This all started a year ago when the government posted a travel warning for the Playa area of Mexico where we had booked a week at an all inclusive resort. Not wanting to take any chances we decided to switch to a cruise at the last minute and book a different resort. This resulted in us booking at the Cofresi Palms in Puerto Plata.
However, coming on the heels of two very long vacations I needed to make this something of a working vacation to make sure the materials for the AC201 course were as good as possible.
A couple of mornings I worked in our room, which was a really nice two bedroom suite with wonderful views of the beach. But then we discovered these covered beds right on the beach, big enough for all of us to hang out together and in the shade, with good enough WiFi for everything except video conferencing. So I switched — can you blame me?
Traveling with our friends Brian and Holly is always super relaxing. Whether its hanging at the pool bar or playing cards at the beach we always have a great time. We planned absolutely no activities for this week so it was really all about reading, and lounging, which made it easy for me to mix in some work too.
This was our first ever experience at an all inclusive resort, so we had very little in the way of expectations. And mostly they were met.
A few things were a nice surprise. Our room, a “penthouse suite” was very nice. We had a living and kitchen area on the first floor with a fridge full of water, soda and beer. We also really liked the coffee pot in the room. The bedrooms upstairs were huge, each with its own deck and spectacular view of the resort and ocean. Our bathroom was fine, but in serious need of updating and new grout.
The Mexican and the Indian restaurant. We should have eaten all our meals at these two.
We had read about the “men in the hats” before we arrived. A small army of high pressure sales people that will try anything to get you into a sales pitch situation, and invest in the timeshare. “Tours”, better breakfasts, free golf cart rides, tokens for upgrades your next time back… They really try to get you the first day, and then came at us again hard towards the end. Dodging them became a kind of sport for us.
The bands. Everyone has to wear a wristband. These identify you and your level. Lots of places are for VIPs only, so if you don’t have the right colored band you are not welcome. We were not VIPs. See the previous paragraph for another part of their sales tactics.
The cups. All of our drinks came in these tiny plastic cups. Brian referred to the beers that came in them as “beer shots”. There was one kind of beer - El Presidenté, All of the drinks were watered down, but hey what they lack in quality they made up for in quantity.
The service. I feel bad writing such negative stuff, but the staff at the restaurants was really apathetic. Sometimes we were so rushed that we could hardly enjoy our food. Other times the service was so slow that we mostly had lost interest by the time it was served. We did learn that a $1 tip could get you a lot of good will and even a smile.
The smell. Running through the middle of the resort is a cement canal with a big sewage pipe suspended in the canal. The pipe leaked. The smell permeated everything downwind, which included one of the largest pool areas in the complex.
But we still had fun
Although I’ve listed a lot of negatives, and that may be because I’m a snob. But in the end we still had a lot of fun, and spent some great time reading and relaxing. I would do an all inclusive again sometime, maybe, but it won’t be this one, and I think I have a lot of other places and things on my list.