Formerly known as Aventura Spa Palace and Aventura Cove Palace, the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya offers two resort experiences–one which is family-friendly (the Hacienda section) while the other is adults-only (the Heaven section). All adult guests in both sections have unrestricted access to the entire resort; those less than 18 years of age are restricted to the Hacienda section. The property has been totally transformed from top to bottom with the addition of a waterslide, night club with accompanying pool, a large outdoor entertainment venue to hold big name concerts, trademark rock star memorabilia, and edgy Hard Rock guest room décor with such items as silver headboards, dark wood furniture, turquoise and purple accents, and an in-room Jacuzzi tub. New two-story Rooftop and Sky Terrace Suites offer a top-floor balcony Jacuzzi, some with outstanding ocean views, while guests prone to allergies have the option of staying in hypoallergenic rooms. Taking consideration for guests’ comfort and ease a step further, Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya has eliminated key cards and coded this information onto each wrist band–one less item to keep track of while on vacation.
One aspect about the resort which hasn’t changed, however, is the lack of swimmable beach area. While the rocky shoreline and rough ocean prevents guests from directly entering the water to swim, Hard Rock has kept the original Palace resort coves with open ocean access so that guests on both sides of the resort can take advantage of clear water and snorkeling opportunities. While it is not officially a beach, guests and staff refer to it as such since there is soft sand, easy water entry, but no waves or deep water to discourage inexperienced swimmers or children. Guests can also kayak in the coves while those not so inclined can sun on the loungers–shade is at a premium in these areas. While Bali beds are available at some cove areas, they are an extra cost; use resort credits to help with this expenditure. Don’t forget to check out the infinity Jacuzzi at the far north end of the Heaven section with its awesome view.
Not far from the coves are most of the multiple pools on both the Hacienda and Heaven sections. Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya has a total of six pools–four on the adults-only side (one is for VIP/members only), and two on the family-friendly side. Each section’s main pool has built-in Jacuzzis (non-heated) and a swim-up bar, but the adults-only bar lacks any in-pool stools for seating. The Hacienda section offers the largest pool with the advantage of a waterslide and a separate children’s splashpad adjacent to the Little Big kid’s club. Sundecks have loungers and the occasional shade umbrella.
The onsite Rock Spa is impressive from anyone’s standards with a total of 75 treatment rooms and several Temazcal huts. Located in the Heaven section, the Rock Spa offers a plethora of treatments including traditional massages, couples’ rituals, anti-aging, detoxifying, and firming treatments. The spa also offers a new experience called Rhythm and Motion which mixes music playlists, bass vibrations, and specific pressures and patterns cued with the music to create an all new spa treatment. There is even a dedicated yoga space, state of the art fitness center, and jogging track available for those who want to stay fit while on vacation. Those wanting to get some exercise off the property may want to check out the Hard Rock Golf Club Riviera Maya with its 18 holes designed by Robert von Hagge located in Playacar.
While parents are at the spa or working out, younger children will appreciate the Little Big Club with its themed, interactive playroom which includes Thomas the Tank Activity station, Bob the Builder Construction Zone, Angelina Ballerina Dance Studio, and Barney’s Music Room; character breakfasts and live shows featuring these themed characters occur periodically throughout the week. Although the Little Big Club is supposed to be for children ages four through twelve, those over age seven may find the club space to be a bit too juvenile. Children between the ages of 18 months to four years are also welcome as long as there is parental supervision.
Teens have a dedicated space called The Cavern which can be a good meeting spot or a place to play a game of air hockey or pool; teens also have a special cove area and a small workout space by the tennis and basketball courts to keep them occupied. While there currently is a definite lack of scheduled activities for older children, the resort will be opening Camp Woodward in 2017 which will offer BMX and skateboarding parks, a tumbling floor, trampoline, cheer and hip hop dance programs, and snowboarding/skiing experiences (minus the snow).
For those not familiar with the Hard Rock brand of resorts, the following are several of its features and amenities which make guests feel like rock stars:
- Sound of Your Stay: Guests can check-out Fender guitars, amps, and headphones and practice with in-room video lessons; set playlists can be downloaded onto digital devices; and wannabe DJ’s can check out a Traktor Kontrol Z1 controller and laptop which works with the guest room’s surround-sound system.
- Music Lab (typically occurs on Thursday): Guests age 12+ can form their own rock band and practice a song to play in front of other guests; those interested in electronic dance music can learn the art of mixing and overlaying while adding vocals, melody, and bass; and music video aficionados can be the star of their own personal music video pick.
- Rock Royalty Level: Have the services of a personal assistant to book reservations and “make things happen” during one’s stay for those in Deluxe Platinum (both sections), Rock Star Suite, or Bret Michaels Rock Star Suite guest room categories.
- Ultimate Playtime Packages: Guests staying three or more nights can have the services of a part-time nanny along with extra in-room, age-appropriate amenities for children.
Similar to the days of its Palace resort predecessor, Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya continues to offer USD $500 to $1800+ resort credits based on length of stay. Although resort credits can no longer be applied to room upgrades, they can still be applied towards tours, golf, spa treatments, and some onsite purchases or use of facilities such as Bali beds. There are specific rules and restrictions for using resort credits, such as the 16% surcharge, so read the fine print or ask the concierge for details.
Type of Resort: Family-friendly section (Hacienda) and adults-only section (Heaven)
Pro: Disco pool, wrist band room access, free WiFi, snorkeling off the “beach”
Con: Coves but no regular beach, small guest rooms, lack of balcony view in many rooms, can get busy with conventions, pricey
Best Suited For: Couples, families with children ages 4-7. Once Camp Woodward opens it will be much more suitable for tweens and teens.
No. of Rooms: 1,264
Room Amenities: King or two dbl beds, A/C, balcony or terrace, liquor dispenser, mini-bar, flat screen TV, digital safe, coffee maker, telephone (complimentary long distance calls to Canada and the continental USA), Bluetooth-enabled radio alarm clock, iron/ironing board, robe and slippers, hair dryer, Jacuzzi tub, separate shower, toiletries, complimentary WiFi, and 24-hr. room service. Here is a brief rundown of guest room categories for each resort section:
- Deluxe Room: Two dbl beds, balcony with hammock. Resort view.
- Deluxe Gold: King or two dbl beds, balcony with hammock. Garden view.
- Deluxe Gold Pure: Hypoallergenic room category. King or two dbl beds, balcony with hammock. Garden view.
- Deluxe Diamond: King bed, table and two chairs, upgraded liquor dispenser, espresso coffee maker, aromatherapy and pillow menu, special room service menu, balcony with hammock, beach bag use, CD/DVD player upon request, nightly petit fours, private check-in. Close to the lobby and restaurants.
- Deluxe Family Suites: Two connecting rooms (king bed and two dbl beds), each with Jacuzzi tub and private bathroom with shower, liquor dispenser in the king bed room while the dbl room has a kid-friendly mini-bar, kid-friendly bath amenities, beach toys, kid’s bathrobes, kid’s room service menu, candies and cookies upon arrival, use of Xbox 360, birthday mini-cake upon request, balcony with hammock. Garden or resort view.
- Deluxe Platinum Dbl: Two dbl beds, balcony with hammock. Partial ocean view.
- Deluxe Platinum Rock Royalty: King or two dbl beds, upgraded liquor dispenser, espresso coffee maker, aromatherapy and pillow menu, special room service menu, upgraded toiletries, beach bag use, nightly petit fours, sleeping mask, private check-in, priority Bali bed bookings, limited ironing service, complimentary shoeshine, hammocks on some balconies. Rock Royalty Personal Assistant from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Partial ocean view.
- Deluxe Platinum Grand Sky Terrace: King bed, access to 2nd floor terrace with loungers, Jacuzzi tub, and hammock.
- Deluxe Platinum Two Bedroom Grand Sky Terrace: Two connecting rooms (king bed and two dbl beds), two private bathrooms with showers, access to 2nd floor terrace with loungers, Jacuzzi tub, and hammock.
- Two Bedroom Rock Suite Platinum: Two bedrooms (king and two dbl beds), each room has a Jacuzzi tub and full bathroom with shower. This room category has a living and dining room area, large balcony with loungers and hammock, espresso coffee maker, upgraded room service menu, nightly petit fours, aromatherapy and pillow menu, CD/DVD player upon request, beach bag use, limited ironing service, complimentary shoeshine, access to VIP beach area, VIP check-in, and services of a Rock Royalty Personal Assistant from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Oceanfront.
- Two Bedroom Rock Suite Platinum with Rooftop Lounge: Same amenities as the Two Bedroom Rock Suite Platinum along with access to a 2nd floor terrace with Jacuzzi tub, table and chairs, and a half-bathroom. Access to a Rock Royalty Personal Assistant from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Oceanfront.
- Two Bedroom Rock Star Suite: Almost 5,000 sq. feet of custom furnishings, lighting, sculptures, and special touches like a raw-cut stone Jacuzzi soaking tub in the master bedroom, a dining table that flips to play games, and numerous Fergie memorabilia. This is a two bedroom suite with a king bed in one bedroom and two dbls in the other; each room has a full bathroom with shower. This room category has a living and dining room area, espresso coffee maker, upgraded liquor dispenser, upgraded toiletries and bathroom amenities, nightly petit fours, aromatherapy and pillow menu, Xbox or Blu-Ray player upon request, complimentary 25-min. couple’s massage, VIP check-in/out, late check-out, Bali bed priority booking, beach bag use, limited ironing service, and access to a Rock Royalty Personal Assistant from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. This room category also has a large terrace with Jacuzzi tub, outdoor shower, custom dining table and chairs, hammocks, and daybed. Oceanfront.
- Deluxe Gold: King or two dbl beds, balcony with hammock. Garden view.
- Deluxe Gold Pure: Hypoallergenic room category. King bed, balcony with hammock. Garden view.
- Deluxe Diamond: King bed, table and two chairs, upgraded liquor dispenser, espresso coffee maker, aromatherapy and pillow menu, nightly petit fours, beach bag use, CD/DVD player upon request, private check-in, balcony with hammock.
- Deluxe Platinum Sky Terrace: King bed, table and two chairs, balcony with hammock, access to 2nd floor terrace with Jacuzzi tub and loungers.
- Deluxe Platinum Rock Royalty: King bed, upgraded liquor dispenser, espresso coffee maker, aromatherapy and pillow menu, special room service menu, upgraded toiletries, beach bag use, nightly petit fours, sleeping mask, VIP check-in/out, priority Bali bed bookings, limited ironing service, complimentary shoeshine, complimentary 25-min. couples’ massage, hammocks on some balconies. Access to a Rock Royalty Personal Assistant from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- Two Bedroom Rock Suite Platinum: Two bedrooms (king and two dbl beds); each room has a Jacuzzi tub and full bathroom with shower. This room category has a living and dining room area, large balcony with loungers and hammock, espresso coffee maker, upgraded room service menu, nightly petit fours, aromatherapy and pillow menu, CD/DVD player upon requests, beach bag use, limited ironing service, complimentary shoeshine, access to VIP beach and pool areas, VIP check-in, and the services of a Rock Royalty Personal Assistant from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Oceanfront.
- Two Bedroom Rock Suite Platinum with Rooftop Lounge: This has the same amenities as the Two Bedroom Rock Suite Platinum along with a half-bathroom in the main area of the suite, access to a 2nd floor terrace with Jacuzzi tub, table and chairs, and a bathroom, plus the services of a Rock Royalty Personal Assistant from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.. Oceanfront.
- Bret Michaels Rock Star Suite: This is Hard Rock’s first ever artist branded Rock Star Suite with over 9,200 sq. feet of awesome space including custom made furnishings, lighting, personal memorabilia, and special amenities for the guest who wants to party like a rock star. This two bedroom suite has a foyer with a golden microphone chandelier and personal items of Bret on display, while the living room has a photo booth, Camaro-converted pool table, dance stage, 80″ flat screen TV, wine fridge, dining table that converts to a game table, and espresso coffee machine. There is a game/theater room with Surround Sound and an Xbox system, while the en-suite fitness center will keep guests fit with its treadmill, cycling machine, and free weights. The real party, however, is upstairs on the terrace with its fire pit, Jacuzzi tub, DJ booth, flat screen TV, and custom dining area, all with an ocean view. The suite also comes with the following perks: VIP check-in/out, the services of a Rock Royalty Personal Assistant from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., complimentary 25-min. couples’ massage, priority booking for Bali beds, upgraded liquor dispenser, aromatherapy and pillow menu, limited ironing service, complimentary shoeshine, and nightly petit fours. Oceanfront.
Physically Challenged Rooms: Available
Restaurants/Bars: (Hacienda Section) One buffet restaurant (The Market–no buffet lunch though) and four a la cartes including a pizza/pasta a la carte (Pizzeto), Mexican (Frida), Brazilian Rodizio (Ipanema), and Asian (Zen–teppanyaki show tables). There is also a poolside snack area (Float) as well as a place to get continental breakfast and snacks/coffee/tea throughout the day (Cafetto). Food is also available in the Hacienda lobby in the afternoons. Hacienda bars include one just off the lobby, a poolside bar, swim-up bar, and one just for teens serving sodas at The Cavern.
(Heaven Section) While the Heaven section doesn’t have a dedicated buffet, there are two restaurants which serve buffet meals during specific mealtimes including Ciao which offers a breakfast buffet, while Toro serves a luncheon buffet. A la cartes include Mexican (Los Gallos), French (Le Petit Cochon), Italian (Ciao), and steakhouse (Toro). There is also a poolside snack area (Dive). Heaven bars include a swim-up bar, two poolside bars, a nightclub bar, and a martini bar.
Entertainment: Since this is a Hard Rock property, there are many live performances which occur day and night. Performances by major stars are also possible. A children’s theater showcases the themed characters at the Kid’s Club, while adults can dance the night away at Club Heaven which also happens to have an onsite pool.