I have been home for almost 2 weeks from our vacation in Grand Sirenis, Mayan Beach and I can not shake off that vacation feeling, the dreams about the beautiful places we have been and the wonderful experiences that we had. We stayed there between Dec 13 and 28, 2012.
1. The location of the resort is excellent. We had visited the turtles in Akumal Bay several years ago from Gran Bahia Principe. This time we wanted to show them to our kids. We chose this resort deliberately, since it is several km far from Akumal (for viewing turtles, sting ray and coral reef fish) and Yal-Ku (same). To get to Akumal we used a taxi - $15-20 from the lobby which seems to be a more comfortable option in terms of time allocated and money if you bring you family with you than $40/person for 1hr swim with the turtles, which is offered from the resort via water taxi. Also the resort is relatively close to Tulum and Coba. One could get to Tulum for $3/person one way using collectivo (the local transport) if he/she goes to the highway. For Coba ruins we rented a car a few years ago.
2. Great snorkeling in the resort. I could count between 30 to 50 species of fish. It has a sting ray and 2 turtles in the bay of the resort, which makes it not necessary to go to Akumal, except that the turtles in Akumal Bay are bigger. Bring your own snorkeling gear and PFDs so you are not dependent on the rental equipment.
3. Bring water socks / water shoes - there is lots of coral on the beach/shallow water.
4. There is daily grill of meat and fish in the buffets and also on the beach.
5. Although we were there during the Christmas season the beach and pools were not crowded. This is a first time I feel that my privacy was not invaded by other guests. At certain point before our leaving to Mexico I was afraid that there might not be enough lounges and/or towels since we were to go during the busiest time of the year. Yet the resort has huge beach and perimeter of the pools so there is always space. We could surely find lounges before 10am.
6. All of the a-la-cart restaurants are excellent while the buffet is kinda skimpy. Since we were there 15 days we had a right to 7 restaurants plus the Christmas Eve gala. I seem to like the Steak and Brazilian restaurants best. In this resort there is a gap in terms of quality of food between the buffet and restaurants - the quality is a way better in the restaurants. We sometimes used the beach snack bar for lunch.
7. When we arrived I requested a room without a "hole in the bathroom wall", which is a "romantic opening between bathroom and bedroom" (see solution to this problem in my pictures) and we were put in 2716 which is on the ground floor looking towards the ocean and does not have the infamous hole. There is a garden before it and one would feel as it is on a patio (very nice touch). However this particular room smelled a bit like mold. We upgraded to 3rd floor, 2740, where there was no such smell and we also got 180deg. ocean view. We loved it.
8. We loved the specialty "shops": ice cream parlor, coffee shop, health bar and the lazy river. Make sure you keep your extremities inside the tube - the surface of the lazy river can scratch you badly. Also use the entry stair carefully - it is not connected properly and one may fall.
9. Excellent band capable of playing such wide variety of music! We loved their live music performances, especially the 2 rock nights!
10. Live music during the night in the lobby, which seemed to be good for dancing but no one of the guest used that opportunity.
11. Nice music everywhere, thanks to the DJs.
12. The resort has electric cars which means that there are no nasty fumes.
13. On our last night there was a great beach party in the beach snack bar. Look for it, ask about it!
14. Try the local Mezcal and Don Pedro Especial. I seem to like them.
15. Botanic garden in Riviera Maya which is part of the resort.
16. The architecture of the buildings, although the guests and staff would have benefited if eaves-trough were installed. This would remove the excess water from the bridges when it rains.
17. Not pushy sales people. In other resorts there is multitude of people selling stuff on the beach or staff who ask you to go diving everyday. Not such thing here. Very low key selling of diving trips.
18. Not cheeky animation team. Which is good if one wants to be left alone during the day.
The not so good:
1. Not having self serve water stations except in the gym - one has to wait for a bartender to pour it, which could have been avoided to save both waiting time and effort for the bartenders.
2. Dirty dishes. I had to wipe several of them clean or leave them aside if there was no napkin in sight. We did not get sick there though.
3. Lack of enough vegetable salads. If I am to compare Gran Bahia Principe Punta Cana (GBPPC) which had huge selection of salads in 2011 and Grand Sirenis I would give 10 points for the variety of food and especially salads to GBPPC and about 2 to Grand Sirenis. See also point 6 above.
4. There are rather brave raccoons/birds, who steal food the moment you are a step away from it. Take care to guard it. Guests leave plates with food from the room service in front of their doors and racoons get to it. One night I observed a raccoon deliberately scanning each floor of each building for this food. I see a potential to spread disease.
5. This resort is not geared for dancing. The culture of the guests is sitting and listening to music. The Disco is far from the common areas. Usual resort plans accommodate the movement of the "party" from the entertainment theater to the disco which is usually close by. While in this resort it is a probably about a km walk/or bus drive from the entertainment theater to the Disco. We visited the Disco about 4 times, it was always empty with max 3 girls dancing and 30 guys drinking on the sides. In GBPPC everyone from the staff danced, even the servers while working which contributed to the nice atmosphere. Here the culture is very conservative. In GBPPC the party moved from the theater to an open area for dancing and then to the Disco. The atmosphere there was set for dancing - entertainment / animation team members were busy asking people to dance/teach them to dance. In Grand Sirenis I did not see an effort from the part of the entertainment / animation team to have people dance.
6. Lesser number of female dancers than male dancers. The shows seemed disproportionate in that respect.
7. The resort seemed somewhat understaffed. While there were many concierges to book ones restaurant there was not enough staff in buffets or restaurants, especially with the multitude of demanding guests.
8. PFDs are quite worn off/torn. Same goes for the kayak paddles, helmets... these need to be replaced.
9. Not sure whether this is the case with all ground floor suites - moldy smell on 1st floor.
Overall we all liked the resort very much and would recommend especially to people who like snorkeling. The only serious problem we see is the dirty dishes (esp. the ones in the beach snack-bar).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Resort & Spa 5* is an astonishing complex, situated on the Mayan Riviera, just 20 miles from Playa del Carmen, and 1 hour from the airport at Cancun. Is in a class of its own due to its spectacular design. It brings to mind the ancient Mayan buildings; but at the same time, a moder, minimalist style which blends perfectly with the luxurious natural vegetation in the gardens. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Hotel Akumal
- Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Hotel And Spa
- Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Akumal
- Grand Sirenis Mayan Beach
- Grand Sirenis Mexico
- Gran Sirenis
- Sirenis Riviera Maya
- Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Resort & Spa Akumal, Mexico