Review of Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya If you are reading this, you are probably considering this resort like we were – don’t let the negative reviews dissuade you. Remember, noone can please everyone all the time. In a nutshell, the place is great, but large and busy with people, but well kept, the staff are friendly and helpful, the food and drinks are fantastic, and there are a ton of amenities and activities. We felt very safe. If the price is right, go for it. Now into a more detailed review of the place because we like doing detailed reviews. Even if noone reads it. First of all, some people are comparing this 5* resort with 5* hotels in Canada/USA. I don’t think you can do that. It was the week before March break. Went with Thomas Cook/Sunquest (I’m still trying to figure out the marriage there). We are a couple 34/27yrs and have traveled to 5* in Cuba, and lesser stars in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Cuba, Dominican and Mexico. Overall this resort falls a bit short of 5* in my opinion. The food and many services are probably 5* but the rooms are not, and the fact that it felt quite crowded to me puts it at below 5* status. The bus ride is about 1hr20 min. Checkin was a breeze, it was done quickly and there was very little waiting. You are welcomed with a fruity drink at the counter. People: Mostly couples (old and young) and young families. Not really a place for single mingling I wouldn’t think. We met a nice couple Loren and Tracy. hi !! if you’re reading this. Most are from Canada and a few from the US and various parts of Europe. Very few locals. The staff, who I give a full 5 stars to, is all very energetic, friendly, and smile and say "hola!" at every opportunity. Most speak decent english. One big feature for us was the fact that each building (of bedrooms) had its own concierge desk on the main floor where you can book the restaurants and inquire about anything. This was a very nice touch at this resort. Conclusion: I certainly recommend this place, but we found it too busy overall. Our next trip will probably be to somewhere a bit quieter, smaller, more rustic and kind of “hidden”, as we didn’t feel as relaxed after this trip as we do with some.
Rooms: They offered to upgrade us to an ocean view room for about 180 pesos each, per night, and we declined. We found our way to our room on our own. Room was nice, temp was good, we were welcomed with a fruit tray and a bottle of tequila also ! There are 2 beers and about 4 soft drinks in the fridge, replenished daily. I asked the maid for more beer and one day we got 4, but apparently that was the max. They did bring a bottle of champagne one day. Note – you need a bottle opener for the beers. The bed is not a 5* bed and neither are the pillows. We found the odd stain on the bedding and the towels which is not acceptable to me in a 5* resort, or even a 3. There is mold on the ceiling of the shower. Didn’t bother me (Melanie didn’t even notice) but it might bother some. Everything else in the bathroom is adequate. There was a Jacuzzi tub which was great, but it does take about 30 minutes to fill up. Gave us time for an extra glass of champagne. The door to the adjoining room, and the one to the hallway did not seal noise very well (in fact, sounded paper thin) and I was awakened late at night due to some raucous in the room next door.
Restaurants and Bars: Food: Awesome. The buffet was amazing, lots of variety. We did 3 a-la-cartes… Cajun, Mediterranean, and Japanese. All were great. The wait staff were pressed given the at-capacity nature of the restaurants; they did a great job but you could tell they were very rushed. Every table was booked with guests so it felt busy. Book your a-la-cartes early – esp the Japanese will "sell out" very quickly. All offer free house wine and the med had a wine list for optional purchases ($40 and up). There is an all-night buffet that we discovered after the Disco one night (thanks Loren!) with a Ltd. supply of snacky foods. Room service is included til 11 pm and we used it twice – once when we weren’t feeling well and got a pretty good pizza. If your bus leaves at 5:45 am on your departure day like ours did, the buffet is open for coffee and pastries at that time so you don’t need to worry about missing breakfast (well, if you really like eggs then I guess you’re SOL).
Beach/Pools/Grounds: Resort Layout: I think the designer of the resort had too much tequila and was attempting to draw the number 8 on a napkin and then concluded that the resultant drawing would be a good plan for the path layout of the resort. It is a big resort and takes time to get from one part to another, but that’s a blessing too, because the grounds are lush and well kept and it adds a layer of privacy to things. The resort has two sections. The part that is to the south or left (as seen from the sea) is more private and lush. The part on the right (north) is the main part with the buffet, theatre, etc. We were in the "right" section. Another time I’d opt for the south side. It feels like it takes a while to get to the beach but that’s because the paths are snakey. Not filled with snakes though. Iguanas – yes. All over. There are two lobby bars, two pool bars, 2 beach bars (one that’s hidden behind the Members Only roped off section and they have the better Modelo beer there!!), an ice cream bar, a coffee bar, and a health bar (for non alc shakes etc) – I made the mistake of asking for a Cerveza there on the first day. The buffet is up a couple of flights of stairs and felt somewhat distant because of that. Main lobby bar was always busy in the evening; smaller lobby bar was often much less crowded and had a cozier feel than the huge open auditorium feel of the main lobby bar. The beach: If you want pure white talcum sand, go to Punta Cana. The sand here is a bit coarse in spots and the beach is not really all that big given the number of rooms at this resort (1,000). Entrance and Egress to/from the water involves stepping on pieces of coral and shells. I must say, the beach felt crowded with every single chair full by 9:30 am and you were always jammed in with others. We found a secluded spot down the beach and took our towels there and had a nice relaxing few hours over by the Dive hut. You can walk the beach for a fairly short distance before you get into rough coral-y unkempt terrain. You can snorkel right off the beach and see nice fish. We did that and it was very cool !! The snorkels are free 1 hr per day, but they just spray them off with Scope afterwards and my girlfriend thinks she caught a cold by using them. If you have your own, bring them. Friendly staff come along and serve you drinks on your chairs which is nice. Beach towels are avail at the towel desk. The towel guy in there is interesting….
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: Activities : Tennis, dance lessons, yoga, water volleyball, beach volleyball, soccer, snorkeling, scuba diving & lessons, bike tours of the resort… lots to do if you have time or inclination ! Tours abound to various places to snorkel or explore. Most things are $100 US each. A short haul snorkel by boat was $40. They have jet skis for $65 per half hr and parasailing or whatever, behind a boat, for $65 ea I think. For the shows, they had "Ideal couple" one night (audience participation), Grease, Lion King, Broadway, Rock n Roll night, all of which were done very well and highly entertaining. Two nights of the week vendors come in and set up their stuff in the back of the auditorium. There is a giftshop onsite but items are, as you would expect, a bit pricey.