The resort was good with great amenities and mostly lovely and hard working staff. The pools were a good size with each main pool having swim up bars and the Yucatan side of the hotel the best barman in the hotel-Nazario. This guy was hard working, pleasant, fun and would be a good source of information for the guests. Check in to the hotel was fairly quick but we were asked if we wanted to upgrade before seeing our room which I've been made aware of upgrades before but never asked to do it before even checking in. Me and my fiance found this strange and when we saw the state of the room we realised why. The room was of a very poor standard. Decor was old and damp, a damp odour throughout the room and the patio faced a wall at the back of the kitchens and the cooling fans were blasting out hot air in the direction of our patio. Needless to say you couldn't sit out there as there was no view and the heat and noise was unbearable. You couldn't really sit with the patio door open either due to it. We were given 2 x single beds rather than the double we'd requested. The general conditions were very poor. We asked if there was a fridge and were told no standard rooms could have them. We didn't ask to move rooms at first and explored the resort. The restaurants were a decent standard. The main buffet near main pool was open for breakfast/lunch/dinner. Breakfast was sometimes a bit of a wait to be seated but once seated easy to get your food. There was always fresh coffee, tea, cold juices, continental breakfasts, bacon, beans, sausages, fruits etc. Cereals and kids stuff there too. There was a lot to choose from but by the end of the 2 weeks we were starting to get a bit bored of the food. Lunchtimes were generally good and if you ever got a bit bored in there you could walk over to the other side of the pool and there's the burger/grill station where you can get something to eat next to the pool or sit in the restaurant. Dinner was usually pretty good with a wide variety of foods to choose from and themed nights from Mexican, Chinese to seafood and Spanish tapas style dishes and more. There's another buffet restaurant that was mainly closed whilst we were there and it seemed to be 1 they would open if hotel is busier with similar food on offer. Al a carte restaurants included Japanese, Tapas, Mexican, Italian, steak house & grill inc fillet/sirloin steaks, mixed grill, grilled fish etc. There was also a creperie serving savoury and sweet crepes, milkshakes and coffees. All of the Al a cartes were available to us 3 x per week for free and once for the tapas bar as made available from Thomascook. We met guests who also travelled from the U.K. with Thomson and they had more visits than we did, but we had plenty. With all Al a cartes it was first come first serve, so avoid being dissapointed and arrive no later than 1930. If they're busy they will give you a drink whilst you wait to be seated. After 2000 people were waiting well over an hour and some people turned away. All in all the food choices were very good but the only restaurant which was exceptional was the steak house/grill.
The bars were good and usually fairly quick service with great friendly bar staff. Good cocktails on the all inclusive. Wine was reasonable and you could purchase good quality wines in the Al a cartes. You have the 2 x pool bars with the one on the Yucatan side staying open until late night, chill out bar on the beach that stays open until late and the bar up near the reception where the theatre and entertainment area is. A lot of the drinks are branded but some are local, they all tasted good and the beer was standard 4% beer and easy to drink.
Included on the all inclusive there was an hour of bike hire per day, you could take the bike on a trip around the marina with the animation team twice a week or take them out independantly. Kayaking, catamaran rides, snorkelling equipment was also free for 1-2 hours per day. Apparently windsurfing was available but I never did it. At an extra cost you could do diving trips, PADI courses and hire motorised watersports equipment.
The animation team were reasonable from what I saw during the day and did the usual stuff (darts, waterpolo, volleyball, football) but at night did a nightly show in the theatre which was pretty good for kids and families or couples. The theatre was a decent size but was very warm as the air con struggled to keep it cool. The hotel had a gym free to use for guests and a spa at a charge. The spa looked nice but was expensive and the gym helped me burn off those big breakfasts. Equipment in the gyn new and up to date in fully air conditioned gym.
There was tennis courts above the theatre and a 5 a side football area opposite Yucatan reception. They also had archery there too. The Yucatan reception also offered the sports bar with pool tables free of charge, golf simulator (extra cost), and many wide screen tv's showing football (soccer), golf and other sports. It isn't staffed until 1600 so the bar is closed but if you notify the animation team they will open it for you to go in and watch games earlier as the time difference in the U.K. the games are on usually around lunchtime or earlier. They don't mind you taking beers in from all inclusive bars. There's also a mini nightclub next to it and this we only visited once, but was very good near the end of the holiday and DJ spinning good dance music and RnB. The drinks in here are also all inclusive and try the tequilla boom boom. This stayed open until approx 0230.
The issues we had in this resort was the state of our first room and we had 2 x items of clothing stolen from inside our room. Both items were folded in the wardrobe and at the bottom of other clothes etc. and were gone and both were football tops, so obviously targeted. We're thankful it was only minimal loss but it's not nice having somebody who's had access to your room go through your things. We had purchased a safe in the room and all money, documentation and jewellary were in there otherwise it could have been worst. We met other couples that between them had lost a watch, camera and other football shirts. When we reported the problem the reception asked us to wait in the room and security would come but they never did. Over an hour later we went back and were told security had been but there was no answer. We were moved rooms and were told that a security report would be issued stating who'd been in the room and it would be done in 2 days. We arrived at our other room which was 10 times better that our first and it had a fridge as standard despite us being told they weren't available in standard rooms. This room was what we expected and had a partial sea view and pool view. We weren't prepared to pay the extra £200-300 extra to upgrade rooms and after spending £2000 to go there we shouldn't have to. When we went back to reception 2 days later we were told no security report had been produced due to us refusing security into our room. We said to concierge we paid £2000 to come here and want to know our things are safe and if something happens for it to be properly looked into. She replied saying 'you didn't pay me £2000 did you'. As you can imagine, at this point we were outraged and along with the Thomascook rep that had overcharged us for our excursion, when we asked for the difference back the following day due to her pricing it up in US dollars and us paying in pesos, she said I hope you're right about this otherwise it's gonna be a tight weekend for me isn't it. This was really the last straw as getting verbal abuse from the rep wasn't to me good service. We never recieved a face to face apology and recieved a message that we'd get a bottle of sparkling wine sent to our room (which never arrived). On check out everyone was given a feedback form but us, we asked for one and they covered the pile and said they'd ran out.
Take away the way that the management etc. failed to deal with our probs and made us feel like we were the problem and a poor rep service from a usually reliable Thomascook company the resort is good with great amenities and staff. Unfortunately among the staff there's a minority of thieving buggers and it's apparent that in the managements failure to deal with it is why it still exists. We met plenty of people who hadn't had this happen and also from other hotels who said they never heard of such things. We and a few others were unlucky but I would not return to the resort on the basis that the management failed us. I would recommend it for those on a smaller Caribbean budget who want something suitable for a bit of everything and enough quality to see that you have a good holiday.
Unique Quality: Thatched roofing on all buildings sets it off well and the hotel grounds are kept immaculately clean. There is lots of wildlife on offer from birds, giant sea turtles (occasionally pop up on the beach), dolphins, mannatees, seal lions and stingrays down at the marina (5 min walk in secure grounds), Not high rise hotel and more of a spread out complex. Lots of amenities included in your all inclusive package and not being too far away from such sites as Tulum and Coba or the nightlife and shops of Playa Del Carmen. Very nice beach and sand, however limited swimming area in the sea due to coral/rocks. Plenty of loungers and shaded spots etc.
Directions: On main road from Cancun driving south down the Riviera Maya, drive past Del Carmen until you get to the gates of Puerto Aventuras. Once through the gates is sign posted to the resort and you drive past the marina before arriving at the resort.