If you’re anything like me (or a million other vacationers) you spend hours scouring the internet searching for the perfect place to spend your time and hard earned money on a family vacation. So let me further confuse you with more information. I was fortunate enough to visit Secrets Maroma in January with my husband and some friends and that set my expectations for Dreams PM fairly high.
So let’s start at the beginning.
No sooner did we exit our airport transfer vehicle (Canada Transfers in case you’re wondering) than my husband (Mike), son (Devin), and I were greeted with “Welcome home” and offered sparkling wine for the adults and some sort of drink for Dev. You know they say it to everyone, but it is done with such warmth that you feel special anyway. They whisked our bags away and guided us to the Preferred Club for check in which was quick and painless. We were issued a welcome kit of information and room keys, and the entire process didn’t last more than 10 minutes. As luck would have it our room was ready so a bellboy escorted us to our room with our luggage.
Comparison to Secrets: equal
The outside of our room (6421) featured a sofa, table and chairs for 2, and a jacuzzi which we only used to rinse and dry swim & gym clothes.
The bathroom was nicely sized with double sink, full size toiletries, and fully enclosed separate toilet and shower areas. You don’t realize how important that it until you’re traveling with your son…
And finally the minibar and coffee maker. Can you believe I forgot to get a photo of the interior of the fridge?! It comes stocked with Corona, Coke, multiple bottles of water, various other sodas, peanut M & Ms, and mini cans of Pringles. There are also a few mini bottles of spirits.
Some things to know:
No iron is provided, but there is a steam machine. Six Nespresso pods are provided each day (2 of which are decaf). You can request more or just walk to Dolce and get a regular or specialty coffee and pre-breakfast pastry (no judgement here). The AC goes down to at least 68 and shuts off if the doors are open. A proper hairdryer is provided and it’s not one of those cheap little ones with no power. The shower has a rain head and a wand.
Comparison to Secrets: Equal (the rooms clearly are not the same but the quality is).
Views from the front and the back of the room.
Let’s be honest. This one is both important AND subjective.
Our first meal at Dreams was lunch on arrival day. We dined at Tides and all had burgers with fries. They were fine. Not great, not bad, just fine.
That evening we dined at the World Cafe buffet because that’s where Dev wanted to eat. It was serviceable but absolutely nothing special. Dare I say it was disappointing? Hard to say because buffets are a tricky thing. It was the first and last time we dined there for dinner (though we did go in solely for dessert one evening- the World Cafe does dessert very well and they always had coconut ice cream- hooray!)
The World Cafe also does breakfast very well with the exception of the bacon (big greasy mess) and the pre-scrambled eggs (maybe they were from a mix?). Luckily there are other breakfast meat options and you can have your eggs made to order. Or you could just eat breakfast breads in all their delightful forms…
There were tons of fruit options as well as pastries, eggs, cold cuts, cheese, smoked salmon, and traditional Mexican breakfast foods. And of course, pastries…
Breakfast was also available in the Preferred Club lounge and at Maris for PC guests, but we didn’t eat there because… pastry.
Speaking of pastry, a delightful selection could be found at Dolce along with ice cream and coffee drinks. They make a fine double espresso to wash down your chocolate eclair.
Sadly, man (and woman and child) cannot live on pastry alone and lunch options are kind of a dud. I really wish Dreams would construct an outdoor pizza oven like the one at Secrets and offer fish tacos in at least one of the lunch restaurants. I’d say I’m asking for too much, but since they can do it at Secrets it seems like they could do it here, too.
Luckily Dreams offers some delicious a la carte dining experiences. My meat eaters loved Gaucho and we had our favorite meal at L’Etoile. In fact we enjoyed it so much we intended to dine there twice, but they were closed on our final night so the boys decided they needed more meat and back to Gaucho we went.
Gaucho serves meat Rodizio style (presented on a skewer and carved table side with several different meats being presented throughout the meal). Anyone familiar with Fogo de Chao or Texas de Brazil will know what’s what. There is also a grand salad bar with salads, breads, and side dishes such as pastas and such. Gaucho is popular so arrive early (like when they open) or prepare to wait.
The meat pictured is picanha (sirloin cap) and was the highlight of the meal. Also served were sausages, sweetbreads, wings, ribs, chicken hearts, and chorizo. The first night we all ordered dessert, but on our second visit we were presented with a sample plate of the desserts. They did not disappoint.
L’Etoile is the French restaurant (in case the name didn’t give it away). After seeing escargot on the menu we had to visit because Dev is a huge fan. It was delicious, but not swimming in garlic butter in the little dish with the holes just waiting to be soaked up with fresh bread like we’re accustomed to. At L’Etoile escargot is served provençal style (already de-shelled, cooked, and served on the plate with garnish). We didn’t know what that meant, but now we do and so do you. It was good, but not what we were hoping for.
While we all enjoyed our meals it was generally agreed that the pork belly was the clear winner followed closely by the steak. Trailing a distant third was the duck which Mike stated was overcooked (I wouldn’t know because… eeew… duck).
A la carte restaurant comparison to Secrets: equal.
Lunch options compared to Secrets: Secrets is hands down the winner. Dreams needs to improve their lunch game.
All the eating sent Mike and me to gym. That’s kind of a lie. It made me go to the gym. Mike was training for the Boston Marathon so he had to keep up with his program (15 miles on a treadmill- yuck). The gym was well stocked with a bonus room across a small hallway- presumably for use of the classes offered. It’s all located next to the spa which is situated outside the main lobby by the circular drive. It feels a bit like you’re wandering somewhere you shouldn’t the first time you go.
Comparison to Secrets: I think the gym at Dreams is actually a bit bigger though I can’t say for sure. The bonus room is certainly different as Secrets conducts the group exercise classes in the gazebo by the pool.
After a delicious pastry breakfast and an hour in the gym to make up for it, it was time to head to the beach. The beach concierge for the Preferred Club (and maybe the entire beach?) was Giovanni and he was spectacular. Between him and our server, Luís, we were well pampered. The beach demonstrates one of the most notable differences between Preferred Club and non-PC. Non-PC guests have access to white loungers, umbrellas, and little mini tables, whereas PC guests enjoy bali beds for no extra charge. They are supremely comfortable and provide plenty of shade (a bonus for those that burn easily).
Unfortunately for us the water was both cold (it was still only March after all) and there were great swaths of seaweed. I opted to avoid the water and so did the boys after a while. While I’m certain it can be amazing at times it really wasn’t during our visit.
Comparison to Secrets loungers – Bali bed for PC is superior to Secrets, but regular non-PC loungers with umbrellas are inferior.
We enjoyed spending the afternoons at the water slides and in the lazy river. Truth be told I chose Dreams Playa Mujeres partly due to the waterslides. Sadly one of them was out of commission during our visit but we still had fun just using the one. It did seem like tall people tended to bump their ankles on some of the turns, but children and short individuals didn’t experience that. The lifeguards were attentive and verified that the slide exit was clear before allowing the next guest to go down. They also limited the number of people walking to the top at any one time, presumably not to overcrowd the platform at the top.
There was also a little people sized play area with slides well suited to toddlers.
As much as we enjoyed lounging on the beach in the mornings and playing on the slides in the afternoon we decided we needed a little more adventure so we visited the Amstar desk and purchased a snorkeling trip with Alltournative.
We were collected around 9:30 in the morning and began the long and tedious process of stopping at 5 other resorts to collect guests. We eventually arrived at the tour base. They had a great set up with plenty of clean toilets, showers, lockers to store your items, and dressing rooms. There were counters of snorkel gear and life jackets (you’re required to wear them). There was also a sand volleyball court, multiple hammocks and picnic benches, and a serving line of delicious food made on site for your post snorkel meal. All food and drinks were included in the price of the package and I must say they were the highlight. The snorkeling itself wasn’t amazing and swimming en masse following the leader while dodging the fins of the fellow in front of you wasn’t the most fun, but we still saw some cool things so I’m glad we went. The ship stopped at two separate sites before returning to the beach for the feast. They provide a towel for use while on the boat but I recommend bringing your own as well so you can dry yourself after a post snorkel rinse.
One additional service provided by AllTournative is an included photographer. Our GoPro pics didn’t turn out well, but the young man taking the pictures really knew what he was doing. The photo package wasn’t cheap, but it’s nice to have our adventure documented in photos we actually like to look at.
The Teen Club
Full disclosure- we didn’t step foot inside, but I really, really wanted to. Apparently it would be weird if I asked to play on the rock wall (Mike told me so). But it was so cool…
There were also a bungee trampoline and a basketball court. And that’s just what I could see standing at the wall like some weird stalker lady.
Overall we really enjoyed our visit to Dreams PM and Dev has already requested that we go again next year. I’m strongly considering it, but there is definitely room for improvement where lunch options are concerned. If you’ve been to Secrets you may be a tad disappointed in the food, but the service will be the same great service you know and love, and that’s what will probably draw us back to Dreams PM next spring.