Formerly known as the Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya, the Blue Diamond Luxury Boutique Hotel officially opened as an all-inclusive resort in Dec. 2011. The Blue Diamond has tried to maintain the prior resort’s Zen atmosphere and Asian influence and has kept the existing dark woods, limestone, white walls and linens, bamboo flooring, and floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize natural light within the guest rooms. This is a peaceful, luxurious, and intimate beachfront resort experience set amidst 36 acres of protected mangroves, lagoons, lush vegetation, with an onsite cenote to boot. Given the quality of amenities and level of service, the Blue Diamond is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
The Blue Diamond resort is known for its peerless guest rooms ranging from Patio Jr. Suites to two-story Beachfront Casitas–the smallest room is approximately 700 sq. feet. Guest rooms are configured to feel more like apartments with an entry foyer which separates sleeping and seating areas, while large, spa-like bathrooms have marble tubs, rainforest showerheads, and body wands. Some rooms also have a spacious garden/outdoor space, not just a balcony to enjoy the view. Various guest room categories include such amenities as plunge pools, rooftop terraces with outdoor showers, and suites suspended over a lagoon. Guests will love the luxurious in-room touches and amenities including 500 thread-count linens, flat screen plasma TVs, walk-in closets, alabaster or ramp-style sinks, and home theater system. In-room mini-bars are stocked with premium liquors; personal preferences are also honored–want Tanqueray gin instead of Absolut vodka? Just request an exchange.
Since this property is rather long and narrow, most guest rooms are situated amidst the gardens and mangrove jungle, while some edge a serene lagoon. It is over a mile between the lobby and the beach which may necessitate the use of transport; most guests use the chauffeured golf carts or reserve a bicycle to get around.
Guest rooms are not the only spaces which exude a casual elegance. The fabulous open-air lobby’s use of mahogany and marble, pitched palapa roof, surrounding shallow water feature, and oversized décor creates a stunning introduction to the resort. The onsite spa is another incredible space with over 25,000 sq. feet in addition to domed temazcal huts–be sure to try the traditional temazcal ceremony. All guests have unrestricted access to the “wet” areas of the spa (steam room, sauna, and outdoor pool). The quiet outdoor spa pool is a great spot to read, relax, or nap while still working on a tan.
In keeping with the calm, Zen-like general atmosphere of the resort, the small pool area is quiet with no activity coordinators, loud music, or swim-up bar. It does, however, occasionally feature a live Jazz soloist or a performance from time-to-time. there is a small infinity pool, heated infinity lap pool, adjoining Jacuzzi, and five canopy day beds (first-come first-served). Padded loungers surround the small pool and umbrellas are strategically placed. A short flight of stairs leads down from the pools to the beach with its white sand, palm trees for natural shade, padded loungers, and shade umbrellas. The beach area below the pools is for all guests, while the beach loungers and cabana beds south of the pools are reserved for Beachfront Casita guests. Water entry can be a bit “pebbly”, so water shoes may be advisable for some.
The Blue Diamond is a popular resort for the affluent, honeymooners, and those wanting a quiet, upscale resort experience. Since it is located just 10 min. north of Playa del Carmen, vacationers wanting a more active social scene don’t have far to travel to experience the best of both worlds. This resort is definitely worth checking out, especially when good deals can be had. Websites such as Jetsetter and Luxurylink also offer discounts from time-to-time.
Type of Resort: Adults-only
Pro: Guest room size/décor, heated lap pool, complimentary WiFi
Con: Weak A/C, small pools, room service $, older bicycles, only two bars
Best Suited For: Honeymooners and affluent couples wanting a quiet, quality resort experience.
No. of Rooms: 128
Room Amenities: King or two dbl beds, A/C, balcony/terrace, mini-bar with premium spirits, digital safe, flat screen plasma TV, home theater with surround sound, walk-in closet, telephone, ceiling fan, CD/DVD player, radio alarm clock with iPod dock, coffee maker, robe and slippers, iron/ironing board, umbrella, electronic door bell, bottle of sparkling wine upon arrival, fresh fruit daily, hair dryer, tub, shower with rainforest showerheads, and toiletries. Although room WiFi and international calls are complimentary, 24-hr. room service is an extra charge (USD $20 service charge). Here is a brief rundown of guest room categories:
- Patio Jr. Suite: King or two dbl beds, desk and chair, separate seating area with sofa and armchair, coffee table, outdoor soaker tub, terrace with two full loungers, table and two chairs. Garden/mangrove view.
- Cenote Laguna Deluxe Jr. Suite: Canopied king bed, table and two chairs, sofa, outdoor soaker tub and hammock, terrace with two full loungers and table and two chairs. Garden view.
- Palafitos Jr. Suite: King bed, table and chairs, sofa, outdoor soaker tub, indoor and outdoor showers, downstairs terrace with private dock, upstairs balcony with additional rooftop terrace. Located in two-story buildings with lagoon view. NOTE: Outdoor shower of 2nd floor rooms has limited privacy.
- Patio Suite: Separate bedroom with king bed, flat screen TV and armchair, separate living room with sofa, armchairs, coffee table, and flat screen TV, outdoor plunge pool, outdoor soaker tub. Garden view.
- Beachfront Casita: Large foyer, king bed, sofa, table and two chairs, coffee table, marble tub and separate shower, terrace with table and two chairs, rooftop terrace with day bed and plunge pool, beach access, reserved beach loungers and cabana. Beachfront location with ocean view.
- Beachfront Presidential Suite: Three bedrooms (two with ocean view), three bathrooms, living room with multiple sofas and armchair, dining room table and six chairs, kitchenette, ground floor terrace with plunge pool, 2nd floor terrace with plunge pool, private butler and chef. Beachfront location with ocean view.
- NOTE: Patio Jr. Suites and Patio Suites have the most privacy, while the rooftop terrace shower areas of Jr. Suites have the least privacy. Palafitos Jr. Suites and Beachfront Casitas are closer to the beach while the Cenote Jr. Suites are closer to the lobby and spa. Also, be aware that the outdoor soaker tubs are filled with cold water by the staff upon request (no hot water available for these tubs).
Physically Challenged Rooms: Available
Resort Amenities: Three small pools (main infinity pool–no swim-up bar, heated lap pool, and outdoor spa pool), spa including temazcal huts, beauty salon, fitness center, non-motorized watersports, one snorkeling tour/dive per person per stay, bicycles, golf cart shuttle transportation, pool and beach wait service, beach hammocks, giant chess, complimentary WiFi and international calls, complimentary greens fees at Grand Coral Golf Course Riviera Maya, gift shop, tour desk, concierge, car rental.
Restaurants/Bars: There are three a la carte restaurants (no exclusive buffet restaurants) including Ambar (nouvelle fusion) and Aguamarina which serves international fare (no reservations needed at either restaurant). Dining at the Chef’s Table, however, requires an advance reservation since there is only a capacity for 10 guests for dinner. The beachfront Ceviche-Tapas Bar serves a continental breakfast, a la carte lunch, and overnight snacks from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. A coffee and pastry corner is also available. There are two bars including the pool bar and Cigar Lounge (hookahs available). NOTE: During the slow season, only one restaurant is open for dinner.
Entertainment: Live music is available periodically in various resort areas along with a variety of daytime activities including cooking classes, wine tastings, and Spanish lessons. This resort gets very quiet after 10 p.m.