My husband and I just got back from one week at the Cayo. We found the grounds beautiful and the rooms were very nice and clean (no bugs the entire time we were there).
Our take on travelling is that when you spend a lot of money, your expectations are much higher than when you don't. You anticipate there being a reason the resort/tour operators are charging an arm and a leg and the reviews led us to believe that it would be worth it.
We spent $3600 for the two of us for one week (which was including the Air Canada rebate of $250.00 a person for booking with them during a promotion). So without the AC reduction, it would have been over $4000. To put it in perspective, in the past we've usually spent about $2300 - $2800 combined on other resorts for a week, and have generally been pleased.
Here is what we found...
The food - We found breakfast to be delicious. The cook will make you whatever eggs you want and they taste delicious made on the grill. They had a nice selection of pastries (if you eat those for breakfast) and fresh fruit, yogurt and breads. Lunch was repetitive (same thing every day), but we would always be able to find something to eat. They had these delicious wraps in the "healthy corner" which were very good. My husband didn't really like the lunches because he expected more based on other Gran Bahias we've gone to (this is the fourth one). They didn't have the signature delicious hamburgers they had at other resorts (the burgers were dry and stale tasting and were not made to order on the grills, even at the beach buffeet). Dinner was a problem at the buffet. There were four out of the seven nights we were there when we couldn't find anything to eat. Each night they would do a theme and would also have bland chicken and beef, in case you didn't like any of the "theme" dishes. We ate the bland chicken and beef on those four evenings. FYI, Mexican theme night at the buffet was amazing! If you can, don't miss this one as it was really fantastic. We did not try any of the a-la-cartes as most people said they weren't anything special - but the one everyone seemed to like the best was Don Pablo. The one evening we could get a reservation there was a giant thunderstorm and we weren't going to go out in it to get to the restaurant.
The rooms - As I mentioned were beautiful. We stayed in a junior suite which was located in the main building (the buffet was on the lobby floor) so when it was raining we didn't have to go outside to eat. We had a gorgeous view and would often sit on the balcony, read and relax - with a view of the ocean to our right. The bed...hard as a rock!!! It reminded me of the hardness of a hospital bed and would literally hurt if you turned over to sleep on your side. I don't know what they were going for with this - but many people complained about it. The bathroom was lovely, but no privacy except for the toilet which was closed off by a separate door. The wall from the bedroom to the bathroom was clear glass, so you could see your partner getting ready to shower or brushing their teeth. Not a problem if you're travelling with your spouse - but I don't know how this would work if you're going with friends. The rooms are also very dimly lit and there was a shortage of outlets - so it's a good idea to bring extention cords and/or splitters if you have laptops/hair appliances to plug in.
The beach - the one beautiful beach on the resort is public. This means that local vendors are able to set up there and sell you things. This is also a port for cruises who stop there and some excursions bring people from other resorts to that beach. We just stepped one foot onto the public beach and the local vendors were quick to start with their cat calls and their "looky looky" immediately! I don't enjoy this on my vacations so we did not go back to the public beach. After the shows the public beach has a disco and there are drinks included for the Cayo residents, but during the day Cayo visitors must pay for drinks or snacks on the public beach. We know a few people who got ripped off buying trinkets, jewellery or even food, so buyer beware.
The private beaches were ok, but must smaller in comparison. There are two near each other and one is reefed off so you can go swimming - but we found it quite crowded. The other is not crowded at all, but not reefed off, so pretty rough waters. It was beautiful to just sit there and watch the waves crashing and take a beach walk - but not for swimming.
The hotel staff - we found them to be very friendly and helpful. Even the front desk was nice and welcoming (although we didn't complain to them, so we don't know how they would handle that). Many of the staff do not speak English, but if you don't have issues to discuss with them, they will understand simple requests in English and they work very hard. The cleaning staff in the rooms was amazing and the room was spotless every day.
We did not go on any excursions as we were there to really relax from our hectic work schedules and we weren't interested in the few (four) that Air Canada vacations was offering. Other tour operators offer many more options for excursions.
All in all, we may return to this resort, if the price were to drop substantially. However, we did not feel we got what we paid for.
Upgrade to a Junior Suite and ask to be on a higher floor preferrably with a view of the water. As...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC