Before I start my review, I read Trip Advisor religiously both before we booked our holiday to check what other travellers thought and then even when we had booked, I kept checking back to make sure you guys were all still in agreement! I knew all about the pros and cons of the hotel from the tactics used for upgrades, sandbags on the beach, night time activities and 'ocean view' rooms so without any prejudice here is my honest review of the Gran Porto
We had booked for a two week holiday and prior to arriving had contacted the hotel to request a high floor, quiet room, king size bed and a nice view. By and large the requests were accomodated with Room 206 on the 2nd floor, overlooking the street (which was quiet), with a king size bed and a slight view of the ocean.
The check in was relatively painless, no mention of upgrades of any kind, just a welcome drink and the concierge asking whether we were celebrating anything special while we were there.
Upon arrival at our room, it was pleasant but did not have the wow factor. King size bed, large flatscreen TV, though there was a slight musty smell and whilst you could argue that it was 'traditional' that could be roughly translated as in need of a renovation. Min bar had soft drinks and beer in there, and later in the evening the hotel brought around a welcome bottle of wine and a basket of fruit. A nice touch I thought.
That aside we were glad to be there and were so looking forward to our time there. We went for a look around and met with Guest Services who were very friendly and took the time to give us information on the resort and daily activities.
We ate in the Albatros buffet on the first night, which was a Tex Mex feast and thinking back to some of the food comments, there was some great food on offer but some of the plates you weren't too sure what it was.
We sat in the lounge bar that night and bearing in mind it was St Patrick's Day we were perhaps expecting a bit of life, though aside from a small lounge band that played until 10 followed by a show in the pool area, that I have to agree with other travellers. I wouldn't go as far as 'lame' or 'amateurish' but would suggest that the hotel needs to review their entertainment schedule and look at providing something that concentrates on entertainment. Once the show had finished, the jet lag was starting to take affect and decided that the tomorrow was another day.
On Day 2, we headed to the relatively small pool area and managed to grab what looked to be the only two available chairs by the pool (it was 9am) and spent a pleasant day by the pool. I went for a walk during the day and saw the beach and saw the scale of the sandbags (difficult to ignore) and rocks in the ocean. Not the greatest beach but by no means not bad. I happened to stroll onto the Royal beach and my mind started to wander....
That night we visited the Italian restaurant Il Pescatore, which we found was a bit limited in terms of the menu, with the intimate, smart atmosphere dominated by two tables have a singing contest which drowned out any chance of having a nice dinner. After the meal, we headed to the pool bar to see if there was any activity in there. Bearing in mind it was 10pm, there were about six people there, most of them looking like they were 4 hours past their bedtime.
We then decided when heading back to the room to enquire with the front desk about whether we could move room to counter the slight smell in there just to check our options. Basically because of Spring Break there weren't any, except for "Upgrading to the Royal". - Seriously, the greatest piece of holiday advice that receptionist could have given us. As soon as the name was uttered I thought back to when I was booking and thought it would be way out of out price range but they mentioned an offer of $40 per night extra to move across, instead of the usual $80-90 extra.
As we had twelve days left we decided to jump at the chance and headed over the road the next morning. If you are interested how the two compare for $40 per night extra then please read my review on The Royal "Absolutely Excellent! So pleased we headed over the Road"
Otherwise for those of you guys keen on staying at the Gran Porto, don't let me or anyone else put you off, instead look at the comments and decide whether the things that are mentioned matter to you.
Also bear in mind that we were going to be there for 2 weeks so needed to make sure the restaurants and activities were top notch. Those of you just going for a few days as it is close to home then this may be ideal;
I think my rating is fair. Both because I wasn't there long enough to mark really low or really high but thought in the time we were there we got a clear view of the place and decided due to the availability of a good upgrade offer to make the switch. If you get the same offer, take it!!
If you look at my past reviews, I try not to be unfairfly critical and hope that I haven't been on this occasion. We were in the fortunate position to be able to stay in both hotels and review their merits accordingly, so wanted to pass on this comparison in the best way possible
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- On a beautiful, protected stretch of pristine beach in the heart of Playa del Carmen stands the spectacular Gran Porto Resort, just steps from Fifth Avenue's shops, clubs, and restaurants. Architecturally reminiscent of one of Mexico's finest haciendas, the resort welcomes couples, families, friends, and colleagues to the warm Caribbean breezes and azure seas of the Riviera Maya, where guests can experience the region's cultural heritage, relish all-inclusive luxuries, and enjoy genuine hospitality. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Agoda, Otel, TripOnline SA, Travelocity.ca, HotelQuickly, Evoline ltd and Cancelon so you can book your Gran Porto Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Gran Porto Real Hotel
- Gran Porto Real Playa Del Carmen
- Hotel Gran Porto Real
- Gran Porto Real Resort Spa
- Porto Real
- Grand Porto Real Playa Del Carmen
- Gran Porto Real Mexico
- Gran Porto Resort Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico