Just returned from a 1 week stay (Feb 10-17) at the Royal Decameron Aquarium. We had read reviews before booking and knew what to expect, we were not disappointed. The only downsides for us were the front desk staff & internet (see below), everything else was great.
RESORT: The over the water towers all joined by boardwalks was better than we anticipated. It was very unique and made it different. The resort is a bit dated but they work very hard to maintain it. There is a small pool which is very small considering the size of the resort and the natural pool by the pier which is amazing for snorkeling. We saw all kinds of gorgeous fish, the stingrays come to the pier as well. There are 2 buffets, 4 a la carte restaurants and 1 snack bar. There are 3 main bars, lobby, pool (swim-up) and pier. You can eat at all other Decamerons on the island except the El Isleno (brand new). Great concept I have never seen elsewhere. There are chairs & umbrellas scattered around the piers, if you want shade, you must get there early (before 8h30 or so) to ensure you get one otherwise they are all taken (same goes for the pool). The constant wind/breeze is great on the piers.
ROOMS: The rooms we had were in tower 1 which is the farthest one out to sea. It also makes it the quietest which was great. We had amazing ocean views. It felt like we were on a cruise ship balcony. The rooms themselves were very clean, small bathroom with small shower, safe ($), flat screen TV and mini fridge stocked with bottled water. They had not been updated but we didn’t care. They were perfectly fine, we weren’t there to spend time in the rooms other than sleep. There was no alarm clock and no coffee maker. The maids did a great job daily.
FOOD/RESTAURANTS: The food was good, the fresh fruits amazing. The fish was really good, I had fish every single day. We tried all 4 a la carte restaurants (Italian, Steakhouse, Thai & Seafood) and also tried the Japanese at the San Luis hotel. The selection at the buffet was good but tended to be repetitive. There is no limit of times you can eat at the a la carte restaurants and some (Seafood is the one I know of) are also opened for lunch. You just need to reserve the morning of for the same night for the Aquarium and 1 day in advance for any other hotel.
BEACH: There is no beach at the Aquarium. However, the piers/boardwalks are a nice change and you don’t have the sand to worry about. There are plenty of options available to spend a day at the beach, Rocky Cay, the private beach club for the Decameron hotels (must book a day in advance) where there is a full bar & restaurant available and part of the all-inclusive. There is also Johnny Cay which is well worth the visit. There are also public beaches nearby or at other Decameron hotels.
STAFF: Most of the staff is great except for the front desk. The front desk staff could really use a course in customer service, they very rarely smile, you get the feeling that you are constantly bothering them whenever you go up to the desk and 75% of the time, the person you ask the question says go wait in this line, the other girl is the one who handles this or that….I have never seen this before anywhere I have travelled. It seems they each have a specific task to look after and God forbid they help you with your request. They also never have small change so if you want to change your bigger bills for tips, good luck.
Overall we had a great stay, aside from the front desk and the internet, which you have to pay for and only works in the lobby and only on some days (I think it worked only 2 or 3 days out of the 7 we were there). There were some people (myself included) who got sick (stomach issues) during our stay. Some in our party did and some didn’t. We had all been eating the same foods so very hard to say if there was a bug going around of if it was food/water related. We found out on the plane back that other travelers who stayed at other hotels got sick as well as many others did at our hotel. Obviously not a fun thing to happen but that would not stop me from coming back. The island is absolutely beautiful, the ocean is truly spectacular, 7 shades of blue is right as they say. We felt safe everywhere we went. I would definitely come back to San Andres and would stay at the Aquarium again.