Where everybody knows your name

One guaranteed way to impress a New Yorker is with space. That’s because we don’t have any. If we’re lucky, perhaps we have a fire escape that we can claim as “outdoor space.” So, when this New Yorker checks into the suites at the Grand Residences Riviera Cancun, it’s a feeling similar to upgrading to a Classic Six on the Upper East Side. There is so much space that you cannot possibly use all of it yourself.

The spacious rooms — complete with massive balconies with whirlpool baths — are just the beginning. The Grand Residences Riviera Cancun is one of those traditionally styled Mexican Caribbean resorts that has a remarkably loyal following — and it’s easy to see why. The guest experience is flawless. In fact, the average length of stay for guests at this resort is seven nights. 

I arrived at the resort and was taken up to one of its larger suites, room 301-A, complete with a master bedroom, spacious bathroom with whirlpool tub, full kitchen and dining area and a living room that opens to a balcony with a second whirlpool tub. With nothing in front of this building, save for a stark stretch of white sand, the views are the best you’ll have at the property. 

Resort has a plan for your clients’ needs

The resort’s 144 rooms offer both an all-inclusive plan and a European Plan. Guests with kitchens in their suites often opt to do the European Plan, as a fully stocked market on property allows them to cook their own meals. Guests can even call in a private chef to prepare meals for them. But the all-inclusive plan is an easy and convenient option, with three restaurants on the property and a rotating calendar of themed dinner nights always keeping things interesting.

(Tip: A must is lunch at Heaven Beach Bar. This toes-in-the-sand experience has a casual menu of tacos, ceviche, burgers and sandwiches, plus a front-row seat to the magical blue hues of the gently lapping Caribbean Sea. You’ll also want to reserve your clients a table at Flor de Canela, the Mexican restaurant.)

As for activities, the resort keeps things relatively low-key, which is why it is a perfect option for older couples, groups of laid-back friends and families who do not necessarily need to be around other families. Seeing as there are so many repeat guests, a stroll around the pool deck feels like there are no strangers here. The upper section of the pool is reserved for adults.

Staff and guests greet each other by name, and the energy, while not adrenaline-pumping, is bubbly and energetic. Activities around the pool are subdued, from water aerobics to zumba and bingo. Guests can arrange for higher-energy activities, too, like an easy bike ride into the nearby town, Puerto Morelos, or a dance class or tennis lesson.

The spa and fitness center are on the smaller side, but in this particular instance, space does not have to be everything. The gym, while small, has most everything any fitness fiend will need, and the partitions between the cardio equipment is a nice touch during Covid times.

Respect for Covid rules

Speaking of which, the Grand Residences Riviera Cancun, like the majority of resorts in Mexico these days, takes its Covid-19 protocols seriously. Guests can expect hand-sanitizing stations around the resort as well as a fully masked staff and acrylic partitions at all the desks. The clientele at the Grand Residences is also particularly respectful of mask policies, and the majority of guests I encountered always asked whether or not others were comfortable sharing elevators and with proximity at the bar. If your clients are particularly Covid-19 conscious, this was a very impressive guest experience.

But most impressive at the Grand Residences are the little things. The little touches and unique moments are always what help to imprint a resort and vacation experience in the minds of travelers. My cappuccino order was ready and waiting for me at El Faro Grill every morning as soon as the waitstaff saw me approaching the restaurant. By the time I left the resort, I no longer needed to give my room information when asking for the bill, as everyone knew my name. Before you can remind me that I’m a member of the media, I will say that the staff remembered everyone’s names and small details about their preferences, as well. 

The Grand Residences Riviera Cancun may not be the flashiest hotel on the market. But that’s why its guests like it. They come for the expansive rooms, the quiet, the laid-back social scene and a staff that truly makes them feel like they’ve returned home.

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