The Grand Sunset Princess All Suites and Spa Resort is part of a mega-resort which consists of the following Princess properties: Grand Sunset Princess All Suites and Spa Resort, Grand Riviera Princess All Suites and Spa Resort, Family Club at Grand Riviera Princess All Suites and Spa Resort, and the Platinum Yucatan Princess All Suites and Spa Resort. The Sunset and Riviera resorts are basically mirror images of one another, while the Family Club is now where the Yucatan Princess used to be located on the Grand Riviera side. The adults-only Platinum Yucatan Princess is a brand new build as of 2014 and has its own beach access. Since this is a very large complex which holds just less than 2,000 guests, the Riviera and Sunset Princess resort amenities will be listed together while the Family Club and Platinum Yucatan Princess resort amenities will be listed separately.
The entire complex is beautifully landscaped and meticulously maintained with many sculptures and water features throughout. There is even a lagoon with a resident crocodile! The main walkway originates from both the Sunset and Riviera lobbies and goes all the way to the beach which takes about 15 min. at a leisurely pace. The walkway is adorned with Mayan statues and, for the most part, has a dark border on each side for easier identification as the main thoroughfare. For those who have mobility problems, there is a tram service which runs every 15-20 min.
The public areas and buildings here are quite impressive. From the moment one enters the two-story open-air lobby with its immense staircase, Mayan decorative touches and reliefs, to expansive use of marble and chandeliers, one can tell that great planning and care has gone into this property. While the reception desk and lobby bar are on the upper level, several stores can be found below. Upon exiting the lobby building, guests can relax on comfortable chairs situated on several overwater thatched-roof platforms, while the adjacent central plaza is the evening live music “hotspot”. A majority of the restaurants are positioned in between the Sunset and Riviera Princess resorts on both the upper and ground floor levels in the lobby building.
Multiple pools, some with Jacuzzis designated by white vertical columns, are definitely a highlight of the resort. Swim-up suite pools serve to interconnect two pools which separate the Sunset and Riviera Princess; guests can swim from the more quiet pool to the activities pool with the swim-up bar without having to get out of the water. There are two additional large pools adjacent to the luncheon/snack buffets (one on the Riviera and one on the Sunset side), while upgraded Platinum Suites and Laguna Villa Suites each have their own private pool. (While Laguna Villa Suite guests can use the Platinum Suites pool, Platinum guests cannot use the Laguna pool). Main pool areas offer loungers and some natural shade, while palapas provide shade for guests who can get up early enough to claim one for the day. Upgraded pools offer Bali beds and their own dedicated wait staff. Pools close by 8 p.m.
The beach generally gets mixed reviews–guests often come expecting the turquoise waters of Cancun or the beautiful blue-green hues of Playacar beach, but the water can be a bit cloudy at times depending on the weather or the tides while ocean entry can be a bit rocky (bring water shoes). There are two beach bars (one is for upgraded guests) and a BBQ station on the Riviera side, while the Sunset beach area has the water sports hut and dive center. Upgraded Platinum and Laguna Villa Suites each have their own private beach sections on this beach, while the separate Chill Out Beach Club bar, restaurant, and lounger section is on the far south end of the property. The Chill Out section is an extra charge for all guests regardless of room category (USD $11 p/p per day). The only time this fee is waived is if a guest has dined in the Chill Out Restaurant (another extra charge)–then it is free for the rest of your stay. It is a comfortable way to spend the day and includes the following amenities: Bali beds, regular loungers, private wait staff, complimentary WiFi for the day, top-shelf liquor, and lunch menu service ($) from 2-5 p.m. Since the property as a whole is a bit narrow, the beach can get a bit crowded, especially since each lounger section is roped off which prevents guests from moving their loungers more towards the water’s edge. If you enjoy foam parties, there is one on the beach on Friday afternoon.
If you’re looking for some very nice guest room choices, this resort has some great suites to choose from. In addition to their regular Jr. Suite, there is the Jr. Suite Deluxe room with Jacuzzi tub, the swim-up suite for those age 13 and over, Laguna Villa Suite with its unique outdoor grotto shower (adults-only), and Platinum Suite with balcony Jacuzzi located closest to the beach. NOTE: If you’re booking one of the three types of Jr. Suites you need to be aware that the following a la carte restaurants are an extra charge: seafood (Las Olas), and gourmet (Le Fleur). Also, aged liquor, bottles of wine, and champagne are not included in the all-inclusive pricing for all room categories.
Families bringing children to the resort will be glad to know that overall, the resort as a whole offers many activities to keep all family members happy and busy. While the Kid’s Club tends to be geared towards younger children, it is open until 11 p.m. which is a rarity at most family-friendly all-inclusives in this area. There is a newer children’s water park over at the Family Club on the Grand Riviera side of the property, but for guests staying outside of the Family Club section admission is USD $10 p/p per day. On the Riviera side of the property there are tennis courts, a multi-sports court, and archery/air rifle practice areas.
Despite the fact this Princess resort has several amenity exclusions from its all-inclusive pricing, it continues to remain one of the better vacation values to date, especially when online discounts are published–watch for the deals!
Type of Resort: Family-Friendly with an adults-only section (Laguna Villa Suite upgrade).
Pro: Stay at one play at two, lots of pools, nightly entertainment, beautiful grounds.
Con: Service can be spotty, rocky ocean entry in places, WiFi/room service ($) for Jr. Suite room categories, some amenities not included, needs more poolside shade palapas.
Best Suited For: Families with children ages 4-10, couples will like the Laguna Villa Suites if they also don’t mind navigating around a mega-resort.
No. of Rooms: 672
Room Amenities: King or two dbl beds, A/C, balcony/terrace, sofa, mini-bar, in-room safe, flat screen TV, ceiling fan, coffee maker, two telephones, hair dryer, shower, and toiletries. Room service and WiFi is an extra charge for Jr. Suite, Jr. Suite Deluxe, and Jr. Suite with Pool Access guest rooms. NOTE: Keep in mind that in-room electricity only runs when the room key is put in its wall slot–bring an old room key if you have one or an old gift card if you want to keep your room and mini-bar cool when you’re out and about. Here is a brief rundown of guest room categories:
- Jr. Suite: King or two dbl beds. Restricted access to a la cartes, WiFi and room service is an extra cost. Iron/ironing boards are given out by request.
- Deluxe Jr. Suite: King or two dbl beds, Jacuzzi tub. Restricted access to a la cartes, WiFi and room service is an extra cost. Iron/ironing boards are given out by request.
- Platinum Suite: King or two dbl beds, balcony Jacuzzi, bathroom Jacuzzi tub, small bottles of rum, tequila, and vodka, iron/ironing board, robe and slippers, CD/DVD player, nightly turndown service, pillow menu, beach bag, in-room gift, complimentary WiFi and room service, and Platinum amenities (see list below). Some ocean view rooms available, but difficult to get.
- Laguna Villa Suite: King bed, in-room Jacuzzi tub, outdoor grotto shower, walk-in closet, armchairs, small bottles of rum, tequila, and vodka, iron/ironing board, robe and slippers, CD/DVD player, nightly turndown service, pillow menu, aromatherapy upon request, beach bag, in-room gift, complimentary WiFi and room service, complimentary spa service, and Platinum amenities (see list below). Because of the room layout, the tub and dbl sinks are behind the bed so part of the bathroom is open to the rest of the room.
- private check-in/out
- access to private pools and beach areas with their own wait staff
- private concierge service
- access to Platinum Lounge with continental breakfast, hors d’oeuvres, premium liquor, newspapers, flat screen TV, DVD library
- Thursday night special buffet
- preference for a la carte dinner reservations
- discounts on greens fees and spa treatments
- one hydrotherapy water circuit at the spa per adult per week
Physically Challenged Rooms: Available. This is a very large resort with few elevators. Those with physical limitations should carefully consider whether this type of mega-resort meets their vacation needs.
Resort Amenities: Multiple pools (many with in-pool Jacuzzis and swim-up bars), Kid’s Club (ages 4-12) with children’s pool and playground, the spa/fitness center/theater are located between the two resorts, tennis courts/multi-sports court, archery/air rifle practice, non-motorized and motorized water sports, dive center, beach massage hut, sports bar, casino (being built as of Sept. 2015 and will be next to the sports bar), shuttle service to Playa del Carmen (USD $5 p/p each way), tram service within the resort, Chill Out Beach Club($), internet room ($), concierge, tour desk, gift shop, jewelry store, car rental, ATM. Guests are entitled to enjoy all amenities on the Grand Riviera side of the resort; however, there is restricted amenity use at the Family Club (water park $), while guests are not allowed on the Platinum Yucatan property.
Restaurants/Bars: Two primary buffets (one for the Sunset and one for the Riviera), two snack/luncheon poolside buffets, a la carte restaurants including seafood (Las Olas–not included for Jr. Suite room categories), Swiss (La Fondue), steakhouse (La Vaqueria), Italian (Mama Mia), Oriental (Miso–teppanyaki show tables), Mexican (La Hacienda), and gourmet (Le Fleur–not included for Jr. Suite room categories). A la carte reservations are required and can be made up to three days in advance at the reservations desk; guests staying in the Platinum or Laguna Villa Suites can have their concierge make reservations for them. If you’re looking for a late night snack you can find one at the sports bar which is open 24-hrs. a day. Bars available include two lobby bars, several swim-up bars, pool bars, a theater bar, central plaza bar, sports bar, and upgraded room category bars. NOTE: The Chill Out Beach Club restaurant and bar is located on the beach on the Grand Sunset side of the resort, but it is an extra charge for all guests.
Entertainment: There is live entertainment/music at the central plaza, nightly theater shows, disco (over at the Grand Riviera), and sports bar.