Superior Staff and Service
We are a family of 5 (boys 8 and 11, girl 4) that travelled to Dreams Playa Mujeres from Sept 28 to Oct 7th for my 40th birthday. This review is a long one, but we appreciate detail when planning our vacations, so we hope to pay it forward with a thoughtful and detailed review. For context, we have visited Grand Bahia Principe and Iberostar resorts in Riviera Maya in the past. We are not a wealthy family, nor are we ‘picky’ or ‘snobby’. We appreciate the staff and don’t ‘sweat the small stuff’. First and foremost, our trip was amazing. This was our first stay at a Dreams resort and we had a great time (despite some questionable weather). The biggest reason for this was the superior service and staff at this resort.The resort is not perfect, and I will detail some of the small issues we had, and some areas for improvement, but don’t let these small issues fool you. These little issues have very little weight relative to the great service and amazing pools at this property.Upon arrival - We had two rooms booked, and our one request was to have these 2 rooms be adjoining. This would make our trip so much easier (we even emailed the resort directly and had our travel agent request this as well). At first, this did not happen. In fact, they wanted us to pay for this despite the fact that the resort was only 44% full. It would have been easy to accommodate this request, but their first priority was to try get us to pay an additional $40 USD per night ($320 USD!) for this. We refused. Then they tried to get us to sit through their time share meeting for this. We refused again. Finally, on the first night, we did not have bedding on our pull out couches, so we called the front desk and got Tadeo. He was wonderful, and immediately put us in adjoining rooms (as his suggestion. We only called down asking for bedding). Tadeo went the extra mile for us, and helped make our vacation a memorable one! The Property:The property is a nice size. Not too big, not too small. It’s a short walk from the lobby to the beach. There is no need for the dreaded towel game here! We are late risers, so this was great for us. We could wander out at 2pm and still easily find a lounger in a nice location. The Bali Beds are a little harder to come by, but we could still find one mid morning.Pools – The Pool system is SPECTACULAR! We spent most of our time at the lower Infinity Pool, which would be considered the activity pool. It was the busiest of the pools and the most fun. If you want a quiet pool, stay at the upper pool.Lazy River – The Lazy River is enjoyable. I am just not sure why it is tucked away behind the resort like it is. The Lazy River bar was never open, so we didn’t spend much time there.Kids Waterpark – The kids waterpark is good, but it does feel a bit cut off from the rest of the resort (probably on purpose), and because the pools are so great, we didn’t spend much time here either.Beach – The Beach is beautiful when the weather is right. On a calm, sunny day, it is stunning. When it is windy, the seaweed blows in and the beach becomes a little less attractive for both relaxing and swimming. The sand is soft and white, and there are many kilometers to walk in both directions. Rooms – We had great adjoining oceanview rooms thanks to Tadeo. Because it is a new resort, the rooms are the most modern we have stayed at in Mexico. Modern features like Netflix, In-room tablet (for daily resort info and ordering room service), great wifi (not just in the room, but everywhere in the resort, including the beach), and a jetted tub on your deck, really enhanced the stay. Having the Netflix option was great for the kids (and us) during some downtime.We have one issue with our room that may have been a bigger issue for other travelers… we had a sugar ant problem. We couldn’t leave out any room service food or open snacks/drinks because the sugar ants would get to them quickly. The resort left me a bottle of Champagne and a chocolate dessert on my birthday, which was great, except by the time we got back to our room, the sugar ants had gotten to the cake. Food, Restaurants and Bars:Overall, the food was good. One of the best features about Dreams resorts is the restaurants require no reservations or have any limits on ‘a la carte’! We could walk in to any restaurant at any time and could have gone to the same restaurant everyday if we had wanted to. This is a huge plus over other resorts that limit the a la cartes and require reservations (which can create unneeded stress).One big problem with this resort is the limited choice for snacks and lunch during the day. During the day, when I am poolside or at the beach, I just don’t want to have to dry off, throw on a cover up, and wander up to the buffet. The ‘Tides Grill’ is an option, but it is also located near the buffet, and has very limited choice (literally just burgers and hotdogs). ‘That’s a Wrap’ had prepackaged wraps and salads that just were not very good. The other choice is a sit down ‘a la carte’ at Maris restaurant. We did this once. The food was not good, and the 1+ hours it takes just wastes too much of the day. Where is the poolside buffet? Or, at the very least, do poolside or beachside Paella everyday. There was a Paella class on the Saturday at That’s a Wrap. The Paella was great. Why not do this everyday (weather permitting) at the Infinity Pool or at the Beach? I should be able to wander up dripping wet in my bathing suit and get a snack somewhere. But we couldn’t do that here, and it is a big problem in my opinion.The bar and pool/beachside servers were wonderful. The drinks were great and capable of getting anyone drunk if they wanted too!Luis (Infinity Pool) and Carlos Ovando (Beach) took great care of us and kept the drinks coming. They made our vacation so much better. I always enjoyed chatting with Carlos. His English was great and he was funny and made great drinks. 24 hr Room Service – The room service was wonderful. It was a great option to have and we used it 4 times. I have seen comments on here regarding how long it takes, but everytime we ordered, it arrived in less than 50 mins, and it was very good. The menu had great variety and it was so easy to order using the in-room tablet.Fusion (Asian/Peruvian) was our favorite restaurant. We went there 3 times! Once for the Teppenyaki. Our Teppanyaki chef was Sergio. Sergio was great and so funny! We also went back 2 more times to just eat from the a la carte menu, and it was delicious. Have the Salmon! It is to die for good. Guadeloupe, Lizzbeth and Daniel served us at Fusion and took very good care of us. We felt at home there all 3 times.Gaucho (Brazilian Steakhouse) is very popular and gets mentioned a lot here on TripAdvisor. However, we are not big meat eaters, so it was not good for us. The buffet/salad bar was great, but we found the meat, for the most part, to be too salty, and the variety was a bit too much for us. As a family that doesn’t eat much meat, the roasted baby pig and the sweetbreads (passed off as beef brisket) was just too much for us. That said, I can see why meat eaters like it.L’etoile (French) – This place was amazing. We had the duck and a Filet, and it was just so good. Wilbert was an amazing server too. Unfortunately, we left this too late in our trip to be able to return. We would have been back.Maris – We tried Maris for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. It was bad all 3 times. Enough said.The World Café Buffet was good. It had the best service I have ever had at a Mexican Buffet. The variety was good enough, and the quality was good too. However, it does have room for improvement. For whatever reason, during breakfast, they were always out of bacon. This was a bit of an annoyance. It seemed to always run out of the popular items, not just the bacon. Ana at the Omelet station was always fast and made a great Omelet and eggs during breakfast, as was the Fajita station at lunch and dinner.Dolce (Ice cream and coffee shop) – We went here every day…and our kids sometimes went there twice a day. Iridian was always smiling and friendly. She even sent my kids on their way the last day with a bag of cookies to eat on the plane.Entertainment:We did have spotty weather during our stay, so it was hard to keep track of the changing schedules throughout the day due to the threat of rain… but when it was nice out, there are good activities at the Infinity Pool and beach. The Live band at 2:00 everyday at the Infinity Pool was nice.The Evening entertainment was impacted by weather almost every night so it is hard for me to comment on it. The Magician show was absolutely great for adults and the kids. I forget his name, but he was very funny and talented. They also did a Casino night (for the whole family) which we enjoyed. However, they could have announced that the auction at the end only had one prize, and it should be a family friendly prize, not a bunch of alcohol. My son did very well, but then couldn’t have cared less about the ‘prize’ at the end. The Mexican show, Circus show, and Pirate show all had to be moved indoors (because of the threat of rain), so we didn’t attend, and the Fire Show on the beach was ok.Kids Club:Sarahi, Paula, and Ivonne at the Explorers Club were all wonderful with the kids. Our 4 year old daughter wanted to go everyday. We had to tell her ‘no’ on many occasions. The fact that the Explorers club is open until 10pm is great because it allows ‘Mom and Dad’ to have some alone time and enjoy a great dinner without the kids. Our daughter especially loved Sarahi and Paula and was sad to leave them. Our kids made balloon animals, went on a pirate treasure hunt, did the bungee trampoline, went to lunch at the buffet, etc. There was always lots of stuff happening. Tropical Storm Nate:Tropical Storm Nate threatened Cancun on Friday the 5th. Most weather models were showing that the storm wasn’t going to be much of an impact, but the resort fully prepared for a direct hit by a potential hurricane. All beach chairs and umbrellas were removed. The dolphins were evacuated. Chandeliers removed etc… Although I appreciate this and fully understand why they do this, they also closed all bars and restaurants except for the buffet and Spin club bar. This seemed to be overkill. I see no reason why the bars and restaurants couldn’t have stayed open until the storm showed signs of arriving with strength. Nate never showed up, and we were left without chairs, without drinks and without any restaurants for the entire resort except the buffet. They even closed some of the pools mid afternoon. This was disappointing. Tipping:Please tip the staff. They very much appreciate and DESERVE it. We always tipped. That said, I did not see any drop in service for those who didn’t tip… and for that, the staff deserves lots of praise and TIPS!Final Comments:To the Resort Management…Your resort is a Non-Smoking resort. Please do your best to enforce this. I understand not wanting to disturb a group of chain smoking guests at the infinity pool for fear of upsetting them. But by not addressing it, they are negatively impacting our vacation and they are littering on your property. Breathing in second-hand smoke and watching them drop butts in the pool overflow gaps is disgusting. If you are non-smoking, please enforce this.When your resort is less than half full, and your guests have pre-requested adjoining rooms, I strongly suggest you happily give them adjoining rooms rather than trying to force them to pay an extra $40 USD per night to ‘guarantee’ this. Your staff is amazing, and they deserve much praise. They made this vacation a 5 star vacation. It is the little things that make your vacation. Day two at the resort we saw Marco who met our daughter. For the rest of the trip, everywhere we saw him, he would say to her, “Hi ***, How are you?” It was these types of encounters that make a great vacation. We would absolutely return to this resort, and if we decided to go somewhere else in the Caribbean, we will definitely be putting the Dreams brand at the top of our list.