Let's start with the good! First, we did ultimately have a great time and that was in part to some of the very hard working employees from Dreams Puerto Aventuras Resort. Juan, our waiter each night, at the World Cafe was a joy! Very helpful, very pleasant, and we all looked forward to seeing him each day. He answered all of our questions, shared some fun info,taught us some spanish and never made us feel rushed. Also, Juan the Maitre d' was also very enjoyable, and quite pleasant each morning. They both made dining at the World Cafe a memorable experience. Also, Israel, Jesus and the rest of the entertainment team were fabulous! They certainly kept us entertained and laughing during our 10 day stay. Our youngest son won the belly flop contest, and our oldest won the ping pong tournament. They always had some crazy event going on and did a great job including everyone without being pushy. You typically wanted to join in or at least watch the fun! They catered to the children just as much as adults. It wasn't surprising to look up and see Israel or any entertainment members playing a game of pool, ping pong, etc. with one of our kids or my husband arm wrestling an entertainment team member who was wearing a super hero costume that day- just for the heck of it :) The kids were very sad to say goodbye to their "friends". The fire and ice beach show was very enjoyable, thought the shows in the theater weren't that great.
Though our kids did not participate in the kids club, we were very impressed with the activities we saw the caregivers providing and the fact that the employees working with the kids genuinely seemed to enjoy their job. That isn't always the case on some cruise kids clubs, so kudos to Dreams!
The food was average and we had plenty of options. If you weren't expecting 5 star (and really, you shouldn't, since the price tag doesn't equal 5 star food), you wouldn't be disappointed. The Seaside Grill is a step up from the World Cafe - try the Dreams Nachos! My kids (and myself :) are rather picky eaters and when they couldn't find something on the buffet, there were always burgers, hot dogs or pizza. Room service was a big hit. Though tipping is not required, a $1 for the room service guys made sure they were there in no time. Same for the bars, tipping isn't required, but it certainly didn't hurt. The kids pestered the bartenders plenty, trying a variety of virgin frozen drinks or the kids drink of the day...we were glad to send them with a dollar. It also helped the bar service on the beach. If they knew you usually gave a tip - service was better.
The beach was GREAT, and the little natural "ocean pool" (as the kids dubbed it!) was fabulous! TIP: Pack a raft from a dollar store - it was great to have, though we purchased one at the resort for about $20 USD after buying a raft and having them inflate it. Anyway, we always felt very safe at the resort and we had no worries with our kids (11 & 13) going to the hot tub or pool or to get a drink as it is a small resort and everyone was very friendly. We could practically see them wherever they went if we poked our head up from our beach chairs a bit :) We went with our 2 boys and another family with 2 children. As adults we enjoyed ourselves and the fun atmosphere, and at the same time we enjoyed our family fun and quality time together.
Also, I can highly recommend Xel-ha. Arrange transport with the hotel and enjoy a day in paradise! I do wish they had hotels at Xel-ha - the food and drinks were great and the entire place is one big adventure...though there are tons of secluded places to lounge and relax as well.
Now for the bad...We got a great deal and went with a garden view room, we travel often and don't really need the bells and whistles in a room. Clean is sufficient. The room was clean, however if you didn't keep the air blasting, your room had a foul odor. Also, no matter how cool we kept it, everything was still very damp. They also put us all the way at the end of the resort (even though it was pretty empty) by the new Dolphin Adventure that was opening that week, we heard a loud pump running most nights. We also went to shower on our first night and had no hot water. We called, they came and declared it fixed. Went to shower the 2nd night and no hot water. We called and they came and fixed it yet again. They were not concerned that we were not pleased. We did have hot water for the rest of the trip though.
Our safe wouldn't open one night and they spent a half hour getting it open. The friends we travelled with said this happened to them several times as well.
Our toilet was HOT! Though, it's a bit funny, it was a bit alarming as well. It was hot to sit on and would almost burn your skin. The water in the bowl bubbled, nearly boiling most days. It was like a sauna for your privates, and not necessarily a pleasant one. We pointed it out to housekeeping and the gentleman who "fixed" the hot water in our shower, and neither were concerned. My call to the front desk about it never resulted in it being fixed. So we just dealt with it.
Housekeeping was hit or miss. We often would get 2 towels (for a family of 4), we would call and request more, and it would take an hour or more to get them. They also would only refill the minibar (softdrinks for the kids mostly or bottled water) every few days. We would have to request it, then it would be filled. The coffee pot in the room was broken and actually shocked my husband pretty bad. I called the desk, but they never came to replace it, nor were they concerned that we were not pleased.
So, really, only the rooms and the services that applied to them were the problem. And even though we wish those issues had been handled better, we still had a great vacation. I know this review is lengthy, but when researching our trip, we relied heavily on these reviews. We actually commented after a couple days that we had hit all the negative things we had read in reviews, so it should be smooth sailing! Hot water, damp rooms, etc. Perhaps if we had been more vocal they would have upgraded our room or comped us something, but really, who wants to repack and unpack again on vacation?! If anything else had gone wrong in our room, I would have spoken up louder, because we were getting frustrated.
Ultimately, we never went hungry (or got thirsty ;) and the beach was just lovely. If you don't need bells and whistles, just a clean, safe and relaxing vacation....Dreams Puerto Aventuras Resort & Spa is the place for you :)
If you are near the new Dolphin Adventure...request to be moved! Too noisy.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.