from Ottawa, Canada
Submitted on 02-07-2017
It's difficult to write a review for what should have been an excellent vacation. The resort complex is fantastic, if a bit large for easy walking, with immaculate grounds, wonderful flora, and extensive facilities to keep anyone happy to days. The food is, as to be expected at an all-inclusive, plentiful, and surprisingly good as well, both in terms of taste and presentation. Staff were by and large friendly and helpful. However, this was the first time in Mexico for 4 members of my party of ...
It's difficult to write a review for what should have been an excellent vacation. The resort complex is fantastic, if a bit large for easy walking, with immaculate grounds, wonderful flora, and extensive facilities to keep anyone happy to days. The food is, as to be expected at an all-inclusive, plentiful, and surprisingly good as well, both in terms of taste and presentation. Staff were by and large friendly and helpful. However, this was the first time in Mexico for 4 members of my party of 6, and the memories of the resort will be coloured forever by the 'traveler's bug' we contracted (yes, all of us, one after the other) starting day 2 at the resort. This laid us up (to be polite about it), each in our turn, for a day (two of my kids) to several days (my elderly mother). The irony is that I researched as much as i could the potential the catching the 'bug' and had concluded that this resort would be comparatively safe. We only ate and drank on resort grounds, and were extra careful with hand-washing. Nonetheless, we ended up spending most of the 7 days with at least one family member quite ill, and thus unable to do anything together. We saw later in our stay that hand sanitizers had appeared at the buffet restaurants, so I assumed that we were not alone in getting infected. This was my first ever all-inclusive vacation where I lost weight :-), almost 5 pounds over a week.
I understand that acquiring a 'bug' is a risk when traveling, but never in my years of travel, even in the developing world, had this happened. My kids, who otherwise loved the resort, are fearful of any return to Mexico now.
So I hope this is taken as a warning. Even in resorts which may appear to be able to minimize the risk, the risk is still there, and can ruin an expensive vacation.
Other notes: family suites (full suite with attached junior suite) at the White Sands are fantastic, perfect for groups of 6, though I found it odd that the junior suite given to me and my partner had two double beds rather than a single king.
Book your sailing a day in advance as there are few boats and it fills quickly; it also closes at 3pm. The Hobie Cats are fool-proof; next to zero experience required. Same to be said for paddleboards and kayaks. Take the time to surf the small breakers (but remember those surf shoes in case you get tossed from your board/boat). Francisco, who was handling boat reservations, was both extra friendly and helpful.
The pools by the Colonial section of the resort are much more popular, perhaps because of the kids' section nearby; stick with the White Sands pool if you'd prefer a quieter place. The 'secret' adult pool is quite nice for relaxing.
Beachfront chairs are quickly occupied by towels by 9am; however, if you don't mind walking a bit down the beach and having a shaded chair then you'll have no problems finding one.
Coatis are cute but please do not feed them - over one week we saw numerous glasses and dishes broken as emboldened coatis attempted to grab food from unwary diners.
The Spa there is wonderful; the massage therapists are, by and large, good quality. Bear in mind that the listed massage prices can come down by 75% with negotiation; my partner and I each had 30min massages for $30(USD) each, twice. And each massage gets you entrance to the Spa facilities, which are great for a relaxing and romantic laze-about for a couple hours.
The gym is modern but can get quite humid - work out first thing in the morning if you can - it opens at 7am. Early also helps you avoid the crowds.
Bring surf shoes - the beach is lovely but lots of hidden rocks!
If you like sports, the facilities are great (badminton, tennis, soccer) and extensive; however, if you like the beach as well, note that due to the size of the resort there's quite the walk between sports facilities and the beach and the trolleys do not run that often, or follow discernible schedules.
Wi-fi access throughout the resort is good - spotty in a couple of places, but much better than what we expected. This allowed us to keep track of each other, as we were scattered around the resort depending on our various levels of health/recovery.
Lastly, if you have to make an international call (as I did, to put in claims for medical care), the front desks at either the White Sands or the Colonial for some reason did not know how to make international collect calls. It ended up being much easier to use Skype from my phone.