Posted 29 May 2009 - 12:00 PM
I found this review on Trip Advisor today so i thought I would post it. I never saw the one about the actual wedding.
We visited ASP April 28th to May 5th 2009. My husband & I are 28 years old and the age range of our group (28 people) is 23 to 55. This was one of the most amazing memorable vacations of our lives & this resort and the staff are truly amazing!!!
Along with our 28 guest we celebrated the wedding of our dreams on May 2nd, 2009!!! I am going to write 2 reviews- This one, which is based on our stay and the other based exclusively on the wedding for all the brides out there that would appreciate the extra info. Please refer to my other review if you are interested in hearing all the details about the wedding.
This is my first review on here & I tend to be very wordy so I will apologize now for this review being too long! I am going to break this review into positives and negatives.
THINGS WE COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT:
I want to preempt this portion by stating that some of the negatives I am listing here were completely out of the control of the resort (Flu Scare, Wind), but I wanted to include them for you as a heads up. The other negatives listed here were in no way serious enough to ruin our trip or make us never want to come back. In sharing my experiences I also wanted to give you resolutions so you don’t have to experience what we did.
1. FLU SCARE-
I feel it's important to note that our stay was during the height of the Swine Flu scare, just in case our experience was influenced by the current state of the world. We were suppose to stay until May 11th, but left 6 nights early due to the fall out of the Flu scare. Also 8 of our guest decided against coming. Due to the overreaction of the media and government Mexico had to close all tours and many hotels due to the rapid decline in occupancy. Airlines cancelled flights everyday and back home in Delaware our jobs were threatening to quarantine us. So in light of all this information we left early & were given a 6 night credit so we could return & enjoy ourselves when things were back to normal. The hotel did an outstanding job at providing refunds & credits of return stays to us and our guest. In the contract I signed for my wedding it clearly states that the deposit is non-refundable (which was our 13 night stay). So we are very happy at how the resort made exceptions in light of the situation that was totally out of our hands and theirs. Believe me we did not want to leave because we were having the most amazing time, but felt it was best to come back when we could take advantage of everything Mexico had to offer. Lesson learned- purchase trip insurance!!! We didn’t and thank God the resort gave us a credit, but if they weren’t as understanding we would have been out of a lot of money.
2. POWER OUTAGE & WATER ISSUE-
On Friday May 1st we had a private welcome dinner in a gazebo in the lagoon. Amazing dinner, but halfway through the dinner the power to the hotel went out. There were candles on each table that provided us enough light until they were able to hook up other lights that ran from the lobby off the backup generators. Honestly it wasn’t a problem at all to us. We were all having a blast and it actually provided us with a more romantic atmosphere. Once our private dinner was over we headed to the lobby to continue our party, and although it was a hot in the lobby we proceeded to have one of the best nights of the trip! The power came back on around 3:00am (so it was out for 6 hours).
The next day, May 2nd (Wedding Day), the power went out again around 8:00am just as most of us were headed to the pool so not a big deal yet! The water was also not working so people could not take showers or brush their teeth. Our wedding was at 5 so I didn’t start freaking out yet. I believe the plumbing issue was resolved in about a half an hour and remained in working condition for the rest of our stay. We inquired about the power & were told that it was a big issue with the company not the hotel and that everyplace in the area was affected. They said it should be back on by 2pm that day. I started stressing wondering about the little things…like how were myself and all our guest suppose to get ready for the wedding in the heat, how was I going to dry my hair to be able to get it styled for the wedding, how were we going to charge our camera’s to take pictures, etc. Well I realized that the salon where we were getting our hair and makeup done, along with the lobby and restaurants were running off of generators. As far as everyone else I just crossed my fingers that the electric would be back on by 2pm just in time for people to get ready before our 5pm wedding. Our prayers were answered and around 2:30pm it was back on for good!!!
3. NIGHT LIFE-
The night life at this hotel could be better. The Disco bar, which is located on the ACP side, was closed during our stay. Since it is currently located on the family friendly side I wonder if it was closed because they are moving it to the adult side? Now to be honest there was great nightly entertainment which we did participate in a few nights. The only problem was that every night the activities ended at 11pm and there was nothing to do after that except head to the lobby where a band would play boring cocktail sleepy music. We made our own fun and would often head to the indoor pool area where there are tables, chairs, pool tables, & ping pong tables. We brought games and would sit there until we were ready for bed. Looking back it was actually a blessing in disguise because it forced most of us to go back to our rooms by 1:00am at the latest, which forced us to go to bed, get a good night sleep so we could be up early & enjoy the next day. Tip: If you’re with a group bring some small games like cards & catchphrase. Also bring an Ipod and speakers for it if you like to listen to music.
Just a heads up…the sand that is used to make the man made beaches is very rough on your feet. Its’ consistency is like dirt and rocks. By the end of the trip we were all limping when we walked on the beaches. Wearing flip flops doesn’t help either because the rocks get stuck in-between your feet and the flops. Maybe water shoes would help! The sand in the lagoons however is super soft so I would stand in the lagoon to heal my feet.
We did have some guest that reported ants in their rooms that came to eat the left over food from the room service. We noticed that many people leave their food plates on the ground outside their rooms so of course bugs are going to come. To avoid this I would call room service to come get our empty plates as soon as we were done eating and it worked… we never saw an ant in our room.
6. LA HUERTA- (Mexican Restaurant on the Aventura Cove Palace side)
We experienced 1 weird experience in this restaurant, although La Huerta was a favorite for many in our group because the food was awesome and the Mayan coffee show was great. One night 24 of us from our group went here and they split us into 3 tables which was fine, but 1 of the tables was given a hard time about the amount of food they were ordering. They had ordered some appetizers and salads along with their meals, which was nothing out of the ordinary, and the waiter made a comment about it being too much food. Then the waiter proceeded to bring them their meals only, not giving them their salads or appetizers. As soon as we asked where the rest of the food was they asked if we still wanted it, which of course we did, and they brought it to us. Not really sure what that was about, just kind of awkward. Tip- If your not happy about something be persistent about it until you are.
This is just a heads up to the ladies… don’t even bother doing your hair or wearing a short skirt because it will be a mess the second you walk outside. Not sure if it was just a very windy week in Riviera Maya or if it was just the time of year, but it was extremely windy, especially at night. I haven’t read any other reviews that had complaints about the wind so maybe this was a freaky occurrence. Besides that the weather was amazing, sunny, hot, but nice breeze all day. Rained twice for less than 5 minutes, but a minute later it was perfect.
Some guest complained about weak drinks. The solution is to ask for doubles or ask for the top shelf alcohol every time. Also we have been to other all-inclusive resorts and they all tend to have very small cups. Tip: Bring your own large insulated cups or thermoses. We brought them for all of our guest and we all used them the entire trip.
THE GOOD THAT MADE UP FOR THE NOT SO GOOD:
1. HOTEL & GROUNDS-
The resort and the landscape are magnificent. Clean, updated, bright, inviting, & beautiful. The resort has around 1200 rooms so yes it is massive, so if you prefer smaller more intimate hotels this isn’t for you. We however love huge resorts and so this place was perfect for us. We found our way around by the 2nd day. Our room was in the furthest building from the ASP lobby and it only took 3 minutes total from room to lobby.
2. FRONT DESK-
Check-in & check-out was very quick & easy. When I set up our group contract months ago I had requested for all of our rooms to be near each other. They could not guarantee this, but said they would do the best they could. At check-in I was very happy to see that all of our guests’ rooms were either in the same building or close by. I made myself present when my guests were checking in to remind them that I wanted them in the Tuba building and the front desk was great about accommodating my requests. I unfortunately wasn’t present at the time one of my guest checked-in and I found out that their room was in another building. After hearing this I went to the desk and asked for a room change and they very happily did it.
We were in Tuba 3909, very clean, great room, amazing view. Loved the king size bed, the large shower, the hammock, slippers, Jacuzzi, & stocked fridge. We actually were across the hall in 3906 to start and I didn’t like being on the end of the resort looking out into the endless trees and ocean so we moved across the hall without a problem. The buildings are shaped like the letter “U” so the best rooms are the “legs” of the “U” towards the ocean. They all have 3 floors.
I normally wouldn’t bring my laptop with me on vacation, but only did this time because of my wedding and the flu scare so I wanted to stay connected. The free unlimited wireless internet was awesome. If you bring your laptop & your room doesn’t have a great connection you may want to change rooms. Also if you don’t bring your laptop and need the internet you can use theirs for free for a ½ hour a day in the Business center.
5. FREE INTERNATIONAL PHONECALLS-
This is an awesome perk!!! Again because of the flu scare I needed to stay in communication with many of our guest to keep them updated on the situation so the free calls were so appreciated.
6. ROOM SERVICE
Room service & the maid service were great. Order food and 30 minutes later it was there. When ever you ask for anything (towels, beer, wine, hangers) and receive it, 5 minutes later you will receive a phone call asking if you received what you asked for and if it was ok. Maid service was great. They would be in the room at least twice, once to clean & then to turn down at night.
7. BEACH PARTY’S
There were 2 beach dance party’s during our stay and they were soooo much fun. There would be some kind of entertainment with games first and then it would turn into a dance party. One night they even had a mechanical bull competition which made for a hilarious great time. We wished there was a beach party every night!!!
We all loved sitting on the beach by the lagoons and the cushioned lounge chairs were the best. And yes I said “Beach”; there is a “beach” along the entire length of the hotel that has chairs and umbrellas on it. The lagoons are beautiful and the only thing you can’t do that you can do at a typical beach is swim in the crashing waves. If you want to do that then take a day trip to another Palace Resort or Tulum for free. Once we found our spot in the lagoon we barely went back to the pool. The pool was fun, but the lagoon was relaxing. So we would spend time at each everyday. The food & drink service was also amazing in the lagoons. We pretty much had a private waitress that served us all day, every day. The water in the actual lagoon is beautiful and you can still hear the crashing of the waves on the rocks. Snorkeling in the lagoon was a lot of fun too, big variety of fish to see. A few boys in our group got a little wild by the end of the trip and started jumping off the rocks into the lagoons. Definitely dangerous because the lagoons are not deep enough for that but no one got hurt and they had a blast. Obviously the life guard didn’t agree and they finally stopped.
9. RESTAURANTS & BARS
Not going to say too much about the food because everyone’s taste varies. All I will say is that there are plenty of options (buffet & sit down). We ate at the buffet places for breakfast and lunch and loved the variety. Every night we went to the al la carte restaurants and like them all (Italian, Asian, Mexican). Italian was our favorite! Also during the day if your sitting by the pool or in the lagoon you can order food from the wait staff off the menu, everything we had was great (chicken & club sandwiches, nachos, ect). Just remember that the guys have to wear pants and closed toed shoes at 3 of the sit down restaurants. Overall nothing we ate was “the best we ever had”, but we didn’t expect it to be. We enjoyed the food and don’t understand the negative food reviews because the variety is so huge.
Top Notch is all I have to say. Everything we asked for was done. The staff is willing to do anything to make your trip the best. I know you’re not expected to tip, but we brought 150.00 dollars in 1’s & 5’s to tip because we knew we would want to. We weren’t treated any different if we did or didn’t tip but these people work soooo hard for sooo little so why not show your appreciation. When we did tip they were extremely grateful.
Awesome!!!! We got hair, makeup, manicure, pedicure, massages, facials, & body scrubs and all were out of this world. Definitely treat yourself to something.
12.CHEAP GIFT SHOP
Just an FYI…the gift shop is really cheap. The everyday toiletre items are cheaper than in the US, so you might want to pack less and buy some stuff when you get there. If you’re a smoker a pack is around 2.50.
OK before I end this already too long review I feel the need to comment on the bad reviews that others have written about ASP. Although this is my first review I have relied on trip advisor for many years and I greatly appreciate the honest detailed objective reviews. I don’t however understand the stupid ones. For example, complaining about the size of the resort, or that there is no beach, or that the Jacuzzi in the room takes up too much space. If these are your complaints than it’s completely your own fault for not doing your homework correctly by researching your trip before deciding where to go. It’s no surprise that there is no beach, that there’s a Jacuzzi in every room, and that the resort has 1200 rooms and is huge! As far as the bad food reviews, I tend to skip right over these because we all have our own preferences. When I go to an all inclusive I don’t except to have the best Italian, steak, Asian or French food that I have ever had. News flash….You’re in Mexico people! The variety of food is huge and if you order something that you don’t like then order something else. If you still can’t find anything that you like than that’s pretty sad. As far as the complaints about having to walk too much… seriously unless you have a disability than you have no reason to complain that it took you 5 minutes to walk to the pool. If you are still that lazy than all you have to do is pick up your phone and ask a bellboy to pick you up in a golf cart to bring you wherever you wish. The hotel even has a bus that goes back & forth from the 2 lobby’s and people still have the nerve to complain that it only comes every 10 minutes. It takes you less than 10 minutes to walk there! Sorry if I offended anyone, but I needed to get that off my chest.
I want to conclude by saying that this trip was the best vacation of my life so far. That probably has a lot to do with the fact that we had our wedding during our stay and that we were with 28 of our best friends and family. But still, I know it's been said before but a vacation is what you make of it. Even if we didn't have our wedding here and even if we weren't with 28 other people I know we would have had the time of our lives. We aren't fortunate enough to not have to work for a living so when we take time off to go on vacation we are going to make the best of it no matter what. Would we come back to ASP again... the obvious answer based on our amazing experience would be “yes”, but to be completely honestly there are too many places in the world to see so we don’t plan on staying anywhere twice ever. With that being said however if over the years we don't come across a place as wonderful as here, than we will definitely be back. For now we are planning on staying at Sun Palace in Cancun for our return visit with our 6 night credit & can’t wait because we have been hearing unbelievable reviews about it too! Happy travels and if you stay at ASP I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.