So, before I go on and write my long review (because I can't seem to write short ones) I just want to say that I write them long because everyone has a different preference on things they like and look for when they are on vacation. People eat differently, sleep differently and live differently. So, rather then tell you why things sucked or why they were great I'm going to tell you why I think them these ways so that you, as a traveller looking to make a decision on where to spend your hard earned money, can decide for yourself.
With that being said, I traveled to Mexico in July of 2016 for a destination wedding at Dreams. I believe there are a few Dreams resorts around Mexico, so if you are booking based on this review, or any other, be sure to book the correct one. This was the one in Riviera Maya.
I traveled with my fiancee and we were meeting a group of around 50 down there. This hotel is big on destination weddings so you will see a lot of weddings taking place if you are staying there. I did see some families and quite a few children too, so I'm going to say that you get a mix of couples, weddings, and families staying here. I did not see any party people - as this hotel really doesn't cater to that atmosphere. But again, I traveled in July, so I'm not sure what the crowd is if you travel during spring break. Though personally, I can't see that type of crowd coming to this hotel. Okay, so heres my review broken down into sections:
CHECK IN: We took a later flight out of New York, so we arrived at the hotel around 4:30pm on a Friday. Upon arrival, we were were given champagne and escorted to the front desk. Check in was smooth. We did not have to wait for our room to be ready- but this could be due to the fact we arrived later in the day. The only issue was that we booked a king sized bed and were given a room with two double beds instead. I travel a lot, and this isn't the first time something like this has happened. I have no idea why if you book one room you get another. They did offer us another room- but that wasn't going to be available until Sunday. For us, this wasn't a big deal. I didn't mind- the double beds fit two people and I wasn't going to unpack to pack and move. For us, this worked so we left it. And again, this has happened to me before at hotels in other places so I'm not going to say it was a "Dreams" issue.
After we checked in, they escorted us to another desk where someone went over the layout of the hotel and grounds and spoke to us about coupons and resort money that could be applied to certain things. Everything is included when you book at this hotel- its an all inclusive. You aren't paying for dinner or drinks. Honestly, I did not use the coupons or look into it further. Shame on me- but there is something they offer so look into it if you are interested. There were no selling of time shares at this resort. At this meeting, they do suggest you meet for breakfast regarding one of their other hotels. They offer extra coupons/resort money for this and maybe one or two more incentives. I believe this was their version of time sharing- they ask for you to book this on the spot. I was not interested and since was traveling for a wedding and meetings so many other people even if I wanted to go- I needed to coordinate plans with others so I was not giving them an answer. They were fine with this and did not bother us again or even call us to 'remind' us about it- which in my opinion was AWESOME. I hate being bothered and the annoyance level was zero.
ROOM: I like things clean. This room was amazing! It was so clean and neat. But, let me explain the lay out- its an open room. The bed is on one side, then there was this nice divider and on the other side was the hot tub, shower stall and toilet. The shower was in its own stall as was the toilet, but the doors are frosted and semi see through. Just an FYI. I found the shower to be spacious and clean. I cannot stress enough how clean it was. The bed was comfortable (for me). There was a large balcony. Which I did not utilize because it was just so hot. If I was outside I was by the pool. The TV was nice, but a lot of shows were in Spanish, so for me TV was limited. Room service was good, no complaints there. Maid service was excellent. Room is made up in the morning and they come back each night to turn down the room, which was great. They even leave a chocolate on your pillow. Tons of towels-body,hand, and face.
GROUNDS: The grounds were so well maintained. I have to say, I was impressed. I saw ONE crawling bug. ONE- the hotel is situated with an open lobby- which was just so incredibly hot. There was no air circulation. Once you leave the lobby there is an awesome breeze, but sitting there was just very hot. The bar service was excellent and they had entertainment in the lobby each night. The singers were great. The service was great too. Once you leave the lobby, there are buildings where the rooms are. The inside was very clean. I was shocked how clean it was. I saw two lizards- which I was excited. I like the lizards. Everything was just so well kept. I've been to other resorts and they were not as well maintained. I was very happy with the cleanliness.
There were also hammocks all over to lounge in.
POOLS: There are a few pools. We spent most of our time by the infinity pool overlooking the beach. The pools were not huge. They were a decent size. They were just incredibly warm. In the morning, we would go down and grab some chairs, go to breakfast, and then go back to the pool. Early, the water is a bit refreshing, but not cold. Once the heat of the day takes place and the pools fill up there is no relief from the heat as far as that initial cold water shock goes- but that did not stop me from sitting in the water the entire time. The swim up bar was very convenient and well kept. Service was great. They made all types of drinks and had a few beers. Getting a chair if you came to the pool late was a bit rough. I was there early. I am always at the pool early- I've learned from past experiences. But, I did see people that arrived by 9am finding it hard to get a chair. I think its because there are a lot of weddings and large groups of people. Chairs are taken in chunks- and I noticed that people are not in their chairs, but in the pool the entire time. So, they are there, but just not in the seat. Which can be frustrating, but that's with any pool and I think because its just soooo hot, you really need to be in the water and not sitting out. I would sit out for 10 min and have to go back in.
There are tons of chairs though, beds and cabanas (not sure how you get them if its first come or reserving- so look into that if you want one). There are pool activities, and a grill near the pool to get some food. The swim up bar was nice and though everyone was in the pool, you didn't have to wait too long for a drink. I loved the infinity pool, it was so pretty.
Weddings are almost a daily event here and the gazebo is by the infinity pool. The do not close the pool when the weddings take place. I'm not sure, but usually they take place around 6pm. They may take a few chairs away, not sure. But if you are in the pool at this time you will see and hear all of what is taking place. Music is set up, seats are put out, people are gathered and vows are exchanged with microphones. Just a heads up in case you would be bothered by this.
BEACH: I only went on the beach once and that was to put my feet into the ocean- which was as warm as the pool.There was a little seaweed to deal with- but I heard people say that it was just where the waves were breaking and once you went over them it wasn't so bad. The sand was super soft and they had tractor come a few times daily to turn it and sift it from debris. There were some huts on the beach for shade and lots of chairs to lounge in. There was volley ball nets and a few other things to do for beach activities. I saw people kayaking and on wave runners. It was also super clean and the ocean didn't seem very rough. there was a good amount of people in the water just hanging out. So though it wasn't as calm as glass, it wasn't as rough as some waters can be.
RESTAURANTS: There are a bunch of restaurants. I did not eat at them all as I was only there a few days and most of those days I had some commitments for the wedding we were there for. I did eat at:
Oceana: the Seafood Restaurant. It was good. The menu had more of a 'fancier' selection. For me anyway, but the food was good. I'm more of a shell fish girl when it comes to seafood and the menu was more 'fish' and fancy.
Bordeaux: This was the French Restaurant, it was all presentation and I enjoyed the food. Very tasty. But if you aren't fancy and do not like very small portions then this place probably isn't for you.
World Cafe: Breakfast Buffet- DELISH- I love my breakfasts and the selections were great. so much to choose from and you should try the mexican coffee- its very different and I LOVED IT-- you get it by the food, you don't order it from the server. Give it a try-
GRILL by the POOL: Not sure of the name, but it was by the pool and you just walk up there and get some burgers, hot dogs, nachos and stuff like that- very good. I wasn't crazy about the burgers- they were a little different than what I am used to, but they weren't bad.
MEXICAN: I heard this restaurant was extremely hot. People I went with did complain about it being so hot, but we were later told the air was only working at 80 percent. We only found this out because the wedding we were attending was booked in that room. But, prior visits from people we were with said it was never like that- poop happens.
COCO CAFE: Great little coffee shop just past the pools. They have outside seating and two small tables inside. They serve cookies daily and make all types of coffee. My faves were just the plain frozen coffee, the frozen Baileys, and the frozen Vanilla coffee. The portions are small so if you want a nice size cup, order two.
**the restaurants have dress codes. Be sure to inquire before going. Italian, you need pants. A few people (Men) that we were with had on very nice docker shorts and were told they must go put on pants. They weren't thrilled, but only because it was soon hot. So, if you are a man, bring some light pants for these places. The French Restaurant told us that they require collared shirts and pants. So each place is different. Pay attention so that you aren't inconvenienced.
**Reservations were not needed for any restaurants except if you wanted Hibachi because they only had a few tables. So, you could eat Japanese without a reservation, but if you wanted to sit at a hibachi table you needed to make reservations. The later you go to eat and depending on the size of your group, you may have to wait a little bit for your table. For example, two cousins went for french one night and had to wait 15 minutes. 15 people went for Italian and had to wait an hour. So, it depends- just be prepared for all scenarios.
SERVICE: I have no complaints. I asked for my room to be turned down a few times because they come sorta early for that and we were still in the room. They came back without hesitation. Everything was always replaced to the max. The staff went above and beyond. Whatever we wanted they gave us. No hesitations. The staff speak both english and spanish. There is sometimes a little confusion to what you are asking for, but nothing that cannot be resolved. We just call things different from what they do so though they speak english sometimes they weren't sure what we were saying, but we worked it out without any problems.
EXCURSIONS: There are staff seated around the hotel to assist you in setting up excursions. There seemed to be a nice selection. I didn't have a chance to schedule any, but if this is something you are interested in, I would look into it. Always try going a day in advance. From experience, getting something that day is usually hard.
CLEANLINESS: on a scale from 1-10 I am saying its a 10. Even the bathrooms at the pool were cleaned constantly.
TRANSFERS: Okay, we booked Olympus for our transfers to and from the airport. Wasn't thrilled with them. They were waiting upon our arrival. Just make sure you have all your return trip information with you- whether in your brain or on a print out. When they confirm its you and are ready to take you from the airport they want your return information so they can schedule the pick up. It takes 24 hours to schedule a pick up. We didn't have the return info- we couldn't remember the flight number and didn't have it handy and they wanted ALL information. So we had to go meet with the representative at the hotel the next day- we didn't. Our fault. But the day after we went. They will not take your information - they wanted the 'card' the rep handed you when you arrived. we had to go back to the room to get it- fill it out- bring it back. Then, the rep said to come back the next day for the pick up time. We went back. SHE WASN'T THERE... she was supposed to be, but wasn't. We then had to go to the concierge desk and have them call the company. and they wanted all the info again- which we didn't have on us since we came from the pool so it was just a really annoying hassle. I wasn't thrilled. First off, I understand you need 24 hours to arrange it, but the back and forth was unnecessary. Their process is a little broken and they can really omit a few extra steps. My fiancĂ©es father has the same name and though he paid for transport they didn't have him- why, because there was already a person with the same name on the list -- on a different day, for a different amount of people. They must've taken his father off...When his father said that the name on the list was not him, but his son, they were going to take us off the list- they just didn't get that they were two separate reservations. They need to work on looking into detail and they need to fix their scheduling process. But hey, maybe our situation was isolated. Just have your info handy if you use them so that you can get it all done in one shot. The drivers were lovely though. And the ride was great. it was the processed that sucked.
I can't speak for other people and their experiences, but I have to say Dreams is a wonderful place. The service is excellent, the food was good (was it great, for me-no... but thats me) Nothing was undercooked, or over cooked. I just didn't care for certain things, but that is a matter of taste. People I was with raved about the food. Like I said, nothing was cooked wrong or raw or burnt- I only ate at a few places. I don't eat french food often enough to love it and I am picky with my fish. I wish I could've eaten at the other places.
All in all, I enjoyed this resort and would go back! I do have a few tips--
** get to the pool early, until you assess the situation and crowds for the time you are there
** mind the dress codes so you don't have to run around in the heat to change and stuff like that
** tipping is not required, but goes a long way and is VERY appreciated
** get over being a shy pooper as there isn't a ton of privacy in the bathroom, lol
** there are mosquitos... nothing crazy, but they are there. there is spray provided in the room, its tiny and fits in your pocket or purse, take it with you until you find out if the mosquitos like you or not.
** have your travel information handy for your transfers
**Eat before you go to the airport to return home. The food the airport in Mexico is SUPER expensive. EX: Johnny Rockets.... two burgers and fries.... $69 american dollars....we laughed and settled for $18 pizza. Hey, you have to pick and choose your battles. Just eat a nice meal before you head out.
**AMERICAN AIRLINES: I will not be flying them again...they give you nothing and cause nothing but aggravation. Spend the extra money, fly another. I heard Aeromexico or whatever the name is was awesome. Our cousin flew it- dinner, movies, blankets, pillows and great service. We got nothing, our seats were changed even though we had confirms and assigned seats, no gate until the very last minute, frowning workers on the plane, no trays on the plane. They are usually on the back of the seat, these were in the arm rest and so small and wobbly. I'm sure some people love AA, but not me. Unless the price is unreal and you can't be it-- fly another.
Hope this review helped a little and you didn't fall asleep. I apologize for any typos and use of bad grammar- I'm tired and still in lazy vacation mode. Enjoy your stay, the hotel is very nice. Just remember, wherever you go always mind your surroundings when traveling to and from the airports. Be flexible as sometimes situations do arise that are just flukes and out of our hands (like our room having double beds and not a king) -- things like that can be inconvenient, but don't let it ruin your trip or sway how you feel about the hotel. Leave big issues for that.... and hope you have a great vacay....
FYI- if you are booking a wedding, I hear their service is great and all the options provided are wonderful. Get the photo package because the photographer is quite good and provides you with awesome pics. Spring for the welcome bon fire if you have the cash, its on the beach and so pretty. If you have your wedding outside by the beach, there will be a breeze off the ocean, and if you are a lady be prepared for lots of updo's and pony tails as its hot and humid and if you have curly hair like myself, you will be a chia pet the entire time. But its beautiful so enjoy!
Upon arrival the place looks very nice and is decorated very pretty with flowing water and great huge open ceiling stretched out lobby. You look out over the expansive area and it looks to be an amazing place.
The first room we were given was on the 2nd floor overlooking what turned out to be a work area as they were working until 11pm and we complained then began again at 7am with construction for a bed to put on the beach for a wedding (more on weddings later). We were then moved to another room that was much quieter.The size of the rooms is great and it is designed very well with nice comfortable beds and minibar with sodas/beers/water. The jacuzzi tub is nice. The plunge pools look AMAZING on the pictures and are fun, but they are definitely not private as they are right on the walkway where everyone walks right by your plunge pool and all events are in front of your plunge pool. So if you are expecting privacy how it is shown on the website you will not be getting it.
This was the most disappointing aspect of the entire stay (and the wedding events were a very close second). The beach is horrible. It is covered with seaweed and sea lice. The beach they show on the website is for Playa del Carmen which is amazing. This beach is not the blue waters either. It is green ocean water with rocks and seaweed. They passed a truck to pick up seaweed constantly and it was always back immediately. We were told by several of the staff the reason is that there is a seaweed reef close by that is constantly bombarding the beach with seaweed so it is always like this.
THE FOOD WAS AMAZING!!!!!! Every restaurant we ate at was spectacular. The french was better than most french restaurants in the states. The Italian was deliciousness. The Japanese was spectacular. The Mexican was great! However, the Italian restaurant needs to have some fans put in or something because it is so hot it becomes uncomfortable. All the other restaurants did not have this problem. The other issue is groups (discussed further below). The groups show up because there are so many events and they take over a restaurant. Instead of telling you the restaurant is full and try somewhere else the staff tells you it will be 20-30 minutes. So you wait and come back and then they tell you they don't know when there will be space. By this time you've lost an hour and try another restaurant only to then have to wait there because you didn't go earlier. The french restaurant did not have this issue as it is adults only.
The pools look amazing on the photos. In reality it is 2 small pools. One is a swim up pool bar infinity pool and the other is a small pool for activities. The third pool is a small kids pool with ankle height water. The pools are all EXTREMELY hot all day and not comfortable at all. They are also packed the entire day because the beach is horrible so everyone goes to the pool. Everyday we were there there was at least a couple of drinks and some other bodily fluids floating in the pool. The staff does a good job trying to clean it up quickly, but it is not inviting and they are not built to accommodate so many people.
If you're coming here for your wedding just know that it is in the middle of the small pool areas and packed with everyone walking around right by you in their bathing suits. This goes both ways as the weddings interrupt the rest of the resort. I am all for making the special day special, but since everyone staying there is not getting a discount closing the pool early for events is unacceptable especially considering that the beach is horrible. The resort wants to cater to events as there was at least 2 weddings every day we were there. However, if that's the case then cater solely to events because it makes everyone else's stay horrific. Our last day we had to go to our room at 3pm because they closed the pool early, took over the Jacuzzi area with set up for another event, and then the beach was taken over for a wedding. Add to this that they removed all of the pool chairs with our clothes and items on it and we lost several shirts and hats because of it.
THIS IS DEFINITELY NOT WORTH YOUR MONEY OR TIME. The other Dreams resorts are better. For the same price check out Cancun as you have a much better beach at the Hyatt Ziva (see review) which was AMAZING!!! This resort is overpriced for what you get and it should be false advertising to show another resort's beach. I will definitely never come back here again. That is not to blame the staff as the staff was spectacular from welcome to departure. The drinks were also top shelf and great. But if you're coming for a beach and have seen any decent beach in your life you will not like this place.
Amazing family trip...we will be back! Everything from the room, the service, the food, the amenities, the entertainment, and the entire resort were beyond my expectations! Did I mention the food? Thanks for everything!
Stayed here with my boyfriend for a destination wedding with a big group. We'd never been to an all inclusive before and it was a great experience. The wedding was beautiful -- SO fun and SO memorable it poured during the reception and it didn't stop the party, just made it better, big shoutout to Pedro you are the man.
The staff were on point about pretty much everything, our maid Eva picked up on little details (left extra incense and shampoo) and our room was always spotless, complete with turndown in the evenings. Raphael down at the swing bar made awesome drinks, was totally on top of it even when we were there with like 20 people, and with a smile too. Pools were beautiful, beach was beautiful (seaweed won't hurt you and was raked multiple times a day), and the lobby and hotel at large was gorgeous. The free kayak and sailboat rentals on the beach were another cool bonus.
As for food, I'm a vegetarian and this was a bit tough to deal with. I think I might just be spoiled because in the US it's a common thing but there were a couple restaurants that didn't have any veg friendly entrees. Servers were happy to help with this whenever possible though. We did end up getting a little sick. Could probably be chalked up to a lot of drinking/different food but we weren't the only ones. Didn't ruin the trip though.
Only big complaint was staff pushed us to disband groups/quiet down pretty early in the evening a couple times saying it was a family resort. I don't think it's unreasonable to have a 5-6 people chatting having drinks on a balcony at 10:30PM, especially when I was woken up by screaming kids on our floor around 6:30AM multiple times. Definitely geared more toward early to bed/early risers, pool music started pretty loud and early too. Will probably do an adults only next time.
The location/entry to the hotel is a little odd but once we got through the gate we were greeted warmly by staff, given a cool towel and a glass of champagne. The lobby is a massive open air space with travertine floors, giant pillars and pretty textile art at one end. There is a water feature running down the center of the lobby with fountains and calm lighting, huge plants and large, comfortable seating areas on each side. There is a nice, comfortable open bar on your right as you head towards the inner sanctum of the resort.
Check-in went quickly. Exiting the lobby down a half flight of stairs we passed three of the 5 restaurants and the path to the spa. We walked for some distance, crossing a wooden platform area flanked by a coffee shop (with pastries) and a jewelry shop on one side and a gift shop on the other. Huge pools loomed in front of us then the lovely beach. There were beautiful green grounds with hammocks in some areas and private palapas with beds poolside.
I stayed in building two on the main floor so I got a plunge pool and whirlpool off the patio. Plenty of greenery made the space feel private.
My luggage was in my room by the time I arrived and the room had that "ahhh" feeling when I walked in. Very calming and serene with that pretty view from the sliding glass doors.
I will say the layout of the room was pretty strange to me. When you enter the room, immediately to the left is a huge jetted tub, with 2 frosted glass doors also on the left side; one a walk-in shower and the other a private toilet. Just across from that space is a countertop with a double vanity. It is all pretty with travertine floors and marble countertops and bright white square sinks and adjustable mirrors. There are pretty bath products, a make-up mirror, hair dryer, robes and slippers and it is a lovely space, just a weird location. Just above the sinks is a louvered, wooden partition that adjusts from open to close so you can look out into the bedroom or be cordoned off.
If you continue on into the room there is a closet on the right, then a small seating area (love seat). To the left is the king bed with a giant mirror on the far side. There is a sort of work station the flat screen TV sits on but not a lot of space if you have to actually work. (which most people don't at this resort). A mini-fridge contains the essential bottled waters, beers, soft drinks and small bottles of alcohol.
All the restaurants I tried served delicious food. My favorite was the Mexican restaurant but I loved the location of the seafood one; outdoor, next to the infinity pool overlooking the ocean.
Room service was amazing. Prompt, courteous, nothing left out.
Service throughout the property is top notch and well above what was expected.
There is a lot going on there and somehow they manage to make each event feel special. There was a beautiful corporate dinner on the poolside plaza one night which somehow didn't interfere with the folks playing in the pool while at the same time a wedding was going on not 50 feet away. But it seemed like each event was so private and well planned.
Some of us had issues with no hot/cold water in the showers (they're just finicky controls) but once a concern was lodged it was immediately addressed.
There were weddings every single day, sometimes 2 a day.
Some events were rained out but staff efficiently moved everything indoors and made it look good for everyone with rooms for the weddings and receptions and rooms for the corporate events and rooms for entertainment.
Entertainment on site was very good. The spa was top notch. The beach was nice but not as well kempt as other places. Spotty wifi.
I liked this place a lot and highly recommend.