane at 6 AM and be lounging on the beach with a cocktail in my hand by noon. That said, I tend to visit quite a bit, recently reviewing Villa la Valencia in Cabo and Sensira Resort & Spa in Riviera Maya.
In both my research and travels, I’ve heard the name “Vidanta” nonstop, with marketing materials promising a resort experience unlike any other. Of course, I take this with a grain of salt, but when a member of the Riviera Maya team reached out and offered a stay at their Grand Luxxe tower, my interest was piqued. So we booked our flights and headed to Cancun.
Upon arrival at the airport, we were met by Marco, one of our dedicated concierges that would tend to our every need throughout our stay. Unlike most resorts where you meet your concierge at the door, he rode with us back to the resort in case we had any questions prior to our arrival. After a short 35-minute ride, we were greeted with fresh cold towels and hopped on the shuttle for a quick tour of the grounds, which are… enormous. Even saying that would be an understatement.
To be more precise, Vidanta Riviera Maya is actually one sprawling resort comprised of five separate hotels: Grand Luxxe, The Grand Bliss, The Grand Mayan, The Bliss, and Mayan Palace. While the hotels are separate, the grounds are mostly shared, with 20 dining options throughout the complex and a very neat market area called Salum.
While the drive from the check-in area to our building was short, it highlighted the sprawling (and to be honest, quite breathtaking) grounds. On both foot and by car, I sensed that the resort owners spared no expense to make this truly astounding. This is clearly visible, from the enormous fountains and immaculate landscaping to the guy whose only job appeared to be keeping the paths clear of leaves. After staying for 3 nights, my assumption was proven correct.
During our stay, we were given the “Grand Luxxe One Bedroom” suite, which has one bedroom and one and a half bathrooms, a living room, and a room with a pull-out sofa and an accordion wall, which effectively turns the area into a second bedroom.
What I thought was really cool about this room was that this door has an actual door in it, so once it’s pulled shut (it’s really heavy), it acts as a full second bedroom, albeit unofficially (as the bathroom is outside of the door).
I do think it’s important to note that the Grand Luxxe is the nicest hotel in the entire complex, so some higher-end finishes were to be expected. But I’d say the finishes and overall quality was much higher than I expected.
Another distinction that I should make is that Vidanta is a “vacation club” resort, meaning that most guests you will encounter are members. That said, you can still rent out the suites, but only when they have availability. If you were to rent our 1-bedroom suite, it would set you back $1,580 per night.
We were granted “Platinum” status, which appeared to be both very rare and very exclusive. As it was described to me, there are several levels of “ownership,” each with their own benefits. Before you book, you’ll want to confirm which amenities are included with your stay.
You should also know that this is not an all-inclusive resort. The astounding nightly price covers only the room and transportation to and from the airport; all food and activities are an extra fee.
That said, this is not a budget resort. It’s a full-on luxury resort, complete with the best service I’ve received on a Mexican trip and, as I mentioned above, absolutely no expense spared.
The attention to detail in the room alone was astounding, with every detail considered. 10 foot ceilings? Check. Doors so heavy and thick that it took an extra push to get closed? Check. Custom branded golf polos? Check. A pen and stationary monogrammed with my name? Check.
There’s 12 total buildings in the Grand Luxxe hotel, but each are only 3 stories, and they’re set back into the jungle area with a 10 minute ride to the beach. As such, there’s no ocean view, which I’d expect many of my readers to want, especially when spending more than $1,500 per night.
I personally love ocean views, but didn’t find this to be much of an issue, as the jungle view was unique and there was a well-equipped terrace off the living room in addition to a private terrace off the bedroom.
The room was well-equipped for guests to make their own food, complete with two mini-fridges, a stovetop, and plenty of pots, pans and utensils.
I’m unsure whether or not I received this because I was on a press trip and had platinum status, but we had fresh fruit and meat and cheese platters delivered every night, along with smoked salmon and crackers. There were also a wide assortment of sweet and salty snacks, which of course I ate.
Turn-down service was offered each night, and must have been coordinated with the concierge, as we were never interrupted by the housekeeping staff, no matter how irregular each day’s schedule was. Every night we got a little chocolate sculpture, and everything on it was edible! A very nice touch here.
Each room was assigned a dedicated concierge that always seemed to be available to schedule reservations, order more food and drink for the room, and give rides around the resort. Unlike other resorts, this was a true concierge that checked in with us multiple times per day and coordinated handoffs when their shift was done. One nice touch was that as soon as we got the check at a restaurant, they must have been notified, as they’d immediately reach out and offer a ride.
My only warning is that since there are 12 buildings in the Grand Luxxe hotel, it’s easy to get lost by walking. I’d highly suggest coordinate a ride with your concierge, as you’re paying for the service, it’s fast, and you won’t have to figure out where you are, especially after a few cocktails. Ask me how I know that one.
It’s also worth noting that there were almost always countless shuttles sitting idle waiting for guests outside the restaurants. A few times, I coordinated a last-minute ride with our concierge, only to have to wait for them to arrive. In the meantime, we saw several other shuttles leave.
That said, the wait was because of my poor planning. Had I reached out to our concierge sooner, they’d have been able to arrive before we walked out. The benefit here is that you don’t have to wait for the shared shuttles to fill up; you just schedule a ride in advance (the 2 key words here) and go without a wait.
The Rest of Our Stay
If you’ve read any of my reviews, you’ll know I am a pool fanatic. When I’m at an all-inclusive resort, I love to grab my book, pick a lounger, and bake in the sun for hours at a time. Fortunately, the Vidanta had just what I was looking for.
We started at the Grand Luxxe pool, which was a secluded and private pool for use exclusively by, you guessed it, the Grand Luxxe guests. While it’s only a 5 minute walk from the enormous main pool, it was extremely quiet.
There was always quiet and tasteful music playing that gave it a true resort vibe. The loungers felt to be very expensive and were extremely comfortable. Even better was that they were washed off every night. While mosquitoes were not as big of a problem as I expected, I’d bring some bugspray here, as the pool is surrounded by jungle, meaning you’re bound to get bit at least once.
At the end of this pool are some interestingly short cabanas and two lukewarm whirlpools. This area was unused, as the cabana designs are a bit awkward, but I could see this being nice for someone who wants to soak in the whirlpool after a long day in the sun.
While we were here in the off-season (October), this pool was quite relaxing and far more secluded than the exclusive/private/adults-only pools I’ve seen at other resorts. I really loved that there were no beach vendors or activity directors bothering me. It truly felt like an oasis that you could visit to escape the typical craziness of a beach resort.
Also, this pool was open until 9 pm, which I found to be a pleasant surprise. While most resorts close their pools at 5 or 6 pm, we could stay here until our 8 pm dinner reservation, which I really appreciated.
While I loved the Grand Luxxe pool, the following day we discovered what I consider to be the crown jewel of Vidanta, the Beach Club. This ultra-luxurious series of small but well-designed pools surrounded by a giant pool deck and cabanas became our home-away-from-home for the rest of our trip.
This exclusive club is open to guests of the Grand Luxxe (and I believe 1-2 other hotels on the resort). Everyone from these resorts can use the loungers and basic cabanas, but our Platinum status granted us our own giant corner cabana.
We had several other guests approach us and ask about our cabana (it’s 1 of 2 giant ones that dwarfs the standard cabana), as this was not the standard. Our concierge told us that they can be rented for an additional daily charge, but although I asked, I was not given a price. I’m also unsure whether or not our Platinum status unlocks these perks for free, so this would be something to ask Vidanta before you book.
Simply put, I loved the Beach Club. The service was amazing, the pool was well thought out, and the food was great.
I loved the Beach Club so much that we visited all day on Friday and then returned on Saturday after the waterpark. Also be sure to ask about happy hour, as we got two-for-one drinks between noon and 2pm. And spoiler alert — they make them strong.
If I were to return to Vidanta, I’d likely spend my entire stay at the Beach Club. It was, hands-down, the best pool of any of the resorts I’ve visited (and I’ve been to a lot), and I loved the chill and quiet atmosphere here; I can’t think of any way to possibly make this area any more luxurious than it is.
Since Vidanta is spread out over a such a large complex, they also have a huge beach. When I visit a resort, I typically take a dip in the ocean and then stay by the pool, but I always walk along the beach at least once to check it out.
What’s interesting about Vidanta’s beach is that even the area in front of the Grand Luxxe is exclusive. Just as the pool is separated from the rest of the resort to create a nice and quiet atmosphere, so is the beach.
You’d never know it, but around the corner is the beach area of the Grand Mayan. While the beach is connected, the area in front of the Grand Luxxe (pictured) is small and intimate. You also can’t hear anything but the waves. But walk around the corner and you’ll hear thumping music and see the large crowd of people on the huge Grand Mayan beach and at the main pool.
This is another testament to how well thought out the resort is. The Grand Mayan is what I’d consider to be a budget hotel, and while it’s on the same huge Vidanta property, it feels like it’s another resort altogether. When you’re spending about 5 times as much, you’d expect a clear delineation, and I think that Vidanta has done a wonderful job of keeping these two areas separate.
Another thing that stuck out to me about the beach was how clean both the water and the beach were. My pictures don’t show it, but the resort’s beach has a rock jetty that creates a little bay, allowing you to walk out 100 yards or so and still stand.
While seaweed is a major problem in the Cancun area, there was very little seaweed on the beach or in the water. I’m unsure if this is because Vidanta removed it or whether the jetty takes care of this, but I was surprised at how clear the water and beaches were, especially because I visited during peak seaweed season. Another huge win here.
Update: Vidanta confirmed they do take measures to remove seaweed. It’s no surprise, though, given the attention to detail that was given throughout the rest of the resort.
As I’m sure you can guess, Vidanta’s food fell in line with my expectations for a luxury resort. On Thursday, our first day, we ate at “The Burger Custom Made,” which is right next to the Grand Luxxe pool.
While I loved this restaurant’s unique approach to burgers, the food was extremely expensive, rivaling some of our sit-down meals. Personally, I liked the food, but found that $50 per person for a burger, beer, and fries to be far more than I’d ever want to spend. On a return visit, I’d skip this lunch spot in favor of the Beach Club’s food.
For dinner, we dined at Tramonto, an American-Italian restaurant. The food here was excellent and the resort seemed to have a waiter or staff member for each guest.
They even had a cocktail cart, from which I ordered perhaps the best old fashioned I’ve ever had.
A unique touch was the harp player standing next to our table playing covers of both popular and classic songs. I absolutely love Italian food and think that this restaurant served a nice blend of classic and modern dishes, offering something for all tastes.
For breakfast, the resort has two main restaurants: Del Lago (a buffet) and Green Break (a sit-down restaurant). We ate at Del Lago once and Green Break twice.
I am a huge breakfast fan, so I’m always eager to try each resort’s breakfast buffet. Del Lago did not disappoint, but I should note that the food selection leans heavily toward a traditional Mexican breakfast. They did have staples like pastries, eggs, etc., but there were not too many “American” options.
The restaurant overlooks a lake and had a nice breeze blowing through while we ate. They even had a falconer, who for some reason was just standing on the balcony with a live falcon. I’m sure he was going to put on a show, but we didn’t see it. In any case, I thought this was a neat extra touch that shows that Vidanta spares no expense on their resorts.
My favorite breakfast was at Green Break, which is a more formal but cozy sit-down restaurant overlooking the first tee box on the golf course.
As expected, the service at Green Break was amazing, and I appreciated the waiter pointing out that the first dish I ordered was dry; he said many people don’t like it. So I got the pancakes instead, and his recommendation likely saved me from being disappointed with my meal.
These were superfood pancakes which had oats and all sorts of seeds in them. They were so filling that I had to ask for 3 instead of 4 the second time we visited.
On our second night, we visited Quinto, which Vidanta describes as a “luxurious take on the modern steakhouse.” And after visiting, I see why.
Simply walking in the door of Quinto takes your breath away. Relative to the building, there are very few tables, giving off both cozy and exclusive vibes. Since we were at a steakhouse, we chose to order wagyu steaks, each with a side of baby lobster.
We also ordered the bread loaf for an appetizer (warning… the green sauce is extremely hot).
Being from Nebraska, I have an unusually high standard for steak, so I was pleasantly surprised when this one exceeded my expectations. It was tender, well-cooked, and melted in my mouth. And although it was called “baby lobster,” there was nothing infantile about the portion.
While the total cost per person came out to around $250 ($140 for the steak and $75 for the lobster plus appetizers), I felt that the quality and portion size rivaled that of the finest steakhouse anywhere in the world, and as such, I’d seriously consider splurging on a meal here.
Finally, as part of our trip, we were booked a reservation at Le Petit Chef, a unique experience in which a tiny projection-mapped chef entertains guests throughout the 2-hour, 5-course meal.
While I found some of the presentation to be a bit corny, it was a fun experience with a unique story accompanying each course.
After each story was played, the waiter and waitress danced and did actions to bring the story to life while bringing us our food.
While this experience was fun, I thought it was quite expensive ($100-$200 per person), so I personally wouldn’t spend money on it.
That said, Jordan really enjoyed it and said he’d probably take his family, given they had one where we live. I could see this being very fun for kids or travelers looking for a unique experience outside of a traditional sit-down restaurant.
While we only experienced a few of the 20 total restaurants on Vidanta’s sprawling property, I never left a meal disappointed. And while the dining options (in my estimation) cost 20% more than other resorts in Mexico, I also consider the food to be be at least 20% better.
I also think it’s important to note that there’s a reason each unit is well-stocked with cooking supplies; Vidanta doesn’t expect you to eat at their restaurants for every meal. For those wanting to save some money, just stop by the on-property story to stock up on groceries and save money for a splurge meal; you’ll be glad you did.
As with the rest of the trip, Vidanta pulled out all the stops and gave me a 50-minute massage in addition to a lap in the hydrotherapy circuit.
While it’s a bit tough for a resort to differentiate their hydrotherapy circuit (after all, each is just a wet/dry sauna, cold plunge, massage pool, and some type of warm shower), Vidanta’s was one of the better ones I’ve been to. And the reason is this — service.
I wish I remembered his name, but the attendant that took us from station to station was extremely friendly and the waiting area was much more than just a locker room.
They had a shaving station, separate bathrooms (not just stalls, as most do), and a unique locker system that worked by using a key instead of the traditional keypad.
We started our spa experience with a massage, for which we each had our own little huts. These were just outside of the rest of the spa and accessed by foot path, which made me feel like I was in French Polynesia.
As is typical after any resort massage, we got to relax in the heated chairs, eat trail mix, and drink hot tea. just a warning — those chairs are hard to get out of!
After relaxing for a few minutes, we did a counterclockwise lap in the hydrotherapy circuit, starting in the dry sauna and ending with the foot bath. While I typically hate the cold plunge, this one was cold, but not knife-piercingly so; I could last about 15 seconds submerged below the shoulders.
The last part of the spa was a foot bath, which I found to be a bit unnecessary, as we just walked over rocks while hot and cold water alternated spraying on our feet. I’m sure some guests will love this experience, but it hurt my feet and didn’t provide much relaxation.
At the end of the hydrotherapy circuit, we were given time to shower and shave and were escorted out to catch our shuttle, gather our luggage, and bid adieu to one of the best resort experiences I’ve had.
Is the Grand Luxxe in Riviera Maya expensive? Yes, very. But it’s also the epitome of luxury, so I believe it’s worth the cost and offers tremendous value for your hard-earned money. If you’re looking to make your dollar stretch as far as possible, this is not the place for you.
I believe this hotel is best suited for guests who seek the best: the best service, the best food, and the best accommodations. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion, a big anniversary, or just want the best experiences that money can buy, Vidanta’s Grand Luxxe will not leave you disappointed.
No expense was spared on any part of the resort
The Grand Luxxe areas never seemed crowded
Unparalleled service from every staff member
Extreme attention to detail both in and out of the room
We Didn't Like
Huge property makes walking a bit of a chore
Food is very expensive relative to other Mexican resorts
Limited options for rental outside of the vacation club
Why You Should Upgrade Rooms
While expensive, our one bedroom accommodation was really a flexible 2 bedroom once the accordion door was pulled out, and no expense was spared on anything.
I loved all the small details, including the monogrammed pens and stationary, handmade chocolate sculptures each night, and the wide variety of tasty snacks.
On vacation, I typically leave the room and explore the property, but this room was well-equipped, quite, and very comfortable, so I found myself spending a bit more time in the room than normal. Before you book, though, I'd recommend getting a list things that your room will include, such as which beach club cabanas you can use and whether the nightly rate includes any spa services.