My husband and I were at the Cayo Levantado for one week from June 29-July 6, 2013. We booked with Westjet vacations via a travel agent (no difference in cost when booking online or through a travel agent) and had no complaints. Hermin, our Westjet vacation rep was excellent! We had a very nice and relaxing vacation but for the amount of money I paid, I was expecting a little bit more in terms of service. We have traveled a lot (Mexico, Bahamas, Punta Cana, Jamaica, etc.) so my review here is based on our comparison of other resorts we have stayed at. We booked this resort as it was recommended to us from a work colleague and also the fact that it recently became an all adults resort in May 2013.
By reading this review, please don’t get me wrong, overall my husband and I enjoyed ourselves very much. This is a beautiful resort and not very commercialized so in that aspect it is a great place. We met some wonderful people whom we hung out with at night so that was great. If you like a quiet resort and just want to relax where there are not a lot of people then you should visit this place at least once. There is free Wifi on the resort and in your room which was a bonus for us as we could stay in touch with our kids at home throughout the day. My review here is to emphasize the little things that I would improve to make this place an even more wonderful experience for a 5star all adults resort.
Rooms: We booked a deluxe villa and it was wonderful. The room was large and gorgeous. Just a couple of things to note: one that we found the bed to be very uncomfortable and the pillows were not the greatest. But we had a pillow service included in our room so I had to call in for some better pillows. The second thing was that the water pressure in the shower was very low so I did not really enjoy my showers too much and it would take a long time for the water in the shower to turn hot so I had to keep it running a bit before taking a shower. All in all, it was fine.
Restaurants and Bars:
Food is very good. They have one main buffet restaurant (open from 7-10am, 1-3pm and 7-10pm), one buffet outdoor restaurant at the main pool and beach (open from 10am-noon and then from 1-3pm) and three a la carte restaurants (open only during the evenings from 7-10pm). Reservations were required at the a la carte restaurants and there were no restrictions on the number of times you could visit them. Now if you missed lunch during the lunch interval then you had to wait until 7pm to get something to eat unless you went to your room to order room-service (available 24hrs but the room service menu is not the greatest but sufficient). My preference would have been to have at least one restaurant open during all hours as we have experienced in other resorts. The buffet has a variety of selections to choose from and a different theme every night. My husband did not particularly enjoy the a la carte as the portion serving for him (especially at the Don Pablo) was not very large. He ended up visiting the buffet after eating here. At the Italian restaurant (Portofino), my husband wanted to order a selection from “Meat and Fish” section and also one selection from the “Pasta and Pizza” section but the waiter said we couldn’t do that and that we could only order one main dish. I questioned the waiter on this so eventually he let us place the order we wanted. I have to say that I have never experienced this anywhere at any resorts and was a bit annoyed. In the end it all turned out fine. If I was to rate the food at these a la carte, I would place them in order of Don Pablo, Mediterranean and then Italian (best to least). Also, I love Lobster but I found the lobster at both the buffet and Mediterranean restaurant to be overcooked. We also found it annoying that the main bar in the lobby closed at 11pm and if you wanted drinks after this time, you had to go to the public beach (which was private to the people staying at the resort from 11pm-2am). This is a bit ridiculous to us as the bar should be open in the lobby where most people are sitting after dinner to enjoy drinks until late hours.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: There are not too many activities at this resort. Also they do not give out a daily activities sheet (which I have seen at other resorts so you know what is happening and at what time). They did have beach volleyball, exercise class at the beach, and some nights a show but you did not know what time any of these were or what show was happening at which night. You had to go to the main beach pool where they had a board up for the activities happening but there was no time posted so you had to ask someone what time these were at. My suggestion would be to distribute a daily activities sheet to everyone.
We did not do any tours off the resort.
Pools: There are three pools, one main large pool near the beach, another large pool near the main building and then a small pool with three Jacuzzis hidden in the midst of the villas. The pools are very nice and well-maintained. We could always find a hut and chairs even if we showed up late which was excellent. For a 5-star I was expecting someone to continuously come and take drink orders but this did not happen too much. This was fine with me as I did not mind getting up to go to the bar. We stayed at the larger pool near the main building most of the time and I may have seen a staff member once in the morning to come by and ask if we wanted something to drink and that was it. Plus the towels would run out by 2pm and we would have a hard time getting new ones.
There are two beaches, one is a private beach and one is a public beach. My husband and I did not visit the public beach as we heard that the locals approach you a lot to force you to buy things so we preferred to stay at the private beach. The private beach is nice and small, it is not the best beach I have ever been to, the water is very rough, there is seaweed and the sand is not very smooth so if you are a beach person, then maybe this is not the best place for you. For us, we stayed mainly at the pools which was fine.
I found the service to be on and off. At some places in the resort it was great and at other places not so much. The staff hardly speak English which I found for the first time to be quite difficult. I have found that at other resorts, the staff to be very friendly and will go out of their way to assist you even if they did not speak the greatest English. Mind you, the reception staff were wonderful and always addressed any concerns we had which was wonderful. I found this more of an issue around the pools and a la carte restaurants where it would have been nice to see the waiter smiling a bit more, rather than just coming by and saying what would you like to order. I also found that if you spoke Spanish, they definitely treated you better and you also got treated well if you tipped a lot. I am fine with tipping but I do not think I should be forced to tip to get better service. I mean this is a 5star resort and people have paid enough money to come here for excellent service. One time, my husband was at the lobby bar and found that no one was taking his drink order. The bar tender served the person that came after my husband who spoke Spanish first until my husband had to say something to get drinks.
Overall I would definitely recommend this place. It is a beautiful resort and very clean. The rooms are excellent and food is very good. We did enjoy ourselves a lot as we were looking for a quiet and relaxing week which we got. Most likely we would not come back, not because of any of the things I mentioned but because we prefer to visit different resorts and places. The things I have listed above are minor things which most of us can overlook but I thought it would be helpful for others to read and also for the resort to note to continue improving on their service and quality people are expecting from a 5-star all-inclusive adult resort.