We traveled with our kids (5 and 2.5), my parents, and my sister. Before going to Mexico (but after my parents booked the trip), I read the reviews for Emporio hotel. I was really worried. I had read reviews about bad service, bad food, and cockroaches. I prepared myself for the worse. I am making the time to write this review because my experience was so different from that of those who wrote the negative reviews.
I loved the hotel. The rooms were spacious and very clean. Even the toiletries were good (I usually use my own shampoo, but used theirs here.) They even place a new bottle of the water in the bathroom each day. The floors tiles were the marble-looking stones, and gave the room a great feel. The beds were comfortable. The linen was clean. I never saw a single roach (except for in one of the man-made little fish ponds outside), nor did any other patrons tell me that they saw any roaches.
I had read that the food was the same all the time . In fact, the options were plentiful. So much so that even those of us, in my family, who eat vegetarian or low-carb found plenty of options. (The only time that I felt I didn't have a lot of options in the main restaurant was at lunch, when much of the food was meat-based. But then I could go to the pool restaurant to order guacomole, fish, quesedias, etc. ) For breakfast, there was always at least 10 hot dishes- with some variations. In addition, there was always plenty of fruit (melons, oranges, grapefruit, bananas, apples, etc.), different yogurts, cereals, fresh nuts, granolas, juices, coffee, tea, and some other stuff. Even if it was the same thing everyday, how can the option of 30 plus different things be limiting? It wouldn't be any better if they had only 10 options each day just to be able to vary it. (and for someone like me who did not eat all the many many meat dishes, I appreciated the security that some of the vegetarian dishes were always going to be there.)
I also found the service, overall, to be great. There were definitely variations in the service. Some waiters were more pleasant. Some took longer to bring our drinks. Sometimes we did not get the right order of drink. While that may not always be pleasant, I figure that we cannot expect such perfection anywhere- especially on busier days. (Our 7 day trip overlapped with a long weekend in Mexico.) Some of the pool staff took more initiative and others had to be called a couple of times. But overall, I would say that the service was good. In particular, some of the waiters and staff were really friendly and helpful. The supervisors also walked around the hotel (the restaurants, cabanas, pool areas, etc.) and checked with us to make sure that everything is OK. Of course, not everyone spoke English, but there were usually supervisors around who were fluent in English.
We reserved a cabana every day (it was included in our all inclusive). That was great, too. Yes, there are merchants that try to sell their stuff all the time (worse on the weekend.) But most of the time a clear "non, gracias" or a shake of the head would do it. If you want to lie down and take a nap or be completely left alone, you have to go to the pool area. But the beach is where most of these people make their living. I did not mind being interrupted- perhaps because, having two little kids, I am not exactly counting on a whole 30 minutes of uninterrupted rest.
The air conditioners did take a bit of time to work (both to cool down or to warm up, if the room had gotten too cold.) But they definitely worked in the three rooms that we had. The air conditioners are loud, but they drowned out the loud and sudden noises from the main street that is behind all these hotels on the strip. So, in fact, we had the air conditioner fans on the strongest (loudest) while we slept in the room.
Twice we needed service in the room (the first night, we had no hand towels and I had to call for them. Also the first night, in the middle of the night, the smoke alarm went off for no reason) Both times, someone was sent upstairs within minutes of our calling them-- I was definitely expecting more of a delay there, but I was pleasantly surprised.
The line-up for checking out does take long (In fact, it always took a while to speak to the concierge/ front desk staff.) They were also very reluctant to allow us to keep one of the three rooms for an extra two hours after check-out (even though they were not full) without an extra charge. My mom did finally convince them to let us do this, but then our cards were automatically deactivated at 1 p.m. anyway, and we had to go back to the line-up.
I expect some glitches in any trip. This place was clean, spacious, beautiful. The three pools were clean. The grounds were full of trees. The staff was friendly. The drinks were plentiful. We did tip- and although I don't know what is an acceptable rate (tax and tip is supposed to be included in all-inclusives), I am sure that our tips were not overly generous. None of us felt sick from the food. My kids thoroughly enjoyed the trip. I was sad to leave.
The beach along much of the Bay has a strong overtow and is not suitable for small kids. We did not bother going to the parts that have calmer waves. Once you pass the overtow, though, the ocean swimming was generally great. (except for the diesel run machines...) I swam in the ocean every day.
I would definitely go back to Emporio. I really loved it.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.