Almost two years after staying in Viva Wyndham’s resort in Dominican Republic, in January 2016 we chose Viva Wyndham Maya for our vacation in Riviera Maya, Mexico. We had so many great memories of our stay at La Romana hotel and hoped to have a good time in the brand’s property in Yucatan.
Viva Wyndham Maya Location
Viva Wyndham Maya is an all-inclusive resort located on the Caribbean coast, south of Cancun. It is a 50-60 minute drive from the Cancun international airport. The hotel is part of the exclusive area of Playa del Carmen – Playacar condominium.
The beachfront hotel features one of the perfect locations in the area – facing the Cozumel Island on the East and the Playacar Plaza on the West. It is sandwiched between two RIU all-inclusive hotels – RIU Playacar and RIU Palace.
Being located close to the vibrant Playa del Carmen resort, Viva Wyndham is a 20-minute walk (5-minute drive) to this lively town and at the same time, it is far enough from the big crowds. From the resort, tourists can walk through the coastline to the wild part of Riviera Maya beach featuring beautiful landscape and peace.
There are one main and a few a-la-cart restaurants. The main dining place La Terazza serves a variety of local and international meals. For breakfast, they offer fried eggs, boiled eggs, omelettes, cornflakes, pancakes, fruits, bacon, and freshly squeezed juices with sugar added and many more. The restaurant is also open for lunch from 1 pm to 3 pm. We preferred to eat there because of the variety of salads, vegetable meals, desserts and ice cream. Dinners were themed – evenings of Asian cuisine, American BBQ, Italian food and Mexican specialties.
The only thing we missed was fish. They served only pangasius, which is considered low-quality fish. In comparison, in the main restaurant in Viva Wyndham Dominicus the menu included mahi-mahi, salmon and grouper. The other disappointment was the guacamole. Instead of avocado, this typical Mexican specialty was prepared from a dried local vegetable mixed with water, onion and chopped tomatoes. Once local people told us the truth about the “guacamole” recipe, we stopped eating it.
One of the downsides of the main restaurant was the lack of outdoor seating. In comparison, the main restaurant at Viva Wyndham Azteca featured a nice outdoor zone.
Actually, there were a few days around New Year’s Eve 2016, in which the restaurant “La Terraza” offered thoroughly gourmet meals! We enjoyed lobsters, several species of mussels, salmon, variety of meat and seafood, exclusive desserts and the typical churros.
On 6th January we tasted the word famous sweet bread rosca de reyes (kings’ ring). The cake was traditionally eaten to celebrate Epiphany. The bread had an oval shape and was enough big to be served to dozens of tourists.
Viva Wyndham Maya guests are allowed to have dinner at specialty restaurants in Viva Wyndham Azteca hotel. Maya’s clients are not allowed to order drinks at Azteca’s bars nor to occupy sun beds on the beach or near the swimming pool.
The number of reservations depends on the length of your stay. We were allowed to book table in six a-la-cart restaurants for a 13-days stay.
Viva Café was the best restaurant in both properties – Viva Wyndham Maya and Viva Wyndham Azteca. What we can say is – perfect presentation, delicious taste and nice service. We had dinner there twice and were delighted! We liked the special salad with yoghurt and the grilled tuna. Clients were also allowed to order a pasta specialty and a dessert.
The Mediterranean restaurant Portofino featured friendly service but average quality food we could have found every day in the main restaurant La Terazza. We booked a dinner there because we expected the desserts to amaze us. Unfortunately, they were the worst thing in the menu.
Bamboo, an Asian-styled restaurant is located in Viva Wyndham Azteca. It was at a 7-10 minute walk from our hotel. The typical Asian food was served without chopsticks but with the typical for Western culture fork and knife. However, the grilled salmon and fried ice-cream were great.
At first glance, the Mexican restaurant “La hacienda Don Diego” seemed to be the best dining place with genuine Mexican atmosphere. In the Mexican restaurant, clients were allowed to take photos with the typical sombrero and a gun. Moreover, “Don Diego“ was the only a-La-carte restaurant in Viva Wyndham Maya with a garden. They offered a Margarita cocktail for every adult and a special non-alcoholic drink for kids. The dinner started with nachos served with 4 Mexican dips. Then we could choose one appetiser, one main course and a dessert. Local red and white wine was for free.
Yet, food was disappointing! We chose a grouper for a main course but they served us a pangasius. This happened twice. We booked a table for the second time with our friends and they served us a fake grouper again.
The restaurant Miramare offered a sea view but the menu was not attractive at all. They mostly served pizza and pasta – meals we could eat every day at the Snack bar restaurant near the pool.
The Snack bar was open during the day from 10 pm to 6.30 am so that if we felt hungry even at night, we could have something tasty to eat.
There were two main bars in the hotel. “Arecife” was close to the pool. They offered perfect cocktails, espresso coffee and shakes. The Bar “La cantina” was close the reception. Sitting there, we could access freely the internet if you were lucky.
Rooms and Amenities
Rooms are located in three four-storey buildings. Our room was overlooking the garden and the plaza in front of the theatre. We also had a bit of an ocean view. The room was big enough for three persons but the balcony was very small. Still, we could admire birds and iguanas hiding in the shadows of the tropical trees. Every morning we were enjoying the beautiful songs of the numerous local birds. Six years ago, we stayed at RIU Tequila hotel, that is just opposite Viva Wyndham Maya and there we were able to see parrots and toucans. In 2016, there were fewer birds.
Our room was located in the building with room numbers 2000-2432. As the other building, there was no lift. We did not have a minibar or a fridge nor a coffee maker – something that we could enjoy in Viva Wyndham Dominicus in Dominican Republic.
The most annoying thing was that the room smelled like something had died inside. Speaking about downsides, in cool days, when the temperatures outside were 18-19 C (65 Fahrenheit), there was no way to warm the room since the A/C had only a cooling function. Finally, yet importantly, rooms were not sound proof.
Hotel housekeeping was great! They cleaned the room perfectly and made a cute towel figure every day! We did not use the safe box in the room but everything was ok.
A friend of ours stayed in a room in the section C 3100-3402. The accommodation was near the adult pool and far from the beach. It was more luxurious than ours – with a mini bar and beds that were more comfortable.
Services and Entertainment
Wi Fi service was better than the internet access in Viva Wyndham Dominicus was, but it was still not satisfactory. Guests had free internet access in the lobby bar zone. We could pay for internet access in our room but the speed would be the same as that in the reception area. So, it was not worth 36 USD for Internet access per week. Instead, we went close to the Starbucks cafe, which was just in front the hotel, on Playacar Plaza. We were able to use a strong connection absolutely free. We did not have to buy a drink to use Starbuck’s internet. The guests from many other hotels were constantly coming to use the internet there.
Taxi service was available 24 hours. The most frequent destination was Playa del Carmen’s downtown. The price was 90 Mexican pesos (5 USD) for one way. It was completely safe to use a taxi around Playa del Carmen and neighbouring towns and attractions.
There was a 24-hour medical service available. There was a pharmacy just in front of the hotel – on Playacar Plaza. There was a bigger pharmacy at RIU Palace Hotel and many places to buy medicines in Playa del Carmen.
At the reception of the Viva Wyndham Maya hotel, there was an exchange and an ATM.
During our 13-day stay, we did not swim at any of the hotel’s pools. We did not like the color of the water. It looked a little bit yellowish.
The entertainment staff organised daily activities, games on the beach at the pool area as well as Spanish lessons and dance lessons. The team included animators from Sweden, Canada, Italy, Mexico and acrobats from Brazil. As in Dominican Republic, the specialty was a free Trapeze lesson available twice a day.
The shows at night can hardly be compared to the entertainment in Viva Wyndham Dominicus. In the La Romana property, they offered quality entertainment that we will not forget. For 13 days there was no disco at the beach, late family shows, live music, etc. It was sad that the entertainment staff was mostly engaged with advertising the Coco Bongo Disco. Evidently, they had a financial reason to do that. The admission to Coco Bongo was 65 USD per person. So, the only way to have a night full of fun was to go to Playa del Carmen.
An exception was the New Year’s Eve party, which was great – with diverse music was appealing to every taste! On the 31st of December there were many mini parties and cocktails with champagne and beverages. Al the guests celebrated the European New Year at 6 pm local time and then the Mexican New Year.
We really loved the beautiful outdoor spaces surrounded by natural coconut palms and tropical vegetation. The hotel was very charming especially compared to the neighbouring RIU accommodations. It looked better structured and spacious than Viva Wyndham Azteca.
The architecture reminds of the Mayan sacred cities. At the entrance of Viva Wyndham Maya, guests could see a decorative wall representing jaguar teeth. Then through a path under palm trees, visitors could reach the plaza in front of the hotel. In the garden, there was a special place, resembling the typical sinkholes in the Peninsula of Yukatan.
Many agouti, coati and iguanas lived there. They remained completely engaged with searching for food and paying no attention to the hotel’s guests. They were getting so close to us without fear!
Thanks to the beauty of the landscape and natural surroundings, Viva Wyndham Maya was a nice place to stay in Riviera Maya, Mexico. The combination of reasonable prices and comfort was perfect for us.