If you read my other recent reviews of Hard Rock Punta Cana and Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya you should probably conclude I’m a fair and balanced reviewer. Doing so with Hacienda Tresrios (HT) will be difficult.
Wife and I are Palace Resort members, which pretty much defines our expected level of resort quality. While I wouldn’t consider us food snobs, we do expect tasty, well presented food and prefer quality over quantity. After reading reviews of HT we went to HT with expectations of a five star experience. We received far less.
First, the resort is nicely laid out. Many rooms face the ocean and in our second floor room we had a great view of the blue sea and all the wonderful pelicans that circled the beach. The maids were excellent, relentlessly working to clean the rooms at a breakneck speed. Ours was especially good and tried hard to meet our schedule and she was grateful for a tip of a mere $2 a day. Beds are very comfortable with clean sheets and duvets.
Booze is a good deal – kind of. The wines at dinner were drinkable and probably were of a better quality and selection than the gratis wines at the Palace Resorts we’ve stayed at and the Valentin. I’m a vodka drinker and prefer quality vodka for taste when neat and for purity when mixed. They have both Stoli and Gray Goose. I was in heaven until I tried to get a drink at the Pool bar/Grill. The short, stout bartender told me he didn’t have either brand on several occasions. As a result I had inferior vodka in my Bloody Mary’s and got a corresponding headache – not good. One day Chef Oscar (more on him later) walked by and remembered me from the tequila tasting that he conducted (very informative – liked it a lot). As we talked I asked him why the Pool/Grill bar was the only bar that didn’t carry a premium vodka. He replied that all bars did and asked the short/stout bartender if he had any. The bartender sheepishly pulled a bottle of Gray Goose from the cooler from where he was hiding it. I was livid and asked the bartender if he hadn’t told me that day that he didn’t have any and he admitted that he had and he subsequently admitted to doing the same thing on other occasions. Chef Oscar gave him some strong sounding words in Spanish and then turned to me and apologized. He told me that their motto is to “never say no”. How I wished it were as true in reality as it was when he said it.
Chef Oscar is a great guy and you will see him all over the grounds day and night checking on the operations. He is sincere and wants to deliver a great dining experience. Unfortunately he can’t get it done by himself and some of the people doing the front line stuff aren’t doing their job. This is where the food review starts.
Room service is fast and the food arrives as you want it - very good. The eggs Benedict, shrimp plates and even the hamburgers are pretty good at the Grill. We had our lobster prepared at the Grill and it was tasty – not like Maine but better than most tails I’ve had. Pizza was tasty first time we had it and inedible the second. Buffet foods are bland and uninteresting. No carving stations or any specialties like most good AI resorts have. There even seems to be a disconnect with something as simple as salad. There were wonderfully fresh frisee greens to make a salad and not a tomato, cucumber or celery nearby to accompany it – what a shame. I do need to mention however, that the people who work at the buffet are excellent and will get you special requests if you ask – I just think having to ask for simple things is a pain.
Calling the Asian restaurant Asian should be against the law. The menu has hints of Asian cuisine but is far from being close to Asian tasting foods. The tuna steak I ordered was served looking like two gray 1/8 inch boneless pork chops and had no taste at all. The Italian restaurant had one or two entrees worth eating but the selection was anemic at best. We only went to the Mexican for lunch and the lunch buffet was better than the one at the main buffet restaurant. Funny thing is that no one tells anybody that the Mexican restaurant is open for lunch and the lack of eater’s results in the same foods being offered the following day. All in all the food is hit and miss and mediocre at best. Every time we thought we had a decent meal the next one just soured us again.
Probably the most disturbing thing about the resort is that the communication is horrible!! The HT website states that the Victory Sports Bar opens daily at 3 PM, however, it opens usually at 5 PM or 12 PM or when there is a meeting or whatever time they want. Go to the desk and the concierge will tell you the bar is open but when you go in the bartender tells you they are closed until 5 PM. Want to watch a game – forget it – “we no have channel changer”. Soccer only most times.
After I inadvertently discovered the Mexican restaurant being open for lunch I told my wife. She went to the concierge to confirm it and he told her it was not open. She asked another time and was told no again even after we ate lunch there. My wife told Chef Oscar and he grabbed the concierge and verified the disconnect. Then there are the different hours and dress codes on the published handouts. I still have them. The handout states casual dress and the website states formal – the places deserve formal as much as a McDonald’s does. One states the place closes at 11 PM and the Spanish one states 8 PM. This is a fundamental breakdown in the resort that is unacceptable. Chef Oscar doesn’t even have responsibility for some of it but there is no one else to speak to. The people at the desk are useless and there are no management people visible.
Getting near the end, a brief word about the Nature Park. Joke. That’s as brief and accurate as I can be. It consists of a dirt road framed by the densest mangroves that prohibit anyone from seeing further than ten feet and not a creature was seen – no iguana’s, coati’s, nada. The cenote is a clear pool of water with suckers swimming on the bottom – no tropical fish – nada. People get out after snorkeling with quizzical looks on their faces – like, why did I do that.
And finally, the Green Experience! They overuse the expression so much that you have to begin to disbelieve them. Then you see things like the Cheech and Chong characters who were driving out of the Nature Park as our tour cart was driving in. In an attempt to get out of our way these guys backed their beat up gas guzzling old pickup truck and in doing so backed into several trees thus skinning off enough bark to probably kill some. They laughed all the time. Then there was the waiter carrying a full tray of thirty or more glasses from one restaurant to another. As he passed the entrance to the resort lobby two or three glasses fell off and shattered on the marble floor. He kept walking and delivered the glasses and then just stepped over the broken glass as he went on to another assignment. There was an area of around twenty square feet just covered with glass shards with little kids running around barefoot. Finally two resort employees came upon the mess and called someone to clean it. One was dressed in black so I thought, like Oscar, he was in management. So I told him what happened and how the area was left with broken glass for several minutes and his eyes just glazed over and he walked away. I don’t see any of this as “Being Responsible” so why would they be responsible to the environment.
That’s how we see it. I’d never go back.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.