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Reviewed 26 July 2010

Me and gf stayed at the Sirenis Riviera Maya from 4th to 18th July 2010. Before booking, i had seen it on tripadvisor and had seen the mixed reviews. When booking with Thomas Cook, we stated our needs (pref 5*, All inclusive, lots of choice, for about £1000) and got the Sirenis. Having got back to England, i am happy we booked and feel we had real value for money!

The official class of this hotel is 5*. I suppose for Mexico this is true. But in my opinion it is more of a 4*, but still a good hotel. Having been to Cuba for the past 2yrs, i have discovered that you are never going to get perfection unless your prepared to pay the ch-ching prices (£2000+ and im sure even them hotels havee problems!). For me and my gf, we like to have a relaxing holiday, with good food, variety of drinks, good pools, entertainment and nice rooms. I can honestly say the Sirenis gave us everything we look for. Im not a snob by any means and i do like a bit of luxary, but im also realistiic. For the price i paid, i wasnt expecting celebrity-like holiday. But in the same sense, i feel like i had real value for money. I paid £500 more last yr for a 5* in Cuba andd the Sirenis was much better than that, for a fraction of the price.

ROOM - 1 word....MASSIVE! There was a large bed, large area to walk around and also a sofa/sitting area. The balcony was a view of nothing, just some trees and bushes, but on the ground floor, you aint gonna get much more. The bathroom was nice aswell. Walk-in shower with 3 different shower heads/jets to choose from. The toilet has a frosted glass door for extra privacy if your shy! Also a double jacuzzi bath in there, which i used on one of the days it rained. The only issue was, the taps run water quite slow and once in the bath, i could smell bleach. The bathroom was obviously well cleaned but the smell put me off andd i goot out. I may have been the water but im not sure. BBut still it looks the part and was a nice luxary. The mini bar was re-stocked daily, nothing special 2 bottles of beer (not corona!!!) coke, diet coke, sprite, fanta fizzy and still water, plus there was coffee making facility. We left a daily tip of $1, whether this helped us i dont know, biut we also got daily 'models' made of towels on the bed (mermaid, lady, elephant etc) which my missus loved!!! Also tv, mostly spanish sshows, but there was a couple of english channels which showed lots of good films and american shows like friends.

ROOM SERVICE - Dont expect much, basic choices but not bbad for a snack. It took abbout 45mins to 1hr to arrive, and it would be wrapped in clingfilm meaning the food was slightly cold and soggy. But for burger and chips, i wasnt expecting gordan ramsey-esque cooking!

FOOD - Really good food in the buffett, loads of choice everyday and always hot and well cooked. The drinks service depended on how busy the restaurant was, but the waiters were always friendly even though they dont stop running around. The only issue for me in the buffett was some of the residents! Being british, i donnt mind queuing to get my food, but when people just blankly ignore you and push in front, it really gets my goat! I really wanted to knock someone out as its plain rude and annoying. It is mainly americans that push in, dont they have queues in america? it aint rocket science folks!!!
A la Carte restaurants were really good. We tried steakhouse, italian, Cajun, japanese and mexican. Yes the starters are buffett style help yourself, but i donnt mind that. The cajun was really good, japanese amazing and the italian was quite romantic and an ideal last night as the matre de made a real effort (champagne, photos the works). Steakhouse, possibly the biggest pork chop EVER! The mexican was a real let down. Starters were good, but the main course of chiicken fajitas were bland, not spicy and no real flavour, me and gf both thought my home-made fajitas are 100 times better, not to brag of course! Plus the waiter in the mexican was a proper slime ball, clocking my gf's cleavage on every opportunity, blanking me and speaking only to her, fellas, bite ur tongue!!!!
Also, there is an ice cream parlour and coffee shop. Nice idea, not a lot of choice but helps break the day up. The ice creams are nice but quite small and tease you (you'll want another one straight away)

POOL - Really nice, but could be busy with the activiites. There are 3 pools but we went to the one by El Rancho at the back of the theatre. Pool bar available and the waitress was always on hand to get you more drinks and well worth the tips! Entertainment run by 'Mr Chocco' (more of him later!) doing water polo, volley ball and aqua gym daily plus other games and quizes. Beach was lovely, soft sand and loads of beds, but im a pool man so we never went to the beach. There is also a lazy river, which i never went in for some reason! But a great idea and looked really good.

ENTERTAINMENT - There was always something going on, but its a bit 80's and cheesy, which is fine! Some dancers are better than others but they all try really hard. The lion king show was good as was the lip-sync and vegas shows! At the end of each show, they grabbed you upp on stage and did the 'Sirenis dance'. Cheese-tastic bbut funny!

STAFF - they work so hard, are all very friendly and go out of their way to help you. If you tip, it helps. We are good tippers and find it shocking that people dont say 'please' or 'thank you' or leave no tips at all! Whats that about!!! The staff work long hard hours and are good at what they do, some speak better english than others but they all try! 'Mr Chocco' is the main entertainer. He is the life and soul of the party and involved in everythiing, the man works ALL DAY! He has his catchphrases (joey-esque 'how u doin' at girls, trying to shake hands before pulling away and singing mc hammer 'you cant touch this, bom bom bom bom' and doing a little dance, all funny at first buut gets slightly tiresome after 2 wks) but everyone seems to love him. His name is Victor but he calls himself 'Mr Choccoo' as hes like 'mexican chocolate, all right'. Easy ladies!!! Hes like a real version of Quagmire from Family Guy!!!

All in all a really good holiday and i would recommend this hotel to anyone. For the price, i ddont think you'll get much better. If you like real luxary and can afford it, you'll probarly prefer somewhere more expensive. If your like me, earn a deceent wage and like value for money this is the hotel for you! The only real negative i can find is the children. I dont have kids but they are everywhere and a lot of things are aimed for them. If it was adult only, it would be SO mucch better.

LAST TIP - in the lobby of the Mayan Beach (through the corridor in the lobby bar), there are more shops including a liqour shop that sells loads of tequila and spirits including a fridge full of BEER, corona, bud and loads more, all for around 15 pesos each. Just so you can get some at the start of your hols, i didnt find it till the last day!!! GUTTED!

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank timChester_Uk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 July 2010

What I discovered on my recent trip to Mexico, is that Americans have higher standards when it comes to traveling. This resort is packed with Europeans - which is not a bad thing at all – but if you are an American, you should base your travel decisions on the opinions of other Americans.

THIS IS NOT A 4 STAR RESORT. IT IS NOT A 4 STAR RESORT. IT MIGHT BE A 3 STAR RESORT. BUT MOST ACCURATELY, IT IS A 2 STAR RESORT.

CHECK-IN, ROOM & RESORT
My husband and I booked a last minute trip to the Grand Sirenis through cheapcarribbean.com (mistake #1 – cheapcarribbean is TERRIBLE). Upon check-in, you will receive a wristband that you have to wear for the duration of your stay. The color indicates which travel service you booked through. Not all guests are treated equally. Cheapcarribbean guests are treated as second-class citizens here. They tried to put us in the worst building on the property, but I found that $5 goes a long way, and I was able to get us a better location.
They will try to tell you that this resort is only a year old. There is no way. It looks so run down. I have a feeling it was something else and the Grand Sirenis bought it??? It’s dirty and looks old. They don’t take much care to clean up trash or keep things looking nice.
The room is nice, and housekeeping is good, however our shower was covered in mildew. It grossed me out every time I got in it. A/C works well (it never occurred to me that it wouldn’t), but you have to leave a key in a little slot for the AC and electricity to stay on in the room. If you leave the room and take all of your keys, the air will not stay on while you are gone, which means it will be warm when you come back.
Do not ask for a corner room. While it may be appealing for the view or other reasons, if it rains the water will come right under your door.
Speaking of rain, we had quite a bit while we were there. Many of the surfaces that you walk on are made of slick granite and polished wood. While it looks pretty dry, it is TREACHEROUS when wet. Some other reviewers had mentioned this, and I thought well they must be elderly or not walk well or something. I didn’t think it could be that big of a deal. Let me tell you – it is. I saw so many people go down. I was a nervous wreck walking on these surfaces after it rained, and nearly went down a couple of times.
Bed is hard as a rock – very uncomfortable.
The open window into the bathroom and glass doors are not that big of a deal if you are traveling with a significant other – with your kids or friends, maybe.

BEACH
The beach LOOKS beautiful, but it’s deceiving. You cannot get in the water without shoes. I think maybe this is normal for Europeans as they didn’t seem to mind all of the rocks. If you are used to nice sandy beaches in Florida and California and other places in the Carribbean, though, you will be very disappointed.
There is a nice beach in Akumel, though, about 5-10 minutes up the road. It is a sea turtle preservation area and the beach is sandy and there is a good American restaurant at the little beach club there.

FOOD
I didn’t eat all week unless we went off of the property. It’s AWFUL. Here’s one area that the Europeans seemed to be fine with (based on the reviews I read). I can’t say this enough, the food is bad bad bad. Every now and then I would find an item or two that was edible, but mainly I ate cereal without milk, pineapple, bacon, ice cream. Does that sound like what you want to eat all week when you are on vacation?
Unfortunately, no one told us that men are required to wear long pants in the a la carte restaurants, so my husband didn’t bring any, and we were unable to try them. We were relegated to the buffet all week. Yuck. This did not make us happy.
Room service is awful. Don’t even try it.

STAFF
Overall not bad. They are nice, but many of them do not speak English well. Brush up on your Spanish before you go. We were disappointed in the management, though. We wanted to leave and go to another resort, and they were not very cooperative.

TRANSPORATION
If you plan to stay here and want the option to leave the resort, you should rent a car. It is way out in the middle of nowhere not near to other resorts. Unless you take a cab everywhere, which will be pricey, you’ll have to walk out to the main road to catch the bus/collective. I would not feel safe doing this. It is dark and desolate out there.

OVERALL
Basically, you should not stay at this resort. I know the price is appealing, but remember you get what you pay for. Do not book your trip (wherever you go) through cheapcarribbean. They tell you that they are always available for you while you are on your trip. They are not. We truly wanted to leave and change resorts, and they continued to insist that the Grand Sirenis would not refund our stay. That is a lie. Amanda and Elizabeth (with CC) were just awful. Took them three days – THREE DAYS – to get back to us over email. Their solution was that they would move us to another place, but we still had to pay for the whole stay at Grand Sirenis and we had to pay an upcharge for a new hotel. We were so disappointed.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank JennSquillace
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 July 2010

First visit to Mexico after staying at this Hotel I would go back to Mexico again. This is very big complex but it felt like home after a few days.
The rooms are large and very open plan i.e no glass partition between bedroom and bathroom, however didn't think this was a negative. Room was cleaned every day with clean towels. Had room service several times this was very nice, it's only snack food, but it's nice to have food delivered to your room.
I found the staff very friendly, yes the timeshare people are annoying but a polite no and they leave you alone.
Beach, lovely white sand, the sea is crystal clear, a little rocky in places - bring swim shoes.
Beach bar service excellent, nice happy bar staff all day, and they work long hours in the heat and still keep smilling!
Didn't book any trips with Thomas Cook as poeple told us you have to go to all the other hotels to pick up other people.
We booked with Best Day the America group. Excellent trips, Swimming with Doplins at Dolphinnius and Extreme - zip lining and swimming in a Cenote both times we were pick up in a small mini bus with great air con and had a fab time.
A la Carte restaurants were a great plus, tried the Steak House, Italian, Brazilian, Japanese, they make a nice change from the main buffett, (which I must say is excellent, great choice of food) the fact the A la Carte restauranta are located away from the main entertainment area feels like you are going out to dinner. All the ones we tried offered excellent service.
The complex buidlings do in places look at little worn but I think this is because they are painted such a light colour they show the wear from the heat an sea.
Entertainment, we only watched a couple of shows but these were very good, Broadway very good show, we perfered to chat to friends in the bar area.
I always try to add a balanced view because I rely on Trip Advisor when I book holidays.I think for the money we paid the hotel is excellent value for money.

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank mclaren
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 July 2010

My extended family did 6 days at The GS and it was a good deal and pretty typical of most all inclusives. Huge buffets with repititous food, unlimited drinks (don't expect top shelf) and typical resort activities. The a la carte restaurants book quickly and we could only get into 2 while we were there. The room was oversized but had insufficient a/c and the beds felt like the tile floor. The staff was attentive and friendly but didn't seem empowered to get much done when we asked to have the a/c looked at.

All in all if you aren't expecting posh (and we weren't) it'll be fine. If you're looking for more than that, I'd stay somewhere else.....

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled with family
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Thank jpt67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 July 2010

My wife Sarah and I visited the Riviera Maya south of Cancun from July 13-22, staying at the newly re-named Be Live Riviera Maya (formerly Grand Oasis Riviera Maya) from July 13-18, and the Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya July 18-22. I’m filing separate TRs for the GORM/ Be Live (which I’ll refer to here as GORM) and Blue Caribe Diving, with whom we did daily dives.

The Grand Sirenis has a very different vibe from the GORM. For one thing, it’s huge in comparison. This has its pros and cons. It seemed that we spent a LOT of time in transit from point to point. You really have to stop and think before leaving the room to make sure you haven’t left anything behind, because it’s a long trip back. There are better situated and worse situated rooms than ours (in the Chucum building); we were neither close to the beach nor to the main activity centers (breakfast and lunch buffets, lobbies, thematic restaurants, etc.)

But the advantage of a big resort is that there are a LOT of things going on. Pools always seemed to have a critical mass for volleyball and water polo. And with this large a client base, they could afford to build a super gym. It’s got a separate weight room, exercise room (with many running, elliptical, and bicycle machines), both well air conditioned and with a TV set, and another quiet room with exercise machines, for those who want to play their own music or enjoy the quiet. Only problem is that the gym is at the far north end of the property, so you either have to take a shuttle or walk around a half mile from the closest guest building.

They were more generous with the a la carte restaurant reservations than their official policy. Since we only stayed 4 nights, my understanding is that we were only entitled to 1 a la carte reservation. But within 10 minutes of checking in, we had 3 reservations. The first one we tried was the Mexican, which had excellent dishes, although not superior to the GORM’s Careyes. The second night was the Cajun. I think that this one had a more extensive salad and appetizer bar than the others. We both had jambalaya; Sarah had the seafood, and I the meat version. The meat jambalaya didn’t have the right kind of sausage (instead of boudin, it was something resembling cut-up hot dogs), but it was very tasty nonetheless. The ‘’flambeed’’ bananas Foster and strawberry desserts were underwhelming; the strawberries were frozen (in Mexico, which supplies probably half the US market with fresh strawberries!!!), and neither one had the flavor of a flambéed dish. Our last night we ate in the Mediterranean restaurant. The calamari tempura appetizer was excellent, as were the huge shrimp with remoulade sauce. The tiny crabs on the appetizer bar were ridiculous, with no meat on them. Our main courses were sliced lamb with some kind of provencal seasoning and traditional paella, both very good. The breakfast and lunch buffets, and the dinner buffet the one night we ate there, were impressive. While a few dishes missed the mark – I thought some of the batter-fried or tempura dishes were a bit soggy and bland – the variety was so great that we always found more really excellent dishes than we could comfortably fit on our plates (or in our tummies!).

The GS has a very commercial feel (Sarah compared it to Six Flags or Disneyland), with logo shops, timeshare sales, etc. Within minutes of check-in, we were approached by a guy who very helpfully made our a la carte reservations, then informed us that if we would go through a timeshare presentation, they would upgrade us to a fancy oceanfront room. Dude, anyone on the internet knows that if you’re willing to go through a timeshare sales pitch, you can do 5 nights here for $399/ 2 people. I’ve been there, done that with timeshare sales pitches, and even that kind of offer isn’t enough to entice me. I’m sure not going to sell out for a 4-day upgrade.

There are LOTS of families here, and if you’re travelling with kids, this is definitely a great choice. Not many resorts in our experience have a Lazy River, ice cream shop, coffee shop, kids club, teen club, non-stop games at the pools; it goes on and on. We’re early risers, and pretty much wet blankets after 10:00 pm, but we did manage to stay up one night to watch their production of The Lion King. It was abbreviated (around 50 minutes), but quite entertaining, with fun costumes, good dancing, and 3 really excellent lead singers. They need to improve either the acoustics or the sound mixing, however; the singers’ voices were often drowned out by the music. Clearly all the kids loved the show, and a lot of them got to participate in some kind of parade at the end of the production.

For snorkelers, the coral and underwater life off the beach is fantastic. There is a large protected lagoon area, but if you’re a strong snorkeler, you can also can venture outside the lagoon and explore some other really nice reef areas. The Sirenis lifeguards got bent out of shape when I went outside the roped-off lagoon area, but after a heated exchange (with me yelling at them in Spanish from the water) in which I assured them that I wouldn't hold the hotel responsible if I got killed, they finally left me alone. I should also mention that Akumal Bay is great for lots of turtles, but at least the part we saw in an hour snorkeling didn't have any better coral or fish life than the GS or the GORM resorts. But I've heard from others that where were in the bay (kind of the center) isn't the best area for coral.

Wildlife (the non-human kind) here was a lot of fun to watch. Iguanas all over the place of course, plus I had several sightings of basilisk lizards, aka Jesus Christ lizards for their ability to literally run on water without breaking the surface tension. There were some very nice birds, including some bright yellow and black oriole-like birds. One advantage of a room on a higher floor is that you’re over the canopy of the mangrove forest, so you can get a better view of the bird action.

While our overall impression was very positive, we have to agree with one complaint common to many reviews: the wine here is atrociously bad. In contrast to the GORM, where both the red and the white are cloyingly sweet, the wine at the GS is extremely acidic and flavorless. We did find the rose drinkable sometimes, but even that one displayed enormous bottle variation. (This made us wonder if it -- and maybe the red and white -- are actually not such awful quality to begin with, but have just been very badly damaged by being stored in extreme heat.) I hope the management will show some sense and start serving some cheap, drinkable wines from Chile or Australia, so the guests can really enjoy the good food. In the mean time, my advice is to bring your own, as we did. You can get very drinkable wines in easy-to-carry boxes for around $15- 20/ 3 liters, and the Mexican duty-free allowance is a generous 6 liters per person. But to end on a more positive note, the sparkling wine at the GS won’t make you forget Dom Perignon, but throw in some cassis, and it does make a serviceable kir royale!

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank johndc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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