We just got back from a one-week stay at Hacienda Tres Rios and we had an absolutely lovely time. I wanted to write this while it was still fresh in my mind and the sand was still stuck between my toes (and the hangover - or "la cruda" - was not entirely gone).
We took our 3 kids (8 yrs, 1 yr and 4 mos) and also went with a family member who is a time-share owner. We had a 2-room suite that adjoined a common/dining room - it was bright, spacious and plenty big. They brought in cribs for the little ones and our bed was very comfortable. Zero complaints about the room. The minifridge always had cold beer, soda and bottled water in it, stocked every day.
From the start, when they snap the all-inclusive wrist band on you, you are very, very well taken care of and float along on a sea of fruity drinks and 'holas'. Someone greeted us at reception with a refreshing cocktail of greenish, cactus-y fruit juice, and the drinks did not stop flowing for the entire trip. The staff were all incredibly attentive and clearly not just in it for the tips (although healthy tipping makes the service go from great to dreamy).
I was talking to Victor Perez (our favorite and most attentive waiter) by the poolside one day - a day that was not so busy - and I said, "must be nice to have a few less people here once in a while" and he said (without a trace of irony or insincerity) "it is easier to give good service". This is the general atmosphere - they know you are there to relax and enjoy a little pampering and their job is to make it happen. Alma, the reina of omelets in the buffet, and Gregorio made the mealtimes a breeze and kept the mojitos and mimosas coming. You could hardly down one without someone appearing at your side bringing a fresh one, or asking you if you needed anything. They seemed to strike the perfect balance between being attentive and ever-present without being annoying in the least.
Wrangling 3 kids by the poolside has its share of challenges and Victor and Luis always made sure we had everything we needed (and desired) and never made us feel like we were imposing. They remembered our kid's names and our favorite drinks and I just can't say enough good stuff about the staff.
The food, with a few exceptions, was great - the buffet takes everything you usually associate with buffets (buckets of lukewarm slop not needing chewing) and re-imagines it - small portions laid out with an eye towards fresh, local ingredients. No giant vats of chipped beef here - individual pork tenderloins laid out on a slice of zucchini, surrounded by a delicate mustard sauce. They made it seem like the buffet was set for one, and there's a 'healthy corner' for those desirous of such frail foods. (Vegetables are what food eats, in my opinion).
There were a few large-portion selections (mashed potatoes with spinach, scrambled eggs) but they were still about 1/4 the size of most buffets (Vegas, etc). The variety and selection were admirable, and we fed a vegetarian, a gluten-freegan, an 8 year-old and a 1 year old with ease (I am an omnivore and only require that food not be moving quickly to qualify for ingestion). The only exception to the 'food rules' statement is the watery and unsatisfying 'cheese' sauce that graces the chips (usually poolside) and the burgers (also poolside). The meat was a tad spongy and its provenance somewhat uncertain.
Room service is something from a fever dream - if you are desirous of drunk-a** food at 3am, give in to your whim and it shall appear before your bleary and unbelieving eyes before you can say "wharrrrgarrrrrble" into the commode.
We would order a round of drinks and apps every evening, usually followed by room-service dinner, and up it would come, fresh and tasty in about 20-30 minutes. They seemed perfectly happy to bring several orders up of an evening and never did that "I am waaaaiiiititing around for a tip" shuffle dance that you get in stateside hotels.
If you are leery of kid-friendly places, rest assured there is an adults-only pool where you run little risk of having some diaper-clad yearling fling mucus in your mojito. The whole deal is family friendly to be sure, but we saw lots of hot young things posing poolside in their Dolce and Gabbana, so there's considerable hippification going on there as well (and the twentysomething in our group managed to find several foreign pairs of lips to lock with).
The pools and the surroundings are beautiful. The beach showed some signs of storm damage, but there was a bay that was supposed to be gorgeous just adjacent to the beach (we never made it - the pool was just too nice). Everything you could want to do was right there - snorkeling, diving, catamaraning (which is a verb I just neologized), cenotes-exploring, hiking, kayaking, napping - all the essential activities.
Just skip the burgers and ask Victor to get you another Mojito and you'll do just fine. We will be back and we will love it. I would bet you and yours would too.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.