We booked our trip through Hotels.com Vacations six months prior to departure and got an amazing deal. We chose this place specifically because of its small size and jungle theme. It was unique and different from any other resort we have stayed at before in the Caribbean. We used Best Day for airport transfers and were very happy with the service they provided. We waited less than 10 minutes after exiting the Cancun airport and we were on our way to our resort in Playa del Carmen in a super air conditioned van. The ride took 1.5 hours which we expected, especially given that the van was dropping off two other couples on the way. We arrived at the resort at 2:30 and check-in was a breeze. The lobby is airy and spacious and for the rest of our stay we spent many hours there playing cards, getting drunk, and yelling at the TV during the Olympics coverage.
We were in 623 which was at the back of the resort. The room had a very strong musty smell which took some getting used to… The bathtub had definitely seen better days –it looked like the bottom of the tub caved through at some point and was then repatched. It just felt “hollow” when we stood in it and my husband was joking how one day he’s just gonna fall through it down in to someone else’s tub. There were ants in the bathroom and in one of the corners of the room. The bedspread needed replacing badly – there were sketchy stains in several spots. There were 4 ashtrays in the room and 1 in the bathroom!! It was funny to see given that we are so used to smoking being banned pretty much everywhere indoors in the US. We didn’t bother calling the front desk about any of this because it just wasn’t worth the hassle. The other couple we were traveling with had a better room overall in a location that overlooked the pool/beach. It was their 4th time at this particular resort so I’m guessing that had something to do with it as they give certain perks to repeat guests.
Everyone at this resort is so hardworking, and truly tries their hardest to make your stay memorable. We loved the bartenders Jose and Luis who introduced us to some wicked tequila drinks. Guillermo at the Botticelli restaurant was wonderful accommodating our special requests. Our group of 4 went to this restaurant for dinner several nights in a row and loved it every time – especially the filet mignon and the cute little mozzarella/tomato appetizers. But our favorite staff member by far was Asbel whom we saw just about everywhere throughout the resort during our week stay. He was so kind, helpful and constantly made us laugh – we all just wanted to give him a big hug before we left but we thought it might make him feel uncomfortable. We miss you Asbel!
What can I say? Like most all inclusive resorts, the food is hit or miss. We usually had breakfast and lunch at the buffet because it was right by the pool. The omelet bar is awesome and we had that every morning. They always had a nice selection of fresh fruits too. For lunch they had a pasta bar where you pick from 2-3 different pastas, add your own toppings and then the chef would sauté everything on the grill. Yummy! I can’t live without pasta so this was definitely my personal favorite. The guys in our group raved about some glazed pork dish and I also enjoyed having chicken that was grilled right in front of me. I liked this because I am usually wary about meat that has been sitting out. We only ate dinner at the buffet once and it seemed like a lot of the food was exactly the same as lunch. The rest of the time we ate either at the Boticcelli restaurant or in town on 5th Avenue. There was a cute little snack bar near the pool that served burgers, pizza & chips/guacamole throughout the day and late into the night (I believe till 2am). The pizza was baked fresh in a brick oven and was very yummy! Overall, we didn’t get sick from any of the food and never went hungry – so we were happy!
We spent most of our nights at 5th Avenue where entertainment is endless until the morning hours.
On our first day, the resort had a casino night – they gave everyone fake money and had different table games set up. And then at the end of the night, you could buy different prizes, auction style, with the fake money you collected. Our group of 4 put our winnings together so we could get one of the bigger prizes (I believe the biggest one was a good quality bottle of tequila) but lots of other people did the same and it got out of control, so we just gave our winnings to a group of kids from Holland. Another night, they had a Broadway dance show and that was… interesting. The girls in that show were dressed extremely provocatively but they looked good, so more power to them! The best and our favorite show was an Elvis Presley tribute. The guy looked somewhat like Elvis but sounded JUST LIKE HIM and we were just amazed! He did all the big hits, including a synchronized one where he did parts of one song and the real Elvis did the other parts on a screen, and they were both dressed the same, and moved exactly the same way. Wow, just beautiful. He closed with “I Can’t Help Falling In Love” and walked through the audience holding different women’s hands and singing to them and putting pink sashes around their necks. The resort does more or less shut down after 10pm so if you need entertainment until the morning hours, go to Coco Bongo or one of the many bars on 5th Avenue.
A+++ all around. This resort is in a gated community and 5th Avenue is about a 15 minute walk or a $5 cab ride. Cozumel is directly across the water and looks spectacular at night with all the lights lit up. We felt extremely safe in this resort and in the surrounding area. The beach is simply beautiful and very clean. During our stay, Hurricane Ernesto came through and it was rainy/windy for 2 days, causing a lot of seaweed and debris to wash up but the staff took care of everything in no time. For being so small, the resort never felt crowded. There were plenty of beach chairs and bali beds for everyone. Our group spent most of the time near the pool. They had various aquatic activities in both pools and music throughout the day but it wasn’t the ear-splitting techno/rap you get at bigger resorts that is usually accompanied by obnoxious Jersey Shore type groups. Although we did see a couple from (where else!) New Jersey who were fighting viciously for hours before she spit in his face in front of everyone! Haha just wow.
Last thoughts –
Take advantage of the free aquatic activities offered by the resort! We took the catamaran out one day and it was a blast – once we figured out how to work the catamaran, the leftover winds from the hurricane literally had us flying toward Cozumel! Take professional photos on the beach – you can take photos with parrots, toucans, or iguanas. They charge $12 for 1 photo but the price goes down if you buy more and you can always bargain with them if that’s your thing. And for God’s sake, don’t forget your Bubba kegs! They will keep your drinks cold for up to 12 hours in the 100 degree heat. Need I say more? Walmart has them for about $10. Bring lots of sunscreen and basic meds like Advil and Immodium. All three are very, very expensive at the resort gift shop and anywhere else for that matter. If you are taking the ferry to Cozumel, it’s probably a good idea to bring a pack of Dramamine tablets. Even if you think you don’t get sea sick, just in case! However, the most important thing you can bring is an open mind. Enjoy the beauty of Mexico, have fun, and don’t sweat the small stuff!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.