[Note: This is an unsolicited review and we did not receive payment, free food or accommodations from Dreams.]
Our boys have stayed in a lot of hotels, but their favorite is Dreams Puerto Aventuras Resort. We spent a fantastic week there that left our boys dying to return. The resort sits on a beautiful stretch of coast between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. The sand is white and the water is warm and clear. This was our first all-inclusive hotel experience and we really enjoyed it. Included in the price:
- Limitless à-la-carte dining, including 24 hour room service
- All drinks, including alcoholic beverages
- Mini bar in room
- Many activities at the pool and beach, including snorkeling, kayaking, sailing and introductory scuba-diving lessons in the pool
- Shows and parties
- Kids club
- Kids activities, including climbing wall, water trampoline, and mini golf
- Wi-fi all over the resort
The hotel is really beautiful and leaves a wonderful first impression. The staff was warm and welcoming. The check in process was easy. There are no wristbands at this property and everything is done by name and room number.
Tip: Many resorts in Mexico hope to sell you a timeshare or membership in their VIP program and Dreams is no exception. After check in they will pass you to an employee who will give you a quick tour of the property. This is a sales pitch and you are welcome to decline the tour. Just make sure they give you a map so you know where to go. I forgot to ask, so I returned to the front desk to get one and was subjected to a second sales pitch.
We arrived at the resort early, so our room wasn’t ready, but we were able to enjoy the resort immediately. Naturally, we made our way to the family pool. It’s a nice pool with an in-pool bar and a large hot tub. There are plenty of chairs and a no saving rule so it is easy to find a spot. Large baskets around the pool contain beach towels, so you can grab a few without waiting in a towel line. There is a lovely adults-only pool that we didn’t spend time at. We did see a fun concert over this pool one night with some wonderful acrobats. But in the daytime, I was told that it is a tropical oasis away from the sounds of laughing children and the occasional dance contest.
Tip: using the resort while waiting for a room. There is no armband at Dreams, so when you go to a restaurant you just give them your room number. If you don’t have a room yet just show them your receipt from check in. You will only need to do this at the restaurant. You can enjoy all the resort has to offer until your room is ready.
The beach is beautiful with a large cove that’s perfect for swimming and snorkeling (included in your stay). Tons of beach chairs and palapas are available and it was easy to find a quiet spot. The resort has a water climbing wall and water trampoline in the cove for kids only. Our boys spent hours climbing and jumping. Our only misgiving about the resort is the lifeguards. They have lifeguards that whistle when too many kids are on the water features or when adults try to climb on. But they don’t police rough play. I noticed older kids playing king of the hill and throwing other people’s kids over the edge. Takes away some of the relaxation when you are constantly worried about other people’s kids.
El Patio Mexican Cuisine – This was my favorite restaurant. The Chile Relleno was fantastic and so was the service. Oceana Seafood Grill – Adults only. They do have one family night per week. Portofino Italian Cuisine – This is the most upscale restaurant at the resort and has a dress code. Seaside Grill – My oldest loved this restaurant. It’s by the pool and ping-pong table so the kids could play until lunch or dinner were served. World Cafe International Buffet – Breakfast is served here daily and they are open for lunch and dinner. The breakfast was really good but I found the dinner to be disappointing. To be fair, I am not a buffet person. Barefoot Grill – A child’s dream! Pizza, burgers, and hot dogs served by the pool all day long. They have some picnic tables but you can grab whatever you like and take it to the beach or pool. Coco Cafe Coffee and Deli snacks – sometimes you just need a coffee Gohan Sushi Lounge – pretty place to relax and have a light meal
Tip: All the restaurants will serve the kids something from the kids menu at the Grill if you ask them. One of my sons was in a chicken nugget phase so this was very helpful!
The resort has 5 bars serving beer, wine, and spirits. Kids are welcome at the pool bar and beach bar. The bartenders make amazing non-alcoholic drinks for kids. My boys recommend the Pink Panther or the Superman. We started to worry when one of our youngest spent an entire day sitting at the pool bar at a water stool ordering Pink Panthers.
When we went to Dreams we were traveling around Central America for 9 months and had very few bags. Our wardrobe consisted mostly of shorts, T-shirts, swimsuits and flip-flops. It never occurred to us that there would be a dress code! Most of the resort restaurants require shoes, shorts and shirts with a sleeve for men and a cover up for women. Portofino Italian Cuisine has a dress code which is strictly enforced, including the kids. For men: long pants, collared shirts and dress shoes. For women: blouses, skirts, slacks or dresses, with dress shoes.
The Explorer’s kids club is found behind the family pool to the left of the Ocean Grill. It’s open from 9am until 10pm for ages 3 to 12. The staff is American Red Cross Certified and supervise all activities including cooking classes, beach movies, arts and crafts and fun contests. They have nighttime activities so you can enjoy an adult dinner and show too.
Tip: The kids club fills up really fast, so sign up as soon as you arrive at the kids club. The climbing wall, beach soccer and bungee jump are technically part of the kids club so fill out a form for your older kids even if they are not attending the club. My boys missed the bungee because it filled up before I could sign the waiver.
We stayed in a Deluxe Dolphin View room with 2 double beds. The beds were very comfortable and the view of the lagoon was nice. The room had a nice furnished balcony, flat screen TV, robes, a safe and stocked mini bar. The bathroom was roomy and very clean. The staff kept the rooms in great condition and were there if we ever needed a thing. The resort also offers family rooms that sleep, 2 adults, and 4 children. Cribs and roll away beds are available. So why did our boys love Dreams Puerto Aventuras Resort & Spa so much? First and foremost, they loved the food and drinks. It’s not often that a kid can order a fun drink or grab a pizza without parental involvement or money. They also loved that there was always so much to do and that the staff was so warm and friendly. Our boys’ new goal in life is now to try every Dreams property!