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“Great Holiday shame about food quality”

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Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Resort & Spa
Ranked #12 of 21 Hotels in Akumal
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 20 April 2009

Just arrived back to the UK today , stayed at Grand Sirenis from 5th to 19th April . Having stayed in Iberostar resorts before we were a little concerned to read some of the reports before going . We were a group of 12 ranging from 10 -57 who had 2 years ago stayed in the Iberostar Toucan near Playa Del Carmen . We all enjoyed the resort , the rooms are large and well appointed , we had asked for a communicating room but were not given one as the resort was full over Easter , after a week one was offered but we could not face packing up then to move , we were told that the only communicating rooms are in blocks 1100s and 1200s we were in block 1300 . We liked the pools by the beach rather than the main pools which we felt were stark and souless , the beach bar snacks were poor , the coffee house was excellent as was the juice bar , The beach we liked as it was interesting with rocky areas offering great snorkelling with many fish , however the entertainment team told me that the biggest complaint received was that people did not like the beach , take water shoes to make life easy . We liked eating lunch best at the poole side restaurant which doubles in the evening as the steak house but it is a trek back from the beach .
Restaurants , Felt the main buffet was very large without much character , food was ok , we only ate in it 3 times as we managed to book the individual restaurants for our other nights , Steak house we found ok ( ate there 4 times ) , quality of steaks very hit and miss , one night they were superb another not so good , Japanese was good and entertaining , Cajun not very good and the Mediteranean was mixed and the Italian was truly awful , the pastas and pizzas terrible and the pannacotta sweets could have been used as sillican implants , However one person we met loved the Cajun . Overall very mixed , we would state that in comparison with the 5 Iberostar hotels we stayed in the Grand Sirenis is way behind in quality of food .
The architecture in our opinion was not great , but again some like it , we prefered the character of the thatched buildings with nicer gardens and vegetation of previous hotels . We did however enjoy our holiday and a number of aspects of the hotel were good , we like the location being near Akumel where we swam with turtles , free rental life jackets were supplied by the beach , visited Tulum and Coba ( both easy trips from the Sirenis ) , had trips to 2 very good senotes ' Two Eyes ' and the other one near Coba , Yal Ku lagoon near Akumel a great place to snorkel ( A smaller version of Xel Ha without the bells and whistles
but only 9 dollars rather than 75 dollars to get in ) . We arranged our own trips with a taxi driver based at the hotel called Lucio we told him the main things we wanted to do and added other places he knew off , had 3 graet days out ranging in price from 120 dollars - 180 dollars plus small entrance fees , those prices were for the whole of our party of 12 not each , one day we did an almost identical trip as a group of Americans who paid over $800 dollars for 8 and we paid less than $200 dollars for 12 !!!. If anyone is interested in contacting Lucio let me know as I have his tel number .
My older sons 18 & 20 enjoyed the disco , they went ever night .
The evening shows again were mixed , the circus show was very good , the others fun but a bit cheesy .
Staff keen to help and please but some a bit surly , a star is Rudy in the main lobby bar , he always had a smile on his face .
Overall we had a good holiday and enjoyed many aspects but would not in comparison with other resorts give the Sirenis a 5 star rating , but dont be put off you will have fun .

  • Stayed: April 2009
    • Value
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4  Thank Simon F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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10,752 - 10,756 of 14,521 reviews

Reviewed 19 April 2009

My wife and I just returned from the Grand Sirenis yesterday April 11th, 2009. We had many expectations of the hotel based upon previous travel to the area and the research that we did that led us to choose this hotel. Hopefully, our research will help you make a decision.

Overall the hotel ok. Our bathroom faucet was loose, we complained twice to have it fixed, they finally came, fixed it, and by that evening it was about to fall off again. When we arrived last Saturday (11th) we found a plate of food outside of a room that looked as though it had been there a couple of days as the food on it had shriveled up. The plate sat there until I complained the following Wednesday.

Inclusive? Yes and No. While you will have food available, you are limited to three restaurant visits during the week unless you pay a couple hundred dollars more. The food there is ok, not as good as the Riu Palace Riviera Maya, but edible if you are only staying a week. They do have weird food combinations on their menu. Soda, Water, and Alcohol are included, but can be a distance from where you are at on the resort.

Snorkeling - Ok, you can snorkel off the beach, but you can at any beach resort there and see the same fish. If you hear that this is where two fresh water rivers join the ocean attracting turtles, and a wide array of fish, it is NOT TRUE!. That location is down the beach in Akumal City. You have to pay to go visit that area. If you hear that there are two Cenote's on the property (the resort advertises both of these), it is also not true. They may get turtles on the property, as they advertise that they lay their eggs there. We did not see any, but the two river claim is false.

As for the beach, it is wonderful. Plenty of shade, lounge chairs, soft sand, etc. We laid out at the beach for days without leaving. The rooms were cleaned each day, terrible pillows, hard mattresses, but overall not bad.

Front desk employees were kind of rude at times. Not very helpful. If you had a question they treated you like you were bothering them. Concierge was ok. The first person we worked with made a mistake on our dinner reservations. She scheduled us for a restaurant on Thursday but wrote down Friday instead. when we arrived we were treated like it was our fault. The Matre Dee (however you spell it) told us that he would try to have a seat for us at the next seating but he was not sure he would have one. We went back to the concierge and complained. Luckily the man in charge of the restaurants was there as well. He called and the Matre Dee said that he told us that he had a table for us. We must have mis-understood. so the Concierge followed us back to the restaurant, go us in, and the restaurant was not even half full.

Lazy river - Great! Pools- Fantastic! They kept their pools very clean.

The best places to eat there - Snack bar by the lazy river for lunch, Steak House, and that is about it. We were unable to visit all of the restaurants as we only got the three places.

As for location. Not bad. You are close to Playa Del Carmen, XCaret, Tulum, etc. All within taxi distance. We took a taxi to XCaret and back which was cheaper than buying a package. You can buy your tickets to XCaret online and get a discount. It will save you quite a bit of money if you do it that way. You are far away from other resorts so it is rather secluded. Check Google Earth if you have concerns on that.

I would recommend requesting (you will pay more) for an ocean view room in the building that is on the beach but the north side of the beach. I don't remember the name. It is close to the pools, restaurants, bars, beach, etc. Otherwise, if you plan on spending a lot of time at the beach, you will be doing a lot of walking. Especially if you are in the back of the resort or on the south end of the resort. It is spread out, not very well packed in.

Breakfast, not bad, we got sick of the same food choices though. Not much of a change for any of the meals in the buffets.

Evening shows, entertaining, nothing spectacular. We avoided them after watching the Lion King.

Internet - Not free. You have to pay $6 for 30 min or $50 for the week. No wireless in the rooms, but there is an ethernet outlet in the room. You must provide your own cable.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank GoodeBoy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 April 2009

We just got back from the Sirenis and overall had a great time. There are some things that we felt needed improvement however. We stayed at the Jaban building ,you can see the building layouts on the sirenis website under the area map link just below the google map of the place. Our room was on the main floor of a three floor building with a view towards the water but blocked by the palm trees. It was nice to have a more private setting off of the balcony ( you pay an additional $40 per person per night for an ocean view). The problem with the bottom floor is you hear everyone walking by the door. Our building is in the direct path of people walking back at 2:30 am from the discotheque. You could hear every drunk slur as if they were in your room. Not so much fun if you're not taking part in it. The discotheque is not on the map but its just walking distance east of our building. Because we were were getting woken up each night we found we were sleeping in a bit more and had to make a purpose of putting out the do not disturb card or the cleaning lady would be knocking at 8 am. The noise was our major complaint, and if we go back again we would definately try to get on the second floor or get on to the opposite side of the resort accomodations.
The second most annoying part is the towel game that has been mentioned so many times. At one point we went to to try to get a spot in the shade around one of the pools. There were towels on all of the chairs under the cabanas. We put our towels down and set up in the direct sun right beside two loungers under the cabana that had towels placed on them. A couple beside us mentioned they had been there for the last three hours and no one had been there. We decided to move the towels off of the shaded loungers and put them on the lounger right beside it in the sun. We were able to enjoy the spot for an hour until the towel placers showed up and told us that we were in their spot. I felt like throwing them in the pool and causing an incident, but we were going to go for lunch and felt it wasn't worth ruining a holiday over. I'm not sure why someone thinks they have the god given right to hold chairs for over 4 hours just because they put a towel on it. It clearly states on every cabana that there is no reserving. So its occuring against the policies of the hotel. Those were the major complaints we had about the resort.
I found the food to be good for the most part. It was nicely displayed and there was lots of variation. There was several choices of different sauces or seasoned oils to add to the food as some of it as a stand alone might be considered bland. I love spicy food and layered my food with spicy salsa and chipotle sauce .I loved the food with the spice added. I think people might not have as high regard for the food if they didn't have sauce or spice to it. So if you are a meat and potatoe type with no spicy food, you might not like it. The special restaurants were ok, not great. We tried the Cajun first, jambalaya was good the steak was average. Next we did the Meditteranean. The appetizer buffet was good, I had lamb for the main and it was dry. The last night we tried the brazilian and enjoyed its appys and main course of various meats. Wine with dinner is home brew, I didn't mind the white, but was not big on the red wine. I've read some reviews were people didn't like the steak house. We ran into the a couple from alberta that had it the night we went for brazilian and they loved it. The man swore it was as good a good cut of alberta beef. So I guess it might depend on the cook, the night or preferencial taste.
The staff at the resort are top notch. They are very friendly and seem to always be smiling and enjoying themselves. I'm glad I read someone's review about bring $1 US bills for tips as they work very hard and are very catering for very minimal money. These people deserve to be treated with respect and I think helping them out by tipping for great service is warranted.
The drinks were good, didn't notice that the booze was on the cheaper end , I mostly drank lime margaritas, mojitos and corona beers and had no problem beside the occasional heart burn from slamming to many citrus drinks before eating. Would have been nice to get more than two beers per day in the hotel room fridge however.
Internet use if needed is $10US for an hour of use. You can use WiFi for a personal computer, or you can use the ones provided ( which have waits for use). We weren't big on the entertainment shows, although that's not really our scene. Mostly dancing around it seemed.
The pools were great, and the lazy river was also a fun activity as long as it wasn't too busy. The ocean was a great temperature and the great caribbean blue in colour. There's a small part that is nice sand, and then it does get to be mixed in with coral, which would make walking in bare feet difficult.
We did two day trips; one to Playa Del Carma and the other to Xcaret. We took the bus ( which is actually a van) for $4 US each way for two people. Simple to use, just walk out of the resort to the side of the highway. The bus vans flick their lights to signal to you if you want a lift. Just wave or raise your hand and it pulls over to take you where you want to go. Way cheaper and on your own terms than taking a tour bus from the resort. Both day trips are recommended. Xcaret is expensive however ,$70 US per person for the cheapest package in.
All in all, we enjoyed the Grand Sirenis. It was a great week, the weather was fantastic, and I enjoyed the staffs hospitality,food, drinks,pools and beach. I wouldn' t hesitate in recommending this place.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank VanTan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 April 2009

We stayed at the GS from April 30 -April 10th. We were in awe of the huge grandure of the whole resort! We stayed in room 2320 and were more than satisfied with our room. The cleaning staff did an amazing job in cleaning our room to perfection every single day. Keep in mind we were travelling with a 3, 5, and 8 year old...so trust me, the room was slightly trashed daily! lol. The less than private bathroom that everyone talks about was so not a big deal! For any lengthy bathroom trips we just turned on the sink tap to avoid any unwanted noises. I could understand that this might be an issue if you were just sharing a room with friends, but if your family...don't stress about it! I was prepared for some horrid smell in the room that I had read in some previous reviews, but there were no bad smells in the room. For sure our clothes were damp from the humidity, but it's Mexico people...the ocean is right outside your door...it's humid as heck, and the room is full of marble. Where do you think the moisture is going to go?? I didn't have any issues with this very slight problem. I was just happy to be there.

I was very thankful that we brought strollers for the two youngest children since there is a ton of walking to be done! I think we came back in better shape than what we left in. Like another review had said, I would not recommend this resort for anyone with any type of a mobility issue.

I was definately annoyed by the saving chairs thing. This is so beyond rude and inconsiderate. If your amongst the people that do it...shame on you! I had a lounger chair twice in the entire week that we were there. Sun tanning on towel covered cement was not what I paid thousands of dollars for!!!! We would be at the pool or the beach for a couple of hours and the saved chairs never once had anyone come and sit in them. We could have used them while we were there but because they had a towel on them they were deemed untouchable. I definately think it should be a first come first serve basis, and if all the chairs are full then obviously your just S.O.L....but to not get a chair because someone put their towel on it before going up for breakfast then decided to not even use the chair till after lunch....I have children with better manners people!!!!

The food...it was over all good. Definately not lacking in quantity. The first couple of days we were adventurous and tried to have something new every day, but by the end of our trip the kids were basically eating ice cream, pancakes and fruit. I had stuck closely to the oatmeal and toast kind of breakfasts. The wait staff in the buffet were amazing!!!! I've never seen such hard working people. They definately put our waiters and waitresses in Canada to shame. Don't take it personally if you are one...I used to be one too, but these people were constantly running to make sure we were happy at all times! There was never a dirty plate left on our table for more than a few minutes and they often helped our kids carry back their plates to the table. The main buffet is defiantely a long walk from where the rooms are so we had opted for most of our breakfasts and lunches to just eat in the snack bar by the pool. Was a better location for the kids and had all the same foods anyways.

The one dissapointment we did have with the resort was the time that they ran their nightly shows. I don't know about anyone else's kids, but our kids were exausted in the evenings, and the 9:30 show times was absolutely ridiculous. We never did get to see even one show!

We ate at the Steakhouse and the Mexican restaurants. Both were very good with amazing service! We had booked the Japanese restaurant in the beginning of the week and the only time we could get was 8:30 on the last day of our stay which we thought would be fine , but after realizing that our kids fell asleep by 7:30 each night we had to cancel that one and opted to do the steak and lobster dinner on the beach. We over heard alot of people trash talking the lobster dinner saying it was too expensive and the lobster wouldn't be as good as what you can get back home. It was expensive, but how often are you in Mexico and get to sit at the ocean front and have a wonderful dinner served to you. The steak we couldn't cut but so what, lol...the lobster tails were huge and we were able to have as many as we wanted! It was a great way to spend our last evening and was worth paying some extra money for. It was a once in a life time experience for us.

We all definately enjoyed the lazy river. Although the sides of the river gouged your arms and elbows if you weren't careful, it was a great place to just chill out. If that is you got lucky enough not to have some jack a** kid pushing your tube along the way as they were trying to snorkel or play tag through the river. :)

Over all...I would definately go back to the Grand Sirenis. I think we got more than our money's worth and the staff were all very kind and helpful. The resort was immaculatey kept and very beautiful. Our kids had a blast although we opted to not take advantage of the kids club that was offered. We liked having our kids with us. It was the whole point of taking a family vacation. Wonderful resort for anyone thinking of taking small children to.

Oh yeah...bring water shoes for the beach if you plan on doing any snorkeling. Was quite rocky entering into the water. Also recommend bringing your own snorkelling gear. We had red flags on the beach all but one day while we were there so we couldn't rent out the snorkel gear provided. I was definately thankful for the wind though. The sun was very intense without the breeze. Bring LOTS of sunscreen. We are a family of 5. I brought 5 bottles with us and we had to buy 2 more while we were there. No sunburns and all came home with beautiful tans. Don't be foolish and be the lobster sitting out by the pool that everyone is secretly laughing at!!!! lol

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
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3  Thank AlbertaMama5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 April 2009

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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4  Thank NorfolkLou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Resort & Spa

Address: Carretera Federal Cancun-Tulum, Km. 256.3 | Zona Costera, Akumal 77780, Mexico
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Akumal
Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#9 Romantic Hotel in Akumal
#9 Top resorts Hotel in Akumal
#10 Family Hotel in Akumal
#10 Luxury Hotel in Akumal
#11 Spa Hotel in Akumal
#11 On the Beach Hotel in Akumal
Price Range: €137 - €372 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Resort & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 948
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Resort & Spa 5* is an astonishing complex, situated on the Mayan Riviera, just 20 miles from Playa del Carmen, and 1 hour from the airport at Cancun. Is in a class of its own due to its spectacular design. It brings to mind the ancient Mayan buildings; but at the same time, a moder, minimalist style which blends perfectly with the luxurious natural vegetation in the gardens. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Hotel And Spa
Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Hotel Akumal
Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Akumal
Grand Sirenis Mayan Beach
Grand Sirenis Mexico
Gran Sirenis
Sirenis Riviera Maya
Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Resort & Spa Mexico - Akumal

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