Where to Stay in Mexico: 5* Blue Diamond Riviera Maya
December 2016 was a big month for me, personally. I was turning 29 years old, and to top it off, I hadn’t taken a vacation in almost three years. Quite frankly, special occasions aside, I needed a real break. I had been burning the candle at both ends for well over two years at that point and I knew all too well that I couldn’t continue that way for I would only be hitting a hall. This is why I opted for the Blue Diamond Riviera Maya: I wanted a place where I wouldn’t have to worry about anything and where the biggest challenge I would face each day was to pick a lunchtime cocktail.
And I wasn’t disappointed.
Blue Diamond Riviera Maya is an adults-only, modestly-sized luxury resort with just 128 rooms, a rarity in a region where most hotels go far over 500 rooms. The resort is actually part of the exclusive Small Luxury Hotels of the World association and, consequently, is maintained to very high standards throughout.
In terms of location, the resort is located about 40 minutes from Cancun’s international airport and 10 minutes from Playa del Carmen, which are both affordable by taxi. Personally, I booked my package via Air Transat’s Luxury collection and was, therefore, eligible for a private roundtrip airport transfers, which was a veritable delight.
Blue Diamond Riviera Maya: My Suite
I was assigned a Patio Suite which was not only bigger than my apartment back home but was also equipped with its very own pool. This particular range of room also benefits from the services of a personal butler, which ended up playing a crucial role in the quality of my stay. He made dinner reservations, fetched bikes, booked spa treatments, inquired about excursions and basically executed any and all of our wishes.
Not bad, eh? In terms of layout, the suite consisted of a living room with a guest bathroom, a master bedroom, a massive bathroom with a walk-in closet and, outside, a fully private terrace, outdoor marble bathtub and pool.
The bedroom was truly a challenge to leave in the morning. The king-size bed and the 500-thread-count linen sheets were a dream to sleep in, not to mention the blackout curtains, the leather headboard, the 42″ HD flat screen TV and Nespresso coffee machine all within arm’s reach. The adjacent bathroom was not a sinecure either. With its spacious closet, grooming area, massive countertop, double shower with rainfall showerheads as well as plush bathrobes and towels —not to mention the exquisite Bvlgari white tea toiletries— the experience was akin to that of a high-end spa. Wondering where the bathtub is? Well, if you must know, it’s located right outside the showers and overlooks the bucolic yet lively canal.
Our private terrace was every bit as delightful as it looks and we spent many hours in the pool working on our tan. We even became acquainted with a family of coatis as the parents escorted their offsprings on their daily scavenging expedition across our lawn and across the canal.
The living room area was also quite enjoyable. The only downside of having a private terrace overlooking a forest and a canal (talk about first world problems, amirite?) is the frightening quantity of bugs at night, and it was, consequently, wiser to stay indoors. Much like the rest of the suite, a great deal of thought went into the design of the room; the furniture, the ornaments and the colour scheme were all contemporary and refreshing. The area also included the restocked-daily minibar as well as a guest bathroom.
Blue Diamond Riviera Maya: The Property
Located on a vast 36 acres of lush tropical jungle, the Blue Diamond Riviera Maya is the kind of place where nature truly is at your doorstep. Most of the buildings are constructed along a peaceful waterway originating from the property’s very own cenote. Contrary to many other properties along the Riviera Maya, the Blue Diamond Resort isn’t built vertically but rather horizontally; buildings are only one or two stories high, leaving ample room for vegetation to grow as it pleases and keeping neighbours to a minimum. The Patio Suites are part of four interconnected private courtyards with each manicured garden with a plant-based work of art at its centre overlooking a natural canal.
The same logic applies to the layout of the resort, as the pavilions are not located directly along the beach but sandwiched between the water and the check-in counter, which is about two kilometres inland. My room was about halfway through, close to the main evening restaurant. I hardly ever walked all the way to the beach, though, as bikes are readily provided by the concierge and staff regularly picks up guests in golf carts to take them to where they’re going. So, in reality, there was very little walking involved.
The resort offers its guests several amenities, such as 25,000 acres of spa facilities (including a full gym and a yoga studio with daily sessions), a handful of restaurants and two rooftop bars.
Here’s something millennials will be pleased to learn: there is incredibly fast WiFi throughout the property, from the sunchairs on the beach to the restaurants and private pools in each suite.
And to top it all off, the property is lined with a stunning white sand beach unlike any other on the Riviera Maya. I’ve experienced about eight other resorts in the area and very few could boast having a beach so pristine and water so enjoyable as the Blue Diamond Riviera Maya. While seemingly modest in size, the beach can easily accommodate all guests —there are only 128 rooms on site, after all —and I had no trouble finding free sunchairs in the morning, regardless of what time is was. A rarity in the world of all-inclusive resorts!
Blue Diamond Riviera Maya: Should You Book?
I adored my stay at the Blue Diamond Riviera Maya. I was well aware I’d picked la crème de la crème as far as resorts go, and in the weeks leading up to my vacation I worried it was all going to be snob and standoffish; I truly needn’t have worried, as both the staff and the other guests were friendly and kind. Yet that doesn’t mean the service was laid-back in any way — staff was attentive and efficient, from the check-in agents to the butler, and from the waiting staff to the porters.
With just two restaurants and two bars open during my visit (early December), snack bar notwithstanding, I did find my options a little redundant after a couple of days at the resort and would’ve liked to try something else. In spite of a clear lack in variety, the food was irreproachable, although the same cannot be said about the house wine; I felt its sour, acidic taste was a poorly-disguised ploy to make guests purchase imported wine that is not part of the all-inclusive package.
My final verdict: if you’re after a luxury holiday in an adults-only, quiet resort with a beautiful beach and a tranquil nightlife, this is absolutely the place for you. I enjoyed my stay immensely.