Hey all. I just got back on April 1 after 8 days at the GSP staying in a Platinum suite. A lot has been discussed on this board so I am going to focus on my observations and experiences in completely random order.
Check in for all Platinum guests is in the Sunset lobby. Make sure you tell the transportation people that you are platinum so you go to the Sunset side, even if you are Riviera Platinum.
We were booked in one room and when we opened the door someone was already in it. We went to the platinum lobby near the beach and Victor the consierge fixed it in about 15 minutes.
We were in room 4007 which was on the ground floor facing into the pool area. We asked for extra robes, towels, slippers and pillows and a cot. All were brought extremely quickly. We had two beds and a cot. The beds are very small, around four feet wide and six feet long. They are much smaller than a queen. But they are good for getting close to your spouse.
We tipped the maid a few dollars a day and asked for extra water and got at least six bottles a day. We had little airplane sized bottle of Absolute vokda, Johnny Walker, beefeater gin, Jose Cuevro tequila, coke, orange fanta, soda water, Modelo beer, coke lite and sprite. The drinks would only get cold overnight. The toiletries included shampoo, bath salts, mouthwash, dental kit, sewing kit, shaving kit, shower cap, shoe polisher, soap and vanity kit. Our room was cleaned by 11:00 am everyday, we had one night of turndown service, and one towel animal. The air conditioning worked fine. The TV had 25 stations, but 22 of them were in Spanish. We brought some DVDs and the kids watched them for some down time. They platinum lounge had some DVDs, ask the concerige.
They were out of gift bags, we used the 30 minute massages, no free motorized sports. Excellent service in the platinum lobby, booked five a la cartes at one time in the platinum lounge and had a beach dinner on Friday for all platinum guests.
There were mosquitos and I have around 30 bites, but my wife has none. They like me! The shower leaked, but not too badly. The toilet did emit a sewage smell for one day. We just kept the toilet lid down.
My wife went to the spa and said it was great (almost the best she has had). She had a facial, two massages and a pedicure.
At this time, I would recommend going platinum. While it still isn't five star, at least you get better service than the other room types. The a la carte booking is a huge plus as the buffet is good, but can be boring. The platinum lobby is very convenient for a quick snack, the drinks are made with TLC by Jamie and the other bartenders, the internet is available, rooms were cleaned at regular times, requests were quickly attended to, it is close the beach and near the best pool (not the activity one in the middle as it was too loud and not the one near the laguna suites as that was too quiet). The negative is that is is a 8 minute walk to the front, but it wasn't too bad. We always used the side road as it is a straight line versus going by the pools which weave in and out. Every now and then you can catch the golf cart on the side road too as a bonus.
We booked the Tulum Extreme excursion and it was great. Picked up right on time at 7:40 am and a 40 minute drive to Tulum. An hour and half there with Roberto giving us some history and then the rest for free time to look at the ruins or go to the beach. There is some shopping there too. Then, another 40 minute drive (20 minutes on a narrow bumpy road) to go ziplining on three lines from 70 feet up, then repelling 50 feet into a cenote and lastly swimming in a cenote. After that, lunch of chicken and great salsa and tortilas and pop. Back at 3:00.
Beach volley ball at 11:00 am and 3:30 pm was lots of fun for my 14 year old and me. Archery was OK and shooting was good too. Not too many participants. Water polo had too many people. The animation people were nice, but even though we did lots of events, we got to really talk to only one of them. A couple of them knew our names. Not as personal as I would like, given only 10 to 15 people at most did events. It looked liked the kids club people were great and they knew all the kids. My boys met other kids at the activities and hung out with them quite a bit. Most of them were from Canada and the US.
I heard many different languages, but relatively speaking, lots were from Canada (I am guessing 40%)and not many from the US (20%). The rest were mainly European.
My wife did the spin classes and other aerobic classes at the gym area and really enjoyed them.
The beach was very nice, but Varadero's beach is better. It was quite windy so the surf was up. I saw one topless women at the pool and a few more at the beach.
We rented jet skis for $65 per half hour. It was fun. Evidently it is $55 in Playa.
They had port in all the bars for those of you who are interested. We figure there were around 15 bars all told. A note to parents of teenagers between 16 and 18. These teenagers were allowed to get adult wrist bands which means they could get served alcohol and go to the disco. This is your choice, but I did see a few too many 16 and 17 year olds having too much fun drinking.
On Saturday from 6 pm to 10 pm there is a small flea market in the front. Mayber 40 stalls. Prices weren't the cheapest, but there was a nice mix of things from clothes, to pottery, silver, cigars, paintings, beads, hair braiding. My wife is a lousy negotiator!
The variety show at 9:30 on Thursday and the cirque show on Saturday were good. The others, not so good. At 8:30 on Friday, Sunday and Monday there is a show in the outdoors lobby area that were good.
The disco starts at 10:30 pm, but was relatively dead for most nights except for one. On the busy night there were over 100 people dancing and having a good time. We heard that you have to go off resort for guaranteed fun dancing.
As mentioned the buffet was good. Lots to choose from and all tasty, but it is a buffet at the end of the day. Seating was quite quick with the longest wait was the first night when we ate at 8:00 pm. It was maybe 10 minutes.
The Platinum perk is you get to sit in your own little section and order off a menu for breakfast and lunch at the buffets near the beach. Some of it was good, but some was just the buffet food served to you. Made to order pasta was good in the buffet for lunch, wait was two to seven minutes.
We ate at the Seafood, fondue, tepanyaki, grill and mama mia a la cartes. All were good, service was great. The seafood was fairly stock, but fine. The fondue was neat and the chocolate dessert fondue was the best. Tepanyaki was entertaining and great. Grill was stock, but fine. Mama Mia was probably the best overall, but one liked the seafood and one liked the tepanyaki. The restaurants were relatively full so I think the staff service levels have increased.
Our kids hung out at the sports bar playing pool on one of the three tables or foosball. It was a hang out for the 10 and up crowd. The three internet stations next to the sports bar were busy, but I got on fairly quickly while watching the kids.
These are my observations. I heard from other non-platinum people that rooms still weren't cleaned until 5:00 pm, no water in the fridge, couldn't get a la carte bookings etc. That is why I suggest you upgrade to platinum. You will get more than what is expected and then the staff shortages etc won't be as appparant.
Overall, we really liked the resort. There was lots to do if you wanted to, there was a choice of activity levels at the pools, there was lots of places to sit and enjoy. However, we probably won't go back as it was too big and a bit too impersonal for us.