from Leeds, United Kingdom
Submitted on 18-07-2016
My wife and I visited this hotel from 14th June 2016 to 28th June 2016 for our Honeymoon.
Check In - This was really easy, the easiest i've had at any hotel anywhere! You're greeted with a welcome drink (ours was champagne with a cherry in). Leaving your bags with a hotel porter whilst you visit the desk. The guy behind the desk was very helpful, he gave us a welcome pack which included the wifi code (wifi does require log in every 24 hours, but hey it's no big deal, you're on holiday) and a ma...
My wife and I visited this hotel from 14th June 2016 to 28th June 2016 for our Honeymoon.
Check In - This was really easy, the easiest i've had at any hotel anywhere! You're greeted with a welcome drink (ours was champagne with a cherry in). Leaving your bags with a hotel porter whilst you visit the desk. The guy behind the desk was very helpful, he gave us a welcome pack which included the wifi code (wifi does require log in every 24 hours, but hey it's no big deal, you're on holiday) and a map. He explained the whole resort to us and circled places like restaurants and different pools on the map.
The Room - We opted for a penthouse with a rooftop terrace and wow, we're glad we did! The room is huge, it has a full size table to eat at (if you get room service), a super king bed, excellent air conditioning, mini bar (stocked with coke, sprite, water, mini whiskey, vodka and bacardi and some crisps) and a tv. The rooftop terrace was fabulous. The jacuzzi was a little shallow, but it worked very well and we used it a few times on an evening (you can have it topped up by a butler, we never bothered).
Butler Service - These guys are great. My Wife was celebrating her birthday 3 days after we arrived and we couldn't book The Alux restaurant because it was full until 10:30pm. We called down to the butlers office and they arranged for us to have a Romantic meal in the Alux restaurant. We also asked the butlers for pillows from the pillow menu and a passion fruit scent for our room (all of which can be done via the bahia principe app)
The App - definitely get this. You can book your restaurants on here and arrange for the butler service to do specific things as stated above.
The Restaurants -
Buffet Restaurant - This was situated in the lobby and is outstanding. It easily has some of the best food i've had in a hotel. Each night is a different international theme. Our favourites were the Asian night and the Gala on a saturday. The Gala night is the night where you can eat lobster and ribeye (ribeye was cooked blue). The buffet always had chicken, steak, shrimps, sushi and a chocolate fountain, regardless of which night it was. They also have a fantastic cheese selection. The service in here was excellent for all but one night. The staff work tirelessly to ensure you never go without a drink and that your dirty plates are taken away. Only one night we received bad service, but hey the staff probably get paid really low wages and everyone can have a bad day right? The hotel could do with turning the air con on cold in here as it is on but it was never good enough.
Alux Restaurant - this is situated by the quiet pool. We visited three times during our stay. It was michelin style food. I have a big appetite and although the portions look small, don't be deceived, you'll be full by the end. We ate steak here and tuna, both of which are amazing! They also bring round a cheese trolley which is really cool. They decorated the table with petals for my wifes birthday which was a nice touch and brought out a birthday cake to the tune of the waiters singing for her. Fantastic service here, your drink won't be empty before you're offered another. The dress code here was supposed to be smart, shirt, long trousers and shoes for men, standard dresses for women. I noticed that this wasn't adhered to very much and whilst i'm not usually the type to be bothered about what other people are wearing i couldn't help but notice that this was a bit of a vibe killer when you had men in terrible t shirts and sandals... it just doesn't work for this restaurant. The welcome drink here is champagne.
Maiko - Maiko is supposed to be Japanese fusion food. I say supposed because i don't really know japanese cuisine so i couldn't say if it was or wasn't. We visited here twice during our stay, it really is excellent. The atmosphere felt very Japanese, which was relaxing. The welcome drink here is a "china town", it's mango, Saki and something else haha, it's really good though, we kept them coming. We both ate duck here which was beautiful. We also ate tempura ice cream (fried ice cream), it was pretty nice to be fair. Again the service here is on par with the Alux, the staff are very good at their jobs. The same dress code as the Alux applies here.
Rodizio - This was at one of the other hotels. We travelled over and were very disappointed, so disappointed we cancelled all the other bookings at restaurants that weren't based at the Sian Ka'an (we instead alternated between Maiko, Alux and the Buffet). The food here isn't bad, but it's no where near the quality received at Sian Ka'an, it's all meat served on swords, which i love at home, but here the food wasn't cooked great (turkey was so dry my wife genuinely left it). The service is the same, we waited something like ten minutes before we received a drink (sounds petty, but when you get used to the service at Sian Ka'an it's difficult to go somewhere else in the same resort and receive lower standards of service). The setting is lovely however, it's located by the beach and the atmosphere is pretty nice.
Snack bar - ate here a couple of times, it's not bad but we figured you may as well go to the buffet which is a 1 minute walk away. Not a great selection of food for lunch, but it is a snack bar. It's supposed to be 24 hours but we turned up at about 11am one day and there was no food to be eaten.
Akumal Buffet - We ate here for lunch once, the food wasn't very nice and service was really poor. It was very hard to find a seat. You may hear people talking about the huge selection here, yes they are right, but it's all the same things, they just have more of the same due to the sheer amount of people at this hotel, don't be fooled.
The Swimming Pools - Quiet pool was our favourite, we really liked the atmosphere around the pool, it was so quiet. The other pool which is the main pool just behind the quiet pool wasn't bad, but could get a little bit annoying if you had people being really noisy around it (we're not bothered about noise that much, but we found people playing their own music really loud, we don't mind people playing music, but play it quietly, chances are it's not to everyone's taste). There was an activities pool which we never visited. One thing i would highlight is pool temperature, it can get extremely warm, sometimes feeling like a bath, this needs addressing really, when you're in 35c heat you want to cool off in the pool, not sit in a bath. Still we enjoyed the pools. The hotel also needs to enforce the lounger reserving policy, we witnessed people not using a lounger all day long then coming to them in the late afternoon (it's annoying because palapas are very limited and people reserve them but don't use them all day), we saw one man have a go at another because he moved his towel, he'd returned to his lounger at about 3pm after placing his towel in the morning... ridiculous. Pool side service was alright, waiters/waitresses come round asking if you want a drink, but it can be hit and miss, having said that the bar isn't far away, so get up and get a drink yourself.
The beach - The Sian Ka'an section was great, we went down around 9am a couple of days and never struggled for a lounger. If you're in a group you may find it difficult but we were a couple, so i guess this could be why. Make sure you take a snorkel and mask, we saw lots of people in the sea but barely anyone snorkelling and they were missing a world of amazing fish. The beach is sectioned off with wave breakers so you have this really calm sort of pool in the sea which is chest high and underneath there are so many colourful fish. Beach side service was similar to the pool, but again the bar is close.
Trolley bus system - this is a really good idea, you basically jump on a train of golf carts and they take you between hotels, we got them to drop us off at the main road so we could get a collectivo.
Hacienda - the hacienda was really good, we picked up a couple of gifts and the prices are actually better than playa del carmen we thought.
Check out was dead simple, just like check in.
I know this isn't a review page for other places but i'm going to stick a couple of tips in anyway. If you want to visit attractions then don't book through a tour company. For example if you want to visit xel ha or xplor (We did and they are must do experiences) take a trolley bus to the main road, and wait for a collectivo, these are local mini buses which will take you somewhere on the main road for very cheap. Just wave the collectivo down and tell them where you're going, they'll stop for you. Sian Ka'an to playa del carmen was 70 pesos for two people one way and takes 45 minutes roughly. If you want to visit an attraction just get the collectivo and turn up at the attraction at about 8:30-9:00am to beat queues. You can pre book online but you need to print out your booking slip, so do this before you go or you could just turn up like we did and not pay the discounted online price. It's still cheaper than booking a tour. Collectivos are safe by the way, we used them all the way through our trip without problem.
Drinks - Generally drinks are excellent. They can be hit and miss on how strong they'll be. It's also difficult in the buffet to get specific drinks like a french martini - i think it's a language barrier thing, but hey my fault for not knowing spanish to be fair. The main bar in the lobby is amazing, watch the guy make drinks and you'll be blown away.
All in all this place is just amazing and we'll definitely be back. It's not without some downfalls as we highlighted in this review, but don't be put off by the people that complain about weather and terrible food or terrible apple vacations transfers...
We both love this place and can't wait to return.