Dreams Huatulco Resort & Spa
Location: Twenty minutes driving time from Huatulco International Airport
Commission: 10-15 percent
Rates: Nightly room rates per person, based on double occupancy through Dec. 23 are as follows: $118-$140 for a Deluxe Tropical View room; $135-$161 for a Deluxe Ocean View room; $141-$168 for a Preferred Club Deluxe Tropical View room with Jacuzzi; $153-$182 for a Preferred Club Deluxe Ocean View room; and $235-$279 for a Preferred Club Junior Suite Ocean Front room with Jacuzzi.
Welcome home," the bell captain said, as he presented me with a refreshing, herbal-scented towel on a particularly warm afternoon. Despite his greeting, I was certain my weekend at the new Dreams Huatulco Resort & Spa would be light years beyond one at home.
The shimmering pool and Jacuzzi at Dreams Huatulco provide exquisite ocean views.
As AMResorts’ debut in Mexico’s Oaxaca state, this 421-room oceanfront resort is centered on upscale Huatulco’s Tangolunda Bay — the largest in a nine-bay strand known for its golden beaches and sapphire-blue Pacific waters.
Opening as Royal Maeva Hotel in 1986, the property became Gala Resort a few years later. In March 2008, AMResorts took over Gala’s 293-room inventory and shuttered it during a nine-month floor-to-ceiling transformation. The company capped those enhancements by opening a fourth building with 128 Jacuzzi-rooms in January.
Entering the lobby with its busy Rendezvous Bar, I was cooled down quickly by the light, airy design. Cream-colored walls are accented by dark furnishings and contrasting art in dramatic shades of red and orange.
While aesthetically pleasing, it falls flat in reflecting the spirited colors that define Mexico. But as my visit unfolded, I learned the deviation was Dreams’ intent. That same subtlety prevails throughout other Huatulco properties as well.
Check-in was a dream in itself — low-key, quick and personal. Fortunate enough to enjoy Preferred Club concierge check-in, I noticed the easy flow among other guests handling their check-in process while seated at a trio of desks.
Preferred Club membership is ideal for those seeking ultra convenience. The highlight of this
status is its exclusive, air-conditioned lounge, a more intimate venue where guests can escape for a continental breakfast, afternoon hors d’oeuvers, desserts and fine liquors — all with a pleasant view of Tangolunda Bay.
In my Preferred Club suite, special touches included upgraded minibar service, finer toiletries and complimentary Internet access. It was a nice option, although somewhat unnecessary considering Dreams’ amplified Unlimited-Luxury approach to the all-inclusive and the many activities from which to choose.
Carrying the same general color scheme as the common areas, Dreams Huatulco’s non-suite rooms are furnished with a king or pair of double beds, a 26-inch LCD satellite television, a DVD player, a minibar that’s refreshed daily, an alarm clock with a MP3 player docking station, a coffee maker and a double vanity bathroom with a rainfall showerhead.
As with all accommodations in the new building, my terrace sported a Jacuzzi to compensate for the modest view. The downside, however, was a lack of privacy due to the fact that the building is L-shaped. While I didn’t spend much time in my room during the day, I appreciated that its more secluded setting made for quieter nights.
Thanks to AMResorts’ signature Unlimited-Luxury concept, the property delivers 24-hour room and concierge services and unlimited, reservation-free dining at a choice of five specialty-themed gourmet restaurants and an international buffet.
The only thing missing was the wristband.
With Unlimited Luxury, I was tempted to eat sashimi every evening at Himitsu. But Portofino’s antipasti bar and Oceana’s seafood delicacies lured me away to graze. Regardless of where I dined, the cuisine was extremely palatable.
Even the international breakfast buffet at World Cafe was a treat. I overheard a guest remark that her omelet was the best she’d ever had. That speaks volumes for the caliber of cuisine.
Dreams rounds out its options with theme nights, entertainment, pool and beachside wait service, complimentary non-motorized sports, the Explorer’s Kids Club and a fitness center. My favorite touches were the refreshment carts cruising throughout the grounds, serving beverages, ice cream, fruit, chips and guacamole.
Even with 85 percent occupancy during my stay, I still found quiet retreats tucked within the resort. The 10-cabana spa was the most pleasant, although it’s a bit busier in its "collective" relaxation area.
According to Roldolfo Muñoz, spa manager, Dreams’ intent is for couples to share their entire spa experience. While that’s fine for couples, it may prove disappointing for individuals preferring their pre-treatment hydrotherapy circuit au naturel.
Throughout my stay, I found Dreams Unlimited Luxury consistently delivered at the higher level of all-inclusive luxury that it promised. Facilities were fresh and thoughtfully designed, service was on target and cuisine was a cut above.