â€œ"It is my pleasure"â€
Dreams Riviera Cancun
Riviera Maya, Mexico
April 18th â€“ 28th, 2012
My boyfriend and I woke up early for our 6am direct flight to Cancun from Minneapolis on Sun Country Airlines. I surprised the fiancÃ© with a limo ride to the airport from RideManRide (Kyle D. Smith, www.ridemanride.com) in a Jaguar. Kyle was a pleasure to work with and he offered a pick up on our return for cheaper than a cab ride. We arrived in Cancun 10 minutes early and breezed through customs â€“ No red light for us. We found our way to the Olympus shuttle and had just enough time to get a beer from the cart girls by the shuttles and board. The ride to the resort was about 10 minutes, not the 20 minutes I have heard from others.
When we arrived at the resort we were whisked away to the Preferred Club for check in. When we arrived in that area we were offered a drink of our choice right away; 2 Crown Royal and Coke Light. We were impressed with the service right away when we go there. We received our room keys and the bellman took us to our room after a brief tour on the way. We were surprised that our room was ready to go, as I have heard that many people had to wait while their room was cleaned. My sister who arrived a few days later had to wait 2 hours for their room to be ready. Just pack your swimsuit in your carry-on, go to breakfast/lunch or tour the resort while you wait. They are just making sure your room is perfect.
To our surprise, we were upgraded to the Preferred Club Ocean Front Master Suite (Room #1302) thanks to our travel agent, Amy, and the fact we were getting married while we were there. We were very happy! This room has a separate living area, dining area, mini kitchen (microwave and stocked larger refrigerator), bathroom with separate shower, private balcony with an exterior Jacuzzi (along with the in room Jacuzzi). It was a very large room (over 1200 square feet) and felt like an apartment. Our view of the ocean was amazing and we woke up every day to the sunrise from our bed! Truly beautiful! We did get the basic beer, juice and water in our mini-fridge by the desk area, but we also received 4 full bottles of alcohol (vodka, run, gin, amaretto) and we were able to swap the gin for Crown Royal. Score. They also leave the standard snacks (chips and M&Ms), but we also received 2 jars of nuts and room service left desserts every night. The cleaning service was great the whole trip and the turn down service was good. PS - The beds are so comfortable!!!
The resort is beautiful! Not too big, not too small â€“ just right. They keep the grounds kept perfectly, with lots of trees, bushes and plants. There are some geckos and Iguanas that you see around, along with a grey cat. The resort did not seem â€œfullâ€ and there were always chairs open by the pools/ocean. There is a certain point in the day where we found chairs full (1-3pm), but we never had a problem because we were up early to get a spot wherever we wanted. They had cabana beds available for anyone â€“ first come first serve â€“ they were not something you could reserve or have to pay for. The Plunge Pool rooms looked great and would be perfect for families. No construction. The bathrooms were immaculate. There were security staff on the beach the whole time, so people should feel secure while they are there.
No reservations needed, other than for a hibachi table at Himitsu, in which you have to go wait in line before they open at 5. But, if you have a large group, it can be difficult to get in earlier. The food was great and quite a variety. It seemed the dress code was not enforced all the time. We saw shorts, flip flops and a hat in Bordeaux, where it is supposed to be casual elegance.
â€¢ Portofino (Italian) â€“ This was the most disappointed we had been the whole time we were here. We ate here with a group of 6. Service was very slow, most meals were cold. Mine happened to be good, but the otherâ€™s meals were not. Not much to say about this one.
â€¢ Bordeaux (French) â€“ Wonderful. Our favorite. We ate here twice, including our wedding night. I think I had the same meal both times because it was so great. Their filet and lamb are wonderful, so are the soups! Service at this place was one of the best.
â€¢ Himitsu (Asian & Hibachi) â€“ We ate here twice, once at the hibachi and once off their regular menu. The hibachi table had room for 8 people, which was our whole group. It was very fun and they engaged with us the whole time they were prepping and cooking. I read somewhere that people left hungry after they ate there. This was not the case for us. They serve sushi rolls, soup, rice and your choice of meats (any combination of shrimp, steak, and chicken). Everyone at our table left stuffed! They cook the meat perfectly and it was delicious. Their regular menu was great as well. I had the beef & noodles. They serve flank steak at many of their restaurants, which does not sound appetizing, but it actually is prepared so well â€“ super tender and great taste!
â€¢ El Patio (Mexican) â€“ We ate here twice. Our first trip was with our group of 8. The wait staff here was the best! Super fun and funny. They make their â€œspecialâ€ cheese queso with tequila. Awesome, but they could have used a little less tequila in my taste, it was about 3-4 shots per bowl. The 2nd trip was just me & the hubby. Both times the food was wonderful.
â€¢ Oceana (Seafood) â€“ We ate here too many times to count for lunch. They have the same lunch menu as Seaside Grill. They serve chips, salsa and guac with every meal. Their crab wontons are fabulous â€“ order two. Their fish tacos were great. Everyone said their hamburgers were good, but I didnâ€™t have one. Their BLT was not the greatest, so order other things from the menu. Good shrimp ceviche. We ate here for dinner twice, which was great. I had the filet and shrimp and the tomato soup which was to die for.
â€¢ Seaside Grill (Steaks) â€“ We ate here for lunch (same menu as Oceana), but didnâ€™t make it to dinner. We figured that we could order steak at any of the other restaurants, so why go here.
â€¢ World CafÃ© (Buffet) â€“ We ate here for breakfast most mornings. They have a wide variety of food, even offering Mexican and lunch during breakfast hours. Omelet stations, pancakes, French toast, traditional Mexican breakfast items, there is something for everyone. The wait staff offers coffee, memosa, and bloody maryâ€™s to drink. They also have a large selection of juice (more than 12 to pick from). We ate here for lunch a few times as well. It is a good place to get out of the sun and cool off. The food selection is wide, from pasta, chicken, beef, salad bar, etc.
â€¢ CoCo CafÃ© (Coffee Shop) â€“ Great place to stop in the morning (or anytime into the night) for a coffee and bakery item.
â€¢ Barefoot Grill (Light lunch/snacks) â€“ They serve pizza, burgers, spring rolls, bread rolls. Also, at about 1-2pm each day, the cooks make a huge pot of Paella, which is a seafood and rice dish. Can you say AMAZING?
The service and staff at the resort is great! â€œIt is my pleasureâ€ is their final statement after every encounter. There were two nights were we had neighbors who were up yelling (yesâ€¦yelling) at 2:30am. We are usually not ones to â€œtattleâ€, but a call needed to be made both nights due to explicit language (this is a family resort afterall). Pretty quickly after each call, the noise stopped, so I knew the staff actually takes action if it is needed. Our favorite bartender was Salvador, who was usually at the portable bar by the beach. Our wedding coordinator, Yamina, was wonderful and super sweet. She made sure all details were tied up and we were ready to go. She even helped my hubby with a surprise picnic on the beach for me, but providing a basket and helping to arrange for special sandwiches, etc.
Overall â€“ Friendly, Accommodating, Outgoing, Personal
The beach was beautiful. The sand was like powder on the feet. I have read many reviews about too much seaweed. All I have to say about that is â€œit is an ocean peopleâ€. They have a large tractor that cleans the beach SEVERAL times a day. You can walk into the ocean up to your armpits without hitting any seaweed â€“ the bottoms is all sand to that point and even when you hit the line of weeds, it is not thick, mucky or gross. One good thing about having some weeded areas is that fish are in the area. We were able to feed schools of fish while wading in waste deep water. The water was warm and had slight waves. Later in our trip the wind did pick up, which made more waves and washed up a little more weeds, but all in all the beach and ocean was wonderful. You are also about a 20-30 minute beach walk into the town of Puerto Morales, which was fun to check out the ocean front homes and other resorts. Be warned you do pass through Desires, which is an adult, clothing optional resort, and you will see some â€œstuffâ€.
Disappointments (Please note that these are not deal breakers for us, just things we thought about while we were there)
â€¢ It was very hard to get into restaurant with a large group, unless you are ok with late dinners. Even then you are given a pager that will alert you when your table is ready. Several nights we waited HOURS to get in.
â€¢ The water sports activities were very limited. You had to sign up for a time slot to use the Hobie Cats and couldnâ€™t just take them as you wanted. Same with the Kayaks â€“ they had certain times they could be taken out.
â€¢ Weddings took over the night events. Many nights there were 3 wedding receptions going on at once and the DJ/music was colliding into each other. It seemed to interfere with nightly activities, such as the acoustic entertainment and star gazing. They should look into limiting weddings to just a couple a day.
â€¢ The dress code was not enforced consistently. There were several nights we came dressed up in our elegant attire (as listed on their website and at the restaurants) and we get seated next to a guy with shorts and a hat.
â€¢ We are not a group that purposely goes out to â€œget drunkâ€, but we noticed that several bartenders barely put a shot of alcohol in a large drink. You can ask for more, mind you. We just found it odd that we consistently had a drink in hand, but never had a buzz.
â€¢ It would have been great to have other Mexican beers available, other than Corona and Modelo.
â€¢ This is a family resort and we knew this going in, but I would suggest that they make the bar areas adult only. This is specifically for the swim up bar. There were constantly kids hanging out at the bar and taking up seats. They do have a kid pool and the resort should try to keep the kids there.
â€¢ Where is the Revive Juice Bar? We did not find it! ïŠ
â€¢ Our room â€“ Amazing
â€¢ Sunrises â€“ Beautiful
â€¢ Paella at lunch
â€¢ French restaurant
â€¢ Friendly, accommodating staff
â€¢ Cleanliness of resort
Would I go back? Yes! This was probably the best resort we have stayed at. We would specifically go back to this resort but we are also interested in trying out other Dreams resorts, like the Tulum resort. We are very happy about this trip and look forward to revisiting!!! Sweet dreams!