My wife and I spent eleven days there in mid-December, 2013. We knew from reading Trip Advisor reviews what previous comments had been regarding this resort, and what we were getting into when we booked the reservation a few months back. Our choice of ABR was based primarily on the beach and snorkeling opportunities which were, in fact, extraordinary. However, aside from that, our stay at this property was characterized by a general disappointment. Our disappointment revolves around four distinct issues: customer service and guest relations; the guest rooms; resort activities; and the food.
Suffice it to say that the property itself, while somewhat dated, is well designed, and blends quite well with the indigenous environment of the Yucatan Peninsula. The grounds are well-maintained and manicured, and the beach is literally right outside of your front door.
This is our second trip to the Mayan Riviera. Last year, we stayed in an all-inclusive that was a beautiful property but where you couldn't really swim because of its overall poor water quality. This year, was just the opposite. At ABR you have a great beach and water, but the overall "all-inclusive" resort experience, well, simply does not merit the three-star rating.
(1) This resort is entire need of a make-over in terms of how they conduct business and how they treat their guests. The problem is not with the its location, and the problems are not associated with the beach. The major problem is that there is a manifest lack of attention to customer service and guest relations. The attention to detail is lacking. My perception was that guests are treated as an afterthought, and this is a problem that starts "at the top". The culture of the organization is based on cost-cutting principles, and this is reflected in the quality of the product (or the lack of it) that is offered to the guests. Our check-out process was a nightmare; the computers were purportedly "down", and we were requested to just leave our credit card number with the front desk. Really? I think not. Even though I had made a request for check-out assistance with our luggage the previous day, no one ever showed up to our room at the appointed time on our check-out day. I had to make several trips from Building 7 to the lobby with all of our luggage - and that, folks, is quite a hike. After that little adventure, I didn't have to go to the gym for a week! Bottom line on customer service and guest relations? I don't like to be treated as if the resort is doing me a favor by allowing me to stay there. Obviously, there are definite "exceptions" to this general observation as far some specific staff members are concerned, but the organizational "culture" is in need of a make-over, or at least some fine-tuning. Thinking outside the box when dealing with exceptional circumstances that are not governed by policy is lacking.
(2) The rooms do not have any dressers, and guests must either live out of their suitcases or store all of their belongings on small shelves in the closet. The beds are rock-hard, and the mattresses have a variety of unidentifiable "stains" on them (CSI lab techs, where are you?), and mildew on the mattress is a problem. The rooms, however, are eco-friendly -- their is an abundance of ants (non-stinging) that are more of a nuisance than anything else. A simple solution to this problem is a can or Raid. There are no long-distance telephone services in the rooms, and cell phone service (even by major reputable cell service providers) is lacking. You can get "four-bars" on your phone if you go to the main highway by the front gate.
(3) Aside from the beautiful beach and snorkeling, the activities at ABR are definitely lacking. There is no evening entertainment. A karaoke machine would work wonders if no other entertainment is available to be brought in. We had 2-1/2 days of truly bad weather, and were pretty much restricted to our rooms because of a lack of activities. On the up side, I was able to get through "War and Peace" - TWICE. However, if you walk north into the town of Akumal (five minute walk up the beach), there's lots to do. It gives you a great taste for the Mexican culture. Also, if you're into star-gazing, definitely bring a telescope. The night sky on a clear night here is absolutely breathtaking!
(4) The food is a disaster, and the buffet contains the same items, from one day to the next. It's the same stuff, over and over and over again. There is little imagination in terms of adding variety to the buffet. There are two major themes in the dining room - Mexican and Italian - that alternate from one day to the next. Here's the bottom line on the food --- you know that there's a definite problem when a guest tries to find a reason NOT to eat. Although the fries are actually pretty good, the hamburgers at the Beach Bar are of lesser quality than McDonald's on a bad day. I took one bite out of a cheeseburger and had to put it down. It was inedible and was loaded with meat extenders. The pizza? Terrible. Soggy and water-loaded. Leaves a puddle on the plate. ABR would have much better success if they would have an abundant supply of Tombstone pizzas on hand, or farm out their pizza preparation services to Papa John's or Dominos. The desserts have elegant names but the quality and taste is lacking. You can't do much with congealed desserts. Desserts from Sam's Club are of higher quality.
So, here are my overall ratings and observations according to the "star-rating" system by Trip Advisor:
Beach FIVE STARS
Hotel Property and Infrastructure FOUR STARS
Guest Relations ONE STAR
Food ONE STAR
Guest Rooms ONE STAR
Resort Entertainment and Activities ONE STAR
And there you have it. We plan on returning Akumal next year, but we will NOT be staying at the Akumal Beach Resort. Just can't bring ourselves to do it again.
Buldings 6 and 7 are to the southern end of the property, and are very quiet.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.