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).

Ocean Riviera Paradise - Resort Map

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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! 🙂

4 thoughts on “Mexico, Mayan Riviera – Ocean Riviera Paradise

  1. We have been there twice- the first time was about 4 months after they opened. We were very disappointed, to say the least. The staff even said they opened too early and they were not trained properly yet. But the next year, we decided to give it another shot. As you said, everything else was amazing. And I am so happy we did. My husband and I went again the following year, and what a difference a year makes!! Everything was great! They even upgraded our room for no extra charge (we were supposed to have the Daisy Jr Suite and were upgraded to the Eden building. So that was nice to walk out and only have a very short walk to the beach every morning to watch the sun rise, which I did every morning there…absolutely breathtaking, not to mention the relaxation factor. We have booked our 3rd trip there, and this time we are taking our 9 yr old son with us, so I am beyond excited for his first REAL vacation. Plus I live how family friendly it is. The only thing I would add to your review (and I may have missed it) was the fact they do not allow any “Spring Breakers” there, so no matter what time of the year you go, you will not have to endure the suffering of having to deal with “them”. The seaweed part? That was like that both times we were there. The guys are usually out there at night raking it up and burying it in the sand (at first I was a little concerned seeing the guys at night shoveling these big, deep holes, and tossing in what looked like big, dark “lumps”, then burying it….lolololol). Overall, I LOVE this place. From the layout, to the food (we don’t drink alcohol, so not sure about that part, but what we dont drink, we make up for in food..lol), to…well, everything. Anyone else that will be going that is reading these…enjoy your trip!!

    1. Hi Courtney, we really enjoyed our stay there as well. I was not aware of the “no spring breakers” rule, but it’s another reason to like the place even more! A lot of areas in the Caribbean are having to deal with more seaweed than usual, and we understand it’s not the resort’s fault. Thanks for the comments, and I agree, for anyone considering going there, it’s a great place. Enjoy!

  2. We are taking all of our family, 9 of us to this resort in January. Are they very strict about the clothing attire for restaurants? Men, long dress pants, no sandals etc.
    And with that big of a group, will we need reservations?

    1. Hi Keri, I don’t recall them being overly strict with the dress code. Some people like to dress up a bit for dinner, but they seemed ok with casual wear, as long as it was not beachwear and still wet, and sleeveless tops for men. I recall seeing men wearing pants (both dressy and casual/resort-style) with closed shoes (slip-ons/loafers and sneakers), but also long Bermuda or cargo shorts and cropped pants. My husband usually takes 1-2 pairs of casual pants in a light fabric, and at least one pair of closed casual shoes (boat shoes or something similar) to resorts just to be safe. It would be annoying to be turned away at a restaurant, so we try to be proactive and never had an issue. We were only 2 for our trip but saw many larger groups. We didn’t need reservations for any of the a la carte restaurants, but there may be a bit of a waiting period depending on the time. That was our experience, but you may want to check if they mention anything on their website or ask the question on their social media channels.

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