I'll preface this review by emphasizing that my family (two daughters - 7 and 5, my wife, and I) stayed at Great Parnassus on June 2-8, 2013, and during the first few days of our stay, the weather system that became Tropical Storm Andrea was parked over the Yucatan Peninsula. I heard reports that, at one point, Cancun received 12 inches of rain in a 24-hour period. This exceptionally bad weather event (out of the resort's control) negatively affected our experience, so please read this review with that in mind.
I'll try to keep this review brief, but it goes without saying that our stay was very eventful, and there's a lot to be said. (I've tried to defer all weather-related comments to the end.)
The check-in was a little slow and our room was not available immediately. However, all of the resort's facilities were immediately available to us after check-in. They also have a board by the check-in desk so that you can quickly check when your room is ready. One complaint that I do have is that upon check-in we weren't given any information or explanation about the resort's facilities.
Staff at the bars and restaurants were helpful and friendly and spoke English just fine.
Housekeeping staff seemed to come at drastically different times of the day to clean our room (sometimes as early at 8:00 AM, sometimes as late as 4:00 PM), but were accommodating if we needed time to vacate the room (our do not disturb/maid service indicator in our room was broken - see more about room/cleanliness below).
It's certainly less expensive than the more upscale all-inclusives and I would consider some of its family-friendly features such as the Kids Club and the castle/pirate ship water features to be great value for families. However, it seems as if they have really skimped on some of the basics (see more below).
The beds were firm, which was fine for us - however, linens were not well-laundered (see more below). Also, due to the design of the resort, any little noise within the center of the resort area is amplified significantly and if you're a light sleeper, you're going to be waking up a lot in the middle of the night.
Our biggest complaints with this resort are regarding cleanliness/maintenance.
The first signs of this were apparent right away upon walking to our room for the first time. Broken, un-repaired floor tiles in the hallways, holes in the walls, lights hanging out of their fixtures, and broken equipment (i.e. ice machines).
The worst parts about it, though, were in the room. Upon entering the room, we were greeted with an overwhelming musty smell. Now I've been to many hotels in the subtropics/tropics, so I know that it is impossible to be completely rid of mold/fungus and rust in these regions, but our room was *really* bad. Every corner and seam in our room, particularly in the bathroom, were moldy. Bed linens had a few mysterious stains. Bathroom towels were frayed, smelly, and also stained. Metallics such as the shower rod were rusty and had not been cleaned. The shower handle fell off during our stay because the screw holding it in place had rusted through.
Our maid service indicator light was broken, so we had no way of letting the maid know when we were in the room.
We had ants coming into the room from the balcony on the first day. To the resort's credit, they did send someone right away with spray to remove the ants and prevent them from coming in again.
...in general, the resort was responsive and found remedies to complaints, but after a while it became apparent that cleanliness and maintenance is simply not a high priority here, so we stopped calling. In my opinion, the resort really needs to invest additional time, effort, and money in preventing cleanliness/maintenance issues instead of just reacting and responding to them only when they receive a complaint.
In summary, if you are a germaphobe, you may want to think twice about staying here.
The resort is in a good location on the beach and close to the airport.
Other than the significant cleanliness issues, I thought the room (Family Room - room 537) we had was very good. Big TV with several channels dedicated for kids entertainment, decent-sized balcony with a good view, and bunk beds for the kids.
We ate most of our meals at Magnus, the main "buffet" restaurant. I didn't have any problems finding things to eat, but my wife and children (who are admittedly very picky eaters) had problems finding things they liked.
I found that most food items that were either made-to-order and/or Mexican in nature or style were good to excellent - for example, omelets at breakfast were very good, tacos al pastor and chips/guacamole during lunch were excellent. Also, Magnus also always had a nice selection of fruits available.
As far as my wife and children go, they didn't fare as well as I did. They tried and didn't like the pizza, burgers, hot dogs, pasta, and just about everything else. As a result, they ended up not eating much during the trip, and what they did end up eating was mostly limited to bread, cereals, and fruits.
Other than Magnus, we tried Manhattan and Samurai for dinner. I thought they were average to good, with one food item of note that I liked being the Baguette Sandwich (made with Mexican-style arrachera steak) at Manhattan.
In summary, if you are a picky eater and/or don't like Mexican food, you may want to consider going to a different resort (actually - you may want to consider whether or not you should go to Mexico in the first place).
- I thought the main pool area and beach were very nice
- The kid's water park area is on the street-side of the resort and is split into two sections: the castle water-slides and the pirate ship; ***note that the castle water slides have a height restriction of 48" or above; my 5-year old could not go on them; the pirate ship is integrated with and can only be accessed through the Kids Club
- The Kids Club was great (when it was open - see below), and both my children loved going; the resort staff running the Kids Club were very friendly and did very well with the kids
As mentioned at the beginning of the review, our stay was negatively affected by the weather. It poured most of Monday and Tuesday, and also Wednesday morning. There was water rising all around the resort (the entrance road was flooded with several feet of water) and leaking considerably *inside* the resort as well. Because of this, many of the resort's amenities were closed during those days, including the Kids Club, miniature golf course, and adult pool/area. Also, at one point, four of the six elevators in the resort were closed, which at times made it a challenge just to get down to the main floor.
The resort did try to make things better by opening the bars earlier, moving the entertainment staff indoors, and moving the Kids Club to a dry conference room. I give the resort a lot of credit for the effort they put forth in doing so, and for the staff for staying upbeat during this time, especially considering that I imagine that many of them were having difficultly with the weather themselves in their homes and also in finding transportation to the resort.
That being said, for the first few days it was looking like our vacation was going to be a disaster. However, the weather did end up clearing up on Wednesday afternoon and the last few days were nice (outside of the normal, brief showers typical in a Cancun summer). We did have a good time during those days.
Taking all things into consideration, I'm rating this resort 3 out of 5 (average). I would only consider staying here again if given assurance that the issues with cleanliness and maintenance have been addressed.
Also, I probably will not consider staying in Cancun again in June, as even though it's only the beginning of hurricane season, there is heightened risk of a vacation going bad. Probably better to go earlier in the year or go elsewhere.
Odd-numbered rooms on higher floors have the best views
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.