We arrived at the hotel around 13:00 and our room was not ready until 15:10. Check-in was quick but we had to ask 3 times before our room was ready. They had warned us that it would be ready around 15:00 but we had hoped it would be ready a bit earlier. We had left our main luggage in the locked storage room but had kept our carry-on with us and did not want to go far with it.
The room we were assigned was in Building B which is behind the front lobby. This is the furthest building from the beach but the closest one to the lobby, theatre, main buffet, etc. The room was very clean, we had a problem with the television as it would not shut-off without it being unplugged and we could only get 1 channel. We didn’t report it until the third day but once we did, it was corrected within a few minutes by them replacing the unit. The maintenance staff were everywhere and they are obviously trying to please the customer.
Restaurants and Bars::
The food was excellent. There was plenty of choice for breakfast with fresh fruit, cold cereal, hot cereal, breads, potatoes, eggs, a grill with a chef to make you omelettes, eggs, bacon, hot cakes, etc.. Lunch at the same buffet was varied with much to choose with salad always being available, hot foods and the grill. The other lunch restaurant down by the beach/pools served hamburgers and hotdogs, etc. but nothing healthy, so we always ate at the buffet. For dinner, we ate at the a-la-cartes. You did not have to make reservations as it was not prime season but we did have to wait on the Saturday night at the Japanese restaurant. The food at the a-la-cartes were excellent. Eventhough the Italian a-la-carte was closed, the Japanese restaurant alternated between Japanese and Italian and the food was excellent. We also tried the Mexican a-la-carte one night and it was very good as well.
There is a beach section on both sides of the boardwalk where you could swim but while we were there, the red flags came down only once. There is some debris that gets washed up on the beach and the water close to the beach is brownish from the sand which gets picked up by the waves. The pools were very clean, large but cold. The jets on the beds and in the whirlpool only came on for 20 minutes per hour. This did not bother us as who wants to sit in a cold whirlpool. The grounds were well manicured but in a very natural way. The flowers were beautiful and plentiful with lots of varieties of flowers. There were many iguanas scurrying about but they did not bother you. If you went near them, they would retreat quickly into holes.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:: Although we did not go on any tours as such, we did venture off the resort. We took the free shuttle to Playa del Carmen which left the hotel at noon and picked you up in Playa del Carmen at 6:00. The shuttle lets you off near 5th Avenue and there are plenty of shops along the street of all types. The vendors all want you to go into their shops so be prepared to look at alot of the same things or to ignore them. As well, there are taxi drivers at every street corner offering you a cab. You can get a cab back to the hotel for $135 pesos (about $12 CDN) but make sure you haggle the price before getting into the cab. The day was too long staying until 6 so I would suggest you may want to get a cab back. The beach in Playa del Carmen is beautiful so you may want to wear your swimsuit under your clothes and spend some of the time on the beach. The mosquitos come out around 5 p.m. so bring some bug spray.
We also took the public transit at the road to Cancun. The public transit are 14 passenger vans which you just wave at and they stop for you. It costs $30 pesos (less than $3) to take it to the bus terminal in Cancun. Warning, the driver may not speak English so you may want to speak to someone before you leave or bring a map. From the bus station, we walked back a few blocks to the hotel zone road (Tulum) and took a bus from there along the hotel zone to La Isla mall which I had been to before.(This bus was $15 pesos for the two of us.) This is a lovely Americanized mall with many American stores. The prices are quite high so this is not the place for bargains. We just took the Cancun bus back to the bus terminal and the Playa del Carmen bus back to the resort. When you get in the Playa del Carmen bus, just tell them what hotel to let you off at and they stop and let you off. You do have to cross the road back to your hotel. Please be warned that the hotel is set far back from the road so it is a little hike from the front of the hotel to the road so you have to be able to walk some good distances.
Other Comments:: We have travelled to 5 or 6 other Caribean resorts in the past and this is one of the nicest resorts we have stayed at. They do have a VIP program but it is in the lobby and if you do not approach them, they do not bother you. You will be given an invitation to go see them when you first get there but if you do not, they do not hassle you. If you do see them, from what we heard from others as we did not go to visit their desk, for $25 or $35 per day, they would upgrade you to an ocean front room, (there was plenty of availability while we were there), fridge was stocked with liquor instead of just water, specialty higer end liquor at certain bars, a cordonned off section of the beach with beach beds and bar service to your chair or bed, etc.. The evening entertainment was not as good as other places we have been to. They did their best but it was quite amateurish.
Overall, this was a great resort and we would recommend it and would return.