Grand Sirenis – Riviera Maya – Mexico 2016
Grand sirenis Resort and Spa
14th – 25th December 2016
This was our first trip to Mexico, it had always been on my to go to list for the obvious reasons, beautiful weather, beaches and incredibly friendly locals (all did not disappoint!)
We decided to book a winter sun break, after spending an hour looking at some of the most beautiful resorts iv ever seen we decided to settle on Grand Sirenis resort and spa. It fitted well with our budget and had everything we could want and more, including, 11 restaurants, a spa, a private beach and a lazy river which runs through the resort. It seemed like the perfect place for us to go and relax while the kids enjoyed all there was to offer!
The transfer from Cancun airport to Grand Sirenis was around an hour and a half. When we arrived at the resort it was dark and we could see how beautifully lit up it was with christmas decorations and lights. We were greeted with a cocktail upon arrival – checking in was very simple and a golf buggy was waiting outside to take us and our hundreds of bags to the room.
We had a junior suite which are beautiful. Huge room with a bathroom separated by a large jacuzzi bath. The suite had a massive super king bed which are high off the ground- this was the only downfall of the room as it did mean it was quite dangerous for Ottilie if she was on it.
The hotel provided a nice clean travel cot for Ottilie and we bought our own cot bedding which we put in to make it nice and familiar for her. Ottilie used the cot for the majority of our stay however she did venture into our bed a couple of nights where she wasn’t 100%. With the bed being so huge it was actually quite nice to fill it with an extra body!
The first few days were mostly spent exploring the resort – it is by far the biggest we had been to and took some time to fully locate everything we were looking for. We chose to stick with the pool closest to our room as we tended to go up a few times throughout the day to grab various bits for the kids.
As mentioned in my previous post we took our Graco Evo Mini pushchair. It worked perfectly for Ottilie to nap in during the day and sit in for the longer journeys around the resort and to the beach. Plus the obvious bonus of being something to store all our rubbish on!
When booking Mexico we were all most excited by the foods Mexican is a clear favourite with our family!
The breakfast selection was delicious every single day. They have everything from fresh fruit, yoghurt and pancakes to hot food such as bacon and fresh omelettes and french toast as well as a delicious pastry stand! There are a number of restaurants which serve breakfast but we chose to eat at ‘el rancho’ which was located right next to the pool – perfect for going back for mid morning snacks after a swim!
We ate at the same restaurant for lunch – the food selection is so vast but all tasted very good, especially for resort food! We tended to eat quesadillas for lunch with salad and often had the nacho crisps with an amazing hot cheese sauce which they put out – definitely satisfied our Mexican food craving!
For dinner you get up to 5 visits to the different restaurants on site per week. We went to the Mediterranean, Thai, Mexican and Japanese. The Japanese was by far the best one. They had a teppanyaki chef who made the food in front of us which not only was a great show but amazingly tasty too! For the nights you don’t go to a themed restaurant there is a large buffet available. The food variety was again vast and all tasted delicious however I would say the actual dining area was so big it did lack atmosphere slightly – fortunately for us with 3 under 4 we tended to get dinner eaten quickly so the kids could go to bed.
Admittedly we did tend to get up and put our towels out before breakfast (its ok because I am half German!!) but it was well worth it when we got good spots in front of the pool so we could chill while the kids played in the water right in front of us!
I have taken Ottilie to swimming lessons since she was just a few months old. I feel it has been the best money spent on her as she is incredibly confident in the water and loves every single minute of it. Ottilie could not get in quick enough in the mornings and would spend hours faffing in it. The pool had a great gradual decline part to it which meant her and her cousins could play in the shallow water as well as being able to walk back out if they needed to.
We brought a float vest with us but it didn’t seem to work with Ottilie so we bought some armbands at the resort which were great. There are lots of small shops around the resort where you can buy bits and pieces, however, it is dangerous as its all charged to room so it can get quick expensive at the end!
The resort does have some of the typical ‘all inclusive resort’ parts to it which aren’t for everyone. There was evening entertainment every night but we didn’t actually watch one the whole time we were there – instead opting for early dinners followed by early nights for the children while us adults played cards in the room and ordered (free!!) room service.
I often find the entertainment to be the worst part of these types of resorts – plus it didn’t start till 9:30 and the kids had had enough long before then. I feel once they are all a bit older they may enjoy it more.
During the day there is ‘poolside entertainment’ which again isn’t for everyone but was quite harmless and easy to ignore if it isn’t for you. They played music round the pool and due to the time of year it was mainly Mariah Carey’s Christmas album – only made bearable by the fact it got us into the festive mood (sort of)
On the Saturday they had a pool party which included a DJ, foam shooter, bouncy castle in the pool and a crazy amount of balloons for the children to play with. Although we were apprehensive of a foam party happening in the pool right next to the pool bar which was propping up many people it was actually one of the best parts of our holiday.
The children absolutely loved the foam party and the entertainment team were brilliant in ensuring the kids had a better time than the adults. Although surreal I will look back at the photos of us dancing in the foam with our little girl with utter pride – these could be the photos she eventually gives me credit for, for being a ‘cool mum’!
The resort has so much wildlife which we loved. We saw spider monkeys, Cotees, lizards, pelicans, toucans and racoons – much to the amazement of the children. The resort does well to maintain a level of nature considering how much they have had to build and had a beautiful ‘nature trail’ which leads through the woodland with signs explaining the different trees, plants and animals that live there. It was a favourable place to go when the sun is too hot and the kids need some shade and a snooze.
Grand Sirenis has its own beach attached to the resort. It has a bar, massage hut, BBQ area, snack bar and plenty of sun loungers on it. We tended to go in the afternoon when the sun was setting as the views were stunning and the sun was cooling down. There is also a delicious fresh juice ‘health bar’ located at a pool right next to the beach. This was one of my favourite aspects to the resort as they made delicious fresh fruit and vegetable juices – just what I needed to make myself feel better for eating donuts for breakfast (most days)!
Ottilie has never been overly keen on the beach and was a bit apprehensive to explore on her own but that was something we persevered with as the holiday went on and by the end she started to actually enjoy it. Being able to play in the sand with her cousins encouraged her to be braver and realise its not so scary after all!
For me the best part of the holiday was simply having a large amount of time with Ottilie and the family. I often feel like we lack quality time due to our hectic lives at home. I treasured having her to myself. I found it incredible to see our little baby turn into a confident little tot – following her cousins round like one of them.
Travelling with other family isn’t for everyone and can be challenging but for us it was great! It gave the cousins a chance to get some serious bonding time in and us adults the chance to have a break while the children entertained each other.
I fell head over heels in love with Mexico and can’t wait to make more memories there in the future.