The general arrival schedule for this trip went like this:
- Wednesday 10 am: Michelle, Hannah, and Maggie arrive in Cancun
- Thursday 11 pm: Robin arrives in Cancun
- Saturday 10 am: Amy arrives in Cancun
Because of our various arrival times, we actually ended up staying at two different resorts: we were at GR Caribe by Solaris for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights, then transferred to a suite at The Royal Cancun for Saturday and Sunday nights. While switching hotels mid trip wasn’t ideal, it was the best option for us budget-wise and ended up being a good choice.
None of us had ever been to an all-inclusive resort before, but Michelle described it best when she called it a “land cruise.” Just like a cruise, all of your food and drinks are paid for in advance, as are most available activities.
GR Caribe by Solaris
Our first hotel, GR Caribe by Solaris, was fine. It had a small pool with a bar and snack bar, a lobby bar, a breakfast buffet area, and access to 24/7 room service. There were also two hot tubs, beach and ocean access, and two a la carte restaurants. Along with feeling like a land cruise, GR Caribe definitely had a Kellerman’s vibe to it as well, with bingo, dance lessons, and crafts by the pool throughout the day.
One of the best parts about GR Caribe is that it is attached to its sister property, Royal Solaris. Solaris is a bigger property with more restaurants, a bigger pool area with swim-up bar, and the theater for evening entertainment. GR Caribe guests were welcome to use the Solaris amenities, but Solaris guests couldn’t come over to GR Caribe. This kept GR Caribe quiet and gave us the best of both worlds (just like Hannah Montana).
The food was…fine. We certainly didn’t go hungry, but we weren’t wowed by anything. The food we had was mediocre but the thing that was most disappointing was the lack of Mexican food. There were plenty of American, Italian, and even French options, but very few Mexican options. Additionally, the vegetarian options for Michelle were few and far between. They did bring her special vegetarian dishes when asked, but there weren’t many options on the menu. LOL if you have any other dietary restrictions.
The main problem at GR Caribe was Robin’s arrival. We had booked Wednesday and Thursday nights with three people in our room, and Friday with four people. This covered the all-inclusive costs for the day. With Robin arriving near midnight, and therefore not able to take advantage of most of the all-inclusive perks, we figured she could just crash in our room then get her wristband in the morning to start her all-inclusive Cancun ladies beach vacation adventure. Not the case.
In order for Robin to stay in our room, she had to pay a fee of $150. This was more than what she was paying for all of Friday’s all-inclusive perks and room. It was ridiculous. Policies exist for a reason, and we weren’t trying to pull a fast one on them, but that fee seemed excessive and unnecessary for someone who was going to sleep until her “official” reservation started.
The Royal Cancun
If (when) we go back to Cancun, The Royal Cancun would be a great place to revisit. We got a suite for the five of us that had a kitchen, dining and living area (with a murphy bed!), balcony, and two bedrooms. It had plenty of space for all of us and we were originally planning on taking advantage of the kitchen and making some of our own food. We were at The Royal Cancun after GR Caribe though, and since we had already had a taste of the all-inclusive life, we decided to just add that on to our hotel booking.
Honestly, the drinks alone make all-inclusive worth it. From the swim-up bar to room service beers, we definitely got our money’s worth.
The Royal Cancun was also a smaller location and was pretty quiet, but everything about it was just better than GR Caribe. The ocean access was way easier, the swim-up bar was better, and the food was MUCH better. We were only there for two days, but it made us regret not spending the whole trip there.
The Royal Cancun also has a sister property, The Royal Sands, but it was about 20 minutes away by complimentary shuttle. We had dinner there on our last night at Hacienda Sisal and The Royal Sands was much larger but seemed just as nice. Either option would be a good choice if you’re trying to take an all-inclusive Cancun ladies beach vacation.
While at The Royal Cancun we took the city bus to the flea market. We had a lot of fun wandering around the stalls and we all found something to bring home. The heat got to us pretty quickly though, so we were probably only there for an hour or so.
- Book your transportation in advance. We booked our shuttle to the hotel from the airport online at the same time we booked our hotel. It was cheaper than trying to find a ride at the airport, and we had nothing to worry about upon landing.
- Booking transportation in advance would have made a difference with our Tulum plans. We had talked about doing a day trip to Tulum while in Mexico, but we didn’t nail down any plans ahead of time. By the time we got there, no one was in the mood to make a decision so we just…didn’t go. Considering the alternative was hanging at the swim-up bar, things could have been worse.
- Tip! While all-inclusive does really mean all-inclusive, it seemed like most people were still leaving tips. We started tipping halfway into the trip, and it greatly improved the quality of service we were receiving. Plus, it just felt weird to not tip (American alert).
- The city bus driver might drop you at a different location than you expected. It’s ok to wander a bit to see if the actual flea market you were looking for is nearby, just don’t be an idiot.
- If someone leaves a bag of drugs outside your door, just turn it into the front desk ASAP. (We don’t want to talk about it.)