By Vanessa Aleksic
I’ve taken two Mexico vacations in recent years — the first to Dreams Cancun Resort & Spa All Inclusive several years ago to celebrate my son’s birthday and my in-law’s anniversary, and the second just recently (without kids and in-laws) to Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa All Inclusive in Riviera Maya to celebrate my birthday.
When I arrived in the gorgeous open-air lobby at Dreams Riviera Cancun, I wasn’t so sure how it would compare to my original Mexico vacation at Dreams Cancun. I was happy to find that the layout at this all-inclusive resort was incredibly easy and not overwhelmingly spread out. It took just a few minutes to walk anywhere I wanted, with no need for golf carts like at some places I’ve been.
The rooms are gorgeous — they are all octagonal shaped, and you can tell they are brand new. They have beautiful white curtains around the bed and marble floors. All of the rooms have a jetted tub, with a separate shower with the floor-to-ceiling marble that’s plenty big enough for two. We had a beautiful view of the ocean from the fourth floor.
There is a minibar in all the rooms, stocked daily, with water, juice and Coronas, and it is all included. Some rooms have private plunge pools, but I rarely saw anyone using them. The pool area itself is so wonderful I think everyone was perfectly happy to go to the common area.
The pool area at this all-inclusive resort is the best layout I have ever seen. They have three pools, each designated for a specific use. The kids pool is shallow enough for infants to sit up in comfortably, and it’s huge, so there is plenty of room for multiple families to be in it and not be on top of each other. The activity pool has a basketball hoop and volleyball net. There is also a gorgeous infinity pool where you look out to the ocean and all you see is water as far as you can see. It’s also heated and has a swim-up bar. All around the pool area there are tons of chaise lounges. There are also these really cool palapas with giant white mattresses on them. They’re big enough for a family to hang out on together; they provide shade for the kids and are great for napping.
The restaurants were incredible. Let me repeat: incredible. If you enjoy five-star restaurants, you will be happy here. I was blown away. The French restaurant, Bordeaux, was my favorite. The filet mignon was wonderful; I could easily cut it with a butter knife. I got a salad with duck, and they did have escargot for a starter. The crème brulee was delicious. I was so happy with everything. I think our dinner would have cost well over $100 in a restaurant back home, and the food was so good I would have felt justified spending that much.
El Patio is their Mexican restaurant, and it has the same five-star feel. It’s not run-of-the mill Mexican food (burrito with beans, etc.), but rather, to quote them, “delectable Mexican cuisine.” They have an Italian restaurant that every one we met said was their favorite, but we never made it there.
We did get to Himitsu, and made reservations the day before so we could sit at the teppanyaki grill. (None of the restaurants require reservations, but if you want to sit at the grill at Himitsu, they are recommended.) We got there early and waited at the sushi bar, and the fresh fish in the sushi was heavenly. The other main restaurants, Oceana and Seaside Grill, are both by the pool areas, in open air. Everything was wonderful everywhere we went.
I also am happy to report that I didn’t need to be afraid that the resort would be too big to be intimate. We met several couples while we were there that we saw throughout our stay. I also had my favorite bartender at the beach bar, Rene, who makes what I decided is the best mojito ever. I felt spoiled and special, which is all I could ask for and more on a Mexico vacation.
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Vanessa Aleksic is a technical support specialist for Orbitz.