Old Reviews – Grand Sunset Princess

  Grand Sunset Princess   Mike ~ Ontario, Canada

December 4 2009

Arrival: Nov. 17-24
Flew in with Sunwing.  Awesome flight in and going home.  Love flying with Sunwing.  We arrived at the resort at 11:00 am.  Quick check in.  No problem getting to our room.  Quick bite at the buffet and down to the beach.  Only complaint I will give is the water smelled like sewer.  They said that there was a tropical storm that had come through the area a few weeks before and something had happened.  That is all I could find out. 

Rooms:
Clean, spacious, and very modern.

Restaurants and Bars:
All very good. We only did 2 ala cartes.  Grill and Italin, enjoyed both very much.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
All was as expected.  Perfect.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
No tours this time but we will be returning to this resort next year.

Other Comments:
Best trip I’ve had so far.  I’ve been to Cuba and to Punta Cana and this was head and shoulders above these locations.

Email Mike: stoppermr@hotmail.com

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  Grand Sunset Princess   Elizabeth ~ Oakville, ON Canada

September 2009

Arrival: July 2009 First allow me to say what an incredibly beautiful resort. The grounds are impeccable; however, everything else left a LOT to be desired.

Upon arrival at 11h00 on July 25th we were confronted with, "You cannot have access to your room until 15h00 hours which is check-in time!!!!!!!! There was nowhere to eat for 1.5 hours only the sports bar which served junk food. We have traveled extensively in the Mayan and NEVER have we been expected to wait 4 HOURS to check-in after a long journey. That is HALF a day. It is completely unreasonable. Your competitors, Blue Bay Esmeralda, Marina El-Cid just to mention two; do NOT expect morning guests to be inconvenienced in such a manner.

Rooms: After visiting the concierge at 13h30 we were extended a room key, 3252. We were told to either walk to the room or wait for a shuttle we could NOT go with our bags, unlike the Blue Bay which is a LOT more accommodating. We waited for the shuttle and arrived at our room. The room key does NOT work!!! We had to ask (luckily) a housekeeper to open the door for us. If she hadn’t been there we would have had to walk all the way back to the lobby. The lights didn’t work so we had to seek the assistance of the housekeeper again. It was only then we were shown how to activate the lights???? The A/C was 27.6!!!! I called to the front desk to ask why it was so hot. I was advised the resort had experienced a power failure earlier on and that it would take some time to cool the room. Saturday evening @ 19h00 the room is still 26.7. WE called the front desk and an electrician was dispatched. His effort did NOT cool the room. During the night the AC turned off, the radio turned off and the TV turned ON 5 times at 05h43??????? The front desk didn’t answer the telephone!!!??? We discovered later that the resort had had several power surges and A/C failures during the night, each time resulting in the electrical appliances turning on and off at whim. Everyone on the resort was complaining. Sunday morning the room temperature is 26.7. 1.        There is nowhere in the shower to place soap, razor, cloth, shampoo but on the floor??????????????? 2.        There is NO soap dish on the bathroom counter so the soap has to sit on the counter??????????????? 3.        There is no waste paper bin in the bathroom???????? 4.        There is no Kleenex. We found out later it is dispensed in plastic packages  on a daily basis: (NOT environmentally friendly) We left the room for the gym, restaurant and beach. Sunday afternoon the room is still 25.4. We called again and again an electrician was sent he did nothing. Monday the room has cooled to 24.3. We called the electrician 4 times, he came 3 times. He set the thermostat to 15c and said it would be fine. It wasn’t!!! Tuesday @ 16h00 the room is back upt to 26.2. The entire complex was in darkness (except for the shops) all afternoon. The front desk said it would be restored in 1 hour. At 17h30 the thermostat was 25.2. We asked the concierge to move us to a new room. WE were told they couldn’t do that we would have to come to the front desk. WE went to Las Olas for dinner and it was so cold in the restaurant my husband had to return to our room for my cardigan. I wonder how that works. The guest rooms have no A/C yet the restaurant does? We proceeded to the concierge and met with Elizabeth, the supervisor. What an utterly charming and cooperative young lady. We were immediately assigned room 3127. We went to the new room and it was nice and cold. Wednesday we left the "Clean the room" sign on the door and departed @ 07h00 for the gym, restaurant and beach. When we returned at 15h30 the room had not been cleaned. Concierge said they would send someone immediately. They did NOT do so. During the time 16h15 to 18h20 we (tried) to get ready for an evening out. We had noticed on the walk back from the beach that the foot showers were inoperable. There was no running water, no electricity and no A/C in the room? I called the front desk (again) I was told, "There is a problem with the Government’s road at the main road and all electricity has been disabled by the Government but that they are working on it. All the neighbouring resorts are also affected." This was a direct quote from your concierge. A few minutes later, as we were advised, the water came on. It was alright at first and I began to take a shower. Moments later it was SCOLDING hot. I was half showered and had shampoo in my hair. The electricity and A/C went off again. My husband advised the front desk we only had scolding hot water and suggested they make a general announcement for those families with children. They did not do so. We waited and waited but the hot water did not lend itself to chang! e temperature. I had to rinse the shampoo from my hair in boiling hot water! Not so pleasant. During this time the electricity went off 6 more times. Most guests came to dinner that evening with soaking wet hair and un-showered!! We finally left the resort at 18h30 and the electricity was still not on, except for the shops of course! At 18h30 as we left for a dinner at the Grand Velas and my husband stopped at the front desk and requested the room be cleaned by the time we returned to the resort. We were assured it would be. It wasn’t! At 00h20 we returned to our room and the room had NOT been cleaned still!!! I called the Platinum concierge, Dennis who offered to send someone at that time… I said no thank you. While we were at the Grand Velas we asked IF they had had power failures all afternoon. NO had they had electrical problems all afternoon? NO had they had an issue with the hot/cold water all afternoon? NO. In fact, a former employee of the Sunset Princess informed us that ever since you have been open you have had constant A/C problems that nobody can isolate the source! This information was also confirmed to us by one of your current concierge employees. The quote was, "There are constant electrical surges at this resort since it has been opened." Thursday 08h00 I called concierge and spoke with Omar who wanted to me write a report!!! The second one I had written in two days. We decided to take the trip up to the concierge in the lobby as nothing appears to be rectified over the phone. Omar advised us that the housekeeping manager had indicated that housekeeping knocked on the door on Wednesday morning and was told to come back?????? Given the fact that we left the room @ 07h00 for the gym and didn’t return until 15h30 (that) was NOT likely. WE also had a burned out light bulb above the sink in the bathroom which we asked to be replace 3 times, it wasn’t. When it finally was replaced thanks (again) to Elizabeth, the old light bulb was left on our Jacuzzi ledge??? We had requested a bag pick-up at 05h00 the morning of August 1st. At 04h50 we called to the front desk to say we were ready and asked if we could ride with the bags. We were advised only ONE of us could ride the other had to walk or wait for the shuttle, whatever time that would arrive! It was still dark and I had to walk the length of the resort to the lobby as my husband waited with the bags at our room. Fortunately the power failure (Yes again) began shortly after 05h00 on Aug 1st. It was still in effect at 06h00 when we departed….

Restaurants and Bars: Instead of spending so much time on the immaculate grounds, may I suggest you attend to guest services in the buffet restaurants? EVERY morning we had to ask for coffee. EVERY day at breakfast, lunch and dinner we had to clear our own plates from the table after returning with a second helping. The ONLY people that were receiving ANY type of wait service were the Spanish speaking guests and we observed this over and over. There was only twice the entire week that we felt a need to TIP

Other observations: Instead of spending so much time on the immaculate grounds, may I suggest you attend to guest services in the buffet restaurants? EVERY morning we had to ask for coffee. EVERY day at breakfast, lunch and dinner we had to clear our own plates from the table after returning with a second helping. The ONLY people that were receiving ANY type of wait service were the Spanish speaking guests and we observed this over and over. There was only twice the entire week that we felt a need to TIP the waiter, Ricardo and Angel for excellent service. At other resorts we TIPPED every day at EVERY meal. We couldn’t help but notice how you make ALL staff in whatever capacity, wear a hair net. Yet, the outdoor maintenance staff that cleans the resort is NOT supplied with workers gloves or water???? The beach cleaners are picking up garbage with their bear hands but wearing a hair net?? The grounds keepers are also gardening with machetes and washing the concrete pavements with their bear hands, NO gloves or water BUT wearing a hair net??? The mason was chipping away with a chisel boring holes in the concrete for a new had rail with NO gloves, NO hard hat, NO safety goggles, NO water BUT wearing a hair net??? 1.        I believe that you have a LONG way to go when it comes to servicing your guests. 2.        You also need to improve the conditions that your employees work under. A hair net and no safety precautions, please! 3.        Get some more staff in the buffet restaurants, at least some that know how and when to remove a plate from the table. 4.        Get your electrical problems sorted out before you lose your clientele and your 5* rating. 5.        Improve you shuttle service and send it along the main walkway instead of outside the parameter where it is dark and may be unsafe. People want to jump on and off at their leisure NOT have to wait for (your) bus schedule. Check out the Blue Bay! They know how to do it…

6.        Drastically improve your check-in time of 15h00 OR do NOT accept guests until the afternoon flights.

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  Grand Sunset Princess   Marc & Leesa ~ Ottawa

August 2009

Sunwing Vacations, 14 days
June 26 – July 10, 2009

This was our first stay at a five star resort and we had a great time. The service was excellent, the food and drinks were great and the resort offered more than enough to satisfy most travelers. Although, we enjoyed off-resort activities such as Xel-Ha and Xcaret, we could of spent all of our holiday time at the resort. This is a sprawling complex and everything is a ten minute walk away; if you hate walking, you may want to try a smaller resort. However, if you enjoy walking, the pathways lining the resort are awesome and make for great walking.

Actually, the entire resort is awesome and is well laid out: lobbies, bars, buffets and a la cartes at one end, the beach at the other end and lots of pools, swim-up bars and more a la cartes in the middle. Near the main buffet area, there is a plaza which becomes the evening gathering place complete with Mariachi band. We spent most evenings here listening to the live Mexican music, while sipping on the wonderful Mayan/Flaming coffees that were prepared in the plaza. A complete bar service was also available for those wishing something other than coffee drinks. Overall, bar and food service at this resort, were excellent – maybe not as good as a so-called strong five star – but for what we paid, we were more than satisfied.

As for the room: large, comfortable, clean – the resort opened in 2006 – so it’s in great shape. The princess is two resorts in one – the sunset and the riviera – they each have their own lobby, lobby bar, buffet but sunset guest can use riviera facilities and vice versa. We stayed on the sunset side and saw no difference between it and the riviera side next door. At the time of our stay the riviera side was closed. Also, there was no evidence that the H1N1 outbreak was any more of a problem there than anywhere else in the world, so it was not a major concern – although, we did bring hand sanitizer with us and used it extensively.

The staff at the princess were great and a one dollar tip went a long way to ensuring continued good service most of the time. We brought USD currency which was fine, but using local currency available at the ATM’s would of been much better, because everything is priced in pesos. There is an ATM in each of the lobby areas as well as calling card dispensers and pay phones for making local and long distance calls. A cab ride into Playa Del Carmen from the hotel went for around ten dollars USD one way – we often opted for this choice – although there was a free daily shuttle from the hotel lobby – reservations were required and could be made in the lobby. We went into Playa Del Carmen often and even visited Cozumel on one occasion – tickets to Cozumel could be bought in Playa Del Carmen at the ferry boat pier – ten dollars USD each, one way.

The Mayan Riviera is a shoppers paradise and there are many shops along the main strip in Playa Del Carmen. And the vendors are in your face to persuade you to shop in their stores – we did not like that kind of heavy selling, so we did very little shopping. Cozumel was similar. Away from the touristy areas there was less of that. I would suggest reading a guide book or two before travelling to the Mayan Riviera, as there is so much to do and see. And many people tripping over each other to sell you these activities. We enjoyed visiting Xcaret and Xel-ha parks – Xcaret is huge, be prepared for lots of walking and getting lost as well – ask for directions – maps and street signs were confusing. Xel-ha on a hot day was great, as the lagoon offered relief from the heat and humidity, as well as the open bars and restaurants that were included with the admission price.

Xcaret on a hot day was not so great – think steamy jungle. Speaking of which, I have never travelled south in July – the heat and humidity were off the scale, 48 Celsius, kind of heat. Be prepared…drinks lots of aqua…and bring industrial strength sunscreen. If you travel during summer, remember that it is the rainy season, a.k.a. the hurricane season. Out of 14 days we were rained on twice – both times in the morning. Within minutes of the sun’s appearance, the heat is back and any evidence of rain evaporates.

As for the beach, it was okay – bring surf socks as the bottom is mostly rocky, and we saw sea urchins. The beach tends to be more quiet during the day in contrast to the main swim-up bar which tends to get noisy and crowded. If you are seeking quiet or noisy, this place has both. Although, I heard some younger people complaining that the beach was too quiet – for non-stop activities and partying you may want to consider Cancun. This is mostly a middle-class, middle-age kind of place – there were many young children as well. Would we go back to the princess? In a heart beat, if the price was right. Would we go back during the summer? Yes!

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  Grand Sunset Princess   Kelly ~ Burlington, ON, Canada

August 2009

Arrival: Laguna Villa Section
Flying from Toronto to Cancun on Sunwing Airlines we arrived on time and made it from the airport to the resort in 35 minutes via a private shuttle. A bus was provided with Sunwing but we find them crowded and slow and it is just easier to pay the private driver to get us there quicker. We arranged for the shuttle driver on the Internet based on recommendations from tripadvisor.com. It cost us $55.00 US but we have since learned that the cost of a cab is only $33.00 US so I would keep that in mind for next time. Arriving at the resort we walked to the front desk where there was a special section set aside for the Laguna Villa and Platinum Suite guests. We were the only ones in line and were checked in with our bracelets within 10 minutes.

Initially we were told that the rooms wouldn’t be available until 3:00pm but after speaking to the Main Concierge desk for a moment they double checked and found that our room was indeed ready for our arrival. We were given two electronic keys, a map to the resort and were offered the assistance of a bellboy to take our luggage to the room.

The walk from the main lobby to the Laguna Villa section is 1 minute and there is an elevator for those not wishing or not able to use the main staircase at the lobby.

We proceeded to the room, looked at our watch and found it to be exactly 2 hours from the time of our landing at Cancun. Not terrible compared to some other experiences in Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

Rooms:
Our room number was Laguna Villa 9005, a lower floor room directly next to the bridge access to the Laguna pool and in our opinion the best Villa in that section. Not only is it less than a minute from the pool but it also has a lovely view of the pool all lit up in the evening.

There is a large balcony with two wicker chairs and a small table on the balcony and if I had one problem with it, it would be no drying rack for hanging bathing suits after a day at the pool or beach. We ended up hanging everything over the chairs which made them inaccessible for sitting on in the evening before dinner.

Inside the room you will find a 32 inch television, mini fridge stocked with three cans of soda, three cans of beer and three large bottles of water. As well, on top of the dresser containing the mini fridge and television is an assortment of liquor bottles for your use free of charge. They included a whiskey, rum, vodka, gin and tequila bottle with a little sign saying "compliments of the Grand Sunset Princess Resort". Next to this liquor bottle assortment is the telephone, a pen and a pad of paper along with several envelopes from the resort.

The beds in the Laguna section are King size and although they were firm mattresses I wouldn’t call them uncomfortable. There were four pillows, a bottom sheet, a top sheet and a light comforter along with a long accent pillow that we found handy for reading in bed in the evening.

As well, on the side of the bed was the ceiling fan controls for the two ceiling fans located in the room, along with an internet access plug and another plug for handy recharging of the camera in the evening.

To the side of the bed is the large walk in closet with 6 hangers on each side, an electronic room safe which is easily programmed and shelving for storage of other clothing items as well as your shoes and accessories. The closet closes with a sliding door.

Behind the king size bed area is the soaker tub, a marble vanity on either side with him and her sinks, one hairblower and make up mirror and a large variety of bathroom accessories including a hair brush, dental kit, shoe polish kit, sewing kit, sponge, makeup remover pads, shampoo, body wash, and mouth wash.

In the middle of the two vanities is the star of the room…the walk out to the "Mayan Shower"…an outdoor shower that is uncovered in the lower floor rooms and covered in the upper floor rooms. In the lower floor that we had we would walk out to an assortment of beautiful live plants flourishing in the shower area. There is a powerful removable shower head and a "Mayan Shower" head that you select from. When taking a shower you stand in a tile enclosed area just a tad higher than ankle deep that keeps the water from running out onto the path from the shower to your room. It was actually fun to take a shower everyday listening to the birds flying overhead and looking at the palm leaves hanging inside the enclosure. I have video and photo of this area so feel free to contact me if you wish to see it.

Room 9005 was ideal for us though all the Laguna Villas surround the pool and all have some sort of view of that area. The only difference is the time it would take to get to them since there is only one exit to the Sunset side and one exit to the Riviera side. These villas are all the same because the Riviera and the Sunset are twins of one another, identical in every way so what applies with my review would be the same with anyone staying at the Riviera side of the Laguna Villa area.

Restaurants and Bars:
This is the area where being a Laguna Villa guest truly comes in handy because you are assigned a "Pool Concierge" who will assist you with all your restaurant reservations upon your arrival or day by day…just depends on how you wish to do so. It is my recommendation that you not wait longer than 10am -11am to get them booked each day or you may find your first choice unavailable yet we were at the Laguna Villa area for two weeks and only had one day where our first request couldn’t be done at the time we wished. The pool concierges for the Laguna Villa are Teresa and Carla who alternate their shifts and they were both EXCEPTIONAL, incredibly helpful, well spoken, they understood and spoke English perfectly and were simply the best. They greeted their guests with a friendly smile every day and were an additional highlight of our Laguna Villa experience.

Now back to the restaurants and bars…..not a complaint to be had! Every meal exceeded our expectations at the a la carte or buffet. The buffet was large with a huge variety of items and I must completely disagree with those complaining about the food because everything that was supposed to be hot was, everything that was supposed to be cold was and the servers at both a la carte and buffet were attentive and polite. The server who left the greatest impression on us during our stay was Pilar in the Miso Restaurant. She recognized us the second time we visited, she was helpful in recommending items from the menu and she was simply a pleasure to speak with. The food was brought to us quickly and with the precision of any professional server we’ve met in big cities like Toronto, Denver or Miami. Thank you Pilar!!!

The a la carte restaurants included a japanese/sushi restaurant, a French restaurant, Grill, Italian, Mexican, Fondue, Seafood and one directly on the beach called The Thai, a restaurant not included as an all inclusive option but with a beautiful view of the ocean. During our stay, as a Laguna Villa guest, we were given the opportunity to eat there free of charge by invitation yet we arrived home late from a day out and missed the reservation. We were told by a great couple we met at the pool from the Bronx that it was fabulous! Hello to them if they are reading this….email us!

So as you can see there is a huge variety of food aside from the buffet and once again, not a single complaint about the variety, preparation, presentation or taste of the food. We could see that the prep staff behind the counter worked very hard and they certainly don’t get the recognition they deserve.

Regarding the bars on the property…because we were Laguna Villa guests we spent the majority of our days partaking in the bar at the Laguna pool and must say that the bartenders in this area were the friendliest, most proficient and fastest of any we have ever had. We have been travelling to all inclusives for over 12 years now together and this experience ranks amongst the very best. Jeremy May was our day bartender, there early in the morning till late afternoon each day…he remembered our favourite drinks, made small talk with the best of them and went above and beyond to make our vacation a good one. As well, Jesus and Rogelio working the late afternoon/early evening shift were GREAT! There was one other bartender working that area between July 18-August 1st but for the life of me, I can’t find his name that I wrote down. You will not be disappointed in the top shelf liquor available to you or the fresh blender drinks made in front of you. Some of the best drinks I had were those recommended to me by Jeremy when I just couldn’t think of any to try. The Dirty Monkey with fresh banana and the standby Mojito were favourites during the stay.

In addition to the Laguna Villa bar, there are a number of other bars scattered throughout the resort. At the bars located in the pool areas there was a soft ice cream dispenser with cones that was a yummy treat in the middle of the day!

The restaurants and bars did not disappoint!

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
I have to repeat myself in my praise of the pool concierge staff at the Laguna Villa area because Teresa and Carla, who alternate their shifts, were absolute professionals. The words helpful, informative, well spoken, attentive and friendly don’t go far enough to explain their daily contribution to the feel of the Laguna Villa section. One of the jobs of the pool concierge in this area is a delicate one, to approach Princess guests who enter the Laguna pool area but aren’t guests of this area and explain that unfortunately the guests here pay an additional amount for the exclusive use of the adults only area. On more than a few occasions guests from other areas of the resort would enter with their children, go to the bar, and allow the children to jump into the pool despite the signage stating what the area is. Carla or Teresa would quietly approach the guests, explain that the area is for Laguna Villa guests only and within seconds we would see them leave. Like I said, a delicate task but knowing that the adults only was enforced, having paid the additional for this area, it was great to know they were on top of it. One day I saw a woman yelling at Carla, berating her in a horrible tone because she was asked to leave. Carla remained professional and calm throughout the encounter while the woman made herself look ridiculous.

The Laguna pool is incredible, an oasis of relaxation that was always clean, well kept and refreshing. I have taken several photos along with video of the area so just email me if you wish to see them. Though I didn’t use the other pools in the resort, they were numerous and appeared both refreshing and clean.

The beach was a 10 minute walk from the front of the resort and here is the thing…if you have issues with mobility or believe that a member of your party may have problems walking, this may not be the resort for you. I have read hundreds of reviews on this property and over and over again people explain that the resort is large yet when they arrive home and write their own review they act completely surprised about it. Once again, it is being said…the resort is LARGE…I timed the walk from the lobby to the beach….10:26 seconds and even video taped it if you wish to see it. The walk is not daunting, the grounds are beautiful and for an average couple or family I highly doubt any issues with it. The alternative to the walk from front to back is the trolley service…located at the back of each side of the resort with the main trolley stops directly under the front check in desk area but also accessible anywhere along its route. It runs every 5-7 minutes between the front and back of the resort and I never waited longer than 7 minutes for it to arrive. The ride itself will take 3 minutes at the very most and will drop you off at the Platinum building to the right or left of the beach entrance.

I have a ton of photos of the grounds, happy to share.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We aren’t ones for participating in the wide range of animation team activities around the party pool or going on the paid excursions outside the resort but we did see the animation team members entertaining guests all day long with everything from volleyball, pool volleyball, horseshoes, darts, shooting, bow and arrow and the like. On several occasions I met the kids club staff in passing as they walked the path from one activity to the other with their "ducklings" following close behind. They appeared attentive, kind and genuinely interested in keeping the child guests entertained. As well, the resort offers a free one hour a day of beach activities such as kayak, windsurfing and catamaran. At an additional cost they had jet skis, parasailing and deep sea fishing. I actually got brave one day and did take part in the para sailing, lasting 12 minutes in the air, and now something to say I did! Quite an accomplishment for someone who is a bit afraid of heights!

One of 14 days days at the resort we did take the cab into Playa Del Carman (15 minutes and $10-$12.00 depending on how well you haggle for the cab ride)to catch the ferry to Cozumel. The ferry costs $44.00 round trip per couple, takes 35-40 minutes on a fairly rocky ride…take gravol ahead of time if you get sea sick….and will dock directly in the downtown core of the island at a recently refurbished terminal. From there we proceeded into the shopping district, rented a three wheel scooter and did a full 3 hour tour of the coastal highway. The scooter cost us $45.00 and the gas to refill at the end of the leisurely afternoon cost $3.20 US at a local filling station. The scenery was spectacular and the beaches littering the coast were incredibly refreshing for cooling down along the way. You will find little bars up and down the coast and the one that left the most impression was one called Coconuts, high on a cliff with gorgeous views in abundance. I highly recommend that if you do the scooter tour on your own, plan for a stop at Coco Nut Beach and the bar called Coconuts! Great food, cold drinks and just a fun stop on our travels! You won’t regret a day out of the city driving the coastal area of Cozumel…it was recommended to us by Mike and Linda, a couple we met from Ontario, thanks to them for that! If you read this, email us.

In addition to the pool and beach we also had an opportunity to use the spa. If you get a spa treatment either at the beach or in the spa, such as massage therapy, you are given the use of the indoor pool, sauna, showers and hot tub. I got a indoor spa massage and it was on par with those I get here in Canada. The cost was $85.00 US but I understand those on the beach are only $40.00. If you don’t get a spa treatment but wish to use the pool area for a day the cost is $10.00 per person and provides a break if you’ve had a bit too much sun one day.

Other Comments:
Prior to booking any vacation I do my homework on all the travel sites, looking for tips, reviews, insights to the resort I’m considering spending my hard earned vacation dollars at. I find reviewers/past guests bound and determined to find fault with a resort and I find reviewers who understand that when they are in a foreign country where some things don’t taste, look or work exactly the same but they simply take it with a grain of salt and enjoy their trip. I highly recommend you be the latter because stuff happens anywhere you go and although you may not like it, accept it, smile and remember that you’re not behind the desk at your workplace or worrying about bills, you are on vacation. I met so many fantastic folks in the Laguna section from Ohio, Oregon, California, Southwestern Ontario (hey Kris and Vanessa!), Western Canada, Tennessee, Kentucky, etc. yet one couple stands out during our second week who just never, ever seemed happy about anything. The more they drank, the louder one of them got about everything ranging from a snorkeling trip gone bad, to the maid service in their room, the number of towel art left on their bed, the amount of beer in their fridge, or the taste of the meat in their sandwich. They were miserable and took great pride in complaining. I hope they read this and recognize themselves, Sat. to Sat. guests arriving around July 24th from the Calgary area…maybe you should consider not travelling outside the country again…seemed like you had no fun whatsoever! What a shame!

We are seasoned travellers who have stayed at 2 star resorts in Cuba, 4 star resorts in the Dominican Republic, 6 star resorts in the Grand Cayman Islands and many in between so know where we are coming from when we say this is a 5 star resort. If you are a couple celebrating a special occasion or simply looking for a little getaway from the kids, the Laguna Villa section is a must! It is worth every penny extra that we paid. We talked to so many people around the pool during our two week stay who said exactly the same thing and only one who complained about the value for the service….you guessed it…the complainers!

This was, by far, our best all inclusive experience to date and I wouldn’t hesitate to say that Laguna is the only way to go!

If you have any questions or wish to see the videos from our vacation or photos, just email me at kcponce at hotmail.com.

In closing, I want to say a special thank you to Gina at the main conceirge desk. She went out of her way to assist me in getting some items delivered to the Red Cross in Mexico, a few supplies brought from home. In addition she assisted us with some initial restaurant reservations prior to our arrival, answered my emails in the weeks leading up to the vacation in a timely fashion and always greeted us with a smile and a handshake and never departed without asking if there was anything else she could do for us!

A memorable vacation and a location we wouldn’t hesitate to return to.

Photos >>

Videos:

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  Grand Sunset Princess   Gabriella ~ NYC

April 2009

Arrival: April 7 – 14
check in was pretty quick. But when we got to the hotel we were told that our room was a 20 min walk from the beach and that for "just" $200 more dollars we could upgrade to the jr. delux suit. But we later found out we were supposed to get the rooms for free because the junior suit we had booked was over booked to begin with. so the guy at the front desk pocketed the money!!

Rooms
the rooms were nice and clean…..at first, but even after leaving a tip every day for the maid our floors didnt get washed not even once the whole week. there was sand all over the room. We had 3 rooms in all and 2 out of the 3 rooms had an awful sewage smell!!! IT LASTED THE WHOLE WEEK. And some days the rooms wouldnt even get cleaned even when we had the sign out for cleaning.

Restaurants and Bars
the worst food i have ever had in a resort i dont care what any one else writes on this site they proably just havent been any where better. But hands down this resort was awful. they saved the food from breakfast to lunch and we had to ask 3 times every meal just to get water put on the table. And i dont care if people say that i am just looking for things to complain about but i shouldnt even have to ask for water!!! that should be on the table with the forks and spoons to begin with. we had trouble getting a table for 7 many nights. all and all very stressful not what i paid for.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
the hotel had no activites durning the day the most boring hotel i have ever stayed in. the pool bar was always packed and only one bartender that was very very nasty for no reason at all.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
it was my 4th time in Mexico so i had taken all the tours already. But i did go to the coco bongo in playa del carmen cant say it was very good and the hotel charged way to much more than any other hotel!!! if u wanna got to great clubs go to cancun where the coco bongo club is one of the best clubs i have ever been to and im from NYC so i have been to some great clubs!

Other Comments
the service was the worst. Also they dont serve coffee!!!!! if u want coffee you have to go outside where the bar is and get a plastic cup full of cold coffee and half the time the coffee dispenser is empty and they take FOREVER to refill it. The shows were really bad so bad that half the people got up and left durning the show. (and we went to 3 shows just to check it out and all of them were awful!!)

If you want a really good vacatiion with great food and service go to Riu hotels i have been to Riu once in Cacun, once in Jamica and once in the Dominican republic.

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  Grand Sunset Princess   Paul ~ Ottawa Canada

February 2009

Arrival: January 17 – 31
Very prompt arrival at front desk. We received a room upgrade at no charge and got the room location we wanted. The bell boy brought our luggage within a few minutes. The best arrival we received from any resort (and we’ve been to quite a few…)

Rooms:
The room was very clean and everything worked well (another first in our experiences with other resorts where "something" eventually didn’t work and we had to move rooms). Very modern room. The room maids were very good, although a friendly tip every three days gave us some extras such as turndown service and animal designs made from our towels. Tipping is recommended to make your stay a more memorable one. The only negative thing was that there weren’t many English channels on TV (in case of a rainy day or if you follow news and weather).

Restaurants and Bars:
We dined mostly at the buffets. We had difficulties at making restaurant reservations which filled quickly (tip: make reservations very early in the morning). We dined at the oriental restaurant which was excellent. The buffets were very good. There was always Mexican food, plus North American fare. There were three themes per week (Mexican, Italian and Oriental). Lots of choice of salads, main courses and dessert. There are 1-4 buffets open daily so there’s always choice. The only gripe I had is that service at the buffets was very slow or non-existant. We had to ask for water and coffee service continuously. We mentioned this to management and saw great improvement the following days. Again, tips will greatly improve your service level (give tips early and watch what happens…). The restaurant service was excellent with no problems.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Awesome grounds maintained daily. Very clean and memorable. The pools were very clean (but cold). Watch yourself as the cement around pools becomes very slippery when wet (very dangerous). The beach was clean and well maintained. We are beach people and found it very good. Absolutely bring water shoes to enjoy the ocean as there are rocks in the water. With water shoes, we could enjoy the ocean (without them, it’s almost impossible to enjoy the ocean). Lots of chairs and quiet spots. If you like to walk on the beach, this is the perfect place as you can walk for miles in either direction safely.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We didn’t participate at hotel pool activities although many people were having tons of fun with them. The night shows were average. They have a very nice interior theatre. As for tours/excursions, we went to Playa Del Carmen (recommended), Tulum Express (very recommended with includes a visit to one of the best beach anywhere) and took at taxi to Cancun for some shopping. I recommend taking taxis if you want to get around as they are very good and fast (you won’t waste time to get around). Just pre-negotiate your price before you embark or ask a bellboy to help with negotiations or prices.

Other Comments: This was our best holiday in the past five years. The hotel is well recommended. It is a five star, but not a "strong" five-star (such as Iberostars or Rius). For the price, it’s hard to beat and would highly recommended this hotel.

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  Grand Sunset Princess   Nadine ~ Canada

January 2009

Arrival: Jan 9 – 16 2009
This was our first time at a all inclusive resort so the arrival seemed pretty standard. A bell boy brought our luggage to our rooms but took a very long time.

Rooms:
The rooms were nice looking but that’s about it. They never changed our sheets once. Our toilet clogged everyday and we had to phone front desk to have someone come and fix it, which took them over 40 minutes to get there. Our bathroom floor flooded with water everytime someone had a shower.

Restaurants and Bars:
It was probably the worst food I have ever had! No mexican food! We were in Mexico?! Buffet everyday with the same food…Like hot dogs, onion rings, gross pizza. And to top it off whatever wasn’t eaten at lunch was put out for the dinner buffet!! The service was terrible! If you want coffee with your breakfast good luck and expect to go and find it yourself. We tried to stay away from the buffet and go to a la carts for our dinners. You have to book a day in advance which is expected I guess. But the food there wasn’t any better! You get the same soup from each one they just call it something different, same goes for the salad! My son actually found a worm in his salad!! It was still alive and the Manager would’nt do anything about it! We told him how bad the service has been and he told us "If you wanted good service you should’t have come to an all inclusive"!! So if you want to eat I would suggest spending your hard earned money else where.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach was really rocky so we didn’t go in the water. Also it was very small so no room to do anything but sit, if you even get a chair. The pools were nice with swim up bars. But we caught the bartender taking used straws out of glasses and reusing them with other customers! When I asked him for a straw with a wrapper he got upset with me and then wouldn’t serve me or any of our group.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
There were NO activites….I mean nothing!!! There were tours but that has nothing to do with the resort, you can do those anywhere. It rained for 5 days straight and the resort planned absoulutley nothing for anyone!! Fend for yourself…There is a spa there that has an indoor pool and hot tub but they charge $20 USD each to get in!!

Other Comments: We came in a group of 13 and are all unhappy with the whole experience. I talked to a lot of people there and many of them were unhappy with the resort…You will find reviews that say good things but I am thinking they work for the resort…..Either way, everyone works hard and when they spend their hard earned money they expect to have a good time….I strongly suggest you DO NOT come to this resort…….

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  Grand Sunset Princess   Rebecca ~ Canada

January 2009

Arrival:
We went with a group of 12 people looking for a good time! An we defiantly got it! We go to the resort at about 5 PM and everything was ready for us! No waiting!

Rooms:
The rooms were beautiful, they felt like hotel bedrooms.. very classy! We had a great view off out balcony, and it was very quiet! They were cleaned very well everyday, and they were very generous with the towels which is always nice!

Restaurants and Bars:
The buffet was excellent! Much better than any other resort buffet I had ever had! Of course by the end of the week we were a little sick of it, it was still great food. The bars were also very good, you had to wait occasionally, but never longer than 5 mins. Plus, there were bars everywhere, so you never had to walk far to find a good drink:)

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The whole resort was incredible, it was very well groomed and maintained. It just looked very classy! There was a lot pools to choose from and they were all awesome, we never had a problem finding chairs in the sun! The resort is rather large though, so bring sandals that you can walk in.

The beach was awesome~ SO beautiful! It is a little rocky, so bring water shoes! But the water was nice, and the waves were just right, not scary!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
The resort was very helpful in the planning of our tours, getting us a good deal, and making sure that we all got what we were looking for. We went on the joint Tulum and Shell Xia tour. It was a great day!

The resort also had good activities in the afternoon, very entertaining! and the Night entertainment was good also.

Other Comments: I would recommend this resort to anyone. It was a great vacation for any age, it was relaxing when we needed it to and it was a party the rest of the time! The night life was awesome, the food was great, and it was overall it was just a beautiful resort!

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  Grand Sunset Princess   Michael ~ Canada

December 2008

Your Arrival:
We (a group of 45 for a wedding) arrived at the resort at noon, where we were told that our rooms were not going to be ready for a couple hours. This was neither unexpected, or an issue. They take care of your bags for you, and you are free to enjoy the resort. (HINT, pack your beach/swimwear in your carry-on, along with sandals, and sunscreen.) We sat in the lobby and enjoyed some drinks. The staff was very friendly, and the service was fast. We then headed to the buffet for some lunch. As the afternoon progressed, the rooms started to be ready. We got ours at 3:30 or so. Our bags were waiting in the room. Check-in staff was friendly, and there were no lines.

Rooms:
The room was beautiful. King-size bed, and a full couch. Marble floors throughout, fridge, (stocked with lots of water, a couple beers, and a couple cokes, diet and regular) AC, flat-screen TV with satellite stations, (maybe 5 in english.) Bathroom had two sinks, and a shower, and toilet stall. Balcony had a table and chairs. (CAUTION, floors are slippery when wet.)

Others had some issues with their room cards. Two or three people’s cards went dead, and they had to go back to the lobby to have them reprogrammed.

Restaurants and Bars:
4 large buffets, and 6 restaurants.

The buffets were good, with a wide variety. Fresh fruits, lots of salad options, and a wide selection of warm foods. Toward the end of the trip, the buffet became a little repetitive, so be sure to visit the restaurants for dinner.

The restaurants require reservations. You have to book between 9am and 1pm. You can book for the current day, and the next day. It fills up fast, so I suggest reserving a day in advance, at 9am.

The service is not what we here in Canada, and US, are used to. The service is more laid back, (slow). I assume this is based on temperature, and lifestyle. Also, because you are not paying, there is little motivation for them to have you in and out in a hurry.

When you arrive, expect a bit of a delay before being seated. There is ample seating in the waiting area, along with a bar. We were groups of 8, however, and we watched smaller groups go in as soon as they arrived.

Although the service was slow, the staff was pleasant, and the food was quite good. We didn’t get around to visiting all of them, (missed the International, and the Swiss) but the ones that we did visit, were great.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Not the best beach. The biggest complaint, is the rocky water. About 3 feet in, you’ll find a bed of rocks, that stretches about 30 feet wide. Once you cross the rocks, it’s nice and sandy, and shallow enough to enjoy. You might want to bring some water shoes to get past the rocks.

The water was a little dis-colored, and on some days, had a bit of a funky smell. Because the resort runs perpendicular to the ocean, the beach is not huge. Also, the seating is limited during peak hours.

The pools were great. We spent the majority of your days by the pool. (HINT, before you go to breakfast, walk to the pool, or beach, and place some towels, or magazines on the chairs you want, to reserve them.) We stationed ourselves near the activity pool. A bar, a swim-up bar, and close to the music, and activities. Pool was refreshingly cool, (the nights cooled down significantly) and the games catered to our age-group. (25-35) Throughout the day, they played water-polo, tequila volley-ball, (highly recommended) water aerobics, and a variety of others.

Grounds were stellar. Everything was pristine. Large resort, so prepare yourselves for some walking. (Lobby to beach was about 10 minutes.)

Just be careful, the floors all over the place are very slippery. This would be my biggest complaint. Although our group escaped major injury, we did have numerous people hit the deck. (Also saw people in slings.)

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
As mentioned, there are lots of activities in the pool throughout the afternoon. At night, there is a disco. It’s not always busy, but because we had a large group, we had a good time when we went. There is also a show every night, which starts at about 8 or 9. And although we didn’t visit it, we saw another show which went on upstairs, in what appeared to be an auditorium.

12 of us also rented 3 cars, for a day trip. We ended up spending about $20 each for the car. (Do NOT pay the full, listed amount. Barter!) We went to Tulum, to see the ruins. It was about 45 minutes away. Dirt cheap to get in, ($5) and there was lots to see. Lizards running around everywhere, quite comical/interesting. The beach at Tulum is beautiful. No rocks, white sand, crystal water. Be sure to pack beach gear if going to Tulum.

On the way back we stopped in Playa Del Carmen. This is a small town with tons of shops, and restaurants. If you do not want to rent a car, there is a free shuttle from the resort, to Playa Del Carmen. Sign up a day in advance.

I recommend renting a car as opposed to paying for a packaged deal. Cheaper, and you’re on your own schedule.

Other Comments:
This will be the first review that I’ve written about a resort. The reason I’m writing, is to defend the resort from the many negative comments. We went to this resort because our friends were getting married. We had no choice. That didn’t stop us from reading reviews though. Had we not been forced to go to this resort, based on the reviews alone, we likely would not have selected this resort. However, after visiting, I have to say that this resort was great, and I would not hesitate to return.

The staff was extremely friendly. Always offering a smile, and an ‘Ola!’. The service is slower than what we in Canada and the US have grown to expect, but you’re on vacation, relax, smile, and you’ll have a great time.

Some Tips; Book the restaurants a day in advance. Be careful of the floors, they are very slippery. Reserve your chairs before breakfast.

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  Grand Sunset Princess   Sheila ~ Ohio, USA

October 2008

Arrival and Flight: American Airlines Aug, 29-Sept. 6. Apple tour was great!

Rooms: Junior suite, but up-graded to jr. deluxe suite Clean, no bugs, fresh towels and sheets changed daily. First floor.

Restaurants: Buffets are good. You could always find something good to eat. Evening meals with reservations were outstanding. Different from Swiss fondu to cornish game hens. Our favorite one was the International.

Bars: We loved the main lounge. Excellent drinks, they had no good Scotch but the Mayan Sacrifice wonderful! Swim up bars were crowded and took a while to get a drink. The waitresses were much quicker.

Beach and Pools: The beach was clean and the water was cooler than the pools. The weather there was HOT 99-105 degrees so the pool water was like bath water.

Grounds: The grounds were beautiful full fragrant flowers everything well kept

Activities and Entertainment: Princess had exercise classes in the pool and in the ocean, volleyball, horse shoes, trivia contest. Air conditioned theater with shows every night. Some shows were better than others.

Conclusion: We will go back next year without a doubt. We loved every minute spent there.

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  Grand Sunset Princess   Teresa

September 2008

My husband and myself flew down to the Mayan Riveria on August 29th. We were there for a week at the Grand Sunset Princess. That was our first visit to the resort but second time to the Mayan Riveria. The Grand Sunset Princess Resort was beautiful property. The grounds were impeccable and kept so clean. What disappointed us the most was the furnishings in the hotel lobby, buffett and sports bar area. The furnishings were very delabiatated and some fraying on the armchairs. They were very dirty and discoloured which we felt brought down the rating on the resort. We felt the furnishing had come from another resort and put into this beautiful brand new resort which would be unfair as it was very dirty looking.

The food was good especially at the A La carte. The breakfast and lunch buffett was good but the dinner one we found the food was quite cool. The french fries I had one day were so cold I thought they had been left since the lunch buffett. Everytime we asked for coffee at the buffett it was cold. We never had hot coffee unless we went to the bar in the front lobby and had a cappucchino which was delicious.

The shuttle to Playa Del Carmen had to be booked the day before. In the brochure it never stated this was to be done. It only run on certain times and the return was only at 1.30pm or 6pm. The day we got the bus into Playa Del Carmen the windshield was all cracked and the padding was taken out of the seat we sat on. However we did enjoy the holiday and the relaxation was great. One more thing the staff at the resort was not as friendly as we had experienced at our other resort when we visited the Mayan Riveria the first time. I know this is a new resort opened in December 2007 and for the furnishings to be in the state they were in was ugly. I feel the resort need to know these things as it would help to improve the return of the holiday makers.

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  Grand Sunset Princess   Catherine

August 2008

So, I never understood the point of writing paragraphs and paragraphs of reviews. I just simply look at the overall rating, but after making my trip to Grand Sunset Princess, Rivera Maya. I will read every possible review. I never want someone to suffer the way my family and I did. A vacation is a vacation. A vacation should be something you don’t want to leave.

You would expect after a 7 am flight and being awake since 3 am that you would have your room and everything set once you arrived at the resort (after all that should be one of their first priorities.. don’t you think? First impression is everything.) Well no this was not the case. We arrived at Grand Sunset Princess at 1 pm. We were all exhausted due to the hour delay with Continental. ———-Ohh and be careful (if you do go) because once you arrive at the Cancun airport they may try to rip you off by saying that you need papers( that don’t exist) to get a ride to Grand Sunset Princess that should be included with everything else you payed for. We knew this and they still tried to rip us off.. 5 minutes later we see our bus with a man holding our names and explained to us that they are just trying to get extra money——–

FRONT DESK
We ( A huge group of 18 people) head out to the front desk to get our room & check in. They tell us the rooms are not clean yet and they should be ready in another hour.. We said that’s fine and we all sat down and relaxed on the lobby chairs. We would have ate something, but we had no idea where anything was. They never even gave us a tour or even apologized for the inconvenience. So, after about an hour we went back up to Check In.. after all, they did say an hour? We had requested the 2nd floor and rooms next to each other.. they said, " no a request is not a guarantee" and this request was told to them since we booked it which was in February.. it was July 29th.. who were they kidding… it should have been a guarantee. … So, we asked if there was anyway to get the second floor and they told us that would be impossible. We said fine and asked for the rooms that were ready.. they said they weren’t even ready yet and it would be another hour. You would think 1 out of 9 rooms would have been ready?? We asked to speak to the manager .. so they point to a man and say, " If you want to talk to him then you walk over and talk to him." I couldn’t believe what i just heard.. they were so rude for no reason. We told him to go get the manager himself because once a customer requests the manager, the first thing they should do is get the manager. He told us that the person he pointed to was actually the supervisor and that the manager was never in and told us if we did not like it we could just leave, but we would lose the money. The service at the front desk made us furious. So, we decided that this wasn’t going to ruin our vacation and to just tell us when our room was going to be ready. They said two hours max. it would be ready. We said fine. Some of the group decided to take a nap on the lobby chairs and some decided to give ourselves our own tour of the resort. The Resort was absolutely gorgeous. Huge. Lots of walking, but it would help us burn off the drinking and the food.

After tons of walking we found everything we needed for now. We walked back to the others and 1 hour and a half/ 2 hours passed since the told us 2 hours max. Anyways point is.. we arrived at 1 pm.. Some of our rooms were ready around 5 pm.. All of them at 6 pm. 6: 30 pm till all our rooms were "activated" This to me… was absolutely RIDICULOUS. Front Desk was an experience I never want to go through again. They are so rude and so mean for no reason.

ROOMS
Don’t be alarmed if you wake up to a spider right next to you and don’t be alarmed if your air conditioning isn’t working. It’s normal.. 6 out of 9 rooms (some were upstairs) had bug problems and some other problems.. such as refrigerator not working, TV not working, AC not working, and God forbidden you take a shower some of the bathrooms seem to be flooding. The interior design of all the rooms were really nice though. 5 people requested double size beds. Only 1 out of 5 had a double size bed. We didn’t even bother going to the front desk because we knew they were going to be rude and we weren’t going to get what we wanted. We coped with what we had.

CLEANING SERVICE-
Due to the shortage of staff.. your room may not be clean till 8 pm.. and sometimes they forget to put toilet paper and other necessities.

ACTIVITIES DURING THE DAY- There is nothing. Jet Skiing, Sailing.. and such, but that’s not included.. you would have to pay. Otherwise there are no games or activities during the day.

AND this is funny. 1 computer is available for the entire resort :).. so forget that.. Internet.. is so so slow. And most rooms don’t even have internet in them.

POOLS
Pools were nice.. it would have been nicer if the temperature was cooler though. Shortage of staff again. There is usually 1 bartender to a bar serving 30 people or more especially in the "party pool". If you wanted a drink you had to wait. Keep in mind.. it’s really hot.

BEACH
If you want beach chairs & umbrellas you must wake up at 6 am and reserve it.. To reserve it you must put something of your own on the chairs and by the umbrella…but you will have cases of people throwing your things on the ground and taking your umbrella.. this i thought was ridiculous. You should not have to reserve anything.. there should be enough beach chairs at least for the majority of people staying at the resort.. I guess that’s a disadvantage of staying at such a big resort. The Ocean was nice.. really rocky in the beginning, but after going through the pain and continue walking/ swimming it gets better. 20..

NIGHTLIFE
There is no night life at the resort. The club is horrible. bad music. Drunks out of control. And my cousins who were 16 had absolutely nothing to do. There was nothing for Teens. To enjoy the nightlife you had to leave the resort… and that was beyond dangerous.

FOOD
After awhile you get sick of the buffet. To make a reservation you have to wait in a line for an hour and a half.. for some odd reason you can’t call to make a reservation. Every restaurant was horrible except for the Italian in my opinion (which was OK) Buffet was ok. Be careful of the meats because the majority of the people that had even meat sauce got sick. Breakfast at the buffet was funny to me. To get eggs you had to wait in a line for an hour or so. By the time you received your eggs you lost your appetite. Oh and don’t leave your food on the table unattended because they will assume you are done and take it.

TO AMERICANS For some odd reason they have an issue with us. My family understands spanish.. and let me tell you the things they said about Americans were horrible. And if you order the Rivera Maya drink be aware that they will crack up because it is "the sleazy/ crap American drink" Although, when other cultures order the drink it’s fine… Good drink though.

SERVICE WAS THE WORST THING EVER. And to me that is the most important thing. The one thing that makes your vacation is how people treat you. The treated us the the worst attitude they could possibly treat us with.

9 out of 18 people had food poisoning when they got home.

This resort is not even worth a cent a night.
I would not even go back even if they payed me.

Whatever you do.. avoid going here.. it isn’t even worth trying..

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  Grand Sunset Princess   Dayle ~ Armstrong BC

July 2008

Arrival and Flight: AirTransat March 2008

Rooms: Laguna Villas Exclusive
These rooms are the most luxurious in the resort and are very beautiful with outdoor showers and 2 man jacuzzi tubs, and king size beds with balconies- but that’s where it ends – we had coffe maker one day but no coffee – the next day we had coffee but no coffee maker, supposed to have champagne and fruit basket upon arrival but had to ask for and got it 2 days later. Every response was ‘be right back’, and they never were. No ‘do not disturb’ signs to hang on doors so every morning at 7:30 they knock at your door asking if you want anything, and no one ever returns with what you ask for.

Restaurants: TERRIBLE food. The same EVERY SINGLE DAY. We have been to 6 other 5 star resorts in the mayan and this was by far the worst food and the worst service we have ever had. Don’t eat in the buffets at the checkin desk side – eat at the beach end for breakfasts – we counted 22 tables for each waitress/waiter in the main buffets at any given time. The a la carte restaurants were slightly better but not by much – the wait staff did not speak or understand any english.

Bars: We stayed in the laguna villa suites so we had our own section of the resort which had it’s own pool and bar and bar tender and waitress. They were the best part of the whole vacation. Drinks were exceptional as was the service. Our only complaint in that respect was that we paid $6000.00 for the week for our top end vacation and the consierge for that pool and area allowed any one in that didn’t have the black bracelet (exclusive to that area) to enjoy what we had paid more than double for We booked that exclusive part of the resort because of spring break – we wanted a more private holiday than small children everywhere. All the people in that area that had paid more all felt the same and upon mentioning it to the manager there – nothing was done. The lobby bars were very understaffed – 2 bar tenders /waiters for the entire lobby bar area – waited over 30 minutes for a drink and that’s standing at the bar in line.

Beach and Pools: We stayed in our private pool with the queen sized palapas for the most part of the vacation with the exception of the day a loud american drunk couple had sex and vomited in the pool. They closed it down for the day to clean it up – very disgusting – and again staff didn’t quite know how to handle the situation. Beach was very nice – crowded near the resort area but very private as you walk a little distance in either direction. We walk alot and this beach was really nice for that.

Grounds: Exceptionally beautiful and well maintained

Activities and Entertainment: The spa services were quite nice – we had several services included in our package with the Villas and they were very nice – a separate service from the rest of the resort –

Departure and Check Out: Air transat had no record of us being at that resort and after a night mare checkin – it was no surprise that our check out was just as frustrating. They have 2 huge lobbies and the AIR TRANSAT people were so confused that we just about missed our bus to go to the airport. The lack of understanding and communication at this resort is unbelievable. We come to the Mayan every year – sometimes twice a year and we’ve never come across such poor service and comunication ever.

Conclusion: This resort has the potential to be one of the nicest on the Mayan Riviera as the property is spectacular – and the beach is beautiful and big – we walked for hours . The service and quality of food is far from the 5 star as advertised, 3.5 at best, and the understaffing is critical. We wanted so badly to love this place, but it was the worst vacation to the Mayan Riviera in 8 years. This is the first time we’ve ever complained about a vacation – but I wish I had read about this place before we had booked as we would have gone somewhere else.

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  Grand Sunset Princess   Michael

June 2008

We were there in May. The service was terrible, long line-ups at the bar and the food at the buffet was repetitive. We had no clean beach towels for 4 days. Our AC was broken and although they kept coming to repair it they never did. Changing rooms was a major endeavour. There is a shortage of staff especially for a place this big and what little staff there was often ignored your requests, I suspect due to a lack of English. The pools are salt water with swim up bar as a result a yellow foam accumulates in the corner of the pool, yes from the all day never leave the pool drinkers. Although the beach itself was nice, there wasn’t enough beach chairs by 8 am. The water is full of rocks and difficult to walk in.

We have been going to this area for 10 years and this was our worst experience. This is not a 5 star resort!

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  Grand Sunset Princess   Dave ~ Windsor, Canada

June 2008

We just returned last night after a 1 week stay at the GRAND SUNSET PRINCESS from May 31st to June 7th. We are not complaining about the resort, but want to make sure everyone knows what to expect when they get there. We got all of our info on the resort from reviews before we booked, and think that because we knew about the little problems before we got there that it made a better trip. We have been to the carribean 5 other times before this, with the Grand Palladium in the mayan our last trip in June 2007.

The check in was great, this is the first time i’ve ever seen a check in done on the bus on the way to the resort. Fill out a card and they gave you the room keys right there. Once at the resort all you had to do is go to your room. perfect.

The resort is huge with very modern decor. Some people complain it isn’t "mexican" enough and i can understand why, but we actually liked it like that. No bright colours, no salsa music, actually the whole resort had this kind of japanese zen music everywhere other than the main pool.

Rooms are a good size with the same nice decor as the rest of the resort, very modern. We were in the closest building to the lobby on the top floor, so it could get pretty loud at night. Maybe ask for a building a bit farther down if you’re a light sleeper.

Buffets are boring with cold food. No one got sick and there was always something everyone thought was "ok" but we’ve definetly had better all inclusive food before.

A la cartes were good, we had the grille, italian, and french. booking the a la caretes is the worst part about this resort. You need to stand in line forever, be sure you book ALL of them at once so you don’t have to get in line again. IF YOU DON’T TIP THEM THEY WILL TELL YOU THEY ARE FULL EVERY NIGHT. I didn’t really believe this after reading a few reviews on here before we left, but i can tell you its 100% accurate. Every time you ask for a certain day they look at the screen for 5 minutes and say "not available", but when you go past that night they are only 25-50% full. If you are ok with them choosing your date and time for your a la cartes, then don’t worry about the tip.

Beach is nice with white sand and nice water, but there are a lot of rocks out there. Bring water shoes. Also it doesn’t get much deeper than 3-4 feet. We found the pools were much nicer for actual swimming. 3 huge salt water pools. Two quiet pools, and one party pool.

Shows are in a huge air conditioned closed in theater room. Hopefully you’re a smoker because you’re going to get all the second hand smoke even if you’re not. nice. We don’t smoke and my wife is pregnant so we only saw 10 minutes of one show and figured we had enough.

Service at the bars is horribly slow, but thats the carribean. Drinks are better at the pools than the beach, unless you get Car

los who was the worst bartender i’ve ever had in my life.

They do NOT have towel cards. I know this sounds great but you had people grabbing 5-10 towels at a time, and they would put towels on 5 chairs at the beach, and 5 chairs at the pool, so not only are all of the chairs taken now, but when we went to exchange our two wet ones they were all out. After this I am now a huge fan of the towel card. This resort might have been half full, i can’t imagine what its like during the high season.

Overall we had a good time but the resort still has a lot of growing to do to get to a 5 star. Food and service definetly need work. A beach resturant would be nice especially at night. If i had a choice between this resort and the Palladium 20 minutes down the road, i would go back to the Palladium, but for the price we paid the sunset princess was definetly worth the money. Read the reviews on here before you book, they are actually very accurate to what you’re going to find when you get there.

One last thing, upgrade to the swim up room if possible, thats the only thing we wished we would have done different!

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  Grand Sunset Princess   Donna ~ Ottawa. Canada

April 2008

Rooms – over 1000, all suites. Rooms were beautiful, lots of towels, soaps and amenities. Bring moisturizing lotion, this is the only toiletry not provided. The other amenities were good quality, not top quality, but good. We upgraded to Premium Suites, and I would recommend this to anyone going. We overlooked the "garden", which is the jungle. Very peaceful, lots of interesting birds to watch at sunset and early morning. Saw and heard monkeys, too! Loved the privacy of the jungle view, no noise where we were at all. Some guests may want an ocean view, but it would be noisier, overlooking the pools and walkways. My husband & I took advantage of the jacuzzi on the very large balcony nearly every night. Our room was cleaned in good time, we were on the top floor, and I think this is where maid service starts?

Our mini bar was locked the first night, so we called down for water from room service and the key to unlock. The staff arrived within 5 minutes for the key, the mini bar was fully stocked, we had our water! I left a note some mornings for more water, and the quantity I asked fo was always left for us. Beds were comfy, lots of pillows, lots of closet space. I had no concerns about the in room safe. Mirrors were in the right places, and the lighting to put make up on etc in the bathroom was perfect.

Restaurants – We ate every breakfast at the Sunset restaurant near our rooms. Staff very friendly, very attentive, and really cheerful. Tables were cleared and prepped quickly. Breakfast variety was impressive, considering the variety of guests. We really enjoyed the fresh fruit and the smoked salmon every morning. The local foods we tried some of, and were tasty. Lunch was good variety, no complaints with the buffet. Serving so many people, including fussy kids can’t be easy, and I think the lunch variety was good. Again, the staff were attentive, friendly, and prepped tables quickly. We never had any difficulties getting water, wine, beer or anything we wanted at the buffet from the staff. Dinners: we ate a few nights at the buffet, but pleased we could make reservations at the a la cartes. Tip: make the reservations as soon as you can, some of them fill up, and a few people were disappointed they did not get to try all of their choices. My husband has severe dietary restrictions, so some of the a la cartes were of no interest to us. We did eat at the Seafood (good), Mama Mia [Italian] (my favourite), Grill (good), and the International. My dinner was good, however my husband had the ostrich, and did not enjoy it. Not the fault of the restaurant, just not something he enjoyed. The service at all of the a la cartes was outstanding, and we really enjoyed dressing for dinner, the candlelight, not feeling rushed. As I said, my husband has serious dietary restrictions, and if he can find all kinds of good food to eat for 7 days, then anyone can! He had no difficulties at all with the food, and as long as I can have my fresh fruit for breakfast, I’m good to go!

The snacks provided at the Sunset and Riveria Premium lounges were excellent, and much appreciated between a late breakfast/ early lunch and late dinner reservations.

Bars : abundant, good loctions, well spaced out. The lounge near the front ground floor restaurants was really nice, sun or shade, excellent service. The bartenders as a whole were friendly, quick, and lots of fun. There was one grumpy bartender, so we just never went back to that bar for drinks. Bars are everywhere, the bartenders have fun with the guests mixing drinks and really making an effort to please. We did not tip all the time, but we did tip the staff at the Sunset Premium suite at the end of our visit, the guys there were fantastic, lots of fun, remembered what you wanted, and really accomodating.

Beach and Pools ; we liked the beach, not the best beach we have been on, but the sand was warm and soft for walking. We went in the ocean a few times, but that is not a main purpose of our vacation. We took water socks, and glad we did. We walked quite some way in the northern direction, really enjoyed that walk. Lots of chairs, lots of shade if that is what you want. One nice point is not once were we accosted by locals trying to sell us something. Lots of security at the 2 beach entrances, seemed attentive. The pools were lovely, lots of chairs. One wish, though, is that the resort would designate one of the 2 Premium pools as family, and one as adults only. The Premium pool at our building was very noisy and lots of kids. As we went to relax, we did find the noise level annoying, and the parents of the noisy ones not seeming to care that their children were annoying other guests. Once we found a quieter pool, they could make all the noise they wanted to and disturb other guests! Some people seem to make a sport out of "how early can they get up and reserve pool chairs and then not use them until late afternoon". But we managed to find nice chairs in either sun or shade, depending on our preferences for the day. It is pretty ridiculous what some guests will do, and very selfish. Poolside service at the Premium area was good, not too fast, but they were efficient, and always got the orders right!

Grounds ; excellent, immaculate. Well lit at night. You can tell it is a new resort, but the grounds staff did an excellent job. Never saw any garbage, or anything out of order.

Activities and Entertainment – we did not attend any of the entertainment or activities. We did have a massage, and it was heaven! The spa looked lovely, but I do think charging extra to use it means no one uses it! We work out regularily at home, but did not at the well appointed gym. We walked through it, laughed at the idea of treadmills when there was plenty of walking to be had outside in the glorious sunshine!

Tours – we took our own tour to the Mayan ruin of Tulum and the Zip line. Unfortunately the company that provided the tour did not meet our expectations, however we made the most of seeing the ruins, and the zip line was a blast. The resort did not have anything to do with this tour company.

Departure and Check Out – had to wait a little for a shuttle luggage cart, it seems like the whole hotel was checking out that morning! No concerns at all with check in (less than 15 minutes wait, due to a few people on our bus all checking into the Premium suites and asking never ending questions to the very patient attendant), and check out was immediate.

Conclusion – My biggest complaint about the whole week was listening to other guests whinge and complain about absolutely nothing, and such unimportant things. It got rather irritating hearing some people whinge about stupid little things. One woman actually took a hissy fit because she had to wait over 20 minutes for shuttle ride. We were waiting too, and once we all climbed aboard she actually got off about 2 buildings up, less than 500 feet. I was stunned that she could not have walked the 2 minutes, instead of complaining that she had to wait!!! I don’t know about her, but we have waited far longer at home for taxis, service, food, etc. Our take on our vacation at this resort is it was the nicest one we have ever been to in the Caribbean (this was our 8th trip south). It is brand new, the staff are doing their best, and the resort still has to iron out a few kinks ( such as hire/ schedule more bellboys for key times: early morning for checkout, and throughout the dinner hour). We felt we were in paradise, and truly enjoyed the entire week. yes there were little challenges, yes they were all dealt with by friendly people. Maybe the speed of results is not to North American standards, but we felt we were there to relax, take our watches off, and go with the flow. I would recommend this tactic to anyone travelling in the Caribbean, and definitely to anyone travelling to a new resort!

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  Grand Sunset Princess   Laura

March 2008

I spent a week at the Sunset Princess: 3/09 – 3/16. Had a great time. What a beautiful hotel, but definitely not worth 5 stars. I’ve been to nicer 3 star places. It was awful run down for being so new. It was 5 star material – marble bathrooms, fancy details all around the resort, but not in great shape and lots of little things that were roadside motel typical (no water pressure, broken doors, non-working toilets, very very noisy airconditioning, etc.). Check in took less than 2 minutes – there was no line at 4 pm. Check out at 6:30 am was even shorter and easier. One evening there was a group of over 100 and they were in the lobby checking in for 3-4 hours.

SHORT VERSION: I’d go back and would recommend it to anyone who’s not extremely picky about their accomodations. There’s lots to do, eat, drink, and time to relax. Good food – not 5 star but tasty, good service, wonderful warm weather. People were nice and helpful. The beach was rocky in the water, but clean. There were lines at the bars and the pools were crowded, but no more than any other place.

LONG VERSION…..

ROOMS: I found the room on my own. It was a junior so no extra perks (no robes, slippers, or access to seafood or oriental a-la-carte restaurants w/o $30 upgrade). The room was clean, fridge was stocked with beer, soda, & water (although other people reported that their fridge was empty). One of the two sinks had no water pressure so I used the one that did. There was a safe and it worked – and I did not get anything taken from it. I had all my valuables in there too. The alarm clock worked, the air conditioner worked but it was noisy, and there were no mosquitos. They did provide bug repellent wipes, but I did not need them. The shower drained towards the toilet, but towels kept the floor dry. The toilet handle would stick but a little jarring at times fixed it temporarily. When the room was cleaned the fridge was always restocked. The balcony was nice and clean.

FOOD: Nothing to really write home about for flavor but I have never seen so many choices for all three main meals. Reservations for the a-la-carte restaurants (3 per week stay) are from 9 am to 1 pm daily – but you can make all your reservations at once. Expect 10 minutes per person in line in front of you. I only took about 3 minutes to get my reservations done. The trick? Don’t have specific dates or times for each restaurant. I asked which of my choices were available at the hour time frame I gave them. It worked out and in 3 minutes – I was on my way with my reservations. You can make reservations from any restaurant – choose the shortest line. If you’re so inclined, you can request a 4th restaurant, but they say only 3 per week. Sorry guys – pants only (they’ll let you wear sweat/track pants/ratty jeans, but not fancy dress shorts). I preferred the buffet more. For breakfast – 4 buffet locations, lunch – 3 buffet locations, dinner – 2 buffet locations. All had the same buffet menu. I drank the water and ate lettuce – no stomach problems. There is 24-hour room service, but you must call for a menu and it could take a couple days to get it.

BARS: The pool bar (3 of them) service was very slow. I usually waited 5 or more minutes for a drink. They haven’t really caught on to the tip thing. A tip didn’t mean faster service or better drinks. They would double up on the alcohol if you asked – if they understood you. The main pool bar closed at 5:30 pm and none of the bars serve anything but beer after 11 pm. They had every drink you could imagine, but only Corona beer (no light beer). Try the electric lemonade if you’re not a tequila drinker. The beer at the pool wasn’t cold but it was at the beach. If you order from the waitress – expect at least 20-30 minutes before you get your drinks. There wasn’t much of a line at the beach bar in the afternoon. The service at the Sports Bar/Lounge was good, but the food was not, unless you’re starving. Hot dogs were cold, toasted ham sandwiches had a tiny slice of ham and cheese, sometimes with lettuce & tomato, sometimes not. The cheese for the nachos was equal to Taco Bell, maybe. I watched one person pick a hot dog off the floor and hand it to the server behind the bar. The server took the hot dog and placed in on the hot dog warmer – on the bar. It’s open 24 hours. There are 3 pool tables, but some of the pool balls are missing and the q-sticks all have broken tips. There are 2 fooseball tables – those were in good shape.

INTERNET: Next to the sports bar/lounge is a room with 3 computers for internet access. There is a sign posting a 30 minute limit, but no enforcement. However, most people didn’t spend that much time and usually there were only 1 or 2 people waiting in line. I never waited longer than 10 minutes to get on a computer. You’ve got to know your spanish to follow the links.

POOLS: Not sure where to start. Tons of pool area. Beautiful. A little on the salty side but not like the ocean. Never had a problem finding a chair – even after 2 pm, but I had to search. If you want lots of action and noise, head to the main pool. The other pools are quiet and usually more chairs available if you don’t get there until afternoon. Most of the pools were cleared by 6 pm (the sun went behind the building and it got a little chilly in the shade). Never had problems getting pool towels exchanged.

BEACH: Beautiful. Tons of chairs, but not too many in the shade that weren’t already taken. The beach in the water was very rocky, some big rocks, some deep holes. Be careful. There were kayaks, boogie boards, and catamarans for use. Catamatan lessons were $40 if you wanted them. However, if the water wasn’t safe for the kayaks or sailboats, they would not let you use them. There was a 60 minute time limit on the kayaks and 30 minutes on the sailboats. The group that operated the water sports equipment was not associated directly with the hotel. They are the same people who will book trips for scuba, snorkeling, or jet ski rental (Sea Pro Divers). They were very very nice and helpful. There was still a lot of construction underway on the beach.

ENTERTAINMENT: Par for the course. Lots of variety. The animation group (pool/beach activity during the day) was fantastic. The evening activities were less desirable. I wasn’t really sure which nights had entertainment until about 1/2 way through the week when I saw the schedule on the wall outside the main buffet restaurant.

SPA & GYM: No report – didn’t use either.

SHUTTLE TO PLAYA DEL CARMEN: No report – took a cab, $13US and always available.

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  Grand Sunset Princess   Ann

February 2008

We returned from the Grand Sunset Princess on February 9, 2008. We had a fabulous one week stay.

I will try and summarize the experience:

Check In: We had no problems with checking in, 10 minutes we were loaded up and on our way to a beautiful room. The bell hop explained the operations and was very courteous. That was a wonderful start to our vacation.

Room: The room was amazing; we had room 2142, a jr. deluxe suite. It had a king size bed and sofa, nice balcony overlooking the activity pool, that was perfect for a run back to the room during the day while hanging out at the pool. It had a big bathroom with Jacuzzi tub, 2 sinks, shower and toilet were separated by a glass door.

Lobby Bar: It was very nice, open with the tropical breeze coming through. Say hi to Saul and Nazaro, they worked hard and were very pleasant to visit with. Had some mind games that took some working on to solve, but we got them.

Restaurants: We only ate at one ala carte, Italian. We just never knew when we wanted to eat so we decided that after a nice dinner, it was just to hard to judge what our mood would be that day, opted not to do another. We heard great things about them though, especially the fondue.

The restaurants are very nice, not an open concept. You do not have to worry about the birds swooping in, and the AC was a welcome relief to the hot day. The food could sometimes be on the cool side, they need to turn up the heat lamps. But all in all the selection was great and the taste was better then most AI’s that we have been to.

Pools: What can I say, they were great. Many pools, kids, activity, quiet, swim-up rooms to many to name. We spent a lot of time at the activity pool, the entertainment staff was terrific, a lot of fun and not pushy if you weren’t in the mood that day.

Pool Bars: The staff there worked so hard all day, waitresses running around and the bartenders were going non-stop from 10 am to 6pm. We were thankful to have them waiting on us.

Beach: The beach was very nice and sandy; if you enjoy swimming you will need water shoes as there is a lot of coral. Most people that I saw just wanted the ocean breeze and the feel of being there. I know that this year most of the beaches in the PDC area are gone from erosion. This has a lot of sand, lots of palm trees, 293 to be exact. That was a question that was asked and my husband won a hat at the activity pool. Cabana’s galore and lots of lounge chairs. There is a beach bar, very busy though. I think that they need to add another as this resort continues to grow.

Sports Bar: It was very nice; it has a couple of pool tables and foosball table. Hamburgers, hotdogs, etc served 24 hours a day. There is an internet room right off it with free access, 30 min limit. Enough time to check in at home.

Shows: We never were able to make them, but heard that they were good. The staff always works hard to put on a good show.

Disco: Way to loud for me, but someone may enjoy that.

To sum it up, we had an amazing stay with all the staff that worked so hard to make our vacation a memorable one. I would certainly recommend this place to anyone that would like to enjoy an upper scale resort. It will be a huge success once all the new resort kinks are worked out. Hope that this helps anyone with the decision to take a nice trip. Just a heads up to all those who go to these AI’s there is no such thing as a (US 5 star rating) in a third world country. Keep that in mind and treat the staff with respect and you will have an awesome stay.

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  Grand Sunset Princess   Brian

February 2008

I just got back yesterday and had a great time. For the money it’s worth checking out I guess. I have been to many 5 star hotels and take my word for it. THIS IS NOT 5 STARS! It looks like a 5 star but is 3 star in service, food, and entertainment.

Positives:
1) Rooms were big and beautiful. Get Platinum room if possible. It’s closest to the beach but just the check in alone is worth the extra money, as they have seperate check in. Every day we would go to the main lobby and see people sitting there for hours waiting for rooms. Now saying that, I got my room very quickly and had no problems with the room, maid service, and except for one night, room service.

2) Pools are awesome! Clean and huge. Swim up bars Music is you want or you can go to another pool with no music. They play fun games, its great.

3) Women are beautiful! Mostly couples from Canada and US but the sight seeing is great

4) Buffets are good (not great) Restaurants were good.

5) Service was good for the most part. WHat I mean is they REALLY try to be friendly and help, the problem is there’s not enough english speaking employees so it can be frustrating at times.

Negatives
1) The beach sucks! We ended up going to Playa Del Carmen and had a great time on those beaches.

2) The Bugs can be a problem if you let them. For most of day their not around but at night they can come out some bring some OFF and don’t leave your screen door open at night. We did by mistake on the last night and my wife woke up with a huge welt on her eye and many bug bites.

3) The place is HUGE. Everywhere you go you walk 1/2 mile. Its good to stay in shape but can be annoying after a dinner and drinks and you face a 3/4 mile walk to your room.

4) No in-room internet access or cell phone signals.

Other than that have a great time. Dont sweat the small stuff!

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  Grand Sunset Princess   Martha ~ Toronto

January 2008

The resort is beautiful and the staff bend over backwards. Platinum was well worth the money, no line up for reservations, the location of our room, service, suttle golf carts, wireless internet, private pool & beach. Two extra restraunts to chose from. No charge for the Lobster not sure if this is the norm? I was the with my Husband and 88yr old mother she was totaly impressed we did bring her wheel chair so she would have to walk so much the place is so large. Great food. My only down fall is tht if you love the ocean this is not the place for I do and getting in and out was so difficult because of all the ROCK that even with water slipper it wasn’t fun and the water isn’t clear.

Rooms – Great two jet tubs one in the room the other on the belcony

Restaurants – The steak house has no steak, the Lamb was good. The Fondue was my favorite

Bars – too many to count the best drinks were at the bar just up from the beach where they have breakfast and lunch buffet

Beach and Pools – The snd was nice like brown suger the water sucked but I’m a water baby and it bugged me that that I only ventured in twice because of the rocks.

Grounds – very nice

Tours – Cozumel we took a taxi to Playa de Carman $12 and then took the ferry over for $22. return. We rented and old VW convertable for $40. from 3pm – 6:30 went around the island and stopped at Paradice Beach now your talking about a beach easy walk in and the blue clear water.amazing. Then had dinner at Pepas ? unbelievable it was sooo good (fine dining)

Conclusion – I realy liked everything about the resort with the eception of the ocean

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  Grand Sunset Princess   Dan

January 2008

We stayed at the GSP Jan 13-20. Overall everything was pretty good. Check in was quick and we were in our room quickly. Luckily it was a finished room and everything worked. It’s luck of the draw right now as many rooms are incomplete and several people had complained of having to change rooms. The hotel is beautiful, grounds & everything are kept very clean. The food is very good I would not worry, the selection is enormous (from the heart stopper specials to healthy options). The buffet is fantastic so you may not need to visit the a la carts. I think I could go on but would rather just give you tips that will help make your visit more pleasurable perhaps.

Food: book your reservation for all your nights at a la carts when you arrive. People start lining up at 8:00. The Italian was fantastic. The Mexican very good. The fondu was pretty good as well. Always good and timely service. Once the main buffet closes (2200 I think) there is only food available at the sports bar (just below main lobby). Food is pretty bad though. They only have chicken nuggests (really gross), french fries (not so good but tolerable when hungry), hotdogs (ewh) and hamburgers (fine according to the husband) and taco chips. That’s it. So I would suggest bringing snacks from home particularly if you have young children. It’s difficult to take food out of the buffet as they don’t want glass dishes outside).

Morning coffee: you can get coffee at the sports bar (it’s good but tell them you want it strong or you’ll get half cup coffee and half cup cream).

Bugs: we were on first floor, no problem, they have been spraying. There is something that bits on the beach however at night. I sat on the beach one night and woke up almost 1 1/2 days later with the most killer itchy splotches all over my lower legs. You don’t feel them bite. I’d suggest bringing but spray for night walks.

Illness: It is safe to drink the water used in drinks and ice cubes it is filtered. They suggest however not to drink the tap water and don’t use it to brush your teeth – this system is not filtered. They suggest using bottled water.

Bar in room: the bar is stocked with pop, Modela beer, and bottles of water. HUGE TIP HERE….many people complain their fridge was not filled. If you leave the maid a small tip and a note saying what you want (10 aqua, 4 modela, 4 coke light etc) your fridge will be stocked but not otherwise. I don’t think it is their job as a women came by one evening to stock the fridge. We just were never there most nights when she came.

Illness/medications: there is a store beneath the Riviera lobby that sells many drugs, bug spray, sunscreen. However, I suggest bringing your own. It’s not cheap. My son became ill and I needed cold medicine. Vicks was the only option. a small bottle was $13 US. If you have children bring Tylenol, Advil, cold medicine, gravol, kleenex (none in room), band-aids, antibiotic ointment. THere is a doctor who stays there and is available 24 hours a day. Just go to the lobby and they call her. BIG TIP: it’s $75 US a visit and CASH ONLY. We saw her for my young son and she prescribed 4 days of oral antibiotics (without swabbing his tonsils). It should be 10 days. So be careful with what she prescribes.

Internet: there are four computers in a computer room on the Sunset side. Problem is there is no one monitoring it and many people take their sweet bloody time on it. Even with people waiting! There does not appear to be a courtesy time limit. The best time is 0700-0900. Don’t even try in the evening. There are also two computers on the Riviera side near the lobby across from the store.

Animation crew: there are few activities. The main pool starts the music at 1000. The have water polo, water aerobics (well, sort of), a five minute "chocolat" dance, a crazy game (beware….they won’t tell you the rules until after you offer. Sometimes it involves drinking. Otherwise the pool is just music. There is a ping pong table they put out near the bar. Archery occurs once a day at 1130. The shows at 2130 are really good. It’s sort of the same thing, a dance crew dances and lip-sings. But it’s quite entertaining and I would recommend going (30-45 min). There was only one evening show out on the main floor lobby area. The fire show was amazing. Friday at 8;30 pm. You have to go to that!

Playa del Carmen: there is a set fee of $12 for a taxi to town. Xel-Ha: We found it difficult for a few reasons with our 7 year old. Not sure I’d recommend it for really young children. They can’t do much.

Tipping: we tipped everyone a buck or two. But I did not see others doing so. It did not seem to make a difference at the bar at the main pool. But at the sports bar and main lobby bar they seemed appreciative. I heard the maids only make $2.50 a day. The animation crew cannot leave the hotel as they only get three hours off a day. THey work from 0900-1700 and again from 2000 to whenever!

Kids club: starts at 1000 behind the riviera side. It’s a small area with a kiddie pool, small playground and table for drawing. They take the kids to the main pool and play with them just before lunch. They take them to the buffet for lunch, archery in the afternoon and other stuff I don’t know about. My 8 year old loved it! In the evening it opens again at 1900 in a room beneath the Sunset lobby. One room has five playstations, another room has large sponge blocks, tables to draw. Overall not much but it kept my children happy. You can drop them off and then go for a romantic dinner! THe staff at the kids club are fantastic and you have nothing to worry about.

Stores: there is a jewelry store, and two others with clothes etc. Prices are pretty good.
Ice cream parlor – does not exist yet sorry to say!

Spa – didn’t try it but I was told they are having difficulties especially with booking – you think you have a booking but end up with nothing.

Marble tile floors: there is marble everywhere. Be careful after it rains, it is very slippery! Rubber crocs are dangerous. Bathroom floors….the showers do nothave a lip to keep the water in and it can run all over your floor. Tuck a towel in by your door to prevent this.

Toiletries: you will get tiny bottles of liquid soap, maybe a bar of soap, three bug wipes, shoe polish….anyway I’d suggest bring two bars of soap – one for your sink and one for your shower. Bring a very good conditioner. The air is so humid, if you have any body in your hair get ready for crazy hair. Don’t even bother bringing a flat iron. Total waste. Bring anti-frizz cream and hats, pony-tail holders etc.

Oh, staff are very good, no issues. Be nice to them and they will be nice to you.

Lights…there is only one light in the jr suite room, one just above your entry door and then the bathroom. This makes the room quite dim. You will not be able to read at night. bring some sort of battery night light if you wish to read.

Well, that’s it. Don’t worry about anything it will work out and you’ll have fun. There could be a glitch with your room but expect it and just know you can ask for another one. If it reains and you are on the first floor make sure everything is off the floor. We flooded our room (water from the hallway). But before my husband could get another room key staff had come and cleaned it up while my children slept on.

Beach: sand is nice, many chairs, many palapos now (built a bunch last week). Water is often murky with plant debris and there are rocks in the water. bring water socks or plan to walk down the beach either direction 5-10 min and you’ll come to areas that have no rocks and are better for swimming. You can get boogie boars, kyaks, life jackets on the beach. (there is a bar on the beach too. Don’t think you’ll have a nice walk with beautiful scenery overhere. It’s ugly – delapitated buildings, garbage….It’s quite a walk before you come to another hotel. But just look toward the water and all is good.

Towels: you get a card when you arrive to exchange for a towel. Don’t lose it or you’ll pay. YOu can get towls out of two buildings near the pool. Does not open until 1000 though.

OK, that’s really it now. Have fun. Just don’t sweat the small stuff and you’ll love it!

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