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Old 03-27-2014   #1 (permalink)
penny's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Live music capital of the world ! (Austin, Tx)
Posts: 893
Now I remember why we stopped going to all inclusives - Grand Riviera Princess

I was reminded after the first meal why we stopped doing all inclusives. The food, even at the specialty restaurants was less than mediocre. Besides the buffet, we dinned at Le Fleur and Fondue.

Every piece of beef I had was tough and dry. Every dish I had was under seasoned. The milk for cereal wasn't cold. Every beverage had a strange aftertaste; as if it contained artificial sweetener. Even when I wasn't drinking, I had the taste in my mouth.

We had reserved a deluxe junior suite and when we got there we decided that we would pay almost $300 extra US for Platinum. After all, internet usage was $20 extra a day and that wasn't even wireless. Wireless was included in Platinum as well as 'top shelf' booze. Other luxuries were a more available Concierge, exclusive pool, two jacuzzi tubs (one inside and one on the patio), 24 hr room service (food cost included), slippers and a robe.

Reality was that our wireless was never more than 'fair' and more often 'poor' and we were not able to connect most of the time.
The 'top shelf' booze was very limited and our bar closed at 11pm.
We were not able to use the jacuzzi, or the patio at all, because they were workers there all the time painting. We barely could have the curtains open. The concierge was usually one of the ladies from housekeeping, there to exchange your towels and when the 'real' guy was there he was either occupied with other guests or seemed clueless when we asked questions.
We called room service over and over, once dialing again and again for 20 minutes - ALWAYS busy! Dialed the concierge, also always busy. Never once were we able to get either on the phone. Although the frig felt cold, the drinks were were not.

They shuttled us to our room when we arrived and the bellman did a great job of filling us in on the details. No one was around when it was time for us to hoof it all the way to the front of the resort to check out. The concierge was busy with 4 people when we tried to get his attention to ask for someone to help. Jerry was a sweaty mess when we arrived in the lobby.

The beds were loud (crunchy covers and unstable legs) and hard. The decorative pillows smelled so sour that we took them off and left them under the sofa (far from our noses).

The bathroom was very clean and always restocked.

The maid service was very good, except they would come around about 7:30 to ask if we needed fresh towels. We were either napping or already in the shower each time they arrived. It was odd, because they had already replaced the towels when they made up the room early in the day. At least there were plenty of towels!

After our dive with Dave w/Abyss, we had lunch at Carbonitas which was FABULOUS - just like we remembered. I sure wish we could have gone to Babes while we were there or visited Tequila Barrel or the Beer Bucket. It was just too expensive to cab it back and forth. $20 each way from Princess. We were exhausted after Diving and lunch, so we headed back to Princess.

Lomas was a disappointment on the return trip. We have used their shuttle service a few times and haven't had a problem. Our rep at the hotel, Juan Miguel Valdez or maybe Vasquez - don't remember, never called to tell us when our return would be - we had to call them to get the info the day before we left. He also told us that we would receive a comp massage at the hotel because we used Lomas. That was a lie. ALL guests receive 50% off a spa service if received within 24 hours of arrival. There were NO extra perks for having used Lomas. The rep was never at the hotel during the hours he said he would be either. Very disappointing.

It must be Canadian season at the resort as we only met 4 people that were NOT from Canada. Everyone we met who was staying at the resort was really nice.

The beach at the resort is pretty rocky in most places, however, after reading about that here in the forum I took my water shoes and I didn't have any problems with stubbed toes.

As expected the gift shop at the resort is a big rip off. A bottle of Clase Azul was $163 US at the gift shop. It was $80 at the airport. I don't know how much it is in the US, as we haven't found it anywhere yet - we do know they are importing it now though. Don Julio 1942 was $147 US in Mexico. It's $100 at Specs and if you do the Twin Liquors 'twin pack' you can get it for $80 a bottle. I was really surprised by the cost of the tequila for sure.

People were feeding the Coaties and there were 'bands' of these racoon-ant-eater-like animals. They are cute for sure, and not afraid of people. There was even one on the stairs way inside the resort. I didn't see nearly as many iguanas as I have in years past. As a matter of fact, i think i only saw about 4 the whole time. I thought that was odd.

The airport in Cancun has really grown in the last 5 years. It was relatively speedy getting in and out of customs. Better than I remember in all the years previous. They did confiscate one of my liquids though. The bottle was 4 oz, even though there was only about 2 oz left in it.

We flew AirTran. First time. The 'rules' were different flying back to the US. You couldn't use any electronic devices on the way back until we reached a certain altitude and you could only use the front restroom if you were aisle 10 or lower. Leaving the US there were no such rules. Unfortunately we were in aisle 17 and our seats didn't recline (in front of emergency exit). I wish someone had told us when we got our boarding passes, we would have asked to move. It was an uncomfortable 3 hour ride back home.

I'm already looking at airfares to go back to the area; however, this time will be back at a non-resort like the old days. It's great to be in town and able to walk around and eat some great food and visit with folks. I missed that this trip for sure.

I hear that Tulum has really changed, maybe we'll go there next time and check it out.

That's the report !
Penny (and Jerry)
Mountain City, Texas (basically Austin)

time for
Penny *very naughty chica*
"Tequila is a good drug, m'k"
"Save a horse, ride a cowboy !"
Club Yebo on May 7th. it was fun !
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Old 03-27-2014   #2 (permalink)
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Adventure Port
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Wow, that report is very different than ones we receive from our guests in condos and villas..... a few lines from someone last week:

Yes we are home and had a wonderful time!! we look forward to next year again and wondering what would be available if possible in January.

You mentioned a condo that was for sale in the complex, Bob and I have been giving it some thought and think we might be interested in pursuing this idea. Could you give us some more information on the unit?

Back to our wonderful vacation, XXX is writing up a review for trip advisor. glorious of course!

My only suggestions would be to put both the coffee maker and the toaster afloat in the Caribbean!!!

The grocery service was wonderful made such a difference when we got to the condo to have those basic supplies.

Look forward to hearing from you.

We also loved XXXX, her food was fabulous and she connected so well with the kids! Ok I could go on and on but thanks again for all the little things you do to provide your guest with an awesome vacation.
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Old 03-27-2014   #3 (permalink)
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Live music capital of the world ! (Austin, Tx)
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Those comments are specifically for grand Riviera princess. Are yours pawboy? I assure you our issues were also experienced by some very ticked off Canadians who were not shy about expressing their unhappiness to the staff.
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Old 03-27-2014   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by penny View Post
Those comments are specifically for grand Riviera princess. Are yours pawboy? I assure you our issues were also experienced by some very ticked off Canadians who were not shy about expressing their unhappiness to the staff.
The comments I submitted were from a client who stayed in one of our beachfront condos is Puerto Aventuras.
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Old 03-27-2014   #5 (permalink)
way into it
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Bham, AL
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Penny - it's not like I own the Grand Riviera Princess or anything, but I sure hate to hear that your trip was as it was. My hubby and I are getting ready for our 14th return trip to this resort. We go twice a year and couldn't be more satisfied. We've been to Cancun/Playa 25+ times now.
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Old 03-27-2014   #6 (permalink)
into ruins
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: North Dakota
Posts: 76
Our experience at this resort could not be more opposite from this report. Possible things have changed I guess. We had a great time, enjoyed the food and refreshments at the Grand Rivera Princess two years ago. We took our early 20's daughter and her boyfriend and they enjoyed as well. We rented two units in the Laguna Suite section where there were only four units to a building and adults only.

Only complaint we had was the parents that did not watch their kids at the buffets -- touching everything. Not the resorts fault by any means.

Sorry to hear your stay was not pleasant.
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Old 03-28-2014   #7 (permalink)
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Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
Posts: 56,598
How many stars is this resort?

We find that in high season, service and food and the general resort experience tends to fall down, particularly at lower rated resorts.

We went to a three star north of Puerto Vallarta one year over xmas, It was packed full of people and it was just terrible. The buffet was running out of food almost every night, they seemed to not have enough staff so it was always messy in the common areas, and service was pretty bad in general. Yet the reviews for this hotel were always very positive and good.

Time of year that you go makes a BIG difference, at least at some hotels.
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Old 03-28-2014   #8 (permalink)
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Live music capital of the world ! (Austin, Tx)
Posts: 893
When I part with a couple thousand dollars I expect pretty impressive stuff. My money is limited, I want the best I can get for the dollar and while that is not usually the lowest big it should still be something I enjoy.

Most any time in the riviera maya is better than NO time. And I am grateful that I was there. The weather was awesome.

I just prefer a no frills environment where i can spend the days and nights enjoying the culture, the variety of food and various activities Playa has to offer. Play del Carmen has changed.

All inclusives, so far, have not been good experiences for us - just like cruises. We don't care for those much either.

i'm already checking the calendar and watching rates to figure out when I can afford another trip. dang!!! it's expensive during summer ... which I personally thing is odd since it's so freaking HOT there !
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Old 05-24-2014   #9 (permalink)
into ruins
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: paradise lost
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this season we stayed at the blue diamond, grand palladium royal, ocean maya h10 , and the casa turquesa in cancun.

i can honestly say we did not have a bad meal ever, in fact we commented almost every day as to the quality and variety of food. i raised cattle for most of my life in alberta and had the best of the best beef for years, and so for me to say i had some of the best roast beef i have had in many years at the ocean maya is quite an accomplishment for their staff, the pork as always was amazing. in the 15 years of going and staying at two different resorts each time we were pleased and very satisfied with each and every meal we had this year. it seems that over the past 5 years it has improved each year. at the blue diamond i had a ribeye steak that would challenge any local restaurant that specializes in steak, excellent, med rare and 1.25 inches thick, not like most steaks in mexico that are 1/2 inch.

at the palladium we found no issues and were very pleased with our food, while at the casa turquesa i had one of the most memorable and pleasing breakfasts i have had in years, the presentation was artwork, and the variety and flavors outstanding.

we have gone to many of the specialty restaurants at the resorts, and more often than not we find they do a nice job, but realistically i have found that sometimes the hype about them is overated. if i cannot find something to suit my fancy at the buffets or specialty restaurants, then i am being too fussy. in fact the chef will often prepare whatever your heart desires if you ask. we have commented that in the early years the food was better and the variety wider. for several years we did find the food at some resorts was more on the bland side, and some of the stations for personal prep dishes had disappeared , but it seems to have reversed and this year we both were very pleased.

maybe you should skip 2 or 3 meals for a day or two, and then perhaps you might appreciate what selection there is. not saying there are some poor meals and resorts, but overall i will not complain. too may drinks in a day will impair your appetite and sense of taste also.

perhaps instead of choosing a resort solely based on being the cheapest, you could research and spend a few more bucks and be surprised. we did note at the palladium each dining room and buffet had a different level of service and quality of food, but whether we were in the exclusive restaurant or the buffet and specialty, it was all good.

perhaps it might be that the company we keep affects how we perceive and enjoy the fare.. kind of like so many reports on trip advisor, most are complaining, few people seem to really appreciate the effort and hard work that goes on behind the scenes to make your holiday pleasant, i have always said it is my responsibility to ensure i enjoy my holiday and although i have had a few minor setbacks, none were any reason to bitch. if i have had an issue , i politely speak to the management and it has always been dealt with.

shit happens, make sure you have paper....
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Old 08-28-2015   #10 (permalink)
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: White Rock, B.C.
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Originally Posted by penny View Post
I was reminded after the first meal why we stopped doing all inclusives.
Sorry to hear you had a bad experience Penny. My husband and I spent two weeks at the Grand Princess the first year it opened. We stayed in a Deluxe room. We had a wonderful vacation at the Princess and actually meet 2 other peeps who were staying at that same resort.
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Old 06-26-2016   #11 (permalink)
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Join Date: Oct 2004
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We were there for a week in January of 2015 for a wedding. We still talk about how cold the pools were. Of the 14 places we have stayed in Mexico, I would rank it in the bottom half. It wasn't bad; it just wasn't as good as the other places.
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