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Help to compare resorts?!! Too many options!

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Hi ladies, brides, brides-to-be and advisers...


I'm a newbie to the site, and have been reading and re-reading posts and discussions for a few weeks, trying to take it all in. This site seems to answer every possible question and is filled with invaluable information, so thanks to all in advance!!


I'm newly engaged, and I must say...already overwhelmed!! I'm not usually one to stress, but the idea of narrowing down a resort option has my head swimming. I feel that once that decision is made, things will come (a little) easier. Any insight on the most efficient way to search and weed out possibilities? So far, I feel as though I am running in circles. 


We have decided we are interested in the Riviera Maya/Cancun general area, and definitely would like an all inclusive resort. We are likely to be expecting between 40-75 guests (adults and children) and would prefer venues that allow for private (or at least semi-private) ceremonies/receptions/etc.  At this point, these are the only decisions we have come to...oooh what a long way to go!!


I have been trying to compile a chart/spread sheet with various resorts and the amenities they provide, in an effort to compare my options side-by-side.  Some categories I have been trying to include/compare are, for example,

- All inclusive? (with notes highlighting anything NOT included e.g. room service, top shelf drinks, mini bar)

- Relative size of resort (are shuttle services needed to travel across resort) (# of guests accommodated for wedding ceremony)

- Number of Restaurants (and types)

- Number of pools

- Distance from nearest airport

- Wedding ceremony location choices (ie. gazebo, beach, etc)

- Nearby excursion/tour options


There are a few other categories I am interested in comparing, but you get the idea. I was curious if any other brides have managed to create a similar chart or method of comparison??? (I can't be the only type-A, planning nut out there, can I? lol) Or does a chart like this exist on the internet anywhere?


Any advice, tools, charts or insight you can provide would be GREATLY appreciated!!!

Thanks so much ladies!



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Hola From Sunny Mexico Katman! 


Congratulations on your engagement!  


I understand you must be so overwhelmed with comparing the resorts and amenities. There are SO many!  


I have lived and worked here in Riviera Maya for many years now, and can offer you some feedback specifically on the AM Resorts, where I have worked at several different location here in the Rviera Maya.  These include  Zoetery ( Boutique Spa) , Secrets ( Adults only) , and  Dreams ( Families ) brands.   They all offer a very nice class of all inclusive services.   Waiter beach and pool service ( no having to stand  in long lines for drinks that are served in tiny plastic cups) , No need to make dinner reservations ( all restaurants are open to ALL guests ANY time) , unlike many other resorts you must pre-plan your dinners and make reservations days in advance, VERY nice staff ( always smiling , friendly and helpful!)  , all day kids club ( at the Dreams resorts), great daily and nightly entertainment, all have transportation options from Cancun Airport, several locations spread throughout the Riviera Maya from Cancun to Tulum.... and the list goes ON of the great qualities of the AM Resorts!  


I was also thinking about your comment regarding the decisions you HAVE come to thus far... specifically about wanting a private or at least semi private location for ceremony and reception. I will tell you honestly ( because I would hate for you to be disappointed or misled)  that is VERY  rare for ANY resorts to have a truly private area to offer, unless your ceremony or reception was to be in an indoor  ballroom.... but I am assuming thats NOT the plan , given your coming down to PARADISE and the beautiful white sandy caribbean  beach!   


But... keep in mind, there are MANY gorgeous locations that are  completely PRIVATE, in which you can have your ceremony and reception OFF-site ..... for you and your guests only!   Transportation can be arranged to pick you and your guests up from the all inclusive resort you chose and wisk you away to a private location for your BIG DAY.   This way you can personalize EVERY detail as you wish.  The decor, the flowers, the cake, the entertainment, ect, ect.... Sometimes when having your ceremony and reception at the resort , you are only offered limited choices for all these special details , or charged extra fees to bring outside vendors .  


I know, there are just SO many options and things to think about!  But relax.... there are great wedding planner in the area that can help you with all of these decisions and details!  


Have you checked Fresa Weddings site?  I know Kristee would be able to help you out in making this all seem much less overwhelming! .... and FUN!!!!


You can also contact her on BDW!

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Yes, I have a chart I created and used when I was comparing resorts. I just created it in excel based on things we were considering and things that were important to us. I used non-group pricing as a comparison, going with the assumption that group promos would be better (they were). I also did a ton of research on the resorts here at BDW and on TripAdvisor. 


And end the end I chose the resort that resonated the most with me during all of that research. 


if you want to PM me your email, I'll be happy to send it to you. 


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Oh you are not alone in your type Aism :) 


I had a chart as well.  I  listed out the resort names on the left and then all the things I wanted on the top.  So not just things that would be nice, but EXACTLY what I wanted.


Then i went and I'd put an X in the cells when the resort had what I wanted.  Eventually it narrowed it down.


So, for me, here are the things I needed


  • All inclusive
  • Children allowed
  • Ceremony on the beach (nobody allowed to walk in front of our ceremony!!!)
  • Private outdoor reception
  • Large resort (needed to have plenty to do and be able to escape our guests and have some alone time if we wanted)
  • Lots of dinner choices for the guests
  • Close to touristy things (Tulum ruins, Playa Del Carmen, etc)
  • Able to fly in my own photographer
  • Price point $1000 per person or less for 3 nights air and hotel.


In the end I went with the Gran Bahia.  It fit all my needs and was the cheapest option.  Best decision I made!

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Thanks Allie & Tlseege, Those are exactly the types of options I am interested in comparing. Actually, my requirements sound pretty similar to Tlseege's. How many guest did you have? We will likely be a larger group (>50 at least) so that's a big factor for us as well. I have started a spread sheet but am finding a lot of info to be less than readily available. So as always, tips, advice and templates are always welcome! As for a travel agent, I have not been in contact with one as of yet (though i plan to be), but feel I would like to familiarise myself with some of my options prior to taking that step. So thank you for posting the TA link starchild! As a side note, when/how do TA's charge for their services? Appreciate the help ladies! Kat

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Hi again Kat!

DEFINITELY get a TA.  The ones from the forum are amazing... but I do agree with at least having maybe your top 4 resorts chosen before contacting them.  That's what I did.  Maybe that's silly, but I liked it.  And TAs don't charge you for their services.  They get paid by the resorts and such...


I had 35 guests attend.


Some of the resorts I looked at:

 - Moon Palace - beach was icky and I had to get married in a gazebo...

 - Grand Riviera Princess - Good contender... but I have since photographed a wedding there and the beach area is NOT private.  Guests can walk right in front of your ceremony, and they do!

 - Barcelo - I really like this one.  I photographed a wedding here two years ago and it was beautiful.  The beach location looks over rocks so it's private and it's surrounded by palm trees.  It's super cute.  Plus outdoor reception options are great and the food was very good.  (HERE is the wedding that I photographed there and HERE is the trash the dress)

 - Dreams Cancun - this is a very popular resort for weddings because it's gorgeous.  I just wanted to get married on the beach and the word CANCUN meant spring breakers to my guests.

 - NOW Jade - This is a newer option that I didn't consider, but some family friends are getting married there in June.  I put together this official thread about it.  They have some cool wedding locations and very nice private reception options.

 - Gran Bahia Principe - obviously this is my favorite and I'm partial because I got married there :)  I also photographed a wedding there in january and will be doing another in August... so clearly I enjoy this resort!  Here is the wedding I just did in January (their wedding is HERE and the trash the dress is HERE).  I also created an official thread to make finding information easier for this resort too.  It's located HERE.

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Check out the Grand Sirenis Resort.  They have two locations for weddings, one being private as well as a private area to have a dinner and reception.  I was just married there and had 35 guests with me we booked over a year ahead and the cost was about $1300 per person, taxes included flying from Halifax.  If you are interested in seeing pictures of the ceremony and reception check out the thread Grand Sirenis Brides, there are a few but just look for the one that was recently updated. 

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