Updated: Jun 25
After nearly two years Covid, we definitely needed a vacation! Desiring perfect holiday weather, sandy beaches and fresh, delicious food, we settled on the Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya Resort. The Valentin is an adults-only and all-inclusive resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Traveling from Dallas to Cancun International Airport on US Airways takes just under three hours and is the perfect short-haul destination from southern USA. British Airways offers a non-stop flight, from London to Cancun direct. It's an 11-hour, long-haul, but can you beat the winter sun?
-by Elizabeth McKee Deckard
This is my third visit to the Yucatán Peninsula. We have been south of Cancun, and to Tulum, so this time we wanted to stay close to Playa del Carmen. We booked an all-inclusive at the 5-star Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya.
Located a 30-minute drive from Cancun International Airport, the Valentin Imperial is an adults-only luxury resort on the Mayan Riviera. The resort is stunning, with well-appointed rooms and meticulous groundskeeping.
This hotel has one of the largest pools in the Mayan Riviera, with two swim-up bars. Here, they hold daily activities such as water aerobics, volleyball, and floating yoga. A DJ spins daily from 10-6 while a wait-staff delivers Mexican nibbles and cocktails poolside. They also have food trucks, if you prefer and cabanas available for hire.
Beware of early risers! Lucky, are those able to get up at dawn on holiday and stake out their pool loungers. At the Valentin Imperial, they have covered tiki huts and semi-covered pergolas available, but you must get there early! We were lucky enough one day to nab a tiki hut and stay pool-side all day without fear of sun damage.
There are also several smaller pools and even a lazy river that winds around guest accommodation. This is the place for peace and relaxation!
A white-sandy private beach is a short walk from the hotel. They offer cabana packages for the beach as well as the hotel, as well as some tiki huts and loungers. We are more pool-siders, but a quick dip in the ocean on a scorching day is a lovely relief. The colours of the Gulf of Mexico are a must-see, so snorkelers at the ready!
There are eight restaurants at the Valentin; French, Mediterranean, Mexican, Japanese, Asian Fusion, and cafés, inclusive. Only The Corner charges extra and for this, you have a chef's choice menu. The Mar y Tierra serves a breakfast buffet that is very generous and delicious. Indoor, air-conditioned seating is limited and outside was hot and humid, even for breakfast. Again with the early risers!
There are six bars and several poolside/beach bars at the resort. Salon Partagas is a perfect humidor for cigar sampling, and the El Peleque has a theatre and disco. Sadly, our visit with the Valentin Imperial was still in Covid times, so bars and nightlife closed at 11 pm.
The Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya was a wonderful place to spend our holidays. We had everything we needed right there in the resort, and the service was excellent. I recommend this resort and will definitely return again!
This month's contributing editor, Elizabeth, is a life-long intrepid traveler. She has a love of historical fiction and is great at researching holiday destinations. Beth always knows what is going on!
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