First of all, let me say that I was reluctant to write this glowing review because I did not want those Sandals customers that had complaints, flooding to this resort and driving the price up. I decided to go ahead anyway because based on most of the other Trip Advisor reviews of this resort, the cat is already out of the bag.
I will start by saying that the service, rooms, food, location and resort in General are all worthy of a five star rating. Anyone with any major complaints about this place is just being petty. If you do have any issues, they will address them expediently. I am not the type of person that gives up a 5 star rating easily.
Service and staff and tipping:
If anything the staff is always there and asking you if everything is OK, and if there is anything they can do for you. I realize that it will give you a feeling of a need to constantly tip, but I believe that if they give you good service then you tip, if not, don’t tip. If you were at home, you would be tipping more for the same service. We were two couples and we always gave ten dollars to our servers at the a la cartes. That is reasonable and it is well deserved. A two or three dollar tip for lunch, and/or for a round of drinks. There are too many butlers and too many maids to give them all 5 dollars a day. I gave them a tip when they did something I requested.
Star Friends: Beautiful, talented, and very wonderful people. They were not in your face all day, but if you wanted to participate they were a lot of fun.
I only went to the disco show and the super bowl party. They were fantastic. Our friends went to most of the other shows, and they said they were great. The Star friends and the night friends were the major part of the cast and they were very talented. A big shout out to Bubbles, Shortcake and Kiki. Really nice young ladies.
All the rooms are suites and seem to be the same. Very luxurious. A lot of the rooms on ground level and level one do not have much of a view. Confused? Let me explain. In many Caribbean and Mexican resorts the ground level is known as level “0”, the first floor up is known as “1”, what we would think is the third floor is level “2”. The first number in your room number is the building number. We were in room 6231, which is building 6, level 2, and room 31 on that level. Building 1 and 2 is the Iberostar beach resort, building 3 and 4 Iberostar suites and building 5 and 6 the Iberostar Grand. The beachfront rooms had the best views but cost a premium. If you are on level 2, 3 or 4 I believe you should have a view of the ocean from any room. Hope this helps.
We had no problem getting shaded pool chair loungers at 09:00 am each morning. They were also quite nice and comfortable. Also they were pretty liberal with the towels, not requiring towel cards each time you asked for a towel or returned them.
The food at the a la cartes was the best we have had in a total of 34 destinations over the years (except Horizons Bermuda). The buffet was a little weak, but still OK. We ate dinners at Surf and Turf, and Italian twice each, and once each at the Gourmet, Japanese and the buffet. The Surf and turf and the Italian were our favorites. There were two buffet locations for breakfast and lunch. We ate most breakfasts in the main building and lunches at the beach buffet. Lunches were pretty good. Service was fast and always done with a smile. Now for the best tip in this dissertation. If you want to eat early, at the a la cartes, you can e-mail them a few days early (before your trip) and request either 6:30 0r 7:00 pm reservations. Otherwise you may be stuck with 8:30 or 9:00 pm as there is nothing in between. There is a concierge desk in each building to book your meals and your golf.
They have several to choose from in each restaurant, Mostly Spanish but some Argentinean and South African, Someone in an earlier review said the wine was not good. We purchased a couple of bottles of duty free to take there, but found it was not necessary. We liked their wine. If you are a real wine snob, you can purchase more expensive bottles or take some with you. They will serve up your own wine at the restaurants if you prefer.
The Tour rep will fill you in, and there are several excursions to go on near and far. Make sure you know, how far and how long your trip is. You can spend two hours traveling each way to some destinations.
Golf (This is what the golfman is for)
If you stay for 5 nights or more, then two rounds of golf are included. This includes transportation to and from the course, caddy fee, green fees, water, soft drinks and beer. It does not include mandatory golf cart, (a bone of contention with Air Canada) or caddy tip (suggested $20.00 per player) or rental golf clubs. The rental golf clubs are $52.00 to $55.00 so it can get expensive if you do not have your own clubs. They assign one caddy for each of two players and they are well worth the tip. Our caddy both days was Michael Adams and though very quiet, he is a great caddy. The cart fee is $20.00 per person. My wife and I had our own clubs so it cost us only $40.00 each per round, including caddy tip. Cinnamon Hill has some very beautiful holes overlooking the ocean. The front nine is fairly easy but the back nine is quite challenging. The first hole, a par 5, is known as The Big Bamboo.
Finally, I want to thank Denston and Kevin (butlers), Peter (the bellman), Maureen, Big Ned, Bubbles, Shortcake and Kiki and all the staff of “The Grand” for making our stay extra special.
Bond, James Bond (The golfman100) Week of Jan 29 to Feb 5
(Disclaimer: All information in this review is subject to your own independent verification)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.