We’ve just returned from two weeks in standard rooms at the Gran Porto Real in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Based on our experience, we would not recommend this hotel for anyone intending to stay in a standard room, especially for a two week stay. .
When we arrived, we were put into room 514 which shared a common balcony with 24 other rooms on that level. We found ourselves just opposite the roof top air conditioning machinery of a hotel across the road from us – the noise was like having a Greyhound bus engine running outside our door.. We asked our neighbour (from Regina) how others on this ;level felt about the noise.. And he said that some had been moved to other levels as a result of complaints, but that it seemed that most people on this level were Canadians, put there because “Canadians don’t complain too much”
Within two days, as a result of our complaints to the hotel and to Westjet, we were moved to room 403 – one level down and at the far end of the common balcony. The noise here was at a much lower level. Unfortunately for level 4, where we now found ourselves, people in rooms above us on level 5 came down on 12 equidistant sets of rattley iron stair cases to access and leave by our common balcony. We asked about an upgrade, but $80 per night was extortionate.
The rooms were shoe box shaped, with bathroom, etc at the far end, and a door and door-sized wooden slatted window opening onto the balcony. The balcony was a throughway for everyone going to or from other rooms and from level 5, at all times of the day and night, and hotel staff used it to push hard tyred plastic carts back and forth while servicing the rooms – it was not pleasant to have one’s sleep interrupted by one of these carts thumping along at 10:30 at night.
The window slats had no sound insulating properties, and if left open for fresh air or light, exposed the whole inside of the room. A tiny slatted window at the bathroom end of the room opened onto the back of another building, and more machinery noise.
The rooms lacked sufficient light and there were no bedside lamps, so forget about reading in bed. We got around that by using our led flashlights. Indeed the room was so dimly lit, that we often had to use our flashlights to find things.
The beds were very hard indeed, and my wife arranged for the thin foam pad on her bed to be folded double – our maid, Beatriz Arias, was very helpful. She also provided sheets and blankets to replace the suffocatingly hot duvets. We don't like having to sleep in air conditioned rooms.
There were other silly things, like wall switches that didn’t operate anything, and in room 403, the safe was in the back of the narrow slot behind our hung up clothes, and in the shower, one of the taps rotated the wrong way. Not what you’d expect from a hotel of this class. On the plus side, there was a good shaving/makeup, lighted mirror in the bathroom area, and there was always plenty of hot water.
We were disappointed that although there were plenty of recliners on the beach, and around the pools, the hotel was short of umbrellas. To be sure of getting a place by the pool with an umbrella, , one had to get down there by 6:15 am, and leave a towel or book on your chosen recliner. Places around the pool were of course limited, but why were there not enough umbrellas on the beach for late risers who needed some shade ?
The evening entertainment was very well done, orders of magnitudes beyond the usual folkloric dancing seen in many Mexican hotels.
Food and drink was plentiful and good, and the cheerful brightness of Ezaura Chimo who welcomed us to the Albatross buffet restaurant each morning helped us get past another night’s disturbed sleep.
It has to be said that the single best thing about this hotel was the friendly, helpful courteous staff, at every level of the operation. The hotel was meticulously clean. Every open area was swept repeatedly. The buffet food was always fresh, and the people who worked in the buffets and other restaurants were as competent and professional as any we saw last year in a major hotel in Paris.
The hotel evaluation sheet, which we completed before departure, seemed to us to have been designed to avoid any possible negative comments about the hotel management, who actually had the power to deal with the things that spoiled our stay. Human nature, I guess!
Alan and Lorna Cobden
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- On a beautiful, protected stretch of pristine beach in the heart of Playa del Carmen stands the spectacular Gran Porto Resort, just steps from Fifth Avenue's shops, clubs, and restaurants. Architecturally reminiscent of one of Mexico's finest haciendas, the resort welcomes couples, families, friends, and colleagues to the warm Caribbean breezes and azure seas of the Riviera Maya, where guests can experience the region's cultural heritage, relish all-inclusive luxuries, and enjoy genuine hospitality. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Gran Porto Real Hotel
- Gran Porto Real Playa Del Carmen
- Hotel Gran Porto Real
- Gran Porto Real Resort Spa
- Porto Real
- Grand Porto Real Playa Del Carmen
- Gran Porto Real Mexico
- Gran Porto Resort Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico