I travelled with a friend to Cancun on Boxing Day 2009 for two weeks.
We booked in November, so the choice of hotels and resorts within our budget was somewhat limited. I read the reviews on TripAdvisor.. but there were not that many for Maya Caribe - so despite some misgivings I booked the Maya Caribe.
A tip for other travellers is to also check the reviews for Hotel Dos Playas, which is the 'sister hotel' to Maya Caribe. In reality we spent more time around the Dos Playas pool than anywhere in Maya Caribe. It's literally just a few footsteps away and unless you were told you would not know they were two separate hotels.
Short review: If you're looking for a place to crash for a night or two - go for it. If you're looking for a relaxing holiday - forget it.
The first room we were put in was room B7. The porter that took us round there told us in no uncertain terms that he thought the room was appalling and we should ask for another. At that point we were tired from the journey so were only interested in our beds. After two nights of sleeping in that room we were fed up. The shower leaked all over the floor, into the bedroom. The air conditioning banged constantly, and the actual placement of the room was very poor - next to the tennis courts. There was nowhere outside to sit and relax unless we were prepared to sit outside the room next to the main pathway, where people came and went. On day two we were moved to a room inside the main hotel - room 206. This room was much better, although we had the same problem with the shower leaking - but at least it leaked into the toilet area rather than directly into the bedroom. Overall the room was clean, but there were two vital things missing.
First: a Do Not Disturb sign.
Second: a Fridge.
And for people that need it - a hairdryer.
It was extremely annoying not to be able to hang out a Do Not Disturb sign. The maids do a room check - for whatever reason - at around 09:00 every morning. They will knock twice, and unless you know the Spanish for 'go away', or 'you are not needed', they will come in. Several times we were 'caught' in the shower, or in bed, and even in the nude by maids that didn't seem to understand the meaning of the word 'no'. You have around ten seconds to answer the door before they use their key. NOT good. I am still not sure why they did the room check. They must surely have a list of which rooms need cleaning? When it came to cleaning the room, we often came back to our room at 15:00-16:30 to find it had still not been cleaned. Perhaps we were unlucky and were one of the last rooms to be cleaned..
No fridge! What sort of hotel doesn't even have a fridge to keep things cool in? This one! Not only does this 'all inclusive' hotel not have a mini-bar (which could be forgiven given the star rating), but there's not even an empty fridge to keep drinks purchased in the shop cool. :(
There is no hairdryer. So if you have long tresses, make sure you take one.
We found ourselves without towels around 5 days out of the 14, where the maids took the towels away to be replaced, then just forgot to replace them, despite several reminders from us to reception.
Budget style buffet food. It wasn't great, but it wasn't too bad - as long as you bear in mind that this is a budget hotel and you are not likely to get top grade foods. I recommend using the Thai restaurant every night you can to break the monotony. The chef cooks the food in front of you and will show you what goes into each dish.
I found that some days the buffet could be plentiful, with all food stations used, and other days it was like the staff just couldn't be bothered.
Forget the puddings unless you like artificial cream. Yuk!!!!
The fish eaten in Mexico is exquisite.. and here was no exception. I don't even know what it was called - unfortunately I didn't speak enough Spanish, and the chef didn't speak enough English to tell me what it was.
The pools weren't terribly clean. A tip for travellers new to the Caribbean is to make use of the cold shower both before you go in the pool and immediately after you come out. Don't just leap out of the pool onto a sunbed in this place. A few times I saw someone come round to 'check' the water, but I'm not sure how he did this, given that he scooped some water out into a plastic cup and looked into it.. Not a very good measure of how clean it is...
Beware the red ants! We spent a lot of time next to the main pool in Dos Playas. There are red ant nests all around the pool. Keep your sun lounger away from the walls and do not eat by the pool. I made the mistake of taking out a muffin from breakfast and found it swarming with red ants after putting it down by my sun lounger. Despite using insect repellant, my travelling companion was bitten to bits on the legs during the first couple of days and spent the second half of the holiday covered up to prevent the legs getting even more bitten, or burnt. It was so bad that we went to reception to ask to see a doctor. There is no doctor on site. The best they could do was allow us to talk to the doctor on the phone, or take a trip to casualty. I was lucky enough to be bitten only a few times, but that was enough.
Entertainment: Forget it. When you check in you are given a list of 'activities' that are supposed to take place every day of your stay. During our 14 day stay we saw diving lessons undertaken twice, bingo in the afternoon around 8 times and pool and beach volleyball around 3 times. The 2 'entertainment staff' spend most of their time hard-selling to Coco Bongo or Senor Frogs. They tended to talk only to people they took out on organised trips to these places. Coco Bongo is NOT CHEAP, but I think a lot of people were so desperate for entertainment they went anyway. The guys pay $50 a head, the girls pay a promotional rate of $35 a head.
There is nowhere to go in the evenings on the resort. We spent many evenings down at a bar near to the resort, or out in Cancun, because the alternative was to sit in the hotel room watching television (free channels - no 'pay to view' premium channels available even if we wanted to pay for them). There is no designated entertainment area at either Maya Caribe or Dos Playas - probably because they don't provide any entertainment. I wasn't too bothered about that as long as I had somewhere to sit in the evening. Unfortunately there wasn't anywhere to sit either, unless we fancied sitting around the pool area on sun loungers or hard back chairs (no tables). A lot of people would lean up against the eight foot bar area, drinking and smoking till it closed at 22:30.
The bar and restaurant in Maya Caribe itself was sometimes open, and sometimes not, during designated opening hours. We ended up eating and drinking in Dos Playas because the Maya Caribe was unreliable. Everything closes at 22:30.. and I did find myself in the unfortunate position of trying to find a soft drink past this time. I went to reception and all they could offer me was tap water - no good to my European stomach.
I think the lack of entertainment was my biggest gripe with this resort. I always choose to go all inclusive when I travel so that I've paid for everything up front. As it was, we spent around a thousand dollars, just trying to relieve the boredom of spending time in a resort that had no entertainment laid on. Around half the holiday was overcast and windy, so we really didn't have much choice but to find our own entertainment outside the resort.
I do hate to see reviews that do nothing but complain, and I did go with an open mind, preparing not to expect much, but I'm afraid this hotel let down even my minimal expectations. I don't expect to go on holiday to an all-inclusive resort and end up spending what is, to me, a lot of money.
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- Also Known As:
- Maya Caribe Cancun