Having stayed in hotels all around the world, we had high hopes for this resort. Sadly, we were unimpressed. The highlights were: the exceptional staff, the beautifully manicured grounds & the location. The low points were the food & the shabby room that we were given.
The hotel group makes extraordinary claims of being better than any other all-inclusive resorts. I’m afraid that they don’t come close.
Arrival: After a generally appalling flight with First Choice, we arrived in Cancun some three hours behind schedule. We had paid extra for a private taxi transfer, the reasoning being for this was that we would arrive ahead of the crowds and be the first at check-in. The dashboard was illuminated like a Christmas tree with a plethora of warning lights that told a tale of a seldom maintained vehicle. Even a constant alarm coupled with a flashing stop light failed to attract the drivers’ attention. Despite this & an unscheduled detour around the suburbs, we did amazingly arrive at our destination.
We were then swiftly & courteously attended to & served with a cold glass of sparkling wine & refreshing towel before being transported to our room on a golf buggy.
Rooms: Our first hotel room (4124) was located in a block that was three stories high & above the swim-up rooms. In your description, all rooms are ‘suites’. Mine (& Websters) definition of suite is: ‘A series of connected rooms used as a living unit’. The room was not a suite; it was a bedroom with an en suite bathroom. In addition, it was worn, jaded & cluttered. In a relatively small room, they had managed to shoehorn in: a king-size bed, a table that contained a coffee machine, a dressing table, a dining table, two chairs, a pair of bedside cupboards, a cabinet the size of a wardrobe that contained an old fashioned TV, a DVD player & a mini-fridge. On top of all that, there was a Jacuzzi bath in the remaining corner. Our balcony was narrow & shallow with a wall that was so high that when seated, it was not possible to see anything other than the wall.
We were eventually moved to a room that was more like the description on their website. Although it was a vast improvement, we still had a number of problems including electrical faults, no hot water & broken air-con.
Restaurants and Bars: We had told the management that we were both vegetarian & this information was passed to the maître d’ of each restaurant. For whatever reason & despite the menus having vegetarian options, this concept seemed to bewilder the staff. One morning at breakfast in Arrecifes restaurant, I ordered a plain omelet with tomato & mushroom. When it arrived, it came with a side order of bacon. After complaining & once again reminding the waiter of my dietary requirements, he apologised & removed the omelet. When he returned with the next one, it had ham inside! This became a theme throughout our stay. There was hardly any fresh produce, the choice of vegetables consisted mainly of egg plant & carrots & the fruit was confined to a choice of melon, papaya & pineapple while most of the seafood was frozen. There were, in addition, the availability of apples, bananas & plums that were displayed in ‘Healthy Corner’ which was situated at the main bar. These items were not on offer in any of the restaurants. Having vacationed in most Caribbean countries, this was the worst selection of produce that we had witnessed. Including swim-ups, there were six bars. Unfortunately, only two are open after 6.00pm & one of those were closed for refurbishment. The result was that the entire occupancy gathered in one bar which was also the location of the evening entertainment. On one evening, I counted that there were about 200 people surrounding the bar which was staffed by just three people. The majority of the customers were ordering cocktails which are obviously time-consuming. Despite the best efforts of the staff, customers were waiting for unreasonable amounts of time to be served; in addition, the public areas were not cleared of glasses etc. Management should have identified this problem & increased the number of staff. Because there were no other bars, this area was very noisy, especially when the entertainment started. It was hardly conducive with the romantic image that is portrayed in the brochure & as a result, we returned to our room most evenings at 10.00pm. As this resort is purported to be 5 star, I was very surprised to be served drinks in plastic glasses in the evening. I fully understand, from a health and safety point why this is done during the day, especially around pool areas but it is a little down-market to be expected to drink out of a plastic receptacle when dressed for dinner.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: The beach was nice enough but there are a number of ugly sand bags surrounding the coast that are trying to keep Mother Nature at bay. The beach has an abundance of sunbeds which is just as well as many people ‘reserve’ the best ones at some unearthly hour of the day and in some cases don’t use them. The grounds are superb & are a credit to the maintenance team. Spare a thought for those guys when tipping.
There are two main pools. One is dedicated to ‘fun’ & the other relaxation. Because there are a number of swim-up suites, there is ample space for all.
Other Comments: In conclusion this is a good hotel but not a great hotel. The staff are excellent but attention to detail is lacking in some areas. The nightly entertainment is, in comparison with comparable hotels, very poor. There are no quiet bars so if you don’t enjoy noise or the sight of wedding parties flashing their breasts while taking part in drinking competitions, you may prefer an early night. Dress codes are not enforced & public areas are not cleaned sufficiently between day & evening resulting in ones clothes being marked with sun tan oil & sand. Being served drinks in plastic glasses in the evening is also not what one would expect in such an establishment.
If you want a good quality hotel, then you will be happy, if you want the experience that they claim to offer, go elsewhere.