We WILL return! Amazing Resort with little flaws, but perfect enough!
Our trip date: Dec 4th 2012 to Dec 14th 2012.
Room Category: Akumal Golden Club
Room we stayed: 6611, 6612 (BEST in the Resort IMHO)
Who we are: My parents (71, 65), my daughter (6) and my sister and me
BOTTOM LINE: The Hotel was THE BEST FOR OUR (extended) FAMILY!
BEFORE YOU GO: Prior to my departure, I emailed firstname.lastname@example.org for my restaurant reservations and the room preferences a month before, Gabriela Velazquez Reyes, public relations manager promptly emailed me back and she couldn’t be more helpful! She was sooo friendly, prompt and helpful, I felt good about the hotel even before I was there! So, I went to see her (and to deliver a small thank you gift) as soon as we got there. She is a very beautiful lady who takes pride in her job.
Not only she honored ALL of my requests, she even arranged to have amazingly beautiful room decorations on my parent’s 40th anniversary that had full of rose petals all over the room and the bathroom. (a bottle of champagne too!) Thank you again Gabriela!! You’re Awesome!
Check-In: FAST, Friendly with Delicious Margarita upon your arrival at the Golden Club Lobby which is very private, quiet with business room inside (where you could use computers with internet/ WIFI as well). I read 1000s of reviews before I left so I already knew what to expect and lot of details about the hotel. If you stay there for the first time and did not have time to do the ‘optional’ homework then I would ask all the Qs and ‘STUDY’ your map as the resort is HUGE.
Resort is HUGE but extremely well manicured, amazingly clean with very nice lay out.
ROOMS: ONE Word, amazing! Gorgeous View just like in the post cards. Everything was spic and span. I requested for the mattress topper and with the topper we all had NO problem sleeping like a baby. I loved the big make-up mirror, decent hair-dryer and the beautiful Jacuzzi tub. Hotel’s water filtration system was awesome; I barely had to apply lotion on my body as the water made my skin very smooth. I loved having the slippers (floor are cold marble) and the shower gowns. However, take your own shampoo/ conditioner, bath gel, lotion etc. What they offer were very cheap quality.
AIR-CON works very well (but it could be the time of the year, 78-84 degree),
Maid service was great! Not only the room was thoroughly clean, she made a cute/pretty towel animal every day! We left $3 tip every day in each room.
INTERNET: No in-room internet (at akumal, I heard Tulum has this) and this was only thing I really miss. Staying in club deluxe room, you can use the business center in Golden club lobby and they have a free WIFI (all the main lobbies have free WIFI for everyone) Wifi was very strong for the first week and did not work at all for the last 4 days of my vacation. You could still use the internet in the business room but sometimes the room was full and you have to wait.
MINI-BAR: beers, soda pops, a small bag of chip and 2 bottles of large water bottles. Mini-bar was the only one that I found with inconsistent service. Although I’ve tipped every day (they’re SEPARATE from your Maid service), some day he’d come and some day he didn’t. We don’t drink sodas/beers so that wasn’t too much of an issue but we drink lots of water. Also, I never received the chocolates whether he was in or not and I tipped $1 every day. (Because of my little one, I went to the hotel shop for chocolates and Regular size M& M, kitket were $2 each!) When I actually came across the mini-bar guy (he seemed he was extremely busy) one day, I asked for extra water bottles and chocolates. Since then, he left exactly what we wanted (3 waters and 2 chocolates (snack size snicker/ milkyway).
ROOM SERVICE: This was disappointing. Extremely limited menu (only handful) and even from those menu, they often say they don’t have the item because it’s too early/late. The presentation was not too bad, and the brownie (more like choco-cake) was actually very cute, made my daughter happy. BUT, you’re much better off to spend a few min. to walk to the snack bar and grab what you want, same food anyway. What’s not available at the snack bar at the time is not available for room service either.
POOLS: Nice MANY pools so you could basically choose whatever you like. Depths varied too. If you’re pool person, I’ve been told GBP has the best pools compared to few very large and DEEP pools at Palladium. Loungers by the pools get taken VERy Early, so if you MUST have a lounger by the pool in the morning time, I guess you should go grab one early. However, if you show up after 1 pm you could easily grab a lounger from people leaving. Wet
Beach towels are easily switched to fresh towels by the pool. You get 2 beach towels per room and don’t lose them ($40? Penalty)
On one afternoon, the animation team gathered all the kids for Pinata which my daughter enjoyed very much.
BEACH: definitely Not the prettiest one in Riviera maya especially with those big whales (too prevent further erosion) but for little kids, those big whales prevent the waves, makes it amazingly calm, shallow natural water pool (with fish) for kids. If you want gorgeous beach you’ll be disappointed but I think this beach is good enough for many people esp. if you have little kids. Water Shoes highly recommended.
TROLLEY: If you are worried about getting lost, just wait for the trolley which will take you to the Main Lobby and to the restaurants/ Rooms (Always ask where they are going!). These (OPEN) Trolleys are frequent and they try their best to accommodate most people. We waited average 5 min. (15 min only couple times), rest came within 5 min. or so) for our rides and it was pleasant to sit on a little waiting hut, enjoying the breezes and the scenery.
If you have a dinner reservation at a different hotel, then I would give at least 20 min to even 30 min (to be safe) to arrive in time as you’ll need to change to different trolley at the main lobby. Trolley to Coba was the longest time we waited as the trolley gets full from people from the beach, but all else were fine. This actually sounds too much hassle but it really is not. My family enjoyed having a short conversation with our broken Spanish with the driver, we all enjoyed the beautiful scenery, wild animals and the breezes during the ride. (We always tipped EVERY TIME we were on a trolley, of course you don’t have to, but the drivers really appreciated and we were happy to show our appreciation for their hospitality and wonderful service)
One note: Some travelers (esp. drunk ones) were pretty rude and our family got pretty disturbed for their rude behavior to the hotel employees who had no respect at all.
BUFFET: I’ve lived 20 years in Las Vegas, so I know what good buffets are like. And yes it’s not the best buffet I’ve been to (but again, I’m from Vegas), but I couldn’t find any fault from the buffet food and was wondering why there were so many complaints… wow! People who complain about the variety and the taste of the food they offer, what do you eat every day? If you can’t find anything to eat form their buffet, I’m sorry but You must have an eating disorder!
My favorites were grilled fish/chicken, sooo tender, juicy, piping hot! and tasty but some day they were little too salty than usual but easily be adjusted with other foods. On Gala (Saturday) night, they had a huge Salmon steak, of very high quality. Lots of healthy options to eat such as fresh and cooked vegetables, salads, etc.
Yes, it’s true it’s hard to get a good service at the buffet sometimes just because there’re too many people being served by too little servers but they really try their best. People complaining about not getting their drinks in time, please do yourself a favor, grab a cup of Fresh Squeezed juice (exotic fruit, watermelon, pineapple etc. at least 5-6 different juices every morning!) and enjoy your meal until you can get your coffee.
If you want spoon, go by the yogurt section.
Akumal is the busiest buffet for lunch as many people at the beach likely to eat here. Try other buffet if you find here too chaotic. Our favorite lunch buffet was Tulum, very well organized and more variety.
You know the Golden rule of eating the best of the buffet, right?: GO WHEN IT OPENS! Because they serve THOUSANDS of people at once, some items (bacon esp) get disappeared fast and yes, you have to wait or go for many different foods they offer but… what’s so hard about waiting here and there and enjoying a conversation with your loved ones on your vacation?
One recommendation: other all-inclusives I’ve been to, there was a to-go box available for the guests but I didn’t find any here. Because I had people staying in the room being sick, I had hard time taking some food from the buffet.
A LA CARTES: Excellent! I’ve been to Don Pablo, Arlequin, Le Gourmet, Mikdado, Fruto del Mar (Seafood), Dolce Vita (Italian), Tequila (Mexican), Brazilian.
Amazing presentation, quality of material, and the taste at most of the restaurants were awesome EXCEPT MEXICAN and Brazilian. Brazilian was not too bad but the meat they offer were just WAY TOO SALTY for my family so we couldn’t finish it. For the Mexican food, I knew they had the least rating but I went for the ambiance however, there were NO Mariachi band, No Big Sombreros (hats) offered for pictures (I even asked but the answer was NO). We had to go to the buffet afterwards.
Other than those two, rest were Excellent! We tipped $10 to $25 for the dinners depending on the service (except Tequila where we left early, only left $5).
SNACK BAR: Basic necessity like Guac, salsa, chips, ice cream (soft-serve machine), veg (tomato, lettuce, onion for burgers, steamed veg.etc.), burgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, yogurts, etc. are there. Service was okay. When I asked for chicken nugget, they said no. so, I asked for pizza, the guy went in and another guy came out and almost shouted “no pizza” right at my face. I guess he had a bad day? Other than that, everyone else was very nice. Go for the chicken (tender and yummy) instead of burger.
FRUITS: If you want fresh apples (some are VERY tasty, locally-grown), go by the main lobby. At the entrance there’re always some fruits on a table you can take to the hotel room and enjoy.
MONEY EXCHANGE: Only at the Main lobby and you need your Passport to change from USD to Pesos. the rate was 11.5 at the time (dec 5th). NOt very good rate but better than the airport (lousy 10.5)
SHOWS: Excellent. I only had a chance to watch the circus show and it was VERY GOOD. Again, I’m from Vegas I’ve watched many Cirque du Soleil shows and for an All-inclusive free show, they are definitely worth watching and they try SOOO Hard! Only drawback: the music was too loud, my ears were hurting and my daughter who has mild sensory issue, had to plug her ears all time, but still enjoyed the show. I heard Michael Jackson show was great too.
Overall very good to Excellent with some glitch: However as nothing’s perfect, there was a few with extremely poor service but the other Truly Amazing staffs made it up.
IF You have an issue and needs urgent care: Don’t waste your time with the Front desk. Just go to the Public Relations desk (at the Main Lobby). I didn’t know this and this is what happened to us.
INCIDENT: Unfortunately, my daughter was sick throughout the vacation. She caught a flu which later became a bacterial infection. She got so much worse all of a sudden, I got scared and called the front desk asking for a doctor but they just hung up on me twice! (and yes, my phone works.) So I walked to the golden club lobby and asked the front desk for a doctor frantically. Front desk people had a smirk as if they knew I was coming. The lady told me to call zero for the operator which I will be charged for $1 per minute. Their behaviors were very unprofessional, all laughing without even asking why I need a doctor.
So I called zero using the phone inside the golden lobby. After I explained I need a doctor, the operator asked me for the room number and I got transferred. I thought I was being transferred to a doctor but the next thing I heard was my sister answering from the hotel room.
I asked the front desk again and they told me they’ll send a guest mgr. After wasting another 30 min, I went to the Fdesk again. Both staffs got switched to different people and they were so much more understanding and told me to go to the public relations at the main lobby.
That’s where I’ve met Senor Jaime Escudero from Public Relations (Gabriela was off this day). As soon as he heard me, he immediately made some phone calls and drove the golf cart by himself to take me back to the hotel room to answer the phone call from the doctor. And he took us to the Hacienda where there was an on-site doctor, he helped us throughout the consultation, drove us to the pharmacy, helped me purchase the meds and drove back to us to our hotel room. He even told me to call again for a ride for the follow up appointment. He was extremely caring, knowledgeable, courteous, sincere and very professional. All my family truly appreciated all of his help.
Thank you again, Senor Escudero!
I was pretty upset and mad about how the front desk (previous) handled this incident to the point we all said we’ll never return to this wonderful hotel. However because of some of the amazing people (like Jaime & Gabriela ) we met at the hotel, this incident was just an unlucky incident, rather than a deal-breaker.
ON SITE DOCTOR: There was a young female doctor who spoke English at the Hacienda section. To be honest, I would never go back to her. She was not professional at all, not very knowledgeable at all and didn’t have genuine interest to help people. She was busy looking up the internet and calculating for a very long time using her iphone to figure out what to and how much to give it to my daughter. I am a health professional as well (Dentist) and I know what and how the antibiotic works. She got upset when I asked for particular antibiotic. She almost gave much more dosage of meds by incorrectly measuring my daughter’s weight with the manual scale. I told her she can’t be gaining 7 pounds in 1 week and she wouldn’t believe me. So I measured her weight again myself and she didn’t apologize for measuring it wrong. She charged $80 USD for this short but very unpleasant visit (supposed to be included with a follow up visit but we never went).
If you need a doctor, I'd go to PDC and ask the taxi driver, if you speak little spanish, your choices for a doctor are many. If you don't, here're your choices. Outside of Cancun, Playa del Carmen has the widest selection of medical services. Doctor Info I found on the other website.
1) The Red Cross 984 873 1233, on Juarez near the post office, will see Eng. speaking patients. They are used to dealing with tourists, and even if you don't speak Spanish they will try to help you. There is a decent doctor in town,
2) Dr. Roberto Bermudez 984 873 0512, who speaks basic English.
3) Dr. Cesar Ramirez speaks some English and makes house calls in his ambulance (about $100) 984 876 2175.
4) Dr. Nestor Mendoza Gutierrez offers service out of Akumal 44-984-80-6-46-16 and 984 875 4051.
ON SITE PHARMACY: there is a pharmacy inside Hacienda very close to the doctor’s office, but very expensive. I paid 2 generic brand meds for $100 USD (antibiotic and cough meds). I later found out I could’ve easily paid less than $20 for those meds outside. So, if you need meds, go to walmart (PDC) for brand-name meds or many pharmacies in PDC. Children’s Powder antibiotic med (3 big bottles, where you add water, $75 usd for 6 yr old dosage) they offer was the yuckiest thing I’ve ever tasted and I can’t believe I tortured my little one with that for 7 days!
LOCATION: Far from airport (70 min non-stop) but SO close to Akumal beach (5-10 min. where you can snorkel with the turtles), Yalku lagoon (10 min. poor man’s Xelha), Tulum ruin (20 min. beautiful beach, don’t forget your swim suits. We paid $55 for round trip). PDC is 35 min. away (taxi, $35 - 40). Even Coba ruin is only 50 min. from our hotel. To take a taxi, just go to main lobby and let the doorman know. If not, go to Hacienda, walk out there’re lots of taxi available (little cheaper).
Overall, my family and I loved this incredibly wonderful hotel and WE WILL CERTAINLY RETURN. In summary, this resort has Beautiful, extremely well manicured grounds, very hardworking, friendly people (and some AMAZING PEOPLE), excellent dinner, very good buffet (even from vegas standard), etc. etc.!!
Go with the flow, don't get upset for minior things, Don't forget to tip (share your happiness with others) and show some respect to other guests and the hotel staffs then, you'll have FABULOUS VACATION!!!!
My family and I would like to thank all the people at GBP for their endless effort, warm hospitality, amazing service and delicious food for making our holidays excellent.
As my daughter says, I love Mexico! ^^
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.