Kelly the Culinarian: Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya Review

Monday, December 23, 2013

Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya Review

Do you have specific questions for me about the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya? E-mail me.

How very sad that we're leaving paradise today. It's been a wonderful week of drinks, dinner, sights and bites at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya. But all good things must come to an end.

A little background on this trip: when we got married in 2009, we planned a luxury honeymoon at Aventura Spa in Riviera Maya. If you recall, Swine Flu hit in the spring of 2009. We planned to carry on until it became apparent travel would be difficult. On the Wednesday before we got married, we changed reservations to a partner resort in the Dominican Republic and thought perhaps one day we'd get there.

The day finally arrived! We found a Cyber Monday deal last year and booked more than a year in advanced. In the meantime, Hard Rock bought the property and was scheduled to reopen under new management Dec. 1.

We arrived Dec. 15 and there's still a long way to go. It's clear we were the first people to stay in our room - the bedspread was still creased from the package, the paint was wet and the room next to us was still under construction.
So fresh
The flip side of this is the resort is basically empty, especially on the adults-only Heaven side. The family side, Hacienda, is much closer to being finished and felt chaotically busy everytime we wandered over.

And this was just breakfast
Appetizers at Zen
In the "pro" column, the food was excellent. The only bad meals we had were room service. There was a great variety of food on the daily breakfast and lunch buffets. There are several dinner restaurants with one closed daily. The restaurants and themes are:
Enchiladas con mole at Frida

Frida: Mexican
Pizzeto: Wood fired pizza
Zen: Hibachi grill/Asian
Ipanema: Brazilian steakhouse
The Market: Buffet
Toro: Steakhouse
Cava Roja: Spanish Tapas
Le Petit Cochon: French bistro
Ciao: Italian (was never open for dinner while we were there)

I loved the French restaurant, which is unfortunately housed in an outdoor patio during construction. The Brazilian steakhouse was also awesome. The lamb there was so good and the salad bar was beautiful.


The Mexican restaurant was also worth walking over for. Great mole sauce, table side guacamole and churros with chocolate sauce.

The pizza restaurant was mediocre, but I recognize I'm spoiled with all the options in Chicago.

Another pro: top- shelf alcohol was included. A pina colada tastes much different with premium booze. We had booze in the room, too, but they forgot our top-shelf upgrade.

Cons .... our room was still not quite finished. It lacked important things like a deadbolt, so a staff member walked into our room while we were asleep.

None of the hot tubs throughout the resort were actually hot. The gym also left a lot to be desired and many amenities under construction or in a state of disrepair, like the yoga room, the zen garden and the obstacle course. And about the beach - it's an artificial beach. It's gorgeous, but the sand is imported and there's a large breaker wall. This means you can't actually swim laps, but the water is calm, clean and very blue.

It took me three days to find a drink menu anywhere on the resort and I was paralyzed by the choices. There also wasn't any information in our room - no maps, no menus, no entertainment schedules, nada. No room service menu, either, which led to some interesting orders on my part.
Yes, please

Slightly used jam
Also, I was a little concerned about the cleanliness of the food service. We ordered room service one morning and the jelly my toast was served with had been opened and used. It was one of those individual things that was sealed up and made me wonder what else had been reused from other diners. I also watched a cook at lunch use a single spatula to cook chicken, beef and steak ... from the raw dish to the finished product. I didn't eat my burger after that.

Overall, this place will be an awesome destination in a few months. It's gorgeous, the food is great and the staff is attentive. The construction means a few details aren't quite there, but it was still a hell of a vacation. The value is hard to beat, as are the vistas and beverages. Wish I was there now ....


Losing Lindy said...

oh the food stuff completely freaks me out!

Unknown said...

I'm a little skeeved by the food but am insanely envious of the resort experience! Can't wait to hear more about the trip!

Zenaida Arroyo said...

That's too bad about the inconveniences you experienced. Someone walked in while you were sleeping? Does not make sense.