My husband and I visited this resort previously in May 2009. We were worried it might not live up to our wonderful memories, but our stay this year was even more wonderful! This review is really long - but in summary, we loved this place before, we loved it this year, and we can't wait to love it again in the future!
We are a couple in our late 20's and we stayed from May 19 through May 26. We booked the hotel, flight, and ground transportation through Expedia and after getting through customs very quickly, the Best Day ground transportation people were waiting for us. We left the airport about 5-10 minutes later and after dropping off two other couples at other resorts, we arrived at the CRT in about 90 minutes. We were greeted with a welcome cocktail and given the keys to our room - a ground floor room in Building 4.
ROOM: There are six buildings - 1 and 2 are closest to the lobby, 5 and 6 are closest to the beach and pool (there is an extra fee to upgrade to these rooms), and 3 and 4 are in the middle. After checking in, a gentleman came along shortly to bring us our bags and give us a "tour" of our room. The room was very nice with a king sized bed that was comfortable, a flat screen tv, a desk, two chairs, some end tables, and a patio with two plastic chairs and a plastic table. There was also a mini fridge (containing sodas, 4 bottles of water, two beers, and some cookies) and a digital safe. The closet held robes and slippers, an umbrella, and an iron. In the bathroom was a scale (eek!), plenty of towels, a hair dryer, and some basic toiletries.
FOOD: For breakfast we went to the buffet (by the lobby) - this was my husband's favorite meal of the day. There is a large variety of food to choose from including all the traditional american breakfast foods (sausage, bacon, an egg station, french toast, pancakes, lots of fruit, yogurt, cereal) but I loved that they also had a large selection of meats, cheeses, and breads since I'm not much of a breakfast person and prefer to eat a sandwich in the morning. Most important, of course, is the serve-yourself mimosa bar - good way to start the day!
The lunch buffet was also good - several mexican items, a pasta station, sushi, bread, desserts, and a salad bar. We also ended up eating at Sorrento's (next to the pool bar) several times either for a quick snack or for lunch. This was previously a very small buffet of pizza and a few other snacks - but they have changed it so that you now order off a menu. I thought the previous style was convenient, but the food is much fresher now, there is a lot more variety, and you can still grab something and take it back to your chair at the pool if you want. During our stay we tried the pizzas (very thin crust - so it was a relatively light lunch - and very tasty), the club sandwich (my husband actually ordered this three times - I am not sure why, but he was obsessed with it), the hamburger (delicious), nachos, guacamole, and the burrito. Also on the menu were some salads, a variety of sandwiches, some mexican specialties, and several different pizzas.
For dinner there is a steakhouse type place (which we did not go to), an italian restaurant, mexican restaurant, tapas bar/restaurant, and a dinner buffet. My favorites were the italian and the mexican. The atmosphere at the tapas place is very nice, and we were seated next to the cenote so it was nice to look out over the water while we ate. The tapas that we tried were all very good, but the main dishes were not my favorite - just a little bland. The buffet was good - we ate there several times - something different each night. There is a station where they cook fresh mexican dishes which were always very good. We ate dinner fairly early - around 6:30 - so sometimes we were the only ones there.
BEACH/POOL: I am an early riser so I would usually get up at about 6:30 or so and take a walk along the beach (very peaceful and quiet). I would estimate that you can walk almost a mile in either direction before having to turn around. During our stay it did not seem like it was peak season, so I didn't ever feel the need to reserve chairs (although some people did). Instead we usually ate breakfast and came to the pool around 9:00 or so and there were plenty of chairs available. I don't think I ever saw a time when all the chairs at the pool were taken - sometimes latecomers had to move chairs around to get some empty ones next to each other, but we never had any problems. The pool is very large and very clean. We usually sat around the pool most of the day, with a trip to the beach once or twice to swim. The beach is amazing. We did not really get to enjoy it on our last trip as the water was very rough on that trip. But this time we got to see it at its best. If there is a rock on the beach or in the water, I couldn't find it. While it is true that the loungers are clustered close together, if you walk down the beach a little bit before you get in the ocean, it almost feels like you have the place to yourself. There were kayaks, small catamarans, and snorkeling equipment available to borrow, but I ended up just floating around in the water.
BARS/DRINKS: We are not big drinkers, but we did try a few frozen drinks (the margaritas were my favorite), the white wine (drinkable), and some after-dinner drinks at the lobby bar (Baileys was always available when we stopped by). The staff at the lobby bar was always very friendly. We were usually pretty early (since we ate dinner so early) so they chatted with us quite a bit.
ENTERTAINMENT: There were several activities around the pool/beach area during the day. At the time we booked there were some negative reviews about the VeraClub staff, but they must have taken care of that because they just seemed to be an extension of the regular hotel entertainment staff to me. We watched a few activities, but didn't really participate. There is a schedule of the day's activities posted near the gift shop by the pool. There's also a schedule of what restaurants are open and what the evening entertainment will be in the central area of each of the room buildings by the phone. I never managed to stay up past 9:00 - so I have no idea if the evening entertainment was any good.
STAFF: Everyone we encountered was very friendly. The pool waitresses have a tough job carrying around all those drinks in the hot sun, but they were always smiling and nice.
ODDS and ENDS: The hotel has a very eco-friendly feel to it. I appreciated that they did not use disposable cups, or anything disposable for that matter, aside from straws (and there were little placards at the lobby bar reminding you to take your drink without a straw when you can). There were hand towels in the bathrooms instead of paper towels, and they would replace your towels only when you left them on the floor. Also, they did not hand out a paper map, or a paper daily schedule, instead these were posted in central places which cuts down on waste.
I love this place.
We found all of the other guests to be polite and friendly. There was a good mix of people from all over. For the most part it was a quiet group, which is what we prefer.
I find it difficult to criticize anything about it, really. The only things i felt could have been improved were 1) usually there was one or more of the toilets in the women's pool restroom that were not working properly and 2) the churros were not as crispy, warm, and fresh as they were last year. Not exactly deal breakers, so I think it's safe to say we'll be back!
Buildings 5/6 are closest to the pool and beach, buildings 1/2 are closest to the lobby, 3/4 are in...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC