A little background on us: this was our eighth visit to the Riviera Maya. We have most recently stayed at the ABR on Akumal Bay, but were turned off last year by the hordes of snorkel tours there. We are most comfortable with a casual, friendly atmosphere, with the beach/snorkeling opportunities a priority for us. We were hoping that the GOT might be our "new spot". Not crazy about all the marble and the modern architecture, but it's not a mega-resort and its location is good. After reading several reviews involving overbooking, we were relieved to arrive in the afternoon and immediately be assigned a room. Not only was it ready, but we had been upgraded to an Oceanfront room (reservation was for Grand Garden). Beautiful view when we opened the curtain! So far, so good.
A couple of things about the room: the window is really a locked sliding door (no balcony) that has been partially sealed. While it maximizes the ocean view, we weren't able to open it to get any fresh air. Two out of the four nights, the wind hit it in a way that vibrated the glass-- it was like having a horn blowing every minute or so right into the room, all night long. Of course, after we reported it and a maintenance worker came to check it out, it wasn't doing it. I think I was able to explain it in Spanish, but he said they would have to work on it from outside, and it would take some time to fix.
Another odd feature of the rooms is the window in the shower/toilet room. While it allows you to look at the view while showering, it also made it impossible to use the toilet at night without the light shining brightly into the bedroom. The mattress was very comfortable.
The staff at the Oasis Plus desk was very helpful. Our shower wouldn't shut off completely, and they sent someone to fix it right away. However, our minibar wasn't functional and it took two days and several reports to get it right. Apparently the maintenance guy claimed he had adjusted it and even "proved" it to the OP staff by bringing them a cold bottle of water that he said he had taken from our fridge-- must have been taken from somewhere else! I brought Liliana a warm Pepsi to show her, and within the next hour we had a new minibar delivered to our room. She took care of business!
In talking with other guests, however, we encountered quite a few with room complaints. Several had been through a couple of rooms, mostly due to a musty smell or sewage issues. One (in the Oasis section) told of their friend's ceiling coming down due to water leakage. We were happy to be on the Grand side when we heard about that (although even in our "fancy" room, we had whiffs of sewage). Too bad-- I actually felt very comfortable walking through the Oasis side-- it wasn't as opulent and the grounds were nicely kept.
We always found something good to eat. The fresh fruit and the guacamole were exceptional in the buffet. We tried several of the reservable restaurants, and enjoyed those as well. My husband liked the Steakhouse the best, while the beef at the Mediterranean was my favorite. It was VERY dark in that restaurant, however-- we needed the light of a phone to have any chance of reading the menu.
Drinks were good. The martini bar served the most tasty ones, with the best quality alcohol, and the bartender was friendly and cheerful. My husband was very happy with his gin on the rocks, although they ran out of Beefeaters our first day and he had to "settle" (lol) for Tanqueray.
The beach is wonderful. We snorkeled several times, and found lots of healthy coral, large schools of fish, a couple of big rays, and a variety of sea life. The current can be a bit strong, and we learned to exit before we drifted down past the Oasis-- the surf pounds pretty hard down there. The morning after a big thunderstorm was exceptionally calm. We were able to stay out a little longer and venture into areas that had been tough in previous days--GREAT snorkeling that day. The sea was full of kayaks, paddleboats, swimmers, snorkelers, and even a paddleboard-- the most active day by far during our stay.
I have to give accolades to the staff. Everywhere we looked, they were cleaning, painting, gardening, serving, and helping. We met Dulce soon after we arrived, and she answered many of our questions. We were asked several times by other staff if we needed anything, and if our stay was going well. They are exceptional.
I felt pretty uncomfortable with the whole wristband thing. It was awkward to be behind a rope on the beach that others couldn't access, and to eat in restaurants that weren't open to everyone. Most of the other guests we met were very friendly, although there seems to be even another layer of stratification-- one day we couldn't enter the smaller buffet (Dos Lunas), as it was reserved exclusively for the Italians. I was impressed with how many parents there were actively engaged with their kids, and most guests were very considerate and well-behaved.
It was a fun trip. Nothing really to complain about-- heck, you're on a beach in Mexico, how can that be bad?!-- but not sure we'll be back. It has the feel of a resort that is trying to be "grand", but somehow misses the mark. It seems that rather making an investment in the property, they use the "bandaid" approach to keep things up.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A luxurious vacation that is delightfully down to earth: Grand Oasis Tulum is the place to go for a unique experience. This is "The Calm Resort," a haven of tranquility far away from the hustle and bustle of the city where our guests can discover the wonders that nature has to offer. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Oasis Tulum Riviera Maya/Akumal, Mexico