One of the advantages of the United States is the vast number of tourist destinations within affordable travel range and so we took a week's vacation to Cancun Mexico and tripped about the Riviera Maya and Yucatan.
As it was toward's the end of the high season we got a killer deal on Orbitz for a week at the Sandos resort, an all inclusive holiday destination. This means all you can eat food and drink; a concept that Americans seem to love on vacation but for me this was my first time at such a place.
I thought you might be interested in what you get at such a resort. They had 3 major restaurants - Seasons - a set menu molecular gastronomy affair, Zango's - the main restaurant and buffet, Gaijin - an unfortunately named teppanyaki restaurant.
They also include all you can drink cocktails, coffee time pastries, as well as bistro snacks by the pool and limited room service menu. Going during off season meant that we got a suite and all the food and beverage packages for less than $200USD per night. Prices in Cancun are similar to the US so don't expect to be able to eat off resort cheaply unless you track down small venues that the resort staff and locals eat at.
Please excuse some of the shadowing on the pictures I have a new camera which is proving difficult on macro shots.
Assorted breads baked in house
Shrimp "ceviche" ravioli with chipotle emulsion
Yellow corn "cappucino" with coconut foam and truffle parfum
Roasted duck breast with passion fruit spheric and sweet sensations salad
Deconstructed Key Lime Pie
Zango's Mexican Fiesta night
Sweets and desserts
Festive setting at sun down
Theatrics from the Teppanyaki chef
Miso with seasonal vegetables
Garlic chicken teppanyaki
Fried ice cream
So what was my experience of the food and drink at Sandos? For the price eating in was very economical, snacks, beers and cocktails by the pool would easily have run us $100 a day. Like many facilities designed for Americans I find the customer service to be variable depending on how nice you are to the staff and whether you tip. $1 a drink is a standard US tip and ensured that we got regular service and kind offers of refills or dish suggestions. I found that customers that were rude or needy to the staff were treated in kind. I have found reviews online of such resorts to be peppered with US tourists expecting to be waited on hand and foot without a single word of kindness to their servers.
For foodies the quality was 'acceptable' but not amazing and given that we were there for a week it got a bit stale in choice. Still I would happily recommend the experience to others going to Mexico especially given the very limited number of smaller hotels and resorts in the Cancun area. If you include the cost of nights at the bar, breakfasts and dinners it was almost impossible to match the price. I would probably advise going out a night or two for local food. The breakfasts were amazing so fill up in the morning, spend the day site seeing and come home for a hearty dinner before relaxing in your room.
Be prepared to change seats if you encounter large wedding parties. The all you can drink service and beautiful beach setting make this a common destination for weddings. We weren't the only couple on a romantic holiday to run away from loud groups invading the dining rooms and bars late at night.
Sandos Cancun Luxury Experience Resort, Mexico
All you can eat and drink beach resort
Good for groups and romantic vacations - not family friendly