We just returned from our first "non AI" trip and actually SAVED money by going to FAGCB and upgrading to the Grand Club (previous stays include The Royal, Iberostar Maya and Barcelo Palace). This was the best of both worlds!! We had the options of fantastic breakfasts, great lunches and above average appetizers in the Grand Club (more shrimp and filet up there than I've ever seen at an AI).
This isn't a crazy spring break place, in fact I don't think I saw even one of them......there were kids, but not crazy amounts, and our 10 year old son could always find someone to play with--which is super nice!! The pools were beyond awesome and I loved that there were zero entry (or 2 inches max) areas all around. Makes getting in and out a breeze and you can lay right there and stay cool while getting great sun!! And best of all....there is NO TOWEL GAME!! If they run out of chairs, they'll go get more!! And they make up the beds so nicely too....three towels to make it just right!!
Someone said they were at 90% capacity, but you'd never have known that. No waiting for anything at all and there were always chairs no matter what---the beach was always available with tons of chairs too....perfection!!
The ocean was superb!! I was hesitant about not having fun waves...but this is the best of both worlds.....you can bob up and down yet never be taken out by one. Our son felt safe the whole time and it helped us feel safer for him. The sand on the beach is the best castle making stuff on Earth!! The top sand is THE softest I've felt in Mexico and the stuff underneath it is the perfect mixture of wetness to be a beach artist--even if you're not!!
We loved the room....plenty of room and most comfortable beds and linens!! Loved the sheets and the duvet....so comfortable. We kept our balcony doors open all night every night so we could hear the waves lap up against the beach! The extra sitting area is a great addition. Oh, and to wake up every morning and see the ocean from your bed--priceless.
We went to Isla for the day and rented a golf cart.....it is so beautiful over there...don't miss it!! The ferry picks you up just steps from the resort and returns you there again at the end of the day. This day trip is a serious MUST DO...and go on your own, don't go with a tour. We went every where we wanted, twice, just to see the gorgeous scenary one more time.
Yup, we did the Captain Hook Pirate Cruise, I had read mixed reveiws about it being too much of a booze cruise for kids. We didn't find that at all. Our son said it was the highlight of his life (geez, what do we do next?). The pirates put on an amazing and entertaining show for kids and adults alike. The food was better than average and if you want to drink, they keep it flowing. All of the kids were up and dancing and became one night best buddies. It was a thrill to see how much fun they were all having!! For that reason alone, I highly recommend it!!
On the other hand, we did the Alligator/Duck tour which is a truck that also goes in the water and tours the lagoon side......it was fine, but I wouldn't do it again.
El Rey ruins, this is my son's favorite place on Earth....we go several times every year. There are 100's of iguanas that love to be fed bread and fruit. It's only $4 for adults and kids are free. Short bus ride from the hotel and a great afternoon of exploring the ruins and feeding the iguanas. We took the bus back to Isla Mall and watched the sunset while we had dinner at one of the restuarants (there are several to choose from).
Our big night out was at Lorenzillo's. One of our favorites, but on the spendy side. They didn't dissapoint with top notch service and fantastic food!! Again, I highly recommend.
We did a night at Senior Frog's for dinner, it was great fun with photographers and caricuture artists along with balloon making fun. (we were gone by 7:30, so it was PG rated), we also went to Carlos and Charlie's--so much fun, I think I enjoyed it more than the kids...the music is 70's and 80's and the wait staff is up and dancing and singing the whole time!! You'll see a trend here..our last night at dinner was at Hard Rock--I know, corporate dining at it's best for us!! Great food there and ask to sit outside, it's kind of a secret that they have outdoor dining and the setting is great!!
For a perfect vacation that costs less than a higher end AI, we could not have been happier with our choice!! It's so nice to feel free to explore and not feel trapped in the resort was beyond fun us!!
If anyone has any questions at all, please don't hesitate to email me!!
Don't miss out on this place......it's PERFECTION!!!!!
You won't have to worry about a good room if you go Grand Club!! Worth every dime!!
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.