The 758-room Luxury Bahia Principe Akumal Don Pablo Collection was brought up to the brand's Luxury status in late 2014, and guests can now expect a top-notch all-inclusive experience. It's directly in front of a sprawling beach with turquoise waters, white sand, and rocky reefs, and there are also 13 different restaurants and bars, including beach bars, pool bars, buffets, and a la cartes. Other features include a rejuvenating and relaxing hydrotherapy spa; kids' club; and two sparkling beach-view pools. Rooms have attractive, if not luxurious, beachy colonial style, ample amenities including toiletry kits, stocked minibars (with top-shelf liquor), butler service, and a pillow menu. The complex's other Luxury status property, the Sian Ka'an, is more luxurious and often costs about the same -- but it is for adults only.
A large property with a low level luxury look, but relaxing vibe
One large entrance services all four resorts located inside the gigantic Bahia Principe complex, and the property is colorfully marked from the road by bright yellow, pink, blue, and green building complex -- the Hacienda Dona Isabel. After following a winding road with a few turns and roundabouts, guests will reach the Luxury Bahia Principe Akumal's two half-circle driveways and large, statement lobby with pillars and high as can be ceilings. Since this property was recently bumped from Grand to Luxury status, the former shell of its Grand existence can still be seen and felt, and the cosmetic finishes aren't on par with those at the complex's other Luxury property, the adult-only Sian Ka'an. It seems that the category elevation has more to do with services rather than decor and style.
That said, the vibe at Akumal is very relaxed, even with the many families. As the second smallest property in the bunch, the beach area for Akumal is feels much larger and less congested than at the other resorts. Its setting is also the wildest, with more palm trees and scenic rocky edges, and the grounds in general are much more spacious. Because of the added services and kid-friendly features, it's an ideal spot for families who want a wide range of kid amenities without sacrificing small comforts and conveniences.
Located near Akumal along an eco-reef beach, an hour south of Cancun
About halfway between Akumal Beach and Tulum, Highway 307 becomes flanked with the grandiose entrance gates to both the Grand Bahia Riviera Golf Course and Club and the Bahia Principe resorts entrance. Cancun Airport is a straight shot north for just over an hour, while Playa del Carmen can be reached in just under 40 minutes. Akumal Beach's center and turtle-filled waters are just a short 10-minute drive up the road and can be reached by cab or collectivo. Xplor, Xel-Ha, and Xcaret are located along the Highway between Akumal and Playa del Carmen.
Disappointingly simple decor for Luxury level rooms, but nice amenities
Rooms are simple but attractive Junior Suites with canopy beds, built-in couches, and outdoor space. Decor is the same that is found in the Grand category Tulum resort: off-white and orange marble floors, pale yellow walls, blue and white fabrics, and cream painted colonial-style wooden furniture. Sitting areas include simply fashioned couches and a small table and chairs, set up in front of a glass sliding door to the room's private outdoor space. A long, glass-topped desk hides the minibar, stocked with top-shelf liquor and name-brand snacks. All units come with flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers, turndown service, butler service, 24-hour room service, and a pillow menu. Marble bathrooms feature separate tubs, showers, and toilets along with decoratively painted tile runners, makeup mirrors, hairdryers, and fluffy towels. The extensive toiletry and convenience items provided include shampoo, conditioner, personal loofahs, shoe kits, and more.
Luxury Bahia Principe Akumal has an impressively large beach area, complete with both soft white sand and rugged, rocky coral edges; a wooden pier; and turquoise water for miles. The beach rarely feels overcrowded -- possibly because so many people spend their time around the massive main pool. Guests can access the beach by walking straight onto the sands from the pool areas, or over a red bridge, through a section of mangroves off the pool deck. Sturdy palapas provide shade and drink holders, while blue and white striped loungers or swaying hammocks are on hand for relaxing.
One large buffet restaurant and three reservation-required a la carte spots
Luxury Bahia Principe Akumal's main buffet, Riviera Buffet, serves a good selection of international cuisine and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Themed cuisine nights rotate throughout the week for dinner, but if you're in the mood for Italian, seafood, or gourmet cuisine, you can make a reservation at one of the three smaller a la carte restaurants. Dolce Vita and Frutos del Mare are located by the sports pool, offering both mini-buffet and menu dining as well as indoor seating that overlooks the pool and out toward the ocean. Arlequin is solely a la carte and located next to the main buffet.
If you get hungry after, in-between, or before the restaurants' operating hours, you can head over toward the sports pool where a 24-hour snack spot has a buffet of simple comfort foods like hamburgers, salads, nachos, and more. There's also personalized menus available for Celiacs and diabetics.
Luxury Bahia Principe Akumal has almost three times as many spots to grab a drink as it does to grab a bite. The resort's nine bars are scattered around the entire property so drinks are always within easy walking distance. Located around the corner from the lobby, the large lobby bar has full window views of the outdoor, neighboring main pool. It also shares its space with the theater and becomes the Hollywood Bar during shows. During the day there's a free coffee, tea, and cookie service set up in the corner. Just before sunset, an unofficial terrace bar opens up on the terrace just outside the lobby. Here, cushioned white wicker furniture covers the terrace and a pop-up bar begins to serve sundowner cocktails. Another similarly styled bar is located between the main pool and the beach. Two small bar huts, White Sand and El Mar, service the pool and beach area, respectively. The latter is placed just along the rocky edge of the beach and has wood and rope swing seats from which to view the sunset. There's also a swim-up pool bar on the opposite edge of the pool, and a small drinks hut over by the sports pool.
Typical all-inclusive resort features including a kids' club, golf course, and hydrotherapy spa
Luxury Bahia Principe Akumal offers all the features expected from a luxury all-inclusive resort, including a massive pool with loungers, spa treatment area, bridges, and jetted areas; activities pool with volleyball net and dance classes on deck; medical service; shuttle service; and assortment of shops. Family-friendly features include a Bahia Scouts kids' club for babies and young children, and a Teen Club for up to age 16. The Akumal spa was renovated in late 2014 and has an upscale vibe and hydrotherapy focus. There are also massage treatment rooms (both inside and out) and a beauty salon.
Unfortunately, guests are only given one free hour of Wi-Fi (on one device) per day, and can only access this usage in the lobby. Additional Internet service is for a fee. However, all local taxes and tips are included which is a nice bonus.
This hotel offers a tourism attraction that involves animals. You can learn more about the cruelty animals suffer in captivity here.
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