Formerly known as Grand Oasis Viva, Dreams Sands Cancun Resort and Spa has a great location in the Hotel Zone on the upper part of the “7” on a calm stretch of beach; it’s just a 10-min. stroll to Plaza Forum with its popular clubs and restaurants and only a 30-min. ride from the Cancun airport. This property is on a smaller scale than other AMResorts even with 438 guest rooms, eight restaurants, and five bars–all amenities are only within a few minutes of one another. True to the Dreams brand name, the resort boasts rooms and suites offering ocean views, gourmet dining opportunities, top-shelf liquor, 24-hr. room service, onsite entertainment venues, and complimentary WiFi throughout; in addition, wristbands and dinner reservations are not required.
Even though this is a smaller property it offers 650 feet of white sand beach with a beach bar, oceanfront Jacuzzi, loungers, several cabanas (USD $35 p/day), shade palapas, and palms which provide natural shade. Upgraded Preferred Club guests have their own private beach area with its own wait service, loungers, and hammocks; rental cabanas can be found outside of this section, however. Ocean entry has a few rocky outcroppings here and there, but the water itself is fairly shallow and calm with very little wave action–perfect for young children or those who just want to bob about. For those interested in water sports, the resort checks out kayaks or hobie cats, while Jet Ski rental can be found adjacent to the resort. Dreams Sands Cancun decided to keep the in-water volleyball setup which Grand Oasis Viva used–that means the fairly small main pool won’t have its space taken up with such large group games.
Both the main pool and the “quiet” infinity pool are just a few steps off of the white sand beach. The main pool has the resort’s sole swim-up bar along with an adjoining shallow section, while the infinity pool offers a gradual change in depth which makes it perfect for those who actually like to take a swim. The main pool is the hub of daytime activities with its own DJ, live music, Thursday foam party, and games; umbrellas or mature palms provide natural shade. The infinity pool receives significantly less sun during the course of the day due to mature palms, sail shades, and the height of the resort behind it. However, the quiet pool may not be the haven it’s advertised to be since it is located fairly close to the main pool with its morning and afternoon games and music selections. Those who enter/exit either pool will have to use the provided ladders or make use of the sun shelves to get in or out since there are no built-in steps or gradual entry.
Guests are never far away from a variety of dining options including six a la cartes (one is adults-only), a poolside grill, a café which serves lighter fare along with coffee and ice cream, and the buffet restaurant. The Desires Music Lounge occupies late night guests with its DJ’s, dancing, pool tables, and flat screen TV’s for viewing sporting events; movies are also periodically shown on the beach. During the day, golfers will enjoy the complimentary greens fees at the nearby Playa Mujeres Golf Club course (cart rental and transfers are extra).
Children ages three through twelve are entertained at the Explorer’s Club (there is even a weekly beach campout), while teens have their own dedicated Core Zone with video gaming, foosball tables, and nightly social activities such as disco mixers and beach bonfires. Parents who would like to have a quiet, more romantic dining experience can drop their younger children off at the Explorer’s Club where staff will make sure they are fed and entertained until 9 p.m. Additional babysitting services can also be arranged for a fee.
Probably the most difficult decision vacationers will have to make is whether or not to book a balcony room at Dreams Sands Cancun. Not every room has one, so guests will need to decide whether more interior room space is preferred or whether the opportunity to sit out on a balcony with an ocean view or partial ocean view is more important. Rooms without balconies have large windows which open in order to allow cool sea breezes into the room. Also, not all bathrooms have tubs, so if this amenity is important it’s best to specifically request a room which has this feature. Families will enjoy the Family Suite category with its guaranteed connecting rooms, while couples will love the Honeymoon Suite with its extended balcony complete with Jacuzzi and canopy bed.
Type of Resort: Family-friendly
Pro: Walking distance to clubs, no restaurant reservations or wristbands, free WiFi, good beach for young children
Con: Shallow ocean depth, not all rooms have a balcony
Best Suited For: Typical for Dreams, this resort has something to offer all individuals ages three and older.
No. of Rooms: 438
Room Amenities: King or two dbl beds, A/C, table and two chairs, bureau, full length mirror, mini-bar, digital safe, flat screen TV, telephone, radio alarm clock with iPod dock, iron/ironing board, hair dryer, shower, and toiletries. Both 24-hr. room service and WiFi are complimentary. Here is a brief rundown of non-Preferred Club rooms:
- Deluxe Partial Ocean View: King or two dbl beds, tub/shower combo.
- Deluxe Partial Ocean View with Balcony: King bed, balcony, tub/shower combo.
- Deluxe Oceanfront: King or two dbl beds, some tubs available, limited bathroom privacy.
- Deluxe Oceanfront with Balcony: King bed, balcony, some tubs available, limited bathroom privacy.
- Family Suite Partial Ocean and Pool View: Guaranteed two connecting suites, one with a king bed while the other has two dbl beds, two full bathrooms with some tubs available.
(Preferred Club Amenities)
- private check-in/out
- private concierge
- use of a private lounge with continental breakfast, hors d’oeuvres, desserts, top-shelf liquors, and computer use
- upgraded mini-bar with small bottles of liquor and snacks
- upgraded toiletries
- pillow menu
- private beach section with loungers, hammocks, and wait service
- complimentary daily newspaper
(Preferred Club Rooms)
- Preferred Club Ocean View: King or two dbl beds, tub and shower.
- Preferred Club Oceanfront: King or two dbl beds, loveseat, tub and shower.
- Preferred Club Oceanfront with Balcony: King bed, loveseat, balcony, tub and shower.
- Preferred Club Oceanfront Corner Suite: King bed, armchair, tub and shower.
- Preferred Club Honeymoon Suite: King bed, armchair, shower, raised terrace with Jacuzzi tub, Bali bed, table and two chairs, and outdoor sofa. Pool and ocean views.
- Preferred Club Jr. Suite: King bed, armchair, in-room Jacuzzi, two flat screen TV’s, living room with sofa, coffee table, table and two chairs, full bar, Nespresso coffee machine, bottle of Moët and Chandon, two 50-min. Swedish massages, tub and shower. Oceanfront views.
- NOTE: Ocean views are better from the fourth floor on up. Also, Honeymoon Suite terraces have limited privacy from above suites. Some bathroom areas have a partially frosted glass panel which separates the sink area from the bedroom which may pose a privacy issue for some guests.
Physically Challenged Rooms: Available
Resort Amenities: Two pools (main pool with a swim-up bar/children’s shallow section and an infinity pool), beachfront Jacuzzi, spa, sauna, steam room, beauty salon, fitness center, non-motorized water sports, motorized water sports nearby, sports bar/music lounge, pool and beach wait service, beach cabanas for a fee, Explorer’s Club (ages 3-12), Core Zone (ages 13-17), complimentary greens fee at Playa Mujeres Golf Course, concierge, tour desk, gift shop, laundry, child care, medical services, and ATM.
Restaurants/Bars: This resort offers one buffet restaurant (World Café), and six a la cartes including Mexican (El Patio), Pan-Asian (Himitsu–no teppanyaki tables), French (Bordeaux), seafood/Mediterranean (Olio–no A/C), Italian (Portofino), and international gourmet cuisine (Waves and Sands, adults-only). A la cartes do not require reservations. Additionally, there is a poolside grill (Barefoot Grill), an open-air sushi and ceviche bar, and Coco Café which serves lighter fare along with coffee and ice cream–it also offers late night bites between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. There is also a poolside BBQ held several days p/week. There are five bars including a swim-up/poolside bar, beach bar, lobby bar, bar at the sushi and ceviche food area, and a bar in Desires Music Lounge/sports bar. Upgraded Preferred Club guests also have access to a private lounge with top-shelf drinks and snacks.
Entertainment: Live music poolside and in the lobby, live performances such as acrobats, dancers, and a fire show, casino night at the pool, and occasional movies on the beach.