Sara and I are regular travellers to the Caribbean, (see my profile) we always go for the last week in November/first week in December and celebrate our anniversary there....Our holiday stipulation is adults only all inclusive.....
We first went to Mexico some ten years ago, since then we’ve been to DR, Cuba (X3), Jamaica, Antigua, Bahamas and Grenada.
We book almost a year in advance and always upgrade the flight seats.
Flight out of LGW on time, the aircraft was an old FCA unit and was showing it’s age.. the seats in premium were rather hard but the IFE was OK, free drinks all the way, meals satisfactory and the 11 hour flight was soon over...
After clearing immigration and customs we then had about an hour wait for the rest of our coach transfer party, eventually setting off for the 90 minute drive.
EDSS was one of the first drop-offs and we were greeted by a cold cocktail and a towel before being taken to the meeting room for a brief welcome and check-in meeting. In the meantime our luggage was being taken to our room.....
We hadn’t booked a swim-up room but were in one of the blocks (38-41) – first floor, 3816.
Room well maintained, all the usual refinements including a large walk-in shower with powerful jets.
Large in-room double Jacuzzi tub., Flat screen TV with loads of channels (some *Adult* after 2200hrs)
One word of warning, we went out on our balcony, closing the door behind us to keep out any mozzies, and locked ourselves out!!! - called down to a passing porter who “rescued” us!
Maid service daily did a good job, always leaving plenty of towels and towel art, minibar stocked daily..
The resort itself is nicely-sized; you can walk the length of it in just ten mins or so at a slow pace, and mostly on the flat. Blocks 25-34 are nearer to the beach, but I would suspect the only the top floors have a sea view as the grounds are well cultivated with palm trees and vegetation, giving the whole area a “jungle” feel.
There are a couple of racoons who live in an area at the south of the resort, and a lizard about halfway along the main walkway who must be the most photographed lizard in the Caribbean!!
Other wildlife is pretty random, but I only saw ONE Cockroach in all my time there!
OK, so to the important stuff, Bars first....
As I mentioned earlier, the swim-up rooms on the ground floor have the lazy river running in front, with the swim-up bar halfway along. This bar also has a terrace area accessed from the dry side for just sitting and drinking, they also serve afternoon tea and cakes there.
The main bar area is towards the front of the resort, adjoining the courtyard restaurant (Sandwicherie).. further forwards in the same area is the Entertainment stage and it’s here that they show films at night...
There is another bar along to the right as you face the beach; it’s associated with the beach grill, opens at 1000, and closes at 5..
Far to the left, at the other end of the resort, is the bar by the lap pool, smaller and more intimate, opens at 1000 and closes at 2300..
There are also bars in the international restaurant and a Margarita bar in the Garden restaurant.
Most top-shelf liqueurs, with the notable exception of Baileys, but even MrsMg was happy with the replacement for once!!
House wines, Chilean Red which was perfectly OK, and they have a house Chardonnay which is drinkable, we didn’t feel the need to pay extra for anything off the wine list, which to be honest were VERY overpriced!
Which brings me on to the restaurants.....
Firstly, the Sandwicherie....
Situated on the ground floor alongside the main bar area...open for continental breakfast and lunch. As the name suggests, lunch of burritos, Tacos and a burger menu, pizzas and salads. Gets busy around 1300, but leave your name with the host and they’ll come and find you when they’ve got a table.
On the ground floor, next to the Sandwicherie, indoors.. breakfast, lunch and dinner... billed as “International cuisine” – we actually only ate there twice for dinner and once for lunch, nothing wrong with either meal, but we simply found that over the two weeks that we developed our favourites..... one of which was :
The Oriental – Upstairs, above Arrecifes... great food here if you like your Chinese.. they also brought out the occasional “chef’s treat” such as tuna Carpaccio or other sushi bits as tasters between courses, we liked the service here, very friendly.. another of our favourites was:
The garden Grill and Margarita lounge, open for Breakfast, lunch and dinner... we absolutely loved this place!! – a great menu at all mealtimes, my fave was the Caribbean take on Prawn cocktail, but I also loved their BBQ chicken with blue cheese, MRSMG liked the salad bar, great steaks at night and the “Surf and Turf” was worth paying the few more pounds for. They did us proud on our anniversary evening dinner with a special cake!!
The Italian, behind the reception area, near the Lap pool and it’s bar...
All in all another favourite of ours, dinner only, my wife likes her Italian food and we had some great evenings here.. all the usual stuff on the menu, alright, not probably the most authentic, but still enjoyable. Alongside is :-
The Mexican restaurant, not one of our favourites, to be honest we were a little disappointed, finding the service a bit dour and the food a little bland on the two evenings that we went... perhaps it’s a taste thing, others that we met really enjoyed it...one more to mention..
The Beach Grill
Open for lunches, Burgers, grilled meats and fish (catch of the day), salad bar, baked potatoes, fries etc. – we did a couple of lunches here, but mostly preferred to have a more formal lunch...
There’s also a man on the walkway at the back of the beach at lunchtimes with a trolley and he serves Tacos...
All in all we found most of the food to be either good or Very good, there were one or two meals that we didn’t like but that’s bound to happen over two weeks... you certainly won’t go hungry!!
again mostly good or very good, we tipped when we’d had excellent service.
We “tested” room service one night after we’d met a bunch of Scandinavians who were in party mood – we ordered pizzas, toasted sandwiches and bottles of cava for ten of us, it phased them out that we ordered it to be brought to the bar area at 0200, but they duly delivered and we all ate and drank!!
So much for eating and drinking, what about the beach?
Slightly disappointed with the beach, hurricanes have taken their toll, eroding a lot of the sand away, but the resort is doing it’s best to rebuild the area, the best bit of beach is towards the south end (turn right). There are loads of beach loungers and four poster beds and the sun is out from about 0700 through till about 1630 at this time of year..There are a few rocks in the water which makes it a bit difficult to walk out, but after the first twenty feet or so it’s easier and the sand doesn’t really slope away..
Plenty of snorkelling to be done, there is a daily supervised swim out to see the coral...
There are also loads of fish that will swim around your legs, bumping into you, wanting to be fed – smuggle some bread out from the restaurant! Also, watch out for the Barracuda, he’s friendly!!
There are other free non-motorised water sports, kayaks, dinghys etc and for a few dollars more the locals will offer Ski jets and speedboat trips.
Waited- on service for drinks starts at about 10 am and carries on through the day.
One nice thing about the beach was the absence of beach vendors trying to sell you stuff all day.
Two main pools, the large irregular-shaped activities pool alongside the Arrecife restaurant – the usual activities here, with the usual music all day, swim up bar and poolside games... OK if that’s your thing...
The Lap pool,
at the North end of the resort, quieter, loads of Four poster beds and a Jacuzzi alongside, drinks service from the adjacent bar...
And, of course, the “lazy river” with it’s “halfway house” swim up bar...
I treated MrsMg to a couple of treatments for our anniversary... she came back to me after a massage, manicure and pedicure and announced that it was one of the best spa experiences ever!!
I certainly felt a good vibe as I dropped her off...
Loads going on all day!! From 1000 till late in the day, there’s all sorts, from Snorkelling, Kayaking, massage lessons, dance lessons, Spanish lessons, volleyball, football, bingo(!), quizzes and other stuff to keep you amused if you need it.....otherwise, just chill and read a book....
Evening entertainment, usually a Band, later a DJ, or Karaoke, one night turned over to a Mayan festival night, with dinner for everyone on the beach (but most of the restaurants were open as well)
We didn’t do any this time, we’ve done them before and all we wanted was a lazy time on the beach.. BUT, the resort is handy for all the important stuff, Tulum, X-Caret, X-Plor, Xe-La and Cozumel....
We toyed with the idea of a night out at Coco Bongos in Cancun, but we couldn’t be bothered with the travelling there and back – there is a Coco Bongo in Puerto Aventuras though...
Service & Guests
Our last experience of Mexico was 10 years ago and we had some rather poor memories – NOT, I hasten to add of the staff, who were all friendly, but of our fellow guests, some of who seemed to have left their manners at home and were inclined to treat their hosts as second class people.. Thankfully on this trip we saw little if any of that.. ALL the staff we encountered were polite and seemed happy in their work and the guests (mostly British and Canadian, with a smattering of Europeans) were also polite – overall a great atmosphere all over the resort!
A word about cleanliness, absolutely NO complaints... public areas tended hourly and stocked..staff in food areas wearing gloves, regular hand-washing and customers offered hand sanitizing gel at all restaurants...
We don’t “do” welcome meetings, but met our reps Jimmy and Savannah around the resort – we didn’t need to trouble them with anything (or indeed the “personal Concierges” that are assigned to each block) – clearly an indication of how much we enjoyed this holiday and the lack of problems that we had....
The Hidden Beach
To the North end of the resort, we found our way here on our second day as we were exploring....we walked to the side of the spa room at the end of the lap pool and found ourselves in a part of the resort that wasn’t on our map.....we were just sauntering around when we walked past a bloke with no clothes on, followed shortly by another, then another.. we realised what we had stumbled into, couldn’t find our way back, so headed for the beach area and headed south!
Walking past the security guard who was a bit amused at our presence....
Anyway, the “clothing optional” resort is under the same management, you can pay for a day pass to go there, or even “upgrade” your whole holiday... Members from Hidden beach can also use all the facilities at EDSS (clothed, of course!!)
The Building works
OK, so we weren’t told, but it’s common knowledge that there is a new block being built at the moment with a view to opening in the summer of 2013 It’s a five story block at the North end of the resort, behind the Vida Garden restaurant...Word is that it is being driven by a travel company and will be aimed mostly at UK guests....
There is some noise during the day, it certainly affected our lunch one day as there was a delivery of fresh concrete, the work goes on until seven or eight in the evening and the adjacent blocks (15, 16, 17, 18, 41and 40) will be most affected....They turn the walkway music up to offset the noise during the day...
When finished, there will be 100 more rooms, with another restaurant on the ground floor, I also believe that there is a new reception area being built and the present one will become another bar/restaurant..
Not sure how a high-rise will fit alongside the rest of the resort (which is all three stories), presumably some of the higher story rooms will be marketed as “Sea view” with a higher price tag... many folks who have been returning to the resort for years are afraid that the big increase in guest numbers will spoil the atmosphere that is somewhat unique about this resort...
A great holiday!!!
As I said at the start, we’ve been to lots of places, up to now there’s been only one place that we’ve been back to, but EDSS is DEFINATELY on the “will return” list
Well done to all the Staff, I couldn’t single out one in particular, You’re all stars!!
(Any questions, feel free to ask)
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.