Gran Caribe Real; great family resort in the heart of the Cancun Hotel zone!
Written: Jan 23, 2011
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Beach, amenities, entertainment, drinks, food, etc. This was a great experience for our family.
Cons:Exercise room isn't the best, not close to other attractions. City bus is good, however.
The Bottom Line: We loved it, and I recommend this resort for familys looking for a great getaway to Cancun.
I recently took my family (myself, wife, and three boys aged 7, 8 and 9) to the Gran Caribe Real in Cancun for 7 nights. We were lodged in what is classified as a family junior suite The suite is an oversized room with a king bed, two bunks and a trundle bed that tucks away under the bunks. This was perfect for our family as far as sleeping arrangements. Our room looked out on the sunset pool and Sunset Grill on the ground floor, and provided easy access to the kids club and drinks and food.
The Gran Caribe Real is an all-inclusive resort catering to the family traveler. The resort is on the ocean side of the lagoon right in Cancun with over a quarter mile of the white sandy beach claimed as their own. The resort is a Mediterranean-style building with 487 newly renovated rooms and suites, and has 6 restaurants and several bars as well as a main pool and the Sunset pool. There is a kid's club for the younger guests which includes water slides and a pirate ship to play on. The beach has all the beach furniture you would need including lounge chairs, swings, hammocks and beach mattresses. Finally, if you are so inclined there is a full Life-Fitness gym as well as several scheduled events and entertainment for those of us who wish to stay active while at the beach.
Food and Drink
The food at the Gran Caribe was great along with the drinks during our time in Cancun. Gaviotas is a restaurant just off the main pool that has buffet style breakfast and lunch with a menu for dinner, while across the main pool is the Sushi Bar, which is a limited selection menu restaurant. Upstairs is The Albatross, which is the main buffet style restaurant. Each night the theme is something different, from Italian to sushi, Mexican to Oriental. Just off the main lobby is Marias, an authentic Mexican restaurant that requires nicer clothes and a reservation. At the other end of the resort near the Sunset pool is the Sunset Grill, which is an a la carte restaurant with very good lighter fare. Finally, there is the 24 hour snack bar which has food at all times, although a limited selection, along with beer on tap and mix-your-own liquor service.
Most mornings and evenings we ate at the Albatross and each time was a unique experience. The service at this resort is wonderful, with many friendly folks who seem to be only interested in making your experience perfect. The first time I walked back towards my table with my plate and our server quickly took it away from me, I wasn't quite sure how to react. However, this became routine, as they wish to bring your plate to the table for you and help you get situation. Our family experience was heightened by Hector, a waiter during the dinner hour at The Albatross, three nights in a row. He is great with Children and looked forward to seeing us each night. In fact, he taught our youngest how to fold the napkins into the different shapes each night, which delighted him. I would highly recommend seeking Hector out while you are here.
My wife and I ate at the Sushi Bar, Sunset Grill, and Gaviota's during the day for lunch. The food was always good, although it was confusing why the Sushi Bar is called this. The sushi selection, at least during the day, consists of two different rolls. Not quite what I was hoping for! The lunch pizza at the Sunset Grill is awesome, and I highly recommend it. One night we did make the reservations and brought the kids to Maria's, which had very good authentic Mexican food. The Mexican coffee is worth the show, if you go!
There are several places to pick up your drinks, including the 24 hour snack bar, the main bar in the lobby, Tradewinds, and the Sushi bar. Tradewinds beach bar, which we frequented many nights after dinner, was great. The beach mattresses are protected back under the balcony, meaning that even if there is a stiff breeze you won't feel it. This gem is not very well used after dark, but I highly recommend it for your family. Sitting in the mood lighting, laid back on a beach mattress with a drink in your hand and the surf in the background was absolutely great for all of us.
The drinks are always free, and always good. My wife and I didn't notice a watering down of the drinks at all, although to be fair I am a beer drinker 98% of the time and therefore not much of a judge. We always felt as though we were getting a good drink, and always tipped. Perhaps this had something to do with it as well.
The beach and pools at this resort are absolutely wonderful. Our routine consisted of breakfast followed by several hours in the surf each day with the kids. We found numerous shells, most of which we made the kids leave at the beach. The beach is manned by lifeguards from 9 AM until early evening, about an hour before the sun sets. One day my oldest son and I were battling the waves and having a great time when the life guard pulled us all back in; turns out that a shark was spotted down the beach, and they wanted everyone out! The water in Cancun, or at least at this point along the beach, is quite a bit saltier than I recalled at other beaches we have visited. It did take a bit of getting used to, but other than that we loved our days at the beach.
Oki Kids Club is a great diversion for families with children under 12. You can take your kids there and drop them off after 9 AM up to 8 PM, as long as you check in every hour or so and see how they are doing. You can go online and see the schedule of events, ranging from beach combing, video gaming, crafts, water slides, water play, dodge ball, and many more. The people they have working at the kids club truly enjoy working with kids, and our kids thoroughly enjoyed their time at the kids club.
Throughout the day there are entertainment options including pool volleyball, aquarobics, poolside step, stretching, beach walking, and even poker tables come out frequently. The main pool has live DJ music as well. Each night there was a nightly show for families at various spots around the hotel. We watched a dance revue which had the performers dressing up as Cher, Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe and others, and the performers were great. Karaoke another night was very good, and aside from the slightly noticeable accent the performers were very good.
The one downside for us on the bottom floor looking out at the sunset pool was that the music between 9 PM and 11 PM was pretty loud. If we were trying to sleep at this time, the noise was bearable but loud.
Overall, I would stay here again. The value of the resort was great, and the in-house amenities were top notch. The resort isn't right next to any other amenity, but the bus line stops right out front and runs every minute or so. No wait there! We enjoyed it and I think you would as well.
Please note: This review is similar to one that I also posted on TripAdvisor upon returning from our trip. If you find that some of the text is similar to a posting there, this is why. I am the author of both, and have added to this review somewhat to make it more complete as well.
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