I am at home today, nursing an ear issue. I took one too many direct hits to the ear canal at GWL on Saturday, and haven’t been the same since. To amuse myself (after having spent 45 minutes putting together a Lego monstrosity–attention all gift givers, if it says 7+, Thor can’t assemble it himself. I will end up doing it. I prefer Barbies. That written, I can hear him playing now, and it was worth every neck craning, ear canal throbbing second. Thank you, gift givers!) I have posted my review of my trip to Europe, and am now reposting my tripadvisor.com review of the Barcelo resort in San Juan del Cabo.
We traveled to the Barcelo through cheapcarribean.com, which worked out all right, and I would use them again, but only to book the hotel/air travel. I would not book any excursions or transfers with them. We brought a 4 year old, picky eater, and were prepared to feed him with snacks from home. The food here was great for all of us, and we even found a great variety for our son.
[The transfers we paid for through cheapcarribean.com turned out to be twice as costly as a taxi, and did not run during the hours we needed for our return flight. Boo!]
Our flight brought us in early, and we arrived at the hotel by 1. Our room would not be ready until 3. That was fine. We enjoyed lunch at the first of many buffets, then settled down in the palazzo to wait. The sea breeze was nice, and the atmosphere was very lazy and good for a vacation. However, after sitting outside in the heat for so long, we were dismayed to have our room readiness delayed. We did not actually get into our room until 5. The front desk staff was fairly surly about it. [To be fair, by 4:30, so was I.]
Our room (in the Building 3 everyone talks about) was great looking, with a view of the adult pool area. The air conditioning never worked properly. It would blow, but the room never cooled below 25C. We put in three maintenance requests, then just gave up. It was not so hot as to be miserable, but was never so cool as to be truly comfortable to this AC spoiled person.
The a la carte dining was not good. The buffets were really, very good, full of variety and savory dishes. We ate at two of our a la carte reservations (now made in advance by the hotel, so you will not have any trouble getting them) and skipped the third. The food in those restaurants was substandard as far as I am concerned.
Not truly bad, but disappointing was the one big activity we had planned. We took our son on the advertised dinner cruise on the Buccaneer Queen. The cruise itself, and the pirate show were fantastic. The crew was great. The dinner? There was not one. There was a snack of mini croissants dressed with a single slice of ham, lettuce and cheese, carrot sticks, celery, and jicama, with a big bowl of guacamole and chips, slopped in the center of the deck for a free for all of the ship guests to grab. It was unappetizing, but our son ate two sandwiches, so he was happy.
My husband adds that the martini bar at the hotel sucked. He is correct.
As everyone has said, Building 3 is terrific. It is a good location, clean, quiet, and well appointed. The cleaning service was aggressive. Even after we hung out our DND sign, they still knocked to remind us that they would like to come in to clean the room. I wanted to nap.
Our mini bar was kept stocked. We had plenty of towels, and plenty of bath accessories.
Service in the buffets was excellent. Service in the spa was excellent. I had the best massage of my life in the Barcelo spa. [I also had the worst body scrub, but the massage was so good, I almost didn’t care.]
The swim up bar was nice, and the frozen piña coladas were tasty. They were also very agreeable to making kiddie drinks.
We came here to be lazy and just shut down, and it was the perfect place to do it. In spite of the little annoyances, we had a really good time. We slept, we ate, we drank, we swam, we went to the spa, we watched our son play himself tired in the kiddie area, and we slept and ate some more. It has been a relaxing, good vacation.
I would recommend this resort to people with families of small children. They do cater to the family, and the environment is family friendly on the whole.
We did the Buccaneer Queen dinner cruise and took a glass bottom boat out to The Arch. Both were well worth our time and we would do again. We booked through the resort and were happy with how quickly and easily we were able to sort out what we wanted to do.
If anyone begins a conversation with, “Let me give you a Spanish lesson,” they are trying to sell you a time share. Just say, “No, gracias,” and keep walking. Something important to know is that when you get off the flight, you will enter a room after baggage claim that is full of time share personnel at counters that look like rental car counters. Just keep walking. Your transport options are waiting for you outside.