My family of 5 (me, hubby, and 3 kids ages 8, 5, and 3) just returned from our vacation yesterday. We went from August 22-27. I want to be upfront and say that I am a travel agent so I admittedly tend to expect certain things when I research and take my own family on vacation.
had never stayed at Dreams property before but have heard good things
about the family of AM Resorts. The 3 reasons I chose this resort is
because #1 they accept 3 year olds in to the Explorer's Club #2
unlimited al a carte dining and #3 no reservations for dining.
we had a great time being together as a family, I would say that we
were somewhat disappointed in this resort as it is rated a 6 Golden
Apple (Apple Vacations' highest rating). I am going to try to be as
thorough and fair as possible in this resort so that you can get a true
understanding of why I gave it a 4 star rating.
RESORT: I honestly didn't think traveling down there was that bad. The
main thing I would say is to ensure that you receive non-stop transfers.
It took us exactly 55 minutes from the airport to the resort and back.
This should come as part of your package when you book with a travel
CHECK-IN: Check-in was a bit slow but in fairness to the
front desk workers, a couple of buses showed up at the same time. They
were working as fast as they could and they were very pleasant. We were
greeted with champagne and cold towels and they even had kiddie
cocktails for all of the children. There were cookies and apples at the
front desk, as well. Also, in fairness to the staff, for some odd reason
while we were all standing there one of the doors from the Apple
Vacation/Photography office mysteriously shattered so they were running
around like crazy trying to clean up all of the glass. Immediately I saw
at least 6 or 7 staff members grabbing brooms, changing out carpets and
putting up barriers so that no one would get cut.
Since our room
wasn't quite ready, we were told that we could take full advantage of
the properties so we immediately set out to have lunch (more on that
below) and go to the beach.
ROOM: We stayed in a family room that
had 2 twin beds and 1 pull out couch. The room was large and we had
ample space. There was a double vanity and 2 really nice, large closets.
The bathroom had a humongous sunk-in tub. The TV, as described in other
reviews, was so small that it was hard to view from the beds. We had
-I was disappointed in this room because I wanted and paid
for an ocean view. Being a travel agent, I know that this means that as
long as you see a glimpse of the ocean then it is considered ocean view .
. . which is exactly what we received. I would say that our room was
more of a pool view room than ocean.
-Our room, 328, was the room
directly above the staircase leading from the pool to the lobby so it
was high traffic, very noisy and loud room. Our youngest son still takes
nap and it was extremely loud during the day.
-While the bath tub is
awesome because of its size, it is almost too big for families with
small children. It was incredibly hard to give them a bath because it
was a step up tub with the edge being about 8" wide. It just became very
difficult to lean over, turn the water on, try to wash their bodies and
hair that finally, I just started getting in with the first kid and
gave them a bath. Then I would drain the water, do the second kid and
finally take my own shower.
-Speaking of showers, the water pressure was AWESOME and there was ample hot water.
-Air conditioning worked great, almost too great. Several times we were actually cold and turn it off.
stated by others, the beach is small. For our family, that really
worked out well because it was easy to keep track of them. Also, there
is a reef just a little ways out so we also felt safe allowing our kids
to play and swim in the ocean (with water wings).
-My oldest thought the water trampoline was a lot of fun.
-The water was beautiful.
are ample chairs and there was no rush to put towels out on the beach
chairs. There is also a lot of shade provided by the palm trees so if
you want to be in the shade but still look out at the ocean, then that
option is available.
-If you walk around out by the Mexican
restaurant, then there is a really cute little bar with the bar swings
(you've probably seen them in pictures). This portion of the beach was
unique as it had huge rocks and the beach was unswimmable. This area
almost reminded me of Cabo because the water would pound the rocks and
splash up. It was really pretty and totally different from the ocean
that was less than 200 yards away over at the beach.
salt water pool was very cool. We loved going down there both during the
day and at night to look and feed the fish. This is a must if you have
small kids. You can also get in and snorkel with these fish.
I cannot say enough good things about the entertainment staff. They
were great! Every single one of them were always happy and engaging.
They encouraged everyone to get involved but they were definitely not
pushy. Plus, these people worked their butts off. From the time that we
woke up until we went to sleep, we always saw them. We finally asked
Kayla if they ever get a break. They made the trip so enjoyable.
CLUB: The kids club was great. All of the staff members are educated
women with college degrees in education. They are patient and kind and
my kids loved going there. Kids of all ages attended the kids club. I
really liked the fact that each morning they would post the activities
so we would take our kids in/out of the club with each activity that
they wanted to participate in. Things like making organic salads, movie
time, decorating cookies, pool time, and scavenger hunts were all a big
POOL: The pool was very clean and a great place to have fun.
I liked the fact that they played quiet, relaxing music in the mornings
but around noon then they would turn on more "party" type songs. I read
lots of complaints about the small kids pool but we thought it was
great. My 2 little ones loved playing in there. The jacuzzi was large
enough and had plenty of seats.
-The big surprise and hit for us was
the adults-only pool. It was so nice and quiet and hardly ever crowded.
There were about 6 or 8 seats in the pool and it had its own swim-up
MARINA/PUERTO AVENTURAS: As others have said, PA is a gated
community and it is very safe. It is only about a 3 or 4 minute walk
down a little sidewalk in to the marina. Here you will find dolphins,
manatees, stingrays, and sea lions that you can pay to swim with. Also,
there are several shops and restaurants at the marina. Walking in to
this little town is an absolute must.
-One thing that we thought was
odd is that the shops were not big on bartering. In fact, one store told
me that they would not barter at all. Back at the resort, one of the
concierge said it was because P.A. is an affluent community with lots of
timeshares and the shops don't feel like they have to barter. Either
way, I didn't leave with that $28 bracelet.
I've saved my worst reviews for last. Unfortunately, we were very, very disappointed in both the food and the service.
As I stated above, we went straight to eat lunch when we arrived at the
resort. I think both my husband and I didn't want to say anything
negative on the first day because we didn't want to start off on the
wrong note. After a few minutes, though, I finally just said "this isn't
very good." Unfortunately, it never did. All week long we were
disappointed over and over not only in the quality of the food but also
in the selection. Every time we sat down it just seemed like there was
nothing to order or nothing that even sounded good. There are 3
exceptions to this and 3 things that I would say to definitely order. 1.
At Portofino the cream of mushroom soup was fantastic. 2. At Oceana the
clam chowder was great. 3. At the Barefoot Grill, Chef Juan's paella is
something that IS NOT to be missed. It is so delicious!! Other than
these 3 things, though, there is not one thing that stands out about any
of our meals. Our whole family is really in to food (the whole reason
we chose an unlimited al a carte resort) and we just got so tired of
leaving and still being hungry. It was very, very disappointing.
good thing, when it comes to food, is that the room service was good
and had more selection than at some of the restaurants. All of our food
was always hot and served promptly. Even the french fries were hot and
crispy. We ordered room service 2 times for breakfast and 2 times lunch.
The service at this resort was hit or miss. The head water at Oceana
was fantastic so much so that we gave him a $10 tip. He was warm and
charming and encouraged us to try as many foods as we could. He always
made sure our drinks were full and he seemed generally happy and proud
of his job.
-Service at the swim-up/pool bar was a whole other story.
Most of the time it would take the bartenders a couple of minutes to
even acknowledge us. When they did, it was almost like we were a both to
them instead of there helping to ensure that they had a job. We always
tip every round but by the 4th or 5th time of the bartenders doing
dishes instead of waiting on us, we just stopped tipping. It was very,
-Drinks were ample in size and liquor quality.
second day we were there my husband and I were drinking Stoli. They ran
out of Stoli and then refused to go get more. Not sure why.
at 90% of our meals was this same attitude. We would wait and wait and
wait for drinks, someone to take our order, to get food, etc. When you
see people on here saying that it took an hour and a half . . . that is
BEACH/POOL SERVICE: Beach and pool service were
non-existent for the first 3 days of our vacation. From Wed-Saturday I
did not see one, single server taking drink orders on the beach or at
the pool and I certainly was never asked if I wanted anything. Finally
on Saturday afternoon, I saw a couple of waiters taking beach orders.
Once again, if this is Apple's highest rated resort then I would think
that beach and pool service are part of the package.
BARRIER: I am very respectful of the fact that we were in someone else's
country and that they should not have to be fluent in English; however,
seeing that most of the guests were from the US, Canada or the UK, we
were shocked to learn that so many of the employees spoke no English. I
mean zero. There were times that they would ask us to draw a picture of
what we wanted. I know a very small amount of Spanish so I was able to
communicate a little bit but I got frustrated, too, when our servers
couldn't understand the simplest of requests such as to come back to
clean the room in a little bit because our baby was sleeping. Or 2
coffees--1 with cream and 1 without.
For all of these reasons, I
would give this resort a 4. Food and service being the main reasons why
I cannot believe that it is rated a 6 Golden Apple.
I would be happy to answer any specific questions or give you more examples. Feel free to comment or message me.