Review – Hard Rock Riviera Maya

So back in May my husband ‘accidentally’ bided on a silent auction at a work function for a long weekend at the Hard Rock Riviera Maya. We decided to wait till it was cold out so we could fully enjoy the weather, when we left Chicago it was snowy and 20 degrees. When we walked off the plane it was 70 something and perfect.


Fun at the airport-

With all my food allergies and being in a different country I was a liitle ok extremely afraid of what I was going to be able to eat so I packed a suitcase with food. Well I noticed a sign at the luggage pick up that you aren’t suppose to bring meat/fruit into another country. I guess this is common knowledge, as my husband told me with an annoyed face, but this is only my second time out of the county and I had no clue. I was honest and told the scanner girl, this resulted in me becoming ‘salami girl’. She pointed me in the direction of a different check point and was yelling salami across the room pointing to me, ‘hey Salmi Girl’. All I could do was laugh. So after about 3 more yells of salami girl, someone finally came over and they went through my suitcase. After about 10 mins I was sent on my way and they let me keep my salami! And yes it was awesome, I ate it as I sipped wine and had some crackers on the deck overlooking the pool.

The Hard Rock


We were met at the front door with champaign glasses of a cucumber / melon drink that was simply delicious. The front desk is adorned with leather belts, which I thought was cool and added to the rock star theme. The main lobby had all kinds of neat rock memorable scattered throughout as décor. The resort is sectioned off with half being an adult side and half being a family side. Since it was just us we stayed on the adult side called Heaven. We could go to both sides but only 21 and up was allowed on our side.

We upgraded to one of the sky terrace rooms which was beautiful! We had a lower walk out and then it had stairs that went up to the roof top where there was a Jacuzzi tub and chairs to lay out on. The hotel is all inclusive and all the rooms here come with a full bar. The views are just stunning!

All was paradise until…. no power. Yes only I can go on vacation to a town where they shut the power out for 2 days! Apparently the town had some maintenance to do on the power plant so the entire town of Riviera Maya had no power Saturday and Sunday from 10-6p while we were there. It didn’t ruin the vacation since we pretty much spent most of the day on the beach sipping drinks but it just bothered me that I couldn’t do my hair. There was also one lunch that was a bit warm since it was inside and there was no air. I think the only thing we were grumpy about is that no one told us this when we checked in or made reservations. Though it does explain why the resort was pretty much empty, we pretty much had the place to ourselves. Or it felt like it since it was so large.

viewThis resort doesn’t have a typical beach, it’s surrounded by a rock wall. You can still see and hear the waves so it really didn’t bother me and it does still have massive amounts of beach areas that are sectioned off. The resort was so quiet that my husband and I kinda had our own private little beach area.

One of the surprises I did like was seeing some different kinds of animals. This is Herman (yes I named him) he was a huge iguana and they were everywhere. This guy was always hanging out by the back door of the Ipanema restaurant, he had to be about 2-3 ft long. We also saw a raccoon/cat animal but I didn’t get a photo of him. You can also take a guided monkey tour along the front of the property and catch a glimpse of a spider monkey. I unfortunately only saw the armpit of one.


Food –

Overall it was hard to figure out what was safe to eat. The staff was extremely friendly but most only spoke basic English so trying to ask what was Gluten Free became a little challenge. There is no spanish word for Gluten Free so go with celiac (in Spanish celíaco). Breakfast and Lunch were buffet style so I just stuck with the basic stuff that I knew was safe. There is plenty of selection.

Dinners were at different themed restaurants.

Friday night we tried out the steak house, Toro. The servers were very nice. Our server was able to point me to the type of steaks that were Gluten Free. We both had the sirloin and it was good.

Saturday night was the Los Gallos restrauant which was way better! This restraunt also had a picture key on the menu to tell you which choices were gluten free. This made me happy because I didn’t have to be a bother and ask.

Sunday we headed to Ciao, an Italian themed restaurant. This was also very delicious and they also had the key symbol on their menu to note which were Gluten free.

Monday night we ate at Ipanema, which is like a Brazilian steak house. They had a buffet of side items and then there were servers that came around and cut meat for you. I would say we were a little disappointed in the service that was here. We were there for about 45 mins and only had two-three different meat servers come by.

Being GF you really only had 1 or 2 choices each place but I was just happy when they had them noted and they were good.


Site Seeing –

On Monday morning we headed out on a tour to see one of the ruins, Tulum. We took a half day tour that we booked though the hotel. The bus ride was about 45 mins and then you had a tour guide show you around for about an hour. After that was free time to keep looking around and back where you meet for the bus ride back is a little market area.

The ruins were just amazing… there are many buildings to look at and each had there own characteristics. There is also a spot that overlooks the ocean that is just breathtaking.



After looking at the ruins we grabbed a beer and walked around the market. There are all kinda of trinkets to buy and for a small fee you can get your photo taken with a lemur (yep that is me below with one). He was to cute and I had to give the handler my beer because he keep trying to take it.


Ok well he was cute until he tried crawling down my back and freaked me out a bit.


Overall Riviera Maya was a beautiful place, so glad my husband ‘accidentally’ won that auction. There didn’t seem to be many activities going on but I think that was because we went at a slow time of the year. Someday I would like to go back when they are in full season.

Next travel spot, VEGAS!!

Jen P

Hi! I'm Jen, and I love teaching others how to live a toxic-free life. It's time to ditch those chemicals and get back to better wellness.

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  1. Erin on January 30, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    I am JEALOUS! I want to travel so badly. This looks like it would be a great escape for the hubs and I. Beach, sun, drinks, swanky room, LOVE! PS did not know you’re a GF, so is my sister! Fascinating you two are! lol

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