by Stephen Jermanok
With its isolated locale on an exquisite stretch of white soft sand, not near any other hotel or signs of civilization, Dreams Tulum is, well, like a dream. It’s a good 90-minute drive from Cancun International Airport, but once you reach this secret slice of paradise, realize that you’re only a five-minute drive from the two best family friendly sites in Riviera Maya, the Mayan ruins of Tulum and the snorkeling theme park of Xel-Ha.
Another highlight is a boat ride through the mangroves of Si’an Ka’an Biosphere, an eco-reserve at the southern tip of the Yucatan that truly is the Mexico of yore, far removed from the high-rise resorts on the strip in Cancun.
There’s a lot to like about this all-inclusive, from the lack of wristbands and towel cards to a good choice of a la carte restaurants where daily reservations are not necessary. Surprisingly, the food at these restaurants is not your typical forgettable all-inclusive fare, but tasty innovative cooking.
The grounds are simple, yet tasteful, with cobblestone paths leading to fountains, gardens, swaying palms, and signs that indicate which local bird or indigenous tree you’re admiring. There’s no need for dramatic recreations of Mayan temples. The serenity befits the sleepy seaside setting of Tulum. All rooms are housed in yellow two- and three-storey haciendas, which gives the resort a historic colonial feel.
To learn more about Dreams Resorts and Spas, please visit Dreams Resorts & Spas.
Our Editor Loves
- Isolated beach locale
- Proximity to Tulum Mayan ruins
- Surprisingly good food
- All Inclusive Rates
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Kids' Pool
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Meal Plan
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Rooms have one king-size or two double beds, a large sitting area with desk and high-speed Internet access, balcony, air conditioning, ceiling fan, iPod dock, flat-screen cable television with HBO, in-room safe, ample closet space, air conditioning, ceiling fan, and mini-fridge with water, sodas, and Coronas. The bathrooms have two sinks, shower, tub, Gilchrist and Soames shampoos and soaps, and hairdryer.
Upgrade to Junior Suites in the Preferred Club section and you'll get a Jacuzzi tub, larger sitting area, your own concierge, and most likely, an ocean view.
Overall, the resort was wonderful! Rooms were very clean and beautiful, service was fantastic. Literally everyone working there would say hello and were very kind. Food was to be expected from all-inclusive and some restaurants were much better than others. The buffet and the grill were great. Room service dining and everything else (we didn't try the fancy restaurants) were okay.
The 1.5 hour bus shuttle from Cancun was rough. Especially after a long day of traveling, having to end with a shuttle that takes a while to get set up was not the best.
Spa services were nice, make sure to fully understand what you pay for and go over each discount/special option available. A lot of times what they offer you up front is not as good as some of the other options, so make sure to verify everything before purchasing. The building and area for that was very clean and relaxing, the services were done very well too! Gym was nice, bridal suite was gorgeous!
Beach was great, lots of activities for adults and families. It was nice to have separate options because it felt like we could enjoy the pool and the beach without a bunch of kids running around everywhere.
by Marco R
Recently visited from Nov 6th- Nov 10th. Dreams Tulum did not disappoint. I was blow away from the moment we stepped foot onto the property. The people behind the counter at check were very polite. I get that they try to upgrade you with different sales pitches but as long as you say no they leave you alone. The rooms were very nice and spacey. The pool areas are well maintained and they have different activities there everyday. Ana is the person you want to see for service cause she is top notch. Ricky and his team do an excellent job with entertainment. The restaurants do seem to have a strict dress code so read about them first before you show up and act surprised when you get turned away. The restaurants can have a bit more of a selection but for what they have it’s ok. Please don’t believe all the negative reviews. Those people must have unreal expectations cause I couldn’t think of anything bad to say about this resort.
The action happens around the large activities pool, where the Dreams Team leads guests in dance lessons, pool volleyball, Spanish instruction, water aerobics and Mexican cooking demonstrations. The young staff seems to persuade even the shyest kid and adult to participate in the fun. A short stroll away is an adults-only relaxation pool with cushiony chaise lounge chairs that will have you napping in no time. Both pools are heated, just in case there is a chill in the air.
Take a stroll on the sand and see views of the rugged Mexican coast, with no neighboring hotels- yet. The water temperature in the ocean is usually warmer than the heated pool and the surf action is good for boogie boarders. Head to the water sports desk to rent kayaks, Hobie Cats and snorkeling equipment.
Also on property is the Explorer's Club, available every day for children ages 3 to 12 years old. Led by the vivacious and young counselors, kids have the opportunity to jump on an ocean trampoline, create art based on Mayan themes, have sand castle competitions, stage plays based on beloved Mexican fairytales, and see movies outside at the beach. An added bonus is the chance to spend one night camping on the beach with counselors. The Explorer's Club is open until 10 p.m., just in case you want to dine at the adults-only French restaurant, Bordeaux. All parents receive a pager if you need to get in touch with counselors, or vice-versa.
Visit the concierge to arrange a tour of the region's number one attraction, the well-preserved Mayan ruins of Tulum. Archaeologists place the beginnings of Tulum between 700 and 1000 A.D., a period when the Mayan civilization had already passed its peak. Don't miss Tulum's tallest building, a fortress overlooking the Caribbean that the Spanish called El Castillo. The staircase to the summit's temple offers good views of the ocean and rewards you with a steep walk down.
Children will have fun at Xel-Ha, a series of shallow calm lagoons where you can teach them to safely snorkel with the neon-colored fish and to view the manatees and dolphins. The concierge can help arrange visits to this area. Unfortunately, this popular park attracts busloads of tourists from Cancun who ironically drive off the same fish they come to see. It's best to arrive here very early or late in the day to avoid the tour groups.
At night, congregate on the beach for movies or head over to the Plaza, in front of the blue Colonial-style church, to see live music, comedy shows, and more.
Even the World Cafe, the resort's buffet, has an attractive look with Mexican tiles, dark hardwood floors, wall arches, and numerous ceiling fans. The large breakfast buffet includes fresh fruit, eggs any style, bacon, yogurt, cereals, French toast, and pastries.
For lunch, we liked walking over to the Seaside Grill, near the activities pool. The open-air restaurant offers waiter service and a good mix of casual Mexican and American fare like burgers, club sandwiches, salads, and fish tacos.
Our favorite restaurant for dinner was El Patio, the resort's Mexican restaurant. Every dish we had from appetizers of shrimp ceviche or seafood soup to entrees of chicken with a mole sauce, or steak wrapped around Oaxacan cheese was tasty and incredibly authentic. We even went back for chicken burritos for lunch, served with creamy guacamole, salsa, and homemade chips.
Another a la carte restaurant is Himitsu, serving pan-Asian fare.
Tthe Italian restaurant, Portofino, is another a la carte restaurant.
A sushi bar is also located on the resort called Goban.
You can also grab coffees, lattes, and snacks at the Starbucks-like CoCo Cafe.
Though the walk from rooms to the restaurants is less than five minutes, families still have the option of 24-hour room service. This comes in handy if you have young children who tire quickly after the sun sets.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Service was wonderful. Our relaxed driver, Roger, was always punctual at the lobby waiting for us, Electronica CD in hand for the drive. Whether you choose a beach or pool chair, there always seems to be a waiter there taking your drink order. At turndown service, the next day's schedule came with sweets. When the concierge realized I liked reading USA Today, there was always one hanging from my door every morning.
In the front of the resort, near the main lobby, is one tennis court and a small fitness center featuring tread mills and free weights.
The Art of Smart Timing
This is not a place where you need to wake up early in the morning and place a towel on your favorite chaise lounge chair for the day. Even in the heart of high season, from Christmas through the end of April, when every room might be occupied, Dreams Tulum never feels congested. Prices, however, are reduced after April 15th until Thanksgiving week. Daytime temps are in the 80s over Christmas Week, significantly warmer than Florida and the Bahamas this time of year, so it might be worth the splurge.
For Mom and Dad
Once the kids are happily involved with the Explorer's Club, you're free to get that couples massage at the Spa, book dinner for two at the adults-only French restaurant, Bordeaux, or simply sneak back to the room for a rare dose of privacy. For those of you who want to keep the party going until the next day, visit Desires Music Lounge and dance the night away.
Arrive to the area via flight to Cancun International Airport. The resort will arrange transportation at booking.