TripAdvisor Traveller Reviews
Amazing amazing amazing!!
When we were booking our trip the reviews for this resort weren't as great but after our 7 day stay there we believe it should be 10 stars not just 3.. The kids were sad to leave and began crying. There's everything one could need on a vacation all in the resort, and even though you are able to leave and explore the city. It's very organized, safe and always a great time, whether it's 11 am or 8 pm. We became friends with many of the other tourists that were visiting from many places and even the workers! It feels like a home and you never feel uncomfortable there. It was one of the best trips we've ever been on and we would come back here in a heart beat. The room was great, always clean and smelt great always. The only downfall would be that there isn't wifi everywhere around the resort and the mosquitos (which you can't control) but this is a trip of a lifetime. There was never a dull moment, even with me being a single dad with 5 kids on this trip.. The crew was very helpful, even sunwing representatives were great as soon as you arrive! We can't wait to come back! Everyone should be choosing this resort as their number 1 vacation place.
My husband and I spent 1 week from March 3-10 at the Gran Festivall. I read a lot of the reviews before booking and I thought I'd be OK with some of the points mentionned ...but after living them - I wasn't.
I'd rather give information on what we saw rather then my opinion as I feel that's relative to each, we did meet one other couple from Canada with a child and they loved their stay at the hotel.
We arrived on a Thursday; very little guests until the locals arrived on Friday for the weekend. We felt that the hotel was more local mexican oriented as not a lot of staff spoke english (we meet 3), which is OK until you need sometime more than a drink.
No one of the entertainment staff ever came to us asking to join them playing sports. They would go around talking to the guests and as soon as they knew we we're not fluent in Spanish...they never came to talk to us for the rest of our stay.
One bedroom villa concept compared to the regular hotel room; more space, 2 bathrooms, kitchen table, mini-fridge (we requested one at check-in), 2 single beds that can be used as sofas, mini patio.
We did get bed tics/bugs bites, we didn't request a new room as we weren't not sure if they would understand us and we might have the same issue with a new villa. I slept with socks :-).
Friday, Saturday, Sunday; all the buffet/snack bar were opened. The rest of the week; one at the pool and one at the beach - no snack bar if you're hungry outside the buffet time.
Night Entertainment: we stay about 30 minutes if the show as we didn't understand...they only spoke spanish
Big pool; a little bit under 5 feet and there's a deep end. A lot of the lounge chairs are broken. We visited the adult pool but didn't stay there as workers were working on the hot tub.
Food; you won't be dissapointed if you like mexican food, there's a lot.
We ate at the Italian restaurant " Ã la carte" on our last evening - Italian food was a nice change from Mexican food
It's a nice walk to the beach over the bridge, waves were pretty strong, my husband had a good time in the water. Some locals brought their boards to surf
The resort is huge, a lot of tennis courts, there's a basketball court, a soccer field, Zip Line and slides. We didn't try any of these.
The WIFI is at the lobby only, there's a lot of mosquitos around that area any time of day/night. Make sure you bring repelent. We thought the mosquitos would come out once the sun was down...NOPE - around 6pm until the morning
We took the bus into town (around 45 minutes), we walked around and had lunch. A lot of flea markets and I did see 2 fabric stores (to my delight).
There's a Walmart on your way into the city if ever you want to buy something.(We bought booze as there's no duty free at the airport), snacks, souvenirs...
I needed to eat something else besides the buffet food; we tried VIPS (like Denny's) and El Vaquero (Steakhouse; be aware that it's closed on Monday which is the reason we tried VIPS). Good food (both close to the Walmart).
There's an area called La Boquita, lots of beachside restaurants and flea markets.
We decided to take a cab (70 pesos) to get there as we were told it would be a bit far by bus. We walked it back to the hotel so we could have easily walk there. Sad we didn't know about this place earlier as we we're have gone a one more time.
I did have an incident; I dropped my earring in the bathroom sink drain...my husband went to the lobby hoping someone would understand the issue. Someone came right away even if it was around 9pm and got my earring.
The Sunwing rep Francisco was very nice and helpfull with translation or questionns when we needed it.
Loved our stay
We loved our two week stay at Gran Festivall Resort in Manzanillo Mexico. Would I return for another visit? Without hesitation. Would I recommend it to friends and families? I would.
Of course, when we booked two weeks at this establishment we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into but we are very happy with the outcome.
At first glance the place appears a little run-down: floor tiles are worn, taps drip, and the A.C. is noisy at times. However, these impressions quickly became insignificant because the service and friendliness of the staff are so exceptional. It seems the quality of accommodation is a bit "hit or miss." We were okay with our unit but we met other people who asked to be moved to other units (mold or accessibility issues).
The resort mostly caters to Mexican families that drive down from Guadalajara: babies, children, parents and grandparents. We were struck by how well behaved the Mexican children are (we haven't witnessed one temper tantrum) and how attentive and affectionate the Mexican parents are. ðŸ˜Š
The main pool is at least 50 meters and L-shaped, and there is a smaller "adults only" pool where some hang-out and drink, but is also quite swimmable. A special nod to Fernando, the bar tender, who was always attentive and good-humoured. We heard from other guests that the tennis courts are world-class and one couple we spoke with visit annually just to play tennis.
We met several fellow Canadians who are repeat visitors to the resort. One retired couple were staying for a month for the twelfth year in a row. Another family was paying their fifth visit because there are so many activities for the children and the value for money is so good.
The Pacific Ocean is across the street, reachable by an overpass. Get there early if you want a seat under an umbrella. Vendors selling everything from jewelry to coffee cups to sun dresses walk up and down the beach, but they aren't aggressive and they move on when you nod "no". That said, being continuously interrupted does get wearing after a few days and we stopped visiting the beach except for our morning walk.
And the food! OMG, delicious. There is a lunch restaurant on the beach that serves wonderful fresh seafood. There is a big Mexican buffet open on the weekends when the place gets busy, and a smaller buffet through the week with oodles of fresh fruit, veggies, tacos, beans, pasta, stew, tamales, etc. Finally there is a more upscale Italian restaurant named Confetti when you want something a little special.
One day we took the local bus into Manzanillo Center. Buskers get on for a few stops entertaining the commuters. We were preached to, there was a guitarist singing off-key and then a couple of young men in clown makeup doing a skit. One has to admire the entrepreneurial spirit of these people.
The only downside for me is that I attract those nasty little mosquitos. My partner doesn't have a single bite, while my legs are covered with toonie-sized itchy welts. They find that micro spot the insect repellant missed. ðŸ˜¢
Finally, the climate here on the Pacific coast is so very pleasant: a steady 30 degrees with a gentle breeze off the ocean so you never feel uncomfortable. You'd better believe we'll be visiting this part of the world again.
Left after 1st night
We travelled to Manzanillo from Feb 10 - 17, 2016 and booked through Sunwing at the Gran Festival Resort knowing that it was not the best resort to go to (just read some of the reviews, but we received such a great deal (820 CDN each). All that being said, this place is terrible (of what I saw of it). We were placed in room 127; there is a terrible sewer smell in this unit that comes and goes; black mold around the air conditioning and the beautiful view is of the tennis court fence! The bathrooms (there are 2 of them) are old and tiles are chipped; there was no fridge in the unit. The bed was decent and clean. There were not very many other Canadians staying there and of the few couples that we met; they had booked for 2 weeks and had said "we are making the best of it". We arrived later in the afternoon and once they took us to our room, started walking around the complex. I like walking as much as anyone, but when it is 30 degrees and hotter out, it gets a little tiring. There is a lot of walking involved here - I mean a lot of walking!! We had a snack at the main pool snack bar, a piece of cold pizza and attempted a burger that had been sitting out for who knows how long! The staff were constantly asking us if we wanted another drink. We found the adult pool which I have to say is the best part of this resort. A small bar there with a great bartender, Fernando, who speaks very good english, so if you decide to stay here, go there and get whatever information you need. Most of the other staff on the resort speak very little english and some of the front desk staff are a little rude!
Long story short - we met with the Sunwing rep the next morning and asked to be transferred. Sunwing did transfer us but we couldn't move until the following day, so we stayed here 2 nights.
The beach restaurant had some great fried fish the afternoon we were there. But there were absolutely no seats in the Gran Festival area, so we were hustled down to another area, where we had to pay a couple of bucks for each beer we had (which is not really the idea of an all inclusive). The waves and beach in this area are fantastatic!!
I would never book this resort again and unless you are a family with children I don't know why you would come here. It is very Mexican oriented resort and a very large resort! Never saw the water slides or zip line being used for the 2 days we were there!
Be smart - book the Tesoro Hotel or some where else!
Wonderful at a distance
Our family of 4, 2 adults and 2 kids age 11 & 13 just returned from the Gran Festival after a one week stay.
We read all the reviews before we left so we weren't expecting luxury at all but were still quite disappointed. First I'll start with the good. The waterslides were fun for all of us once you made the climb to the top, lol!! They were a bit hazardous though, all of us coming home with bruises from being tossed around. Was a nice change of pace when we were tired of the pool in the afternoon. The beach was lovely, always clean with warm ocean water. There were always lots of large waves though which are fun if your older but pretty scary for kids. All of us got taken down a couple of times by 6-9 foot waves. The staff were very friendly even if most don't speak English. The adult pool is amazing to get away from the noise of the main pool. There is even a bar there that even serves you pool side and provides peanuts to snack on, very, very nice!!
The villa we had was 112 which was in a great spot for quiet and was very large, 2 separate bedrooms-one with 2 twin beds for our kids and the 2nd with a queen bed for my husband and I. There was a separate living area, kitchenette, and 2 bathrooms with showers and another 2 piece bathroom off the kids bedroom. We were close to the main pool and waterslides which was nice. The villas have lots of character and are nice to look at from the outside built into the hillside.
The beachside restaurant was really nice with a few different choices then the main buffet with very attentive staff.
The bar staff was also amazing, remembering our drink orders and very friendly.
The BEST part of the week was the weather!!! It was sunny and HOT all week!!! Not a cloud in the sky all week which was AMAZING!!!
Now for the bad: There was only 1 buffet open most of the week plus the beachside restaurant but they seemed to serve "leftovers" at each meal with some fresh food mixed in. The omelettes in the morning were yummy but hotdogs sliced up for breakfast really??? On the weekend they opened both buffets, the snack bar and the beach restaurant so there was potentially a little more selection except that they served the same food basically at each one. There is an Italian a la carte but it was closed 3 nights of our 7 so we never actually ate there. There were often ants found climbing on the serving plates of the cold food at the buffets which was kinda gross!! Lots of Mexican choices of food but not sure how good they were compared to other resorts since they were dishes I don't know. Actually there were lots of ants throughout the resort so be prepared for that too.
The main pool was very large but almost 5 feet deep with no shallow end so it was challenging for my son who is barely 5 feet tall himself. Hard for him to take advantage of any water sports when he could barely touch the bottom. There were very few activities in the pool. They would put up a net across the pool at one end for volleyball in the morning but then take it down right after. Given the size of the pool it would have been nice to have it up all day to play with our kids. There were chipped tiles throughout the pool but it was clean and refreshing.
There were about 8 entertainment staff but most seemed quite disengaged even while they participated in the activities. Mila was the only one who said hi to us everyday and came and asked us to join her for activities. Not many of the entertainment staff spoke English which made communicating very difficult. When they would go on the loud speaker announcing the activities they only spoke in Spanish. At the nightly show the MC only spoke in Spanish so when he was speaking we didn't have a clue what he was saying.
The beach was nice but FULL of vendors. We have travelled a lot in Mexico and NEVER been bothered by so many vendors while we tried to relax on the beach. It made it difficult to relax when you kept having them come up to sell you something.
Our villa was very large and nice with 2 bedrooms but the bathrooms looked like they haven't seen any updates in 20 years. There were chipped tiles, old faucets with no cold water in the sink, poor drainage in the shower and a horrible sewage smell a lot of the time which made the entire villa smell disgusting. Thankfully we were only in the villa to sleep. This was the nicer of the 2 villas we were given. The first one had no fridge, peeling paint in the villa not just outide and bathrooms in even more disrepair. Again, they have the potential to be amazing with some upgrades.
Overall the resort is in drastic need of repair. There is peeling paint, chipped tiles, moldy bathrooms and just an overall sense that they are overwhelmed with the upkeep of this VERY large resort.
There are very few English speaking travellers so if you want peace and quiet with no one making small talk then this is the place for you. It is 90% Mexicans who stay there but actually is only busy on the weekends. The weekends are CRAZY busy with locals who come to the resort so there are line-ups at the bars and restaurants all day. From Monday afternoon to Friday it is very quiet. I think we counted about 50 loungers at the pool one day and not all of them were being used. We've never seen that in all our years of travel. At least there was no having to get up at 7am to reserve a chair, lol!!
Because there were so few people at the resort though not all restaurants were open (as mentioned above) and a lot of the activities on the schedule did not take place which was disappointing.
Knowing that the food was not going to be great based on reviews we read before we left we made a list of restaurants to visit for dinner while we were in Manzanillo and we weren't disappointed!
First we went to Juanito's which was a short taxi ride and served very casual Mexican food as well as burgers and fries. Great food at a very reasonable price.
The next night we tried the Oasis Ocean Club which was casual but very upscale. We had a wonderful dinner there on the beach with live music playing in the background and waiters that took care of our every need. At little more costly at about $170CAD for the 4 of us.
Our favourite restaurant was El Vaquero which we went to twice. The atmosphere was not ocean side and a little louder with outside traffic but the food was amazing!!! They brought flank steak that was served on a mini charcoal grill to keep it hot while you eat, in family sized portions that you all took from. The portions were HUGE which made for great value since the food was delicious too!! The service the most attentive we had while in Mexico EVER but not bothersome. I should mention that each of the restaurants I mentioned were within a 10 min drive which was no more than 70 pesos to get to.
Overall if you get a great deal on the resort and don't mind the rundown state of some of the rooms and resort as well as eating some meals off the resort then it is a good place to go. Would we return, no not again. We are not resort snobs but do appreciate good food and more up to date facilities when we go away for our family vacations. Thankfully the weather made up for the lack of service, food and rundown facilities.
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