Your Arrival: We flew with Skyservice, so the flight was long and cramped, and of course delayed in Toronto. It was about an hour on a coach bus from Cancun to the resort. Reception was friendly and quick. They also take your luggage directly to your room so you don’t have to try and find your way around carting your bags. They did fail to mention that you have to slide your room key into an sensor box on the wall to keep the lights on when you are in your room. It took us a few minutes to figure out why the lights kept switching off.
Overall reception was helpful and friendly, though. And, there is free champagne on arrival to the lobby.
Rooms: The rooms are spacious and clean. They come every morning and clean the rooms from top to bottom. They provide water jugs everyday, if you want extra just ask. They cleaning staff are also very nice and understand English pretty well. The bathroom is the biggest one I have ever had at an all inclusive. There is a separate shower with different shower heads and jets, as well as a jacuzzi and the toilet is sectioned off from the shower and bath tub.
The room is open concept. The wall separating the bathroom and beds is open at the top for proper ventilation. (It’s very humid in Mexico so ventilation is need for surfaces to dry)
Restaurants and Bars: The a la cartes weren’t that great. The best one was Japanese but it’s the first to book. Their is a different theme every night so you aren’t eating the same stuff all week long. The waiters are quick to take plates away and fill up water glasses. There are three different buffets to choose from depending on the time of day. The bars are awesome and they offer a wide assortment of cocktails/ shots. The swim up bars get really busy, but there are also servers on the beach and pool side if you dont want to get up.
The disco is really fun, the drinks are made extra strong there and it doesn’t have the same selection of drinks you would get during the day. But. it is well worth going for drink and dancing. They play an assortment of music from retro to top 40. Had a great time there each night we went.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: The beach is beautiful. The coral reefs are close to the shore and there are tons of fish to look at. The on-site Mayan ruin is close to the shore as well, but it’s really rocky up there so wear proper shoes. There are a lot of rocks on the shore. So you have to be careful when wading in. Some spots are worse them others. We never wore water shoes, but bring them in case you have sensitive feet. There are three pools, a lazy river, and a kid’s pool. One of the pools has activities and music going all day and is really entertaining. It also has the most drunk people so if you are not into that, stay at the pool that is closest to the beach. That one is just as pretty and a lot quieter. The health bar is there so there aren’t any loud drunk people to contend with. The lazy river is really neat, but depending on whether there are a lot of kids in it may not be that lazy. It’s very popular and sometimes you have to wait for a tube. The grounds are extensive and there is a lot of walking to different places on the resort. It took two days for us to figure it all out. they do provide maps on different paths to help you get around. There is tons of vegetation so it is really picturesque. I am a landscape designer and I thought it was gorgeous and meshed with the scenery you would find off the resort. So, it didn’t look contrived at all.
Btw, there are also a lot of carts to take people from one place to another. Especially to get to the disco which can be a long walk depending on which side of the resort you are on.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: Many activities to choose from on the resort. There is always something going on from interactive activities at the pool and beach, to water sports (some free, some not) in the ocean. Kayaking and snorkeling are included as are water aerobics. It’s easy to find out what is included and what isn’t. The Mayan ruins are close to this hotel, no more than a half hour to the farthest. You can go on a tour or on your own depending on how comfortable you feel. (Mexico is safe in this area regardless of what some people might say)We never had a problem outside of the resort, even at night. There are different eco parks close to the hotel as well. Talk to other people who have been at the resort for a few days and you will get all the info you need. That is how we found out about all the different things to do. For shoppers, Playa Del Carmen’s fifth avenue is amazing and the restaurants are beautifully constructed. We went at night and it was really safe and all the locals are interested in striking up conversation with traveler’s. Cozumel, though we didn’t have a chance to go, is also a great place to go and shop and the beaches are beautiful. Tons of night clubs to go to in Playa. We made friends with the entertainment staff and they offered to go with us to the clubs once it was their nights off.
Note about transport off the resort: Don’t be afraid to take the local public transit, it is safe and cheap ($3USD per person to Playa). If you want to take a cab to and from make sure to go up to the drivers when they are standing in a group and tell them how much you want to pay. They want your business so one of them is guaranteed to accept your rate if it is reasonable. We got a cab for 250 pesos which is less than $20usd.
Other Comments: I highly recommend this resort. We will be going back again. The nightly shows are well done, and there is so much to do there. Mexican culture is really unique and engaging. The people are so nice and most speak really good English. We had the best time ever there and were very sad to leave. Go there with an open mind and you will have a great time. Remember it’s as safe as you want it to be, don’t do anything on vacation that you wouldn’t do at home and you’ll be fine!