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Paradisus or Dreams in Cancun?

We are looking to take a trip w/ DD (3 years old) in late April.  These both seem to have good amenities for parents w/ kids.  Anyone have experience with either resort?   

Re: Paradisus or Dreams in Cancun?

  • I have not stayed at the Paradisus in Cancun but I did stay at one in the DR and found it to be fantastic.  From what I hear, the one in Cancun is supposed to be equally as good. 
  • I stayed at Dreams.  Here's my review from September, 2008:

    My husband and I just returned from Dreams and truly enjoyed our trip. There were some good things and some bad things. To be honset, I would probably rate the resort a 3.5 overall, but I will round up in this case.

    Some background--we are both in our late 20s, business professionals, married for 2 years. This is our second time in Cancun, having stayed at Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach during our first trip (not an AI, but top notch). We have only been to one other all inclusive--Couples Negril-- which we both enjoyed more than Dreams. However, overall, this was a nice trip to a nice resort with nice amenities and offerings. There's room for improvement, which I'll discuss below.

    One more thing to add before getting into my review. The resort was pretty empty while we were there--the first week of September. After Labor Day weekend the resort emptied and we felt like we had the resort to ourselves! We never had to worry about Palapas or finding shade on the beach, even when we didn't get there until after 11am. We never had to wait for dinner, even when we didn't eat until 7:30. It was wonderful. Oh, and the weather was perfect! It only rained one day out of the seven days we were there, and only for about 30 minutes.

    I'm going to have to agree with many previous posters--the resort is much older, borders on dilapidated in parts and could use some cleaning up/updating. The lobby is very nice, but once you walked through the lobby toward the pool and the World Cafe buffet, you start to notice the building is very worn and even dirty in spots. If you want a five star resort with five star qualities, this isn't it. Period. If you pay over say $350 a night, you may be paying too much and you may be disappointed, in my opinion. If you are a person demanding of the finer things in life, I think you should really consider other options. That being said, we visited many other resorts in Cancun during our last trip, and this is definitely above average. We were fine with the resort, especially when considering it's prime location.

    One thing I want to add is that the back side of the resort near the Tower side and oceanfront pyramid rooms is absolutely breathtaking. It honestly looks like a completely different resort with gorgeous landscaping and beautiful views, like something out of a magazine. If they just kept up the whole resort like this, it would make all the difference in the world.

    Dreams is located in the best area of Cancun, period. The beaches are better than most other areas (which I'll get to). Most clubs/bars/shopping/restaurants are within walking distance, yet it's a very safe and quiet area. You can't get a better location UNLESS you want to be secluded and far from the action OR you are willing to deal with a subpar beach.

    Again, even though we have read the reviews and didn't have the highest expectations for the rooms, the rooms are older and worn than even we were anticipating. First, we were on the dolphin side on the 3rd floor with little ocean view. I paid very little for our trip, so I didn't expect anything better. If I had it to do over again, I would pay extra in a heartbeat for either an oceanfront or tower room. We saw one of each, and they were both cleaner and more updated than ours. The view from both was also priceless. Plus, our room had a funky odor (moldy, almost) that the oceanfront room and tower room were lacking. Again, I gave the typical excuses for booking a lower level room--I didn't need a nice room, we never spend much time in the room, I'm never picky when it comes to rooms, who cares what the room is like as long as we get to use all of the amenities the resort offers, etc.. Truth be told, after I arrived I was kicking myself for not paying more for an upgrade. It was that much of a difference, even for us.

    Speaking of upgrading, I was not offered the same upgrade at check in like I've read from others here on the board. And the iprefer card I heard about on the forums was useless for receiving an upgrade in my case. They did offer us a "complimentary upgrade" to a dolphin front room, but I think this is pretty standard. One reason I think I may not have been offered the upgrade is because it was our anniversary and our room had been set up with champagne, fruit and a personalized card. Very, very nice touch which we truly appreciated, but it was very likely the reason why no upgrade was offered as changing the extras to another room would have been difficult.

    This is where my husband and I differed. We tried all the restaurants and I thought the food was FANTASTIC. My husband thought it was mediocre at best (aside from Himitsu, which he LOVED) so much so that he begged to go off of the resort our last night to the neighboring Mexican restaurant Paloma Bonito, where Dreams guests receive 20% off of their check.

    We ate here 3 times during our trip. It's an Asian restaurant with a fully stocked sushi bar. If you like sushi, this is the place for you. We are sushi lovers and we loved it. There are non-sushi options on the menu, but they are quite limited. The restaurant is beachfront and was very pretty, both inside and out. Only open for dinner.

    -Seaside Grill
    Adults only steak and seafood. For me, this place was good, for my husband it was his least favorite. I'm not a huge beef eater, so there were only one or two things on the menu for me. I loved the chicken mignon. I ran into several people who had eaten here and said not to try the fillet, yet my husband insisted on it. Of course, he had the same complaint--the filet was really, really bad. However, the quality of food can be overlooked when you take into consideration the service and the view. Man, this place had an amazing view. Plus, it was adults only, so it had a very romantic feel. Open for lunch and dinner.

    Great food, great atmoshpere. One of the best restaurants on the property with a very extensive menu. Everything that we tried here was fantastic. We went for both lunch and dinner and both meals were phenomenal. If you don't like seafood you may run into some difficulty as the menu primarily offers seafood. If you like seafood, this is definitely the place for you. Try the ceviche and the cream of asparagus soup. Open for lunch and dinner.

    -World Cafe
    This was the buffet on the property. The breakfast here was absolutely fantastic. My husband and I agreed that this was our favorite meal. It was never repetitive, even though they offer pretty much the same items each day. My favorite part was the fresh made juices/smoothies they offered. Try the strawberry/banana/apple. So good! And try the freshly made doughnuts. A few times we popped in to World Cafe just to grab a dessert and some coffee to go. They are more than willing to accommodate you if you want to take a quick bite back to the room for any meal. They even have doggy bags. Open for all 3 meals.

    -Snack Shack
    My husband and I ate here almost every day for lunch and it was fantastic! Very small menu with limited options, but the options they do have are terrific. I highly recommend the Caribbean fish sandwich or any sandwich on a croissant. Their croissants are to die for! Oh, and if you like french fries, watch out. Some of the best fries I've had in a while.

    I used the fitness center several times while we were there. It was fine for my needs, but I only used the treadmill. I was alone in the center each time I used it, whether I was in there first thing in the morning or early evening. It's a bit smaller than most resort fitness centers and some of the equipment could use some maintenance, but overall I think it suits it's purpose. One complaint I had is that it was terribly hot and there was no way to adjust the temperature. If you enjoy running, there is a great running trail with mile/kilometer markers that runs along the hotel zone. It's very safe and very easy to maneuver--just follow the red sidewalk. I saw many runners and bikers each morning, even as early as 6am.

    The beaches are both fabulous. There's the main beach where the majority of people gather and the tower side beach where there's a quieter crowd. We enjoyed both for different reasons. When we wanted to meet, mingle or hang out at the beach bar or on the water tramboline, we went to the main beach. When we wanted rest and relaxation, we went to the Tower side. I had read that the beach was full of seaweed and very rocky. This is absolutely not true, at least while we were there. The seaweed is routinely removed by the staff, leaving the beach spotless. The rocks are minimal and hardly affected our ability to enjoy the beach. The beaches are absolutely gorgeous and for us, this was probably the biggest plus the resort had going for it. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

    I agree with previous posters that the main pool is small, but I really think it's sufficient for a resort that has such a large and beautiful beach. The smaller pool on the tower side only fits about 10 people and was rarely used, though it's very quiet and very beautiful. If you want a huge pool, this is not the resort for you. For me, I prefer a gorgeous beach, and while I spent at least an hour a day in the pool, I thought it was perfectly fine. There's a swim up bar that's always pretty packed, but the rest of the pool had plenty of area for swimming around.

    Again, I agree with previous posters that the lagoon is a complete and utter waste of space. It is never used and looks too dirty and grimey to serve as a swimming area. In fact, I think it negatively affects the overall appearance of the resort. I would love to see them turn it into something useful. I almost think that it wasn't meant to be there, but because of a poor drainage system, it has turned into a collection area for rain water and overflow from the dolphin pool. I'm probably wrong, but it sure seemed like it served no purpose and wasn't intended in the resort's design.

    We didn't do the dolphin swim but it was fun to watch them from time to time. I am probably going to get some heat for this, but I really didn't think the dolphin area was big enough and I almost felt bad for the little guys. I wish they would build out the area, perhaps by taking over the lagoon or expanding the length of the dolphin pool. In any event, it was a nice addition to the property. Oh, and I had read about people being disturbed by the dolphin trainers' whistles early in the morning. I didn't see any trainers out there early in the am and didn't hear any whistles until after 9am, and even then I could never hear them from my bed. I don't see how this could possibly disturb anyone.

    Something I didn't know about Dreams is that they really limit your internet time. I was told when I arrived that you are limited to 15 minutes per room per day. I know I'm on vacation and I shouldn't need the internet, but if you had business or needed to do something important like check on your flight, you had only a short time to do so. I really don't understand this at all--the place was never ever in use when I was there and there was never an issue. Plus, the rooms all have wifi and many have their own computers. In any event, I think that the resort should definitely limit the usage, but a period of 30 minutes seems much more fair for those that truly have issues to take care of that may exceed the short 15 minutes alotted.

    I can't say enough about the entertainment staff. Adrian "mini me", Giovanni, Freddy, Victor--you guys are awesome and you truly made our vacation a special one. We enjoyed all of the activities while we were on the resort, from volleyball to cocktail making. One night they even showed the first NFL game of the season on a big screen tv, complete with a beer cart and a nacho stand. It was great! We also enjoyed hitting the clubs with the staff. Not only did we feel safe, but they provided transportation and/or accompanied us on our walk and they arranged a private table for us once we were in the club. It may have cost a little more (typically around $30-50 per person), but it was a price we were willing to pay for the personal service. They typically meet in the lobby around 10:00pm and proceed to the chosen club(s) of the evening. Overall, the staff makes this resort, and the entertainment crew is no exception.

    - No ATM on the property. The one just off property rarely worked while we were there and when it did, it gives pesos, not dollars. Just be aware. The front desk will allow you to do cash back on your credit card, but they charge a hefty 6%.

    -Tipping. I never saw anyone tipping at the resort. Not once. Never at the restaurant, never at the bar, never the staff, nothing. I understand this is an all inclusive, but these folks work so hard and aim to please, what's a dollar here and there? It really meant the world to the staff when we tipped, and they showed it. They knew our names and our drinks/food of choice by the end of the week, and I truly think it was because we tipped for their fantastic service.

    - If you have enough room in your suitcase, bring a small raft. They have rafts at the resort, but only about 5-6 and they are usually taken pretty early. I really enjoyed floating along on my raft in the beautiful ocean water, sipping a drink without a care in the world! Plus, you can use rafts in the pool as long as they are small enough.

    • Liked ? The beach, the location
    • Disliked ? The lagoon
  • One more thing...Paradisus is not in Cancun proper. Dreams is within walking distance to the main Cancun nightlife if that matters to you at all.  While on the resort you feel like you are miles away, but when you leave it's a very quick walk.
  • To the OP  - Which Dreams are you referring to?  There are several in Cancun - one just opened this past fall, I think - it appears that m+j stayed at the older one.

    I have stayed at Dreams and its one of my favorite hotels. I think the food tastes great (and I am a pretty big food snob) and they have a really great daycare program for kids.

  • I have been to Dreams Cancun and I think this resort would be the way to go for a family vacation. While I didn?t travel with any children, I saw how the staff interacted with other kids and was amazed. They were so kind and willing to assist with anything that was needed. I don?t think you will regret it if you chose Dreams. Happy travels!
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