We booked our rooms through bookit.com. I like their easy cancellation policy (so if rates drop on their site or others you can cancel and REBOOK to capture the lower rate) and they have the best rates out there. Many hotels in the Riviera Maya have difficult/expensive cancellation policies, which makes it impossible to capture lower rates when/if they come available (usually about 1-21days prior to arrival, the rates drop).
We visited Grand Sirenis Maya November 2nd-10th, with my family consisting of me, my husband, my Mom, my Sister, Brother in law and 2 nephews (ages 9 mos and 3 yrs old). Hotel capacity was about 80% - this time last year it was about 50%.
My family is from Utah and we came from California and met up at the hotel. We both used USA / Entertainment Plus airport transportation to/from CUN airport.
We had signed up for the Grand Sirenis VIP on our last visit, 11/2012, and glad we did as we received gold wristbands (in lieu of the silver that everyone else received – timeshare owners wear black), and some other special surprises in our room (which I don’t want to spoil for other VIP guests).
There are two sides to the hotel: the Maya (which we prefer) and the Mayan. The hotel is laid out in blocks, ours was 3 stories, with an elevator. Each block has its own set of Concierges that will set up your dinner reservations (make these on your first day), spa reservations etc.. Different blocks are close to different attractions. The hotel is large, but easy to walk, especially once you figure out the short cuts. The tour of the hotel is code for TIME SHARE presentation and if you don’t mind killing 3 hours of your vacation – go for it. Personally, I decline.
We noticed several improvements compared to last year.
Two weeks prior to our arrival, I emailed Grand Sirenis (email info can be found on TA, if you look in up right hand corner). I had a couple questions and requested the same block we had last year. A reply email was returned stating that they could not guarantee anything but they would do their best. The employees at Grand Sirenis REALLY aim to please.
Before we departed CA, I took a visit to our money exchange house (rate was $1USD = 12.5 pesos) and picked up 100 / 20peso bills. This comes out to 13 / 20peso bills for each day that we were there. For aprox $20USD per day, this allowed us to happily tip our maid, our waiters, the bartenders for the great services they provided.
Upon check in, we were greeted by Carlos Batani, Guest Services Manager. There are a great deal of professional employees at Grand Sirenis, but Carlos really stands out. He was very helpful in making my Mom’s birthday celebration very special and could not do enough to make us comfortable. He even helped my husband with how to use the wifi on his iphone. Cost for wifi is charged to your room depending on usage.
My husband and I arrived a day earlier than our family.
Our room (as with most others) came with the opening from the bathroom to the bedroom. Ours had a piece of frosted glass inserted, which was necessary considering we were sharing a room with my Mom. Still not entirely optimal for bathroom visits though – you can hear EVERYTHING going on in there from every inch of the room. My husband would get up early in the morning and go to the pool bathroom.
The rooms are spacious and the balconies are good size. Ours faced the canopy and we enjoyed seeing new and colorful birds each day and the occasional critter down below. They removed the function of the balcony door that locks behind you – last year I locked myself out on the balcony more than once. Each room comes with a fridge that is stocked with a couple beers, some sodas and most importantly a big jug of water. The fridge never got very cold, even on the HIGH setting. We brought reusable plastic bottles to fill up and use bedside and at the gym. When the jug of water is empty, your maid will replace it. We left our maid 40 pesos each day, and he cleaned our room SPOTLESS and left us with amazing daily towel animals.
We brought blow up rafts and sit and swims for the children AND the adults. After the day was done, we would store them in our Jacuzzi. At the end of the vacation we handed them off to guests that were staying.
The main pool was a bit on the cooler side when we were there as we understood they had just emptied it for repairs and refilled it right before we arrived. I really enjoyed the water aerobics at 11:30am, my husband enjoyed the tequila volleyball, the swim up bar is a blast and my nephews loved the zero entry into the pool. There are activities going on at this pool all day. There is also a quiet pool for relaxing.
They have yoga, body bump, power walking, archery, bike riding, etc., etc., that goes on in different areas of the hotel during the day that is free to participate in.
The food is fantastic! The morning buffet is served in several locations, our favorite (the largest) was in the main Maya Lobby. Made to order omelets are always the top of my list. There is plenty of fresh fruit and every possible breakfast item that anyone can think of available. The waiter brought us mimosas daily. Often there were purees at the buffets for my 9 month old nephew, but if there is something in particular that we wanted, the chefs would gladly whip it up. Lunches were also delicious, with hamburgers, hotdogs, tacos – too many options to mention. Dinners were themed, Tuesday was Mexican night, which was loads of fun with tequila tasting etc..
We enjoyed the restaurants and visited: The Steakhouse, Japanese and Brazilian. We left a little hungry and rushed from both the Japanese and Brazilian. The Steakhouse was my favorite – the filet was cooked to perfection and they decorated our table with HAPPY BIRTHDAY for my Mom and brought out a cake/candles and the entire restaurant sang. A birthday my Mom will not soon forget!
The bars are terrific! The swim up pool bar is loads of fun, especially from about noon-4pm. For premium alcohol: Smirnoff, Absolute, Don Julio, etc., the Tequila bar in the lobby is the best place. The drink called the flying gorilla : chocolate and banana is SO good!
The beach is beautiful. Fine, white sand, with loads of palapas for shade. Fish, BIG fish are swimming around in 6 inches of water. The fish should not be fed people food as it kills them. We snorkeled our calm bay on a few occasions, even saw a turtle one morning. The pallela in the afternoon was terrific although no need to wait in line if you come at 1:30pm.
The kids club with it’s very own pool, looked like a lot of fun, but our oldest nephew was too young to be left there with the other kids – NEXT year for sure!
The spa is good. The massages are a bit pricey at $100USD ea. My Mom, Sister and I did the water circuit which is nice (1 free with ea room), but the two main pools of the circuit are FREEZING cold (they were last time too). This would be SO much more enjoyable if was warmer. The Turkish bath and several of the steam rooms were out of commission along the circuit. Our favorite was the last part – the warm tiled lounge chairs. My Sister literally wanted to spend the rest of the day in them.
The gym is at the spa and opens at 7am. They have newer elipticals, some treadmills, stairclimber, spinning bikes and a weight room. 3 out of 5 of the treadmills were down most of the week. We enjoyed the 5 minute walk to/from the gym each morning, the cold filtered water and the provide gym towels.
The entertainment was terrific with shows in the lobby before/after dinner and in the main outdoor theater at around 10pm.
Guests of the hotel consisted of Canadians, British, Russian, Americans, etc..
We saw many iguanas in the heat of the day, raccoons at night and little brown shy mammals in the morning. We heard there were monkeys in the trees, but never got a glimpse.
One morning we utilized the professional photographer on site to take family pics at the beach – we all dressed in white and khaki. They turned out BEAUTIFUL! We purchased 12 pics on a disc for $120.
Another day, hubby and I rented a car from the Thrifty rental car in the lobby for $100, fully insured/ return with the same amount of gas. It was a Jeep Patriot. We woke early and drove to Chichen Itza, which only took about 2.5 hours each way (super easy drive on great roads with fantastic signage) – we arrived when they opened at 9am. Two fees to get in: one for 125 pesos and one for 50 pesos. Hard sell for a tour guide at the entrance for $60USD. At the first pyramid, the price dropped to $30USD. We did not hire a guide. It’s been 8 years since I visited CI. I knew that we were no longer able to hike the main pyramid, but I had NO idea that the entire archeologic site had turned into a MARKETPLACE? Vendors crowd every walkway. I did not come here to SHOP and found the constant chatter from the vendors, i.e. “everything one dollar” “hey big spender” “welcome to my shop” ANNOYING. We visited Coba last year and would MUCH prefer this site as it is a shorter drive, you can still hike the pyramid and there are not so many vendors. A fantastic stop on the return is the Grand Cenote. We got back to the hotel before 3pm.
Akumal beach is awesome. The 550peso taxi ride round trip is not. If I had a suggestion to the hotel, it would be to have a shuttle to/from Akumal Beach & Playa Del Carmen (20 mins away). We went at 8am one morning to Akumal, it’s only an 8 minute cab ride ea way and arrived before the tours came in. We have our own snorkels, masks and fins. The tours require life jackets. We saw dozens of turtles, lots of sea rays, a BUNCH of tropical fish and enjoyed the different ocean fauna.
There are no longer showers at Akumal beach.
Lolha restaurant opens at 11:30am, so we enjoyed the morning in the water and at the beach, had tacos and cocktails and took in the beauty. Lunch is not cheap. Two orders of fish tacos, two cervezas and two margaritas came to $60USD with tip. But worth every penny : location, location, location.
We’ll return to Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya. It has everything we expect from a hotel (we tend to have high expectations) and MORE!
We like 3rd floor rooms in block 18
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.