This is a public service announcement for those of you on the forum. Just returned from the Riviera Maya last Saturday after a very troublesome and frustrating week and thought that I would share some of our bad experiences with everyone. This is not a general statement about the entire area or any particular resort, but about our experiences with the Grand Oasis Riviera Maya.
My wife's parents decided to take all their kids and grandkids on a family vacation over Christmas Break a total of 18 people in all ranging from age 9 to 76. They did this once before and took everyone of a Disney Cruise where there was something for everyone of all ages to do. This time a family member did not want to take a cruise, so they asked a travel agent to recommend something just like a cruise without the ship. She recommended the Grand Oasis Riviera Maya 100 kilometers or so south of Cancun as a family friendly resort with activities for everyone of all ages. In May of 2009 she scheduled the trip through Apple Vacations at which time my mother-in-law and father-in-law paid for the trip and then we waited.
On December 28th we all eagerly arrived in Cancun, took the 2 hour bus ride to the resort arriving at 1:00 p.m. to check in. We checked in found out that we would not have rooms until the 3:00 p.m. check-in time. We ate and then sat in the lobby looking at the beach and waiting until 3 to get our rooms while our luggage sat in a pile on the front steps of the resort. At three we learned from our Apple Vacations resort representative that not only did they not have 7 oceanfront rooms as reserved, but that they had no rooms at all. And that was just the beginning.
Around 4:30 we finally ended up with rooms that were scattered all over the resort with 2 that were oceanfront. We were told that we would be in the same area with each other, but far from it. During the room problem they offered to move us to another resort, but did not say where or when and given the current state of affairs we were unsure what we would get and did not want to lose anymore vacation time. From there things did not get better. To make an already long story shorter here is a list of the problems we had.
- 2 rooms bug infested (mosquitoes and spiders).
- 1 room with water or sewer running down the shower wall from pipe in ceiling
- Same room with water leak had sewer smell from water or loose sewer cap in floor.
- Would not seat family in specialty restaurants as promised due to large number, required to eat in buffet restaurant only. (After much arguing and debate relented on 3 nights.)
- Topless beach was educational for 13 & 14 year old boys.
- Beach beds with couples having sex on beach at night educational for boys as well as the 9 & 10 year old girls.
- The two 14 year old boys were given black wristbands allowing them to get alcohol from bar (not a total problem since it allowed one to retrieve beer for his father).
- Beach was on coral reef which was interesting for snorkeling, but no warning as to the fire coral and sea urchins. Result two family members ended up with sea urchin spines in their feet after a sea kayak overturned on the reef. They say the spines are still painful, especially the one with around 20 in his foot.
- There was only one store at the resort where souvenirs and $35 sun screen could be purchased, but nothing useful such as toothpaste or shaving cream if you need it.
- The resort only provide 2 bottles of water per room per day, which can be problematic in Mexico.
- Finally, at the New Years Eve party a resort employee offered cocaine to our 18 year old son.
There were a few other things, but this should give you an idea. We witnessed other guests have the same problem as we had when they arrived and we were told by others that from what they had seen that appeared to be a common practice. Their limitation on the use of the specialty restaurants appeared to apply to everyone. They never seated more than 10 or 12 per seating so as to limit the number of nice meals they prepared in their all expense paid resort.
The Oasis has a large resort in Cancun and 2 or 3 others in the area. I the problems I am relating only occurred at the Riviera Maya resort. Our travel agent tells us that Apple Vacations is investigating our complaint. We, however, hold the local travel agent responsible, since they were to act on our behalf and in our best interests. They new nothing other than what they read in a brochure.
This is a public service announcement for those of you on the forum. I am not telling you not to go there, but I am saying buyer beware!!! If you are planning a trip to this area check carefully, get everything promised in writing, and be prepared to fight for what you were promised, if necessary.
One positive: It was 85 degrees every day and sunny. Fortunately, Grand Oasis Riviera Maya was not in control of the weather.