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My boyfriend and I were at this beautiful resort January 19-26th 2002.
The resort is huge, they have little golf cart type vehicles that are constantly driving around the resort on different routes - it's great! I didn't think I'd use them, but on those hot afternoons when all you want to do is get back to your room and have a nap, they're wonderful!! They have several a la carte restaurants to choose from, you get three reservations at a la carte restaurants per week.
Before I go any further I should tell you, they have a sister resort beside the Tulum called the Bahia Principe Akumal, I'll tell you a little about that further on. Anyways, you can choose the a la carte restaurants from either of the resorts. I recommend Mama Mia's (Italian) at the Tulum and the seafood restaurant (Casa del Mar - I think) at the Akumal. The buffets are good (one principal buffet for each hotel), the Tulum has a larger selection of food. One important note for non-smokers: smoking is allowed in the a la carte restaurants so make sure you tell them that you want non-smoking when you're making yoiur reservations with guest services. We didn't know that and ended up sitting beside a table of chain smoking Europeans at the Tequila (Mexican) restaurant - yuck!! We asked the maitre de to move us and it was a bit of an ordeal, but he did.
There are three pools at the Tulum the south one - on the smaller side, seemed to always be busy and have children around. The middle one, the largest and most crowded - perfect for those who want a "party" atmosphere - this is where the pool bar and activities are; and the north pool - quiet has its own bar and very near to the beach - this is my favorite by far.
The beaches at the north end of the resort are sandy but there is coral everywhere in the water. The north beach is beautiful to walk on, but I wouldn't recommend swimming there unless the water was very calm. The main beach was nice, sandy, and full of people. Topless sunbathing is allowed anywhere at the resort. The staff are friendly, my only complaint would be that sometimes at the buffet restaurants they get overwhelmed with all the people coming and going and they may take a long whlle to set or clean your table.
The area of the resort we stayed at was called the Club Hacienda it is like an exclusive area at the North end of the resort. With that we had an amazing room overlooking the north pool and the beach (Villa 40), it was amazing and well worth the extra $. Also, staying the the Club Hacienda guests get the Tequila restaurant for a la carte breakfast and lunch - no one else at the resort has access to that restaurant for those meals. In the afternoons (or anytime during the day) they have an area on the south side of the Teequila restaurant with Hammocks, it's wonderful to relax in one during the afternoon, if you're there about three you probably won't have a problem getting one but there is only about 10 of them. Also, they take them down at about 6 pm.
We did a day trip to Xel-ha (pronounced Shell ha), a good Back to the hotel, they have an area outside of the resort called Hacienda something, our drinks were included there after 7 pm, but some other peoples' weren't so check with the hotel. The Hacienda is a traditional Mexican market type thing, they have several shops with everything in them, car rental, goods, clothes, a sports bar, disco, etc. We headed out there one night and had a few drinks and listened to the live music, it was nice. It's only about a 5 minute walk from the lobby, also they have the golf cart shuttles to take you there. The resort grounds are immaculate, very beautiful and lush. There are iguanas all over the place - very cute!!
A week was not long enough, I'd never been to this area of Mexico before and will definetely go again - there is so much to see and I could have spent another week lying by the pool! If you have more questions feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org!
Thanks to Charly for this trip report ...