We were late departing because the airport traffic was heavier than usual in Cancun (said the pilot). Upon arrival that was evident as the customs line up at the Cancun airport was RIDICULOUSLY long – I’ve travelled a bit so I expected this, but this by far was the worst airport experience. Bus was easily located outside of airport (and thankfully still waiting) and beer/water was available for purchase ($3/beer if I remember correctly.) There was no washroom on board so we did not partake.
One week prior to departure I emailed the resort as suggested and requested by priority, building 27, ocean view, 3rd floor – we received building 23, garden view, and 1st floor. So pretty much the complete opposite of everything we were hoping for. We were asked to stay in the room for the night and if we weren’t happy we could try to move the next day, and so on but with the resort at capacity there wasn’t much of a chance. Of course we didn’t bother doing this, but much regretted it as the days went on for 2 reasons: 1) it is the furthest building from the lobby (and pretty much everything) so we had quite the hike to breakfast every morning, and 2) our room was located right at the end of the path that led to the disco so we had to deal with obnoxious, drunkies walking by our room each night. My mother has some minor mobility issues and the shuttle was not available to hop on/off as mentioned. Every time we tried to flag it down they would not stop – the concierge suggested that we call ahead to arrange pick up but even when we did they asked why we needed it, blah, blah, blah…it was too much of a hassle so instead mom took her meds & we walked ; ) which in the end, likely saved us 5lbs of extra weight so really it all worked out for the best
Restaurants and Bars:
All I can say is that if anyone has a problem with the food at this hotel, I’d love to know where you have travelled before because the buffets were well stocked and I couldn’t imagine someone not finding something they could eat. We always tried to sit in either Alejandro, or Miguel’s section (on the Mayan Beach side) because right from the first day we were talking with them and they always wanted to know where we had been/what we had done/if we like our trip, and so on. They really went out of their way to greet us at every meal and it was nice to see them. I also noted quite often that the temperature of the food on the buffet was being monitored and taken on a very regular basis – which btw, I don’t think I’ve ever seen previously at a resort so it’s good to know that they are taking these measures. For a la cartes, we ate at the Japanese where Victor served up the most amazing fried rice, and yes the fried ice cream is good too. We also ate at the Mexican restaurant where Benjamin was our server. At the end of the meal he came around with some tequila poppers (shots) for us and put sombreros on us while we drank them, hilariously pics from that dinner!! Lastly we ate at the Brazilian, where Angel served up the most amazing meat EVER. Yes, like everyone says this restaurant is a lot of meat. They bring around 7 different skewers of meat, white & red sausage, chicken, pork, beef tenderloin, beef ribs, and NY steak. We weren’t too fond of the beef, but surprisingly were HUGE fans of the sausage, and the pork was to die for. At the end of the meal they even grilled whole pineapple brushed with some sort of cinnamon/sugar concoction that I’m dying to try myself on our BBQ this summer. My mom & husband thought the Japanese was their fav (I think just because of the novelty) but I feel the food at the Brazilian was WAY better – YUM – just pace yourself through the skewers – that’s the key
I previously read in many reviews that there were many beach palapas/chairs available at this resort, and I’m afraid that was not my experience. Both at the beach and at the pool if you were not out first thing in the a.m. all of the chairs were gone. People definitely were reserving them with the GS towels and some were left for hours at a time. This may be as a result that the hotel was at full capacity when we were there, (and we were always up early) but the few times that we wanted to go to the beach in the afternoon we just never bothered because it was too much of a hassle getting chairs altogether. When we were at the beach, even though crowded, again the service was great! We really liked the ‘design’ of the beach I thought it was very aesthetic, but not the type of sprawling white sand that you can walk for miles though – just VERY picturesque. Pools were great too, very large and refreshing, not cold, but not warm.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We did quite a lot while on our vacation – Xel-Ha, we booked online though their website before we left and paid $71US/person. We also went to Tulum for ½ day (entrance at Tulum was $5US/person if I remember correctly.) We went to Playa Del Carmen to shop and have dinner. Our AT rep recommended the restaurant Ajua, on 4th between 5th & 10th and we had one of the best meals there!! There was a live band playing, and they made our entire meal tableside with made to order Caesar salad, flambéed chicken & snapper. From there we went over to the Blue Parrot beach club and caught the fire show/drinks/dancing. We enjoyed PDC so much that we took a second trip there the next day. Everywhere we went, we took the collectivos and the most we paid was to go into PDC and even then I think it was only $3US/person. Of course the night we were out a bit late, we took a taxi back to the resort and it was only $20US. On a side note, we heard that Wal-Mart was the place to go for cheaper booze purchases but really I found the duty free in the Mexico airport quite reasonable as well.
Overall and by far, the very best service I have received on any a.i. vacation – on & off the resort. From the staff in the restaurant to the activities staff to the bartenders to the grounds keepers…all very efficient, and extremely friendly. You didn’t pass one that didn’t have a smile and a ‘hola’ for you, and they always asked you if they could “do anything to make your stay more enjoyable” and I believed it.