We just got back from 12 days at MC and have mixed feelings. I think a lot depends if you have been to several AI's before. This is about our 6th and is better in some ways, less so in others.
Food: It is typical of your AI, but I think the quality of the buffet was equal to, or better than most. While there is a core of food items each night, there are enough specials to keep it from getting boring. In addition to the regular items, I tried to roast pig, rabbit, lamb, several fish items at dinner. The fried calamari was surprisingly good and offered each night. The desserts were more repetitive ok, but not exceptional. The ice cream was a refreshing end to the meals.
Most lunches were your normal buffet style and was fine for what it was intended to be.
Breakfasts too were traditional with a variety of breads and rolls. They do tend to overcook eggs and omelets, so dont wait for them to offer them to you, ask early in the cooking process. I was pleasantly surprised to see smoked salmon for breakfast and that, with crusty bread and good coffee, was a great start to the day. They do make delicious crullers (usually undercooked)and sugar donuts.
If you snorkel off the beach, take some hard rolls to chum the water.
One downside on food was that there was no snack bar, so nothing to eat between roughly 3:30-6:30.
The service at the restaurants was mixed. I know we are in a Spanish speaking country but this is a resort that deals with about 95% English speaking customers. I would expect the staff who serve only water, wine and beer to be able to say those words.
Room: Enough has been written about the lack of privacy. We too had small small ants but not enough to bother us. we ordered extra pillows and found the bed fine. We had no problem with the A/C although it never got really cold in the room. We tipped for first five nights or so and got fair service so we stopped and saw no difference with tipping or no tipping. The only towel art was on our arrival. Maybe our cleaner didnt have any artistic talent. When we started tipping again to see if it mattered, no change in service. Our mini fridge was filled each day with whatever we wanted. It was nice to have a great shower with all the hot water you wanted. They could have cut down the size of the oversized shower and added another foot or so to the toilet area so you didnt feel cramped in.
Beach: can't beat the beach or cleanliness or nice sand. There were a few days of lots of seaweed spilling onto the beach but it was cleaned up by the next day. People do claim lounges early so get there by 8:30 or so for a good location. The water was great and warm but not too warm and fell off quick enough so you could snorkel 20 feet off the beach. There is a small amount of coral just 20-30 feet out so you see enough fish to make it interesting.
The pool is cooler and refreshing and is long enough to make it worth swimming in. It was never crowded which is a plus. No swim up bar.
Grounds: The place is new and we didnt expect it to be lush. Reviews have said give it a year, but I think more like 2 years. This is not negative, just realistic. At night if you look out from your balcony you can appreciate what it will look like in a year or two as you cant see the minor imperfections that will be gone with time.
They did rush the opening of the faciility with a lot of small things that could be changed and fixed, and am sure they will be.
Of course you have to understand if they have 659 rooms and allowing for just 600 to be filled at approximately $1,500-2000 (double occupancy) each week they put off opening their cash flow loss was approx. $1m a week, so I can see why they chose to open as soon as possible.
Service: This is the area that the place needs a lot of work. Whether it is a cultural thing or just poor training, there didn't appear to be a big emphasis put on customer service. Our checkin was fast but that was due to being unable to understand the person's English. As I said, I know we are in a Spanish country, but a legitimate resort would have at least the reception staff able to communicate in the predominant language of its guests. I had to print my name for him to understand and it was still touch and go. I think we did get the least English proficient of the front desk staff, but there was little excuse to have him work there before he was ready.
Our impression, along with others we talked with , was that there was not a lot of effort put out by staff to try to help. Most staff didnt appear to really enjoy what they were doing. Of course, this is not all, but still a significant number to not make the place that inviting. It may be that the resort is new, but we didnt find the same attitude in other Caribbean countries who realize that tourism is vital to their economy and that jobs in resorts are a better alternative to what else is available.
In most resorts we have been in, there seemed to be supervisors who were around making sure the staff paid attention to detail. This was missing at this resort. I am sure once the place has been opened for a while management will have a chance to deal with the small details that make or break a resort.