I stayed at this hotel with my girlfriend for 2 weeks in September. The hotel was highly recommended by a couple who’d stayed a few times in recent years.
Overall, the hotel was average, but decent value for money considering the amount we paid. The hotel had its good points and also some bad points.
The hotel seemed to have mainly British people staying, but there was all sorts of nationalities, so a really good mix.
It’s been over a month since our visit, so we’ve had a chance to reflect on what was a really good holiday. I feel all my comments are a fair reflection of our experience.
We arrived at the hotel late in the afternoon after a long flight. There were a large number of people checking in at the same time, so the hotel entrance was very busy. We were given our room key after a short wait, but then discovered that our room was in a mess and not ready. We asked the reception for another room, but that wasn’t possible as the hotel was so busy. We were happy to wait for the room to be cleaned, but it would have been nice if the receptionist had told us beforehand that our room wasn’t ready. This was obviously a lack of communication between the reception and housekeeping, but it was no big deal.
The room we were given had 2 comfortable double beds and a TV with a large number of English speaking channels. The balcony was very small and we could barely fit two chairs on it. There wasn’t much space to dry any washing, but there was a sign advising not to use the balcony for washing anyway. The balcony didn’t get much sun and was shaded by trees. Other rooms had bigger balconies with hammocks, but we didn’t enquire about an upgrade as the room was nice enough.
The fridge in our room was stocked every day with a selection of juice, water, lager, chocolate and nuts. This was a bonus and no additional charge for this service.
The air conditioning wasn’t working properly when we first checked into the room, but the reception arranged for an engineer to fix the problem that evening. There is no way we’d have coped without the air con and fan. The cool room helped us sleep better, but we did hear the occasional noise in the early hours that disrupted our sleep. This is normal for a busy hotel and our room was next to the lift, so that wouldn’t help.
The room also had a digital safe in the cupboard that was easy enough to work.
There was no additional charge for the air conditioning or the safe.
The bathroom had a large shower area and a decent sized sink with a big mirror and smaller shaving mirror.
We had a maid service every day and they were always keen to clean our room, even though sometimes we explained that room was fine! Maid also offered clean towels every day. The maids were very friendly.
The hotel was immaculate, with staff seen cleaning constantly.
The pool is a decent size and if you’re up early then you’ll get a bed fine even when the hotel is busy. There’s loads of entertainment on during the day (volleyball, water polo, football, bingo etc. The hotel also plays mainly dance and R&B music, but they do mix it up a bit. The entertainment team don’t annoy you if you just want to relax.
The pool is kept clean and no drink is permitted in the pool. A guy cleans the pool early in the morning and also by hand during the day.
There’s a waitress during the day and she’ll happily bring you a drink to your sunbed all day if you give her a small tip (20 pesos).
The beach area is quite small, but has a nice bar decent sized bar open until 11pm each day. There’s a lot of sunbeds available during the day and palm trees if you want some shade. It’s easy enough to find a sunny spot and move the sunbed if preferred. The water isn’t perfect blue and there’s a lot of seaweed about. However, a guy spends all day raking the seaweed into a wheel wheelbarrow!
I wasn’t blown away with the food in the hotel. In particular the buffet wasn’t great at night. The buffet breakfast had a good selection and was ok, but some of the food was cold and was being replenished too quickly. Fresh fried eggs or omelettes are available if you ask.
The a la carte restaurants were decent, but you had to be up early to get a booking. Reservations take place at a desk next to the reception area and tables can be reserved from 7am – 3pm. Sometimes we had to eat as late as 9.30pm, which wasn’t ideal, but it was a lot better than the evening buffet.
We preferred the Mexican restaurant over the Spanish, but we never visited the Seafood. The staff were always very welcome and attentive in all restaurants. They will also customise your meal to suit and provide a side of chips or rice for the table if you ask.
The a la carte restaurants are only open on specified days, so check your welcome pack for information.
The main lobby bar was really busy most nights, so you had to be early to get seats. Sometimes we sat on a sunbed to watch the entertainment. Drink is provided in small plastic glasses, so best getting 2 each at a time. There can be queues at the bar and the bar staff always make the waitress orders first, so best tipping the waitress and getting them to arrange your drink if you have a decent seat. The bar staff work extremely hard, but sometimes we felt there wasn’t enough staff. There was only one liquidiser for cocktails, so that delayed the drinks and the staff had to clean up themselves.
The beer provided wasn’t Corona, so don’t be fooled by the tap! It tasted more like the Modelo lager, which was still decent. There’s a large selection of cocktails and branded Smirnoff Vodka or Bacardi is available if you ask. There’s some flavoured spirits that were really nice as well. The drink is not watered down. I saw bar staff opening the new bottles from the cupboard. Smirnoff is available for £7 in the Supermarket over there, so there’s no need to water it down.
The lobby bar is open until midnight, there after its self-service upstairs in the snack bar. There’s a beer tap, juice taps and some spirit’s available. You’ll also find pizzas and hot dogs, but some of the food wasn’t covered and a lot of wasps or flies were near the food.
There’s entertainment on every night and it’s usually some sort of dance or singing act. Most shows were good, but the entertainment started around 9pm – 9.30pm and was over in 1 hour. A guy plays a saxophone in the lobby bar after the show, but it comes a bit repetitive and the music can put you to sleep. It would be nice if they could mix it up a bit and put even a music cd or channel on at night. A little more up-beat music wouldn’t go wrong.
The hotel do a pub / club crawl every night, so it seems that they prefer residents to hit the night life around half 10. It’s nice to get out the hotel, but costs around £35 - £45 with entry and drink included.
We were fortunate enough to be staying at the hotel on Mexican Independence day. The hotel put on a massive party with entertainment and food round the pool. The effort they went to was great. Staff were sorting tables and clearing the pool area early afternoon. There’s was decorations and balloons / flags all over the hotel. The party started at 6.30pm! That was definitely our best night. The excessive amounts of tequila and the club crawl afterwards meant the next day was a rough one!
There’s a really good bus service in Cancun and it’s easy to use. Just tell the driver where you’re going and they’ll shout at the stop. It cost just 8.5 pesos, so roughly 40 pence per journey and runs 24 hours a day! We went to Walmart and also used the bus to the centre. If you’re using a taxi, you need to make sure that you agree the price before entering! There are no meters and they’re not scared to hike up the price.
We did a few trips via Thomas Cook. They weren’t cheap, but were all very good. We chose our operator for a bit more protection. I wouldn’t book on the street. We visited Chichen Itza (pyramids – 1 of the new 7 wonders of the world), Jungle Tour (drive a speed boat through jungle then snorkelling), The Pirates Night Party (party boat – next to hotel beach) and 2 pub / club crawls. It’s nice to visit Coco Bongos. There’s a live show on every night then night club / dancing.
This was our first visit to Cancun, but we’d definitely visit again. I’m not sure we’d pick the Barcelo Costa, but I would never say never! We’d be more inclined to try somewhere different.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.