this was a friend trip (eight of us total, all in late twenties) and our second all-inclusive experience. the food was incredible, the service phenomenal - we were literally handed champagne as we stepped out of the car and a cool towel that was scented with lavender. way better than the last place where we had to pour our own drink and the towels smelled weird.
instead of standing at the counter to check in, our concierge guy led us to a beautiful seating area overlooking the resort and took our drink orders before having us sign the required documents.
the resort is immaculate and yet I never (as at our last resort) saw anyone cleaning - really great service. we never had to do reservations for the restaurants except for the tampayaki (sp) table (that's hibachi) in the asian place. ALL OF THE FOOD WAS INCREDIBLE. I ordered something like three appetizers each night and never had anything that wasn't good. We ate at the asian place, the mexican place, the pool bars, the seaside restaurant, the french place, and the buffet and everyone was satisfied and happy at every place. they did a special dessert and serenade at the Mexican place for our friends' birthday - so cool!
the club/discoteca was super cool (you can rent hookah!) and had a great atmosphere. we danced here at the end of every night! at our first resort last year, they were playing songs from years ago and there was no videoscreen - this was a welcome change!
the shows were super lame except for the mindreader guy - he was cool and it was a good show. the others were very poor - think weird costumes and lip syncing - but there's so much else to do so we just did other stuff instead. they had live bands in the mexican restaurant and the bars so that was really cool to hang out and listen to all of that.
the entertainment team was FABULOUS - shout out Alejandro! we did the crazy pool game, volleyball, water basketball, yoga, dance lessons, kayak tour, and water aerobics and LOVED all of it.
service everywhere was fantastic. room service is free and arrived in no longer than 20 minutes, even at peak times. eggs benedict and fruit plate with honey and granola were the best for our group. they roll it in all fancy and have such great attitudes about serving - very welcome change from our resort from last year!
amenities were great - I wore the bathrobe pretty much always in the room. beds way comfortable, good TV channels to choose from, and a constantly re-stocked fridge with water, coke, diet coke, sprite, and Coronas. rooms were cleaned well.
our friends got a swim-out pool and really enjoyed it - they don't lead to a larger pool as some resorts do and are pretty private and secluded - perfect!
our balcony had an amazing view - I ate breakfast out there several mornings to watch the sunrise. truly epic.
we got massages at a place outside the resort (literally right out the front gate to the left, less than twenty steps away from the resort) called Healing Hands and it was PHENOMENAL - best massage my friends and I had ever had - and for $25 for an hour! Wow. One of the best hours of my life. A friend went BACK the next day for another one!
They say you can't walk back and forth from Secrets to Amber during the day but as long as you don't carry the wrong color beach towel nobody knows the difference, nor do they seem to care. totally awesome, since the Secrets side had a slightly better pool/barefoot grill area (and no kids, which is nice.)
The only thing that would give me pause about returning was the beach. I'm quite the beach snob, having been to White Sands, Turks & Caicos, Cancun, Cozumel, etc. - so take this with a grain of sea salt - but the beach sucked. the sand is brown and sticky, and has lots of ants and crabs. the water is the ocean - so greenish-brown, not see-through or anything. they took care of the beach really well and the water looked pretty with the sunsets on it but it's not a beach I would choose to return to - it reminded me of Galveston or Padre beaches - not places I would return to either.
They did have cool rentals - the "banana" boat was a hit with our group, as was the floating iceberg and trampoline (so fun!) and the water was the perfect temperature - but again, not really a beach I'd return to.
The vendors were OUT OF CONTROL, standing RIGHT in your view from your beach chair waving crap at you. They can't come on the actual hotel reserved beach but they're still there, and in your way, and it takes the classiness of the hotel down several notches to have them standing there. Also - I get that you're selling horse rides on the beach, but seeing them stand there all day with the fleabitten dog also took down the classy factor a bit. I've never seen vendors swarm like this - really obnoxious. One girl was taking her freaking WEDDING PICTURES and they kept standing there, waving their damn blankets - like, move, people!
HOWEVER - all of the above concerns are not anything the hotel can fix - so if you'd rather sit on the FREAKING AWESOME pool deck or in the INCREDIBLE infinity pool under the palms, this is the place. great service, great staff, beautiful property!
all rooms have an ocean view. get the swimout, the ones with the hot tubs on the balcony, or a high...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.