Mexico, Mayan Riviera – Ocean Riviera Paradise

Last updated on 19-Jul-2019

Hello, everyone! A little while back, we had a break in between work commitments and decided to book a last-minute trip. Here’s some information on the destination we chose. As I’m writing this post and sharing some pictures, videos and a bit of our experience at this lovely resort, I’m already missing the relaxing week we had there. 

The Ocean Riviera Paradise is a recently-built five-star resort located in the beautiful Mayan Riviera region of Mexico, very close to Playa del Carmen and about 50km from the Cancun International Airport. It is a large property (974 suites) with modern architecture and interior design. The resort offers multiple swimming pools (one of which is just by the beach), lush vegetation and well-kept grounds, a wide selection of restaurants, bars, and sports/activities. It also features a spa & gym, a nightclub & sports bar, a bowling alley, a café, an ice-cream parlour, a piano bar (adults-only), casino and shops, a diving centre, and a children’s waterpark.

We were impressed by the beautiful and huge Lobby/Reception, which is air-conditioned and non-smoking (yay!), with spacious areas for lounging and a large circular bar. Beyond the lobby and the main plaza, the property is divided into 4 sections (El Beso, Daisy, Eden, and Privilege) featuring nice 4-storey blocks of buildings with elevators. Each section has a large swimming pool surrounded by sun loungers, a pool bar/snack bar, a towel hut, etc. El Beso is adults-only, Daisy is family-friendly, Eden and Privilege are the premium sections (with exclusive services and nearer the beach).

Main Boulevard | "Avenida" Central

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We absolutely loved the layout of the resort. It comprises of a central “boulevard” that stretches from the Lobby all the way to the beach (less than 1km long). All the amenities, restaurants, buildings, pools, cenote, etc., are located along the boulevard, which makes it very lively day and night. We quickly got our bearings and it’s so easy to get anywhere – just follow the path! The resort is very flat and walkable, has good signage, and staff are also available to take guests around on golf carts.

We had the 24h all-inclusive package with a suite in the El Beso section. Our package included flights, transfers, accommodation, meals, drinks, snacks and access to resort amenities. Our 3rd-floor room was large with modern and comfortable furnishings, had a nice view and a good-sized balcony, and was on the quiet side of the block instead of overlooking the adult pool, which could be quite loud during entertainment activities.

Food and snack options are plentiful at Ocean Riviera Paradise and include a main buffet that’s open for all meals, plus unlimited a la carte dining with no need to make reservations. These were the options available while we were there:

  • Amaranto Restaurant – the main buffet, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Thursday is Mexican night, and Friday is Mediterranean night. Other themes for other evenings.
  • Villa Marina Restaurant – smaller buffet, open for breakfast on Fri/Sat/Sun during our visit
  • La Locanda Restaurant – A la carte Italian, dinner only
  • Margarita Restaurant – A la carte Mexican, dinner only
  • Bluemoon Restaurant – A la carte gourmet. Breakfast exclusively for El Beso guests and dinner is adults-only. Closed on Friday while we were there.
  • Sakura Restaurant – A la carte Oriental with Teppanyaki grills, dinner only with pre-determined seating times
  • Steak House Restaurant – A la carte Grill, dinner only
  • Pez Vela Restaurant – Beach restaurant with light lunch buffet/afternoon snacks, including a pizzeria, and seafood-focused a la carte for dinner
  • Route 66 Restaurant – A la carte American, dinner and overnight snacks
  • Mike’s Coffee – comfy space serving specialty coffees, teas, cold beverages and smoothies, cakes, cookies and pastries. Open all day until 11 pm.
  • Ice cream parlour – colourful ice cream shop with a range of flavours and toppings. Open from 4 to 11 pm.

Overall, the food was nice and even being pescetarians (no poultry and red meat for us), we still had good choices. Staff was very accommodating to special requests and guests are asked about food allergies/restrictions at every meal and restaurant. We enjoyed being able to have a la carte breakfast at Bluemoon or heading to the buffet if we wanted. We did not go to Sakura, the Steak House, nor Route 66, but enjoyed our meals everywhere we went, with Bluemoon being our top pick of the a la carte options. Mexican food is one of our favourites, and we missed having more non-meat (vegetarian and fish/seafood) options available at the Mexican corner of the buffet and for the Mexican-themed dinner. Service was a bit slow at times, and not really consistent from place to place, but no big issues there. We were on vacation and on Caribbean time!

The point where the experience at this resort was a bit disappointing was the beach, which is a major factor for us. We found a cluster of sun loungers just to the side of the pizzeria, next to the Privilege area, and stayed there every day. It was on the quiet side, opposite the beach pool and main bar, so we could relax away from the noisier crowds. I was also convenient for food/snacks, had bar service (not consistent, though), straw huts (palapas) and trees for shade, and there were washrooms nearby. It would have been an amazing combination, but on the downside, and it may have been a seasonal/temporary issue, we had a lot of seaweed (Sargassum) and windy weather, so the lifeguard stands had yellow flags every day. The wind caused more waves, which I believe turned the sand and bottom sediments around making the seawater look cloudy instead of the clear Caribbean turquoise we love. To add to the problem, there are multiple rocks under water and it was hard to see them with the waves, muddy water and seaweed. We found a couple of spots to enter the water with no rocks, but it was hard to really enjoy the beach and spend much time in the sea.

All in all, we still had a great time and enjoyed our stay at this resort, and would consider returning, if we could make sure that the beach/seaweed situation was better. Have you ever been to this resort or have any questions/feedback for us? Let us know in the comments below! 🙂

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