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Reviewed 16 June 2011

My wife and I are very tolerant travelers . . . anytime we travel to all-inclusives we temper our expectations with the knowledge that standards are not the same as they are at home. That being said there are certain things that we cannot tolerate, health and safety is at the top of that list, food quality and service are a close second. Before I start my review, I will state that the review really is lovely it is just poorly managed. OK, here goes.
OUR PROBLEMS:
1) This was a special trip for my wife and I, we were celebrating our 2nd wedding anniversary, our babymoon and my birthday all in one fell swoop. So in advance we booked the babymoon package and scheduled some spa services--we did this by working with customer service via email. When we arrived at the resort, none of the work orders had been processed in spite of our prior efforts so we had to spend several hours working on setting up the spa appointments, setting up the babymoon activities, etc. It was a waste of our time as the staff still failed to follow up with a number of the babymoon items including upgraded spa products for my wife, turn down service, etc. This is more than an inconvenience, it is a sign of poor customer service and certainly not the way to inspire repeat business;
2) As I mentioned, my wife is pregnant, so we have our concerns about safety. It rained the first day that we arrived and while the resort cannot be blamed for the weather, there are serious issues here that are applicable to anyone that is pregnant, elderly or disabled -- there are NO handrails anywhere in the resort, including staircases and the walkway areas, which are almost all marble and thus very slippery. Second, the resort leaves standing water everywhere on the floor thus exacerbating this problem, the only real action taken is a bunch of warning cones that are placed everywhere--I complained about this immediately and someone came to squeegee the water out of our building--but the thing is, I shouldn't have had to complain, resorts need to react quickly in order to protect the safety of its guests.
3) There was black mold all around the interior of the shower. Yes, this is the tropics. No, this is not something that just needs to be expected. We have been to resorts throughout the Caribbean and this is NOT just something you need to expect. Mold is a danger to all people and was not something we found acceptable in an area that we would be occupying.
4) There were insects crawling all over our 2nd story bathroom. If you see bugs in the bathroom, you can pretty much assume that they are elsewhere in your room as well. Again, this is disgusting. I don't want to have to worry about getting bit by bugs at night, or worse, bringing them back to my home at the end of the trip--a pretty lousy souvenir. This is not standard to the tropics, yes there are bugs, no you should NOT expect to see them crawling all over your room. If you are cool with bugs, this is a great place to stay and/or you are much more tolerant than us.
5) We upgraded to the preferred club thinking that would really elevate our experience for our special trip . . . it didn't. We loved the amenities of the private pool, but the day we were there the service was lousy. When trying to set up reservations for palapas and bali beds the next day, we were just told to show up and it would be no problem, not what we expected, but whatever. So we swam in the pool, which is lovely and secluded, but when it came time to get a drink, we waited for over almost an hour, other "preferred" guests were getting irritated as well. The bartender had disappeared and Ivan was trying his best, but he is no bartender and asked me three times what I wanted because he kept forgetting. When the bartender reappeared, he only had 2 bottles of rum (the fruit of his hour long jaunt) and then Ivan took off. We never got served our drinks despite repeated requests. We left and went to the main pool where we were served within 5 minutes (so much for the upgrade). The beach service was no better, there is almost zero wait staff asking guests if they want drinks so we didn't get anything. Again, we are on vacation, we upgraded to preferred club and expected a different level of service and pampering which was never seen during our stay. Thankfully, we weren't really there to drink, we were there to relax, but we paid for service that just wasn't present at NOW.
6) We had read that the later you went to dinner, the longer you would wait. So the first (and thankfully only) night we were at NOW Sapphire we went to the French restaurant. The resort requires proper dress for dinner -- which I really like, I think people should dress up for dinner -- however, when we entered the restaurant it was abundantly clear that the A/C had not been turned on, so here I was in pants and close toed shoes in a room that was somewhere between 90-100 degrees Farenheit -- I was a sweaty mess in no time. I will say that the red house wine they served was very nice. The food, not so much, my pork was grossly over cooked and my wife's food was no better. As a previous reviewer stated, there is simply bad technique used in the cooking. The best thing that we had during our brief visit was the chips and guacamole, house salsas, these really are quite good and not be missed, we just couldn't eat that and nothing else the rest of the week.
7) Preferred Club Lounge Liquor: So after dinner, my wife and I went to the PC Lounge so I could have an after dinner Grand Marnier and she could have a decaf coffee. Well, when I poured the Grand Marnier into a glass, a syrupy clear liquid came out which was most assuredly NOT Grand Marnier. A French Canadian couple from Montreal, who had been staying there for over a week and had seen enough of such things stood up and demanded to see the manager, which of course took awhile . . . it seems like anytime things went wrong, there would be a delay in the response time (as if they are trying to wait you out), then whoever shows up states that the problem is related to someone else (wasting more time). I will state, that after sitting there for an hour or so, a bottle of actual Grand Marnier showed up and I had a nice cocktail! The real issue here is -- if they are using stuff like this in the preferred club, what are they serving elsewhere? THIS IS A HEALTH ISSUE--goodness knows what kind of bath tub liquor and wine is being served there.
8) The Spa was so expensive we wondered why they could not invest in any air conditioning, hard to relax while you are drenched in sweat.

PROS:
1) Again, the resort grounds are beautiful, the main lodge area is for the most part nice as well -- there is so much unrealized potential at this resort. Some good leadership and some staff training in customer service would go a long way to elevating this resort from a low level all-inclusive to a place that I could give a decent review;
2) Our room did include the promised upgraded liquor (premium vodka, rum and bourbon)--this was likely the only real liquor I had access to the entire time);
3) Our room came stocked with complimentary Pringles and peanuts M&Ms, which was a much appreciated touch;
4) The hotel is extremely close to the airport, we got from the airport to the hotel in about 15 minutes.

All in all, I would not recommend this resort as it is currently being operated by a staff sorely in need of a refresher course in customer service -- please note, there were some staff that were professional (positive wait staff experience at buffet lunch and in the preferred club lounge). My wife and I spent 5-6 hours working with NOW Sapphire and Travelocity (both of who tried to blow us off) in order to get a refund. Travelocity ultimately refunded our money and we happily upgraded to the Royal Hideaway Playacar (for not much more than we paid for the NOW Sapphire).

In the event management responds to this comment, please do not invite us to come back to your resort, I would never return.

Room Tip: Find another resort, any other resort
  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
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6  Thank AndyMac94
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NowSapphireRC, Sociel Media at Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun, responded to this reviewResponded 23 June 2011

Dear Sir / Madam,

We appreciate the feedback regarding your recent experience at the Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun. We sincerely apologize for any discomfort or disappointment caused. All the comments are addressed with the involved departments in order to improve and make the necessary corrections.

We really hope to have the opportunity to welcome you again in the near future.

with kind regards,

ORV
Sociel Media

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 June 2011

Forget the negative reviews, this place is fantastic. <A family vacation for 5 of us with 3 Preferred rooms, what more can we ask. >The upgrade to Preferred is worth every dollar. I´ll write mroe when I get back if we decide to come back.

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Discochemist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NowSapphireRC, Social Media at Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun, responded to this reviewResponded 23 June 2011

Dear Sir / Madam,

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments about your stay with us, our best efforts will be made for you to continue enjoying our beautiful resort.

With kind regards,

ORV
Social Media

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 June 2011

My wife and I chose NS for our Honeymoon. We were married on Isla Mujeres during the week of May 14-23, and then traveled to the mainland to NS from May 23-29, 2011. Let me start by stating that we ARE NOT the all-inclusive types!! We love to absorb the local culture while we are on vacation, and some of the best meals we have on vacation are usually at the "hole in the wall" places where all of the locals eat! We usually go for the $80-$100 rooms wherever we travel, and are very savvy travelers! We chose this resort based on a close friend's recommendation, and the idea of being served for a week sounded really nice!

I have Celiac Disease (allergy to Gluten) and contacted the resort prior to booking to inquire if they could accommodate this dietary request. I was assured that they could provide a complete Gluten Free option at all of the restaurants and the buffet had numerous selections. I was provided w/ a few pieces of paper (a day later) that I was to hand to our server to alert the kitchen staff about my allergy. While everyone was VERY accommodating, there were CLEARLY some Cross-Contamination issues behind the scenes!! I was covered in hives for the entire week of our stay!! Most restaurants in our home State of Colorado are well versed in the practice of "Complete Gluten Free Practices", but it was clear that this establishment WAS NOT!!!! Also, most of the drink mixes contain gluten as fillers. I have been emailing the resort to obtain some type of credit for another stay re: this, but have yet to receive anything. Anyway, I dealt w/ this the best I could and tried to enjoy the remainder of my Honeymoon. Overall, the service at the resort was excellent! Paco (Romantic Dinner on the Beach) was awesome, and Israel and Villy (Preferred Club Pool) were incredible and waited on us hand and foot!! Remember....a $5-$10 tip per day to the pool guy will insure excellent service!!

We booked the Preferred Club option b/c it was the only way to receive the Honeymoon Package. The Honeymoon Package was valued at over $800. When we checked in, we were given a sheet that described the amenities of the Honeymoon Package, and there were numerous things that were omitted from the original document that we were sent when we reserved. We then had to return to the Preferred Club Lounge to meet w/ someone to resolve this. 30 minutes later it was resolved, but we were then told that we needed to speak w/ a Sales Agent to receive our resort money coupons. We then met w/ a lady that presented us w/ $200 of Resort Coupons, and tried to get us to attend a "meeting" at one of their Sister resorts to receive some free nights for a future visit. We were promised $400 in Resort Money Coupons, and it took quite a bit of time to finally receive that, too. Our impression was that this resort only delivered what was promised if we actually caught the errors and called them out on it. We are VERY glad that we did not attend the "meeting" at the other resort!!!! We met another coupe at the resort that did attend the "meeting", and they stated that it was the most pushy sales pitch they have ever attended!! Numerous people trying to get them to invest $25K on the spot! When they said "No" numerous times, they were then greeted by yet another salesperson trying to get them to invest any amount of money. That's a very tacky approach that is used widely in Mexico. The resort money is just a book of coupons. For example, for the Spa coupons you would need to book a $120 Massage in order to use the $40 coupon, thus costing you $80. I don't know about you, but we live in a high end Ski Town, and rarely pay even $80 for a massage!

As far as the room went, we were told that we could have a top floor King, and when we checked in we were escorted to a ground level King. Yeah, we upgraded to the Oceanfront King, but who wants to use to jacuzzi on the patio when there are people staring at you! The next day, we were moved to a 2nd floor unit, but they only had 2 Queens available. This was a total drag to have 2 queen beds for our honeymoon!! Also, our AC vent had mold surrounding it, and caused some respiratory distress.

Do not be mislead by the 2nd picture in the Photo Gallery on the Now Sapphire website!! The photo shows lush grounds to the South of the Resort, and clearly has been altered to not show the massive all-inclusive that is located directly next door to Now Sapphire!!!!!! There was music blasting from this resort on one day that was very annoying.

As far as other people's comments go re: reserving the pool chairs......"Don't Hate The Player....Hate The Game"!!! We really enjoyed saving space on one of the Bali Beds at the Preferred Club Pool area, and the staff at the pool were very accommodating. We did not spend one minute at the large (LOUD!!!!) pool.

Overall, this resort would get a 2.5 star rating from me.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank threepin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 June 2011

This place was amazing, however I really did expect a little more. The all inclusive benefit definately hit the mark with the choice of restaurants, the housekeeping service was the best I've experienced as was the quaility of the cocktails, yet there was definately something still missing that I can't quite put my finger on. The spa was really expensive and not that great that is one of the points I can name that don't give this the excellent rating in my mind.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
2  Thank moocow8989
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NowSapphireRC, Social Media at Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun, responded to this reviewResponded 17 June 2011

Dear Sir & Madam,

Thank you for sharing your comments on Tripadvisor about your recent stay with us. It is great to read that you enjoyed the rooms, the cocktails and the housekeeping service. We humbly work very hard every day to provide our guests unforgettable experiences. I will share your comments with the hotel staff, they will be very happy to know that their effort and genuine care for our guests is recognized.

Your observation abou the spa prices will be addressed to the Spa manager.

We look forward to your return to the Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun and to having the privilege of being of service to you again soon.

With kind regards,

ORV
Social Media

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Reviewed 13 June 2011

Was at Sapphire in Nov. of 2010 for my birthday; as a result of that trip, my daughter's neighbors decided to have their wedding there in June 2011. We all had a great time and I have to especially commend all of the waitstaff and housekeeping personnel. I don't think anyone could ask for better service. The entertaiinment staff really tried to get everyone involved in activities and Mauritsio (is that right?) was a big hit with the kids, taking the time to teach them to dance and even holding them up in the water for the aerobics class. I think the food is great, very good selection of dishes, and, as a group, we all enjoyed the Japanese restaurant one evening. We had a great time and have all agreed that what happens in Mexico stays in Mexico. No, I will not explain that remark, except to say that the adult pool is wonderful at night.

Room Tip: I had a jungle side room and was very happy,
  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank toniadamatis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NowSapphireRC, Social Media at Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun, responded to this reviewResponded 17 June 2011

Dear Sir / Madam,

On behalf of the team at Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun, we wish to thank you for your gracious comments about our facilities, Staff, food and entertainment team. We are very pleased to know you enjoyed your stay with us.

We look forward to welcoming you again very soon!.

Cordially yours,

ORV
Social media

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