We arrived at the resort and were taken into the "timeshare" area. The check-in took 30 minutes. Our agent spoke minimal English, so it took a while. We had prepaid our all-inclusive, and that seemed to throw him....discussions with others, copies made, finally settled that it was okay. Seemed really odd. Picked our cabana for the week. Then there was a paper about a 3% tax, although he could not tell me what that 3% was based on; finally just signed it so we could move on. Then we had to wait another 20 minutes plus to be taken to our room, but we had our first drinks, so it was okay. Room was very nice, just not the room we had booked. Back down the many stairs to the office, and we were told all the Master Sands had to be held for the owners,even if they were here or not. Next day we talked to another manager who told us that all the Master Sands were full, so I ask to talk to the main manager, but he was off that day. On Monday, after a fishing trip, I talked to the main manager, who spoke English, and he told me that one of the Master Sands buildings was being worked on, which actually was across from our room, so the Master Sands that were available were all full. We gave up, and our room was very nice, just disappointed that we were not in the Master Sands.
Okay, now the good stuff. Beach is very nice, waves coming in all the time. Water was warm so you could stay in for a long time and not get cold. We had a private cabana, that as long as you were there by 1:30 p.m., it was yours. Our waiter, Jose, knew us right away and also some friends of ours that we shared with. So, on Wednesday, when we were gone fishing, our friends showed up and they kicked out some people from our cabana for our friends; so, when we returned our cabana was still saved for us. The waiter service on the beach was great!
The buffet was not bad. We had grilled steaks on the beach the first night, a little thin, but the t-bones were really good. The fiesta night at the buffet was pretty good, so much to choose from, but my husband was not feeling the best--not sure if dehydration or something he ate--so we did not eat too much. Breakfasts were good, you have to ask for bacon. And they seemed to vary items day to day. Lunches were okay, there were always different salads. We ate at the three fancy restaurants, including El Faro twice. We did not go to the one off-site. Each was a little different but very nice. Such wonderful atmosphere and great service. We got the second El Faro night because we prepaid our AI fees, but on our last day we could not get a reservation BECAUSE we were AI. I had to argue with two managers and give the restaurant a copy of our paperwork to get our second meal....our friends did not get their second meal, but they did not argue like we did. Again, this seemed odd.
Booked on fishing trip on-line before hand, the other we booked on the beach at the resort from Mario, guys in the white uniforms. They picked us up at the beach right there and we had an exceptional time. We had free massages at the spa at the resort and did venture down the beach to the "huts". We were able to get 1 hours each for 300 pesos, because you can bargain. It was great hearing the ocean waves the whole time.
Everyone is very nice, service was really good, but it helps if you can speak some Spanish and understand that Americans are a minority. Lots of families, but everyone was involved in the activities, dancing, just having a good time. We did not venture out much from the resort, but that was our plan, just to relax and enjoy the resort.
Checkout: they gave us our bill the night before to speed up the process. There was a dollar for the children? five dollars for the staff we do not see (gardeners, maintenance, etc.) and 3% tax on maybe the all-inclusive fees. It was like $30.00 total, so we just paid it. We turned in our keys, armbands, remotes for the tv's and air conditioners, and, we were done. They would hold our luggage until we left for the airport, too. We did get breakfast the last morning, but we asked, so I assume some do not, so you might want to double check. Their were a lot of different colors of the armbands, so I assume each means something different.
We had booked through RCI, so the all-inclusive was manadatory, we we don't mind being waited on and not having to worrying about anything. AFTER we got back, I looked at the RCI website and they have added a disclaimer about construction going on during the time we were there. There was also a note under the all-inclusive fees about "plus tax", so I guess that is what we paid. We had booked this back in February 2012, and although I had checked the web site multiple times, these changes I had not seen before.
Would we go back? Most likely, but with family. So, I would like if they can get the room reservations sorted out. I would hate to go back with family and not get the rooms we were planning on.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.