We just returned from Barcelo - after we spent 1 week at the end of March.
The resort is huge - basically there are 5 hotels in 1 - to simply explain :
Beach and Caribe at level 1, Tropical and Colonial are level 2 and Palace is level 3.
Palace is the luxury hotel and the most expensive. You have access to your level and the level below. You can use the beach and the pools everywhere but you cannot eat&drink at a higher lever unless you pay extra.
They have a trolley that goes around the resort and stops every 10min.
We stayed at the Tropical in the Yucatan Building. Our room was ground floor - 7111 - the first regular room after the Club Premium. Really close to the poos!
Rooms - are clean, with a bit of a musty smell on the 1st day but then it dissapears. The bed is a bit too hard and they could do better with the quality of the bed sheets. We stayed at other premium hotels and felt that others were better.
Beach - is really long and nice! there is a great portion with no rocks right in front of the tropical. that's where we were all the time. There are a lot of chairs on the beach - it's impossible not to find one at any time of day. The pool is a different story - mostly all of them are taken by 10am. The chairs at the beach are pretty old and some damaged (you cannot really nap on them), but the pool ones look new and are really comfy! when we didnt find pool chairs, we would use the hammocks!
The grounds are really nice and well-maintained! Just Beautiful!
Shopping - the stores in the hotel are crazy-priced! sunlotion for $40???? go to Playa del Carmen for souvenir shopping!
Restaurants - the buffets were good - pretty much everything you want and need! loved the flambed fruit station at night for dessert! We were given 4 cards for 7 nights to book restaurants. TIP : book when you arrive! we found all available but scattered throughtout the week. Italian and Japanese were delicious, steakhouse was also good and the Seafood - get the lobster! it's the best thing in their menu that everybody gets! There are other 2 mexican restaurants at Beach and Caribe - we didnt try them, and Palace has a French and Brazillian - $25 if you want to eat there.
Entertainment - there is not a lot honestly. There is some area at the pool where they have a schedule - every 2 hours they have an activity. but it seemed to be the same stuff every day.
They have a huge theater - the shows were pretty good at night! There is also an area for games - pool, bowling, ping-pong, chess. you can have a lot of fun!
They do have a great kid schedule and kid pool areas that look like a lot of fun! The dolphin area is really nice - they do look a bit crowded in there! we swam with the dolphins at Isla Mujeres and didnt do it here again.
Unfortunately the week we were there was very windy so a lot of high waves - which we loved, but couldnt use the water sport section much! they did have a great one!
Trips - we took a cab - $23 to Playa del Carmen - one way and spend the day shopping and walking on their great beach! we also took the ferry to Cozumel - rented a car and toured the island! there are some great but weird looking restaurants on the east coast of the island - but the food is delicious! best fried fish ever! We didnt take any other trips as we mostly came to relax and charge our batteries. There are a lot of things to do around - book the trips with your vacation rep in the resort and don't talk to timeshare people in airports as they will offer you cheap trips but with hidden agendas.
- they really should get a beach bar service! with a beach this big - it's hard to walk to the pool bars all the time! we were at other resorts that had beach bars or people serving drinks on the beach. Nothing here - a bit dissapointed!
- also, if you're not at the Palace or Club Premium, you dont get premium alcohol in your cocktails! this is the first AI resort i've seen like this. i asked for something with Bailey's and they said it's extra $.
- stay away from spring breakers! they were a lot at this resport. it was dissapointing to see a lot of drunk kids during the day with their parents close by! one girl passed out at the pool and their whole medical team was there. seriously? we'll probably go adult only again in the future!
- also, because of the spring breakers, we weren't allowed to get more drinks for our friends - they had a 1 drink per person policy at the pool bar - so we all had to go together to get drinks, you couldn't get a drink for your wife or husband if they weren't with you.
- for an all you can eat resort - room service should be free!
Overall - the resort is really nice! We had a great time! Not sure if i'll return here as there are so many other places to see and stay at! but we relaxed and enjoyed it fully!