Well, Here goes, been compiling this for a few days so bear with me, it’s quite long as I like to cover all aspects for people so I can try to aid them determine where they spend their money !
We flew to Mexico with Virgin Holidays, I believe they are the only UK provider of holidays to Sian Kaan, other operators offer the other 3 hotels but not SK. Good flight over and we had a private transfer from Cancun through VH which was a godsend as we arrived about 1hr 30mins prior to the main bus !
I had been to this part of Mexico before so recognised the entrance (which looks so much better at night !) and we were through security and up to the drop off point. Bellboys were helpful and friendly and unloaded the bags whist we went to check in. All was well at check in, reservations found, bands on and no issues. Guest service arrived and passed on the details of the A La Carte’s we had booked in advance and we set of with the bell boy to the room. We had contacted the hotel in advance to request a room with a sea view near the lobby, they certainly came up trumps with villa 2A. Quick scout around the penthouse suite and a few pictures for the album before we messed it all up and things were looking good ! Bed had a mattress topper on (which was recommended by a few people on here) bar was stocked and the room itself was very spacious and clean.
I’m not going to do a day by day blow here ! I was going to do a good, bad ugly split but as there is no real bad or ugly it’s more of a good, little bit worse, other issues review !
The Room: Very nice, bed is massive and the separate seating area we found quite comfortable. From our lounge area, we were not overlooked at all, The rooftop Jacuzzi was also nice as we could sit on the roof and look out at the sea, I would say that if there was some form of shade on the roof it would be an improvement – most of the day it was too hot to be up there ! In Villa 2A we also got a good WiFi Signal most of the time.
The Staff: Cannot praise them highly enough, all of them were helpful friendly and approachable from the pre-arrival contact via Email to the day we left. I don’t think we encountered a single person that wasn’t happy to help.
The Food: Buffet was excellent with a vast choice for all meals whether breakfast, lunch or dinner. All of the waiting staff were friendly and we are sure that we could have utilised this to its fullest if we hadn’t booked any A La Cartes !
A La Carte’s: We visited 5 Al a Cartes whilst at SK: Don Pablo Twice, Alux Twice, Maiko Twice, La Gourmet and Mikado:
Don Pablo: My favourite, service was great, lovely decor, nicely Air-conditioned and a great Mayan coffee.
Alux: We were not 100% sure first time, this may have been because it was our first full day after travelling. First time the service was a little too quick and we were in and out within 45 minutes! We decided to give it a second chance and we are glad we did as the second time was great. Lovely staff, nicely Air conditioned and nice decor.
Maiko: Again, a 2 visit restaurant ! First visit, the food was not very hot and we came out a little underwhelmed, however we paid a second visit and this was much better. A little dark in the corners, but well Air-conditioned and friendly staff.
La Gourment: Lovely food, great decor, good waiters and nicely Air-Conditioned. Selection of glasses is very impressive !
You may have sensed a theme here – I mention A/C in all of the above – that’s because the next restaurant doesn’t have A/C !
Mikado: We got a show table, when we arrived it was already very hot in the lobby waiting area. By the time we were seated, most people around the table thought it was very hot inside – even the waiter mentioned it. The food was good, starter arrived and we duly dispatched, then the chef turned up for the main course. Amazing to watch him cook it in front of you and my teriyaki chicken was very nice, unfortunately due to the heat we left after the main course as we couldn’t stay in there any longer for dessert. It’s a shame as it’s next door to Don Pablo and I wouldn’t have thought it difficult to share the A/C to both. A few people we spoke to had the same issue.
The 1 thing I would say about the Gourmet Restaurants, the meals were all quite similar and not much variety, starters almost exclusively, fish, Salad or Foie Gras – maybe they should try to expand a little and give a slightly different offering in each restaurant. That said, I never missed a course through lack of choice and to be fair, enjoyed the meals in all of them. There was a couple of instances where it appears the dress code wasn’t followed which is poor for the people concerned. If you went to a nice restaurant at home generally, you wouldn’t go in shorts and sandals !
The Drinks: Very good selection of top shelf drinks if you want them, extensive menu. The beer gets a bit “samey” after 2 weeks, however there are alternatives in the Golf clubhouse. (more later)
Pools: For my liking the pools were a bit warm ! there is a choice of 4 pools at SK, the one by the sushi bar is very quiet and sometimes we had the whole pool to ourselves. Towels always available and the loungers were pretty comfy. To be totally honest none of the pool were lively, even the activity pool – this did change at weekends (more later !) unlike the pools at the other hotels, we had no issues getting a lounger at any point during the whole 2 weeks. We went to Tulum and Akumal for a visit and by 10.00am we could not find a sun bed anywhere near the shade so returned to SK. We struck lucky 1 day at Coba and got 2 sunbeds by the pool. This pool was a lot more lively than the SK pool with a pool party going on which was nice for a change of scene. That said, we appreciated the quietness of SK more after spending the day there !
Beach: We were impressed by the beach, the private area was nice and waitress service was good. There are sand “whales” evident, but this added to the fun as you could climb on them and jump off them back in to the sea. We didn’t find the sea bed too rocky, it’s that clear you can see the rocks very easily, we took water shoes and didn’t feel the need to wear them.
Shuttles: Never an issue for us, whether this was because the hotel was not full I don’t know but we never had a long wait to get a shuttle from or back to the hotel. Some of the drivers were great fun and a couple of times it felt like we were on a party bus with the driver singing along to the Mexican music. We felt this added to the enjoyment of the holiday as it gave a feeling of separation from the other resorts.
Grounds: Like the rest of the resort, immaculate. They were very well tended and always immaculate. I have to say, this was reflected throughout the resort. All the communal facilities were always kept clean and were of a high standard.
The not quite so good:
Nightly Entertainment: For us, this was a little bit samey with a lounge singer / guitar and keyboard player every evening. They did have some shows on earlier in the evening, but these were clearly performing at SK prior going to the other resorts. It would have been nice to have an alternative occasionally as it was a bit like Deja Vu after 2 weeks.
Lobby Bar: We didn’t realise this before we went but the lobby and the bar in it are completely open ! This has a couple of drawbacks: 1. When it is hot outside, it’s hot in the bar. There didn’t seem to be any movement of air through the bar and a couple of evenings we found ourselves leaving quite early as it was too hot and humid to sit in the bar for comfort. The second side of this is that when it rains (and it rained hard a couple of times) the tiles in the Lobby get wet and very very slippery. Yes, you know it will be slippery when wet but you still need to be careful not to fall. Personally, I think the place would benefit from an air-conditioned area to sit in for drinks and give people the choice between in and outside. To be fair, the Club House bar at the golf resort was air-conditioned, but it shut at 6pm.
Communication: We appreciate that we are in Mexico and English is not their first language, I can say that their English is much better than my Mexican! However as an International resort, you would expect there to be people on hand to assist in matters where the reception staff were struggling. We have mentioned the Golf Clubhouse a couple of times and whether this was a language barrier thing or a complete lack of understanding, there were some issues relating to whether we could / could not use it and if was included in the All Inclusive package. Dependent on who you asked you got a different answer – some staff said it was ok to use it and free, others said you had to pay. We used it a couple of times and it wasn’t charged, however we didn’t know that for sure until we checked out ! there was no food available at the Club house, however there was building works going on opposite to the bar so that may become a dining option ?
Pool Bars: Not quite the extensive range of drinks as the lobby bar, however still a good selection. The not so good aspects here are around the service. It seemed very hit and miss as to whether the pool was waiter service. Some days the waiters would be around the pool delivering drinks, other days not. All the other hotels had swim up bars so getting a drink was not an issue. In SK, there are no swim up bars so you had to go and fetch your own drinks. We couldn’t understand why there was waiter service at the beach but not the pool. One of the bars was in the buffet restaurant which meant walking through the seating area (tiled) to get a drink – not good for the person getting the drinks or the people in the snack bar as the floor got wet.
Pool Entertainment: Or lack of ! SK is clearly designed to be a relaxing resort with not to many things going on, however we never really noticed any entertainment at any of the pools, even the activity pool. The team at SK is a lot smaller than others, when we went to Coba, the entertainment team was getting on for 10 strong, whereas SK was a couple of people at most. If SK are not going to do pool entertainment, they should at least advertise activities at the other resorts.
The hotel is going Adult’s only from November the 1st, which personally I think is a good thing. Both weekends we were at SK, there was an influx of local families in to the resort and this changed the whole complexion of the resort. It got a lot louder and a lot busier and there were a lot of children running around without a great deal of supervision. This was in the pool and also evident in the buffet. We saw kids in the buffet stacking up on massive amounts of food, using fingers to pick things up and then leaving the food to go to waste. To be fair to the waiting staff, they talked to the parents about this but there appeared to be little interest from them in any form of control for their kids.
The second area we though could be improved was the information provided on the A La Carte restaurants. There was only 1 book in SK that gave you a menu for each restaurant so at times you were booking blind as it was not always possible to access them as they were with Guest services and in use. Without visiting all of the restaurants prior to booking it is difficult to establish the menu choices and if they are suitable. There a lot of BHP “propaganda” channels on the in room TV’s, perhaps they could add menu’s to one of these channels to allow you to view prior to booking.
Hopefully the above has provided some insight in to our stay, please do not confuse the above as massive criticisms, they are only things we think would benefit the guest at the hotel, we really enjoyed our stay at Sian Kaan and it is definitely somewhere we consider returning to, the only thing we would change next time is we probablt wouldn't have a penthouse as it was just too hot for it most of the time. I appreciate that this is still quite new and there are changes afoot to the current offereing and hopefully these changes will only help to improve what already is an excellent destination.
Grading the hotel is difficult as If I am honest at this moment in time I’m flip flopping between a 4 and 5 rating as I think the hotel is currently a good 4.5 rating and TA doesn’t allow half marks. A 4 rating I feel would be harsh as generally this is a very very good hotel and well worth considering, especially at the current prices, but I’m not sure yet it quite makes a 5 rating but with a couple of slight tweaks, this would be an excellent 5 rating hotel.
I have discussed it with the other half - she has told me it's a 5 :-) lol
Hope the above helps, and congratulations if you got to the end, please feel free to ask any questions.
Try to get near the lobby, then the WiFi works and it's not to far to walk when it rains !
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.