We so thoroughly loved this hotel and had a great vacation. It was my boyfriend and I, who are in our 40's with no children, and we were looking for a quiet, relaxing and romantic vacation and absolutely found it at Dreams Puerto Aventuras.
HOTEL: Yes, the hotel and the town of Puerto Aventuras are small but that was exactly what we were looking for. We were not looking for night clubs or a party scene. We loved that the resort was not huge and it only took a day to acclimate to where everything was. It also felt secure in that you have to go through security to get into the town and there is a second security point at the entrance to the hotel.
I think because of the time of year we went, September 6-11, the hotel was not crowded nor was the beach. We had no problem getting the "perfect" spot on the beach every single day.
Although this is a family-friendly resort, we hardly ever saw any kids. In fact, one day the Explorer Club (this is where the parentscan drop their kids off for the entire day and evening) took the kids to the pool and my comment was "where did they all come from?" You just didn't know there were kids around and they certainly weren't bothersome in such small numbers. Not once were there any kids by us on the beach (see below).
The staff works very hard at keeping the resort clean.
ROOM: We had room 150 which was "gardenview." At first, before even seeing the room, I was worried...did gardenview mean "basement". When we got to our room, it was beautiful. We had a tile patio that went out into a small "yard" and then onto the pool and the ocean.
I, too, had read all the reviews about the shower and water on the floor. The shower was very large and had a rain showerhead. We tilted the showerhead towards the wall a bit only because of the reviews we had read. We had no problem with water on the floor. The bathroom sink/countertop was large, had two sinks and, as a woman, had no problem with the amount of space. The also give you full size shampoo, shower gel and lotion which, if you aren't picky, is nice and sufficient for a weeks' vacation.
The bed was so comfortable and I loved that we had a sofa and table also. I thought the decor of the room had a modern, Mexican feel.
I also read about the "musty" smell of the hotel and rooms. To us, that smell means you are in the tropics. We actually like it because it says "you're at the beach!" This is no different than the smells you encounter in the hotels down in Miami, Florida or the like.
The one complaint I had is that each room has a coffee maker but it was never stocked with coffee. I didn't ask about this but simply accepted it. Weird though that it wouldn't just be provided.
RESTAURANTS: We ate at all the restaurants except the sushi place as it was not opened during the time we were there. You get coupons for bottles of wine but we never used them as the "house" white wine was delicious - crisp and refreshing. The "house" red was not as good but palatable. We decided that if we were to get red wine again, we would buy a bottle.
Seaside Grill: We ate dinner twice there as well as lunch twice and "delivery" from the Grill to the beach. The escargot and french onion soup were delicious as well as the NY steaks. They are served with bernaise and while I think the steaks in Mexico always taste a bit "different" than America, it was still very good. Loved the club sandwiches.
The buffet: We ate breakfast every day at the buffet and thought the food was great. How can you go wrong with a mimosa and bloody mary bar? :) They had lox and bagels and a made-to-order omelet station. The fresh papaya was out of this world. The service was excellent and by the third day, we were recognized by the staff.
My only suggestions would be that the chairs could use a cleaning and it doesn't open until 7 a.m. for breakfast which feels kind of late. That said, they do offer 24 hour room service and one day I ordered just a pot of coffee - it arrived within 15 minutes.
Oceana: The ceviche was yummy. The coconut shrimp with mango relish with the best I've ever had! The mahi mahi had good flavor and presentation.
Portofino: Nice restaurant. I had a seafood pasta that was delicious.
THE BEACH: Yes, the beach is small but it is lovely and they keep it very clean. We felt like we went at a great time (September) as the hotel and beach were not crowded at all. We found our spot at the far end of the resort by the Barracuda Bar and stayed there the entire trip. It was quiet with only adults but certainly they do not prohibit kids in this area (but don't think this is an "adult" area; the other guests were mature, quiet and they do not allow "European"-style bathing). The other thing we loved is that this is where the natural pool was. It was stunning scenery and the natural pool was great to snorkel in and float. We even talked to another guest who saw an eel and an octopus in there! There are a couple big rocks next to the natural pool and there are several iguanas that call this home. Let's just say at least one of them is very friendly! I was "held hostage" by an iguana for the better part of an afternoon. It appears he just wanted to say "hi" and sit on my beach chair!!! :)
The service is also wonderful; very attentive and you can even get lunch brought to you.
We took a sea kayak out and snorkeled a few times. You really don't need water shoes for most of the beach and ocean but there are some reefs out in the lagoon. Unbeknowst to us, until we snorkeled, there are a ton of spiny sea urchins right out there. For that alone, I would highly recommend wearing water socks when you go in the ocean.
The beach is not big but you can walk the beach in that there is another hotel next door and a public beach next to that. There are some cool natural pools to be seen. It was a nice walk. I like that the snorkel area is in a lagoon as the ocean is a bit rough across the reef and rocks.
DOLPHINS: Within a 10 minute walk is the town and there is a dolphin and manatee exhibit there where people can swim with the dolphins. If anyone has seen the documentary "The Cove", you know how they get these wonderful animals and it is not pretty. I felt this exhibit was very sad and the animals did not have much space nor very clean tanks. I would not recommend supporting this at all.
OVERALL: We so enjoyed our trip, the hotel and all that went with it. After six days of vacation, I was not at all ready to go home. I would highly recommend this hotel to couples and families. It may not be the Ritz Carlton but it was excellent for the value. While I cannot wait to go back, we are excited to visit other Dreams hotels in Mexico!