Really had a great time in this resort. Not always 100% perfect but nothing that you would sweat over.this is going to be a long review so apologies in advance:)
Arrived late at night about 10.30pm and were quickly checked into our pool view preferred room( on a higher floor with king size bed which was huuugggee!! Thanks to Marcelino getting my requests) offered a drink and directed to our room straight away.
Had a quick look around,a few drinks and on the prowl for food as we're pretty hungry after a long journey. We were told we could order room service 24hrs but chose the sports bar midnight snacks, from 12-2 nightly, with burgers, hotdogs, pizza, fries and little sandwiches we frequented here often on the way back to our room after the club.they were good!!
Woke up next morning to beautiful sunshine, explored the beautiful beach, lovely pools, lively main pool and more chilled at the preferred. Grounds very nice and staff constantly working to keep it that way.
Food- I was very worried about this after some bad reviews but I was very pleasantly surprised. We ate in all restaurants, menu choice and food quality good in all. Our fave was Capers, followed closely by Spice. Ate in both twice, a la carte and teppanyaki table in spice, was best teppanyaki food I've ever had and I've been in about 6, just full of flavour. Saltinbocca and carpaccio in capers great. Decent steak and ribs in blue water grill. French was just ok but maybe I was expecting more. Breakfast was ok, I didn't like the buffet room as felt like a cafeteria so chose to eat in castaways, nicer environment but less choice. Never got good service in the buffet, ate twice as hubby didn't want to wear long pants and shoes but didn't seat us in preferred area, second time we had to ask to a big sigh as a response. Castaways good lunch but would like more choice, love the shrimp and fish skewer, hubby loved the hotdogs at the grill.
Service- sometimes sketchy in restaurants unless they know you already so takes a few days till your treated as well as you should from the beginning. Some staff stood out immediately as really enjoying their jobs, Rose, Carlos, Jerebeen at castaways. Gabriel, Marcelino and really all the girls in preferred always so friendly. The best was the lobby bar, Lenny, Felix and Loius so happy in their work, they work as a great team, working fast and multitasking when busy bar and putting on a great show, entertaining the guests and being very attentive when quieter. To be honest if you needed anything anywhere staff really went out of their way. The only exception being the housekeeping, we didn't have bathrobes so asked every day and took. 3 days to get them, they then disappeared after day 8 never to return. We had no turndown 3 or 4 times and while it doesn't really bother me we didn't once have any room decor, towel animals, rose petal baths etc that others have mentioned. Ok that's not gonna ruin my trip but its something I know is important to some.
Entertainment-I don't really participate in the pool games etc but they were funny to watch sometimes and there were quiter areas if you really don't want to be involved. I did do morning yoga on the beach most days and aquarobica a few times. Chocolate was the best at this and Eddie Murphy was ok although a little Over the top to the point of rude at times.
Evening entertainment was nice, some good musicians in the lobby or plaza for low key entertainment as a few good shows in between the usual silly resort games that aren't really my scene. The fire show at the beach was good, Jeerk was different, we were there for their first night and the hype was fabulous, they walked around the pool area in the day with big burly security guards, had big red carpet reception with paparazzi and appletinis and a big limo like a movie premier feel, was very funny but the show wasn't really up to the hype. After 2 rock songs it turned into a 'stomp, type tap show, better than usual resort shows but I wouldn't go twice and it wasn't what I was expecting. Magic show was ok too but the best really was the Circus show, extremely impressive, even if you don't normally do the show thing do not miss this.
Nightclub was probably my favourite hotel nightclub ever mainly due to the outdoor location. It meant we could watch but not have to be in the middle of a sweaty dance floor as my husband does not do dancing:) also there is a little pool which you.re not allowed to swim in:( but is great to sit and paddle your feet. The music was nearly always good although the last couple of nights was more Spanish based which would be fine if it was filling the dancer look but it wasn't then they would play something more dance/pop and the dance floor would fill then they went straight back to the Spanish music and dance floor emptied. Didn't get it and was a shame because we ended up going back to the room earlier last couple of nights.
Highlights- wasn't going to do any excursions but after trying out the Segway on the beach I was hooked and had to do that. The beach you go to is Amazing, like stepping into a postcard. I loved the Segway and the trip was fun. The quality of food and drink in one of the best AI we,ve been on for a great price. I liked preferred club but if price s an issue you could easily do without although I liked the perks it gave me, sushi and canapés before dinner, breakfast in castaways and outside jacuzzi. Lobby bar staff entertained us the whole trip, will miss them most.
Downsides- restaurant service in a la cartes was sketchy. Always seemed to a lot of 'big bosses' about but they seemed to do little. Didn't get any personal concierge treatment in our room and housekeeping was also impersonal. Wanted to order good red wine and ay extra but returned because all red wine s kept in fridge with white, they offered to run it under hot water for me !!!
Also they clear the bars well before closing time so what you want is not available. I also think preferred club closes too early at 11pm as I would like to go after dinner and shows for dessert and nightcap but they clear the desserts and start putting away drinks from 10.30.
We did get to experience a day in secrets next door, if I had the money I would pay it, the peace and quiet, the lazy river, the restaurants even better and very beautifully done out, the beach bar, the atmosphere just felt a notch up however it would also be nice then to go to now in the evenings for a livelier entertainment scene and more choices to eat. It was really a great end to our holiday.