I want to preface my review by stating that I was getting buyers remorse about this resort prior to my stay due to some of the recent reviews I have read. Take my word for it, this is an excellent facility. In my opinion, it is the price you pay that will be the determining factor on your quality of stay. I mention this because when you pay $200/nt for a stay, your expectations are far different than someone who has paid $600 for the same room. As a spouse of an airline employee, we paid close to $200/nt for 2 adults and one child. I have seen similar rates through tour companies and some of the travel sites and this was an excellent deal. I will not review the grounds in any length. The grounds are immaculate, well manicured, and the resort is huge.
Our arrival. We were immediately greeted when our cab pulled up and they took our luggage and we proceeded to stand in line. The cab was $30 USD. We were happy that the line was short but unfortunately, it was agonizingly slow. 2 people in front of us and we stood in line for about 30 minutes. By the time we reached the counter, we were a bit miffed about the wait but without prompt, the desk employee asked if we would like a complimentary upgrade to a family suite because there were 3 of us. With the free upgrade, the line wait was forgiven and this gave the counter experience a neutral review. Word of caution, family rooms are not near the beach and have garden views only. For us, we thought the extra bedroom was a worthy trade to lose our ocean view. This makes the beach a good 5 minute walk away.
Our room was just like the pictures and I did not have any encounters with any bugs as some people have claimed. Our "family" room did not have any beer in it and although we called twice and they called us twice, no one ever brought any on our first day. Leaving $1 for the maid with small note that said "cervesa and Fanta" ensured that our fridge was loaded with beer and Fanta. (I love that stuff!) The air conditioning was adequate but does have a unique problem. It ranges from cold to freezing to off. Nothing outside of that. We found ourselves frequently opening the doors to let some freeze out but not turning the air off. Keep it off and it quickly becomes a sauna. On, and it is a freezer.
The room amenities are everything they advertise and you can easily travel to this hotel without your toiletries as they replenish everything daily. I liked the robe and slippers and we didn't experience any problems with the bath towels but they did forget to replenish the hand towels more than once. Being a geeky guy, I think you should know that our TV had a DVD slot on the side as well as a HDMI hookup and a single standard hookup. There is also a USB slot but I did not try it.
Although this review is long, I wanted to thoroughly share our experience with every aspect of it. This leads me to the food. We followed other's tips and immediately booked our dinners upon arrival. Do not skip this step! If you think you want the buffet every day, you are going to be very disappointed. Besides, try something new, if you do not like it the buffet is still open anyway. Our first night we ate at the buffet. The food was ok. Nothing spectacular but not bad. I enjoyed some of the foreign items and tried to eat with an open mind. With that being said, the goat turned out to be my favorite item. This was the last dinner I ate at the buffet. The Japanese restaurant was on the second night's schedule and it was fun and surprisingly tasty. It is not Benihana but it was good. Our third night we ate at the steakhouse and I thought I would tease myself with their attempt at a rare ribeye. My steak was fresh, delicious, surprisingly rare, overall I was shocked how much I loved it. Our next evening was spent at the seafood restaurant. This was another excellent experience and I ate 3 lobsters between all the courses. The last evening was the best and we ate at the Spanish place. I had a leg of lamb and wow! Seriously, wow! It was the best lamb I have ever eaten. Fresh, fell right off the bone, and the sauce was the perfect compliment to it. The Spanish was my favorite meal. For "non" dinners, we ate at the buffet and the sports bar. The food wasn't bad but there was nothing worth mentioning that strikes out. On a rainy day, they opened the steakhouse for lunch. I turned a ribeye steak into a sandwich. wow! Delicious gluttony.
The service. This again drops into the price you pay. I know that sounds shallow, but we found the service to be impeccable. Everyone we encountered was polite, usually smiled, and although my Spanish is extremely limited, they all were nice and excellent to us. I think that some folks who pay 5 and 6 hundred a night expect the staff to stop and kiss their feet and this can be apparent at times with some of the guests. We encountered some rude folks on our visit and I think that they are just looking for something that is not here. As a well traveled American, I was both surprised and pleased to have received the service that we encountered on our vacation. Bartenders remembered us within a day and the restaurant staff was kind, attentive, and always willing to help. Traveling with a 4 year old is not the easiest thing to do either and the staff was always so accommodating and kind to our daughter. We tipped on occasion and it did seem that this increased their attentiveness to us if that is something you are willing to do. Either way, we were very pleased with the service.
Random nik-naks and tips.
Sailboats and Hobie-Catamarans book up usually a day prior. Pre-plan the times you want to use them. If you do not have experience, take a lesson. We saw several people sail into the swimmers and swimming area and we witnessed 2 boats flip over and two other rescues. Don't embarrass yourself, pay the $30 for a lesson.
Buy a cup and bring it. I used a "stabucks-like" 20 oz cup I bought on amazon. They will happily fill anything you like, but if you don't bring a cup, all drinks are served in a 5oz thin plastic cup. There is no bar on the beach and having a 20oz insulated cup is a nice bonus.
Top shelf liquor does not cost extra. There are menus with prices for top shelf liquors but you will notice the absence of any cash registers at the bars. You can drink Jack Daniels, Johnnie Walker, Drambuie, Grey Goose, and anything else you can think of until you are sick of it if you ask by name. As a matter of fact, every drink comes with a generic alcohol unless you specify any different.
Skip any and all stores on the property. Just about everything is marked up about 30-40%. You may be tempted to buy a small bottle of rum for your room but just go to a bar and have them fill up a coke bottle or a few cups with pure rum. I filled up my 20oz mug with all rum, no ice and took it back to the room. Then pour it out into one of the Cokes they supply in your fridge.
The internet is prorated if you purchase multiple days. I was told it was $10/day so we waited until our last day. Turns out it is $12/1day 20/2days 25/3days and so forth. I found this out on the last day.
Use the 24/hr sports bar for early morning snacks and breakfasts for days of trips and tours.
The appetizer buffet at the seafood restaurant is connected to the steak house, enjoy surf and turf by mingling into the opposite side. (totally different items)
Family Rooms are not near the ocean but they upgraded us for free. Leave a tip and note for the maid...
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC