Blvd. Kukulkan, Km. 11.5, Hotel Zone, Cancun, Q. Roo., 77500 Cancun, Mexico
"the perfect choice"
Posted by: caron on Oct 4, 2014
see all reviews
The 5 star Gran Caribe Real Resort & Spa – better than ever and stretching along a quarter mile of white sandy beach - is an awe-inspiring resort, where style and service come together in grand fashion.
Share your experiences with others. Don't forget to send your review to Debbie by using an easy form.
"Not a 4.5 star resort"
FV_USA on Oct 1, 2007 >
1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Oct, 2007 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
462 people found this review helpful
My wife and I just returned from a week in the Grand Caribe Real in Cancun and were both very disappointed. We are frequent visitors to Cancun and The Mayan Riviera. This was our second trip this year. We will never return to this place at any price.
My real issue is this resort was rated at 4.5 stars by Funjet and is, in reality, a weak 3 stars.
There is none--nada. The water is about 2 foot deep as it laps against the resort wall. They are trying to recover the beach with big sandbags, but this will take several years unless they bring in huge amounts of sand.
There are two pools: one midsized activity pool and one very small quiet pool. The pools get terribly overcrowded due to the lack of beach and is like swimming in a urinal in the afternoon. One night I checked and water visibility was about 18 inches.
Once again nada. This seems to be one of the most popular aspects of Cancun resorts, but not here.
One decent al la carte restaurant (where they charge you extra for lobster) and one good buffet with a very limited selection. The al la carte restaurant had the same 6 selections every night. They had what looked like a fine restaurant with a wonderful menu but the "All Inclusive Guests" had to pay for everything (at what they said was 50% of full price). We ate at the little buffets by the pool a few times but the food was cold and mushy and we had a terrible fly problem and dirty tables.
Our junior suite was excellent and roomy. The bathroom was roomy and very functional and clean. They kept the mini-bar stocked and even had booze dispensers on the wall. I thought it weird that they put about $75 of booze in your room but still want to charge you extra for good meals. They have terrible acoustics due to the design of the hotel and the hard floors. We were kept awake until 2 AM by screaming kids in the pool and then the late night gang started coming home at 3 AM. At 4 AM one of their security idiots carried on a conversation with his radio somewhere in the hallway for about a half hour. This happened every night.
This was spotty. We had excellent maid service and most of the bar and wait staff were very helpful. We did have to get our own drinks about half the time when sitting by the pool (we do tip well for good service). The front desk was grossly understaffed and seemed annoyed by all the people interrupting their day.
Shows were very good but a bit short in length (about 45 minutes). The music at the lobby bar was good. There is no Disco or Sports bar as in other resorts. They have organized late night trips into town that everyone seemed to really enjoy.
One nice bar in the lobby and a couple by the pool and seawall. The problem here was the humidity and lack of ventilation on calm days. I understand they had a nice air conditioned lounge on the 6th floor but, like the best restaurant, was not included in the "all Inclusive" package.
This is their ultimate strong suit. If you want to spend hours listening to their sales pitches, this is the spot for you. We know the game and were able to avoid these persistent pests, but just about everyone else had the 90 minute arm twisting. The real peeve is these people all had Hotel Staff uniforms and sucked you into the pitch by telling you that they had to tell you about the hotel features when you check in. When we arrived, there were about 10 Time Share Salesmen and 2 Check-In Clerks.
The resort was very clean and well maintained. There was no sign of colorful flowers or gardens on the grounds as at other resorts.
"I would rate this resort as a 3.5 star."
Andrew_Canada on May 1, 2005 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: May, 2005 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
116 people found this review helpful
My wife + I recently spent the week of April 23-30/05 at the Gran Caribe Real Resort.
We stayed in Room 2427, the room was well decorated, the mattress was excellent, the only thing that bothered me about the room was a) the air conditioning did not seem to work properly, however I would rate the room an 8 of 10.
The food service was excellent, there always seemed to be good variety and the meals being served by the lobby bar pool were awesome.
The bar service was also excellent.
The main pool seemed to be too small, missing tiles inside the pool caused some concern, I saw a number of guests sustain injuries to the bottom of their feet, caused by sharp edges of missing tiles.
After experiencing the beaches of Cuba, the beach at this resort would rate a 5 of 10, the water was always too rough to swim in + the slope of the sand going into the water was steep, making it awkward to walk on the beach.
The entertainment around the main pool, for the most was well done, however there were a couple of afternoons where the music being played was vulgar with explicit swear words + degrading to women, I have heard swear words before, but in a forum where small children are, it is completely inappropriate, you can still keep the atmosphere electric without playing that kind of music.
The main aspect that I noticed in this resort was the staff, every one of them were friendly and eager to go that little bit further to please, in all the resorts that I have previously visited, I never met staff such as those that work in this resort.
My digital camera went missing from my room, I reported this incident to security + their subsequent investigation showed that an employee from an outside contractor had been in our room + taken the camera, Tomas, the concierge person who I dealt with during this incident always conducted himself with compassion + genuine interest in resolving this matter + I believe that he was instrumental in the final offer of a new camera. I would strongly recommend that you keep all valuables, including cameras in the safe.
While I did enjoy my vacation at this resort, I would rate this resort as a 3.5 star.
I would not return to this resort.
"Unfortunately, we were disappointed."
Josée&Alain on Mar 1, 2005 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2005 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
119 people found this review helpful
During our trip to Cancun from January 21 to 29, 2005, we stayed at the Gran Caribe Real Resort and Spa. As the resort is rated as a 4.5 star in Canada and as a five-star locally, we were expecting superior service. Unfortunately, we were disappointed.
General Appearance and Rooms:
From the exterior, the hotel is very attractive. It is divided into a main building and a section with villas. We knew that the hotel was undergoing renovations but had been told that these would be completed by December 2004. This was not the case. Our room was located in the main building in the only wing that had yet to be renovated. The room was acceptable but was in need of some upkeep. The door needed repainting, the blanket on the bed was stained (and was not changed all week), and a big piece of wood fell on my head when I tried to open the closet. In addition, our room was located on the ground floor and our terrace was facing a basketball court, so it was neither quiet nor private. We tried to change rooms twice, but were told the hotel was full. However, to be fair to the hotel, we visited the renovated areas in the main building and the villas, and both seemed much nicer than where we were staying.
My final comment is that the Gran Caribe Real seems to have a problem with extermination. On our first night, we were greeted in our room by a huge cockroach who did not seem to be bothered by our presence. Also, every morning, we would find dead cockroaches in the hallway, which stayed there until the cleaning lady did her rounds. Of course, I am fully aware that cockroaches are very common in Mexico, but that does not mean I need to see them regularly in the hotel (especially since they claim it to be a five-star!).
Food and drinks:
For dinner, the hotel offers a selection of four restaurants, two buffets and two à la carte. Reservations are not required for the buffets but are necessary for the Italian or Mexican à la carte restaurants. Reservations can be made with the concierge between 7:00 am and 1:00 pm for the following evening. However, a long line-up forms by 6:45 am every morning at the concierge`s desk. If you don`t want to eat from a buffet all week, I hope for your sake that you are an early bird! Also, if you want to eat before 9:00 pm, I strongly recommend that you get in line even earlier than 6:45am!
If you don`t feel like lining up in the morning, be prepared to wait in line at night to eat in one of the buffet restaurants. The line-ups, however, move relatively quickly, because the restaurants are often three quarters full. We noticed that the hotel seemed to prefer to have people wait outside rather than completely fill the restaurants (this was also the case for the à la carte restaurants, where a lot more reservations could have been taken).
You know how Canadians love to complain about the food in Cuba? Well, I have been to a four star resort in Cuba and found the food to be comparable to what was offered at the Gran Caribe Real. The food served in the buffets was often lukewarm, the selection was limited and the wine was bad (after the first day, we actually went out and bought our own wine). The drinks, however, made up for this. The hotel offers a large selection of mixed drinks and makes excellent Margaritas and Pina Coladas (I also recommend the Mudslide!). However, once again, be prepared to wait as after six o`clock there is only one bar open.
Staff and service:
The staff was generally friendly. The only area where the service was lacking was at the restaurants which were often understaffed (which might be why they did not fill them up). The waiters often were seen running around, trying to do ten things at the same time. For example, we had a reservation one evening at 8:30 pm. By the time we were shown to our table and our order was taken, it was 9:30 pm. Obviously, this is not the waiters` fault, as they are doing their best. So, if you are one of those people who get impatient when they are hungry, book extra early!
Beach, Activities and Various Details:
When the hotel zone was built, a lot of the hotels removed all the plants from the beachside which resulted in the sand being swept out to sea over the years. This is the case with the Gran Caribe Real. We were told that the Mexican government plans on investing the equivalent of fifteen million dollars to bring in more sand this summer to expand the beaches, but in the meantime, the hotel is left with a rather small beach. When we were there, there were not enough loungers for everyone and many people reserve their chairs by laying a towel across them early in the morning. That means you might end up laying in the sand or on the cement next to one of the three pools.
There are some daytime activities at the resort. However, if you are a night owl, you will probably have to go to the centre of Cancun (called El Centro) where all the bars are found. The hotel is located a short fifteen minute walk from there, which is very convenient for those who want to have a good time.
The gym was closed during our stay, so please do not count on it.
In my opinion, the Gran Caribe Real is a decent hotel. However, they will need to improve on a number of points before they deserve to call themselves a five-star resort.
"Overall I was not impressed"
Katie_Kitchener on Feb 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2009 | Leisure | With Group
464 people found this review helpful
Upon arrival we were given an upgraded room, which seems good but it only had one king size bed and there were two couples. We had to order a single bed and someone had to sleep on the couch. Even though we registered 48 hours in advance so that we would get the proper room. It was a hassle because we had to re pack everything the next day and relocate.
Rooms were nice and clean but we would leave at 9:30am, and return at 4:30pm and our rooms would still not be clean. We would call the front desk and ask to send someone up to clean it and it would still not happen.It was frusterating leaving a tip when we had to pratically pull teeth to get it cleaned.
Restaurants and Bars:
Restaurants were nice, very large selection. Bars were good, we wanted shots are we are young adults and wanted to get intoxicated. Over half the week they fed us shots non stop and all of a sudden on our second last night they said no shots for anyone in the hotel. We were frusterated because it was suppose to be all inclusive and they can't just make up rules when they feel fit. It was even more frusterating because not everyone was following these rules and there would be people getting shots and then we would try to get some and they wouldn't give us any and if we did get any they were in plastic cups.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
It says on the website that non-motorized sports were inculded, they failed to mention that the place that you can use these non-motorized sports were 10 minutes up the road. This was also frusterating.
Overall I was not impressed and we tried to complain but we kept getting passed from person to person and weren't getting anywhere. As a result one night was ruined because they were so frusterating. Finally on our last night they offered us an upgrade, which would have been another King size bed, so one person would be on a single and the other on the pull out couch, not only that it was our last night we didn't want to pack up, relocate then have to pack up only to be out of the place by 12 noon the next day.
"Our trip during Spring break"
Maritimers_Canada on Mar 1, 2006 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2006 | Leisure | Family and Kids
337 people found this review helpful
Travelled to Cancun out of Halifax with Conquest (WestJet). Departure delayed by over an hour due to the luggage belt being broken and the airlines having to physically check 25% of people’s luggage. They would call 5-6 names and ask them to go to the departure counters where you could oversee them checking the luggage. My husband was called just before boarding which took him about 15 minutes. Once we were all on the plane they made another announcement that there would be a further delay due to more pieces of luggage needing to be checked. Finally we were airborne and all was well. Hats off to WestJet employees as they certainly make your flight an enjoyable one. Thanks to them for that.
Arrived in Cancun and quickly got through Immigration and to our bags. We got 2 of the 3 bags that we checked in but kept waiting for my daughter’s bag but nothing. The luggage belt stopped and still no bag. People cleared out of the area and I spotted a black luggage bag “off the luggage belt” sitting on the floor all by itself on the other side. We went over to it and sure enough it was her bag. A note to other travellers who remove these bags thinking that they are theirs – please return them to the luggage belt as that’s where we expect to find them.
We were warned ahead of time not to stop and talk to people saying they are going to take us to our bus asking which resort so I listened to that very valuable piece of information even though they kept calling me “maam maam, please what resort” as they said it would be quite probable that you would miss your transportation. Sure enough I kept going until I got outside and found a lady holding a sign saying “CONQUEST” and she directed me to where I needed to go. Van was full and just waiting for us. Sure enough, just in time. Van ride to resort was fine. My daughter (17 yrs old) was quite scared as they drive fast and crazy but everything was ok.
Check in at the resort was quick and room was ready. Unfortunately I could not get a room on the same floor as our friends as my daughter was staying with their daughter but that was ok for the 1st night as I would check again the next day. I have to say that the renovations they have done to the Lobby area is fantastic.
Here’s my comments on the resort:
One pool not open
Pool too small for the size of the hotel (filled with college kids and having to constantly watch for a “misguided football” being thrown from one end of the pool to the other – happened in both pools).
2 restaurants not open, only 1 à la carte and 1 buffet in the evening. (vacation to me = à la carte dining for evenings – buffets become a place to eat to live) We got to eat at an “à la carte” once during our whole trip. Very dissatisfied with that.
No beach at all (not even on either side which I understood we could use)
Spa not open (looked forward to the massage)
Beauty salon not open
Gym not open
Nightly entertainment was a joke. It was held “downstairs in an old boardroom”. Terrible. Went once and left ½ way through it.
Spring break, 95% at least were teenagers. We “older folks” could not sit by the bar in the evenings at all.
Students took over the whole place and seemed to be catered to over “mature tourists”. Lobby seating was limited and mostly taken up by travellers checking in or checking out; therefore we had to stand around if we wanted a drink or go hang out in our room. Not at all what I am used to. I understood that there would be many University students but I did not think that we would become “transparent” as paying travellers.
Did not provide transportation to sister Hotels with beaches.
Did not get in the Villas which are supposed to be quite a bit nicer than the rooms we got.
Rooms were in need or repair. Bathtubs had been painted even over the silver rings in the tub and looked disgusting. Would rate them same as a run down motel.
Noise in the hallways at all hours even after being reported by other travellers to the front desk. Many nights only got 4 hours sleep due to the slamming of doors (at times seemed to become a game amongst a number of rooms because it would be constant) let alone the hooping and hollering and noise makers at all hours.
Definitely not 80% operational. Maybe 50%. Wrong info given No way of getting updated information about the Hurricane recovery.
I am glad that I went on this trip as I now know for sure that my previous travels “are to Paradise”.
"Not a truly five star trip"
Rhonda_USA on Mar 1, 2008 >
1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Mar, 2008 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
447 people found this review helpful
we just got back from cancun after staying there for one week.Our plane was late so we did not get to the hotel till 1am to find the receptionist very impersonal and non welcoming.we were very surprised to say the least.Our room was very nice.clean and fairly roomy.we were traveling with our 17 year old son.when we checked in we were given a card with an appt. time of 230pm the next day with sunwing.for two days the rep.did not show so we had to book with another company.it was a tad stressfull.The pools were fine ,small but nice.The oceanside pool had activities in it starting at 10 so we just moved down to the beach.as one viewer had stated the beach is almost not there but we just sat just above it on a lounger in the sand so no big deal.There was a red flag almost the whole week we were there but we body serfed and had a great time.the food we did not care for at all.very small selection and almost always the same.We would not stay at this resort again because of the food and the front desk people.the rest of the staff were very polite and friendly.No complaints about them at all.We had stayed in mexico five years ago at a 5 star in the myan and it was truly a five star hassle free trip which we did NOT get at this resort. Rhonda
"The time share reps"
GranCaribe_visitor on Jan 1, 2006 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2006 | Leisure | Solo
121 people found this review helpful
Just returned from our stay at the resort.The resort is comming back very well following the recent huricane damage (10-05)the service was outstanding,the food excellent.All staff where freindly and helpful.My complaint is that the time share reps should be up front and explain exactly what they are soliciting.We where under the initial impression that additional small amedities where part of our all-inclusive travel package we purchased.
"A nice sunny getaway, in a really nice room with a balcony."
Jenna_USA on Mar 1, 2008 >
1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Mar, 2008 | Leisure | With Group
491 people found this review helpful
Left the Gran Caribe Real in Cancun on March 5, 2008. It was a nice sunny getaway, in a really nice room with a balcony overlooking the large pool and ocean. Here is what I learned:
No beach; true. There is a sandy strip atop the sea wall, so you can lie back on a lounger or bed and enjoy the sight and sounds of surf, watch albatross, pelicans, and seagulls fishing; order food and drink from the "beach" bar; read a good book; and get a tan. If you're not traveling with kids who want to run in and out of the surf, this isn't a problem. If you want to play beach volleyball, think again. I knew this from other reviews before I went, so I was okay with it.
Library w/ books and DVDs, and DVD player in every room. While there was a DVD player in my room, I never found a library w/ movies to watch or books to read. Thank God I took my own paperbacks!
This one was tricky. I didn't know what "show cooking" was until I arrived and found out it is simply a cook-to-order grill in the restaurants. You know, an omelet or burger made right in front of you. Buffet food was rarely warm enough to counteract bacteria growth, so all 4 of us went heavy on show cooking. Omelets were great, hamburgers were good. This really should have been better, but who do you tell?--because....
Finding someone who spoke English was always a challenge. The servers spoke some, the staff behind the check-in counter spoke some, the bar wait staff spoke less. This isn't a problem as long as you're relaxing in the fresh air and want a margarita, but if you want to tell someone something important, like the "hot" food is barely warm, or there were dos cucarachas in my room, forget it.
Guest relations is to the left as you walk into the hotel. Up a step or two, right in w/ the group trying to sell you an "upgrade". The Guest Relations sign at the far end of the hotel, right next to car rentals, never had a person behind the desk.
Everyone we encountered took hard American cash or plastic. If you want to break a five or ten for ones, though, you can't go to the desk. They deposit all American money in a locked box to be exchanged later at a favorable rate. They keep none on hand for guests who want to tip an employee who goes above and beyond. None.
Morning Glory snorkeling tour needs to work out some kinks. They gave us our lunch when we arrived at 9:30 a.m., piled our snorkeling gear on top of that, told us we could use biodegradable sunblock ONLY (guess who was selling it at $8 a tube), could take nothing on the boat but our sunglasses and towels and snorkeling gear, and had us leave our lunch (looked like ham and cheese sandwich) and all our belongings on tables. They had "bins" for our valuables. Whoopee. I'm not complaining about using biodegradable sunblock; it's good for the environment. Just tell me upfront next time. They did take us to good spots to snorkel and I saw things I've never seen before. Even swam above a HUGE stingray; its tail alone must have been 4 feet long. On the 2nd spot, I got the feeling I could have swam back to the boat and no one would have noticed I was missing. When I returned with the others, my sister said, in fact, that was what three others had done. I thought the returning group looked smaller! I used to wear masks in my pool (I'm a woos); they masks they provided were the best I've ever worn. tour #2. ChichenItza. Fabulous!
Hotel has 2 pools. Small pool off lobby bar is nice and quiet. Large pool is noisy w/ scheduled activities, microphone, and plenty of speakers.
Some good, some not so good. Doesn't rate w/ cruise ship shows, but I'm easily entertained. Plus, karaoke in the hotel lobby bar on Sun and Thurs was a hoot.
Most USA hotels can't seem to get 2 rooms on the same floor for our traveling party, but this hotel did.
Hey, they let vendors come right in and set up around the large pool in the evenings. You'll get nagged on your evening stroll to see the surf. Isn't *that* lovely? They will haggle; the stuff is overpriced about 3 times what you can haggle elsewhere.
Travel agent told us one thing, but it's obviously been relaxed in the 2 years since she's been there. In Gaviotas, the open air poolside restaurant, women wore coverups 98% of the time. Men wore tanks or shirts over their suits. Everyone had flip flops. In Albatros, the "nicer" all-windows restaurant above it, people wore everything. Not so many swimsuits, but lots of shorts, even at dinner. Even jean shorts. In Marias, the "upscale" restaurant, people dressed nicely. The food was no better than the other restaurants, was served with more flair, and the waiter said the money wasn't that good. Okay, why he felt he had to get that said--oh, I know, he was bucking for a generous tip.
My sister and her husband got pinned by the Real Resort "time share" / upgrade spiel. 90 minutes later, she had a pretty wrap, a nice beach bag, and a $50 voucher good toward any tour.
Not a white Zinfandel to be had. If this is your drink of choice, better find another one. The house white wine is dry. Margaritas were delicious, except sometimes at the pool and "beach" they came in different colors and flavors. I discovered I like a Tequila Sunset. Or maybe it was a T. Sunrise.
In spite of the aforementioned cucarachas, the hotel is kept in sparkling condition. Oh, take earplugs. They hose down the pool deck at night with noisy equipment.
This was the nicest bathroom I've ever had in a hotel. The shower was a walk-in large enough for four w/ a hand-held shower head that could be raised and lowered to suit.
Varied from day to day. Somedays I got everything I needed, others I didn't get enough.
Mine never got cold. I speak enough Spanish to convey this. They eventually changed out the fridge, which got cold 3 days later. They generally kept enough soda and bottled water in it.
We all drank it and ate raw vegetables; no one got sick. I even had a soda w/ ice at the downtown Burger Chef w/out problems.
"The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly."
Sarah and Bill on Jan 1, 2008 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2008 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
460 people found this review helpful
This review could be titled: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. (Our point of view is perhaps tainted by the fact that my wife slipped just a couple hours after arrival and injured her ankle and thus spent the rest of the trip in a wheel chair.)
Transportation & Check-In:
My wife and I (Mid 60s) flew from Toronto on a promotional Signature Vacation package flying on Skyservice. Our trips both ways were normal Skyservice in almost every way except.
Skyservice (the Good):
Skyservice and Signature went far out of their way to assist my wife after her injury both at the hotel and in returning to Toronto. Yes the airline food was its normal bad self; Yes they no longer supply cushions and blankets as the used to; Yes the seats are still small and cramped…But… They were certainly there to help at all times when we needed help. Small point was when we asked for the non-existent cushion to slightly raise my wife’s injured foot one of the flight attendants gave us an empty pop can box tray and is was just the right height to ease the pain on the flight home. It worked! Check-in at airport was fantastic as we were pushed right to the front of the line. It was the last time that we traveled with Wardair that we saw an airline crew that seemed to have a real great time in doing their jobs. Their friendly jokes with the PA announcements on the plane combined with a general enjoyable attitude made our cramped flight almost enjoyable. The announcement that they were about to hand out their dinner sandwich was followed by a slight pause and then the flight attendant continued stating that this meal also came with a free glass of water and a cookie. The whole plane burst into laughter. Arriving at the hotel on a Friday morning and leaving after 5 PM the following Friday gave us 8 days for our 1 week holiday.
Hotel Check-In (The Good):
We arrived quite early in the day and certainly did not expect to get our room before the normal 3 PM check-in. We were given an apology that our room would not be ready for about 15 minutes. Since it was only 11 AM we were surprised when our room was ready as promised in 15 minutes. Check in area was within viewing distance of the main lobby bar. As you checked in your name was flashed on two large TV monitors over the desk over top of a video of the hotel.
Time Share (The Bad):
After checking in we were asked to go across the lobby and meet with the hotel’s customer service department who would give us the complete information and a map of the resort. It was a very informative 15 minutes and should not be missed. It ended with an invitation to visit the upgraded sister hotel next door. We would be given a $50 credit at hotel stores along with a beach bag and a Mexican wrap. Those who accepted the offer were presented a 2 hour time-share presentation. Be warned…
1) Junior Suite (The Good) We had a Jr. Suite on the side of the hotel. Room was spotless and reasonably spacious. Large screen TV, DVD player, balcony, tub and shower with lots of hot water. Rooms had a step down to a sitting area with sofa bed and fridge. As well as the usual assortment of pop and the mandatory two free beer in the frig we also had tins of V-8 juice. A coffee maker & coffee was available in the room. Irons were available on request. Coin washer and dryer were available just down the hall. Room service was free once a day and they seemed to have a good menu although we didn’t try it. (Just a reminder that you will be charged for more than one room service call a day.) Almost every piece of flooring in this hotel is beautiful marble including the rooms the corridors and the bar. Upon check-in they certainly let you know that there were many other upgraded rooms available at an up charge and you could view them at the desk monitor. Like most purchases in Mexico this upgrade charge was fully negotiable and I spoke to some that paid twice what others paid for their upgrade. In short-negotiate. The week we went Cancun hotel association reported an 80% fill rate on the hotel strip. Slightly over 78 rooms of the 448 rooms were vacant at our resort.
2) Junior Suite (The Bad) Our room overlooked the kid’s club which was often noisy during afternoon siesta time. Music from a disco just outside the grounds could be heard from midnight ‘till 4 AM each night. The room air conditioner was very noisy but due to comfortable temperatures it was not needed and the noise from the rough ocean would help drown out other noises. I’m sure we have no problem in switching rooms and if it hadn’t been for my wife’s foot injury we would have likely upgraded or moved.
The Bars (The Good):
Although Signature advertises domestic drinks only, there were some name brands also available without charge. Regardless of where you sat in this hotel you never had to wait than a 10 minutes for a waiter or waitress to offer to bring you a cold drink. Although there is no pool bar a bar is steps away from the either pool. Drinks served at the bars came in glass containers (often frosted mugs) but for other locations, such as the pool, plastic cups were used. Service was generally quite fast at all bars.
The Staff (The Good):
The staff at this hotel was the best we have ever experienced in the Caribbean, or Mexico or indeed anywhere else and are all worthy of the 5* that the hotel rates itself. (4 ½* Signature). Everyone, without exception, seemed to go out of their way to be sure we enjoyed our holiday. (Be sure to try and sit in Moises section if you eat at the Gaviotas buffet.)
1)” Health Sushi Bar and Snacks” (The Good)
This was set up at the ocean end of the main pool. As well as two types of sushi it served a very good BLT or turkey sandwich with fries. The most ordered item at this and at the two buffets was the hamburg. It was very good and many people seemed to eat one more than once a day. (Open 11 AM- 4 PM and 6 PM- 10:30 PM)
2)” Maria’s” (The Good)
Maria’s, the only a-la-carte restaurant, (reservation required) has a limited Mexican menu which among other items includes a great shrimp main dish. They also serve a massive lobster available at a $14 US surcharge. I’m sorry I didn’t try it but those who did rated it the best lobster they had ever eaten. Salads were good as well. I would have expected more than one a-la-carte restaurant and a larger menu at a 5* resort. (Opens 6 PM)
3) “24 HR All Inclusive” (The Good)
This snack bar was a small limited buffet style snack bar. It had a bar, and a pool table. The idea was good but food selection small. (Open day & Night)
4)”Lobby Bar” (The Good)
Although food is not served here they have peanuts. I have not tasted this unique style of Mexican peanut before but they rate a 6*. Be sure to try them. There was always good live entertainment in evenings. (Open 9 AM- 12 PM)
5)”Albatros”-enclosed and “Gaviotas”-poolside Buffets (The Bad)
My wife and I both found that the food in each of the two buffets was boring and almost identical each lunch or dinner and even at the theme nights. Many guests we spoke to agreed with us. You could also order a-la-carte at Albatros in the evening.
Monday-International Buffet……Tuesday-Gala Buffet……Wednesday-Steak Buffet……Thursday-Mayan Buffet……Friday-Caribbean Buffet……Saturday-Mexican Buffet…and…Sunday-Oriental Buffet (Wednesday & Friday Gaviotas served a-la-carte at night which was good)
Breakfasts were always good with eggs or omelettes made while you wait and the usual items you would expect back home. There is one small waffle machine that takes 5 minutes to make one waffle so would suggest the wait not worth it. Pancakes were faster. We certainly didn’t starve but after 9 trips to the DR I would rate the buffets at what I would expect in a 3 1/2 * DR resort. They are certainly not worthy of a resort calling itself a 5*. (Albatros Open 7-12 AM, 1-5 PM, 6-11 PM) (Gaviotas Open 6:30-11 AM,12-6 PM, and 7-11 PM)
The Hotel Property:
1) The Location The Good)
Although signs have added “New” to the hotels name it is actually an older building recently updated. Everything is spotless and constantly being cleaned. Wireless internet is available at a charge. It is conveniently on the hotel strip within about a 10 minute walk to a shopping mall and 20 minute walk to a major shopping mall complete with a canal and boat rides going through it. There are numerous good restaurants, fast food outlets,and discos within walking distance. There were lots of ramps throughout the hotel and down to the ocean and unexpectedly out of necessity we found it wheelchair friendly.
2) The Hotel (The Bad)
The hotel has a very sterile look and is very compact in size. The property is relatively small. A dozen or so palm trees are placed around the pools but these are sparse looking. We missed the large spacious grounds and gardens that are everywhere in the DR resorts.
3) The Beach (The Ugly)
There is no beach at this hotel or at those on either side. The hurricanes have done their dastly deed. Signature had our travel agent phone immediately after booking to be sure we understood this. Many other people from the USA and England did not know this until after we arrived. At the price we paid we understood and accepted this limitation. It was very rough for 7 of the 8 days we stayed there and all other beaches were red flagged anyway. Most of the waterfront of the hotel has large bags of sand stacked up protecting the property and more placed in the ocean off shore helping to build up the beach again. You can swim in the ocean but there are many rocks and the water bags limit swimming areas.
In my opinion this is not a 5* (nor as Signature says 4 ½*) resort. It has no beach. The physical rooms and facilities are great and well maintained. The main pool deck and pool are too small to accommodate all those that want to use them. Restaurant selection is limited. Food menu is boring and repeated far too often. I would compare it to a 3 ½* to 4* hotel in the DR. Weather was great. We enjoyed ourselves but would not return. We are now looking forward for a return visit to Punta Cana DR in a couple of weeks.
"A great resort."
Laurie_Ontario on Mar 1, 2007 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2007 | Leisure | With Group
444 people found this review helpful
We (3 women in our 40's) just returned from Gran Caribe Real and I would rate this resort a 4-1/2*. It was my 5th Mexican resort, 3 in Dominican Republic, 2 in Cuba.
The resort, in general, is beautiful - very well maintained and meticulously clean. Our room ('Junior Suite') was certainly nothing fancy but served it's purpose. The shower was big and roomy with lots of hot water ... what else do you need? The room was well stocked with lots of bottled water, and beer and pop in the fridge.
The big beds all around the pool, by the beach and in the lobby bar was a nice touch, as were the swing-seats at the beach bar ... something a little different. We are not beach people so didn't venture to the beach too much, preferring to lounge around the pool. There were lots of activities to keep you from being too idle, like aqua-gym, tequila volleyball in the pool, and different little contests and games. The entertainment staff were fun without being annoying.
The food was excellent in every restaurant. Instead of food left out for hours on end like most resort buffets, many items were cooked to order - pancakes/omelets/french toast in the morning, burgers at lunch, seafood in the evening. The service was very attentive at the restaurants as well as the poolside service. The only place that seemed a little lacking in speedy, friendly, service was the poolside bar ... that was remedied by ordering drinks from the waitresses who served right to your lounge chair ... drinks and light lunches like sushi, pizza and blt's. Maria's (a la carte) restaurant was like a gourmet restaurant .. great food and even better presentation.
We went on one of the nightclub excursions with the hotel staff (to Daddy-O's) which turned out to be very well organized. You get a wristband, take a coach bus to the club, cruise past the lineup to a roped off VIP area, where bottles of liquor and mix, glasses of beer and buckets of ice are brought to the table all night.
All in all, a great resort. Going at Spring break time was a bit of a mistake, but provided some entertainment around the pool and in the lobby bar.