The Grand Residences are beginning to sell in earnest. In two years’ time, occupancy has increased fourfold and the Re-sort is developing its own personality. Without a doubt, The Grand Residences is The Royal Re-sort’s most luxurious resort to date and one of the most luxurious on The Riviera Maya.
The Resort had a history of setbacks, mostly due to Mexican Government environmental regulations, some due to the global economy in 2008, and partly due to the timeshare industry as a whole falling out of favor with the new generation.
We typically wait for a Royal Resort to be finished being built before we preview it and write an article about it. The Grand Residences Phase II is scheduled for completion December 2017 and Phase III and IV have yet to be built. However, we feel safe to believe that it will only get better as occupancy increases and that Phase III and IV will be built as Phase II is almost sold out.
The Royal Resorts purchased almost a half mile of beachfront property in Puerto Morelos with extra beachfront property adjacent to The Grand Residences, should they wish to build additional timeshare resorts adjacent to The Grand Residences. The initial thought was that if The Grand Residences became in high demand that another one could be built next to it.
Because the luxurious Grand Residences, which are very expensive compared to other Royal Resort villas, caters mostly to the upper echelon of customers, we do not think this will hap-pen. The Grand Residences may well be the only high end resort that The Royal Resorts build. What will eventually be built on the remaining beachfront land remains to be seen.
The idea of building an ultra-luxury, high end resort is not uncommon in the hospitality industry. Marriott and other hotel chains have high end ver-sions of their hotels. There is a small and select niche of people who want more luxurious and spacious surrounding and cost is not a factor. The Grand Residences definitely fits those who demand more luxury.
In the Beginning
Puerto Morelos is home to more ex-pat U.S. and Canadian citizens who own full time condominiums and timeshares and spend a fair amount of time there. Some call it their first home.
While the Developers were completing their ecological feasibility studies and obtaining their building permits, they brought interested Royal Resort owners to the site where the Resort was to be built.
A few large air-conditioned tour buses took a good number of interest-ed owners to see the new site where The Grand Residences was going to be built. All that was there was empty land, a beautiful beach, and depending on when you went on one of these FAM trips, a model villa was built on the beach, which was torn down later.
After the beach and model visit, owners were taken to a private, very exquisite luncheon where a presentation was held and approximate prices of the different villas, depending on the time of year and placement of the villa were presented on an easel. This project started off as a fractional only and you had to purchase three months consecutively, later reduced to two months.
As time went on, the projected date to begin building had been delayed due to some environmental issues that would not allow for the project to begin. The Royal Resorts went through a torturous year, with delay after delay. Because the opening date had been delayed for such a long time, several owners asked for their money back and received it back; others reduced the amount of time they wanted. It was very touch and go in the beginning but finally the Royal Resorts were granted all of their permits and construction began. A life size scale model was built in the parking lot of The Royal Sands, and the sales team went to work on trying to sell Grand Residences villas.
About this same time, the sales group were utilizing a high pressured sales pitch and many potential customers didn’t’ even want to consider looking at them. Eventually, The Royal Resorts reorganized the sales department and even reduced the amount of fractional time that you could purchase to two and three consecutive weeks with a week here and there that fell in-between other consecutive weeks and a few villas sold.
The Royal Haciendas sales had slowed down greatly during this slow sales period and were sold in odd and even years and eventually Suites and Lockoffs were sold separately, trying to sell to those who didn’t want the entire villa.
We also believe our owners enjoy nearby activity that compliments water and beach activities. Little by little the Riviera Maya has been developing other activities besides golf. Playa del Carmen is also fairly close, so this is not as much an obstacle as it once used to be.
The Grand Residences
The resort is laid out in a rectangular fashion with the lobby near the road as most of the Re-sorts on the Riviera Maya are. The Grand Residences will consist of a total of 123 villas with sixty-six of them being two bedroom villas with no swimming pool and twenty-two two bedroom villas on the ground floor with their own private swimming pool.
There are eighteen three bedroom villas with no swimming pool and six three bedroom villas on the ground floor with their own private swimming pool. The remainders of villas are penthouse villas on the top floor with their own private gar-den terrace with a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, and grill area. There will be three two bedrooms, five three bedrooms and three four bedrooms.
Once you are an owner, and even if you rent a villa from The Royal Resorts or The Leading Hotels of the World, a private car or SUV will pick you up and bring you to The Grand Residences. When you first enter the lobby for your stay, you are greeted with a warm wet towel to wash your face and hands with. You’ll be given an alcoholic drink or drink of your choice while you sit at the front desk and register. There are no long lines to stand in and the lobby gives you that feeling of being in an ultra, luxurious resort.
The Grand Residences are much more expensive than the other Royal Resorts, most of Cancun and The Riviera Maya, but the Developers wanted this resort to cater to the clientele that prefers this type of atmosphere. Thinking most of these owners who would come for several weeks or months would be renting a car and ample parking for each villa is provided.
It’s a very quiet, laid back resort and if you are looking for a lot of noise and people, this may not be the resort for you. When you walk around the grounds, don’t be surprised if the workers call you by your first name. They stress that you feel like you are really a part of the resort and go out their way to help you with anything from bringing you towels to moving a poolside chair for you.
Phase one is fully complete and operational. Phase two has been built with the interior rooms and appliances being completed. Phase three and four are scheduled to begin construction the following year 2018 which will include the SPA and expansion of existing facilities. The villas are spectacular with ample room to make you feel like you are at home and not in a condo.
One Bedroom Master Suite
The One Bedroom Master Suite consists of 1,798 sq. ft. and can sleep up to five people, and can be purchased separately if so desired???? There is a one person sofa sleeper in the Master bedroom as well as a desk and chair. The bedroom has a 47” flat screen TV in the bedroom, hydro-massage tub and Jacuzzi on its balcony.
It has all of the standard equipment in the gourmet kitchen plus a subzero refrigerator, a wine cooler, cappuccino machine, and juice maker. The Master Suite also has a kitchen/den area with a separate half bath, separate laundry room with washer and dryer, ironing board & iron and a living area with a 55” flat screen TV complete with DVD player, a home theater, two Murphy beds as well as a dinner table that sits eight people comfortably.
Two Bedroom Suite
The one bedroom master suite has two types of junior suites associated with it if you want to purchase a two bedroom villa, one with two double beds the other with a king size bed. ? Can or cannot be purchased separately if so desired?. Both have their own independent en-trance via a hallway after you enter the villa.
The Junior Suite with the King size bed has 603 sq. ft. and can sleep up to three people. It has a Murphy bed, an entertainment center with a 47” flat screen TV, a seating area with a dressing area, a desk and chair, bathroom with a hydro-massage tub, a kitchenette with small refrigerator, coffee maker, microwave oven, toaster and table-ware, and has a private outdoor terrace.
The other junior suite with 635 sq. ft. only sleeps two people has two double beds in lieu of the king size bed, a Jacuzzi and all of the amenities as the regular junior suite.
The two-bedroom villa has approximately 2,400 sq. ft of living area. If you include the terrace for both the master suite and the junior suite, the villa comprises of 2,562 sq. ft. The ground floor two bed-room villas with their own private swimming pool have an additional 1,420 sq. ft. area for the pool area.
Three Bedroom Suite
The three bedroom Suite has one master suite and both junior suites and can sleep up to 10 people. It has 3,025 square feet including the terrace area for both the master and two junior suites. The three bedroom ground floor villas with a swimming pool have another 1,420 sq. ft. for the pool area.
The three bedroom Penthouse villas have the same square footage as the other villas including terrace area but they have a 2,508 sq. ft. private gar-den terrace area with swimming pool, Jacuzzi, and a bar grill area. The four bedroom villas are only located on the penthouse level and there are only three of them.
Presidential Four Bedroom Pent-house Suite
The four bedroom villas have a total of 8,762 square feet including the living area, the covered private gar-den terrace area with swimming pool, Jacuzzi, and grill area. There are two master suites and two different junior suites (one has two full size beds and one has a Queen size bed). This villa can sleep up to 13 people.
Leading Hotels of the World
The Leading Hotels of the World, which was founded in 1928 by a group of influential European hoteliers. If you become a Grand Residences owner, you will be able to exchange into 375 other ultra-luxury resorts in seventy-five countries around the world.
In order to belong to the Leading Hotels of the World group LHW, you have to meet extreme standards of excellence. It’s not just the resort but has to have excellence in all aspects affecting the guest’s comfort, convenience and well being, as well as a good experience.
There are only three other resorts associated with The LHW in the Cancun – Riviera Maya area, two of them in Puerto Morelos, Grand Velas Riviera Maya and Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita Riviera Maya and one in Playa del Carmen, The Royal Hideaways (not associated with The Royal Re-sorts).
If you would like to rent a junior suite, master suite or villa at The Grand Residences, you can go online to the Leading Hotels of the World, and put in your dates and it will give you the cost. You can also call The Royal Resorts and rent one or more nights as well.
President’s Signature Club
The other way to exchange your Grand Residences villa is by utilizing the RCI inter-national resort ex-change system. When you purchase your unit at The Grand Residences, you will automatically be enrolled in RCI for free for the first year in the Presidents’ signature Club, after that you will have to pay an annual fee if you so desire.
With the President’s Signature Club, which only Grand Residences can join, you can exchange your fixed week into points and utilize those points to vacation elsewhere within the Royal Resorts or at other resorts within the RCI system.
Food and Beverages
There are two gourmet restaurants, El Faro Grill & Flor de Canela, both definitely five star restaurants and a beach side bar/restaurant, Heaven Beach Bar.
El Faro Grill is open seven days a week for breakfast (buffet) and lunch and dinner every other night. It’s mainly a seafood and steak restaurant but there are other gourmet dishes with chicken, pasta and other fantastic presentations.
Flor de Canela has gourmet Mexican cuisine and is open every other night when Flor de Cana is closed. We believe both restaurants have surpassed El Conquistador in their ratings.
Because the Grand Residences are rented over the internet and through the Leading Hotels of the World where all-inclusive packages are offered, we would recommend you make reservations as early as possible.
The Breakfast buffet can sometimes be challenging when the resort is full. If you feel the variety is not there, you can always order room service, especially if you are on the all-inclusive plan and eat breakfast on your balcony.
You can hire a chef to come to your villa to cook for you and your friends. You meet with the chef to coordinate your time and what you would like for him to prepare for you and your family and friends in your villa. He will give you a price, depending on what you would like for him to cook and for how many.
The beach bar and grill, Heavens Beach Bar, has typical beach and pool types of favorite foods and you can eat and drink in your bathing suits. It is located between the beach and the side of the pool. They typical-ly close at 5 p.m. (6 p.m. during day- light saving time) but sometimes will stay open later if enough customers really want to keep ordering drinks.
If you are renting a room on over the internet, there are several specials offered. The All-in Grand Experience is an all-inclusive which including round trip transportation. There is a Premium Bed & Breakfast which includes breakfast plus round trip transportation from the airport.
The Luxury Saver is a discount of 35% off of accommodations plus a $50 resort credit to be used in restaurants, Spa’s and shops, a bottle of premium tequila, fresh and dry fruit basket, and round trip transportation from the air-port. All the plans allow kids under the age of 12 to stay free.
The Grand Residences has all of your typical Royal Resort types of activities and services including a gym, spa, manicure area, a very extra and special kid’s activity room, ceramic painting, sport’s desk, grocery store, a set aside lobby bar, and a concierge’s station where you can order tours and outside activities. There is a lap pool in a separate area from the main pool.
When you go to the pool or beach, there is no need to bring a beach towel, they are already on the chairs and there is no need to save chairs, there are plenty. Don’t be surprised to find a waiter bring you fresh beach towels from time to time and if for some reason your chair doesn’t have one, one of the waiters will bring them to you. You’ll also notice that most if not all of the waiters will know you by your name and pretty much wait on you hand and foot.
The Grand Residences were formed under a company called Desarrollos Riviera Morelos or DRM. If you decide you want to sell your fractional or part of your fractional timeshare, there are some things you need to be aware of.
You can only sell your fraction once the Resort is 90% sold out or you will have to pay DRM a fine of 15% of the minimum sale price set by DRM for that year.
The minimum sale price is set by The Royal Resorts each year and an owner cannot sell for less than that amount unless you pay a penalty equivalent to 10% of the difference between the sale price and the mini-mum price set for the year.
If you sell your fractional weeks independently, you must prove to DRM that it was done at the mini-mum price established by DRM. The owner must also offer a Prefer-ential Right to Purchase to DRM. They can purchase the villa if they so desire and all offers less than the minimum set price must be in writing and submitted to DRM and they will have 15 business days to accept or reject the offer.
Subdivided fractions must be approved by DRM and will be formed by five consecutive weeks as they were when the Grand Residences were first formed. If you want to sell any fractions as two or three week consecutive fractions, you must re-quest DRM in order to obtain the nomenclature for those fractions.
If you sell the villa through DRM, you must pay a 20% commission. You will also have to pay in advance, the administrative costs for the cancellation of the Fractional Agreement and the elaboration of a new Fractional Agreement.
If you want to visit The Grand Residences, you will have to contact your sales representative and set up a day visit with him. If you think you may have an interest in buying a villa to tack on to the one you have or sell the one you have and purchase A Grand Residence, we highly recommend you rent a few nights or a week to try it out.