Before this trip, I had only been to one other all-inclusive resort. My uncle planned that trip, so I did not have to do any research or planning of my own. This time, I did the research and the planning. To help you out, I broke down the different kinds of suites that are offered at Gran Porto and threw in some of our personal experiences there.
What kind of view would you like to wake up to?
We originally booked a junior suite because it was the cheapest one, but decided to upgrade to an ocean view when we arrived. We were so glad we did! Below are some pros and cons of each room type to help you decide which one is best for you, but first, here are a list of things included in each suite:
hammock on the balcony (if you have a balcony)
liquor dispenser that is restocked daily
towel animals on your bed after each day's clean up
This is for you if you love the beach so much you want to be able to step onto the sand as soon as you leave your balcony. You will be on the lower level, right behind the chairs and cabanas; and you get your own designated cabana. You are also given access to The Royal Resort next door, which I hear, is very nice. If you like to sit on the balcony and greet your fellow beach goers, this is also for you.
If you like to dance in your room like nobody is watching, this is not for you because someone might walk by and stop to watch.
If you are ballin' on a budget, this is for you. You will have a view of the street and can get to know your neighbor if you both decide to sit outside on your shared balcony. You can also get to know the people walking by because your balcony is in the open hallway.
Master Ocean Front
Spending a lot of time in the room and want extra space? The master ocean front is like the junior ocean front but comes with extra living room space and full access to The Royal Resort next door.
The perfect place for peace and quiet from the rest of the resort. We were able to take a look at an ocean view room which had two balconies with a beautiful view of the beach, ocean and boats along the shore. There is a king sized bed and a bunk bed. The price of the peace and quiet is a longer walk to the front of the resort and the pool.
My personal favorite! Imagine waking up to a beautiful view of the waves in the ocean, wind blowing the palm trees, and the glowing pool (if your room is by the pool). This view is enough to want to book this room. Our room had a view right in the middle of the pool, our resort's beach to the left and more beach with boats on the right. (Room 360!! Highly recommend it for the view!)
This is in the middle of all of the action, so be sure you are not a very light or early sleeper. There are performances in the resort's bar area every night or on the outdoor stages to the left or right of the pool. You will have a good view of the two outdoor stages, which means you will also hear everything (whether you like it or not). We were right next to the stairs to the lobby and pool. It was convenient, but since there were music and dance performances every night, and we could hear outside noise in our rooms, this was not preferred.
Random note about our room: the TV turned on by itself at 3 AM the first night to the hotel advertising channel. Maybe they were trying to make us dream about it. It also turned on four other times another night.
Recovering for the next day
Our ocean front room had two double beds but if you are sharing, double is kind of tight. Someone can sleep outside in the hammock =P
The bathroom retreat
The very first thing I check whether I am staying at a hotel or AirBnB is the cleanliness of the bathroom. If there are a bunch of traveler pictures or reviews about stains in the bathroom, I move on.
The bathroom in our ocean view room was clean and a comfortable size. The sink top had enough space for the three of us to put our bathroom essentials with some room for clothes when showering.
The shower was separated by a glass wall and door. The crack between the door was too large which left the bathroom floor with a big puddle after showering. The rain we experienced a couple times was stronger than the water pressure of the shower. The shower head was small but it drizzled the water out at a very wide angle. By the third day, Apple had taken the shower head off and we finally felt somewhat clean and got a little massage from it.
The toilet also had a phone next to it for when and if you ran out of toilet paper.
Yummy in my Tummy
There is a a buffet open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For lunch there is also a sushi bar by the tranquil pool and a beach buffet outside for burgers. For dinner, there is a Brazilian steakhouse, a Mexican restaurant and an Italian one that you need reservations for. If you don't want to leave your room, room service is from 7 AM - 11 PM. Craving at midnight? Hit the 24hr snack bar downstairs for cakes, drinks or a little something hot like taquitos (this changes daily).
If you are a little more adventurous, there is a market two blocks down for your shopping and food needs. We only take at the upstairs Mexican restaurant on the corner but walked by many restaurants that seemed so good throughout the market.
If you have a view of the ocean then you probably already had a glimpse of the pool. The pool is 4’9" with one side usually more crowded than the other. There is aqua aerobics every day at noon, water volleyball in the afternoon and other activities throughout the resort. Be sure to stop by the Platinum Service desk after you check in to get a quick orientation and booklet of the other activities the resort has to offer and the schedules.
There is a smaller more private pool on the 4th floor and a jacuzzi with a higher, wider view of the town near by. The beach is only a couple steps away from the main pool.
How does a massage on the beach while listening to the waves sound? Amazing is how it sounds! Apple and I spent an hour laying on the massage table, a deep tissue massage for him and a regular for me. We fell asleep twice! He said it was the best massage he's ever gotten, and I would have to agree.
Don't just want to lounge around?
Besides the free rental of kayaks and snorkel gear, you can spend a little extra money for more adrenaline pumping activities such as jet skis and scuba diving. You will first learn to use your scuba gear in the main pool before you are taken out to really test your skills. We did not try the scuba lessons but did enjoy the jet skis. The more people you get to join your group, the better your discount chances will be. Make some new friends and recruit some adrenaline loving folks to join you. We were given a very wide area to take our jet skis and they don't care how fast you went. as long as you stayed within the facility and didn't get too close to each other. We even went back for round two.
Also, take a walk two blocks down to the market if you wait to do a little shopping, whether it's local souvenirs or name brands like Victoria's Secrets or Forever 21.
Couple of Things I Learned on This Trip:
Explore the resort and take pictures as soon as I get settled in. After getting comfortable, it is easy to forget to take pictures for the blog and just immerse myself in relaxing.
Advice please! How do I prevent my camera lens from fogging? Because of the humidity, as soon as I took my camera lens off, the lens fogged up immediately, which is also a big reason I don't have many pictures.
Don't worry about not getting to eat everything. You're there for a week, there is plenty of time to eat everything.
You may think staff members won't notice if you are not from the resort, but they do.. We tried to check out the Royal but were questioned immediately at the door.
Once you being to relax, you will probably forget there are other free things to do at the resort besides the pool. We actually forgot, so we did not get to try many of the other activities we saw in the booklet the first day.
Helpful Things to Bring:
S hooks, wires and clothes pins to hang your wet clothes outside
Small bills for tips
Nail clippers: cut your nails before an excursion, get rid of a hang nail or cut other little things like labels
Stay tuned for the adventurous part of our Mexico trip!
What is your favorite all-inclusive resort that you've been to? Or one that you would like to visit?