Overall we had an amazing time at this resort but a few things let it down and therefore it lost a 'star' in our view.
We decided to pick this part of the resort based on the reviews. We were looking to celebrate our toddler's birthday, and also our anniversary. We booked the hotel with the $1500 hotel credits which I will go into later. Upon arrival we were not offered a welcome drink, only towels and made to wait over 45 mins for check in. The check in staff were unfriendly and frosty, like we were doing them a favor being there. I told them I had these credits, one was for $400 off a room upgrade. We find out the next level room was going to cost me $900 extra so I would be out of pocket by $500. Quite a lot of money considering how much we had already paid for access to this part of the hotel. This extra room upgrade would have given me a swim up room, ie direct access to the pool from our room, but it was sold to us as a private swimup pool. However in fact it turns out that this gave us 'private entrance' to the public pool from our room- no other benefits- everyone would be using the same pool. We opted for our assigned room and were not disappointed. It was on the second floor- a bummer taking the stroller up and down as there is no elevators but we got used to it. The room had a good sized kitchen/dining/sitting area and large bedroom with double sinks. Outside there was a jacuzzi bath on our balcony which was a wonderful touch to the room. Every day (bar our last night) our rooms were cleaned and then the bed covers turned down in the evening with chocolates left on our pillow and extra towels laid out for us- such a nice touch to come back to a clean room after using it in the afternoon. We had a full minibar stocked with beer and non alcoholic drinks, including chocolate milk for our toddler, and this was replenished daily. We had requested milk for her and every day they brought in a large carton of milk at no additional cost. We had also arrived to 1/2 bottle sized premium vodka, rum and scotch bottles in our room. Again a wonderful touch.
We had been provided our 'personal' concierge- Lucida - a lovely lady who other than booked our restaurants for us, we didn't really use. We found out that restaurant bookings in the hotel are taken from Monday to Sunday so if for example you arrive on Wednesday and want to book for the following Tuesday, the booking would not be made, even though you think it has been- we learned this the hard way. We though we had bookings when in fact we hadn't so it was a rush to find new bookings on Monday morning for our last two days. Our choices were given to us in reverse as we were told that one restaurant was closed on the requested day- we later found out that this was untrue....... It is advisable to make your restaurant reservations on the day you arrive particularly as the hotel is getting busier so you can hopefully get the timings and dates you want.
On one particular day our toddler wanted to go swimming later in the day so we needed to change the time of our a restaurant booking. My hubby phoned The Reserve Reception and spoke to Mareila,(?) He explained our situation, and her basic answer was if we didn't take the booking we would lose it, there were no other spaces available for that restaurant that evening.- We were booked in for 6.30pm.
So he told her to cancel. After our swim, we spoke to Gabriel Bobadilla in Guest Services. He explained everything to us, including how for all bookings we should have been given a ticket from Lucida to confirm our bookings (which we never got until our last two days there), when we explained we were heading to the buffet as had no restaurant bookings, he asked where we were supposed to be eating. After 5 mins, he confirmed there was a space and we could in fact eat in Bana Sushi- the restaurant we had had to cancel. So we headed down there and we got seated immediately. We were told by the hostess that we had a booking for earlier in the evening. We explained to her that we had cancelled with Mareila but in fact she had NOT canceled the booking and it was still showing up on their system. This really annoyed us, and so did the fact it was nearly 8pm and there was so many empty tables in the restaurant having been told by Mareila earlier that the restaurant was full!!! On another day we were turned way from Vento restaurant by an extremely rude hostess when hubby showed up with sandals and not shoes. The restaurant was in the main hotel and she explained that he could leave me and our toddler waiting in the foyer, catch a golf cart, go back to our part of the hotel and change his shoes. As we had a hungry little one we said this was not an option. Another member of staff stepped in and was truly wonderful. He escorted us to Bana Teppenaki, and managed to get a table without a reservation, and without any wait time. It was my hubby's fault for not having on the 'right' shoes, but the member of staff restored our faith in their customer service.
Going back to these credits, we were given a $500 shopping booklet to shop at the mall attached to the hotel. This was only worth it if you we're planning to do some shopping- most shops sold everything we could either get in the US at cheaper prices. We also had wine credits that we didn't use and as it was an all inclusive resort we had no intention of paying extra for more alcohol. There were also casino credits, we again we didn't use because we had a toddler in tow and weren't planning to leave her with a baby sitter just to use the credits. There was also credits for a 'romantic' dinner- again you had to pay for, and we didn't plan on using these so again these were wasted on us. The only ones we did use were the Spa credits offering 3x$50 off certain treaments- 2 massages and a facial came to over $400 with the discounts. There is an 18% tax on the Spa and they take discounts off the fully taxable amount so you end up paying a little more than expected. If you manage to find a holiday here and the price without credits is cheaper than one being offered with hotel credits, my suggestion is to leave the credit option as you will always be out of pocket when you want to redeem them.
The beach was a 5 min golf cart drive away, and The Reserve offers you access to a private beach which not only was beautiful, but exceptionally clean and well maintained. We found most of the staff really pleasant, and helpful, most speak Spanish with little understanding of English so this is where you may run into translation difficulties. Don't also get sucked into the timeshare 90 min presentation- we only went because Lucidia would lose out on commission, it's linked to RCI- best google for more information there.
There are so many places to eat that you won't go hungry, our favorite restaurant was Bana Bistro which had a fantastic Thai Chicken Curry and Red Snapper Curry. Aqua served some amazing Mediterranean food, and Gabi restaurant had great salads and fish options.
We didn't utilize a lot of the the activities as we really wanted a relaxing holiday, but we did manage to use the gym- there are two, one for The Reserve guests and this was good. Hubby took a spin class- the trainer was great at pushing us both to work our bodies harder! And we got to use the Spa- our 75 min massages were truly relaxing, and the Spa facilities were wonderful. We took ice cold 'bucket' showers, used the hydro therapy pool, and took advantage of the sauna and steam rooms.
We would like to say thank you to some other staff that we never got the names off.The gentleman who brought Champagne to our room the day after my husband joked with him about the bottle he was delivering was for us and not the intended guests. He asked for our room number and lo and behold a bottle was waiting for us the next day! A big thank you the Kids Zone staff who looked after our daughter so well, and understood our fears of leaving her with strangers for the first time. Not only did they change her diaper, feed her, they put her down for a nap without me having to leave a long list of requests. They were wonderful. Thanks to Angela Mercedes for such good service. But the biggest thank you goes to Gabriel who arranged a surprise Jacuzzi bath filled with bubbles and petals for us, a bed full of petals, and another bottle of bubbly waiting for us after dinner one night. And to Andrit, in the main resort Buffet restaurant.She was exceptional- she arranged a birthday cake for us without us asking, and had our toddler's high chair decorated with balloons. And arranged for the staff to sing happy birthday to our toddler. We were meant to be in a different restaurant, and she arranged this surprise without us knowing- even going even as far as tracking us down with the change in bookings. These two members of staff truly made our holiday and our toddler's birthday memorable. We will be returning- just after we have saved up again ;-)
We asked for a King bed but ended up getting two doubles put together. This worked for us as we had...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.