By Meghan McCloskey
As the air becomes crisp in the North, there is one destination you can always rely on for bathing-suit weather: Mexico’s Riviera Maya. Having somehow missed the short beach season this summer, I wanted a chance to relax on the beach at a resort where after I checked in, the most difficult decision I’d have to make was what I wanted to eat next. Barcelo Maya Beach Resort offers an all inclusive beach resort experience with an array of dining, swimming and entertainment options, safely tucked away on its 1.25 miles of brilliant Caribbean shore.
I arrived at the grand lobby at the Palace Deluxe, the grandest of the five hotels at Barceló Riviera Maya. As I was greeted with a refreshing drink, I quickly realized that I was in the right place. I chose the Club Premium option, which allowed me a private check-in, seated in a calm room while attentive agents explained the details of my visit.
The Club Premium option was definitely worth it, making the trip flawless with those little benefits that really make a difference, like concierge service, room service and access to the internet, to name a few. By far the best part, though, was the Club Premium view, which allows guests to gaze out at the aqua blue waves from a private patio attached to their suite.
Unlike the dull buffets that “all-inclusive deal” sometimes brings to mind, Barceló offers an array of made-to order options, 14 a la carte restaurants and buffets with fresh, quality food and special options for kids. Had I stayed for a week, I could easily never have eaten at the same place twice. I especially enjoyed the four course dinners at restaurants adapting flavors from Brazil, France and the Caribbean, seated on lovely outdoor patios hearing the waves crash on the cool Mexican nights.
There is no getting sick at Barceló Riviera Maya, as all water, from what is used to cook to what comes out of the spout in the rooms, is treated. Lifeguards carefully patrol the pools and beach, and in the unfortunate case that someone might need assistance, there was a hospital at the resort.
With a full stomach and safety concerns aside, I was able to completely let go of my stress and bask in the haven of never-ending pools with underwater chaises and the stunning white sand beach and crystal clear water. Admittedly, the Barceló Spa helped relieve me of my stress, with its traditional tension relieving massage and avant-garde treatments like Dead Sea floatation therapy.
For those who choose not to relax, there’s always action at Barceló Riviera Maya. Activities are scheduled throughout the day for kids, teenagers and adults, ranging from a Mexican cooking class to pool games and ocean water aerobics. All guests are welcome to take to sea on non-motorized sailboats, kayaks or sea bikes. I chose to gear up with a snorkel mask and flippers and explore the vast coral reef along the coast of Riviera Maya. The tropical fish inhabiting this fragile ecosystem are easily viewed just feet from the shore. At night, there are great shows with professional dancers and musicians, like a Disney character musical or a Cuban music spectacle.
Fall turned out to be an ideal time to visit Mexico’s Riviera Maya. The hot Mexican sun is accompanied by a pleasant sea breeze. The summer tourists have long ago returned home. Yet, Barceló Riviera Maya continues to do what it does best, glisten radiantly and beckon guests from the colder latitudes of the world.
It didn’t take much convince me to visit.