A little late in writing this but didn't want to go without doing so.
We visited this resort Nov 14 through to Nov 28th 2012 as a family of four - Age 14 months, age 7, and 2 adults.
We used RCI to book and were treated with a few extra "Bonuses" as they were celebrating a milestone and wanted RCI members to experience a visit there as they would if they were a true member/owner of a timeshare of the Resort itself. We were given access to the member's lounge which gave us free internet access, free international from 8am to 11pm, we were also given an opportunity to book the ala cartes for every night that we were there provided the restaurant an time we wanted were available (having 2 young kid we wanted 6 or 6:30 pm so we were only able to get 10 out of the 14 nights as the rest were booked but we were good with that), we were also given access to free room service. All great perks. Check in was great.
Here is the catch - we were also assigned a personal concierge "Christian" he was fabulous and attentative until it came time for us to attend their "sales pitch" which happened between week one and week two of our stay. After we politely declined buying into their resort (why would we when we already own timeshare property just down the road, which is how we ended up there through RCI???) Christian was no where to be seen from or heard from again, and when we need his assistance with week two of our stay - we didn't get it. Apparently this is quite common practice for him and the staff was not surprised when we mentioned it (he reports to his wife so what does that tell you...lol).
About the resort:
*It is HUGE which is great if you love walking and exploring and are staying there for more than a week and want to try a variety of pools, spots on the beach, restaurants, etc. BUT it is not stroller or wheelchair friendly and the carts are hard to come by to take you from area to area so if you have young kids this may be difficult. I used a baby sling/carrier most of the time and the stroller only when I had to as we has to carry the stroller up/down stairs to get to certain areas of the resort without having to make huge detours or the pathways were to small to fit the stroller wheels through.
*Buffetts have limited number of Highchairs, so at the "peak" periods you may be out of luck in getting one and waiting or using your stroller
*A la carte's do not have a kids menu and never open on time (about 5-15 minutes late), and the Brazillian they serve the people in a mumble jumble order (they don't care that you have a screaming kid who is starving/you wait your turn depending on who your server is - and we usually got the new guy who was serving everybody last!)
*Find a server you like for breakfast and lunch and stick with them - one who will bring you cofee/tea, juice, highchair as soon as they see you so you are not waiting and tip him (I say him as 90% of the servers are male) $1 or $2 a day. You get what you want, and they are so happy with the $1 or $2, it's win win for all!!!
*Bar in the lobby is horrible for mixed drinks - never get the same drink twice
*Beach bar is great for drinks, but service can be slow so get 2 at the same time (bring your own cups and if you plan on drinking the shushy type or mixed drinks with a straw bring a cup that has one as it is hit and miss as to whether you will get one - they say they are not giving them to save the environment)
*BRING BEACH/WATER SHOES - Very rocky but the water is amazing and a must to go in just to see the swarms of mini fish. Grab some bread from the buffetts with you and feed the fish, they are faboulous to watch. If you have a snorkel mask you don't have to go far to see them at all and turtles can be seen as well.
* Pools are a little cool but not busy there are a few to choose from, shallower one's for the kids, swim up bars, etc.
* Lazy river is fun always tubes available
* No umbrella's available anywhere if it rains unless you want to buy one at the gift shop - we had a few 10-30 minutre showers and this is the 1st 5* resort that did not have umbrellas in the rooms
* People above us left their jacuzzi on/over flowed, we came back from dinner and our bed was soaked. Maid came took mattress pad and changed sheets and said she would bring mattress pad back the next day. We called Christian (our personal concierge) to let him know some of our clothing had also been made wet by this and got no response. We were later told that this happens often (people leaving tubs on) and that the normal procedure is a to give those inconvienced free laundry service if clothes/etc. are damaged or offer of free spa services - we were given neither (Thanks Christian NOT) - We had to hand wash the laundry in the tub and hang to dry on the balcony to get rid of the smell left by the water smell from the leak.
* My Daughter went to the kids club once for a couple hours and painted - she was not impressed. The staff attending the kids try, but don't have kids of their own and sometimes seem lost and bored as to what to do with them especially if they only have 1 or two there.
* Same goes with the Mini Disco at night, our kids lovedthe dancing, but it was hit and miss with the staff running it. Some of them were there to flaunt their own dancing skills and costumes and did not get down to the kids levels or even touch the kids/try and get them to participate, while others went out of their way to make it fun and interactive.
* Night time shows were good/not great - ran late so my husband and 7 year old saw them and my 7 year old often ended up falling asleep part way through.
* rooms were clean, no bugs -always had clean towels and towel art. There version of a crib is a playpen which I found odd for a 5*. Mini bar was stocked with pop, beer and 2 small bottles of water and 1 large bottle of water. We requested 2 larger bottles of water as we were using formula and needed it for the baby - this had to be approved daily by mgmt and became a pain.
* Racoons on property will come up to open food onthe beach so if you leave to go for a swim/walk do not leave your plates or snacks out - they are friendly enough but not very clean
* You have to get up early to get a shaded area/chairs on the beach and mark them
* Gift shop is expensive so bring the required stuff with you (lotions, tylenol, etc.)
* Cab ride into town is about $25 USD - if you are going to buy booze, remember you can't buy booze on sundays after 2pm in town unless you are going to somewhere like walmart/the street vendorsaren't allowed to sell it
*Spa is expensive but wonderful
*timeshare presentation will last 3 hours or more (not 90 min like they say)- do not go unless you have the time to waste or you have the intention of perhaps buying into it, it is not worth the $100 gift cert. for the gift shop/spa!
*Mediterrian Rest. is FABULOUS!!!!
*Italian Rest. not so much
* Japanese a Must see - great show and great food :)
- 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 And Spa
- Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Hotel Akumal
- 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