Reviews summary

( 11537 reviews)
  • 2.5 room
  • 4.5 pool
  • 3 beach
  • 3 service
  • 5 dining
  • 3 amenities
  • 1 value
  • 3 food
  • 2 cleanliness
  • 1 location

14 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog

2.5 at best, and i have vistyed many resorts in Cancun with great experiences

Reviewed Thu 11th of July 2013

"Cheap Caribbean writes :" If you want luxury, this hotel is the answer. From a personal Jacuzzi on your private terrace, to an over-sized canopy bed on the beach, you'll relish every moment at this resort." This is completely false advertising! You mist be a VIP member for these upgrades (at a considerable cost). No canopy bed, jacuzzi. My first night: building 6: a room overlooking a dirt road and broken down fence, small patio. 5 minute walk to the beach, that is rocky and not well kept. The food is mediocre at best. Service is terrible. Only 2 people working poolside.... takes on average 20 minutes to get one drink. The vodka is some off brand, upgrade when you ask is Smirnoff. They will only give you ONE very thread bare pool towel, and it will cost you $30 if you don't return it and get your plastic card to prove it. I am not kidding! I was moved the second night to a better room with a partial view (which Cheap Caribbean guaranteed me in writing when I booked). to call the front desk at 4 PM because it was not cleaned my third day. I had The servers at the reserved restaurants clearly are trying to serve too many tables; so expect a wait. This "resort" is operating on a lean budget and it shows in the service, upkeep, and food/beverages. Many guests said they were stuck up front, with long walks to the water, some said the AC did not work or patio doors would not lock. I did speak with Cheap Car. and asked to be moved... I would pay extra for a nicer place. I was informed that there was a two night penalty from Blue Bay if I moved. (Only here 5 nights so not willing to eat the resort fee). This is my third trip to Cancun this year, I have been here over 9 times. They advertise free water sport non motor but when I asked to do they wanted $10 per person per hour for non motorized. Felt completely taken and ripped off! Also, the front building smelled like sewage. The front "sports bar" had at best 10 people in an area made for 300. The bar itself had 5 chairs. The outside pool bar up front was a service bar. .. no place to sit at it. No swim up bar, no hot tubs, plus: the large pool at the back of the property is very nice. "

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Tue 9th of July 2013

Rating breakdown

  • 1 Location
  • 1 Beach
  • 1 Room
  • 5 Pool
  • 1 Service
  • 1 Value
  • 1 Food
  • 2 Cleanliness

mexico river mayer may 2010

Reviewed Thu 13th of May 2010

"Hotel was of good decor. Staff were really friendly and pleasant at all times.even though they work long shifts.
Food at hotel was very good. Good choice at all meal times. Well displayed and prepared. Very clean and hygienic Staff.
Only problem with this hotel is that we were accomodated at the back of the site, and it felt like you were just sitting around an apartment in spain sunbathing round the pool, but once went to seafront after short stroll, felt more like it should do, tropical and exotic. apart from this, very good holiday. Was on the first floor in the block and lift wasnt working the whole week we were there, so that was a bit annoying in the 37 degrees heat.
Cleaners did a brilliant job, and staff were always happy. all this hotel needs is a better variety of evening entertainment, there was only the sportbar that had entertainment every evening but after that all that was on hand was a disco for the younger ones, nothing for the more mature to do after 1030pm or no other room available to go and sit."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Wed 12th of May 2010

Rating breakdown

  • 5 Beach
  • 4 Room
  • 4 Pool
  • 5 Service
  • 5 Dining
  • 3 Amenities
  • 5 Food

I arrived at the hotel slightly tired by...

Reviewed Thu 14th of February 2008

"I arrived at the hotel slightly tired by the long 10.5 hour flight to be greeted by the bell boy who loaded our luggage and directed me to the reception - check in was very speedy and staff very friendly and informative. My first impressions was that the hotel looked exactly like the brochure and the staff were so nice I felt immediately relaxed.

My room was close to the beach and within a short walk to the main pool. The room was very clean and had a huge walk in shower, large fluffy white towels, bathrobe, hairdryer, double sink. There was a flat screen tv in the bedroom, mini bar stocked daily with juices, beer and soft drinks - all complimentary if you board fully inclusive. Everything in the room appeared to be new as we had a little trouble opening drawers etc. We discussed this with our concierge (all blocks have one based on site) and was told our block had only been open for 3 weeks.

On our first day we decided to laze around the pool to chill our after our long flight sadly no sunbeds were free nor on the beach. The only way to get one is to get up early latest 7.30 am. A lot of guests are putting towels out the night before or up very early and putting a towel on the loungers. Slightly annoying when you see that some of them are not even used during the day but an inconsiderate guest has claimed it with a towel. There is also a smaller pool near to the lobby which doesn't get so busy but very quiet and beds are touching the adjoining bed so no space to turn the bed.

There are various speciality restaurants - Mexican, Italian, French, Steak House, Mediterranean and Oriental plus the main buffet restaurant which offers a huge variety of food - all excellent. Dont expect Chinese food in the Oriental - very disappointed with that restaurant. The food and service in the Italian and French restaurant were excellent along with the service.

We had many a good night in the 24 hour bar - purely from chatting to people and making friends - very little night life otherwise in the bar apart from the odd show - put on by the staff.

I was staying at the hotel for my brothers wedding who got married on the beach in front of the hotel - it was perfect and we all had a wonderful time followed by champagne and a meal in the Italian - chosen by the bride and groom.

Only a couple of faults were that the hurricane that hit in 2006 damaged the sea bed so the beach wasn't very nice covered in seaweed which was cleared every day but back again the next. The water wasn't clear so no snorkelling and to be honest not pleasant to swim in as you get covered in seaweed. The hotel needs more staff as you have to wait a long time for a drink around the pool and for service in the buffet restaurant.

All in all a lovely relaxing holiday and the wedding was well organised and very romantic"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Thu 14th of February 2008

This hotel is set in the most beautiful,...

Reviewed Thu 24th of January 2008

"This hotel is set in the most beautiful, spacious surroundings, with the opportunity to be driven about by very helpful bell boys, if required.

The rooms are very comfortable all with lush garden views, however we experienced many grievances, remains from the previous occupiers were left in the room, the balcony door didn't lock and wasn't fixed until we had a few dealings with the rep, the tv didn't work, the hairdryer kept cutting out after only a minutes use, this was reported to the rep and to reception on few occasions, it didn't get fixed until twelve days into our holiday when it was catching on fire. The 'Do Not Disturb' sign kept going missing so when we locked our door for privacy the mini bar filler and maid would continually knock and call out until you let them in the room.

Our beach towels were removed from the balcony, which you are charged for if you do not return them to the pool area, this meant yet more time wasted in Reception. Roomservice proved problematic at times.

Bathroom accessories only filled on the first half of the holiday. The lift in our block was often out of order.

The two swimming areas were immaculate with a good range of activities held around them daily. Unfortunately until near the end of our holiday we were having to get up around 6am in order to get a sunbed as there was not nearly enough for everybody. The brochure stated waiter service around the pool and beach area, there was hardly ever one to be seen on the beach and only one that bothered to go around everyone around the pool, unlucky if he wasn't working! Also somedays coffee would be served, other days we were told to get it from the restaurant, of which was closed at times.

The beach looked unsightly with sandbags lining it, and we expected clear sea in the Carribean Coast. However there were a variety of water sports offered.

Food throughout was almost unfaultable, shame the same didn't go for the service. On most occassions in the buffet restaurants we were sat at dirty or incompletely set tables, waiters very slow with drinks, usually having to have approached them first.

There are also a la carte restaurants in the evenings, we attempted Italian, after more than 30 minutes waiting past our time slot we gave up as there were still many before us. We ate in the Mediterannean, no drink offered throughout, the waiter brought out our mains when we still had our starters at the table and the cutlery hadn't been set.

We also ate at the Steak bar, again there was a delay, the vegetables and potatoes were served cold. The Mexican was definately the best restaurant, food and service were fantastic. There is also a French restaurant, which we chose not to eat at.

The main 24 hour sports bar regularly had only one barman working behind, obviously this meant waiting long periods of time for a drink, and regularly serving people that clearly hadn't waited as long, but were holding tips!!!! The wait was not so long around the pool bars but still a little more than expected.

We were very disappointed with night time entertainment, even comparing to lower starred hotels we have stayed in.

Only a taxi ride away is Playa del Carmen, here there are lovely beaches, lots of shops and excellent night life.

All trips organised by First Choice were very well organised and a pleasure to go on them. The dolphin trip is a must!!!!

We believe this hotel has the potential to be spactacular, but it seriously lacks organisation and a managerial backbone.

We felt let down that we spent more money by going with a reputable company and was so let down."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Thu 24th of January 2008

2 stars resorts

Reviewed Sun 2nd of December 2012

"1. There is no beach yet in resort.
2.The water height of the sea in the area of our resort was below about knee level, which made it impossible to swim. Furthermore, the water was covered by seaweed. The construction machines that were cleaning the water worked from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., blocking the beach, making noise, and causing air pollution. The noise of these machines could even be heard in the pool area. Please refer to the pictures provided along with our letter.
3. The part of the cost, named beach, was not safe - there was broken glass and construction material in the sand.
4.Constant spraying of toxic gas against cockroaches and mosquitoes. (I will publish more pictures later)"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Thu 2nd of November 2006

Great Experience

Reviewed Mon 12th of November 2012

"Not a five-star yet, but a good, clean, friendly, modern facility that is building towards a very strong property. We had read most of the reviews before booking so we weren't surprised - except positively - by the soft opening status. In our last visit to Mexico a year ago, we had spent 5 days in Nuevo Vallarta at the Grand Velas - one of Mexico's most highly-rated properties ($700 US per night!!!) so we had an extreme benchmark to use for comparison.

At the the Gala, we were eagerly greeted by staff in crisp white uniforms (and not with their hands out, but just eager to please). Overall, the staff was very, very friendly but not "service-sophisticated" like the staff at the Grand Velas - but this may come in time as the staff team gels over time. Most of the staff speaks some English - but not enough for comfortable service communications in my opinion. Thank goodness there were three Canadian girls on their entertainment staff that helped all the English-only speakers (like us) enjoy our stay. Nikki and Amanda are from Toronto and Corina is from 100 Mile House in BC - great young ladies.

The room we had was an ocean-view suite and was very comfortable, spacious and quiet with two bathrooms, a living room and a very, very comfortable king sized bed. Each room had a remote-controlled ceiling fan and remote-controlled air conditioner, although the a/c controller was difficult to understand and use. Our room had a full covered balcony with a single-person jaccuzi hot tub tucked next to the sliding door to the bedroom. One complaint here - there was no privacy between our balcony and our neighbor's - their tub virtually butted against ours without an intervening privacy wall. It would have been tempting to use the tub more, especially since the evenings are sooooo nice there, but the lack of privacy on the balcony just made us hesitant. We were able to fit us both in the tub at once, but we are smaller statured people and anyone over six feet tall would find it uncomfortable.

Each room had a remote-controlled wide-screen LCD TV which had about a dozen English speaking channels. Most TV shows are old (a year or so old) but the news and sports are current. CNN, Fox, CBS, BBC and ESPN are available plus others. For kids there are some games channels.

Bathrooms. In the "living room" bathroom there was a walk-in glass shower, a toilet and a sink - nicely presented with lots of room to move around. In the main bedroom bathroom, there was a deep soaker tub, toilet and sink but it was more compact. The tub is very difficult to get in and out of and if you have any difficulty in this area, it will present a problem - as we heard some guests describing. The lip of the tub is very high and wide. One thing that was very positive was that there was plenty of water pressure and hot water and there was no temperature surprises when both bathrooms were in use. The water faucets are wonderfully simple and accurate. The bedroom bathroom had a built-in hand-held hair dryer and a telescoping magnification mirror. The shampoo and conditioner are very good quality.

Food. We were there for 14 days and never got tired of the food. The three formal restaurants are very, very good. Presentation is world-class and the last meal we had was probably one of the best I had ever had - anywhere. In any major city, you would pay between $50 to $100 for the plate and feel great about paying the tab. Desserts were very good, service was without hesitation.

Each restaurant presents a different atmosphere but all are a bit stark and need further decoration to bring out their respective themes. We avoided sitting at the "high" tables at the French restaurants due to the comments from a previouse reviewer - and we heard from other diners that they are uncomfortable. The "bar" seats are just fine and connects you with the chefs - it really is the better optionin my opinion. The Mexican restaurant is open-air - meaning no glass in the windows and an open courtyard in the center of the restaurant. If it's raining (November) the Mexican restaurant will be an iffy choice. Also, the open-air concept can lead to some mosquito problems if there is no breeze - which there usually is. The French and the Italian restaurants are fully enclosed and the Italian restaurant has an incredible chandelier - it will grab your attention. Wine of your choice is available with dinner.

Room service is available - free - but we never tried it. The room has a bar fridge with cold drinks and beer - also no charge.

The buffet is very good and the food is typical of most buffets - it begins to get cold pretty quickly. The breakfast spread included fruits, cereals, fresh juices, a selection of eggs, sausage, meats, and Mexican standbys such as refried beans and always pork, chicken and beef sides. We usually opted for a custom omlette or for pancakes/French toast to ensure the meal was fresh and hot.

For lunch and dinner, the selection was good, and always had fresh pizzas available and hamburgers and hot dogs right from the grill if you want them. Otherwise, it was a choice of chef's selections from staeks to fried chicken. Desserts choices were different every day, from cheesecake to rice pudding. And fresh fruits, always fresh fruits. The service at the tables was prompt for coffee, tea or drinks and the facility was very airy and comfortable (see the picture). The buffet facility is right next to the pool and the beach and there is always a very pleasant breeze to help cool you off.

Bar Service: no limits. great staff. Seek out Ricky the bartender and he will make any drink you can think of, in any strength you need. Poolside service was a little weak but the servers were soooo pleasant.

Pool: There are two big pools open right now - both very adequate and just the right temperature. The design of having the lounge chairs sit on a ledge around the pool - in about six inches of water - is brilliant. The umbrella situation is of concern - not enough of them and the ones that were there were troublesome, usually requiring a staff member to help open them. If the breeze gusts up, the umbrellas take off, so they have some decisions to make about this area. We found that after ten days of tanning, we didn't need the umbrellas, but for all of you who arrive for a shorter stay, an umbrella is a must. We learned to "anchor" our lounge chairs and umbrella early (before 9 in the morning) with some clothes and towels - and keep it all day. They need to triple the amount of umbrellas - good ones.

One pool has aquacycles in it and the entertainment crew is always holding stretching or aquacycle sessions - free of course. You can also try out scuba gear in the pool and snorkeling just off the beach. There are two waverunners for rent

Construction: They are finishing off one residence building and some other buildings up by the main lobby - the activities do not affect your stay at all.

Beaches. Like other reviewers have mentioned, many of the beaches in the Mayan Riviera were devastated by category 5 Hurricane Wilma last year so resorts up and down the coast are trying to recover and rebuild - a very difficult job. The beach is usable - but not yet pleasant. There is usually a crew of a dozen laborers on the beach every day removing the undesireables from the beach and ocean bottom - one piece at a time. They should be done soon.

During our 14-day stay we saw a considerable improvement. Two properties down the beach - at Secrets Capri - the beach is better for swimming at this point but frankly, most folks just hang around the pool. There are plenty of very comfortable lounge chairs on the beach and lots of palapas for shade - the sea breeze is wonderful. You can enjoy the beach without having to go in the water - and bar service is just as available there as around the pool.

Spa. My wife enjoyed an hour-long massage each day for the final week of our stay. They are building a new spa building so the massages were done in the Presidential Suite building - right on the beach. Victor and Victoria operate the spa - two very nice and competent folks. Your wife will love you for the treat - I highly recommend it - $60 per deep-muscle massage session; worth every penny.

Internet. There are two computer stations in a spacious office off the main lobby for public use as well as an unsecured wireless network so your laptop will work just fine in the lobby. There is another wireless network near the main pool but it is a weak system and you have to seek out the best spot to use it. We found that you could grab the network if you sat down at a table right outside the poolside bar. But there is no electrical outlets for laptop powerpacks so you will be on battery. We used my laptop with Skype to call home - it worked just fine but it is not free from Mexico (2.4 cents per minute) so you will have to "fill up" your Skypeout account before you can call out - usually a $14.00 CDN fill up from your Paypal account. All in all, we used about a dollar's worth of phone time. If you use the hotel's phone, it's $4.00 to initiate a long distance call. Cell phone calls can be very costly.

Car Rental. There is a car rental service on-site ($55 per day, includes insurance, unlimited mileage - you pay for gas). Rent for three days and the fourth day is free - that was the current promotion. $55 per day is pretty typical.

Concerns: it would be nice if they had an organized shuttle to Playa del Carmen ($12 taxi ride each way) or to Cancun ($40 taxi ride each way) several times during the week. We found out too late (on our last day) that there is a "shopping tour" bus to Cancun every morning at 9:30 for $28 per person that takes you to the Cancun malls and flea markets. This would be a good choice - and fun I'm sure.

Prices for stuff in Playa del Carmen are all over the place and bargaining is a sport. Some shops post "fixed pricing" but many don't and it's up to you to seek out the best value. We focused on one item and visited every jewelry shop on 5th Avenue (20?) to see what the price range would be - it ranged from $80 down to $23 for the identical unit - so be prepared to work for the best price - if you can figure out what the best price is. If in doubt, and you need to "anchor" there is a Super Walmart about 10 minutes walk from the fifth avenue shopping district.

Also, beware the Mayan Properties time-share salespeople - they are everywhere, from the time you step out of customs at the airport to every street corner in Playa. Just ignor them and keep on walking - or better yet say something in Klingon to them to throw them off - they are really annoying salespeople and you DON'T want to get sucked in to their 4 hour presentation!

The Grand Gala Esmarelda holds no bad surprises and probably, like most folks we talked to, you will leave very satisfied, very tanned, a few pounds heavier and sad to leave some of your new friends - especially those charming Canadian gals and the wonderfully warm Mexican hosts.

It was a great two weeks.
Rob and Suzanne, Kelowna, BC, Canada."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Thu 26th of October 2006

way better than we prepared for

Reviewed Mon 12th of November 2012

"we researched this hotel after we booked & were very skeptical about our decision. however, we decided to make the best of any situation for our much needed romantic getaway.
we thought the lobby was phenominal!!! we thought it was gorgeous..not the typical lobby, just a place to check in & admire...the rest of the "hotel" is quite a ways from the lobby.

ok, so the restaurants were excellent ( a different one each nite).
the service was great & the food delicious!
the buffet (breakfast, lunch & some nites dinner) was very well stocked & we had no problem at all with the choices.

there were not that many people there so we were treated great, more on a personal level (i think that when all rooms are filled, they may not be so personal)
part of the hotel grounds were still being worked on but it wasn't so bad. the drinks kept coming & the pools were so refreshing & huge, we had one all to ourselves one day (again because of the soft opening, not that many guests). the beach has a lot to be desired but they were working hard & i had no problem laying there basking while watching others work.
hope you enjoy if you decide on this resort.
oh yeah! beachside & poolside waitresses concepcion & another great gal i cannot remember her name but she had the prettiest smile you will know her when you see her."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Tue 17th of October 2006

Awesome Time at the Grand Gala Esmeralda!

Reviewed Wed 28th of November 2012

"Prior to our trip, I had been watching the reviews about the Gala. I was very discouraged by what I read. However, I would like to say that I was pleasantly surprised. We had a wonderful time!

The staff was amazing and met our every need. We could get a cart to wherever we needed to go within minutes of calling. Our drinks were always kept full! The rooms are very clean and the beds are so comfy! The pools were great and very clean...lots of space. I have no complaints about the food. I understand the need to only have one restaurant open a night at the present time because there really were not very many people. The French and Italian restaurants are excellent.

There was some construction going on while we were there but it was up by the lobby and well away from the rooms and the pool area. It did not disturb us at all. The ocean, as people have mentioned, does have some seaweed floating around. Daily the workers were working hard at clearing away what they can. Honestly its just a 2 minute walk down the beach to an area that you can swim.

I was very happy with our choice to go to the Gala and would not hesitate to book again!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Wed 4th of October 2006

A good resort with room to grow.

Reviewed Tue 11th of December 2012

"My spouse and I recently stayed for one week in a deluxe garden-view room at this new resort operated by the Gala Resorts chain. We were aware that the resort was within its' "soft opening" phase and not expecting perfection. Unfortunately, however, the week we stayed coincided with a visit from the television program "Fashion TV" which meant a visit from a number of regional models and an entourage of others. The result was that the owner rode around the resort on his bicycle, and even took on disc jockey duties, to ensure that his newest resort would receive the inevitable publicity that would be garnered from hosting the television program. Predictably, the paying guests suffered.

For example, one evening all a-la-carte restaurants were closed to the guests, as they were hosting the model group. The only place to eat that evening for paying guests was the buffet-bar, which we reluctantly attended, but when we arrived, we learned that very little food was available, as it had being sent to the a-la-carte restaurant where the models were dining.

Another example of disappointment among paying guests was that Mexican Independence Day (September 15) was entirely ignored by the hotel. This is particularly surprising as you would be hard-pressed to find an establishment in Mexico anywhere from Tijuana to Acapulco that failed to put together some kind of event to mark the festivities. It was not until some guests from Toluca, Mexico, and us complained, that the hotel hastily opened a makeshift disco at midnight that, because of lack of information, only fifteen-or-so guests attended. Our recompense was to be a bottle of champagne and grapes. In contrast, the hotel hosted a spendid closing party for the models the following day that it was anticipated some two-hundred-and-fifty people would attend.

The food was average-to-above average depending on whether you ate at the buffet-bar or one of the French, Italian, or Mexican, a-la-carte restaurants. The buffet-bar is mediocre-to-average at best as the food is somewhat cold and selection limited. Mercifully, there is no limit to the number of a-la-carte dinners that a guest may attend. Accordingly, we ate at the French, Italian, and Mexican restaurants whenever possible. I say whenever possible because even though construction on them is complete, the hotel generally only operates one per evening. Having said this, they are all above average in both presentation and taste.

My spouse and I, who are fluent in English and Spanish, were surprised that while many staff members speak some basic English, you will be hard-pressed to find someone who is truly fluent. This is reflected in the litany of spelling and grammar mistakes seen on the various signs, menus, check-out, and other documents used throughout the resort. One would imagine that a resort which markets itself as the premier all-inclusive chain in Mexico, would be able to hire at least one individual who could read and write in English.

The staff is generally very attentive and courteous. We cannot recall a negative experience with any of the many waiters, cleaning staff, maintenance staff, or room service staff we encoutered. We anticipate that if you are courteous to them your politeness will be reciprocated. The only glaring exception are the "Galavants". This is what the hotel calls the staff that is hired to run activities and encourage guests to participate. We were annoyed to see the Director of Sports turn away an Australian guest who wanted to play beach volleyball so that he and another employee could start a 2-on-2 game against two employees from the motorized water sports company the hotel allows on-site. This "employees before guests" attitude would be unacceptable at a resort anywhere else. We were also surprised to see him repeatedly disinterested in including children who obviously wanted to participate in beach soccer games because it was more important for him to win than be inclusive.

Finally, we were disgusted to observe him kissing an intoxicated female guest while another Galavant insulted her repeatedly during the course of the evening. There are some diamonds in the rough, among the Galavants, however. One such gem is Jose Luis Mora, who appears to genuinely enjoy motivating people to participate in activities. He is one of the only employees in his group who comprehends that his role is to enhance the guests' vacations. My wife and I often remarked that if we were the owners of this resort, Jose would be promoted and the current Director of Sports would be fortunate to keep his job. The owner would be well served by spend less time playing disc jockey and more time watching what his employees are doing on the beach and in the clubs.

As far as the facilities are concerned, the rooms are excellent. The pool is particularly remarkable and many stress-free hours could be enjoyed there. Regrettably, the beach, as previously reviewed, continues to be of no use as far as swimming is concerned. We called the resort prior to booking to specifically inquire about the condition of the waterfront and were absolutely misled. We were told that people bathed (swam) in the ocean. In the week we were there, we did not see a single individual enter the water, unless he was an employee working in construction. My wife did brave the murky water for five minutes but eventually surrendered to the vast algae and seaweed. Essentially, if you do not mind restricting your swim to the pool facilities, they are first-class and you will have a wonderful time. However, if you are an ocean lover and absolutely must swim in the ocean, under no circumstances should you visit this resort until the beachfront is completed."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sat 16th of September 2006


Reviewed Wed 28th of November 2012

"Me and my boyfriend just came back from there early September 2006. It was a nice place but they have a long ways to go before they could be classified a 5 star resort. We have never been anywhere before so we are not picky. Staff here was very plesant. Major problems were:

1. Construction is ongoing everywhere still therefore its not at its best apprearnce.
2. Beach sucks. The water is gray and full of seaweed. A week there, and i have not seen one single person swim there.
3. Four days straight i found HAIR in my food. I didnt complain I would just order something else, but on the 4 consecutive day-its disgusting.
4. Majority if their food from the menu is not prepared there, it comes frozen (ready made). Their pizza was cold and cardboard thin.
5. They have these swamps with some trees and bushes that they want to preserve there as their (decoration). The swamp is redish and stinks and full of insects. They spray this reeking insect repellent with a blower that smokes for kilometers everyday to control the insects.
6. The fridge, towels, bathroom, and room cleaning are done at all different times each one! We asked that they clean everthing in the morining but that never happened.

I think that in about 5 years this place will be good and considered a 5 star."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Wed 13th of September 2006

Resort is far from ready but we had a blast made the most of our trip

Reviewed Sun 2nd of December 2012

"Lobby- is nothing to write home about and you dont even get 1 smile when you get off the bus. It was at that point i looked at my husband ( this was our honeymoon)and said no matter what we make the best of this vacation. We did and had a blast.
It is hot in the lobby but your not there long enough.
They do offer drinks now ( in the lobby), not when we arrived but on our last day we were impressed they listened to suggestions.
Our initial room was awful view to a dumpyard.
Met up with the Coba concierge "Marco" and he set us up in a beautiful room with ocean view. (there are select staff that really do care and make your stay more comfortable)

The air conditoning is fabulous, fan is a little possessed goes on out of no where , we were barely in the room and when we were we'd laugh. (makes up for the entertainment they're lacking!!!

Room is great overall clean, comfortable beds, sheets awesome.

Beach is filthy, they're working hard to fix it. In the meantime if your booked already and want to enjoy the ocean, just walk over one hotel or 2 to manderin or secrets capri much nicer beaches.

Resoort Entertainment is ok, So we went 3x to Playa del carmen, shopping there senor frog is cute for good music it right on the beach. Playa del carmen is near by it's 10-12 one way US. We would pair up and split it with other people from the hotel total of 12$us both ways instead of 24 Some drivers try to get more $ from you stay firm on the $12 max

Another day we went on the Coba Jungle tours it was great, tiring at first but it gave us some really nice memories.
other fun free things were the Sailboats super fun &kayaking and the wave runners and scuba diving is great but we paid for that.

Food, Nothing like other 5 star places but you'll find something to eat everyday and they have 24hour room service, We ordered things that werent even on the menu and we got it. That was great feature! Even cereal and milk @ 3a.m. it was funny.
Cappucino & coffee is great they dont tell you about the icecream but its greattt they have coconut and chocolate.
As other reviewers mentioned you get eggs made to order and pasta and pizza everynight which is helpful the days you can't find anything.
My husband brought them vodka from the bar along with some of their other ingredients and showed them how to make penne with pesto rose sauce and vodka it was great. If your polite i say theyre open to trying anything you like.

There were days we ate guacamole like we were going to the chair funny all the guests we spoke to agreed , as much as we love avocado you can only eat so much. Grilled fish is amazing with the rice and the tomato basil salad beside the guacamole. We discovered this the second last day before we left and we were hooked.
They definately need at least 1 english speaking staff in every section we speak spanish fluently and they still dont understand , it's annoying but it's part of the fun, my husband spoke up any time we had a problem and we were very well taken care of. Forget having an attitude make a few friends with the staff and you'll be very happy.
Manuelito for drinks, umbrellas by the pool
Marco for anything in your room
Cecilia for room service problems- we are vegetarians and she really took care of us..
Internet is free in the lobby and its really cool in there...
If were missing any info your needing drop us a line....
[email protected]
last thing i have to say is its no iberostar or other 5 star resort we've been to with options of international buffet amazing entertainment, its a different vacation and yes when your paying for ALL INCLUSIVE you'd like to get all inclusive but they're not EQUIPT TO PROVIDE ALL THE SERVICES THAT ALL INCLUSIVE RESORTS PROVIDE.
Thats all for now folks gotta get back to work.
Nathalie & Isaac"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Mon 28th of August 2006

Great time

Reviewed Wed 24th of October 2012

"After being frightened by previous reviews we nervously arrived at the resort to be very pleasantly surprised. Seriously, I'm not sure what all of these people are complaining about ... and we even met another family who said they had read the reviews, too, and were confused!

To begin, we have been to Gala Playacar, Iberostar Quetzel, Copacabana, and a Rui in PV so I have good comparisons. This was my favorite vacation of them all.

Yep, the lobby is a little bland. There is a decent breeze so I wasn't uncomfortable and they brought us a fruit drink at check in. We were only in the lobby at check in, to catch a cab to town and check out so it really wasn't a huge factor. (I get the feeling some people were just looking for something to complain about?)

Yep, there's construction going on. It's pretty clear on their website that there is construction going on so we were prepared - and understood that this is why the rates were so low. It was not loud and other than seeing trucks along the beach (a bonus for my son!) we hardly noticed.

Our rooms were absolutely beautiful. We had two suites (each suite cost the same as a standard room anywhere else b/c of the "soft opening") and they were clean, spacious and had great views. We found a fresh fruit bowl and bottle of wine waiting for us when we entered the room ... a very nice touch.
The linens are outstanding ... I have never had such quality sheets outside of a Ritz or equivalent. There was a tub in one bath and big shower in the other in each suite. We had coffee makers, stocked mini bar, plenty of towels and super powerful ac. The ceiling fans were a little wierd (somethings they go on by themselves) but only a small inconvience. The railings on the balcony were low by the jacuzzi and that was a little scary. Also there were low railings by the elevator so we had to really be careful with the kids. (Which reminds me, there are elevators in all of the buildings and not the scary, dark kind .. pretty glass open to pool/beach view.)

This is a small resort in comparison to any we've been to and I loved it. The distance from the lobby to the room seemed far b/c there were not rooms along the way. Anyplace else we've stayed it's as least as far it's just that there are rooms spread out. Here, all rooms are close to the pool and beach. Because the main restaurant was by the pool, we hardly left the area and there was very little walking, which is great with small kids. If you are looking for a wild time or want lots of "action", this is not the place for you. Looking for a place to relax ... have small kids ... I think you'll love it.

The pools are amazing. They cleaned them every morning (sand crabs would fall in during the night and they'd fish them out and give them to the kids if they wanted them!). Never crowded ... we spent most of our days there.

Oh, the beach. It's in pretty bad shape although they are working on it and one section had improved significantly by the time we left. If you walk down the beach one resort over, they have a cleared beach area and we swam there ... huge cool fish swam with us! There's also a pier to walk on and I heard if you walked "past the second pier" the beach was open and beautiful. The kids also swam at the beach in Playa Del Carmen when we went into town.

I don't understand the complaints about the food, either. There certainly wasn't a huge selection but it is a small resort so there are not so many people to feed. Everything I ate was really good. My kids loved the "staples" - eggs made to order, pancakes and french toast made to order at breakfast, hamburgers made to order with french fries at lunch and pizza everynight at dinner. Fresh fruit (I miss the papaya!) with every meal, pasta made to order at dinner and the great grilled fish were my favorites. Also, espresso and good red wine (surprise!). The specialty restaurants were surprisingly good ... none of the other resorts we have been to offered such delicious, beautifully presented specialty meals.

One more thing. Even though kids club wasn't supposed to open until Sept, they had it going in a suite and the kids loved it. They made friends and would all go to kids club together to swim, play video games, etc. One day the guy in charge even had them together at lunch!

We had a great, relaxing time and hope to return (I would book the swim up suite next time ... really looked like fun!)"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sat 26th of August 2006

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  • Lbank by Lbank

    "Stay at another resort, this is overated ! Insist on a room near the beach at a minimum "

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