Blvd. Kukulkan, Km. 11.5, Hotel Zone, Cancun, Q. Roo., 77500 Cancun, Mexico
Posted by: Heather&Jay on Dec 1, 2009
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The 5 star Gran Caribe Real Resort & Spa Ė 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.
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"The time share reps"
GranCaribe_visitor on Jan 1, 2006 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2006 | Leisure | Solo
73 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.
"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
74 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.
"We LOVED this resort and would definitely go back."
Stephanie_Canada on Apr 1, 2005 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2005 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
73 people found this review helpful
Stayed at the Gran Caribe Real from April 20-27th 2005 as part of an all-inclusive package through Air Canada Vacations (booked through Sun Holidays). We are from Ottawa, and flew out of Toronto (bc no availability from Ottawa on the 20th) It was me, 22, and my boyfriend, 25. We LOVED this resort and would definitely go back. This is definitely a 4.5 star resort. The best parts for me were the service, and the beautifulness (sorry, know thatís not a word) of the buildings. All our complaints are very small and minor and didnít really affect our vacation at all. Here is my review.
-very nice and big beach
-very nice hotel and nice rooms
-good food and lots of selection : 2 buffets, one of which has the option of a-la-carte and/or buffet for dinner, AND 2 a-la carte, one of which is open 3 meals a day, the other is open for supper only, AND a beach bbq for lunch, AND a poolside grill for dinner
-air conditioning isnít strong enough
-not enough elevators (always had to wait)
-main pool too loud
-jacuzzi closed in the evening
-shower pressure and temperature
-not enough shaded areas at beach and pool
the hotel is very nice, just as nice as the pictures you see in the brochures and on their website (http://www.realresorts.com.mx/). There is a main building with 6 stories, and then a long stretch of villas. The property is very large because there are a lot of villas.
The hotel is very clean and well kept. It is located just below the corner of the ď7Ē (i.e. the cancun hotel strip is often referred to as being in the shape of the number seven) There is the Flamingo Plaza mall which is just a 2 min walk away, and the Plaza La Isla is a 10 minute walk away. As for clubs, G-Spot and the Over 30s Club are basically across the street. At Flamingo Plaza there is Margaritaville and another irish bar/pub (canít remember the name)
We had a Junior Suite in the main building. I asked for an ocean view room, and also for a renovated room, but I was told only the Deluxe Junior Suites were renevoted and had ocean views. It cost 40$ a day to upgrade so I didnít bother. In retrospect, I realized that very few rooms are right in front of the ocean, and I should probably have asked for a ďpool viewĒ room which has a view of the pool and ocean, because there are lots of those. Nonetheless, we were really happy with our rooms. We had a king size bed which was very very comfortable. The room also had a couch and a nice big t.v. with dvd player. Our balcony faced the lagoon and it was a very nice view. The bathroom was large and had a separate tub (nice and big) and shower. The shower never had that much pressure at 4-5pm, and the temperature would vary a bit from hot to cold, but I guess that was because everyone was showering at that time to wash up after a day at the beach/pool. It didnít bother us much. The room was air-conditioned, but the air conditioner was not strong enough. It was barely cool in the room, even though the air-conditioner was running 24/7. If we had an ocean view or pool view room, we could have opened up the balcony door for a nice breeze. If having a cold room is important to you, it might be worth upgrading to a pool/ocean view room. For us, we didnít mind that much because the room was just cool enough to be comfortable (it wasnít hot, just not very cold).
The beach is wonderful. I had read some reviews saying the beach is small, and I didnít understand how people can say this. There is no beach directly in front of the main building (i.e. in front of the main pool, where the arch is). The waves come almost right up to the wall. But there is beach starting right beside the main building and all along the villas. You can walk a good 5 mins along the beach. There are some vendors on the beach selling sarongs and silver jewelry, but there arenít bothersome at all (I had being hassled while trying to relax on the beach). If you say no thanks they leave right away, if you ignore them they leave after a minute or two. There was plenty of lounging chairs available until around noon. After noon, there were not very many available, but you could always find a couple free ones if you searched. There was however not enough shaded little huts. There are huge waves on this beach. Every day except one the red flag was out. But lots of people were swimming anyways, you just canít go out very far. But you donít need to go out far, the waves make swimming really fun even though you are close to shore. There were even kids swimming. I would only be worried if I had kids say aged 12-16 who donít really listen well when you tell them not to go out far. But for really young kids, it was no problem there were lots of them swimming, they just stayed real close to shore. There are huge sandbags in the water (looks like big rocks) which I think are there to keep the sand from getting washed away (see pictures). They were fun to play on with the big waves, but you also have to be careful not to get pushed into one by a big wave because there are as hard as rock.
There are 3 pools: main pool, back pool and villas pool. The main pool is very busy. Music is played all day, and itís pretty loud. I found the animation team pretty annoying, for example, who wants to lay by the pool and listen to someone scream bingo number and be the ref for the volleyball game while on a loudspeaker system. I spent one afternoon at the pool and didnít enjoy it at all. But I think it was quieter before lunch. Obviously it didnít bother other people as much as me because there was always tons of people there. Nevertheless, we had no problem finding lounger chairs, even after lunch there was always some available. But there was not enough shaded areas and these always got reserved early in the morning. The back pool faces the lagoon (itís right off the main building as well). The pool was much quieter and not as many people around. This is where the Jacuzzi is. It was open and I touched the water and it was hot, but nobody used it because it was too hot to be in a Jacuzzi. This pool and Jacuzzi close at 6pm because they open a dinning area around the pool with a bbq grill. The villas pool is located way at the other end of the property, next to the last villas. I only visited it at night but it looked very nice.
There are 2 a la carte, 2 buffet, and 2 grills. The Gaviotas is a buffet open for all 3 meals. The Albatros is a buffet open for all 3 meals, and also for dinner they have an a-la-carte menu so you have the option of buffet or a-la-carte or both. Mariaís in an a-la-carte Mexican restaurant and itís only open for dinner (need reservations). Il Pescatore is an a-la-carte restaurant open for 3 meals a day. for lunch they have a seafood menu and for dinner an Italian menu (you only need reservations for dinner). There is also a bbq grill which is open for lunch only which serves hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken next to the beach bar. There is also a bbq grill around the back pool open only for dinner (they set up nice tables around the pool so it makes for a very nice atmosphere) which serves ribs, steak, etc. There is also a 24 snack bar next to the villas pool. I only went once and it didnít seem to serve much (fruit and soup, buffet style). All in all we were very happy with the food. Sure, there is some thigns we didnít like, but there was always plenty we liked so we would go back for seconds. Only once did I eat cold food from the buffet (cold hashbrows) every other time everything was hot. The service at both the buffets and a-la-carte was great (i.e. get up to get seconds at the buffet and by the time you come back your 1st place was cleared away). Oh, you are also allowed to order room service anytime for free as part of the all-inclusive. We ordered breakfast once and it was a 30 min wait to get the food but everything was good. They seemed to have good stuff for lunch and dinner too so I wanted to try it but never got around to it because too many other good places to eat! Oh, and I had no problems making reservations for dinner at Mariaís and Il Pescatore. I made them the day after I arrived, and there was nothing available for that night but plenty available for the rest of the week so I booked each restaurant for 2 nights. You can make all your reservations in one day (do this at concierge desk in lobby, or call the concierge from your room)
All around the service was great. The maid did a good job cleaning our room. At the restaurants the service was great too and very friendly waiter. Our bellboy was super friendly and gave us lots of good advice when we arrived. The bartenders and servers were also very good and friendly. We even got served drinks at the beach! A server would come by every 15 mins Ė 1 hour and bring us our drinks (very nice!) All in all we were very impressed by the service. Everyone was friendly and always smiling.
As mentioned in the location section, there are a few bars within 2 minute walk. A bunch of other bars (including Coco Bongo) are a 5 min drive away. At the hotel, there is a show every night at 9:30. I went one night and though it was good. Iím not sure if it was repetitive the other nights. There was also a live band every night in the lobby bar. One thing this hotel is lacking is space to hang out in the evening/night. The lobby bar only sits maybe 75 people. And when the band was playing, it was impossible to talk with friends. They have several empty ballrooms, so they should really turn one into a disco or something so that there is a place to dance. They should also have a place people can sit for drinks while chatting with friends (you canít do that at the lobby bar while the band is playing).
Gran Costa Real:
You can visit the other real resorts as part of your all inclusive package (you can even eat and drink at the other resorts) so we went to the gran costa real one day to check it out. The hotel looked very similar to the gran caribe real except there is only a main building, no villas (so the property is much smaller). I think there was only 1 pool, but the pool area was large and seemed very nice. The 4 restaurants are the same (Albatros, Gaviotas, Marias, Il Pescatore). However, the beach was not at all as nice as the Gran Caribe Real. First of all, it was about 1/10th or 1 /20th the size. Plus, there is seaweed and rocks/coral in almost the whole swimming area (only a small part of the beach has none). There was also lots of seaweed washed up along shore and I was surprised the staff wasnít cleaning it up (perhaps they only do it once a day). There are no waves, as this hotel is located at the top part of the ď7Ē and is protected by Isla Mujeres. You can rent paddle boats and kayaks for free and we did so but it was pointless because you canít go very far with them (there is no current close to shore, but if you go out a bit there is a very strong current). After seeing the Gran Costa Real my conclusion is this : if you arenít a beach person, the Costa is fine. If you like a nice beach, either a) stay at the Gran Caribe Real b) if the Costa is cheaper than the Caribe then you could stay at the Costa and travel each day by bus (65 cents per trip, 10 min bus ride) to the Caribe.
Every day we were there is was over 30 and sunny. Some mornings it was cloudy, but the clouds were always gone by noon. It never rained once. At the hotel there is a strong wind from the beach which keeps the weather comfortable. However, if you go inland (i.e. downtown) it is much hoter because no wind.
We made a day trip to Xel Ha and loved it. We did it ourselves by taking the bus from downtown. We saved money this way and were able to do it on our own schedule. It took a total of 2 hours to get there from the hotel. There is lots to do at the park. We spent 3 hour snorkelling. Lots of fish, and they are lots of different colors and there are tons of really big ones. But there is no bright coral. There is also a tube ride (i.e. sit in the tube and the current brings you down the ďriverĒ) and a dolphin program and cliff jumping. We loved this place and I will never again go to cancun without going back here. (for more info on how to do this trip yourself, see my post on the cancun forum section)
Air Canada Vacations / Sun holidays::
We had no problems with either. A bonus of booking with Air Canada Vacations is each person is allowed 32kg per suitcase, and you are allowed 2 suitcases each. If you fly with another charter, you are only allowed 20kg each person!!! On our way back, we were offered a different flight (going through Miami instead of direct to Toronto) because they had overbooked and we would get to fly 1st class and get a 300$US Air Canada Voucher. So we took this deal. It got us home 4 hours later but to me it was worth it for the voucher. Plus, it was an offer, we could have said no and other people were willing to take it.
Just a few side notes: the Gran Caribe Real used to be called Continental Plaza. Gran Costa Real used to be called the Gran Caribe Real (perhaps the people who complained that the beach was small at the Caribe were talking about the Costa????)
Also, we were there during April when it wasnít as busy as Feb or March. I can see how people who were there in Feb or March might have had trouble getting chairs at the beach and pool. There is definitely a plus to travelling during non-peak season.
We didnít see one bug in the hotel or in our room.
You can take the bus to the downtown, the malls market, etc. Itís very simple and comes every few minutes and costs only 6.5 pesos (65 cents).
We developed some of our film at the Flamingo Mall before leaving. For 8$ US we thought this was very reasonable.
"We were pleasantly surprised!"
Janelle_GranCaribe on Mar 1, 2005 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2005 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
68 people found this review helpful
We stayed at the Gran Caribe Real 2-25 to 3-6-05. As with many others that have posted here, we were nervous about this resort after reading the other reviews. Boy were we pleasantly surprised!
Our stay started on a bad note when I got terribly ill due to a very rough flight. The persons working at the front desk refused to find me a spare bed ANYWHERE while we waited for our room to be ready. So I sat for 1-1/2 hours in the lobby bar after repeatedly begging for a place to lie down. I was wondering how bad this place was going to be about that time, but it got so much better. Literally every employee we had dealings with for the rest of the week were friendly and helpful.
They gave us a free upgraded Jr. Suite in the Villas. What a quaint room! It was not remodeled, but it was very clean, quite, and literally only a few steps from the beach. It was 2 levels with the bed in a loft. We just loved it. The fridge was stocked with beer, water and etc., had all the hot water we needed and the air conditioner worked. The only real negative was a hard mattress.
We went all-inclusive and were happy with the food. You could even have room service once daily with no cost. We took the oppourtunity to eat several times at the Real Costa which is on the other side of town. You can eat and play at any of the 4 Real Resorts in the Canun/Playa De Carmen area on your all-inclusive bracelet. We had lobster 4 times! This was the only thing that you had to pay an extra fee of $14 US for. It was worth it! As others have said, it's best to make your ala carte restaurant reservations right away when you get there, that way you'll have a better choice of times. You can make your reservations for the whole week right away.
The bars had good service and kept the drinks coming! We had no trouble getting drinks on the beach or at the hotel lobby bar.
This hotel had lots of extras I really liked. One was that they had a business center with 4 computers with internet access. It does cost you about 10 cents per minute. They even have a bar set up with snacks here! I also liked the idea that they had a 24 hour snack bar available, which also had a bar!
We would stay at Gran Caribe Real again. As others have also said, the beach is narrow and the waves strong. If you are a real beach person, you might consider the sister hotel Costa Real.
"Unfortunately, we were disappointed."
Josťe&Alain on Mar 1, 2005 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2005 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
67 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 ŗ la carte. Reservations are not required for the buffets but are necessary for the Italian or Mexican ŗ 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 ŗ 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.
"Well worth the money."
Karen&Howard_Canada on Nov 1, 2004 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Nov, 2004 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
68 people found this review helpful
Just returned after spending 2 weeks at the Gran Caribe Real Resort & Spa. In the last few years I have travelled around the Caribean, this resort has got to be my favorite. The people there were awesome and went out of their way to please you. The room was beautiful, we were on the 6th. floor, in a Master Suite, with a large balcony overlooking the ocean. I would highly recommend this resort. I have no complaints about the place during my stay. Well worth the money.
"Gran Caribe Real is trully a five star resort."
Joanna on Oct 1, 2004 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Oct, 2004 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
75 people found this review helpful
Gran Caribe Real is trully a five star resort. Me and my boyriend were suppose to go to the Dominican Republic and because of hurricanes this year we were forced to move our destinations. So we ended up going to Cancun Mexico and staying at a five star resort Gran Caribe Real Resort Beach and Spa. Now alot of websites address that the resort is a 4 star or a 4 1/2. Well when it was known as Continental Plaza thats what is was called, however it is currently undergoing renovations, and let me tell you it truly is really looking like a 5 star place.
I give our room a 10/10. It was one of the newly renovated rooms in the resort, which featured marble floors, king size bed, a glass shower which was also made out of marble, and a flat screen tv with a dvd player, which is great if you want to bring some cd's to listen to with you. Our room also had a huge balcony which overlooked the main pool and the ocean. The room was excellent, however the people that we met there got stuck with a room that wasn't renovated which was very old and dirty looking, I would say a 5/10. So if you choose to go to this resort, make sure you ask for a room that has been renovated. By the way renovation are said to be completed by December 2004.
The resort itself contains three pool, one main pool which was a fair size and it was great for volleyball. A second pool which was in the back of the resort which no one was ever at, and a third pool which was located in the villas part of the resort. All pools are small but at the time we were there the only pool that had people was the main pool just because there was not many people there to begin with. By the way, there is no swim up bar, which I was disappointed at, but they do serve you drinks along side of the pool, which was pretty amazing.
As you know, the Caribbean has been hit with alot of Hurricanes this year, and Gran Caribe Real has lost their beach because the water level rose. But don't worry, i think it is for the better because it looks amazing the water and how it is up to the wall. A 1 minute walk to the left side or the right side of the resort and you are on a beach that is infront of a new resort, as you know or may not know in Mexico the beach is private and you can walk down the coast for like a mile. Oh and one more thing the water is sooo blue, even more blue then Dominican Republic, and I am not even joking.
Four to choose from, and I would say they were not too bad. One was buffet and the other three were La Carte Dinners. I would highly recommend eating at the Seafood Place which was located on the bottom next to the beach. The food there was excellent. If you like Italian, the Italian place featured some good pasta. However, to summarize there was not a big selection at all, and you found yourself eating the same thing all the time. It could just be my experience because we travelled with our friends as well so overall there was 4 of us at dinner, splitting everything so we can try everything at least once.
One word AMAZING. The day entertainment was amazing, the guys and girls that worked during the day made our vacation the best ever. I would write too much if I explained it all, just trust me on this one they were AMAZING.
Very pleasent and friendly, they truly treated us like Royalty, and they were all very well mannered people.
You have to go to the clubs or bars depending on what age you are in and what you like. But if you have the chance, the resort is only like a 5-10 minute walk from downtown Markets and clubs. Yes yes you can walk there Cancun Mexico is a very safe place. That could be because its very updated. Anyways, make sure you go to COCO BONGO which is an amazing place, it is not like your everyday dance club, it is the best place that i have ever been too.
In Cancun there are alot of malls to visit, so make sure that you bring alot of money with you on this trip, you can never bring too much I mean it, you will spend it all.