GR Solaris Cancun: Mexican Hospitality at its Best
May 2, 2013
Review by toiletoctopus
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Fantastic Employees, Great Food, Rooms, Beach, Pools, Booze, All Inclusive
The Bottom Line: The GR Solaris Cancun is a must stay at place, if visiting this beautiful part of Mexico. Lovely staff and a job well done!
I've had the great fortune, of being able to travel abroad in several countries, and the best place of all is Mexico. You can find everything close to Cancun, whether its relaxing on the beach, drinking enough to cause your "check liver" light to crank on, or spending time at Mayan Ruins. The GR Solaris Cancun is where my wife, son, and I spent a week, and it was the best seven days of our lives. We cannot wait to go back to this beautiful resort, because not only is it very family friendly, but it offers anyone a welcome reprieve from the stress all of us face before vacationing there. While I am a relatively simple man to please, my wife is even more picky than I am, and she completely agrees that this resort is top notch. I was very impressed with their staff, location, and everything about it except one very minor hang up. It is my hope that they will take care of that, but everything else, blew us away on a level that far exceeded our expectations.
Recommend this product?
There are a number of properties owned by the Solaris Company, but what I like about it especially, is that it is a family that is in charge. It does not have the "corporate feel," that I've experienced elsewhere. This place offers everything under the sun, and while I do recommend visiting the nearby El Rey Ruins and Chichen Itza, you will find plenty to do if you just stay on the property here. Boredom is non-existent, because of their variety of entertainment options, and food is always around. At a lot of all inclusive places, the food quality is acceptable, but nothing spectacular. More will be written about that later, but I was shocked by how delicious it was, along with the quality of the night shows. Yet what really has my heart, is the kind employees who work here, and it was interesting to meet so many of them. To the hard working staff, thank you, because you are not only kind, but I can see it in my eyes that you are all truly caring people.
Our flight arrived early, and as a man who doesn't particularly enjoy aviation without a tranquilizer, I was "dog tired" upon arrival. True, it was only a 3 1/2 hour flight, but every time I fly, these sedatives and just the experience are unsettling. In other countries, check in would mean explicitly at "that time," but the front desk made sure we got in early. Right away they greeted us with a big "Hola, how can we help you?" They got our room, had a bell hop assist us with our luggage, and even upgraded us to free 24/7 room service. We were told to meet with the concierge, but first wanted to rest a bit, and we were pleased with our room's beds. All of us took a nap, and that is where I went down to finally learn from the concierge "where and what to do."
This is a minor blemish, and the hotel staff assured me, that they are going to investigate this. I hope that they do, because it could instantly turn people off, and I had a moment with the gentleman in question. He knows who he is, and the point was delivered personally. I went down with my wife and son, to meet with this individual, who's not a bad person, but just too pushy. I was expecting to learn about the hotel's activities, and he did a fine job with that. Yet a concierge is not supposed to be soliciting aggressively, and he tried to sign my wife and I up, for a "90 minute seminar about directly booking with the hotel the next time." This would give us a free certificate for a night, but I was very irritated, when he tried to play "emotional games" with my wife, by stating "Well if you don't go to this class, its a bad reflection on my part." I was seething, as my wife felt genuinely conflicted while I was tempted to go medieval. I simply got up, and said "No!," and to his credit he left us alone.
What a gorgeous view. First of all the balcony was a comfortable place, as there were two nice chairs out there, and seeing the Caribbean Ocean from four floors up was incredible. This was a good spot to smoke cigars, and enjoy the everyday restocked refrigerator, that had beers inside of it, along with bottles of water. You could look out to the ocean, or the partying down below,where they have a total of of four pools. I liked the breeze that you could just "kick back and relax" with here, and just enjoying the festive atmosphere from here, provided some comfort from the stresses of work. I actually forgot that existed after the first day, and the balcony became a fine place to read books too. At night, there was a light that provided plenty of illumination.
The rooms here are great. Ours was able to be changed to a temperature of our desire, and it was quite spacious. We got the two queen bed version, and you get the aforementioned refrigerator, along with a safe, plenty of closet space, coffee machine, and a television. Ours was a bit of an older model, but they are upgrading their rooms to all have flat screens, but that wasn't a major deal. At first ours was disconnected for some reason, but the front staff immediately arranged for the channels to turn on, and you have about thirty to choose from. You can watch CNN and others if you really want to know what's going on, but we for the most part just watched some movies on HBO and Showtime.
As for the beds, they were above our expectations. They were better than the one we have at home, which is a high quality model mattress. While the tequila and the time in the sun did lead to some deep sleeps, I must say that I didn't have trouble passing out on the first night here. That's usually not the case, because a new bed always spells disaster at first. I'm happy that these were so comfortable, so that did not happen, and also I liked the thread count used. The sheets, blankets were of above average quality also, and room service did a fine job in putting stuffed towel animals on each bed after cleaning the room. My son greatly loved that, and it was a nice touch to a perfect time here.
The shower was sufficient for our needs. While they did not deliver the highest of water pressure, it was adequate and you never ended up without enough of the hot temperature variety. What impressed me was the marble tile, the large mirror, and the small one that was attached to it that I used to shave my head with. A bald man likes this of course. The bathroom was spotless clean, and the towels were big enough to dry yourself off. I even liked the soaps provided, because they provided a welcome reprieve after a day of sweating in the Yucatan Peninsula.
My goodness, I haven't eat so well, in such a long time. There are a number of options to choose, and each one of them was fine. Cafe Solaris inside, and Rosmarinus by the pool, were where we spent most of our time dining. You can eat at any time, although certain restaurants are only open for portions of the day. Our favorite was the Rosmarinus, because not only is it next to the pool, but you can get a view of the ocean from it also. Instantly you are greeted each time, and the servers were all very friendly. We got to know a lot of them, and learned about where they came from. Most of them are from Mexico, but come from states such as Vera Cruz and Monterrey. A couple were from Mexico City, and one of the entertainment staff was from Canada. Its a nice bunch of people, and they not only helped our son make sure he got his oatmeal each day, but also showed us how to find the best foods possible.
Here I fell in love with the first meal each day. We always ate at the Cafe Solaris, which is on the lower floor. Here you can see outside, and the wait staff remembered what you liked. The Mexican coffee was very dark, and I appreciate the refinement and complexity. How it works is you walk in, and a server will bring you a beverage, and then its buffet style. They had a large selection, whether you wanted omelets, pancakes, waffles, or just good ol' Fruit Loops. Their french toast with sugar was a tasty treat, and their bacon and sausages were also. Its very Americanized for breakfast meals, but you could try some traditional Mexican dishes, plus also get a lot of different fruits. Mangoes are still not among my favorite, but what I did love, was one of the waiter's making my son a "Chicken Mango" for my son. Truly hilarious, and a greatly appreciated flair to start the morning. My three year old loved it, and we have pictures of this culinary craft work.
Here's where Rosmarinus was often the spot, and I liked how the tables were decorated with white table cloths. All that's required here, is that you have a shirt and shorts/dry swimsuit on, and sandals. Truly casual dining, and just like breakfast, one of the wait staff will bring you a beverage and its on your way to the buffet. Here is where a lot of beers were drank, but they have plenty of other choices, including juices and water. My wife and I are in complete agreement, as the smoked grouper was the best dish. That was spectacular, and served with a bit of spice to it as well. The mahi-mahi was also tasty, and here is where the food had a more international vibe. You could try foods from Central America, and every single one of them was from good to excellent. You can also have your food cooked in front of you. For instance, getting a whole bunch of shrimp, and having a chef fry it up in front of you, was a neat experience. She was able to teach me a few things about seasoning, along with providing me a new recipe for tequila shrimp. That was also on the menu, and its a must have food item.
The Rosmarinus was a delightful venue, but what we liked were the night show dinners. Here in the saloon room, you can sit with other guests, and have drinks brought to you. Yes, even shots of tequila. Depending on which night and what show, the menu varied, but all were fantastic. Asian night was really good, as their dishes would compete well, with anyone I've had in the very highly Asian populated D.C. area. Eating with other diners from mostly the USA, but also from other places such as Brazil, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Spain was a delight. We made a lot of good people at these dinners, and the on the spot cooking is cool. Here you can get a lot of customized dishes, and the wait time is not long at all.
I never thought I would appreciate coffee between 1600-1800 hours. That's right, I always drink coffee in the mornings, to get an extra boost primarily. Yet here, they have a spot in the lobby for this daily event, where you can see a wait staff employee put your coffee literally on fire. That is awesome, as it is not only entertaining, but having your coffee mixed with tequila or Scotch is another reason to love this. The lines were never too long, and I liked the ladies who caused flames to pan out from the coffee and alcohol mixing. While I won't try this at home, because I don't want "el bombero's" at my casa, I do have to say that is is a unique way of getting your java. They put sugar in on the top of the cups rim, and it makes this a tasty beverage, that "just hit the spot."
Night Show Entertainment
Also included in the all inclusive deal, along with the food and booze, was really good entertainment. The entertainment staff here deserve a lot of credit, as each night they have a one hour event to go with the dinner in the comfortable ball room. Our personal favorites were the Michael Jackson Experience, along with Generations. The man who portrays Michael Jackson, does all of the famous moves, including the moon walk and the one from "Smooth Criminal," where he bends sideways with five other performers. Simply incredible, and my wife and I both liked reliving the songs we grew up with.
Generations was a similar type of event. Here the staff, went from the 1920's to now with music. Everything from big band to the Backstreet Boys. To each their own, and while I wasn't particularly enamored with that band from back in the day, it was only for a minute or so. The rest of it was entertaining, funny, and had a lot of passion contributed by the performers. Mexican Night was great too, with so many different costumes and dance styles. My personal favorite was the Mariachi band, while my wife like the man who swung fire around, and then by the floor by him. That was neat, as was Caribbean Night. Lots of salsa and merengue.
Pools-A Drink Up Bar Included
I have never had a better day, than the one where I was on a stool in the pool, drinking and smoking a Cuban cigar. That was good for the soul, and admittedly, I drank too much. The bar staff were friendly, and while it can be a busy spot, you don't have to wait more than a couple of minutes. Plus the bartenders make some delicious drinks, some of which I had never tried before. Obviously I did participate in a lot of "shots" of El Jimador and other tequila brands, while hammering down beers. This pool is where a lot of the activity is, including Mr. and Miss Solaris. I'm still laughing about being a contestant for the first one, but sadly lost out to a guy wearing a banana hammock, with the other guys.
This pool, and the one on the North side(adults only) are fine places to relax. There's another large pool next to the one by the bar, and a water fountain off of a bridge to swim by. My son loved this, and he was most impressed by the Kid's Club Pool. This was on the South side, in a shaded area. The staff that work here are excellent with kids, and involved them in face painting, drawing, and also they did have age appropriate movies. A small playground was able to be played with in this pool. For babies, there's a small pool attached to the family one listed, but do watch out for an errant volleyball. As long as I'm playing, there should not be an issue. That was fun, as I joined some folks playing water games such as that, along with basketball.
Just walk down the steps, and you are on Cancun's Federal beach. Its white sands, turquoise blue waters, are a treat. We spent a lot of time here, whether reading books on the provided lounge chairs under umbrellas, or getting in the water. You could see beautiful sea fish around, and while the surf was a bit rough, most can handle it. This was due mostly due to it being the time of year for that, but the "yellow" flags for safety were out on some of the days. Also, there is a lifeguard on duty from around 7 am-5 pm or so. The staff from the hotel will bring you drinks, and here's where you can sometimes be offered fake Cubans from salesmen walking by. Its not too irritating, and I was able to get some souvenirs here, along with those sold in the back pavilion of the hotel. The key is haggle, haggle, haggle.
Its very inexpensive to go here. I don't know the exact break down of how the hotel worked out, but through another travel agency, per person with airfare included, it was $825 USD. That's right, a week of a nice room, food, and booze also with the loads of activities. I can't think of a better bargain. While you are not obligated to, and I never felt pressured too, I liked tipping the hard working staff working here. These folks are working extremely long hours, to make sure that your vacation is a good one. Each and every single employee was loved, from the house keeping crew to the manager of the entertainment staff. This hotel does a fine job in its hiring process, because the people who work here, are passionate and also for the most part bilingual.
GR Solaris Cancun is perfect. If you are going single, honeymoon style, with a group of friends, or a family I'm more than happy to recommend it. For people who are familiar with my writing here, I rarely give a five star rating. While the concierge experience might have made it closer to a 4.75, I will round up based upon the relaxation and fun factors, that this resort is known for. The staff, the views, and the delicious food were all a fine way, to get a break from the stress of day to day life. Our family is going back here, and we will also be bringing a larger contingent the next go around. It is with profound thanks, to all of the hard working people here, to let you know gracias from the bottom of my heart. Viva Mexico! Salud GR Solaris! You are a comfortable place to stay, close to everything, and I applaud you for the path that you have taken. Without a doubt, you are going to have continued success, because just like other guests you have earned another trip.
*Thanks to Di(Surgrn) lead in hotels and travel, for adding this to the Epinions database.*
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