A Luxury All-Inclusive Resort with the Best Food | Grand Velas Riviera Maya Luxury All-Inclusive Resort and Spa | Mexico

A luxury all-inclusive resort offering a gastronomic tour of Europe, Asia and Yucatan cuisine with seven gourmet restaurants and world-class chefs

Entrance at the Zen Grand Experience at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Entrance at the Zen Grand Experience at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya

The State of Quintana Roo is one of the most beautiful States in Mexico and one of my favorite places to travel with some of the best weather, beaches, jungles and all-inclusive resorts. In the recent years, a few of the Riviera Maya’s all-inclusive resorts, like the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Luxury All-Inclusive Resort, have gone beyond “all-inclusive” by offering luxury amenities and gourmet culinary tours through their restaurants. This includes restaurants led by chefs with international recognition including Michelin stars, while providing the same “all-inclusive worry free” vacation at their resort.

Throughout my years of visiting the Riviera Maya, I’ve had my share of stays at all-inclusive resorts, some better than others, and some with terrible food. As I get older, the more I realize my food choices have changed and the more picky I’m about where and what I eat. During my last trip to Playa del Carmen, I got to stay at the luxurious Grand Velas Riviera Maya, hands down one of the best luxury resorts for couples and families with the best all-inclusive food. The Grand Velas really blew my socks off and left me completely impressed, especially with their food. From the moment I entered the gates, to the moment I left the resort, I was completely happy, belly satisfied and my heart full of excitement for my next return.

The resort is divided into three vacation experiences, the Ambassador Experience, which is family friendly ocean view suites, the Grand Class, Oceanfront luxury for romantic getaways, and the Zen Grand, family friendly surrounded by the tropical forest, lily pads and lush greenery. Between all three resorts experiences within the Grand Velas Riviera Maya, they have five family friendly gourmet restaurants, where adults can enjoy three additional gourmet restaurants at the Grand Class.

Grand Class at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Luxury All-Inclusive

Grand Class at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Luxury All-Inclusive

During my last visit to Playa del Carmen, I had the pleasure of staying at the Zen Grand section of the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Resort. This part of the resort is designed to have a calming and relaxing feel while being immersed in nature. The spa is also located at this resort, along with the kids club and the convention center. The Zen Grand gives the feel that no one else is at the resort and I was there during peak season. I can definitely say this resort met my expectations beyond the Five Diamond upscale feel.

For those of you who also prefer gourmet cuisine rather than basic all-inclusive food, I’ve created a list as to why you should stay at the luxury Grand Velas Resort Riviera Maya All inclusive. The resort presents a gastronomic tour of the Yucatan, Europe and Asia cuisine offering seven restaurants with world-class chefs from Mexico, France and Spain. So here’s 14 Reasons why the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Resort is the Best Luxury All inclusive Resort in Playa del Carmen for foodies.

1.       The Luxury Grand Velas is a Five Diamond Resort

The Grand Velas resort is the Hospitality group with the highest amount of AAA Diamonds award outside the United States. What makes a resort a Five Diamond award winner? What is the AAA Diamond Award? Well, it’s a prestigious award given by the AAA every year with ratings of four diamonds and five. This award is given to restaurants and resorts that only meet certain qualifications and standards. To be given this award is such an honor where top hospitality standards must be met every year and having this rating elevates the dining experience. These guidelines begin from the outside of the property or restaurant, including cleanliness along with great ambience, high quality décor, top food quality, temperature and presentation.

The Ambassador Experience at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Luxury All- Inclusive Resort and Spa

The Ambassador Experience at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Luxury All- Inclusive Resort and Spa

 2.       Chaka Restaurant has the best chilaquiles!

The Zen Grand is also home to two restaurants, Sen Lin and Chaka. Chaka is an international cuisine restaurant by day and regional Yucatecan cuisine by night. I ate at Chaka on three occasions during this visit, which included some of the best chilaquiles I’ve ever had! Besides the chilaquiles tasting amazing, the presentation was original. All the dishes have a regional Yucatecan style with beautiful presentations bringing the entire cuisine together.

Chaka at the Zen Grand | Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Chaka at the Zen Grand | Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Chilaquiles at Chaka | Zen Grand | Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Chilaquiles at Chaka | Zen Grand | Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Chaka at the Zen Grand | Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Chaka at the Zen Grand | Grand Velas Riviera Maya

 3.       The Grand Velas also offers private cuisine cooking classes

During my stay I decided to take a private cooking class instead of going to the spa. The private cooking class took place at Chaka restaurant at the Zen Grand, but could of also had it at Cocina de Autor. We learned how to cook Grilled Shrimps in Chilmole, Coriander, rice and baby vegetables in butter and pickled onion. The cooking lesson was led by the chef and he began by demonstrating what we were going to cook. He then taught us how to decorate the plate and then it was our turn.

Copy or PIN the Recipe Below!

Grand Velas Riviera Maya Luxury All- Inclusive Resort and Spa | Photo by Erika Beach
Grand Velas Riviera Maya Luxury All- Inclusive Resort and Spa | Photo by Erika Beach
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4.       The resort includes a pool and beach concierge and the food is top!

Pool food can get mediocre, but at the Grand Velas, the pool food was delicious. I was especially a fan of the Shrimp and the ceviche, but definitely different pool food than I’ve had at other resorts in the area. 

Zen Grand | Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Zen Grand | Grand Velas Riviera Maya

5.       All Rooms have views of the ocean or you’re immersed in the jungle

The grand Velas Riviera Maya resort prides itself on its spacious suites with spectacular views of the tropical forest, lily ponds, jungle greenery or pristine ocean views.

Ocean front Suites at the Ambassador | Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Ocean front Suites at the Ambassador | Grand Velas Riviera Maya

 6.       Five Diamond award Restaurant Cocina de Autor at the Grand Class

In 2011, Cocina de Autor at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Luxury All-Inclusive Resort was the first resort to be given the AAA Five Diamond award for an all-inclusive property and restaurant. In Quintana Roo, Cocina the Autor is one of four restaurants within an all-inclusive property to receive this prestigious award and the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Luxury All-Inclusive Resort is one of eight properties to have the AAA five Diamond rating. Read more on Cocina de Autor at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Luxury All Inclusive Resort, with Executive Chef Nahum Velasco Garcia.

Cocina de Autor at the Grand Class | Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Cocina de Autor at the Grand Class | Grand Velas Riviera Maya

 Dining at Cocina de Autor is not like any other restaurant, but also a culinary adventure designed to appeal guests and foodies seeking a luxury dining experience. The restaurant located inside the Grand Class property within the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Luxury resort, has a simple white space design and a long white quartz bar overlooking the ocean

Cocina de Autor at the Grand Class | Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Cocina de Autor at the Grand Class | Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Executive Chef Nahum Velasco of Cocina de Autor at the Grand Class | Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Executive Chef Nahum Velasco of Cocina de Autor at the Grand Class | Grand Velas Riviera Maya

7.       They have a maitre sommelier and mixologist

I had the pleasure of dining at Cocina de Autor and had ten magical courses and each dish was paired with a different wine chosen by the in house Maitre Sommelier, Eduardo Quiroga, who received his sommelier certification at ‪Enoteca Bacco d’Oro in Verona Italy. There’s also an in house mixologist, Brandon Orozco Aldana who was with us during the pool and during our dinner at Cocina de Autor. From the beginning of our experience we were greeted with beautifully hand crafted cocktails made by Brandon that were delicious. Brandon was recognized as the youngest award winner in the “Coctel Revelacion” category by the fifth edition of Barra Mexico, one of the most important distilled spirits events in Latin America.

Grand Velas Riviera Maya Mixologist | Brandon Orozco Aldana

Grand Velas Riviera Maya Mixologist | Brandon Orozco Aldana

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Grand Velas Riviera Maya Luxury All- Inclusive Resort and Spa | Photo by Erika Beach
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8.       Dining at Four Diamond Restaurants - Frida and Pilaf

For restaurants, AAA can award you with Four Diamonds or Five Diamonds. The Grand Velas Riviera Maya has two Four Diamond Restaurants, Frida and Pilaf.

I got to dine at Frida, which was such a cultural dining experience. Frida is led by Chef Ricardo de la Vega and it focuses on Mexican classics reinterpreted for modern times. My favorite dish was the appetizer cold soup of black bean and Cappuccino with cotija cheese.  P.S all the desserts were to die for!

Ambassador | Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Ambassador | Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Frida | Ambassador | Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Frida | Ambassador | Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Chef Ricardo de la Vega | Frida Restaurant | Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Chef Ricardo de la Vega | Frida Restaurant | Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Piaf at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Luxury All-Inclusive

Piaf at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Luxury All-Inclusive

9.       MEZCAL Cocktail Menu

Not only does the Grand Velas have a Mezcal cocktail menu, but they also have a Mezcal tasting. Mezcal is a Mexican distilled alcoholic beverage made from any type of agave and found mainly in many parts of Mexico, but most mezcal is made in Oaxaca. The Mezcal tasting is led by the very knowledgeable in house mixologist, Brandon and took us on a Mexico tour of different mezcal varieties. He also educated us on the history and the differences between all the types of mezcal.

10.   The Aguachile and Carajillos at Restaruante Bistro.

Restaurante Bistro focuses on international cuisine and is located at the Grand Class. A casual restaurant with ocean front views and by the pool. Bistro serves some of the best aguachile and carajillos. What is aguachile and carajillo? Aguachile is a Mexican dish made of shrimp, submerged in liquid seasoned with chili peppers, lime juice, salt, cilantro, slices of cucumber and slices of onion. Raw vegetables such as cucumber are usually added. It’s kind of like ceviche, except ceviche might be chopped and with different flavors.

The Grand Class at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Resort

The Grand Class at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Resort

Cafe Bistro at the Grand Class at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Resort

Cafe Bistro at the Grand Class at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Resort

What is a carajillo? Carajillo is a coffee drink that is commonly drunk as a digestive after meals, and some people with their breakfast. There are many different ways of making a carajillo, ranging from black coffee with the spirit simply poured in to heating the spirit with lemon, sugar and cinnamon and adding the coffee last. In Mexico carajillos are usually made with espresso (or some other type of strong coffee) and "Licor 43" – a sweet vanilla-citrus flavored liquor– and poured over ice on a short glass. A similar Italian drink is known as caffè corretto.

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Grand Velas Riviera Maya Luxury All- Inclusive Resort and Spa | Photo by Erika Beach
Pool at the Grand Class at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Resort

Pool at the Grand Class at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Resort

11.   The Grand Velas has a Guacamologist!

Yes, you heard it, one of the chef’s is a guacamologist and this was amazing. A guacamole stand with one of the Grand Velas chef’s? I’ve never seen so many options to choose from and it was delish!!!The chef knows what ingredients work best and will help you make selections for you own personal guacamole, chips and salsa.

Guacamologist | Grand Class at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Resort

Guacamologist | Grand Class at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Resort

Guacamologist | Grand Class at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Resort

Guacamologist | Grand Class at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Resort

Grand Velas Riviera Maya Luxury All- Inclusive Resort and Spa | Photo by Erika Beach

Custom chocolates

Custom Chocolate picture and frame

Custom Chocolate picture and frame

12.   Upgraded mini bars and luxury amenities

One of the things that makes the Grad Velas Riviera Maya “Stand out is their luxury amenities. In their rooms, they offer a Nespresso coffee maker, L’Occintane toiletries, a beach bag and mosquito repellant. More things offered, but these are some of the ones that’ stood out. Another cool thing is the luxury mini bar. The mini bar was stoked daily with yummy snacks, a red and a white wine!

13.   Digital Detox (Technology Free vacations) recommended by the Today show.

Have you heard of technology free vacations? A vacation free from wifi, laptops and televisions? As seen on Today TV show by NBC, Grand Velas Riviera Maya is among the best options to help you put your mobile gadget down for a truly fulfilling vacation retreat by offering incredible activities to be added to your schedule. Click here to see the segment video on the TODAY show on NBC.

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14.   Welcome drink is a glass of Veuve Clicqot Champagne and premium drinks

Upon my arrival at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Luxury all-Inclusive, I was greeted with a glass of champagne by Veuve Clicquot. Need I say more???

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When it comes to your all-inclusive resort choices in the Playa del Carmen area, the possibilities are endless. One thing is for sure is that the Riviera Maya is a scene for all travelers, whether you’re looking for a place to relax, party, adventure, or wanting to dive into the Mayan cuisine. But what sets the Grand Velas Resorts apart from all the all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, is the customer service, luxury amenities and gastronomic tours of Asia, Europe and Yucatan, through their restaurants led by world class chefs. I hope you found this list helpful and thanks for reading!

With Love,

Erika Beach

******* This blog featured sponsored content from the Grand Velas Riviera Maya Luxury All Inclusive Resort. I was not compensated in any way to provide a positive review on the food or resort. This review and article content was my own review and point of view.