After having read some of the negative comments, it was with some trepidation that we approached this property. Indeed, there was a strong odor in our room, when we arrived. I remarked to my wife that this might be that dreaded mildewy scent I had read about. She remarked that it was definitely not mildew, and was probably a very strong cleaner that was used in the room when not occupied. Sure enough, with the air conditioning and fan running, the scent vacated the scene. Mildew just doesn't act like that; I'll take my wife's assessment as the reality.
Another foreboding was the size of the property itself. It is rather overwhelming at first glance. Given the size, I feared that the property could not be a five star resort, that it must mass market. I found that the two things are not mutually exclusive. With a concierge at the ready in each residence building, the property began to take on more of the intimacy one would expect in an upscale resort. On the plus side, the size of the property allows for the dispersion of many activities, e.g. the spa, the disco, the dive shop, which might otherwise appear to fall over one another.
And speaking of the SPA, what a grand surprise. Our package included a visit to the spa for a hydrotherapy session. I was totally overwhelmed by the location of the spa, the variety and length of the treatment, and the personal attention throughout. I'm not really a spa guy, but this over two hour treatment was a real treat.
I'm a scuba diver, and I will not go to a resort that does not offer SCUBA. This one does, and the operation is thoroughly professional and honest, not to mention a lot of fun. The dive shop also offers snorkeling trips, so on my last (no dive) day, we went snorkeling with the turtles. She's still talking about her up close and personal encounter with the hawksbills of Akumal bay. If you dive, don't miss Dos Ojos Cenote - it's unbelievable. If you don't dive, the shop offers introduction to SCUBA as well as various certification courses. Sorry tekkies, no nitrox - yet.
I found the food good and palatable, but nothing to write home about. My main complaint is in our package at least there is a surcharge to go to the French restaurant. So, I refused to go there - I mean, all inclusive should mean all-inclusive, n'est ce pas? We do recommend the Mexican, and the Mediterranean. Also, the Japanese is fun, despite the fact that chop suey is not Japanese. For that matter, it's not even Chinese. So, I would not give this property 5 stars for the food, although the service certainly is.
The grounds are lovely, the ubiquitous iguana are friendly, the property is kept in an exceptional state of cleanliness. Maintenance and grounds keeping definitely get high marks from me.
Being a bit long tooth, and having early morning dive trips on a daily basis, I find myself incompetent to comment on the nightly shows or the discos. I understand they're good, but I wouldn't know - I need my sleep.
The beach is a bit of a tough nugget for those who do not own reef shoes (boat shoes, water shoes, whatever). It is rocky, though there is a small path out by the dive boat. My wife was a bit disappointed, until we took a day trip into Playa del Carmen, and she bought some reef shoes. After that, it was no problemo, amigo.
Speaking of day trips, Playa del Carmen is a breeze to get to on the collectivo. Also, there are several day trips offered by various retailers on the property. We took the one day Coba-Tulum-Playa Paraiso, which is well worth it. If you are into Mayan ruins, and think Chichen Itza is all there is, you'd be well advised to go to Coba. Just be sure to take your walking shoes.
I can't give the location 5 stars, because of the rocky water, and the length of the trip from the airport. Take it from me - the nonstop van is definitely worth the investment. Still, it's the high end of 4 stars.
The architecture will definitely be in the eye of the beholder. It struck me as an architect's madness reflected in the use of pyramidical shapes - hence the strange window thing in the bathroom, and the immensity of the lobby bar. I found the architecture disconcerting, but others may find it lovely. Nonetheless, it is functional.
Caution to US citizens - if you are Canadaphobic, this is not your property. This place seems to draw Canadians like bees to a hive. Personally, I find the Canadians delightful, and I truly enjoyed my time with them; especially with my dive buddies eh?
All in all, from being overwhelmed at the beginning, to growing used to the property as my 12 night stay continued, I left the property feeling very satisfied with an excellent stay at an excellent property, which somehow seemed to become more intimate, the longer I stayed there.
- 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 Akumal
- Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Hotel And Spa
- 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