My wife and I are repeat guests to the IBG. We first went in 2008, before building 72(other ocean front) was finished. We tried Secrets Maroma Beach last year. These are the only Mexico properties we have experience with.
I would like to start by saying we had a great trip, had good weather, got nicely tan, and met several nice people. However, I feel the IBG needs a review.
The Grand no longer deserves the title "Grand".
Check In: We arrived to the Grand via Cancun Valet. Smooth pickup, easy transfer. We were greeted with a cool towel at the door and then straight to the check in desk. I informed the attendant we were repeat guests, but this made no difference. No upgrade for us. Not even a mention. We were then walked to our room on the ground level, our balcony looked out on the tranquility pool.
Room: The room was the exact same as our previous ocean front room. The rooms still have the old style, cathode ray tube TV's. Very few channels. No PPV available. We found that a bit disappointing. The bed is comfortable. NOTE: if you return to your room and the key gives a green "unlocked" signal but the door handle won't work, try lifting up. Our door would only open if we lifted up. Weird.
DINNER: !!!!False Advertising!!!!
This was a big change from previous visit. the quality of food is is now much decreased. We had emailed ahead for our reservations and had 1 at each place. Part of what we thought we were paying for was a level of food and drink not available at other all inclusives. This is not the case. Without going in to specific menu choices and items, the restaurant food was only slightly better than a Ryans. Several nights restaurants were closed. Friday only the Surf and Turf was available but they had an Italian buffett. The only other choice we were given was to go to another property's restaurants. If i wanted to eat at the Mayan, i would have stayed at the Mayan. Why would we pay for the Grand if we had to eat at other resorts? We suffered the buffett and if the main restaurants were poor, this was much worse. Of note, we were also told via email when we made our reservations buffets would be available nightly. This is not true so don't count on it. MAKE RESERVATIONS EARLY!
LUNCH: fewer choices than when we last visited and again, lower quality options
BREAKFAST: very little change from previous visit.this is a very good breakfast buffet.
Grounds: the grounds are well groomed and maintained. Still looks beautiful. The IBG is showing a little wear but nothing very noticeable. The inside spaces are clean. Bathrooms are clean.
Pool: Main pool continues to be amazing. It's is a large oval infinity edged dream of a pool. I love being in this pool yet still able to the the ocean and sand. The capacity of the resort was maybe 50% so over crowding was not an issue. We only had one person playing the towel game. We saw his stuff(magazine from room and newspaper) on one of the canopies the first morning. After and 2 hours I asked for the pool manager, was told to talk to the towel person who the said "I guess it's ok to move it". She never came over to look or investigate. After lunch they came back and couldn't believe their stuff was moved. Day 2 they put a small beach bag and a pair of flip-flops. They did not show all day. Day 3 my wife was out when he came by and called him on it. He said he was sorry and was only going to get breakfast and would be back(8am now). At 10 he wasn't back so stuff got moved. This place really needs a pool manager to address this issue.
Plenty of fresh towels. Comfortable loungers.
The service at the pool was poor. They only had one or two ladies circling the pool and beach for drinks. Too much space for them to cover so getting a drink regularly was tough.
The pool swim up bar was nice. It got a little crowded some days but was a great place to meet fellow guests. The bartenders here are very quiet and didn't interact much. I was hoping for a "Cocktails" style show occasionally to get the party going. I would have enjoyed some personality. Alas, they seemed to be just doing their job and waiting to go home. They kept the drinks coming and remembered what you liked.
Internet: !!! Big disappointment!!! The wireless Internet is located only in the main lobby bar area. The rooms only have Ethernet. In a property this nice, advertised as "The Grand", how can they not have wifi everywhere? In addition to the poor coverage, it didn't always work. It was on and off during the days, able to connect but no Internet and off almost every night. The computer lab/library has 3 stations, but they only occasionally worked and rarely at the same time. This place is way behind the times. I asked concierge and front desk about this and they had no idea what the problem was nor how to fix it. Just told us "maybe tomorrow"
Summary: Enjoyed our return trip. Repeat guest made no difference. Food is average at best and not all restaurants are open. Pool service is poor/slow because they don't have enough employees, bartenders have limited personality/flair. TV options are poor with few channels and no PPV. NEEDS WIFI and consistent Internet!
We would not return to the Grand until we are sure the issues are resolved.
COST is much greater than the quality of the product.