Transfer: our trip started out on a positive note with the excellent transfers from Expedia. Driver Juan was prompt, polite, and drove a spotlessly clean van. I will stick with Expedia for all future transfers. Transfer back to the resort was equally smooth and efficient.
Beautiful but very large resort. You will definitely get in your 10,000 steps per day here. Well maintained, spotlessly clean.
Best pool I’ve ever been to at an all inclusive resort, but the water was not very cool on our trip due to the high temperatures; music was very loud near the center swim up bar, but there are quieter spots near either end of this very large pool. Two swim up bars, lazy river type of layout with three fountains.
Appeared to be plenty of pool chairs until about 11 am, but if you want a shady spot, you will need to play the towel game and go reserve your spot before 9 am. I observed one prime shady spot with towels that was unoccupied all day until about 3:30 pm, then a young couple arrived. I overheard them say they had spent the day at the beach. Another irritating thing at the pool was the rude thoughtless guests who felt they had to reserve their pool float by taking it back to their chair or sliding it under their chair. The pool floats should remain in the water for anyone’s use. Please don’t be one of those people.
Playa Del Carmen: our taxi into Playa was $27 one way, $28 on the way back. The hotel offers transportation for $18 per person round trip, but you must come and go at the two preset time periods (10:30 am to 2:30 pm or 3:30 pm to 7:30 pm).
Show: we made it to only one show, the Michael Jackson impersonator. Was very entertaining.
Beach: beautiful sandy beach. A little rocky near the center, which is where the Privilege cabanas are, but when you get to the beach, turn left and walk past the Privilege cabanas, where you will find more chairs and cabanas for the “regular” guests as well as a better area for wading. When we went, the red flags were out, the water was rough, we could barely stand up. We spent only a couple hours at the beach before returning to the pool.
No need to worry about pool towel cards, wristbands, or restaurant reservations (except for the Japanese hibachi grill, see below comments)
Room, very happy with our deluxe junior suite on the third floor of building 4 (4314). We could walk directly out the back of our building to the pool, and were close to the restaurants. We never did use the balcony or the jacuzzi tub. The ocean front buildings (9 thru 14) are the farthest from the lobby and restaurant area, you would need grab a shuttle/golf cart. The swim up room buildings (6,7,8) looked very nice and had their own bar and snacks area. If you are so inclined, the free television lineup includes two porn channels.
Availability of canned beer such as Bud Light, Coors Light, Tecate Light, Dos Equis
All the food was excellent. We tried the steak and seafood restaurant, the Japanese restaurant, and the Italian restaurant. Just a minor point but I appreciated the crispy bacon at the breakfast buffet instead of the under cooked, greasy breakfast meats we’ve usually found. When you go to breakfast, try to get seated in the air conditioned room off to the right.
Coconut shrimp at the seafood restaurant
One of the best couples massages we’ve ever had
Restaurant server and captain-in-training Diego was great and made our visit much more pleasant. My first beer at the seafood restaurant was a little on the room temperature side, and when I mentioned it, he placed three Bud Lights on ice especially for me
Poolside lunch, offerings varied from day to day between soft tacos and cheeseburgers, but it would have been nice to have some sort of side dish like fries or chips.
Teppanyaki style dining at the Ginger Japanese restaurant; good luck trying to get a reservation, very inefficient system. You must go in person to one of the six concierges located at various buildings around the resort beginning at 9 am. You cannot make advance reservations unless you have the “Privilege” package. When you arrive at 9am, there will already be a line for the concierge. He/she then must call in via phone to the main reservation place, so all 6 concierges around the resort are all calling the same number at one time. Only one employee someplace is actually logging all the reservations. All spots for that day will be gone in a few minutes. Unless you are first in line, forget it. One guy I spoke to in line said it was his fifth day in a row trying to make a reservation, so on this day he had several friends strategically placed in different concierge spots around the resort. The day I was in line (third in line), no one at my location (building 7 concierge) got a reservation because our concierge never was able to get through on the reservation number.
The room AC seemed to be working, but never got the room really cool like we like it. The ceiling fan was necessary to keep the room at a reasonable temperature.
Mini bar: same as with the room AC, it never got the drinks cold. If you like your beer cold, you will need to put some on ice in the ice bucket. An ice machine is available in each building.
Service in the Italian restaurant was very slow, took about 30 minutes to get our appetizer
While we would not hesitate to go back to the Valentin, we enjoy going somewhere different on each vacation. We’d like to try Secrets Silversands, El Dorado, or the Royal next time.
Gary and Estelle