We traveled to SRB for a total of 6 nights; traveling with two other couples – 6 of us total. We arrived at the resort around 2pm; greeted with champagne & a cold towel. The rooms were not ready; we were told to come back at 3pm to obtain our room keys. We immediately headed to the lunch buffet to grab a bite to each & change into our swim suits. The landscaping, grounds & the visual aspect of SRB are top notch. Lots of vegetation, plants, palm trees, etc.
Food / Breakfast – Only one option for breakfast, unless you want to order room service. The breakfast buffet is excellent. Omelet station & smoothie station included. One nice perk is you can sit outside overlooking the ocean while eating & drinking coffee.
Food / Lunches– For lunches; we mixed it up between the buffet & the beach grill. The beach grill serves burgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, grilled fish, french fries, etc. It is more of a quick bite to eat versus a sit down meal; however the food was really good. It was also very quick service; which I will get into more detail later. Also, the beach grill did not require any sort of dress code; swimsuits were acceptable. The lunch buffet required a shirt, sandals & your swimsuit had to be dry. Plenty of choices; they had some of the same choices each day & also mixed in new items as well. The Panini sandwiches are excellent; as they will make one for you on request; just tell them what you want. We did eat lunch at the Now Larimar one day; it was nice to sit outside & eat lunch.
Food / Dinner – we ate at all three restaurants at SRB; plus 3 restaurants on the Now Larimar side. We all agreed the food was good; above average for an All Inclusive resort. While the food was above average; the service was not. As of party of 6, we knew that getting a table would be a challenge; however we were pleasantly surprised at each restaurant it was not an issue at all; and the wait was on par with other guests. We quickly learned that the service at dinner was on “Caribbean time.” Meaning, nothing happens quickly, it takes a while to get your dinner, drinks, appetizer, etc. Getting a glass of wine was a struggle at each restaurant. At one restaurant, the server knocked a glass of water all over my wife’s dress, didn’t bother to get additional towels, help etc. It happens, however just a tad frustrating; we had a good laugh about it later that night. At the Now Larimar Italian restaurant, we had to use the flashlight on our cell phones to read the menu. However, the issue was that the server requested to borrow our cell phone to give to another guest so they could read the menu as well; we thought that was strange.
Room – the room was average; no issues. We have stayed at AI’s resorts with nicer rooms; but the SRB room satisfied all the requirements. Two sinks in the bathroom, huge shower (note that the shower did not have a bench; so ladies have a hard time shaving), a separate room with a door (privacy) for the toilet and bidet. Our room had a small Jacuzzi tub outside on the balcony. We never used it; it seemed a little small for two people. The balcony had two chairs & a little table. The room had a flat screen TV sitting on a dresser, king size bed, sofa, chair & coffee table & two nightstands. The closet had an electronic safe, several shelves & large area for hanging clothes. We had plenty of room to fit all of our clothes & personal belongings for 6 nights. There was a ceiling fan with a light over the king bed & the A/C worked very well. One concern that has been mentioned on other reviews, the lighting in the bathroom was not very good for putting on makeup. The bathroom did have a hair dryer, makeup magnifying mirror and the usual toiletries. The mini bar was stocked with beer – local brand presidente, water, diet coke, sprite, orange juice, club soda & orange fanta. A small can of Pringles potato chips is left each day. Our room included two robes & slippers, which were comfy. Also a small coffee maker, coffee, cream, sugar, etc. We received turn down service the 1st night & the last night; but nothing in between.
Pool – There was one large main pool that included a swim up bar & a lazy type pool that looped around the resort. The lazy pool; actually is was more of a river, tended to be more serene & relaxing. The main pool was busy with the swim up bar, people drinking & the entertainment crew playing pool games late in the afternoon. I would not classify the main pool as big. Not too many chairs around the main pool, it you wanted a particular spot or chair, you would need to get down around 8am to reserve it. I thought the resort could create more space around the main pool to put additional chairs. We were able to “secure” the same spot everyday; thanks in part to the pool cleaning employees & pool servers (Yolanney & Angel), who knew where we wanted to sit & reserved them for us = a big thanks to them.
Beach – We are not “beach” people, as we prefer the pool. Nerveless, the beach is beautiful. Plenty of chairs & palm trees to provide shade. A bar is located on the beach as well. We did take several walks on the beach; the water is crystal clear, very little seaweed, & the sand is extremely soft. The water was calm.
Bars – We, including the group we travel with, opt for premium liquor when partaking in alcoholic beverages. Having said this, we were extremely disappointed to learn that the resort did not have Crown Royal, Grey Goose or Baileys just to name a few. In addition, the liquor they did stock would vary from day to day & from bar to bar…for example, one day they would have Absolute Vanilla Vodka, the next day it would be gone. This happened everyday; in fact some days we had to wait for the “liquor Tonka truck”; which was a little Daihatsu mini truck (swim up bar). This truck shows up around 10-11am every morning with cases of beer, liquor, etc. Keep in mind the bars open up at 10am; so if the truck didn’t come until 11am or so; you could only drink what was left over from the previous day. This was a little frustrating, having already been to another Secrets’ Resort & other AI’s (Excellence, Palace Resorts); one would think Crown Royal would be included in the premium liquor. Also, all frozen drinks are premade from machines – sort of like a daiquiri bar. Compared to other premium AI’s, each frozen drink is made in a blender. You can taste the difference. Another concern were the small plastic cups that are used to serve drinks. I am not talking about Acrylic cups, but rather the small clear silo cups- maybe 8 ounces. All drinks are served in the small plastic cups, so if you order a long island ice tea, get ready as it will be all alcohol – not enough room in the cup to mix everything. Plastic cups are only used for pool/beach area, glass is used for dinner or the lobby/La Habana bar.
Service – This is where SRB stands above the others. The employees that provide the service are outstanding. The service at the pool/swim up bar was fantastic. Knowing our concerns regarding the premium liquor issues; we had a bottle of Crown Royal brought in just for us on the 3rd day of our trip; however our group did not remember drinking all of it Angel & Yolanney – pool drink servers, did a fantastic job of not only serving drinks all day, but communicating to us in a friendly, funny & enjoyable way. Juan Manuel did an excellent job of ensuring our stay was pleasant; the swim up bar tenders where always singing & dancing. The entertainment team was also enjoyable; including our group in several afternoon pool events. Every time you saw Speedy or Mickey Mouse, they would have a smile & ask you how you were doing.
In summary, we don’t think our group will stay at this particular resort again. Having said that, the only reason we would even consider coming back would be the employees who work at this resort – Yolanney, Angel, Juan Manuel, Mickey Mouse, Akon, and Speedy. The above made our stay enjoyable & provided memories we will not soon forget.
Please note that my intention is to provide a thorough review; several items mentioned above may be considered nitpicking. Nevertheless keep in mind that each person/group has their own personal preferences of what is expected & important to them when researching or visiting an AI resort.
Pros – Service from the employees, food, grounds/landscaping
Cons – alcohol is not premium, long waits during dinner, plastic bar cups,
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC