We stayed at Barcelo Tropical in January for 7 days and enjoyed every minute of it. We reviewed just about every resort possible in the Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum area and finally settled on Barcelo Tropical upon having multiple personal references and it having good reviews. We couldn't be happier with our choice and will definitely be returning for future vacations here. I have never done a review before, but felt that we had such a great experience that I wanted to share with others what our thoughts were. I know how much our decision was based on reviews so I hope this helps you. Here are our thoughts, good and bad:
1. Location - located about an hour south of Cancun on one of the best beaches around. The beach always had plenty of room/chairs and was endless. The water was great and sandy for the most part. There were a few spots with rocks, but we found it great snorkeling in those areas as well. We planned a private transfer from the airport and I would definitely recommend that (we used Cancun Shuttle and they were great). The private transfer won't stop at any resorts on the way and gets you there in roughly an hour where a semi-private or bus will stop and take up to multiple hours depending on the number of stops. Barcelo Tropical is also located 20 minutes south of Playa del Carmen, which was great for a day shopping trip. It is also only about 20 minutes north of Tulum, which is great for a day visit to the Mayan Ruins.
2. Activities - There are endless activities included in the package. We loved the catamarans, kayaks, paddle boats, wind surfing, sand volleyball, mini golf, archery, tennis, and multiple other sports. These were all included which was great for when you were sick of sitting on the beach. There were also trainings included for some of the water activities (ie: catamaran and surfing).
3. Food - We found the food phenomenal and were never disappointed. We were upgraded to an all-inclusive plus with our package, which I would definitely recommend. The way the Tropical/Colonial is set up, you get access to the buffets all the time and then the fine dining/ala carte restaurants allowed access based on the number of nights you stayed. By upgrading, we were allowed unlimited access to the fine dining/ala carte restaurants so we didn't have to eat at the buffets for anything but lunch or breakfast. The buffet was great, but I could see where it would get old if you had to eat there for multiple meals. The fine dining/ala carte was phenomenal, I have never had such great food. We did the Mexican, Spanish, Seafood, Steak House, and Japanese restaurants. We had heard from friends that the Italian was not very good, so we never tried it. The ones we did try were great, especially the Japanese/Hibachi restaurant. All were very formal and authentic. One note, be sure to make you reservations for dinner as you are checking in so you get a table. You will NOT get a table if you try to show up every night, you need to make reservations right away as they fill up. We had no problem getting reservations upon check in, but we would've never gotten in if we wait each night to just show up as they were busy. Be sure to make reservations for ALL nights/restaurants upon check in. Buffets were great and so were the beach restaurants/grills, never were disappointed.
4. Resort Itself - We found Barcelo Tropical to be the best "bang for your buck" due to having access to 2 resorts for the price of one. At this location, Barcelo has the Maya and Caribe (which is the "lowest" cost and has the least amenities), the Tropical and Colonial (middle level) and the Palace (highest cost/amenities). They are all located on the same facility and beach and next to each other. If you purchase the Maya/Caribe, you only have access to that area. If you purchase the Tropical/Colonial you have access to the Tropical/Colonial AND the Maya/Caribe. If you purchase the Palace you have access to it all. By access, I would say the biggest thing is the dining. You have access to your specific areas restaurants and the resort "below" you, which is nice for variety. I honestly don't think the Palace is worth the money, unless you really want the fancy rooms/treatment. We found the Tropical/Colonial to be a great middle ground and it was only about $50 more a person from the Maya/Caribe. Overall, the resort set up is fantastic, two resorts for the price of one if you do the Tropical/Colonial. The beaches are available for everyone regardless of resort package purchased, but most stayed in front of their specific resort area just for convenience.
5. Family Friendly/Safety - Very family friendly resort but not overwhelming with children either. We were not there with kids, but I was very impressed by how family friendly it was and plan to bring our kids some day. The kids were very well behaved and were not bothersome at all, it was great. There was a good mix of families, singles, friends, etc. It was also extremely safe---we left our belongings by our chairs on the beach and would go get food or go swim and never had any issues. We also saw kids walking around without parents multiple times and there were no issues. It was incredibly safe. Barcelo has security gaurds and monitor things well. There was also a safe in each room for money and small belongings (passports, jewelry, etc).
6. Pools - The pools were wonderful, good swim up bar, chairs, hammocks, cabanas, kids pool, so on....we didn't spend much time in the pool because we are from MN and wanted to enjoy the beach, but the pools were great when we were there. A lot of organized activities too (water polo, exercise groups, games, etc.).
7. Drinks - The alcoholic beverages were wonderful, many frozen drink options and mixed drink options. House wine is included. The only beer option is Corona, so if you are looking for variety they don't have much. It wasn't a big issue, but we are not big beer drinkers--I coud see where Corona would get old.
8. Service - Wonderful staff who truly want to please you, we had no issues getting everything we needed and quickly! We were very impressed. They never expected tips either, we really didn't tip many of the bartenders---mostly tipped if we continuously had the same server/bartender and that was it, I was impressed. They treat you like royalty!
1. Rooms - the rooms were nice and they were fine for us, every room included a nice balcony and the bathrooms were remodeled and excellent. However, it didn't appear that any of the rooms had beach views (not even at the Palace, but I could be wrong) so if you are looking for beach views you probably won't get it here. It didn't pose a problem for us because the walk to the beach is short, but just something to think about. The rooms also are not necessarily the most fancy, but you really only sleep in there. There were no problems by any means, but not elite (no flat screen tv's or tempurpedic mattesses or anything). We did have some issues with the AC rattling in our first room, but we reported it and they moved us to a different room immediately. Our phone also didn't work once and they fixed it right away.
2. Communicate - There were a few times that we experienced difficulty with communication with the staff, but it was purely a language barrier. The staff do speak English, but it is mostly broken English, they are primarily Spanish speaking. We didn't have major issues, but it did get frustrating some times because it was hard to communicate. However, you are in Mexico and that is their language. I wish we would have learned more Spanish before coming and felt quite ignorant to not know much Spanish in Mexico.
3. Resort Size - The resort is quite large, but they do have a shuttle that drives you around the resort and the paths are well lit and well manicured so we walked a lot. It was nice in my opinion, but if you do not want to walk around or have a large resort this isn't your place. It never seemed large to us or not manageable, but just thought I would mention it. Like I said above, it is 3 resorts in one spot so naturally there is a lot there. You don't have to walk around if you don't want to, but if you choose to it can appear to be quite large. The main things (restaurants, buffets, beach, bars, rooms) are in one general spot so it wasn't bad at all.
4. Wifi not free - There is WIFI at the resort but it is not included. We loved it beacause it never tempted us to check work emails and was much more peaceful, but if you demand internet it could get spendy paying for it all the time.
GREAT resort, we will be returning. We really didn't feel there were any serious negative issues, just some things that could use some improvements but nothing that was a deal breaker. You will not be disappointed. Gorgeous resort, amazing beach, wonderful food. Enjoy your stay!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.