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Reviewed 28 May 2012

My boyfriend and I travelled to Now Sapphire for a vacation getaway, and chose the NS after much research. I have been to many all inclusives, and this is my forth time to the Riviera Maya area.
We booked a Tropical view NON preferred junior suite. After much discussion back and forth, we chose to try and upgrade to preferred upon arrival. To upgrade was going to be almost $800 more dollars and we were told that we could always add on the preferred services later in our stay if we chose. We decided to not go preferred at all....saved us a TON of money, and did NOT feel like we missed out on anything! Room service (though only slightly limited menu in comparison to preferred) is available to all guests, not just preferred, and the resort is small, so even in building 7 we were a 2 minute walk from everything. With the money we saved going nonpreferred, we got spa treatments (highly recommend with the hydrotherapy...awesome!), did two excursions, a beach dinner, and still had money left over from what it would have cost us to upgrade. A lot of reviews said they had top shelf liquor in the preferred lounge (which was an air conditioned room with no view of ocean or pool), but all the bars a pretty good midgrade selection of alcohol available (i.e...Stoli and Absolut vodka, jack Daniels, Johnnie walker red label, Bacardi rum, etc.). Additionally, another reason to not go preferred...if you tip anyone, they are willing to go the extra mile to do anything that you could probably get with preferred. The resort was at about 65% capacity when we were there, so not sure if we would have seen more of a difference between preferred/non-preferred at full capacity. We thought the food was excellent...blue water grill was beautiful, as was the romantic dinner on the beach :)
If you are looking for an awesome swimming beach...this is not the resort. We are beach lovers, and while it was beautiful to look at, there was more seaweed (so much that you couldn't see your feet at all at any depth directly off the beach) than I have ever experienced in this area. It is a large reef offshore, and a couple of days of storms, so that may have contributed. There were no palm trees on the beach either, which, was a little disappointing, but overall okay :) We enjoyed the pool bar and the services of Josue and Roberto a lot :)
The walk down to Puerto Morelos is defintily worth it...we did it in the pouring down rain, which only added to the adventure. Once we got there (about a 45 minute walk along the beach) we were treated to the coldest and most refreshing Coronas we had all week, at a beach bar down there called La Pescana I think.
Overall, this is a beautiful resort, for nonpreferred priced appropriately, close to the airport (only about 20 minutes), very friendly staff, great food, fabulous drinks! Tipping a few dollars goes a long way. Would definitely return to this resort, but first would try another one in the area with a beach more to our taste. Definitely recommend!

Room Tip: room 737 was a corner room tropical view, but did have a small view of the ocean :) take ear plugs if you are a late sleeper...the birds that we called Mexican roosters were pretty loud at times :)
  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank caseyrn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 May 2012

This review might sound nit-picky but I just want anyone who reads this to know that if they are expecting a super nice, classy, highest possible rated resort they will be disappointed. I booked this trip through Apple Vacations and this resort was rated with 6 golden apples, meaning it is supposed to be fantastic. Unfortunately, I did not find this resort to be worthy of that rating. It was nice enough, but for a top notch rating I expected not only the major things to be nice but the little things as well.
The beach: Obviously the resort is not responsible for the ocean conditions, but it would have been nice to know that the water is full of seaweed which washes up on the beach and is just gross. I was told that there had just been several days of bad weather before my husband and I got there so I thought maybe that was the reason for all of the seaweed but that is not what our Apple Vacations rep told us. He said that this is just the way it is in the area. From far away the water is beautiful shades of blue but up close it kind of looks like dirty lake water. If you are expecting and wanting Cancun-like water you should go to Cancun.
The pool: The pool was great!! It is huge with plenty of chairs and even chairs built into the water. Not a lot of rafts available but that's ok.
The food/restaurants: Not so great. As I understand it most all inclusive deals don't give you the best food but my husband and I didn't starve. Some of the plates had huge chips in them. Is this a huge problem, no, just not what I would expect from a resort with the highest rating.
The resort: Again, from far away things looked great. When you get up close to things you notice the problems. I have to say that the problems were all pretty minor, just not what I would expect from a top rated resort. For example, our room had several areas on the walls or ceiling that had been patched. The patching was done poorly and one of the spots had not even been painted over to match the rest of the ceiling. The floor is marble and had a grimy film on it. I get that we were in an oceanfront room but it really just felt like the floor hadn't been mopped. During our time there we talked with other people (all different age groups) and some of them thought the resort was great and couldn't have asked for anything more and others felt the way my husband and I felt. I really think it's all about where you have traveled and what accommodations you are used to.
I will say that everyone was very nice at the resort. We were able to upgrade easily and get into our room immediately, even though we arrived a couple hours before check-in.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank RCP0519
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 May 2012

My husband and I just returned home from our trip from the Now Sapphire resort in Puerto Morelos, where we celebrated our anniversary. I read several of the reviews that other travelers posted but took them all with a grain of salt, knowing that everyone has different tastes and experiences which affects their judgement.

I will begin by saying that I have traveled to Mexico before, so I did have another experience to compare this one to, which I learned is not always a good thing. We spent our honeymoon at a Palace resort in Riviera Maya and in comparing that trip to this latest one, I learned that not all resorts are created equal, even if they have been given the same Apple rating.

To begin, this resort does not cater well to younger couples or those celebrating special occasions. We were suppose to receive some extra perks for our anniversary, but they failed to recognize it at all even though our Apple rep did make mention of it on our reservation. Honestly though, we didn't dwell on this at all. So they forgot, oh well! The biggest thing that turned us off was that this resort did not seem to be "all-inclusive", there always seemed to be a catch. For example, if we wanted to sit outside at one of the nice restaurants, we had to buy a bottle of expensive wine. Also, even though we received enough money in hotel credits as part of our promotion to both get a free massage, the hotel did not recognize this and instead gave us a coupon book we could use for the massage. The problem was, the coupon only covered half the cost of one massage, so we'd have to fork over around $200 to get a massage even though we received credits from the hotel for a free massage. This is something else we tried to look past. Bottom line, we felt management was always trying to get more money from us.

The service was okay. Again since I've been to Mexico before my only frame of reference is to compare it to the Palace resort we stayed at a few years back. For the most part everyone was very nice from the servers to the grounds crew. They all worked very hard to make sure the resort was well-maintained.

The amenities were mediocre in our opinion. The resort was much smaller than we expected and to us was more like a hotel complex than a resort. The grounds are pretty, don't get me wrong, but the resort is lacking in amenities.

The food was very good. Cibu is the Italian/Mediterranean option, Lemongrass serves Asian cuisine and Paramore serves French cuisine. The breakfast buffet provided many options and the Bluewater Grill was a great place to enjoy lunch outside on the deck. The only complaint I had here was that one restaurant was closed each night, which required us to plan ahead a little more. No big deal really.

The rooms were pretty nice. We stayed in building #4 (Ecab) with a tropical view. Upon arrival we were given a ground floor room with 2 double beds, which I have heard them doing to others. It took some persuasion to get what we actually booked and in the end they gave us the 2nd floor room in building #4, which was a great location.

One other point to mention is that the workout room is in rough shape. My husband and I are big on working out every day and were disappointed to find that most of the equipment was broken or not working and it was not air conditioned. We were told and read that the workout room was state-of-the-art, which definitely was not the case. I know this isn't one to dwell on but wanted to mention it just in case that's important to some people.

Overall, while we enjoyed our vacation, this resort did not meet our expectations. We feel it is overrated and should be rated as a red apple, 4.

Room Tip: Always ask for an upgrade! Buildings 1-4 are the best.
  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank Amy P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 May 2012

My wife and I just returned from a 3 night stay at the Sapphire and we were very satisfied with our stay and may plan another trip back with our son next time. I'll do my best to summarize.

Preferred: We upgraded to preferred status for a few reasons. From what I read, the concierges were tremendously helpful, especially when reserving beach chairs, bali beds, etc. It is true... they take very good care of you. And I also chose the preferred status b/c I figured the overall experience would be better... and I believe it was. You are probably less likely to be told they are overbooked if you are spending more money on upgrades with them. Our booking was excellent. We arrived at 11am and were quickly escorted to the Preferred lounge, which is a nice lounge full of top shelf liquor and snacks. While you wait to be checked in a waiter is there to service you. We had a mimosa and some snacks before sitting down to check in. Be sure and print out your confirmations, that will be needed. Check in time is normally 3, but we got in at 1pm. Preferred guests also have the ability to upgrade to an oceanview room with a hot tub on the patio. We did that on nights 2 and 3. Do it. Worth the money : )

Service: Service was impeccable on every occasion. If you need something.. or need help, just ask.

Rooms: Rooms are spacious and nice. They are not perfect, but I've yet to find a resort with perfect rooms. It is not a 5 star resort, but the rooms are a good value. No complaints at all.

Food: We found the food to be rather good. We thought the buffets were nice... always had several items we enjoyed. We ate at Bluewater Grill a few times for lunch and were pleased, but had our best dinners at Paramour. It's an upscale restaurant with a dress code and a wine list. Yes, you pay for the bottles or glasses of wine and it shouldn't be a surprise as there are prices on the wine menu. If you're confused, just ask... there are no hidden agendas. The service, presentation and wine are better than the food.. but it certainly wasn't bad.

Beach: The beach is not really a beach where you spend a lot of time in the water. The beach is unsheltered and is quite choppy. We mostly lounged near the surf and sat at the beach bar. Yes, seaweed does wash in from the reef but they try to clean it several times a day, but it basically remains. It forms a strip of about 5' that lines the beach where the tide hits. It really wasn't a concern of ours. No biggie.... just be aware it's not really conducive to hanging out in the water much.

Location: about 15-20 minutes from the Cancun airport. Pefect. We used USA Transfers and had a perfect shuttle experience.

Amenities: We stayed at the preferred pool a lot. Adults only with nice palapas that you can lay in all day. Bars are throughout the resort. There is a kids area with ping pong tables, air hockey, kids pool, etc. Several restaurants to choose from. Nice tennis courts that we used twice.

Entertainment: We didn't really check it out. We stayed just outside the venue drinking our drinks from a quiet table and watched from afar. It appeared to be hit and miss... but we weren't really there for the shows.

If you visit with reasonable expectations, I believe you will have an excellent time at Sapphire. I would definitely go back.

Room Tip: Upgrade to preferred. Get an ocean view room. Eat at Paramour at least once.
  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank chadblessing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 May 2012

Aged over 60yrs from Perth, Scotland, UK, Holiday at Now Sapphire Riviera - Just Awesome
Long Story Holiday was 14th April for 14 nights to attend our son’s wedding at Dreams Riviera Hotel 10mins walk away.

AIRPORT & TRANSFERS - We were collected by Jumbo Tours, the driver was in his pink shirt and we were 20mins from airport to hotel & bottles of water given to us. This was booked by our travel agent Travelbag in Flintshire, England. Diane Day (Travel Consultant) was tip top with her help in choosing this hotel, flights and organizing everything required. Return transfer was on time, no problems. We were not asked to be upgraded to Ocean Front or to Preferred Club or anything else.
ROOM On arrival our luggage was taken from us; blue coloured cocktail drink was given with a hot face cloth. Approx. 15mins at hotel check in and we were given keys to Room 916 on 3rd floor Block. 9 a Deluxe Junior Suite with Tropical View, 2 large double beds. We had requested a King size bed. We were given a King Sized room a few days later to Room 837 on 3rd Floor Block. 8. This was identical room with 1 king sized bed. Balcony view was looking past trees to entrance of Excellence R C Hotel with a side view of the ocean. 1 wicker table and 2 wicker chairs on balcony. Keep door closed and netting closed for any flying mosquitoes. We had fridge restocked every day with soft drinks, beer and water. Ice Machine on the second floor on every block, take water bottle to fill with ice every day. Whitest towels and facecloths daily. Bed turned down at night a chocolate awaiting us. Bath plug has to be pressed down & turned to stop water running away. Shampoo, soap & body lotion all in bathroom. Ceiling Fan is controlled by switch on wall at bed, do not try to stand on bed and pull cord. Air conditioning very good. Beds are the most comfortable ever.
FACILITIES, POOL, BEACH, POOL BAR & BEACH BAR had many waiters to help at all times. I always had a few cocktails of the day and did Aqua Aerobics, Zumba, Spanish lessons all at pool and no need to worry what age or what size anyone was. All great fun and every picture tells a story when you see all the happy faces all around. We also went bike ride in at 9am we cycled to Puerto Morelos & back for 10.30am. No charge for any of those facilities. Swimming was great in pool not too deep with fixed sun chairs, great pool bar to sit at in the water have a drink. Many fun games in afternoons. We went to pool every day at approx. 8am there was 6 of us all staying at hotel to attend wedding and met up every day. We had no problem finding loungers at pool 6 all together every day. BEACH: - Good Volleyball most mornings, it was very windy on beach and sand blew up on to area of pool nearest beach. Yellow Catamarans for use. Sea weed was no problem when it was washed in; we just walked over the small area in bare feet and into sea to swim. Tractor cleared this several times a day. . Did not use chairs on beach as it was so windy. EVENING ENTERTAINMENT & USEFUL INFO AT HOTEL - 1 night is Mexican 1 night is Caribbean with entertainment, buffet meals served before and during show. 1 night shows a Circus, 1 night flame throwing on beach. Casino Night with pretend money quite enjoyable and prizes for those who win. SPA:- Expensive at $39 for Sauna much more for massage. (See notes on my massage) INTERNET USE:- $11 per hour and cheaper if you used for longer.
RESTAURANTS
BUFFET:- Was great with no complaints. In morning ask for Green Energy Drink it is great and made with Celery. Great Omelettes and just ask for fried eggs done fresh & crispy bacon is to die for.
BLUE WATER GRILL:- This is where Preferred Club has breakfast, is open air looking onto beach. Can be windy, wet in the rain. In the afternoon it was great for Fish & Chips. In the evening Surf and Turf on a Kebab (not enormous) but just superb)
CIBU: - Pyramid Prawns good, Lasagna best, Steak great cooked well rare and well done
FRESCO: - Mexican food quite spicy for me. A few people in with Mexican hats on having Tequila
LEMONGRASS:- Has 2 restaurants one with Asian food, the other with Japanese Teppanyaki. Chef does many tricks. We waited from 20.00hrs until 22.15hrs for Teppanyaki with buzzer.
PARAMOUR:- Very posh with waiters in dark suits and meals brought in on silver platters then waiters all collect and bang platters together. Must dress for this restaurant. Sometimes a long wait after 7pm with buzzer.
COCOS:- Is a take away has a selection of Coffee NO Tea with sandwiches and Panini’s (warm or cold) from 13.00hrs also cakes, biscuits etc. open from 6am. Good at lunch time.
PREFERRED CLUB:- Pool looks good but most people quite sad and alone looking. Not as many happy faces as you can see at main pool. Did not think I would use Preferred Club as I did not use internet the 2 weeks at hotel but was told internet was not good anywhere unless using Preferred Club Lounge. Blue Water Grill looked good for breakfast right on water but on windy and wet days everyone came into Buffet.
HOTEL Exceptionally clean and so so many fresh flowers everywhere, Windows were being cleaned when Restaurants were closed, in morning the pool area for loungers was being power washed. On Sat 21st April (day after wedding) there were 3 of us over 60yrs of age eating in restaurant and our friend took a bad turn at table, I asked for help, waiters, a male nurse and a Pediatrician eating at another table came to help, Manager and Dr. came with help to go to our friends room and get passports, insurance, medication and money to go in ambulance to hospital, only 1 person allowed in ambulance. This was so well organized with all the help necessary. $550 had to be paid to Ambulance on arriving at hospital so be prepared. All sorted once Insurance was called. Our friend had dehydrated in hot climate not drinking enough water and was in hospital for 2 days. Hotel sent 10 bottles of water every day to his room, Manager stopped at pool and asked us how our friend was. On day we left Manager also saw us at checkout & asked about him & spoke to him personally. This service was excellent. TIPPING:- We tipped $1 dollar notes to most waiters at bars and restaurants. SHUTTLECARTS:- 6 seaters, take luggage to and from rooms and very good giving lifts from lots of buildings and on occasions they will shout Taxi . Ceasar was exceptionally good and helpful. QUESTIONNAIRE:- Given at check out on leaving. Should be given 2 days earlier at breakfast. Would enable all to complete with correct names of those who deserve praise.
PLACES TO VISIT
You can walk to Puerto Morelos along the beach from Now Sapphire and it takes about 45mins. One area on the way has a lot of sea weed but you can walk around this or keep sandals on. Felt very safe and there is a SNORKELLING Hut with info on snorkeling trips daily the guide was called Mario Hut was on beach just before Puerto Morelos town, price was $25 including snorkeling gear, my partner does not snorkel and he would be $10 just sit on boat it goes to 2 different reefs for about 2 hours. MASSAGE:- Went to Jungle Spa at Puerto Morelos Taxi from Puerto Morelos is 50pesos and from Hotel is 200 pesos. Tel No. 998 208 9148. We had 1 hr massage for $40 and they ask if you wish soft, med or strong massage, all done by Mayan local woman and is a nonprofit organization. After the 1 hr, I had Aloe Vera and Banana Leaf wrap with massage this was wonderful Aloe Vera was rubbed all over my body from cut plants then large Banana Leaves laid all over. This has to be tried. CROCUN ZOO $25 to get in each. This is a short distance from hotel and is 100pesos in taxi where you can hold Crocodiles, feed Monkeys, hold Snakes, and look at Peacocks & Deer. The Guide is so helpful and will take photographs for you with animals. SWIM WITH DOLPHINS 7 of us went to Delphinus Dreams Cancun to Dolphins - 3 to watch no charge & 4 to swim with dolphins. We booked with (Alberto) Jungle Tours who transferred us from airport who are in hotel most morning. Booked Delphinus Dreams Cancun for $149 each and swam with the dolphins 4 of us together with no one else. We had a hug, kiss, cuddle and dance a foot push etc. etc. all separately. We paid extra $149 for DVD & photographs of each of us with dolphins only bought 1 set & got them copied for the other 3 when we got home. We received a discount coupon when we arrived at Dolphins & were given $30 each discount from (Alberto) Jungle Tours the following day when we gave over coupons. Make sure you get the tightest life jacket as they move easily if not tight. What a great holiday at Now Sapphire Riviera. Please contact if any other info required. JOAN

Room Tip: 3rd Floors have better views. Noisy on 2nd floors with Ice Machine
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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8  Thank Joan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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