My husband and I just returned from a 10-day vacation where we stayed at the GR Solaris in Cancun. Before booking the GR Solaris, I did extensive research and read every posting on the Trip Advisor website on the hotels that I had narrowed my decision down to. I chose the GR based upon this research. As an FYI - I was much smarter in making my reservation and on the do's and don'ts and cannot express how much this website helped. First and foremost, 90% of what is written on this website is about as accurate as it can be - I can say that firsthand now that we've returned from our trip. Fortunately, I did not experience anything that was life-altering or scarring like some of these postings have - but, I can say that although we enjoyed our stay at the GR - if I ever return to Cancun - I would probably try a different hotel. With all things considered, I would give the GR a 3 to 4 star rating. They most definitely are not a 5 star hotel.
We reserved an oceanview w/150-sq. foot balcony, king bed, no adjoining door. I read that you could get an upgrade for more money, but we were actually given an oceanfront room wih a balcony at no additional charge and we didn't even have to ask for it. We did have a king size bed and a balcony and no adjoining door. The room was an average room - the pictures on this website do them justice - but we had trouble keeping our room cool. The first night - I actually called the front desk at 3:00 am because we were melting. Our air conditioner was blinking 'dr' and had cut off. Within 15 minutes, 2 technicians came to the door and told us that our sliding glass door was ajar (the wind was blowing VERY hard and had blown the door open just a bit during the night) so they closed the door and locked it and the air came back on. Word of advice...make sure that you close AND lock the door as the air conditioner is connected to sensors in the door. We were relatively okay the rest of the night - but, we still couldn't seem to get our room cooled off to a comfortable level even after that. We had a couple more technicians check it out but decided that we would go to Walmart and purchase a fan since we were going to be there so long. We purchased a floor fan for $15 dollars at Walmart and the rest of the week was relatively comfortable!
Our room service was great as well. We did tip our maid most every day and I must say that creative doesn't even begin to describe our maid. She left us little gifts every day and we enjoyed all of them. Our bed was made to look like a gift, she made swans out of towels, crabs, baskets, flowers and anything else you can think of - it was fun to see what she would do next. Others that we spoke with said they didn't get things left for them - but we had several each day. She left us more than enough towels and washcloths every day. No complaints there.
The "stocked" refrigerator is rather comical. You get 3 waters, 3 mini bottle Coronas and 3 sodas each day....period! No more...no less. By the end of the week, we did get a few extra waters from the maid although we did not request them. We even hid our left overs a couple of times so that we could get extra. But we never thought much of this either way since you can get room service 24 hours a day. You also get a room safe that I recommend you use. You insert your room key upon your arrival, punch in a 4 digit code and then the remainder of your stay is controlled by your 4 digit code. No one has the code except you - it's a nice sized safe and we put everything in there every day and didn't have any problems with anything missing.
One last note on the room - the beds are VERY HARD! I was so sore on my sides after a couple of nights it was amazing, however, this too is an individual preference and some people actually like sleeping on hard surfaces. I equate these beds to the same as sleeping on the floor - so be prepared to do some innovative pillow arranging if you stay here. If you like sleeping on plank boards - you will LOVE IT! ;-)
The best thing this hotel has going for it is the pool arena and this is the only area that I'd give them a 5-star based upon our personalities. There are 3 pool areas and depending upon your style - you can have it all. One pool is the "party/fun/bar" pool, one is the volleyball/basketball pool and one is the relaxing pool. At the party pool - there is always something going on and the music is loud. We actually enjoyed it very much. You can swim up to the bar and get unlimited drinks or sit back and watch all of the activity or participate - whatever you wish. The variety of things they do is unlimited. They do everything from bingo, water polo, dance lessons, Spanish lessons, silly games, Olympics, golfing, Mr. Solaris, etc. It's most entertaining. However, if you want to get away and not hear music or participate - you can go over to the relaxing area with the pool and hot tub and you truly cannot hear the music. It was amazing. I think they have done a fabulous job in the pool setup. Also, I loved the pool itself. The architecture is awesome. It's as if you walk on water and then into the pool. I've never seen another pool like it and I loved it! Also, the temperature was perfect.
The pool bar closes around 5:30 which doesn't make alot of sense but we didn't let it affect our fun. On our last day - the pool bar stayed open until 7:00 which is an indication to me that they are beginning to realize that the pool could be more of a focal point for nightly fun if they would stay open longer. I heard several complaints about the pool bar(s) closing so early, but I did see the time increase as the week went along. The food at the snack bar was great and plentiful. As for the drinks - unless you ask for double the alcohol - it's not really an alcoholic drink. Again, this is a personal choice but you can get whatever you want if you just ask. Early on we tipped a pool waiter and made friends with him and he took care of us like royalty the remainder of the trip. HE WAS AWESOME! I recommend choosing a favorite or two (pool waiter) and then tipping them on a regular basis. You will get fantastic service and attention. We would tip a couple of dollars every other trip and it worked out perfectly for us. Besides, we enjoyed getting to know them and by the time we left - they made it into our photo album and will be part of our memories forever.
The beach is beautiful but BEWARE! Over the years, the tropical storms have eroded the beaches to almost non-existent. I honestly don't know how much longer Cancun will have beaches unless they do some kind of beach restoration soon. The water is VERY rough and the waves are huge. The red flag was out the entire time we were there except for one day. If we had taken our kids - we would not have allowed them into the water. The undertow is VERY strong and I was amazed how much effort it took to get in and out of the water. Additionally, the erosion has unearthed the rocks around the beach and you have to be very careful not to get beat up. They did have the jelly-fish/sea lice sign posted the entire time we were there, but we did not have any problems with them. We had trouble with seaweed a couple of days, but it cleared up after the tropical storm passed through and then it was gorgeous the rest of the time. The sand is VERY difficult to walk in. We thought we'd go walking the first day we arrived and that lasted about 100 yards and we quickly realized that walking the beach wasn't going to be part of our itinerary. We had about 6 days of beautiful weather, 2 that were rainy and the other 2 were overcast - all in all - the weather was perfect for us. It gave us time to go shopping and time to sleep in. We did not let the weather discourage us in anything we did.
Entertainment wise - this hotel is VERY lacking. After the first night or two, we thought it was quite boring. After you've seen one show, you've seen them all. I recommend attending Mexican Night since the performers are different from every other night and it is quite enjoyable - LONG, but enjoyable. We went to one other show (International Night) and stayed the whole time and then actually left during the show on another night. The bar in the middle of the hotel - let's just say that I started refusing to go after about the 3rd time. They have a couple that do the entertainment EVERY night and it never changes. Simon Cowell would call it "resort style karaoke" and for you American Idol fans - that would just about sum it up. It was miserable and boring. This is probably my biggest complaint in regards to our trip - the entertainment is horrible. I think having a DJ and a disco/dance type arena would work much better. I think others have described the bar entertainment adequately and I agree totally. The hotel does offer nightly club trips for an additional fee - usually $35-$40 per person which includes an open bar. We went on Coco Bongo night because we were dying of boredom and we had a good time. BUT....I will say that Cancun is becoming more and more of a younger crowd and it didn't help that we were there right after high school graduation. Keep in mind that the legal drinking age in Cancun is 17 and as some kids on the bus said "there really isn't a drinking age as long as you have money". We saw very young kids drinking and some of the ones at our hotel looked to be at least 14 or younger. We are in our 40's and I can assure you that there were times that we realized that we weren't kids anymore and I'm too young to feel that way yet :-). The club scene is a VERY YOUNG crowd - so you have to go with an open mind or drink alot so that you don't pay attention - either way - be warned. My opinion on this topic is that you pay an all-inclusive price and the way we are - we don't walk into anything saying "it's not a big deal because it's free" - no, we paid for everything we did and feel as if we should partake of what we paid for. We didn't want to have to spend much money outside of the hotel except for shopping because we felt we paid enough to be there in the first place. We spent $70 to go to Coco Bongo plus tipped our waiter well afterwards just so that we could feel as if we had fun one night. They need to step their entertainment up several notches!!!
As for the food - Marco Polo has the best food by far. Additionally - the Snack Bar by the pool is perfect for what it is for. The rest is what you would expect. We were able to find one or two things each night that we liked and we certainly didn't starve. The nightly service in Cafe Solaris is poor because they don't staff adequately. Steak night and lobster night are nothing to write home about. Others have described these nights sufficiently. The desserts are terrible - beautifully displayed, but terrible. You might find one or two during a week's stay that you like - but, don't hold your breath. I recommend the Marco Polo at least half of the time you are there - the food is great, the service is exceptional and the atmosphere is upscale. Make sure that the gentlemen in your party have pants and shoes because they do enforce it, at least they did while we were there.
Shopping at the hotel is very limited and expensive. I recommend going to the Flamingo Mall, Ochos Negros and Market 28. The latter two you can barter and have a little fun with the natives. We rode the bus the entire time we were there and that is an experience everyone should have. If you want to go to Walmart or Market 28 - make sure you get on the right buses. They will be marked as such in big red letters. They will make an announcement when they stop there and usually the entire bus empties out -BUT - don't count on it - make sure you pay attention. You can tell the driver when you get on the bus - but, do not count on him to remember. ALSO make sure if you are traveling with a large party or children that EVERYONE gets on the bus together. The drivers are most impatient and we saw several people yell because the bus driver started taking off before their party was all on the bus. Also, get on and hold on - they do not wait for you to sit down if there is even a place to sit down. Just be bold and you'll be fine. Make sure you carry pesos to pay - they will give you change. It's 65 pesos (while we were there - about 60 cents per person) to ride. If you choose to take a taxi - make sure you ask BEFORE getting in how much it cost. The hotel offers a chart right outside on some of the major destinations how much it should cost. Just be smart.
In regards to time share problems - we didn't have a single issue because I was informed BEFORE I went. If you want free trips and are willing to donate approximately 3 hours - go for it. We heard that everyone says it will be 90 minutes, but it's more like 3 hours. But if you are like us - we told them we just wanted to enjoy our vacation and they left us alone. We had one that followed us and then I said "we're leaving tomorrow" and it was as if he vaporized into thin air. We really were leaving the next day, but if all else fails - tell them that. Beware in the airport - make sure you call the hotel and ask for Sol Ha (free transportation to and from the airport) office and make your reservation to the hotel through them. You must do this at least 4 days prior to your arrival. They will email you a voucher and it gives you explicit instructions on how to locate them upon your arrival at the airport. FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS and do not talk to anyone else at the airport and this will assure you that you will get the quickest transportation to the hotel. Additionally, within 24 hours of your arrival at the hotel, make sure that you go to the Sol Ha office on the PB floor and make your travel arrangements back to the airport. They will give you a return voucher that tells you what time you need to be ready to leave to go to the airport. All of this transportation is free and is part of your initial reservation.
I also recommend carrying small bills so that you can tip easily. If you choose not to tip - that's fine too. It certainly is not required.
In closing - I recommend going with an open mind and moderate expectations. Reading comments on this website prepared me for most everything I experienced. I would recommend this hotel to others, but would probably try a different hotel just because I like to experience different things if we go back.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.