I just returned from another trip to Cancun and stayed at the beautiful Dreams Playa Mujeres Golf and Spa Resort during Feb. 2017. I stayed in an upgraded Preferred Club Jr. Suite Ocean View, room #7408. I had pre-requested a pool view in addition to the ocean view since I did not want to look out at the side of the resort and this wish was definitely met. This was the view from my balcony with its own comfortable day bed and Jacuzzi tub.
I was welcomed by a friendly staff member who gave me a moistened towel, tag for my luggage, glass of sparkling wine, and escorted me to the general check-in lounge area in order to wait for another staff member who would escort me to the private Preferred Club Lounge for my actual check-in experience. Too bad it was dusk when I arrived since he assured me the view from the open-air lobby to the sea was spectacular and a good reason why he enjoyed coming to work every day. When I returned to the lobby the following day during daylight hours, this is what I saw and why I understood his remarks about the resort’s initial impression.
The open-air lobby itself is a wonderful gathering place day or night; it is sectioned off into the check-in area, the lobby bar, and individual desks for ancillary service providers. There are comfortable sofas everywhere, even on the two outdoor terraces. A fresh sea breeze intermittently wafts its way through which can be a Godsend during the heat of midday. In the hallway to the left of the check-in desk is an elevator and flight of stairs which will take guests down to the Spin disco–I don’t know why it’s so tucked away from most of the resort’s “action”–perhaps a noise issue since the club is open until 1 a.m.
The Preferred Club Lounge is gorgeous and another great place for upgraded guests to linger. There are food offerings throughout the day as well as a manned bar serving top-shelf liquor, a large flat screen TV, reading material, and computers for guests to access. There is also attentive wait service in this area. The only way to access this private lounge is with a room key, so don’t forget yours if you decide to visit. By the way, my check-in was flawless and took about 15 minutes–my passport was copied, paperwork was signed, and I was asked whether I wanted to put down an additional deposit for services obtained during my stay such as spa visits, bottles of specialty wine with dinner, etc. I declined and was on my way to my room.
The Jr. Suite was definitely large enough for three adults (this is the maximum number of adults which can stay in this room category). I enjoyed the sitting area with the large sofa (it also serves as a sofa bed), the iPad which gave me info on resort services and took room service orders and spa reservations, the large desk area for those unlucky enough to have to work during vacation, the room privacy and cleaning request buttons by the bedside table (they turn on respective lights outside your room door), and the super large bathroom with a two-person shower. While overall I was very satisfied with the room, there were a few negatives including the louvered panels which separated the bathroom from the bedroom–while visually one can have some privacy by closing the panels, sound-wise there is little privacy to be had unless one uses the Bluetooth enabler (located in the bathroom) from which one can access their phone’s music list or what’s on the room’s TV. Unfortunately, mine did not work but I wasn’t in Mexico to stay “plugged in” all the time. Also, this was the first time I had been in an AMResorts upgraded room without the small bottles of liquor or the additional snacks (Pringles and M&M’s are king)–perhaps it was an oversight, but forgotten every single day? On the positive side, there was a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine in my room upon arrival along with additional bathroom amenities like a razor, bottle of sunscreen, and toothbrush/toothpaste. I needed ice to chill my bottle of sparkling wine and found an ice machine just around the corner from the elevator.
Since the Dreams resort chain focuses on family vacations, there are some wonderful kid-oriented amenities onsite including two waterslides, a children’s water park complete with slides/water buckets/water cannons, an additional water park for younger children at the Explorer’s Club, and a teen club (the Core Zone) which offers Euro-Bungee, a rock climbing wall, and a games and video room. Due to exit clearance issues, the covered waterslide has been closed, but hopefully this issue will be resolved relatively soon. Unless the water pressure has improved, adults may get stuck coming down on the uncovered waterslide which is in operation. Only Preferred Club guests may enjoy the Lazy River–a relaxing way to spend some time. No need to bring your own flotation devices for the Lazy River, the resort has plenty of tubes; there is a staff member available to help you get into one and send you on your way. Also, there is a convenient bar at the Lazy River since it is located in a more isolated area of the resort. Guests who want to spend some time at the Lazy River will want to cross the bridge in order to access the loungers–I walked around the entire perimeter before I figured out how to get to one. NOTE: There are some slippery spots between the clothing store and the Lazy River entrance where staff takes your name and room number; the concrete is particularly smooth in some areas which makes for a possible oops moment.
Pool lovers rejoice! There are two bi-level infinity pools with ocean views, a pool with a grotto bar area, three swim-up bars (the beachfront infinity pool has the largest swim-up bar I’ve ever seen), a toddler/baby pool without much shade, and separate pools over by the water park. The activities pool is located on the uppermost level, while afternoon entertainment happens at the beachfront infinity pool. Kids are welcome at all pools despite Dreams original rule of adults-only at the beachfront pool. While I had gotten reassurance prior to my stay that all pools were heated to various degrees, I found that most were a bit cool for my liking (I visited in late February). Since I wasn’t traveling with children, I have only heard from other guests that the children’s water park pool area is not heated. Look for poolside Bali beds tucked amidst the beautiful grounds–they were originally supposed to be only for Preferred Club guests, but from what I could see there is no way to monitor that rule.
I got up early one morning in order to secure a beach Bali bed for the day at 7:30 a.m.–and I never regretted the lack of sleep! One of the most comfortable days I’ve ever spent at the beach. These beach Bali beds are only for Preferred Club guests and are first-come first-served; the Hideaway Bar along with wait service is only for upgraded guests as well. Non-upgraded guests do have their own lounger section with shade palapas as well as their own beach bar, however. While I’m not an avid ocean swimmer, the water is definitely swimmable here with access to non-motorized water sports just up the beach at Secrets Playa Mujeres. The resort was finishing up the dolphin interaction area, so I cannot comment on that amenity–it is supposed to be ready fairly soon (anywhere from several weeks to early summer 2017).
With nine restaurants and 13 bars there is no excuse to go hungry or thirsty at this resort. My favorite restaurant was Maris–a seafood place with attentive service and a great a la carte breakfast for Preferred Club guests. Try the chicken chilaquiles and preserved fruit, it’s a winner. I also ate at Gaucho Grill (a Brazilian Rodizio) and had amusing Victor wait on us; Victor brought the after-dinner drink cart over and we tried some great cream tequila and something that tasted like Ouzo (a Greek drink which tastes like licorice).
If you want to eat at the teppanyaki show table you’ve got to show up at Fusion restaurant by 5:15 p.m. the day you want to eat there and wait until it opens at 5:30 p.m.; they will ask you which seating you want to reserve and put your name on the list. Tres Colores was actually better than I was led to believe, and the buffet I only tried for breakfast which was very good with lots of selections. The buffet also has a drinks cart available at breakfast if you like to start your vacation day that way–it offers Bloody Mary mixes and Mimosas (make your own). Definitely skip the pre-made sandwiches at That’s A Wrap, and be prepared to wait at Tides for a hamburger at lunch. The resort recently decided to offer a poolside BBQ on a daily basis which will greatly improve luncheon options and accessibility of food. If you feel like a specialty coffee, ice cream, pastry, or large pretzel, visit Dolce–it’s open until 10 p.m. A la carte restaurants do not take reservations (with the exception of the teppanyaki tables at Fusion) which has its advantages and disadvantages. If you go to dinner between 7 and 8 p.m., be prepared for a 45-60 min. wait–you will be given a pager to let you know what time to return. That’s OK though, you can have a drink at one of the many bars or listen to live music at the bottom of the lobby stairs.
There are many activities going on throughout the day from a bicycle tour at 10 a.m. (meet in the lobby at 9 with tennis shoes, ages 10+) to nightly shows either in the theater or on the beach. I thought the theater performances were quite good but unfortunately they didn’t seem well-attended. Maybe the resort should advertise them more throughout the day. If you want a list of daily activities, pick up a hard copy first thing in the morning at the check-in desk. Adult guests who want a change of pace should visit Secrets Playa Mujeres next door where you can swim in their pools, eat at their restaurants, and drink at their bars. I went over there for an afternoon and had a fun, relaxing time; I especially appreciated the poolside BBQ in lieu of a sit-down restaurant for lunch.
I found this new resort to be both visually appealing and very casual in its atmosphere despite its luxurious surroundings. The only amenities which were being worked on at the time of my visit were the dolphin habitat and the roof of the lobby, everything else appeared to be completed. There were many families with younger children (below age 5) staying here and quite a few couples as well, so the resort appeals to a broad age range of vacationer. Would I return? Although I found it to be a lovely holiday, I probably won’t return since I found the price to be somewhat of a shock, even with a “soft opening” rate.
Take a moment or two and enjoy the photo gallery below–just click on any of the thumbnails to get a larger view of the picture.
(The comments in this review are those of the author/reviewer. This trip was paid for in its entirety by the author; at no time were any monies or services exchanged for this review).
Location: 10 min. north of downtown Cancun and 45 min. north of the airport.
Telephone: 1-866-237-3267 (toll-free Dreams Resorts), 52-998-283-3600 (Mexico)