Absolutely beautiful resort. Our suite was awesome and Marisol always made it so welcoming when we would return for the day. Champagne and chocolates greeted us upon arrival and every evening there was a sweet treat surprise with bottled water at bedside.
The whole experience was fantastic, the food, employees and service. The musicians that play at different places around the hotel add a wonderful touch. Kenia Marquez seems to be one with her instrument. The entire group seem to love working together.
Dante was extremely helpful and nice. Every moment at Garza Blanca was luxurious and accommodating. We can’t wait to visit again. If you are looking for luxury this is the place to be. Dante was always friendly and available to assist with anything we needed.
Staff was friendly, room was fantastic! I would recommend and come again. The entire place was beautiful. All food was great tasting and we had some at pool site, room service and restaurant. Very relaxing and safe.
Review Summary: We visited Garza Blanca for 7 nights in early June during what is normally low season. The accomodations were wonderful and service was good, however some obvious organizational issues and inconsistencies in communications have degraded what would otherwise be a good review. I would not recommend this vacation to my friends or family. As seasoned international travelers that are privileged to vacation multiple times a year and have stayed at other Tafer Mexican resorts in the past, our experience was just average. We booked for 13 people all inclusive across three suites, even at low season rates there are other options that are better value for your money. About Our Group: Our party was very diverse; a couple in our early thirties with no kids, a family with two children under ten, a family with three teenagers/young adults and a group three of women their early 60s. With that in mind we likely represented nearly every common demographic Garza Blanca caters to. Our entire group are well seasoned travelers. At least half travel internationally on a regular basis for work or leisure. Some of our party have visited other Mexican resorts in the past including the sister Tafer resort Villa Del Palmar in Cancun, in that instance we did not opt for the all inclusive package however. Our Reservation: For the above mentioned party we reserved three rooms total. Two panoramic suites in building 5 and another one bedroom suite in building 3. All members of our party went for the all inclusive gourmet dining package. Booking and Preparation: Our pre arrival concierge was very good. We were booking for multiple families and funneling questions across those reservations through a consolidated POC. Our questions were addressed thoroughly and in a timely manner. In preparation aside from our previous experience with this company we utilized trip advisor keyword search extensively to learn with other recent visitors had shared; especially for the topics of the all inclusive package, tipping and construction. The Rooms: All rooms were immaculate. Cleaning and turn down service were discreet and efficient. There were unique touches nearly every day including small snacks, flowers, towel arrangements. I don't doubt this is all standard practice but it gave the stay an intimate feel. We were regularly away from our room during the day and I regret not learning the names of the staff who serviced our rooms but I can say their efforts were a highlight for our stay. Construction is ongoing for a new building behind building 5. During the day for the panoramic suite facing the mountain there is noticeable construction noise. One of our party worked during the day periodically from the room and indicated it was persistent during the week. The Food: The resort has multiple sit down restaurants and several pool bars with food. From what I could gather all sit down restaurants open for breakfast had a shared breakfast menu. The pool bars also had a diverse menu with much in common with the room service menu. The food was good/fair. The prices on the menus are in pesos and inflated to decent value american rates. I didn't pay much attention to the prices since we had the all inclusive package but recall a full breakfast for 2 without alcohol coming to about $40 usd which would be about normal in a large American city. Lunch and dinner were about the same. The exception I noticed was the sushi restaurant which had good value if you were paying in USD. The sushi restaurant was the best food by far, followed by the steak restaurant, then Blanca blue. The pool bar food and room service came in last but we're fine. You should not expect any traditional Mexican food at the resort. Many dishes labeled spicy were quite bland. Everything has a gourmet touch to it which is to be expected. Management/Organization: There are obvious silos in the organizational structure for the support staff. On more than one occasion when talking with either the front desk or concierge we were directed to another entity without a warm handoff. This was frustrating especially with questions related to time sensitive matters including covid testing, checkout and transportation. These questions were not complex or frequent but the notion that "this desk doesn't handle that, go talk to person XYZ" certainly did not meet expectations. Covid Related: We traveled when vaccine was easily accessible in the US and becoming more accessible in Mexico. All staff wore masks and greeted you with a hand on their heart in lieu of their covered smile which was a nice touch. Hand sanitizers were available in all buildings, bathrooms and restaurants. Staff were always cleaning surfaces including pool chairs and tables. It seems the hotel is in a transition phase as there seem to be some practices inconsistently enforced and/or there is old knowledge/info throughout the experience. For example only at the steak restaurant when the manager was there were we prompted to apply hand sanitizer upon arrival. The hotel Info channel also included dated info regarding using your phones for menus which no longer applied. These aren't criticisms just indication the some things are fluid like the rest of the world. The covid testing is an area where there needs to be better communication or improved coaching to help with consistency. In this area specifically there was a big disconnect between administration of the test and front desks ability to provide assistance. Our party was well prepared on the procedure with our airline and the US to return home but the front desks ability to provide consistent guidance or assistance for the on site test was severely lacking. At check in some of our party was told they had to schedule their tests right away despite not knowing our schedules yet. We were told these couldn't be changed later which for a large group caused some heartache. Other members of our group were not briefed on this topic and had to take time out of our vacation to get them scheduled. Another important piece of info which was completely not conveyed to two of our groups on check in was how the cost of the test would translate to a room credit. I believe this was because we had the all inclusive package but am still not sure. The rapid test was ~ $20 per person which is quite inexpensive, however we later found out this was available to us as a credit. Only after checkout did we realize that the majority of the group wasn't aware of this which resulted in some last min shopping at the convenience store. I rarely advocate for more paper information but for this topic it would have been very helpful, especially since front desk and the concierge appeared to havevery little info on any of this. The Service: With a few exceptions the service was very good, see management/organization above. Staff were always helpful and courteous. A point of confusion for our all inclusive reservation was around tipping. The all inclusive package materials on the Garza Blanca site and numerous confirmations on trip advisor indicated taxes and gratuities are included in the all inclusive gourmet package. This was actually a selling point for us on the package because it gave some assurance that the people helping us at the hotel would be well taken care of. We recognize that post pandemic, low season, and in general the low minimum wage in Mexico likely result in difficult working conditions for good hard working people at the resort. In fact when staying at other resorts it has been a point of anxiety making sure to tip everyone at all interactions. So with that in mind we went for all inclusive under the impression that the premium cost of our stay would not only result in less anxiety to make sure we were showing our appreciation at all time, but also more convenience and less touch/receipt/signature points at meals and the pool. The Garza Blanca materials do indicate that tips are welcome for exceptional service however in practice it is obvious that tips are expected at all interactions regardless of their caliber. This leads me to believe that the staff receive little if any benefit from the included gratuities. Furthermore we were surprised to get a bill to sign at every meals despite the all inclusive package. This touch point for all inclusive is something I had not seen before which cheapens the experience. The first couple nights we had dinner and we received some over the top service with spectacular theatrics for some desserts for which we tipped as we felt they were truly exceptional and warranted gratuity beyond what was already accounted for in our package. On the first or second full day of our trip part of our group spent a few hours at the pool. We ordered drinks and a couple plates of food then we're on our way. With the previous evenings over the top theatrics and with the piece of mind that our all inclusive package included gratuities already I didn't think twice about signing the receipt with no tip as our interaction with the server all seemed very transactional. In my head that was to be the norm however our server (whose name I am intentionally excluding here) came back to where we were sitting and confronted me in front of my family asking if I was planning on tipping later. I was very taken back by this and seeing my reaction any possibly thinking better of it the person tried to laugh it off. This was very embarrassing for me in front of my family and I felt ashamed for not tipping despite all materials and assurances from Garza Blanca that our package already included gratuities. I found this person later and gave them cash without much explanation. I also sent my whole family a note about how they should proceed regarding tips. From there on out we tipped at all interactions despite the hotel indicating we had already paid for this. From a cost perspective it was of no consequence. The hotel staff are all very hard working people doing long shifts for what is likely low pay. They deserve the gratuity, my issue is with how the hotel very clearly articulated that gratuities are included already when it's clear that is not the case in practice - or at least not in a meaningful way for the people who work at the hotel. In general this put a cloud over the rest of the trip. Tip tips tipping gratuities Mobility: There is a shuttle that runs about every 10 minutes from the mail building up to the upper buildings on the hill. The bell hops were efficient and helpful with getting taxis/vans for our group. You'll pay a premium most likely but it will save you the headache and you'll know the cost in advance which is great piece of mind when traveling with kids. The walk from the lobby up to mousai is substantial. It takes about 10 mins but is the equivalent of 6+ stories of stairs. Uber can't pick you up or drop off at the hotel as a mater of security. You can walk out to the bus stop and get the Uber there but taxis were efficient for us with the bell hop. The Gym: Well appointed gym with unbelievable views. For Peloton travelers the bikes will disappoint. They are the sitting style with your legs in front of you. I'd recommend they upgrade to nicer resistance bikes. The treadmills are nice and will meet the basic needs for any peloton tread users. The rest of the gym has a full weight set, including bench and guided squat rack. There is a small assortment of machines. The gym only had a couple people in it at 7am. It was pretty busy around 9am but not bad. The Beach: The beach has the appearance of white and sandy. Once in the water for about 15 feet it is very rocky. There is a rock formation creating a bay which is very nice. We utilized the kayaks and paddle boards a couple times. There are many vendors on the beach, this is expected as in Mexico the beaches are public. The merchants aren't too intrusive and the hotel has ropes which they respect. Spa: Three of our party used the spa. They did a massage facial combo which was about $200 a person. These prices are very high for Mexico. The facilities are nice and the service was good. Weather: We went at the beginning of rainy season knowing it was possible we would get rain during out stay. We got lucky and had 7 days of beautiful sunshine. Do your research and weight the low season rate against the risk for bad weather. The Activities: We did the advanced hike, yoga, stretching and kayaking experience. Bring cash for tips here as there is no formal charge for you to write anything on a receipt. The advanced hike is pretty true to name, I don't recommend kids go on it. Lots of steep incline with ropes to scramble up the mountain. Bring a swimsuit as there is a watering hole at the end. Tito was an excellent guide on the hike. One of my party slipped and scraped their hand he was amazing with helping her and going above and beyond to make sure she was okay. We also did the Zipline experience and dolphin experience. Transportation isn't included to these activities as they are facilities entirely by a third party. Garza Blanca acts as a middle person for the sale. The Zipline is a long half day but well worth it, skip the water slide at the end especially for the little ones. We also visited the botanical gardens which were absolutely breathtaking. The hotel helped with transportation but otherwise we're not involved in that experience.…