If you set the morning right, the day will go smooth. Grand Velas Riviera Maya has all the ingredients right – from a hearty, fresh buffet breakfast to dazzling blue views
By: Soumya Jain Agarwal
Posted on: January 13, 2022
LF Says: ★★★★
The fascia of any entity – whether it’s a person or a property – says a lot. And some facias have the art of portraying dual meanings. The façade of Grand Velas Riviera Maya is just like that. It seems imposing, grand, commanding at the first glance. But if you look carefully around and see the small beach at the entrance that continues inside, you will realise that the property is actually inviting a select few to partake in its tranquil, calming waters.
Expansive is an understatement for Grand Velas Riviera Maya, which is located in Playa del Carmen – very near to Cancun in Mexico. You could drive for miles inside with a forest by your side (where it is said that a panther was sighted once!) till you actually see the lobby. Or should I say, lobbies. The resort offers clearly demarcated zones for different purposes. My destination was the Ambassador lobby which was the gateway to the family zone.
The huge, open lobby looked out to paradise – the infinity pools and the beach beyond. The stone flooring of the lobby was complimented by life-size Mayan artifacts that put you in awe of the culture of this land. Stone pathways, flanked by dense greenery, led to the rooms – some of which had private plunge pools as well. The balconies were adorned with bright pink bougainvillea. Contrasted with the blue skies and waters, white sand and lush greenery, the entire landscape was nothing short of gorgeous!
The prickly pear juice, dragon fruit and other exotic items piqued our curiosity.
Azul at Grand Velas Riviera Maya offers gorgeous views of the surrounding sea
My main aim of visiting the resort, however, was to partake in their breakfast buffet at Azul. The all-day dining restaurant looks out to the beautiful Caribbean Sea. With indoor and outdoor seating, the restaurant has ample seating options to offer to get the best view. Although I recommend sitting outside – weather permitting of course. It was perfect to sit outside during my August visit to this restaurant.
The buffet at Azul – available for hotel guests only - was extensive with much variety to choose from. The basics were there - fresh breads, juices, sliced fruits, meats and cheeses, and yogurt parfaits. The prickly pear juice, dragon fruit and other exotic items piqued our curiosity. Doughnuts, muffins and croissants piqued the interests of kids (including my son), who could indulge in a host of sweet meats, topped with luscious Hot Chocolate!
Fresh honey extraction at Azul
...there were a variety of fresh honey bowls infused with truffle, aniseed and vanilla extract. This was right next to caramelized pineapples that were hot and simply delectable.
Perhaps the most interesting sight for me was the fresh honey dripping from a slice of honeycomb. It was purity on demand! And there were a variety of fresh honey bowls infused with truffle, aniseed and vanilla extract. This was right next to caramelized pineapples that were hot and simply delectable.
The hot section also included global favourites like well-cooked French Toast, hash browns, fried black beans, pork sausages, shredded and marinated beef and chicken. Mexican specialties included Ham & Cheese Burritos, Marinated Pork with Onion, Pineapple and Mixed Chili sauce, and Fried Eggs on Fried Tortilla with Peas, Ham and Fried Banana in Red Sauce. Quite an exotic elevation from typical American breakfast!
Ham & Cheese Burritos at Azul
The vegetarian me gorged on Fried Tortillas (strips) with Red Sauce (which I topped with fresh-made guacamole and other salsas), Potatoes with Paprika (hot with just the right amount of zing), and the variety of breads and fruits. My companions chose the Egg counter to get fresh omelettes whipped up for themselves. As they wolfed down their fluffy and well-cooked omelettes, I tasted the prickly pear fruit (or cactus fruit) for the first time in my life. The fruit is said to be very healthy – whether you eat it as is, or use its oil.
The sweet staff will go beyond to serve you with impeccable hospitality. And with the deep blue views around me to feast my eyes on, I realized that the restaurant had been named quite aptly. Azul literally means blue in English.
LF Says: ★★★★
Coordinates: Riviera Maya, Carretera Cancun Tulum Km 62 Playa Del Carmen, 77710 Riviera Maya, Q.R., Mexico