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Check in was nice and straightforward. We were the only ones checking in as we had a private transfer rather than the coach, so this may have helped.
We were taken to the room in block 5 (5/6) in one of the carts which are very handy.
The room was more than adequate for what we required. 2 double beds with plenty room still available. The TV works but if your language is English then you need to change it in the settings menu, a must for films. The mini bar is underneath the TV in the same cabinet. Leave the door of the cabinet OPEN to the mini bar, this actually helps the fridge stay colder! True. Different fizzy juices, couple of beers in there. All available to use. Replenished each day. I initially had a problem after asking for only Pepsi light, took a couple of days but we got there.
The room was cleaned every day. We were aware that small bottles of shower gel, shampoo are supplied every day when required so never took our own which saved a wee bit weight in the case. Leave a note for the maid of you require more.
The place is massive. We were actually closer to the breakfast buffet at White Sands than in the Colonial so we went there a few days. If you are able to, go earlier rather than later as it gets busy. On a smaller scale, slightly more laid back than La Hacienda & Tikal (Kantenah). The food was always well presented and we found it to be absolutely fine each day. There is a huge selection of things as well, you will definitely not be stuck for choice.
We ate in the buffet parts some nights as well. The restaurants we tried were all really nice but sometimes the buffets were all that was required. There is also a bigger choice, as the restaurants have their own menus and that's it. The buffets have a much wider range of things available.
The restaurants we did go to were all good. El Dorado is the steak place which was excellent. A nice touch was asking us to check the steak if it was done to our liking before starting, my t-bone was a bit red for my liking but came back perfect.
Try the restaurants for yourself, some didn't appeal to us.
Due to being absolutely shattered on our 2nd night and another when I wasn't feeling too good, we got the room service. This has its own menu and is absolutely brilliant. Quick phone call, they say may take up to 45 mins but we had ours within 30 both times.
The bars...I don't think you can walk 100 metres without reaching one. They are all very good and have a huge choice of drinks. Beers not so much but they are fine.
Sports bar...nice and air conditioned. The food in here is first class as well, always excellent.
Hemingway's...was a bit of a disappointment actually. I had read somewhere that they had a selection of games etc. Well they haven't. The decks of cards they have are really disappointing as well, at least 1 deck had cards missing. The card tables were absolutely filthy as well. Kids can't be blamed for this either as it's adults only. There was supposed to be someone tinkling away on the piano as well...that didn't happen either. So, all in all a bit disappointed.
Last Ola's...beach bar of Colonial, was always busy. This and the sports bar are 24hr. During the day they have their own menu as well which is really nice as well. There is usually live music too.
The swim up bars...Colonial one is bigger than the White Sands version. These get pretty busy from 10am onwards. The bartender's work very hard everywhere but especially here I thought. The bars above them (you'll see what I mean) in la Laguna and la gran Azul, were much quieter, in the shade as well. These were excellent to just sit and relax and watch it all happening around you.
The waitresses that worked at both main pools were absolutely brilliant as well. They never stopped getting drinks for everyone around the pools and were always happy to be of service.
The entertainment at nighttime was good as well. Usually live music in the Colonial lobby followed by the kids show in the theatre then the main show which was then followed by something on the plaza (just next to the theatre). One thing which did surprise me was that the shows repeat themselves every week. With this size of place and size of budget and resources they must have I'd have thought there would have been at least a fortnightly programme, but no, only weekly which is a shame really. The shows that are on though are all very good and very well presented.
Check out...well organised. We got a call from the bellboys asking what time wed like them to come and collect us the night before leaving.
Oh, the beach...this was a nice beach, certainly long enough. The only thing about the beach was the beds. They are an absolute nightmare. The design of them is terrible. The fabric is one piece, so when you sit on it, the head part of the bed rises up. And the fabric eventually has stretched so you lay within the hard plastic frame which isn't good. Shame, because if these had been the same kind of beds as the pools have it would have been far more comfortable, they put me off going to the beach unfortunately.
Overall this was an excellent holiday in an excellent hotel. It is all very well organised from check in to check out.
This has been a quick review but it really is brilliant. You'll love it. This was our first time and the place is so overwhelming for the first few days.
I've probably forgot something so if anyone has any questions ease feel free to ask...