Travel operator: TUI
Travel operator: Tui
Hotel tip: No it is the worst resort we have ever been to
I would suggest that there are many better resorts in the area.
Food was ok, and service good.
Lots of building going on in the area.
Swim ups not worth the money as the pools are too cold.
Travel operator: Thomson
Hotel tip: Book somewhere else
Got upgraded to Premium block on arrival from bog standard jacuzzi suite -suspect we were offered it because it had two relatively small double beds rather than the widely advertised king sized bed- which the (much) younger visitors would definitely prefer!! Had a FANTASTIC view from the room balcony (510) altho' the large jacuzzi being in the bathroom meant no long soaks admiring the view with a glass of bubbly. Loads of space with very efficient air conditioning.
Service was excellent - room was kept immaculate, restaurant and bar service were usually prompt and friendly plus the drinks service on the beach was OUTSTANDING.
Food was generally good if a bit variable -we had the best meal of the holiday at the Mexican near the end of our two weeks -but also had a not so good night there. Overall we preferred the Garden Grill and the Oriental a la cartes .We went to the Gourmet Pub once, but didn't really understand where the menu was going -seemed a bit haphazard to us!Also found it a bit offputting to be sitting right next to another couple.We felt that the complex could do with one buffet restaurant in the evening -would have been nice for a change to just walk in ,grab a plate of something and then go.
One thing that I did find strange was the lack of real orange juice at breakfast -would seem de rigeur for a 5*!!
The lack of a comfortable bar area for the evening was also a bit strange - a small bar in the Reception area would solve the problem -we used to take a drink in there from the bar for a quiet 15 minutes at the end of the evening.The two bars were busy,noisy and had nowhere comfortable to sit (unless you like sitting on a swing!!)
As many others have commented sunbeds are an issue - we went down before breakfast to "book" our sunbeds at the quiet Southern end of the beach -already there were many towels on beds by the pools and the main beach areas. One problem is that some people reserved both a beach bed and two sunbeds;also some selfish souls reserved beds and then only used them much later in the day -presumably they were in swim up rooms which lost the Sun in the PM.
Didn't see the shows -we are early to rise,early to bed types and didn't avail ourselves of the spa - but seemed very pricey!
Overall good holiday but don't think that it was outstanding enuf to return.
PS no issues with the hard sell for the Exotic club mentioned by others- a few "invitations" to contact our Concierge about "wonderful discounts" pushed under the door.We talked to one couple who had "invested" ~ Â£6000 for membership -but have never used the benefits because the Thomson package still came out cheaper!!
Travel operator: Thomson
Hotel tip: You can get your concierge to book ALL the restaurants in advance -we only found out when back in the UK.
We first went to Mexico some ten years ago, since then we’ve been to DR, Cuba (X3), Jamaica, Antigua, Bahamas and Grenada.
The hotel was one of the first drop-offs and we were greeted by a cold cocktail and a towel before being taken to the meeting room for a brief welcome and check-in meeting. In the meantime our luggage was being taken to our room.
We hadn’t booked a swim-up room but were in one of the blocks (38-41) – first floor, 3816. The room well maintained, all the usual refinements including a large walk-in shower with powerful jets.
Maid service daily did a good job, always leaving plenty of towels and towel art, minibar stocked daily.
The resort itself is nicely-sized; you can walk the length of it in just ten minutes or so at a slow pace, and mostly on the flat. Blocks 25-34 are nearer to the beach, but I would suspect the only the top floors have a sea view as the grounds are well cultivated with palm trees and vegetation, giving the whole area a “jungle” feel.
There are a couple of racoons who live in an area at the south of the resort, and a lizard about halfway along the main walkway who must be the most photographed lizard in the Caribbean!! Other wildlife is pretty random, but I only saw ONE Cockroach in all my time there!
OK, so to the important stuff, as I mentioned earlier, the swim-up rooms on the ground floor have the lazy river running in front, with the swim-up bar halfway along. This bar also has a terrace area accessed from the dry side for just sitting and drinking, they also serve afternoon tea and cakes there.
The main bar area is towards the front of the resort, adjoining the courtyard restaurant (Sandwicherie) further forwards in the same area is the Entertainment stage and it’s here that they show films at night.
There is another bar along to the right as you face the beach; it’s associated with the beach grill, opens at 1000, and closes at 5.
Far to the left, at the other end of the resort, is the bar by the lap pool, smaller and more intimate, opens at 1000 and closes at 2300.
There are also bars in the international restaurant and a Margarita bar in the Garden restaurant. Most top-shelf liqueurs, with the notable exception of Baileys, but even Mrs Mg was happy with the replacement for once!!
House wines, South American Red which was perfectly OK, and they have a house Chardonnay which is drinkable, we didn’t feel the need to pay extra for anything off the wine list, which to be honest were VERY overpriced!
Which brings me on to the restaurants, firstly, the Sandwicherie. Situated on the ground floor alongside the main bar area, open for continental breakfast and lunch. As the name suggests, lunch of burritos, Tacos and a burger menu, pizzas and salads. Gets busy around 1300, but leave your name with the host and they’ll come and find you when they’ve got a table.
Next, Arrecifes, on the ground floor, next to the Sandwicherie, indoors, breakfast, lunch and dinner, billed as “International cuisine” – we actually only ate there twice for dinner and once for lunch, nothing wrong with either meal, but we simply found that over the two weeks that we developed our favourites, one of which was: Klay Talay.
The Oriental – Upstairs, above Arrecifes, great food here if you like your Chinese. They also brought out the occasional “chef’s treat” such as tuna Carpaccio or other sushi bits as tasters between courses, we liked the service here, very friendly, another of our favourites was Vida.
The garden Grill and Margarita lounge open for Breakfast, lunch and dinner, we absolutely loved this place!! – a great menu at all mealtimes, my favourite was the Caribbean take on Prawn cocktail, but I also loved their BBQ chicken with blue cheese, MRSMG liked the salad bar, great steaks at night and the “Surf and Turf” was worth paying the few more pounds for. They did us proud on our anniversary evening dinner with a special cake!!
Mia Casa was the Italian, behind the reception area, near the Lap pool and its bar. All in all another favourite of ours, dinner only, my wife likes her Italian food and we had some great evenings here.. all the usual stuff on the menu, alright, not probably the most authentic, but still enjoyable. Alongside is La Carreta, the Mexican restaurant, not one of our favourites, to be honest we were a little disappointed, finding the service a bit dour and the food a little bland on the two evenings that we went. Perhaps it’s a taste thing, others that we met really enjoyed it.
One more to mention was The Beach Grill. Open for lunches, Burgers, grilled meats and fish (catch of the day), salad bar, baked potatoes, fries etc. – we did a couple of lunches here, but mostly preferred to have a more formal lunch.
There’s also a man on the walkway at the back of the beach at lunchtimes with a trolley and he serves Tacos.
All in all we found most of the food to be either good or very good, there were one or two meals that we didn’t like but that’s bound to happen over two weeks, you certainly won’t go hungry!!
Service, again mostly good or very good, we tipped when we’d had excellent service.
We “tested” room service one night after we’d met a bunch of Scandinavians who were in party mood – we ordered pizzas, toasted sandwiches and bottles of cava for ten of us, it phased them out that we ordered it to be brought to the bar area at 0200, but they duly delivered and we all ate and drank!!
Slightly disappointed with the beach, hurricanes have taken their toll, eroding a lot of the sand away, but the resort is doing its best to rebuild the area, the best bit of beach is towards the south end (turn right). There are loads of beach loungers and four poster beds and the sun is out from about 0700 through till about 1630 at this time of year. There are a few rocks in the water which makes it a bit difficult to walk out, but after the first twenty feet or so it’s easier and the sand doesn’t really slope away.
Plenty of snorkelling to be done, there is a daily supervised swim out to see the coral. There are also loads of fish that will swim around your legs, bumping into you, wanting to be fed – smuggle some bread out from the restaurant! Also, watch out for the Barracuda, he’s friendly!!
There are other free non-motorised water sports, kayaks, dinghys etc and for a few dollars more the locals will offer Ski jets and speedboat trips.
Waited- on service for drinks starts at about 10 am and carries on through the day.
One nice thing about the beach was the absence of beach vendors trying to sell you stuff all day.
Two main pools, the large irregular-shaped activities pool alongside the Arrecife restaurant – the usual activities here, with the usual music all day, swim up bar and poolside games, OK if that’s your thing.
The Lap pool, at the North end of the resort, quieter, loads of Four poster beds and a Jacuzzi alongside, drinks service from the adjacent bar.
And, of course, the “lazy river” with its “halfway house” swim up bar.
I treated Mrs to a couple of treatments for our anniversary, she came back to me after a massage, manicure and pedicure and announced that it was one of the best spa experiences ever!! I certainly felt a good vibe as I dropped her off.
Loads going on all day!! From 10.00 till late in the day, there’s all sorts, from Snorkelling, Kayaking, massage lessons, dance lessons, Spanish lessons, volleyball, football, bingo(!), quizzes and other stuff to keep you amused if you need it, otherwise, just chill and read a book.
Evening entertainment, some stage shows, "Mr&Mrs" type games, some movies, big screens with sport, later usually a Band, or a DJ, or Karaoke, one night turned over to a Mayan festival night, with dinner for everyone on the beach (but most of the restaurants were open as well).
We didn’t do any this time, we’ve done them before and all we wanted was a lazy time on the beach, BUT, the resort is handy for all the important stuff, Tulum, X-Caret, X-Plor, Xe-La and Cozumel.
We toyed with the idea of a night out at Coco Bongos in Cancun, but we couldn’t be bothered with the travelling there and back – there is a Coco Bongo in Puerto Aventuras though.
Our last experience of Mexico was 10 years ago and we had some rather poor memories – NOT, I hasten to add of the staff, who were all friendly, but of our fellow guests, some of who seemed to have left their manners at home and were inclined to treat their hosts as second class people. Thankfully on this trip we saw little if any of that. ALL the staff we encountered were polite and seemed happy in their work and the guests (mostly British and Canadian, with a smattering of Europeans) were also polite – overall a great atmosphere all over the resort!
A word about cleanliness, absolutely NO complaints. Public areas tended hourly and stocked. Staff in food areas wearing gloves, regular hand-washing and customers offered hand sanitizing gel at all restaurants.
We don’t “do” welcome meetings, but met our reps Jimmy and Savannah around the resort – we didn’t need to trouble them with anything (or indeed the “personal Concierges” that are assigned to each block) – clearly an indication of how much we enjoyed this holiday and the lack of problems that we had.
OK, so we weren’t told about the building works, but it’s common knowledge that there is a new block being built at the moment with a view to opening in the summer of 2013 It’s a five story block at the North end of the resort, behind the Vida Garden restaurant. Word is that it is being driven by a travel company and will be aimed mostly at UK guests.
There is some noise during the day, it certainly affected our lunch one day as there was a delivery of fresh concrete, the work goes on until seven or eight in the evening and the adjacent blocks (15, 16, 17, 18, 41and 40) will be most affected. They turn the walkway music up to offset the noise during the day.
When finished, there will be 100 more rooms, with another restaurant on the ground floor, I also believe that there is a new reception area being built and the present one will become another bar/restaurant.
Not sure how a high-rise will fit alongside the rest of the resort (which is all three stories), presumably some of the higher story rooms will be marketed as “Sea view” with a higher price tag... many folks who have been returning to the resort for years are afraid that the big increase in guest numbers will spoil the atmosphere that is somewhat unique about this resort.
SO, OVERALL, A great holiday! As I said at the start, we’ve been to lots of places, up to now there’s been only one place that we’ve been back to, but EDSS is DEFINATELY on the “will return” list.
Well done to all the Staff, I couldn’t single out one in particular, You’re all stars!!
Booked a Premium upgrade with FC. Flights on time but aircrafts past there sell by date (very worn). Cabin crew on both outbound/inbound journey very attentive . No complaints.
Rooms - booked a swim up room, but if we returned we would just opt for the standard garden view room as we didn't tend to make use of the swim up. Huge bed (6ft) and the most comfortable we have every slept in and draped with voiles. Double Jacuzzi (filled on arrival) with bottle of champagne on ice waiting for us. Mini bar, on arrival filled with soft drinks, water and beer. We requested beer and water only thereafter which was no problem. Fridge filled every day. Plenty of storage space which housed the room safe, although not very big but did big enough to store an iPad, money, passports, jewellery etc. Iron/ironing board also housed inside the wardrobe (although never used it). Bathroom - double sinks, huge shower with plenty of hot water, bathrobes and toiletries (replenished whenever required. Now, I know we like clean towels every day on holiday BUT we were receiving clean towels 3 times a day, and at one stage counted 18 clean bath towels in our room! Had a word with our concierge. Who sorted the problem out. Well, not really a problem, but storing them was! Also received turndown service every night . Which was a nice touch. If you’re not happy with your pillows they also have a pillow menu (choice of 6 pillows to choose from).
Food - Everything was a la carte (no buffets) and the food everywhere exceeded our expectations. We tended to have breakfast at Vida. On the whole very good service apart from 2 days before the end of the holiday. Staff appeared to be disgruntled and not very happy for whatever reason. We only had lunch 3/4 times as we found that come dinner time, we weren't really hungry and only needed a snack, which is when we used room service (available 24/7) which was also on par with quality of food served in restaurants, although a bit limited. NB you can only order drinks on room service if ordering food. Cleanliness of rooms - everything cleaned to a high standard, no problems whatsoever.
Pools/beach - This was my only disappointment, although it didn't impact on our holiday. There are 2 pools (activity and lap pool, latter being the quiet pool). Both pools we found to be very small in comparison to what we are used to. The activity pool (only spent a couple of hours here) and as the name suggests is where they hold zumba (much to my husband’s delight!) volley ball etc. This pool also has a swim up bar. Lap pool - this is where we spent most of our time. Four poster beds and sunbeds are dotted around this pool (very close together) and also has its own bar. However this wasn't a problem on the first week and always found a space, but on the second week hotel was busier and the towel brigade came out in force early in the morning to claim their space. No problem just spent couple of days on the beach where 4 posters and sunbeds were still plentiful. Beach - not the best of beaches (plenty of sandbags to view) Beach near the lap pool is walled off giving no access to the sea. If you walk further down to the right you do have access, although access into the sea can be quite rocky (take sand shoes) Drinks service around the lap pool was exceptional. No need to get your own drinks! Waitress (sorry can't remember her name) was lovely and always remembered what we were drinking. On occasions she would also come around with a cold flannel in the afternoon to cool you down and Panini’s during lunch time.
Staff - well what can I say? Having been to Aruba 2 years ago, the staff at the EDSS are the most hospitable people we have yet to come across.. Nothing is too much trouble for them. Not one person passes you without “hola”. They are truly lovely people!
Would we return. Not sure, but that is simply due to the size of the pools and the beach, although beach is not down to the resort, but never say never.
If you are looking for lovely accommodation, great food, cleanliness and wonderful staff... book. You won't be disappointed!
Entertainment/activities - Evening entertainment basically consisted of karaoke, Name That Tune, Fire Show on beach, Reggie band on beach (left a lot to be desired) Groups (some of which were pretty good, others rubbish) Perfect Couple Games (amusing!) and a couple of other shows. Problem is the shows seem to get repeated on a weekly not fortnightly basis.
The begining i think....
Arrived late afternoon following long journey. Taken into the reception area and seated with an ice cold glass of sparkly wine. Very quick to check-in, room cards and safe keys as well as hotel map all given and explained. Taken to our room (about 400yrds away!) by golf cart. We were in room 2102 which as we got our bearings found to be very well placed.
First impressions of room was wow, very clean, large, well laid out, with everything we could possibly want during our stay. Large shower, separate toilet, large double wash basins and mirror area with hairdryer. A living area with sofa, foot stool, coffee table and lamp table complete with huge lamp. Into bedroom area, very large bed (super king size), dressing table and writting paper etc, large cupboard/draw unit which contained the mini-bar and coffee maker. Medium sized (about 32 inch) LCD flat screen TV with cable channels. Bedside tables with lamps on both and then the crowning jewel - the large spa bath.
Room had loads of storage space, double wardrobe and plenty of drawers. The room has A/C which is operated by remote control which was handy as sometimes if you left it on at night you would wake up chilly in the night so could turn it off without getting up!
We were ground floor so had a terrace with nice wooden patio furniture and a hamock.
Throughout our stay we found our room was ALWAYS kept in tip top shape, and for once we decided to save our tips till the end, so even without tipping from the start our maid kept the room lovely with new towel art and flowers EVERY day well and truely earning her tip!
Any toiletries we used were always replaced, the coffee maker was always cleaned and stocked and the mini bar likewise, it contained two each of Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, and a local beer as well as four bottles of water. As we never drank the beer or the diet coke we left a note in the fridge on our second day asking for extra coke and sprite and no beer along with $1, this we duly got on and off for the duration.
Some people have commented on the rooms being dark and damp, we had no problem with either of these issues, however the lighting is mainly by lamps and wall lights which needed switching on at various places around the room, once all lights were turned on the room was well lit. The weather wasn't always humid whilst we were there so we had no issue with damp in the room, nor did we smell the "sulphur" smell that others have noted. The only SLIGHT issue we had was that the water in the room/shower is salt water which i found was not great for my skin or hair however i found the answer was to simply take a bottle of water into the shower with me and use it to rinse my hair after washing.
So, moving on!
The complexe is nice and small which means that it was not too busy and was easy to get around, everything was within a minute or two from wherever you were.
Yes while we were there we did see building/renovation work going on. This was cause for many a complaint to the holiday reps, however, we noted that the work they are doing is upgrading/renovating the existing buildings so there were no heavy machines or anything, just hand tools, and paint brushes!
They appeared to be moving along rapidly from one end to the other with this work and by the time we left they were just starting work on the block next to us, we still did not find this a problem, working NEVER started before 8am and workers downed tools at 6pm. Some people did appear to let this bother them somewhat but why let it spoil a lovely holiday?? Im sure the work must be nearly complete now also.
Food, well what can i say, save your elastic waist bands for the end of the holiday as by then you will not be able to button anything else up!
There are five resturants.
For breakfast you can eat in the outdoor sandwicherie, Vida the garden grill or Aricefes the international. All lovely with a wide choice of both Al a Carte or buffet. Lunch likewise. All five are open for evening meals. The Asian Klay Talay was by far the best in our opinion and we ate there about 50% of the time. We didnt have a bad meal in the whole two weeks in any of the resturants, we found all food to be well presented, well cooked and tasty. Service was 99% of the time great, on one occasion in the Italian we found they were very busy and service was a little slow, but they are still very polite and always talk to you, asking if you have had a good day etc. We never had to wait for more than two mins for a table and we ate in the evenings anywhere between 5.30pm and 9pm.
Evening entertainment was low key but good, each show was well presented with dancers etc that were very good at thier job, there was normally a live band on each evening also at the swing bar. The entertainment team work very hard both day and night.
Onto the beach! Well i have to say i have seen nicer beaches. However, it wanst as bad as i was expecting following some reports, the sand is not like powder but people have mentioned being unable to walk on it as it was so sharp, well we managed just fine bare footed. There are simple loads of loungers and beds on the beach, we never reserved any and never went to the beach before 9am and always got a bed or loungers.
If you walk right to the far right hand side of the hotels beach and enter the water there, swimming straight out and then following the sand bank you will see some amazing fish, the water gets no more than 1.5mtrs deep and was clear even on a windy day.
I could go on with this review for ages, but if there is anything i have missed that someone would like to know then just PM me.
Overall we found this to be a wonderful hotel, the people are very friendly, about on par with the Cubans! We would recommend this hotel to couples both young and old.
Travel operator: First Choice
Travel operator: First choice
The rooms were clean and air conditioning was good. The rooms are a little dark but there are plenty of lights etc, and it all adds to the romantic feel.
The beach was good and the beach beds that line it are pure luxery. The sea is shallow and full of coral so not that great for swimming, but the pools are all good.
We didnt stay up alot for the entertainment but the team were fab and the game shows they put on were great.
We would definatly go back.
Travel operator: First Choice
Some rooms have the lazy river and a small plunge pool to each room which looked very nice.
All around the resort there are four poster beds draped with muslin and on the beach aswell, also around the main pool. there are also lots of single and double hammocks set under the palms for shade.
A very clean hotel with a small reception but plenty of people there if you need help.
I have to say that the rooms are very damp and our clothes always felt damp,as did the bed which is one of the reasons I would not return.
We found out on the second week that you can put the air conditioning on a "dry" mode, which did help.
The trouble is the humidity is so high that we could never have the doors open as all the glass was covered with moisture in seconds, and the floor was swimming within minutes, very dangerous as it made it so slippy.
All this is a pity as the rooms are really nice, albeit a little on the dark side.
There is a laundry service but when I looked at the cost, well, forget it and take your handwash stuff !
The room service is excellent and all part of the package, even the mini bar, which is most unusual.
There are several restaurants and we found the food to be excellent and very much styled in the gourmet mould so beautifully presented and unusual dressings which were lovely.
We didnt ever have to wait more than 10 minutes for a table and the waiter service was first class.
A word of warning with regard to the wine list which is always offered at dinner, the wine is extremely expensive, i paid 55 usd for a Rosemount Reisling !!!
so think before you order. The house wine is ok but iI just stuck to spirits, which again are included and made very well, especially the Margueritas !
As for the location,well there is nowhere to walk to and i was very dissappointed with Playa Del Carmen. However if you do want to go shopping to this town, go with Lomas Travel as it was only 12 usd each for the round trip and you get 3 hours to shop.
You will find Lomas in the room next to reception along with the other operators.
However if there are 4 of you it can work out better to get a taxi, and you should pay no more than 20 usd one way, but agree the price first !
Apparently there are some really good restaurants in town should you fancy a meal out.
I could not fault the staff, and did not feel obliged to tip all the time.
The things I found difficult was that an awful lot of people from over the border in the States were extremely rude to the staff, and I mean to the point of being quite racist, they were also very loud and attention seeking all of the time.
And you had to be up pretty early to get the beds and sunbeds to beat the Americans !
The system the hotel has regarding the pools is that the staff put rolled up towels on every bed around all the pools, if the towel is laid out it means that bed is taken, and it works very well.
As to why i would not return, is more to do with it definitely being totally geared to couples and also because of the damp rooms. And I realise now that actually Europe suits me better, but I wouldnt say "dont go", as we all expect different things.
If I have missed anything I will put it in the Caribbean Forum.
Travel operator: First Choice
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