HRHRivieraMaya0015Who isn’t familiar with Hard Rock these days?  With restaurants in some of the most popular cities in the world, they are renowned as being the champion of all things Rock ‘n’ Roll (and jazz, blues, and country).  Their cafes are resplendent in memorabilia of all sorts from clothing to guitars to artwork. Their focus on music is followed closely by their love of throwing a good party.

Enter Hard Rock Hotels.  One of the first is in Vegas where it is a very popular casino and resort.  But Hard Rock wanted more.  So, a couple of years ago, it expanded into all-inclusive territory with Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana.  Then came Hard Rock Cancun, Hard Rock Puerto Vallarta, and finally, Hard Rock Riviera Maya.

During the dead of winter with snow and ice storms crippling most of America, I took a little trip to see this latest addition to the Hard Rock All-Inclusive Collection.  Until last autumn, this resort was known as the Aventura Cove Palace and Aventura Spa Palace – one large resort with two distinct sections.  Cove was the family-friendly side while Spa was for adults.

Last April, I visited this resort as they were starting the room renovations.  I was able to see a room that was fairly finished, but I couldn’t wait until I could see all the changes that were coming.  One thing wasn’t changing – the resort would still offer a family side (renamed the Hacienda section) and an adult only section (renamed Heaven).

The Heaven Lobby

The Heaven Lobby

To be fair, there are still a few areas under ‘construction’.  The Heaven lobby still needs finishing touches as some of the display cases were missing their memorabilia.  The large nightclub won’t be ready until early summer.  And some of the rooms areas needed a bit of touch-up.

But if their current state is any indication of what this resort will be like when fully finished, all I can say is “Wow!”.  Their staff is extremely friendly, the food was top-notch, and the entertainment staff is entertaining (not all resorts can claim that).  In fact, I noticed that not a single entertainment staff member looked like another but looked like other guests.  This is ingenious as it really adds to the spontaneous feel to pool parties and other activities.  The resort really tries to create a fun, active vibe for those who really need to let loose.  Face it, that’s virtually every working person in America!


Even a basic room comes with some serious perks.  Free wifi, room service, and a stocked mini-bar (complete with a liquor dispenser) are just a few of the niceties.  While my bed was a little harder than I like, others in our group didn’t have any negative comments about the bedding.  Balconies are roomy and include a very comfy hammock along with a couple of chairs.  Most every room includes a whirlpool tub and a spacious bath area.

Living room of a Rock Star Suite - rocker girl not included

Living room of a Rock Star Suite – rocker girl not included

But the Rock Star Suites really do rock.  Imagine two bedrooms, a huge veranda or balcony complete with hammock, chairs, table, loungers, and plenty of room to move around.  You even get a dining table and some basic appliances like fridge, sink, and microwave.

Both Hacienda and Heaven have similar room categories although the decor is different.  Heaven boasts dark blue while Hacienda is more burnt orange.

Zen Asian restaurant

Zen Asian restaurant

Food and Beverage

With choices like Asian, French, Italian, Brazilian (steakhouse), a steakhouse, Mexican, and more, you will not go hungry.  If you do, it’s your own dang fault.  I tried to sample as many restaurants as I could during my one free night having ‘dinner’ at the French spot, the steakhouse, and the Asian.  Needless to say, I had to waddle back to my room afterwards!  I wanted to try more, but I just didn’t have the time (or notches on my belt).

Bars are plentiful around the resort.  This is a great thing as it is a very large resort with plenty of places to relax and/or party.  The bar staff were never stingy on portions, and their selection of spirits is quite diverse.

A view from the zero-entry beach in the Heaven section.  Note the rocky 'wall' that forms the lagoon.

A view from the zero-entry beach in the Heaven section. Note the rocky ‘wall’ that forms the lagoon.


Now, here is where I may lose a few folks.  This resort does not have a real beach.  While it is literally on the coast, the surf is quite active, and the actual coast is rocky.  The original designers of the resort made this ‘weakness’ an actual strength of the property.  There is a long stretch of saltwater lagoons that are fed by the ocean but are much, much calmer on the shore.  Hard Rock spent a lot of attention to these areas and built smaller beaches with zero entry areas to allow for anyone of any age to splash about in the ocean.

One of the greatest little ‘secrets’ of the resort lies along these lagoons.  Had enough of the energy and activities in the pool areas?  At either end of the resort, the areas are much quieter and relaxing.


If you are a child of the MTV music video era, you’ll love it.  If you are of the generation that defined rock and roll, you’ll love it.  If your experience with MTV is more reality-TV style, you’ll love it.  Why?  Because, music defines all of these demographics, and Hard Rock has built a resort that celebrates that love of music, party, and letting loose.  And even if you are a bit more laid back, you can still find a little bit of Heaven to suit your taste.

Want to see more pictures from my recent visit to the resort?  Visit my Facebook page, and check out this album.  While there, why not like the page as well?

Captain Getaway – a travel professional