my boyfriend and I returned home last night from a wonderful week long stay at the Grand Oasis Riviera Maya.
We knew what to expect, as we spent a week there in May of 2005 (pre hurricane Wilma). That trip was our first to Mexico as well as our first all-inclusive experience. We had such a great time, we couldn't bring ourselves to try a different resort this time around!
I will create a review ofthe hotel amenities and food in the review section tomorrow, but for now, I just want to add my two cents on the often mentioned 'Italians getting different colour wrist bands than everyone else'.
Here's the deal: we paid for our trip in October. We booked through one of the on-line travel agencies (escapes.ca- I highly recommend them). We paid $1299 CND (plus taxes) each for airfare, tranfers and 7 nights hotel (Dec. 17-24), all-inclusive. We were after a good deal, and we felt we got one. Price was definately a deciding factor for us.
The Italians who were staying at the GORM during the same dates as us paid 1590 Euros ($2459 CND) per person. They book through Veritour, an Italian travel agency, that offers a 'Club Med' type experience at several resorts world wide. Part of the cost of their package is to cover 'animation' = activities. Veritour has about 6 representatives (employees who's salaries they pay) at the GORM. Their job is to entertain and help the Veritour clients. So, the Italian lying next to me on the beach paid almost a thousand dollars more than I did to have someone coerce them into doing aerobics and playing darts. I'm canadian, I'm way too cheap to want or need that!!! We all ate at the same restaurants, drank at the same bars, swam in the same pools, and lay on the same beach chairs. I'm convinced I got a better deal. I'd go to Club Med if I wanted to be babysat.
In case you're wondering, airfare from Vancouver to Cancun is almost the same price as from Rome to Cancun. Cheapest flights available between now and the end of April on Expedia.ca: from Vancouver $747 CND, from Rome $766 CND.
So when you come across complaints about 'The Italians' in people's reviews of the Grand Oasis Riviera Maya, ask yourself if you'd be willing to pay an extra thousand dollars for 'special treatment'!!!
Also, there are some great side effects of having lots of Italians there: good coffee, parmesean cheese and lasagna at the buffet restaurant, Campari and Martini at all the bars, a better than average looking crowd, and getting to say 'Ciao' dozens of times a day. And all for a lot cheaper than a trip to Europe!!!
I hope this helps clear up some of the confusion surrounding this issue.
Melissa- Vancouver, BC, Canada