I know this is the longest review you have ever seen in your life but I have what to say.
It was already enough that my husband and I only got chance to go on our honeymoon 1 year after our actual wedding so everything should have been just perfect. And it sure was.
We went to Mexico in the end of May, 2015 but there was not a single drop of rain as rain season is something that depends throughout May and until October.
From the Cancun Airport to get to Bahia Principe Sian Ka`an resort it takes 1 hour by the bus that is already waiting for you outside the terminal. Resort is not on the beach but that is known from when you are booking it. The ride on a tram to the beach and back is filling out your time (13-15 minutes one way.) They call it tram however it looks like a large golf cart. Nice breeze is blowing on your face and you roll to the beach with other guests listening local music that is often played by my favorite driver who has gold teeth and cool nickname – James Bond. In a meantime you look around and see some beautiful plants along with huge iguanas.
I am a beach person and this was my first time staying not in a waterfront resort. However this resort has other benefit to it such as amazing forestry that gives you nice shade and makes you feel like you are in a jungle. And trust me, shade is important when it is +35 Celsius outside. You always hear birds and other noises of Mother Nature.
My husband chose this hotel because of their outstanding golf course. He ended up not golfing because as it turned out the golf cart was mandatory and it would cost 100 USD for the cart and after all who needs to golf on their honeymoon?
There are three pools and few hot tubs and it is adults only resort. By the way, adults doesn’t mean seniors.
Who is there in the bushes gathering flowers? Oh, it is our housekeeper! And you will find these fresh flowers later on your towels that shaped like a swan on your bed.
We were living on the ground floor with no stairs to take. Villas are clean and cozy and air conditioning is working properly and is not being laud. You also have access to control your room temperature. Upper level units have a hot tub on the patio and of course to stay there you will need to pay more. Those rooms also have Butler who brings you cocktails and snacks right to the hot tub.
Room Service and Pillow Concierge are available to all units. Spa salon with couple treatments is available on the resort as well. SPA looked peaceful indeed.
Wifi is complimentary only at the lobby. We had free wifi in the room since our room was not too far from the lobby but you do need to go through signing in process a lot because every 24 hours access expires.
Two liters of drinkable water is in your mini fridge everyday refilled together with chips, pop and alcohol (both beer and hard liquor). It is not recommended to drink faucet water in Mexico.
As a guest of Sian Ka`an you have access to 3 other resorts of Don Pablo`s Collection however not all of them have access to your resort. At dusk we were traveling on the same tram-car to see shows and restaurants of other resorts in this amazing family. You also can go to Hacienda Dona Isabel which is a wonderful plaza with different specialty bars such as sports bar & arcade and Corona bar. Last bar is not included in all-Inclusive package though. There are many small cute stores stocked with souvenirs such as sombrero hats and magnets and shot glasses and Mayan horoscopes key chains and you name it. ATM with USD is also there for your convenience as they don’t really except credit cards.
All staff is amazing! Make sure you give tips to animation team because they work really hard to keep everyone entertained. You see the same people doing Aqua Gym and Beach Volleyball in the morning on the beach, Water Polo and Aqua Aerobics in the pool in the afternoon. Guess who is hosting night events like Casino Night, Elvis Priestley Night, Michael Jackson Night and movies trivia? Exactly, the same Fun Team members. I had a 30 minutes Spanish lesson by the pool just for me because no one else showed up and they still did it for me which made me feel special.
At some point in my life I was working at the Resort Activities department and I know very well how hard it is to smile and be funny if you don`t happened to have a very good day today in your personal life.
We met one Canadian guy who came down there with a suitcase of Canadian souvenirs for staff! He had t-shirts and magnets and all kind of stuff and this was his way of tipping.
Food was above my expectations. I have never seen in my life this amount of caviar and salmon for breakfast in any other buffet. And gourmet restaurants (2 on our resort and more on other resorts) were delicious as well. Just imagine lobster soup and lamb ribs in one dinner sitting. And don’t forget about the hot lava chocolate ice-cream desert or my favorite fried ice-cream.
You can make your dinner reservations only once you checked-in. Believe me it gets filled out pretty quick so take my advice and do your reservations for all week right away. Buffet is awesome with big food selection but you do want to check out Sushi restaurant and Italian restaurant. And if you arrive on Friday like we did you will experience Canadian Night. There are also Mexican Night and Italian Night at the buffet throughout the week.
There is a very good App for booking restaurants reservations and checking activities calendar. Go to your app store and download “Bahia Principe Hotels” while waiting for your flight.
The Italian restaurant called Dolce Vita has buffet on a side. How cool is that!? There is a swim up bar too where kids squeeze in between adults to get their Shirley Temple cocktails. Both Dolce Vita and swim up bar are located in Akumal Resort and that’s why it is important to get access to all of these resorts so you can take full advantage of Luxury Don Pablo Collection and never run out of things to do. There are snack and sushi bars by every pool so you don’t even have to go anywhere if you don’t want to.
I heard one person complaining about some rocks in the water. It is a five star resort but even they can’t control bottom of the Caribbean Sea. Just look at it as a feet massage. By the way, there are not that many rocks.
You don’t need to worry about beach towels at all however if you lose one it will cost you 40 USD. We always managed to find available lounge chairs with shadow umbrellas on the beach.
There are waiters on the beach or you can enjoy cocktails on swinging seats of the beach bar while watching the mesmerizing view of the Riviera Maya. There is a Miami Ink Tattoo shop on the beach as well for those who want nice airbrushed tattoos starting at 5 dollars. Arts and crafts are also available so you can paint your own souvenir. Mini library is also provided in the pool kiosk so grab a towel and a book or a magazine and you are all set. Sun screen lotion can be purchased in the shop at the lobby. This shop is also full of dresses and earrings. This one is for you, ladies.
The highlight of the week was snorkeling in Cenotes caves. That was an unforgettable experience. Underground water is obviously cold but it was totally worth it. We got there by taking so called Colectivo (small shuttle bus). My husband and I just walked 7 minutes to the highway from our resort and took the first bus that was going the desired direction. Bus driver accepts American dollars (3 dollars per person) just as he accepts pesos. And yes, it has air conditioning. In the bus you get chance to observe locals and interact with hospitality workers going to/from work. We got out at the entrance of Cenotes and we didn’t want to walk for few miles under the sun so we took the cab that was right there waiting for tourists like us. We shared our cab with nice couple from Brazil that was also standing there and wondering about their options on getting to the actual caves. I also had a great time that day meeting up with my old friend from Mexico who I met on my U.S. adventures.
Mayan pyramids are not too far and tour costs 100 USD per person. Other adventures are also available to purchase in the lobby. Ones of the mind blowing ones are swimming with dolphins and Xplor eco-park.
As of snorkeling, the best way is to bring your own mask. Our week was hot but windy. The red flag was raised on the beach every day and the free rental of masks was stopped due to waves but if you have your own mask no one stops you from using it.
You can exchange American and Canadian dollars to Pesos at the Front Desk. They don’t have change for Canadian dollars so make sure you bring exact amount you would like to exchange to pesos. There is also an ATM in the lobby which gives American dollars. We exchange some money back in Toronto because rates on resorts are little bit higher than in currency exchange places and also because on the resort they will not give you 50 USD in one dollar bills. You need one dollar bills up front for tipping as it starts as early as in the bus that takes you from Cancun airport to the resort. I gladly gave my tips to the driver for the very next reason: I have sense of humor and I appreciate people that have it too. He cracked jokes like ”Please don’t forget your kids, last year someone forgot a kid and those your kids are expensive, they want to go to McDonald’s all the time!” Guide will also announce: ”Please guys, you are tired after the flight and I have cold beer and water in my cooler for a few bucks each”. If you not ready for a bear, get some water. These people count on you, they have tiny salaries. They go to university to learn English just so they can work in Travel and Hospitality.
I gladly exchange one Mexican man in the airport bunch of loonies and toonies into Canadian bills because banks only accept bills and that’s why you will see people cutting into flight check-in lines and asking to exchange their tips for bills.
I came home with a wallet full of change and bag full of memories.
Overall amazing resort and unbelievable experience of a lifetime.
P.S. Sian Ka`an from Mayan language means Where The Sky Was Born.