We travelled from Jan 25-Feb 8.
First off, this resort is HUGE. There are 4 hotels on the grounds, the Akumal, the Tulum, the Coba, and the Sian Ka'an. Additionally there is a golf course, private homes/condos, etc. The grounds are so large that they have golf cart-style trams driving people to-and-fro all day long!
Our room was fairly central, but it was still a 5 minute walk to the lobby. The lobby at Akumal is centrally located to the beaches, the restaurants, etc. If you are mobility impaired/elderly/pregnant/etc you may want to consult a map of the facilities to request a more central room.
The pictures you see of the beaches are not entirely accurate. About half of the beach space is rocky with hard waves. We were here for 2 weeks, and the color of the flag at the beaches was ALWAYS red. On most days actually, the water was so rough that all water sports were cancelled (meaning, you couldn't borrow the scuba equipment or go out on a kayak, etc).
About half of the beach area has these gigantic man-made barriers to protect the sand from the rough waves. these are the only parts where you can actually go into the water because it's safe (and sandy).
There were bars all over. There were a couple on the beach, a couple by the pools, bars in all the restaurants, etc.
The people were a fantastic mix of mostly Canadians and Europeans, which made for a lovely civilized environment. Generally speaking, people were not rude or completely inebriated :)
The staff was wonderful. When we checked in, we realized our room was directly beside the main lobby. Concerned about the noise from the bar and the nightly entertainment we asked to move. They immediately moved us. We noticed they moved us to a ground floor unit, which we were not comfortable with, so they moved us to a 2nd floor unit. It was PERFECT. They were extremely courteous, professional, and accommodating.
The food was great. We don't eat mammals and we avoid dairy products, but even then there was a lot to choose from! Being there for 14 days, it felt a little repetitive after a few days, but if we were meat-eaters, I'm sure I may never have eaten the same thing twice :) The buffet was wonderful and the a la carte choices were great. If you don't manage to get into the A La Carte restaurants, it won't be the end of the world. They were lovely...but you MUST go to Mikado for the Japanese/Tepanyaki food. DEMAND a "show dinner" where you get to sit around the Tepanyaki table for a show by the chef. It was well worth it!!! The show was great and highly recommended!
We were there for Superbowl, and they went out of their way to set up the Hacienda for the big game, even using the internet/satellite to stream english audio to go along with the ESPN viva (which broadcast the game with Mexian announcers speaking in spanish). The beer flowed, and it was a great crowd for some playful ribbing between fans of the two teams.
The beds were comfortable (I like mine firm) but the pillows were rock hard and thick and I woke up with an achy back EVERY morning. Thankfully there was a gym, so I worked out almost every single day to get everything back in place, you know? Unfortunately, the gym at Akumal was TINY. The gym at Coba was bigger, but the gym at Sian Ka'an (the Tao gym) was SPECTACULAR! It was a 20 minute tram ride, but well worth it!
The negatives? Maid service was not consistent: some days they forgot to leave our coffee, some days they forgot to leave sugar, some days they left fresh sheets, some days our sheets had shoe prints on them! The huge grounds (yes, it is also a negative because some days you just have ENOUGH of all that walking - lol), over 1 hour drive from Cancun airport, there is a car rental agency on the resort and it's a joke - it's poorly managed, it takes over an hour to rent a car (if they even have one) and it's too expensive
The definite pluses of the trip? The rooms are large, the food is great, the customer service is fantastic, the "wild" animals on the resort (they are incredibly tame, ridiculously cute, and will BEG you for food - lol), the huge grounds, the grounds are very well maintained, quiet area, close to Tulum & Coba (ruins) and Playa del Carmen. Sian Ka'an was a gorgeous part of the resort, but it's not child friendly, so we only went up there for a drink one day with our son then left.
The hotel had overbooked guests, and were looking to shuffle people around to Sian Ka'an and even offering free transfers/stays at a partner hotel in Cancun. We thought we would take them up on the Sian Ka'an offer for a few nights but then we found out it was a child-free zone, so we wouldn't be able to do it.
I would definitely recommend this resort to anyone and everyone, unless you are looking to party. Then you should probably stay in Cancun or Playa del Carmen :)