The Sian Ka’an at Grand Tulum.
Tropical beach? Check. Turquoise waters? Check. In fact, add in any other cliches you want to evoke an image of a gorgeous hotel on the shores of the Caribbean sea! The Sian Ka’an at Grand Tulum was for me a great hotel that delivered a few surprises. One being my room was decorated for my birthday! Except it wasn’t my birthday…
This review is a completely impartial and independent one. I was not paid to do it in any way and the staff had no idea they were being reviewed. This is a hotel I stayed in and used my own money for. I was just another customer to them and was treated without special favour – exactly how anybody would.
How To Get There
We booked this with British Airways Holidays, prices can be found by following the link if you want flights as well. It was a codeshare with American Airlines, so we flew AA planes three legs out of the 4, 2 out, 1 back, stopping in Dallas Fort Worth. Our last flight Dallas to Heathrow was on B.A. There are direct flights available but we found the Dallas ones to be cheaper – due to the inconvenience of the Dallas stop for 2 hours. Also, if you choose this route you’ll need an ESTA, even just for transiting through the U.S.
The Hotel and Check-In
The Sian Ka’an at Grand Tulum is adults only – yep, no kids. It is part of the Grand Oasis Tulum which is family friendly but the two are kept apart very nicely. After finding our transfer at the airport, which was a minibus with Air Con, the journey took to the hotel took about 1½ hours. We arrived at the hotel’s impressive front entrance and were greeted by the staff and checked in. The process took about 10 minutes to go through all the paperwork but happily, we were bought a drink while we completed this. And it’s a nice touch, and who doesn’t want a drink after all that travelling?
As you would expect from any 5-star hotel, there were big fluffy towels, robes, slippers and toiletries in the bathroom area. The shower had 2 different options, a wall mounted head and a giant ceiling mounted spray head. Also, there were his and hers sinks. Plenty of storage was to be had, as well as a safe, though at no point during our stay did we feel the need to use it.
There were plenty of sockets in the room (North American sockets of course) and the ones by the bed had built-in USB sockets. The bed (or shall I say beds) was enormous, with about four different types of pillow, the hotel calls a ‘pillow menu’!
Our room had a roof terrace which overlooked the sea. As can be seen below, it has a jacuzzi, plunge pool, Bali bed and loungers.
Ok, we came back to the room to find this! It wasn’t my birthday! Mine was the month before! We called reception and checked, just to make sure all of the above was in the right room! Apparently, it was. I think it was a mistake but they covered it well! Anyway, as well as ballons and decorations, there was free cake and fizz too! Thanks!
The inside of The Sian Ka’an at Grand Tulum has a marble floor finish which, aesthetically, worked for me. in the lobby bar there was a piano with a pianist every night we visited it. Being the aforementioned marble, there was no sound deadening. And, it could sometimes be a little loud for my taste but I think I was in a minority with that thought!
There are Spa services available here but I didn’t try any of them while at the hotel as I was close to comatose already as I was so relaxed.
Hotel Grounds, Pool and Beach
Without a doubt, it is relaxing at The Sian Ka’an at Grand Tulum. The sound of the tropical birds and the smell of the sea all add to it. I lay on one of the loungers looking out over the infinity pool, I felt very happy with my lot. The sound of the waves tickling the slightly pinkish sand on the beach and the warm breeze did make me forget about all my cares.
The pools here a good too, with an infinity pool overlooking the beach and more pool area set back a bit in amongst the hotel itself. With fountains in them and relaxing chairs in the pool, it was a good place to cool off.
There are a couple of bars scattered about the pool area, although one of them was under renovation when I was there. However, a chap came round regularly bringing drinks orders. I can recommend the strawberry daiquiri! Standard cocktails are made from local spirits but premium spirits are on offer.
I was unsure of the pricing here, one time I was charged for premium vodka, the other time I wasn’t. However, when in a cocktail it’s hard for me to taste the difference. After all, that’s why cocktails were invented in the 1920’s – to hide the taste of the bathtub gin!
The beach is protected by the Belize Barrier Reef which is now, unfortunately, as of 2019, the worlds biggest reef due to coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Having the reef just offshore means the waves a gentle here, not like the big waves you get nearer Cancun in the north. With the Sian Kaan facing the east, it makes for great sunrises.
Also, there is a bit of snorkelling to be had on the beach. Mask and snorkel are available at no charge from the hut on the beach. However, we took our own. It’s not the greatest snorkelling I’ve ever done, but it was still fun to have Mexico’s fish within arms reach. Including a very large Stingray which scared the whatsit out of me! I surprised him and he surprised me!
Food and Drink
At the Sian Ka’an, you have access to all the restaurants on both sites. The Sian Ka’an at Grand Tulum and the Oasis Grand Tulum itself. We spent our time here trying all the restaurants. However, for my thoughts, try Careyes and Cocoa restaurants first. These are on the Sian Kaan adults only side. We tried several on the Grand Tulum side and in one, the pizza was terrible and in the Mexican Restaurant the food was not that Mexican. If you want authentic Mexican and, of course, you do, head into Tulum for lunch. Try the Don Cafeto, It’s authentic Mexican for locals.
It’s a completely different story on Sian Ka’an side. The restaurants were good and in fact, I’d say the Careyes restaurant was very good! The picture above is of a Lamb dish I had. Cooked to my liking with just the right seasoning it was paired with a creamy risotto. The Careyes is billed as ‘Gourmet French Mexican’. The White Box is also worth a try, with its Mediterranean Gastropub food.
The Cocoa restaurant is also open for breakfast, meaning you don’t have to have the Breakfast buffet with everyone else. It’s pretty much the same food, just sans children.
If you want to get out and about, The Sian Ka’an at Grand Oasis Tulum has smart cars available for rent for just $8US a day, just to cover the insurance. Also, it seemed like bikes were on offer but I can’t confirm the arrangements if any as I wasn’t going to cycle in that heat! However, for our trips out, we took a taxi. We told negotiated a price with our driver, called Santiago, after telling him what we wanted to do. This way worked for us. It gave us privacy and cost a lot less than the organised tours that were available! On one day he took us to two cenotes, Car Wash and Gran Cenote.
The other day we specifically asked for him and he took us to the ruins at Coba and The Choo-Ha Cenote (Above). I’m happy to recommend these places. The details are below. We also tried a Collectivo with the locals. It’s a sort of hop on, hop off the minibus. Pay in Mexican $ and agree on the price first. After flagging it down tell them where you want to go and ask how much. Then you’re away!
- Tulum Ruins
- Car Wash Cenote
- Gran Cenote
- Choo-Ha Cenote
If you don’t know what a Cenote is, they are sort of Limestone sinkholes that you can swim in. This is the Yucatan’s water source for the most part as there are no above-ground rivers here!
Conclusions – The Sian Ka’an at Grand Tulum
Of course, just like any other big hotel, The Sian Ka’an at Grand Tulum has a gift shop. It’s either a great place to buy a souvenir or to pick up some tat – depending on your point of view!
However, there are a few minor niggling issues I came up against whilst staying here. I’ve never been to a place that’s absolutely perfect. Possibly the Langham in Melbourne was the closest I’ve got to that. At the Sian Kaan, the minibar was forgotten twice, and I had to phone and get it restocked. It was what held the bottled water so it was an inconvenience. But also very much a first world problem!
Also, our keycards stopped working halfway through the stay. We were told it was a security feature! Although the Butler service is offered, we only saw or spoke to our butler once a day.
The Bali beds were one of my favourite things here. There were many scattered about around the pool and on the beach itself. Just laying on them and listening to the waves was bliss. Equipped with shade on the top and gauze curtains around them, they kept enough of the sun off but still allowed you to see the Caribbean.
I’ll mention it again just for clarity, this is a review of the Sian Kaan at Grand Tulum, not the hotel next to it which is the Oasis Grand Tulum – just The Sian Kaan. The two are different entities and two very different feels. Sian Kaan guests have access to all areas but Grand Tulum guests only have access to their own bits. This ensures that you can relax in a child-free atmosphere.
Location and Website
The Hotels website is here. You can check out this property on Booking.com.
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