Deep in the Riviera Maya between Playa del Carmen and Tulum lies Dreams Puerto Aventuras Resort and Spa (Dreams PA). The resort is situated on a protected bay in the gated community of Puerto Aventuras and is within walking distance to local shops, the marina, and the onsite dolphinarium where guests can interact with dolphins and manatees for a fee. Dreams PA is a small property compared to other Riviera Maya all-inclusive resorts with just 305 rooms and is easily navigable by families as well as those with mobility problems.
As many all-inclusive vacationers know, the Dreams brand caters primarily to families, especially those with younger children. This resort is no exception with the Explorer’s Club open until 10 p.m. so that parents can enjoy a dinner at the adults-only restaurant, Oceana. While teens have their own scheduled activities, there is no dedicated space like there is for younger children. Instead, there are weekly bonfires, pool tables in the sports bar, disco mixers, and various games planned for this age group. And let’s not forget Dolphin Dreams where adults, children, and teens can be up close and personal with these sea mammals. There is an open invitation for all guests to briefly see the dolphins at 1 p.m.; however, the actual interactive experiences are closed to those not directly involved. This onsite attraction is located on the non-beach side of the resort–several guest room categories are devoted to offering premium views of the dolphinarium.
Dreams PA also has an adults-only section near Dolphin Dreams which includes a pool, Jacuzzi, and bar area, but no ocean view. The main beachfront pool is family-friendly with a large, separate Jacuzzi that typically gets filled with young children; the main pool also has a foam party every Thursday. Both pools are on the small side, but both have a swim-up bar. Sundecks offer loungers, shade umbrellas, and some natural shade–despite ordering new chairs, lounger “reserving” is still at a premium here so be sure to get up early to get a prime spot.
Just a few steps from the main pool is the small beach area which has loungers, palapas, and natural shade. While ocean entry can be rocky in several sections, guests have the advantage of snorkeling right off the beach; children will enjoy the large inflatables located just offshore. On the south end of the resort is a salt water pool which serves as a naturally occurring tide pool of sorts where guests can snorkel, swim, or just observe the marine life. A stone’s throw away is the Barracuda Beach Bar with its swing seats, nearby Bali beds which are rented out for a fee, and the massage tables. On occasion, staff will secure zip lines across the beach for youngsters to enjoy. For those who like long beach walks, Dreams PA doesn’t offer this; the closest opportunity is the Omni hotel beach area in downtown Puerto Aventuras which is a 10-15 min. walk from the resort. Occasionally, the Dreams PA bay becomes infiltrated with sargassum which may detract from its beauty or deter ocean access; although multiple staff members are assigned to clean it up in a hurry, Mother Nature sometimes wins out which sends many individuals to the pool areas.
Guests retiring from full days on the beach or at the pool will find rooms done in soothing colors of crème, tan, orange, and dark brown hues. A particularly nice feature about the rooms at Dreams PA is their Family Deluxe category which can sleep up to two adults and four children (under age 12) per room–a rare find at most resorts. Bureau space is lacking though–guests need to utilize closet shelf space to store their belongings. Those looking for a balcony Jacuzzi will find one in the Honeymoon and upgraded Master Suites.
Despite its small size, Dreams PA offers a buffet, five a la cartes, poolside and beachside grills, and a 24-hr. café for guests’ dining pleasure. Additionally, 24-hr. room service is available to satisfy snack attacks at any time of the day or night without having to dress up and go anywhere. No reservations are necessary at any of the restaurants; children can feel at home with their own special buffet section and kid’s menus available in most dining venues. Bars are not as numerous as the restaurants, however–there are two swim-up bars, a beach bar, the sports bar, and the Preferred Club Lounge for upgraded guests. Unfortunately, there is no lobby bar at this location.
Dreams PA is an older resort; it opened its doors in 2008 and hasn’t really had any major renovations done since that time. As a result, the resort appear to need some loving attention in numerous areas including the pools and guest rooms. Vacationers who don’t need top-end finishes and non-scuffed areas, and those who don’t mind some missing pool tiles may find that the friendly staff and the numerous amenities provide an ideal vacation destination.
Type of Resort: Family-friendly
Pro: Certified PADI dive center, onsite dolphinarium, family-of-five friendly, complimentary WiFi, no towel cards or wristbands, adults-only section
Con: Small pools and beach area, no lobby bar, no tennis courts, rocky beach and ocean entry in sections, this is an older resort which needs some renovations.
Best Suited For: Families with children from age 3-8, destination wedding resort.
No. of Rooms: 305
Room Amenities: Canopy king or two dbl beds, A/C, balcony/terrace, ceiling fan, desk and chair, mini-bar, digital safe, small flat screen TV, telephone, radio alarm clock with iPod dock, coffee maker, iron/ironing board or steamer, hair dryer, shower, toiletries, 24-hr. room service, complimentary WiFi and calls to the US, Canada, and Mexico with the mobile app. (Sofas and tubs are only included in some of the rooms–ask about them at check-in if these are important amenities). Here is a brief rundown of guest room categories:
- Deluxe Garden View: King bed, single or dbl vessel sinks. Located on the ground floor.
- Deluxe Pool View: King or two dbl beds, single or dbl vessel sinks. Located on floors 2-3.
- Deluxe Ocean View: King or two dbl beds, single or dbl vessel sinks. Located on floors 3-6.
- Deluxe Dolphin View: King or two dbl beds, single or dbl vessel sinks. Located on floors 4-6.
- Family Suite Deluxe Garden View: Two dbl beds, sofa bed, full length mirror, single or dbl vessel sinks, and tub/shower combo. The sink area is partially open to the rest of the room. Located on the ground floor.
- Family Suite Deluxe Ocean View: Two dbl beds, sofa bed, full length mirror, single or dbl vessel sinks, and tub/shower combo. The sink area is partially open to the rest of the room. Located on floors 2-6.
(Preferred Club Privileges)
- private check-in/out
- private concierge
- access to the Preferred Club Lounge on the 7th floor which offers continental breakfast, hors d’oeuvres, desserts, top-shelf liquors with wait service, and computer/printer use
- upgraded mini-bar with small bottles of liquor
- upgraded toiletries
- pillow menu
- daily newspaper
- guest rooms are on higher floors
(Preferred Club Rooms and Rooms with Preferred Club Privileges)
- Honeymoon Jacuzzi Dolphin View: King bed, two armchairs, balcony Jacuzzi and table with two chairs, dbl vessel sinks, shower only. Located on the 3rd and 5th floors; guests have Preferred Club privileges.
- Preferred Club Dolphin View: King or two dbl beds, single or dbl vessel sinks. Located on the top floor.
- Preferred Club Family Suite Ocean View: Two dbl beds, sofa bed, full length mirror, single or dbl vessel sinks, tub/shower combo. The sink area is partially open to the rest of the room. Located on the top floor.
- Master Suite Ocean View: King bed in separate bedroom, living room area with sofa bed, dining table with six chairs, coffee table, two flat screen TV’s, dbl vessel sinks, shower/tub combo, large balcony. Located on the 5th floor; guests have Preferred Club privileges.
- Preferred Club Master Suite Ocean View: King bed in separate bedroom, living room area with sofa bed, dining table with six chairs, coffee table, two flat screen TV’s, half bathroom, dbl vessel sinks, shower/tub combo, large balcony with Jacuzzi and table with two chairs. Located on the top floor.
- NOTE: Best ocean views can be had from the 5th floor and above. Rooms on the dolphinarium side tend to be quieter.
Physically Challenged Rooms: Available
Resort Amenities: Two pools (main beachfront and adult-only pools, both with swim-up bar), adults-only and family-friendly Jacuzzis, natural salt water pool, onsite dolphinarium, spa, beauty salon, fitness center, non-motorized water sports, PADI certified dive center, ocean inflatables for children, mini-golf, sports bar/nightclub, Kid’s Club (ages 3-12), scheduled teen activities (ages 13-17), playground, small rock climbing wall, Euro-bungee, movies on the beach, pool and beach wait service, Bali beds, beach massage tables, hammocks, theater, giant chess set, wedding gazebo, gift shop, concierge, tour desk, car rental, medical service, and complimentary greens fees at Riviera Maya Golf Club.
Restaurants/Bars: One buffet (World Café), a luncheon poolside grill (Seaside Grill), a beachside grill serving hamburgers, hot dogs, and pizza (Barefoot Grill), and five a la cartes including Italian (Portofino), Mexican (El Patio), sushi (Gohan), steakhouse (Seaside Grill), and an adults-only seafood restaurant (Oceana). While Oceana is adults-only, it does allow children to dine there once or twice weekly. Restaurants do not require reservations. CoCo Café now serves coffee, deli snacks, and desserts/pastries 24-hrs. a day. There are two swim-up bars, the sports club/disco bar, and the beachfront bar with swings; upgraded guests have access to a private lounge. The resort has also recently placed numerous buckets around the property which contain cold water and beer.
Entertainment: Movies and fire show on the beach, nightly shows in the theater, a disco, live music in the lobby.