We arrived at the property at about 6pm. Check in was fast and pretty painless. We stayed in a standard room with Kingsize bed which we requested. We wanted 2nd or 3rd floor but was given ground level. Understanding they didn't have any other options it wasn't a big deal and we moved on to start our vacation. The bellhop took us and our bags to our room. The room itself was decent with a kingsize bed, a desk, a couch, a mini-fridge, coffee maker and shower with tub. Then we realized there were no drawers for clothing storage. We did find two drawers under the TV but these were useless as every time you opened the doors on the entertainment stand the tv would pop out and block access to the lone 2 drawers. We had a quick shower and then headed to the buffet. There was always lots of hot water for showers and didnt seem to matter what time of day. Sleep quality was terrible the bed was like concrete and the pillows were made for smurfs, (very tiny). After our first week we got new pillows which were of a normal size but I had to throw one in the corner due to it smelling of vomit. The room was dirty and any time cleaning service went through it was a very fast clean. Swept main areas and made the bed, that was it. When we arrived there was spilled coffee on the floor near the table. That coffee stayed for the entire 2 weeks we were there. Corners were filled with sand and grime. Many days our empty water and soda bottles weren't even taken away. Bugs were in the room all the time. Other resorts we stayed at fumigated the room once per week to keep bugs under control, but not here. The ceiling fan only worked if you stood on the bed and give it a boost and the screen door had a large rip in it. The tv was a tube type tv that had very touchy volume controls and tended to get a band of static with the static noise to accompany it every 5 minutes or so leaving it nearly useless. Our room was across the walkway from the ampi-theatre. The theatre shows would not end till 11pm and were extremely loud. Not sure why it needed to be so loud.
The buffet was really hit and miss during our 2 weeks there. Food was consistent and was buffet food, never great but never terrible either. Service was normally not very good, several times we were not provided with spoons? Several times during our two weeks we were never provided with drinks from our server. About 80% of the servers we encountered were either stale with a unhappy attitude or laughing and joking at the guests while serving them. Tipping didn't change or improve the service at all. Getting hot coffee was tough, more often than not it was luke warm at best.
When it came to the bars we were unable to find a good drink during our stay. We were staying in what is billed as a tropical paradise but were unable to get drinks with real fruit juice in them, it was always the horribly sweet bar mix. The alcohol in the drinks was near to non-existent. We witnessed several guests who had purchased their own bottles of liquor and carried them to the beach to top off the drinks they were getting from the bar. The bartenders were rude and slow but in their defense the resort is severely under staffed. Normally you waited 10 minutes to get a drink unless you stooped to several guests levels and just pushed inline.
The grounds and the beaches were beautiful with lots of area for walking. The beaches were a bit un-kept though. In our two week stay I only seen them sift/clean the sand once. Beach chairs were in need of replacement with most of them sagging and several of them broken. The grounds were home to several animals which made for some good nature walks. The size of this resort is incredible, much larger than any we've stayed at before. We found it too large for our tastes. Anywhere you wanted to go you had a good walk to get there. The Tropical was considered an upgrade from the Beach/Caribe section because you would be able to use the buffets/bars of both. We just never did it was just to far of a walk between to make it sensible. There is shopping available on the resort with several shops selling clothing, gifts, jewelry etc. Problem is half of the shops you couldn't use cash at, purchases were just billed to your room and the other have you paid cash at. This made things a bit more confusing when settling up your account at the end of the stay trying to remember what you paid cash for and what you didn't. Further more the prices on the resort were ridiculous. Most things were double the price of Playa Del Carmen and 3 times the price of neighboring Puerto Aventuras and Akumal.
We were given $3000 dollars worth of resort coupons when we checked. Sounds great except I would estimate you would have to spend around $6000 to take advantage of these coupons. We decided to use the spa for a couples massage and use the $100 off coupon which left the total at $153. The massage was mediocre at best. The next day while in Play Del Carmen we were able to get massages on the beach which were much better massages for just $20 each.
We purchased wi-fi service a week at a time which cost $50. Coverage was pretty spotty. In our room we had a very weak signal and sometimes would have to move about the room to find signal.
The highlight of the resort for us was that we were able to snorkel onsite and see turtles, stingrays and a variety of fish. The coral here is in terrible shape though. Probably a result of over use by inexperienced snorkelers. It was a bit tough finding good swimming areas on the beach as rocks are hidden beneath the water in many places and the places without rocks were very crowded.
Location was a plus for us because it gave close easy access to Puerto Aventuras, Akumal and Playa Del Carmen. It also made Coba and Tulum an easy day trip.
To sum it up, we would never stay here again, we would probably never stay at any Barcelo Resort again and we definiatly would not reccomend this resort to our friends.
It was an all-inclusive resort that seemed like they were always trying to get another dollar out of you all the while providing you no service. You even had to pay if wanted to use the luggage scale in the lobby.