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Reviewed 22 December 2011

It's always hard to know how to write one of these things so I'll just start from the beginning and go from there. Sorry if it gets kind of long as I can be long winded sometimes ;)

My wife and I have wanted to plan a trip to Belize, to check out some Mayan ruin sites, for about 4 years now but could never afford it. That's when I started looking into the Yucatan Peninsula. After some searching I found Adventura Spa Palace and we were getting ready to book when the price jumped through the roof. I then found Xpu-Ha Palace and thought it looked wonderful, as it was right in the jungle and not crammed full of party goers. Then the changeover took place and the prices dropped so we booked an all-inclusive 8 night stay from Dec 6th - 14th.

Upon arrival I was surprised to see a large open air lobby. Very nicely decorated with tropical fauna all around. We had a minor hiccup when we checked in as they had our reservation under the wrong name and for the wrong time frame; they had us checking out on the 11th not the 14th. But I just pulled out my Expedia itinerary and they straitened the whole thing up right away and we were taken to our room.


Rooms:

I loved the fact that the rooms weren’t in some giant building and were instead little bungalows with 2 rooms in each and only 8 Bungalows per section. This leads to much more privacy. I've seen some reviews here saying the rooms were too small. Granted their not huge but I thought they were a perfect size. I mean you don’t come to the resort to sit in the room all day long. The only thing I wish they did have was a desk. They have a kind of wall shelf over to one side but it didn’t really work well for this. Anyway, we stayed on the bottom floor as there is an extra charge for a top floor room. Some people may think it's worth it but the view isn't much better and the room is exactly the same so to us it wasn't worth an extra $50 a night. The beds are easily as comfortable as described and the tub is just amazing! I'm over 6' tall and this is the first time I've had a tub I could comfortably fit in and it was everything I thought it could be. The room was always very clean and the cleaning ladies really did an outstanding job everyday. One thing I should note is how great the A/C units are. They aren't your normal mounted in the window kind of thing. They are incorporated right into the room and there is a large vent near the ceiling where the cool air comes out of. The whole thing is controlled by a thermostat which can be set to always on or to a specific temp. We found leaving it always on and turning the fan speed down left the room a perfect temp. The in-room safe also works very well. The size of it was an issue for me before we left as I didn't know if my camera equipment would fit inside. After a few months of playing e-mail tag and a few phone calls I was finally able to get the dimensions and thought I would post it here as I'm sure someone else will find it handy:

Length: 41cm (16.1 inches)
Depth: 37cm (14.5 inches)
Height: 19cm (7.5 inches)

We were able to get all of our electronics in there including our cameras, small laptop and other misc small electronics. We stayed in room 712 and our only complaint was that it was right next to the Gym so we had to listen to techno and other related workout music if we sat outside. Also this section of rooms is close to lobby but a decent walk to everything else. We didn't mind the walk as there are a few trails you can follow which are very nice. As a perk though and unlike some other rooms this one had a full wireless signal and we used it to Skype our kids back home every night. It’s not the fastest high-speed but it was good enough for a video call at about 15 frames a second.

One thing I should note and I know it will freak some people out and I apologize for that. Remember that you are in the middle of the jungle and that all kinds of things live around you. Even though they spray around all the huts things can still get inside. One morning when I opened the door a very large spider (about the size of my fist) came scuttling in and hide under my shirt on the floor. It wasn't a tarantula as far as I know, as I'm familiar with pretty much all of them. If I had to guess I would say it was just a Wolf spider. Whatever it was it was it had a close encounter with my shoe and that was the end of that. Odds are it was completely harmless as most spiders are, be it large or small. The reason it came in when I opened the door was because it had been hiding under the door guard. This is a prefect place for spiders and other animals to hide to escape the heat when the sun comes up. I wouldn't worry too much about it but it is something to be aware of.


Food:

The restaurants were all open when we were there. There are a few times during the day in which you can't get food and that is 12pm - 1pm and 5pm - 6pm. This is when they switch menus. The food in all the restaurants is very good. Everything is made fresh and is very tasty. The menus offer quite a bit of variety and, as long as you're a bit adventurous, you won’t get bored with the menus. The best menu I would have to say is at lunch and the worst would be breakfast. Not that it's bad or anything I just thought it was the weakest of the three. The snack bar menu is pretty good as well as it doesn't just offer greasy food. The Sushi bar was very nice and the menu was pretty good but it can get quite pricey if you're not on the all-inclusive plan. I took a picture of a few of the menus and posted them here so people can get an idea of what the menu looks like.

I must say that i was surprised by the quality of the food. Most of the time the food is mediocre at best at these resorts but the food was easily as good as a higher class restaurant and the presentation was fabulous. Sometimes you can have good food and bad presentation or vice-versa but here you get the best of both worlds. My favourite item would have to be the Calamari. I've had a lot of it over the years and this was some of the best I've ever had. A few times I got it, it was over cooked but for the most part it was perfect and melts right in your mouth! I tried a lot of different things and rarely ordered the same main course twice so as to sample as much as possible. The only dishes I wasn't really a fan of were the Ranchero eggs and the Enchiladas on the breakfast menu. Both gave me really bad heart burn and weren't all that tasty. The snack bar food was also very good and made fresh as well. I will warn you though that if you get a hamburger to check the patty before eating it. I ordered a double hamburger and one patty was still very red in the middle even though the outside looked cooked. All in all I would recommend the restaurant over the snack bar for lunch. The Sushi restaurant was also very good! I tried almost all the appetizers and every one was very tasty; the tempura shrimp is especially good. They don't have a lot of variety in the rolls. Most have shrimp and some have eel, tuna and salmon. They all have cream cheese in them which was a little weird I thought, but upon trying it I found it quite nice. Another thing I like is when they bring you the soy sauce they also bring a chipotle sauce which I found quite good with the sushi as well. I liked the house roll (which is fried) and the Ungagui Maky (eel) the best.

The one thing I should note is sometimes the orders get messed up or the dish arrives and it's not exactly what was described on the menu. I think most of the time this is chalked up to a translation issue. Everyone does their very best to speak whatever language you are comfortable with but sometimes minor things get lost in translation. For instance, a steak dish they offer is supposed to come with mashed potatoes and it came with rice instead on more then one occasion. Also a few mornings my wife ordered French toast and got regular toast instead. Nothing major just something to note. If you speak Spanish (as I wish I could,) then I'm sure it would cut down on these types of errors.


Grounds:

I've already touched on this but I'll go a bit more into depth. Firstly as pretty much everyone says, there’s tons of wildlife around! Everyday we would see tons of Iguanas sun tanning, Anoles running all over the place, Geckos skittering around, Basilisks climbing trees, Mexican Raccoons and the large family of Coati. Not to mention too many different kinds of birds and butterflies to mention. We even saw a snake in what used to be the turtle habitat, but we couldn't identify what species it was before it slithered away. The grounds are quite simply beautiful and with all the different wildlife calls it's very hard to forget that you're in the middle of the jungle.

There are a few walking paths that go right through the foliage. One such was very close to our room and takes you to the old aviary. My wife and I walked this path at least once a day and more then once we were greeted by the family of Coati. Since lots of guests feed them all the time they're very tame and will let you get pretty close allowing for some good picture taking. The path takes you through a nice mangrove section where it looks like they cut a tunnel through. You will also find an outcropping of the on-site Cenote down this path. Here we would see some larger fish, possibly a species of butterfly fish, and slider turtles almost everyday. One thing to note about this path, on the dirt sections you will sometimes see some small round holes in the dirt. It is very possible that these are tarantula dens. Nothing to worry about but it would be a good idea to avoid stepping on them just in case. If you come across one it best to just leave them alone. Most of the tarantulas in the area are old world spiders and will spit hairs at you when agitated. You won’t notice anything at first but soon a nasty painful rash will develop and can last a few days in some cases.

Other then these dirt paths there are tons of paved areas. The have a fair number of bikes on site if you don't feel like walking but we never used them. We found we enjoyed the walk and it really wasn't far enough to justify the use of bikes. We were told though that the bikes can get snatched up fast so if you did want one then the best time to get them is between 7 - 9am after that they can be pretty scarce.

Ok back onto more fun stuff. The Cenote is simply wonderful. We went kayaking on it several times. It is also a great place to go swimming and even snorkelling. The snorkelling isn't fantastic but the water is very clear and you may be lucky enough to see a manatee; there are supposedly 4-5 that live in there. We never saw any but I would imagine they're more active early in the morning or just before sunset. The people attending the booth are very helpful and friendly. If you've never been kayaking before then they will give you some tips and if you wanted to go snorkelling they have fins they can lend you, although I don't know if they have masks. In short any questions you may have they can help with. They can even help you plan a dive trip off site, get certified, or even give you a chance to try a scuba system in the pool if that interests you.

The pool area is also very nice. The whole time we were there, there were never more then 10 people at the pool which was great. We didn't use it all that often but when we did it felt like we had the place to our own. It is a very large pool so even if the resort was full and everyone was at the pool it probably won’t feel crowded. The other nice thing is that the water is not heated. My usual complaint about resorts is that the water temp is almost the same as the air temp. With the water being on the cooler side it's easy to cool off after toasting in the sun. It wouldn't surprise me if they used water from the Cenote for the pool as the water temps were very similar. The pool bar was nice and the bartenders were very friendly. No matter what you wanted they seemed to be able to make it. It was also one of the only places you could get mango juice, if that kind of thing interested you. I did have one complaint about the pool area and that is the hip-hop and other top 40's music they play. I know this type of music can be popular but it gets very irritating after a few hours of listening to the same songs over and over again. I don't think I'll ever get the "moves like jagger" song out of the head and the way they have the speakers set up it makes it almost impossible to sit somewhere you can't hear it. It makes it very annoying to sit by the pool to read and was one major reason we didn't spend too much time there.

They have a separate kid’s pool that looks like a lot of fun! In fact I would have wanted to play on it if I were allowed. Next time we come we plan on bringing our kids as they would have a ball playing on it!

As other people have said the beach is no more. Instead you just see tons and tons of broken coral and pieces of reef littering the shore. It's worth a walk along the shore though as you can find some pretty neat pieces of brain coral and such. Also the tidepools are full of damsels, gobies, crabs etc. and that's always fun to check out. If you continue to walk down the "closed" side of the resort you will hit a lagoon after a few minutes. We found this to be a great little snorkelling area. It's the area where the Cenote meets the ocean and this becomes very apparent when you look under the water and see all the caves. Also if you dive down below the surface you can see the areas the salt and fresh are mixing and sometimes they will even form separate layers. This lagoon is fairly protected from waves and such but when we were in there, there was almost always a decent rip tide in the middle wanting to pull you to the mouth of the lagoon. It wasn't very strong but during a tide change this may intensify and if you're not a strong swimmer then I recommend avoiding swimming through the middle and just stay to the sides; you'll see more life over there anyway. In this bay some of the highlights we saw were flashy angel fish, a trigger fish and a large parrot fish. Just keep in mind that that part of the resort is closed and it's not a good idea to wander around too much. The area is monitored and the guy keeping watch gets very angry if he catches you wandering around the ruins. He's there for your own safety as that area is unmonitored or controlled meaning anything could have take up residence in the area.

If you are interested in a beach then, as many other people have said, there is a nice one just a short walk from resorts ruined beach. We never went there ourselves but I hear it's very nice.


The area:

Xpu-Ha is great place as it's a good distance from all the hustle and bustle but still close enough that if you wanted to go to town it wouldn't be a big deal. It's 10 min from Playa de Carmin which has a great night life. The other bonus is you're closer to some of the Mayan ruin sites such as Tulum and Coba. This makes tours for these sites a bit cheaper. Another gem is Akumal bay. It's about 10 minutes away as well and is a feeding area for Loggerhead sea turtles. We went there on a tour and saw 3 of them. The best time to find them is during the morning or early evening as that's when they come into the bay to feed on the sea grass. Otherwise they're out at sea.

A common way to get around is taxi but we were told that there is also a bus service that can take you pretty much anywhere for about $3. You just stand on the side of the highway and it will stop and pick you up. I don't have all the details but if it interests you just ask at the front lobby and I'm sure they can give you all the details. It's a good way to save on cab fare which can get a bit pricey.


Closing thoughts:

This resort is a great place to just kick back and relax. The way the rooms are set up you will never feel crowded and the atmosphere just simply can't be beat. You won’t find partiers here as the resort is just not geared towards them. We had a few of that type when we were staying there but we almost never saw them because they were either at the beach of the neighbouring resort or in town at the clubs which suited us just fine. We were looking for a place to relax and be surrounded by nature and that was exactly what we got! There was no night time entertainment short of playing pool or Foosball in the lobby bar but that suited us just fine. The last night we were there though they shut the main restaurant down and had a BBQ for everyone beside the pool. This was a nice change and having a candle lit dinner beside the pool was great. The only downside was again the music. At least they took out the top 40's music and instead put in a lounge style cd. It was ok but I can't say I was a big fan of Pink Floyd and Dire straits songs sung in lounge style, some things just need an electric guitar ;)

One thing that is very apparent is that all the staff are very friendly and just genuinely seem happy. They will go out of their way to make sure your stay is a good one. This isn't something you see a lot of. I think you would be hard pressed to find a resort that offered better service then this one!


The reason for a 4/5 rating is because the site is still not 100% functional. You can see that they're still doing a fair amount of work on the open portion of the resort and there are still a number of unused buildings. While we were there we saw them dismantling some of the old animal cages which doesn't boaster future prospects of the animals returning to the site. Also I wasn't a fan of the "tips are not included" part. I don't mind tipping and such but it gets pretty pricey when you have to tip after every meal. I think in total we spent about $80 in tips. If tips were included then naturally people would still throw in a dollar or two for exceptional service but then at least you wouldn't feel obligated to.

As far as the damaged section goes I wasn't able to get much information about that. It's a shame that the damaged area hasn't been restored as I would say that that part makes up about 50-60% of the resorts grounds, which is saying something as the open portion is a good size. I would have loved to have seen the place in its hay day before the hurricane. I did find out that the resort grounds has 3 different owners which is why one part is open and fixed and the other areas haven't been touched. I couldn't get any information about if the other areas will ever be repaired though as odds are, no one knows.

I would also like to add this. Please DON’T FEED THE ANIMALS. Lots of people do it and think its fun. The down side is these animals may become braver and could potentially hurt someone; remember these are wild animals after all and not pets. Also it can be very dangerous and harmful for the animal itself. If you feed an animal something its body can’t digest or handle then the animal could potentially die. Feeding pizza to fish is one such example, as I saw someone has done in an older post. This kind of thing happens a lot more often then people think. If you do feel inclined to feed these wild animals then at least do a bit of research and find out what they eat so as not to cause them any harm. You can’t leave it up to the animals to know what not to eat as they will eat pretty much anything offered to them as their instincts tell them to eat first and ask questions later.

I would also recommend learning some basic Spanish before going, if you don’t know any. I myself only knew how to count to 10 in Spanish (thank you Dora,) and I wish I had known more. I tried to learn a bit before coming but I’ve never taken a Spanish class before so I had nothing to fall back on. The servers and staff were great and they helped me learn a lot of basic phrases but it would have been nice to know them ahead of time. It was quite apparent that they really did appreciate any effort you made to speak Spanish; after all we are in their country.

If you have any questions about the resort or anything I mentioned then please feel free to message me and I'll answer them as best as I can.


Geoff

Room Tip: - Rooms in the mammal section are a fair distance away from everything but close to lobby and Gym and get full Wi-fi signal. - The in-room safe sizes are: 41cm x 37cm x 19cm or 16.1" x 14.5" x 7.5" (length x depth x width) - There is a great snorkeling bay on the closed side of the resort, just short walk from the pool area. - Bring medications with you, such as Tylenol, tums, Imodium, etc. They're easy to pack but can be hard to find in Mexico
  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
17  Thank Arringfray
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 December 2011

Workers are wonderful. Grounds are impeccably kept. Food is...well..average. Beach is rocky- most people walk to the nearby resort's beach. Pool is beautiful. Rooms are clean- appointed with an oddly placed jaccuzzi in the middle. Management was absolutely horrendous in dealing with a reservation disparity AND roof leak which required a room change. NO TRANSPORTATION from the aiport- that will cost around 100 bucks each way. This is a value ONLY with a living social coupon- dot your i's and cross your t's with the reservation length/dates and have it in writing.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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7  Thank Andrea D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Maramartinezxpuha, Gerente at Bel Air Collection Resort & Spa Riviera Maya, responded to this reviewResponded 7 February 2012

Dear Guest

Thank you for your high opinion of the staff, the rooms, and the pool.
In regard of the the room situttion a thruthly apologice for he inconvenience and the bad manage of the it.
For the transportation we are working with a company that can provide this service the name is cancun bay and now you can make reservation trough our concierge.
All your comments are very important for us and we are working hard to never let this happend again.
Please in case you want to visit us again do not hesitate to contact me at mmartinez@belairxpuha.com

Sincerely

Mara Martinez

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 December 2011

This place totally blew me away. I mean I Have been to other vacation destinations like Maui, and stayed resorts but this place is so appealing in terms of the peace and tranquility it offers through its flora and fauna, sparkling cenotes, delicious food and the most important of all, awesome customer service. The staff was totally at our service any time of the day, all day while we were out there. The people are super super nice and friendly. We were on the all inclusive plan via living social. If we didn't like a dish, or wanted something different, it wasn't a problem. They got us what we wanted in minutes and everything was delicious. They made us new drinks that weren't even on the menu. My husband and I thanked them by leaving generous tips.

The transportation within the hotel property was very convenient. We just call the front lobby for the golf cart ride and in minutes the driver would be at our door. It was quick and always on time.

The cenote inside the property is very pretty and scenic. We saw some turtles, manotes and fish. We kayaked for an hour and it was pretty awesome. My husband is not too comfortable with swimming. The guide at the cenote was very friendly and nice. Everyone was always there to help and were always ready with big smiles.

The bar the pool is pretty nice. We made a lot of friends with other couples while we were there. We had a fantastic time at the pool bar. The bartenders made some amazing drinks including a spiderman shot:-).

The property has lot of flora fauna all around which provides for a very relaxing and refreshing experience every day. We saw iguanas, manaches, takoon, etc. Bikes are available for free to ride. I and my husband had a real nice time bike riding the property.

They offer massage on the beach at sunset. I thought that was very romantic and relaxing.

The rooms are the best part. There is a huge jacuzzi inside the room with whirlpool jets. We used almost everyday! The balcony is huge and airy and has a hammock. Beautiful parrots and blue birds visited us each morning. It was pretty amazing to wake up to the chirping birds each morning. It gave us the rainforest feeling. The smell of the fresh air in the balcony surrounded with greens filled up my lungs and made for a very rejuvenating experience. The rooms are very clean. They made cute swans from the towels for us each day. I could just go on and on since there was so much more. All in all if you are looking for a really nice relaxing vacation or a getaway this place is the place for you. If you are looking for activities, this place is perfect location wise as all the nature parks are located within 10 minutes of this resort. There is a shuttle van available just outside of the hotel that will take you wherever u need to go in just a few dollars. We took the shuttle to Tulum for 3 bucks. We even visited Dos Ojos and Akumal for snorkeling. It took us 10 minutes to get there in the van and there was hardly any wait time.

This resort doesn't have it's own beach as it destroyed by hurricane but there is a really Beach just next door that u can walk upto in 5 minutes. The water is crystal blue with white sand. It's pretty awesome. To the right of the resort if you walk towards the damaged property area on the beach, you will find a lagoon that part of the ocean but looks like a cenote. We with many others dived into it and snorkeled and saw some beautiful fish there. It is a beautiful spot to watch the sunset too with your beloved.

We had the nicest time and we plan to return.



  • Stayed: December 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
11  Thank Likelatika
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 December 2011

We went to Xpu Ha in early 2010 (when it was still a Palace Resort) and absolutely loved it. It was "our" getaway place, a real hidden gem. We recently got married and wanted to return to Xpu Ha for our honeymoon. When we booked the trip, we knew ownership had changed hands, and we were thankful that someone scooped it up so that the place wasn't just torn down and lost forever. We checked out the BelAir website and all seemed good, and we tried to go down with an open mind knowing that things would be different from our previous experience.

Even with keeping an open mind, we were somewhat disappointed. One major item to note is that there used to be animals there and they are all gone! Apparently this is still listed on the website, so be forewarned, you will not see any animals (besides wild ones, which is pretty darn cool anyway). There was no gift shop, which is understandable, but having a few incidental items on-site would have been nice. We were used to the all-inclusive experience and apparently, from reading responses below, this will be going away. Also, there was some confusion about gratuity; Orbitz said gratuity was included, the BelAir website says it as well, however, when we got there, it was NOT included and we were expected to tip. Tipping at every meal, every "tram" ride, etc does add up and we felt a little scammed by this. Room service is not included and we knew that going in, but expected just to pay a fee to have the meal delivered to our room if we absolutely NEEDED room service (which we didn't expect to). This was not the case. If you order room service, you have to pay for delivery AND your meal, which doesn't make much sense because if you eat it at the restaurant, it is included with your package. Perhaps not a big deal to some, but after being on a tour from 7 am - 8:30 pm with little to no food one day, we came home starving, sunburnt, and exhausted and ended up forking over money for food that should have been free just so we didn't have to drag ourselves to the restaurant. It seemed pretty ridiculous, so be forewarned. The front desk was unsure of the number for us to call for room service so we tried several numbers and different combinations of numbers that they gave us. After several unanswered tries, we found the paper with the front desk number on it, and waited on hold with the front desk until we were finally connected to the restaurant. It took over an hour to get our food after ordering. We were not happy campers on this day.

Some other smaller items to note: The wireless internet was very spotty. We were able to get a sufficient signal if we stood by the window in the back of our room. In the on-site "internet" room, we were unable to connect to the internet through the entirety of our stay. I understand that transitioning takes time, but to us, it seemed like the transition is moving at a snails pace. There were a few items that would be majorly helpful and would seemingly take a very small amount of effort or expense on the part of the resort. For example, the buttons on the phones were completely blank. Every time we wanted to call the front desk, we had to rifle through papers to find one piece of paper they gave us at check in with the numbers to the front desk on it. Out of 2 numbers listed for the front desk on that sheet, only one of those numbers ever worked. And when we had to call for room service, as mentioned above, forget it. How hard would it be to put a "front desk" button/connection on each phone? Also, how hard would it be to put that one page with all the info on it in each room in a little "booklet" like most hotel rooms so we didn't have to worry about losing that paper the entire trip? The Palace logo and signs were still all over the resort and they could easily cover those with a sticker or just rip them down. They painted over them in gold spraypaint during our stay, which just made the Palace signs more noticeable and fancy in my opinion. All of these little things, while not a huge deal, would be so easy to fix and would make guests more comfortable, even during the transition period. The resort is sort of bare bones right now, and hopefully that will change (I'm sure it will). Still, we couldn't help but wonder whether things would get better or if BelAir was just going to run this place into the ground. I expected to see work going on all around the resort and really didn't see anything happening.

Staff were still very friendly and helpful. The bartenders were great and lots of fun. Gabriel, who will book your tours for you (although you'd never know it because I don't think saw it written anywhere - again, a booklet with info in each room would be easy and inexpensive to do, and invaluable to guests), was absolutely fantastic. He really went above and beyond when one of our tours was canceled due to weather closing the port (Cozumel). The transportation staff and front desk staff were great. As others have mentioned, housekeeping left different little towel decorations in the room each day, which was a nice touch. The rooms looked the same to me, but they were wonderful then and still are now.

The food was so-so. We stayed for 5 days and after the 2nd day we were craving some variety. The breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus are exactly the same day in and day out. My husband is vegetarian so his selection was extremely limited. However, they were willing to make certain dishes vegetarian for him, so we were thankful for that. But the red sauce they use in the restaurant is on just about every dish. It is not terrible, it just gets old after a while. The same red sauce they use for the Mexican dishes is used for the Italian dishes so your pasta tastes like enchiladas and vice-versa. We did try the sushi restaurant one night and we were not impressed (although we are not huge sushi fans, so others may enjoy it). As another guest commented while we were at the sushi restaurant, there is cream cheese in pretty much every sushi roll they make. It's the sushi version of the restaurant's red sauce.

I really hope that BelAir makes some improvements to the resort. It was wonderful and could easily be even better than it was before, but after our stay, I am not so convinced this will happen. I certainly hope it will, because Xpu Ha is such a beautiful place and was such a wonderful experience for us before. I don't think we will return, as many of the things we loved about the resort (the animals, room service, all-inclusive experience) are gone forever. But I hope that others will find the new BelAir Xpu Ha as great an experience as Palace Xpu Ha was for us.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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10  Thank Jeanbean333
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 December 2011

My husband and I were looking for a quiet all-inclusive romantic get-away and we found it here. We got a Groupon special and were here for five days. The open air lobby is an amazing. The lights and the music make you feel like you are in a rainforest. Everything is very lush and tropical, but very cool and relaxing because of the thatched roof and plants all around. We were told there are only 144 rooms at this time and we often felt like we were the only people on earth. This is a natural setting boutique hotel with an amazing open air feel. It is very lush and tropical and no mosquitoes! The chandeliers statues are awesome! The property used to be a small zoo , many of the cages are still there, but are being dismantled and adds a Jurassic Park feel to the place! When we checked in, the concierge took us on a tour of the property, including the cenotes and the kayaking inlet. The inlet is very nice! The concierge staff was great! They had many suggestions and were wonderfully helpful.

Room - Our thatched top room was amazing and looked out into the jungle. It was very cleaning and the house keeping was wonderful. The two person tub was great and I used it every day! Very much appreciated the fridge stocked with beer, water and pop. Every morning we were visited by these beautiful birds and Coati. Loved the huge, very private balcony with a hammock and read out there every night.

SPA - The spa was amazing! It has a very open feel and the massage I got at the end of a long day in the sun was great! The aroma therapy was great. It had billowed sheer white curtains for privacy that gives the spa a peaceful feel. Since it is adjent to the lobby area, it has the same quiet open feel.

Service and Restaurant - Everyone was friendly and made us feel like VIPS! If you want huge buffets and in and out service, do not come here. I don’t like buffets, so this was fine with me. The service is excellent, friendly and laid back….all dishes are al le cart. The food was great. There are Italian and Mexican dishes. We loved the traditional Mexican food, especially breakfast. A little more variety of desserts would be nice, but what we tried was good. There is also a sushi restaurant by the beach access. We are not Sushi fans, so we didn’t try it. We also ate many of the snacks from the pool snack bar including nachos, cheese sticks and calamari. I ordered some nachos with black beans, and when I asked for guacamole, they made it fresh from a couple of avocados, right on the spot. Amazing!
Pool and Beach - The pool and swim up bar were great. We had our pick of chairs. There were chairs that had shade and sun and some on a platform in the pool. There was a swim up bar, like most all inclusive, alcohol was not premium (my husband was wanting Jack Daniels by the end of the week) but we expected this. There is also a bar in the lobby, which was great.

Beach - There is beach access from the pool, but no beach directly on the resort. Beach access and a view of the bay is all we needed, and if we really wanted the beach, we simply walked down a short path and were on the beaches of the other major crowded resorts. The bay that the resort is on is amazing. Personally, I like the view the beach access spot gives more than sitting in a row of beach chairs with a hundred other people. Just make sure you bring your flip flops to walk down the paths. In the opposite direction, is the old resort that was destroyed by hurricane Wilma. It is amazing, and many people come from other resorts to see it. There is also an inlet that is perfect for snorkeling. We snorkeled there and had the best visibility of the trip. Lots of fish! Great place for new snorkelers and advanced as well. There is an amazing beach beyond this that we could not get to because it is closed, but we hear it is the most amazing beach around, and next time, we will get to what we call the “Hidden Beach”.

You do have to walk from place to place on the resort, but they have golf carts that can be called and driving around the resort. There were bikes, but they were all kid sized and we preferred to walk everywhere. No walk was more than 10 minutes.

There was no entertainment while we were there and the nights were very quiet. However, that is what we like and when we wanted excitement; we went into Playa, which is not far from the resort. We prefer a quiet resort and go to the fun if we want. Being a small resort, there wasn’t a great way to get or exchange money. There is no ATM on the resort. We also would perhaps have liked a little entertainment at night in the lobby, although another couple enjoyed the nightly movies in the lobby. All in all, the resort was wonderful setting and a wonderful value at the same time!

Room Tip: Ask for an upstairs room if possible, jungle view.
  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
10  Thank jzerilli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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