Dave and I don’t really do all-inclusive resorts. In fact, we recently tried it for the first time in Cuba and didn’t really enjoy it. The hotel was dated, the food was just ok, and there wasn’t all that much to do except sit by the pool or relax on the beach.
And this might be alright for some but it didn’t really suit our style. What we like about travel is the chance to embrace new cultures and meet the locals. Apartments suit our travel method, as we’re on the road all of the year, so living at a hotel can get a little tedious.
But recently we had the opportunity to enjoy a luxurious all-inclusive resort with our stay at Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa.
Check out the video:
And let me tell you – there are all-inclusive resorts and then there are luxury all-inclusive resorts. In the all-inclusive in Cuba I felt like I was just trying to save a few dollars by eating at the resort each day, and therefore the whole place felt a bit tacky.
In comparison… well actually, you can’t really compare it. Dreams Riviera was a different world to our all-inclusive in Cuba. I felt as though I was (and please don’t judge me) a rock star. I mean – there was a jacuzzi on our balcony! And it overlooked the ocean!
After living out of our backpacks for the past year and a half I was definitely unprepared for the glamour.
Location of Dreams Riviera Cancun
Dreams Riviera is located next to the tiny fishing town of Puerto Morelos, which is around forty minutes’ drive from downtown Cancun.
The resort is on a beautiful beach and I loved how it was away from many other resorts making it feel as though the only people there were those staying at the resort.
Tours organised at the resort, or through other companies, will normally pick you up from Dreams so you don’t have to worry too much about getting out and around.
The only downside to the location is what locals call ‘the taxi mafia’ meaning that a lot of the resorts in the Cancun and Riviera area charge a small fortune to get to nearby places.
We took a taxi organised through the resort to downtown Cancun and it cost around US$45 for the forty minute journey. Thankfully there were four of us so we could split it, but this is still ridiculously expensive for Mexico. However, you will face these fees no matter what resort you stay in, as they all have a monopoly on the taxis.
Our room was so beautifully designed that I didn’t want to leave. The bed faced the balcony overlooking the sea and made it extremely difficult to get up in the mornings.
There were two jacuzzi baths – one in the bathroom in our room and the other one on the balcony. The balcony itself was very large (we were on the top floor) and provided enough room for us to comfortably eat out there on the table if we wanted to. In fact, the space could probably seat six people.
The bathrooms came with numerous towels and many toiletries including sunscreen. It was the first place I’ve ever stayed that provided sunscreen and I was impressed by this thoughtful touch. (I think this is only a Preferred Club option though – I’m not sure all rooms get this treatment.)
There was also a large flat screen TV (which we didn’t turn on, we were too busy enjoying the resort) and an iPod dock on the bedside table.
And there were white dressing gowns complete with slippers… rock star indeed!
Although the resort certainly isn’t the largest out there, and in my opinion this is one of the great aspects about it, there were numerous restaurants to keep us occupied in the evenings.
On our last evening we ate in Bordeaux, the gourmet French restaurant that was adults only. With its dimly lit rooms and partitioned booths, it makes for the perfect place for a romantic meal. We could order foie gras, duck and camembert. I was in heaven.
Yes, it’s ironic to be eating French food in Mexico, especially when Mexican food is so delicious, but the beauty of Dreams Riviera is that they do Mexican food very well too. And we were lucky enough to be at the resort for Mexican Independence Day where they put on a show in one of their function rooms, complete with a Mexican feast.
The abundance of food was extraordinary. I hoped none of it was going to go to waste – and did my best to eat until I was stuffed to help avoid any food getting thrown out.
If you’re not visiting during Mexican Independence Day, don’t worry – there’s also authentic Mexican food available at the Mexican restaurant El Patio.
Every morning we ate at the buffet restaurant, World Café, which served up everything you could possibly want for breakfast (aside from brown bread, which seems to be a scarcity in Mexico). I particularly enjoyed the fresh fruit buffet. Some of the fruits were so exotic to me that I didn’t even know their names, but I made sure I tried them all.
We returned to the World Café one lunchtime to discover it served a sushi buffet. I felt like I’d hit the jackpot.
I only wished we could’ve stayed another night to have tried out the Himitsu restaurant! (Pan-Asian cuisine.)
But if sushi’s not your thing, you could also dine at:
- Oceana (seafood)
- Portofino (Italian and Mediterranean)
- Seaside Grill (American-style food)
- Coco Café (snacks and coffee)
You’re not going to go hungry at Dreams Riviera!
Each day when the maid comes to clean your room she leaves a newsletter on the bed explaining what the day’s activities are. These include windsurfing, beach volleyball and water aerobics in the pool.
There was even a pushup competition one day… which was kind of strange but the boys looked like they were having fun flexing their muscles.
Dave and I worked out in the gym one morning, running on the treadmills overlooking the garden surrounding the spa. If I’m going to sweat in such a luxurious place, I may as well enjoy a pretty view while I do it.
In the afternoon we took it easy and had fun swimming around the hydropools attached to the spa. Hydropools are quite the experience – you can sit on a bed immersed in the water while bubbles stream from the concrete mattress giving you a massage all over.
What we liked about Dreams
This is a hard question because the list is too long! But compared to other resorts, here are three things I really enjoyed:
- We didn’t have to wear wristbands. I’m not sure how they police any unwanted guests but I hate wearing a tacky wristband for days on end, so it’s a nice touch.
- The infinity pool onto the beach. Although I was tempted to spend all day on our private rooftop jacuzzi, when we did swim in the pool it was lovely to look straight onto the beach and admire the view.
- The minibar… which was re-stocked each day and included in the all-inclusive price. It was great to mix a drink or two in our room to enjoy on the balcony.
What we didn’t like about Dreams
The wifi was sometimes a little spotty. It worked in our room although we had to log in a few times to keep the connection going. When we left the room we often had to log into other areas of the resort – such as the pool area – which can get a little annoying at times.
I also found out that without the Preferred Club (which is what we had for our stay) you have to pay for wi-fi in your room. It’s a shame it’s not included for all guests.
What you need to know
Cost: The cheapest room at Dreams Riviera is US$161.50 per person and this gives you access to the facilities and all the restaurants. For this you also still get an indoor jacuzzi and your own private balcony which overlooks the garden or jungle surrounding the property.
It’s certainly not a budget holiday but it’s a nice splurge if you want to go on a vacation where you can truly relax and not have to think about a thing.
Booking: You can easily book online here. But if you’re travelling in the low season, make sure to scourer the net to find a good deal. Low season is generally during hurricane season from June – November.
Address: Carretera Federal 307, Chetumal–Puerto Juárez, Benito Juárez, Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Mexico 77580
Please note: Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa, along with the Cancun Tourism Board hosted our stay, but as always, our opinions are our own.