from Halifax, NS
Submitted on 26-07-2016
We flew Sunwing out of Halifax, flight was delayed 6 hours due to a snowstorm. It was a new airplane, our previous Sunwing flights were on old airplanes so this was a nice change. Everything was clean and modern looking, except they still don't have seatback entertainment (just the screen that folds down from the ceiling). Arrived in Cancun and although the line was long, we moved quickly through immigration. The officer asked each of us a question as she checked our passports (how long are ...
We flew Sunwing out of Halifax, flight was delayed 6 hours due to a snowstorm. It was a new airplane, our previous Sunwing flights were on old airplanes so this was a nice change. Everything was clean and modern looking, except they still don't have seatback entertainment (just the screen that folds down from the ceiling). Arrived in Cancun and although the line was long, we moved quickly through immigration. The officer asked each of us a question as she checked our passports (how long are you staying, is this your first time here) ‚?? she asked my husband which resort we were staying at ‚?? and he had no idea! Fortunately she got a good laugh out of that Ô?? Then we had the misfortune of getting a red light so our suitcases all got opened. No big deal, maybe 10 minute delay. Once outside, we found the Sunwing rep and waited for our transportation. And waited. And waited. Outside. With no shade. Apparently there were 3 families going in our minivan and one of the 3 was nowhere to be found. I don't know how long we waited but it was well over an hour. We finally left without them. Very frustrating because they likely booked a private transfer and were probably already on the beach while we were standing on the sidewalk at the airport waiting for them. Anyway, there were 5 of us in the minivan. Arrived at the resort, front desk staff was exceptional. In 9 years of visits to different all inclusive resorts, we have never encountered helpful staff at the check in. So this was a nice first Ô?? Our room was ready (it was 5:00) and the bellboy took us there with the luggage. We were in the 3000 block which was close to the lobby, right next to the adult pool, but furthest from the beach. Very quiet location, we were happy with it. The resort is not that big so walking to the beach was not an issue. Room was very clean, lots of space and lots of storage. I unpacked everything for the 3 of us and put it in drawers or in the closet (I brought extra drycleaning hangers). We had a decent sized balcony, but most of them were tiny (think 2 chairs with knees touching the railing). Not much of a view, just trees, but it was very quiet. I found the bed comfortable, but the pillows hit or miss. The first night my pillow was awful but the next night it was good ‚?? there were 2 pillows on each bed, with 2 spares in the closet so try them all to find a good one. There was an iron and ironing board if needed. There was a mini-fridge but nothing in it. We took a cab to Walmart our first night ($100 pesos) and bought water, beer, juice, pop and snacks. But there is a plaza across the street with a convenience store if you don't want to go into town. The bathroom set up was different, but I thought it was very functional. The toilet is in a separate "closet" by itself. Outside there is long counter with 2 sinks. And the shower stall opens into the sink area. The shower has a frosted glass door so you do have privacy, but you are basically stepping out of the shower into the open room. I just threw a sundress over the shower door so I could put it on after I dried off. Other than that, I would just announce that "mom is getting dressed" so my son stayed away from the bathroom area until I came out. The maid did a great job and we had towel art everyday, even though I forgot to leave her a tip a couple of times. We came back one day after breakfast and she was there (earlier than usual) ‚?? I just ran in to get something then passed her $50 pesos on my way out. She was genuinely grateful and appreciative (unlike the bartenders). We did not see any bugs in our room for the whole week, not even the teeny tiny ants in the bathroom that I have seen on every tropical vacation previously.
We had breakfast everyday at the buffet. We would get cappuccinos at the lobby bar in our travel mugs to take with us. Lots of fresh fruit and fresh fruit juices (kept separate from the juice in the machines). Two egg stations for fried/scrambled/omelets (never a long wait, but we always went after 9:00 so I'm not sure what it was like earlier). They kept the bacon at one of these stations instead of in the main buffet area. The chef gave each person a generous portion, and they never ran out. I only comment on this because in reading reviews of other resorts there are always comments about bacon!! Lots of breads/bagels/pastries. Various sausages/meats/cold cuts, etc. Chilaquiles and other Mexican breakfast specialties. Yougurts and cereals (note that they have nuts/seeds/etc that you might want to add to your yougurt, but these are kept in the jars next to the jams/Nutella, etc. ) I only found these on the second last day because I don't use jam so didn't look in these jars. We did not have lunch in the main buffet so can't comment. We ate lunch at the beach buffet. Thin crust pizza, different types of hot pastas, rice, beans, chili, vegetables, salads, soup. You could also get hamburgers grilled on request. Plenty of options and all very tasty. Dessert options were limited here, might have been nice to have ice cream available (there was ice cream and sorbets in the main buffet). We only had dinner a couple of times in the main buffet. Lots of options for meats (stewed in sauces, grilled, roasted, etc). Everything we ate was good, sometimes buffet food can be bland but we didn't notice that here. Too many options to list, but you would have to be pretty picky to not find something to eat. The reservation system for the a la cartes seemed to work well. You could go anytime of day to make a reservation. I went on my first day (Sunday) and made reservations for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. We ended up missing out Tuesday reservation at Don Diego because we went to 5th Ave for the day, so I went to the reservation desk another day and was able to book another restaturant. Il Paco at the Azteca was very good. You get 4 courses - Salad, pasta, meat/seafood; dessert. It was all very good and we preferred this restaurant to the other 2 we tried. Xul ha, the Mayan restaurant at the Azteca was also good, but maybe a little bland (not spicy Mexican food). The service was great and the presentation was lovely, but I probably wouldn't go there a second time. This restaurant was "open air" and there was a curious raccoon who tried to visit the restaurant! The couple next to us had a baby with them and they weren't too keen on the raccoon. I think they may have left without finishing their meal. The waiters did their best to shoo the critter away. Our third reservation was Bamboo, also at Azteca. This restaurant has a variety of Asian dishes such as sushi, egg rolls, thai curry, indian masala, teriyaki stirfry, etc. Everything was very good. Again, service was great.
The walk to the Azteca is not long, less than 10 minutes in heels Ô?? There are lots of people out walking around so no need to be concerned about walking between resorts after dark.
The beach was beautiful. No rocks and very clean. Some days there was a lot of seaweed in the water and other days none. It was fairly wavy, yellow flag most days and red flag a couple of days. As you walk out the water gets deep but if you go out a little further it gets shallow again. Lots of shade and lots of loungers, although it was sometimes difficult to find 3 together. The towel game is in full effect. Everyday we would watch the empty seats around us ‚?? over a 4 hour period more than half of the seats remained empty with towels on them. Very frustrating. There did not appear to be drink service on the beach although I did see a server with a tray of drinks on occasion. They did a great job of picking up the empties.
We didn‚??t do a lot. My son tried the trapeze which was fun. He did the archery and the climbing wall in the gym. We went to some of the shows, they were pretty good as far as that type of entertainment goes. The best show by far was (I can't remember what they called it) the one where they dressed up like famous performers (ie Bruno Mars, Pink, Beyonce, Pit Bull, etc) and lip synced their songs. I almost skipped this show because I thought it would be lame, but it was very well done and we all enjoyed it more than the other shows. There is a central "plaza" off the lobby where you can sit at night and just chill. No live entertainment here, a little live music might have been nice.
Didn't spend much time at the main pool. Hard to get a chair with shade and we didn't enjoy the thumping music. We went to the adult pool several times as it was right outside our building. It was quiet and never a line up at the bar.
In the area
The hotel is in a gated community. Anyone driving into Playacar has to present ID at the gate. The guards took the Driver's License of the taxi driver's and they picked it up on their way out. It's a nice place to walk around to see other resorts, condos and homes. There is a plaza across the street with a Starbucks. They have free wifi so there are always people standing around outside. There are some vendors and shops as well as a couple of tour booths. They provide any tour you could think of, all cheaper than if you buy at the resort. And you can even bargain on the prices. Once of the tours I was looking at was $55 per person, I asked if it was the same price for my son (he is 13)? The guy immediately took the paper and crossed out the $55 in the kids column and wrote $40, then he wrote $50 in the adults column. I wasn't even asking for a discount! Also further down the road there are some Mayan ruins you can visit. Not a lot there, but it's something to do.
Check out was easy. We weren't leaving until 5:00pm but had to be out of our room by noon. We stored our luggage off the lobby and did the formal check out, but we were allowed to keep our bracelets and towels until the end of the day. Please note that you will have to pay for your towel if you lose it, and you also have to pay for the use of the safe. The woman next to me was fighting with the reception staff about both of these issues. I agree you shouldn't have to pay for using the safe, but they tell you when you check in that you have to pay so I don't know how you can argue after you've used it all week. The bus was on time, although not all the passengers were ready. No problems at the airport, we didn't really have as much time as I thought we would to look around./shop etc. It's expensive to eat (like any restaurant) so be prepared. My son and I went to Johnny Rockets and had 1 order of fries, 1 order of onion rings and 1 milkshake and it was about $25 CDN.
Overall, we enjoyed this resort. I would recommend it and I would return.