Our trip got off to a nice start with an early arrival and about 10 minutes in line at both customs and immigration. As usual, USA Transfers was waiting for us and it took all of about 3 minutes for our van to arrive. After a short 23 minute ride to the VIM, our check-in took about 3 more minutes. Both us and our travel partners were upgraded to Silver Suites (I am sure thanks to my travel agent). After our arrival shots of tequila and a beer, we were off to our suites. Our bellboy, Willy, was awesome. He was friendly, information, talkative and a little bit of a smart alec (which I totally loved).
The Silver Suites are very nice and spacious. The King beds are very comfortable and the pillows were just fine. I have seen a few reviews and comments lately that the pillows are terrible, but I did not have a problem and I usually hate the pillows so much that I rarely use one. The open floor plan does not bother us, but I could see how it would be tough for some people. The double jacuzzi was very nice, but does take a little while to fill up. One note of caution: There is a little step down into the shower which seemed totally out of place to us and could cause a fall hazard if you did not notice or had a few too many cocktails. Beverages were stocked every day and there is a DVD player in the room. No real view but that seems to be the norm at the VIM. One odd thing was that there are double wooden doors leading into the bathroom. We never closed them, but they also did not open all the way, so my wife kept hitting her arms on the steel handles. We did not mind the walk to the beach at all as we were headed there anyway for breakfast and the beach all day. I only heard the music from the plaza on the last night (but that may have been because I curtailed my drinking on the last day - ha ha). My wife had room service our first night as I was over-served in the Sports Bar and then Don Miguel's. She had chicken fajitas, which she said were very good and the chicken wings which she also enjoyed. Finally, there are a couple switches that turn off all the power (lights and alarm clock) in the room. They have a dark circle on them. One is right when you walk in the door and the other is by the bed.
VIM is probably the third largest place we have been (Aventura Spa Palace and Occidental Grand Flamenco XCaret being the two larger). I like to walk all day up and down the beach and all around the resort, so I did not mind, but some might. I did feel as though the resort layout did not have any rhyme or reason to it though, so getting lost for a few minutes definitely happens at the beginning of the stay. In fact, the first morning I went back to our room to get my iPad to do my "Live From" thread and I literally walked past the chapel three times until I figured out where I had to go. Those that have been there are definitely having a chuckle right now. I respect the fact that they tried to leave the environment as in tact as they could, but with the vast amount of property that they have I think they could have moved the rooms closer to the ocean for better/more ocean views.
I truly think it is one of the most beautiful beach that I have been on. Maybe second only to Maroma Beach. The sand is deep, white, powder. The ocean is a blue/green color and the bottom is nice, firm and sandy. You can also walk out pretty far and the water is only chest deep. It was pretty windy when we were there so there were some large waves which made it very fun to play in. I respect the ocean though and never felt it was dangerous. The beach walk to the left of the boardwalk leading to the beach only has houses (at least as far as I walked). There were some very nice ones and some obviously abandon ones. To the right, you past the "secluded" beach and then after a short walk arrive at the Grand Mayan. Palapas were fairly easy to obtain when we arrived anywhere between 8:30 and 10am. I felt as though beach service was far too slow for our needs. No problem though, as I said, I like to walk so I just walked to get our drinks.
The Beach Bar was the worst. Flat, warm beer, bad service, non-friendly bar tenders. Sorry but that was my experience. Quiet Pool Bar was the best. Very cold and fresh beer, fun specialty drinks, great variety of shots and the most friendly staff (Veronica being the absolute best). Active Pool Bar was good, not great. Plaza Bar was great. They worked very hard and with the crowd that they attract because of the action in the plaza I give them all the credit in the world. There was hardly a wait for a drink and the bartenders were as friendly as could be. The Sports Bar was great as well. As we sat at the bar, it was easy to get drinks and talk with the bartenders. They provided excellent service and good conversation. The Martini Bar was also outstanding. Ramone was very comical and "join in" on the fun if you know what I mean. He was famous around the resort for making the best drinks. Whether it was specialty martinis, shots, cappuccino, or other specialty drinks, he was the Man. Finally, this was the resort that has the most Top Shelf Liquor. What I mean by that is that it was out in the open and there were no "maybe later" or "tomorrow" games with the good stuff. The Grey Goose, Don Julio, etc. was out in the open and poured freely. In fact, one time I asked for a shot of Don Julio and the bartender told me "maybe later" - I sort of chuckled and thought "here we go again" but to my surprise, I was walking by later in the afternoon and he called me over. When I walked over and asked him what was up, he began pouring me a shot of Don Julio - big TIP for that!! Finally, Don Miguel's was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. The bar itself was very good with its red backlighting, but the fresh-made to the order sushi kept us coming back every night before dinner. Well, that and Lourdes and Lourdes. Truth be told, I had too much to drink the first night and did not realize that they were two different people. They were two of the most wonderful staff members at the VIM. We made sure to sit in their section every night and they took care of us (and we took care of them).
On our first morning, we met Luis at the restaurant out by the beach and boy did he leave an impression. He waited on us with unparalleled service and anticipated our every need. We literally sat in his section for every breakfast and lunch for the remainder of our stay except on his day off. The food here was very good - nothing special but it did the trick. Our first dinner was at Ginger. We do not do the hibachi table anymore as we prefer to sit at our own table. We had a tuna and scallops and beef fried rice type option. Both were pretty good, but nothing that we had to return for. The Tempura Ice Cream on the other hand was outstanding. Definitely worth a return trip. Our second dinner was Italian. There was a mushroom and shrimp pizza that was delicious and the mushroom risotto was outstanding as well. We had shrimp and lobster cannelloni and beef tenderloin with potatoes au gratin. Both meals were really good, but the potatoes were a highlight. Our third meal was at the French Restaurant. The onion soup in a puff pastry was really good. We had chateaubriand and rack of lamb. The chateaubriand was dry and hard to chew - not at all what we were expecting. The lamb was a little dry as well but it may just have been the time of night (later). We also had an amazing mussel and mushroom puff pastry appetizer. The creme brûlée was the best I have ever had. My wife thought the French place was very elegant and fun with a grand staircase right as you walked in the door. Our final meal was at the Indonesian place. As you are being seated, the hostess walks you to a table that has a bunch of different flavors of tequila and asks if you would like to try one. We tried the cherry and they were very tasty. We had the Lamb Vindaloo and the Duck. The Lamb Vindaloo was too spicy for my taste. Not hot spicy, just too many types of spices spicy. It was extremely tender though and my wife enjoyed it. I had the duck which was outstanding. It was cut into thin slices and was very tender and delicious. Our waitress (whose name escapes me) was awesome as well. Very playful, funny and just in a great mood. We asked her to take a picture of us and instead of taking the camera from us, she stoke a funny pose for us to take a photo of her - my kind of person. Finally, every restaurant has a "drink cart" with all the top shelf liquors on it and they roll it up to your table after dessert for an after dinner drink. A very nice touch I thought and the first resort we have seen do this. Many times we simply took a shot of Don Julio, but other times we had Amaretto, Grand Marnier, or others.
We did not take in much of the evening entertainment, but did catch the Magic Show which was outstanding. I got pulled up on stage so that helped the entertainment factor - ha ha. And then there was a 70s Cover Band in Don Miguel's one night that was also a lot of fun. We also caught a band and a DJ in the Plaza - both were okay. We did walk out to the Fire Show on the beach as well. It was pretty cool, but the kerosene smell was overwhelming in my opinion.
Now for the bad: The Go (Entertainment) Staff was the worst we have ever experienced in all of our trips. They were pretty much non-existent during the day and when they did an activity at the pool, they simply stood at their podium and made announcements from their microphone. No wonder they could only get a few people to participate at a time. Finally, I was told that they were in charge of the Sports Bar during the daytime, but I had to go and find them to see if they would turn on the televisions so I could check the scores of the college and pro football games. I found them at their hut, but instead of coming right away like I have experienced at all other resorts, they just told me to go back to the bar and they would be there soon. Yeah - 30 or 45 minutes later. And then they had no idea how to work the direct tv at the resort. So, there a bunch of us guys were watching one game while all the other televisions had the guide on it for all our other games. Here is a hint for the VIM: Guys love their college football and really like their pro football - make sure the games are on.
I am so glad that we went to VIM. It has been on my hit list for a few years now and I am glad to have been able to check it off. It is very nice. The staff was probably the friendliest that we have encountered and the top shelf liquor was the most plentiful that we have seen. I also appreciated the fact that they did not play games with the good stuff like other resorts do. If you are going to advertise "top shelf" then provide it with no games.....and provide it - don't just say you have it and then don't. Our friend had a birthday while we were there - they did a nice job decorating her room in a festive way - we were all impressed with the towels fashioned as a cake with rose petals and balloons everywhere. In regards to the WiFi in the lobby, it was spotty at best and a little frustrating, but hey - it is free.
Would I go back? Sure, but only with an unbelievable deal. Truth be told, I do like to try new resorts, but if I get a great deal, I would not hesitate to go back to the VIM. I truthfully believe that I would enjoy it even more the second time around. I have a feeling that VIM is one of those resorts that get a little better every time you go.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.