I traveled to The Royal two years ago and Le Blanc this week for my honeymoon. There were many wonderful things about Le Blanc:
• The hotel is beautiful. The rooms are beautiful. The hotel looked freshly painted and incredibly clean. I’m amazed that they can keep this hotel so white!
• The bedding and towels are incredibly soft and wonderful.
• The swim up bar is awesome. You can order food at the bar, which I didn’t know until the last day.
• The spa hydrotherapy treatment is free. This was something you would have to pay for at another resort. It’s about an hour of saunas, Jacuzzis, cold showers, etc. alternating in some sort of specific order. I just thought it felt nice.
• People provided good customer service and were very attentive. They called me by my correct name throughout the trip. They pushed the elevator button for me when I had my hands full. They remembered what I ordered and refilled my drinks right away. When we went for a walk outside the hotel, someone greeted us at the door with water bottles when we came back. There was attention to customer service at multiple points.
* Timeshare. When we checked in, there were two stops: the check in desk and then another desk. At the first desk they took our money and assigned us room keys. We were then escorted to a second desk where someone explained the resort credit. We didn't understand that the second desk was also the timeshare sales desk. This annoyed me, because we filled out an entire survey (that we thought was part of check-in) only to find out that it was actually for sales. This worker told us that she would offer us an extra $150 spa credit and we said thanks. Someone escorted us up to our room after that. Later, when we went to the spa to make a reservation using the credit, we were told that we would need to listen to a timeshare breakfast presentation in order to get the credit. I would advise a traveler to skip the second desk or tell the person at the second desk up front that you will not fill out the marketing survey. There is no label on this desk, so no way to know that this is a sales desk.
* Honeymoon package problems. When we made the reservation, we told them it was for a honeymoon. I verified three days before that the reservation was for a honeymoon and we wanted to make sure we had the honeymoon package. When we arrived, they did not have a record of this. But when we reminded them after check-in, they fixed it. However, they never brought us or gave us the free bath robes. We went and asked for them before check out and they looked at us like we were crazy asking for free stuff, but they did eventually give us them. It did take three different people to figure it out, however.
* The resort credit is very deceptive. We stayed for three days, so we had a $500 resort credit. However, only $150 can be used in the spa for services. We never used the remaining $350, because we couldn't use it on anything we actually wanted. It is more like a a coupon: for example, you get $100 credit you can use toward sunglasses, but the sunglasses start at $400. You get $300 you can use toward a purchase of gold, but gold starts at $700. If you are someone who likes to buy very high-end items, it may give you a discount. The resort credit also works toward the romantic dinner, but the romantic dinner is $225/each ($450 total) and you still have to pay 11% taxes. So, the dinner "costs" $450/each, but you use the resort credit to pay for it and then you only have to pay $50 (in taxes). Of course, $50 is close to how much I (personally) would spend for a romantic dinner. You also can't use the resort credit on tips or in the gift shop. I think if you were someone who liked to do tours, then the resort credit might make more sense, but keep in mind that you will pay 11% of the tours, and they are severely overpriced.
* Tipping. The website for the hotel specifically said that all gratuities were included. But about 30% of the guests appeared to be tipping anyway. In my mind, if it says that gratuities are included, it means that the staff are being paid a reasonable "tip" amount for every item I order. For example, if I go to dinner and order what would be about $50 of food, then the waiter/waitress should be receiving about $8ish from the management. It appears to not work this way. It appears that the staff is just getting a daily or hourly salary, which is quite low, and not getting additional gratuity money. This feels very deceptive to me--I was told that gratuities were included by the hotel, so I did not plan on spending more money on tips. But then I arrived to find that the staff was not really receiving any gratuities, so I felt like a bad person for not tipping. Some other guests also gave me dirty looks if I didn't tip. I think the best approach is to assume that the hotel is lying when it says that gratuities are included and to budget an additional $30 or so/day for tips.
* Someone called our room twice at 7:30 in the morning the day of our check-out to see if we needed help bringing our suitcases downstairs. We very much wanted to sleep in until at least 9am on our last day (it was our plan) and I couldn’t fall asleep again after the two phone calls.
Ways that Le Blanc was better than The Royal:
• Le Blanc didn’t have the pool craziness that The Royal had. At The Royal, there is competition over beach chairs and pool chairs and you have to check out and return each towel personally from a desk near the beach. None of that happened here—there were plenty of towels and chairs.
• Le Blanc provided a helpful tour of the property at check-in. I appreciated this.
• Le Blanc has more swimming pools (three), but they are all smaller and less cool than the pool at The Royal.
• Le Blanc has room butlers—apparently a butler will do neat things for you like unpack your clothes. But I never used any of those services once I realized that I would be expected to tip extra for these things.
• Two years ago, at the Royal, I got some kind of food poisoning or e.coli from the water and was sick for two days. I didn’t get sick on this trip.
Ways that The Royal was better than Le Blanc:
• The Royal has much better balconies. The balconies at Le Blanc are so small you cannot fit a chair on them.
• The Royal has a pool-side service with novels and sunscreen. A nice cart rotates around offering you these things and water. Le Blanc doesn’t have that service.
• The Royal has bigger guest rooms. The room felt more luxurious, larger, and more decadent at The Royal.
• The Royal has more restaurants and better overall food. None of the food at Le Blanc really floored me, although it was very good. Some of the food at The Royal was really fantastic, but, of course, it also made me sick.
Overall, I would say that Le Blanc is slightly better than the Royal, because I didn’t get food poisoning while I was there. But I probably won’t go back to either one.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Introducing the luxurious adults only Le Blanc Spa Resort - the transformation of all-inclusive into all-incredible. Created for the discerning traveler by one of Mexico's most celebrated designers, Le Blanc Spa Resort elevates the vacation experience with an uncompromising determination to exceed your every expectation. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Le Blanc Cancun
- Le Blanc Spa Resort Cancun
- Le Blanc Mexico
- La Blanc Cancun