As I mentioned, hubby and I recently returned from a 3-night stay in the Mayan Riviera just south of Cancun, Mexico. My friend got married, and I was a bridesmaid in the wedding held at the Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa. This was our 2nd time visiting this area in Mexico, the first being during our honeymoon in 2006. You all know hubby and I love cruises, so we were excited to visit our first ever land-bound all-inclusive resort! Unfortunately I have a mixed review. Here we go:
image: dreams riviera cancun
Our flight to Mexico was uneventful. A quick connection in Atlanta via Delta and badabing badaboom we were in Cancun. The shuttle transfer from the airport to the resort was uneventful but efficient. We arrived at 1pm, 2 hours prior to the 3pm check in time.
The resort looked relatively new (later we learned it was opened in 2009), and very pretty. The drive to the resort was a tad questionable. The surrounding area looked below par, then BAM! there’s a random resort sitting there LOL.
After a ridiculously long wait in the check in line (I’ve never waited that long to check into any hotel, I’d estimate 25-30 minutes), they told us our room was not ready and gave us a buzzer (like in the restaurants) to let us know when it was. They took our luggage so we could start using the resort, and met us with champagne and water (welcomed because it was humid in the main building pictured below). We decided to grab lunch at the Oceana restaurant next to the pool.
After an incredibly delicious lunch of steak and grouper (and a mojito), our friends started arriving and wanted to eat lunch, so we decided to go back and just hang out with them. At 3pm (check in time) hubby left to check on our room. It wasn’t ready, so we decided to stay and hang out. A server named Miguel really treated us well. We grew from say a table of 8 to a table of 20 and he just kept adding seats and tables and bringing us random appetizers and drinks. We laughed as people arrived and generally had a GREAT time.
Eventually hubby decided to check on our room again and it still wasn’t ready (after check in time). He checked again at 5pm (now 4 hours after we’d arrived and 2 hours after the official check in time) and they finally said our room was ready (mind you, the buzzer they gave us never went off). We were elated, grabbed our keys and head over to our room hoping our luggage was already there (since others had mentioned having their rooms but no luggage). When we got to the room it had the wrong bed set up and our luggage was not there, so we went back to the front desk and they sent us to another room, but the key did not work *ugh*. We went back to the front desk and they then suggested that they could “upgrade” us to an Oceanview room with jacuzzi & preferred club access. We didn’t consider this an upgrade since all our friends had an Oceanview room with a jacuzzi, had paid less than we had, and the “preferred club” was just a room with some snacks in it. No. We spent a long time at the front desk “talking” to the agents making sure we got the room we requested and PAID for. The agent then fixed the “non-working” key, and gave us a key to yet another room so we could decide which one we wanted. While on our way we noticed the bellhop walking (in the wrong direction) with our bags, intercepted him, took bags and went to one of the rooms (Oceanview), decided against it, then went to the room we eventually stayed in (exactly what we paid for in the first place). All of this took a total of 5 hours from when we arrived. We we were finally in our room at 6pm. Horrible.
Here’s the crazy thing about that entire experience:
- If they had the room we ended up in all along, why didn’t they just put us in it since that’s what we paid for?
- They upgraded 2 of our friends to the type of room we paid for before and AFTER we had arrived.
- Why, pray tell, did the buzzer never go off? 😐
- Why did the bellhop later tell us he thought we thought he had “done something’ our luggage since were like HALT! and took our luggage off his cart LOL!
- Why did it take us 5 blasted hours to get into a room?
Moving right along …
… the resort itself was a lot smaller then we’d expected (we had reviewed their entire website because were were excited). The views were beautiful. The one below is from my friend’s oceanview room directly above ours, overlooking the pool area.
There was a spa (which we did not use) with a gym upstairs (pictured below). The resort was nice enough to give us all coupons for the spa and wines because we were part of the bridal group, but since we were only there for 3 days, we did not get an opportunity to use them.
To say this trip was an emotional rollercoaster was an understatement. Hubby and I kept saying things were either exquisite or horrific, no in between. For example: our check in process/wait = HORRIFIC. The food and service at Oceana and all the other eventual eateries = EXQUISITE. Our room = EXQUISITE. Our shower not draining the entire time we were there = NASTY & HORRIFIC! LOL.
Here’s our room: A Premium Deluxe with Plunge – Pool Garden/Pool View. It was located on the 1st floor of building 1 opening up to a courtyard. In the photo below I’m standing on the patio taking the picture of the bed etc. that I l.o.v.e.d! The shutters above the bed opened and closed for privacy when you were in the bathroom located directly behind it (notice the orange paint on the wall in the far left of the photo … it will help orient you in the room later).
See the orange paint? Good. Like I said, the bathroom was directly behind the bed. I went into several rooms and they were not all set up exactly like this, but they all had a similar vibe and bed with shutters. The dual frosted glass doors with the separate shower and toilet room really reminded me of our room in the W hotel in Barcelona this past May.
As lovely as this shower looked it was froth with peril! You see the drain right in front of you? Well it would’ve been all fine and good if the floor slopped toward that drain like in any shower and the water followed suit. That was not the case. The water pooled on the left and the right of the shower head (see the white on the floor?) and left a “island” of dryness in the middle for you to stand on. The shower extended further to the left than you can see in this picture and it was NASTY!!! No mold or anything, but I could just imagine what monsters would be growing in stagnant bath water that is sitting there for 3-4 days. EW! That is the only reason I could figure why they didn’t want to give us this room … until our friends who got their upgrade to the same room type before told us their shower did the same thing and didn’t even have the decency to give them an “island of dryness”. EW!!!! Unfortunately the house keeping person neglected us, so we only had the water magically disappear once in the 3-night trip. No.
Moving right along (back into the EXQUISITE territory) …
… our room had a small pool off the patio. I only had time to use it once (because of time and the weather) but it was a lovely touch.
The main pools were surrounded by restaurants, a bar and these cabana bed thingies. They were perfect for just lying on with like 5 of your closest friends (they were huge), and doing absolutely nothing. Heaven.
One day they had shows around the pool. Below a disturbingly dressed clown displayed his trained dogs. Before him, acrobats balanced on and swung from the bars pictured directly behind him.
The photo on the left below is of the view from the Oceanview room we decided not to take (the one with the key that didn’t work initially during our checking in debacle). It shows the jacuzzi tubs on the balcony of most rooms at the resort. On the right is a shot of the communal umbrellas located all over the resort. You may not be able to tell from my photos, but it rained and rained and rained and rained, so much so we started calling it “squeegie city” for the giant squeegies the staff used to remove water from the walk ways. I did like the touch of the umbrellas everywhere though, so you never had to be without one but never had to walk with one because you just dropped it off when you arrived at your destination. Rain = horrible. Umbrellas everywhere = exquisite.
Now back to the EXQUISITE part that was my favorite: THE FOOD! #nomnomnom. Everything we ate was delicious and the presentation was beautiful. We’re still talking about the french toast at breakfast, and I have to say our food servers were always the best and went the extra mile. Even the bar drinks were good (although my friends suspected they were watered down).
Below is a shot of the inside of one of the restaurants on the resort, El Patio, that served Mexican cuisine. This is were we had the rehearsal dinner the night prior to the wedding. We also ate at Portifino one night, World Cafe for breakfast each morning, at Barefoot Grill (the sliders are delicious), and at Coco Cafe all throughout the day. Even though room service failed us once (long story), they redeemed themselves one night with ginormous burgers we ordered at 2 in the morning #dontJudgeMe.
Here’s a great night shot of the walk way leading from the pools to the main lobby building.
Overall hubby and I would give this resort a 5.5 out of 10. Truthfully if this had been just a trip with the two of us it would have been the worst vacation we’d ever had (check in experience, flooded shower, raining 90% of the time, no turn down service, a room service debacle etc.). We don’t see ourselves returning to this Dreams location, and since we had a mixed view of the Punta Cana location from a friend I think Dreams is no longer on our list of resort options. We don’t foresee ourselves doing the land-bound all-inclusive resort for trips with just the two of us, but we would definitely be open to trying a different all-inclusive resort for another group trip with our friends, because ultimately they made the trip what it was.
Oh and before I wrap up this review, let me not forget to say:
Congratulations Romney and Fred! May God bless your marriage and may you enjoy each other more every day.
image: dreams riviera cancun
Do you recommend any all-inclusive resorts? I’d love to know!
Until next time Glam Fam I wish you
Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Nappyness,
Disclosure: Hubby and paid for this trip with our own money. If Dreams thinks they can change our minds and wants to send us to another one of their resorts for free (flights included) click here and send me a note. Prove us wrong. For more information about the Glamazini.com disclosure policy, click here.