My friend and I recently stayed here in mid-May '17.
DO NOT put your personal items on lounge chairs near the pool or on the beach to reserve them. The lifeguard walks around collecting items up until approx 9:30AM! We were shocked on our first full day here because we thought our from-home beach towel and flip flops were stolen by a fellow hotel guest, but found out about this stupid "no reserving" policy and retrieved our items from the Lost & Found in the lobby. It took them FIVE DAYS to find my towel. So save yourself the trouble and don't reserve the loungers.
If you want both friendliness and drinks at the bar quickly, tip the swim-up or poolside bartenders like $20 on your first day. I've been told that bartenders will ignore someone who has been sitting there for 10 minutes (like me) to service someone who JUST came over for a refill, because he/she tipped said bartender previously. I heard this and ignored it, thinking, "It's all-inclusive. I'm sure that's not true". Wrong. After being semi-ignored for half the trip, I tipped the bartender $20. He beamed at me and asked how I was doing every single time he saw me after that. I was super annoyed that the only reason I got this treatment was because of my tip, but was also glad to have my drinks made quickly! I'll be sure to give a $20 in the beginning of the trip next time.
Purchase and bring insulated covered cups with straws with you for the pool. We bought Bubba cups and loved every second of it. You never have to worry about a drink getting warm or spilling in the pool, and you always get a huge portion of whatever you order!
I saw someone walking around with a coconut one morning. It turns out that every morning at 11AM they give out either a coconut (filled with Pina Colada) or a pineapple (filled with Miami Vice) to those who know the secret! If you're walking toward the ocean, it's on the beach to the right. There are only about 15, so get there at 10:55AM to be first in line!
The resort offers flat, blue, body-length floats, which is great, but we were SUPER jealous of the people who brought their own sit-up blow-up floats. Next time we're going to purchase those and bring a small air pump to fill them.
The mini bar is free and gets replenished every night. So every day you should take the chips and candy, and put them in your suitcase. By the end of the trip you'll have so many snacks for the plane ride back!
I'd say use 30 spf if you don't want to burn. We went mid-May, and it was 86° every day. We re-applied our sunscreen 3x day...and still slightly burned! Be careful.
Don't drink the tap water. Brush your teeth with bottled water. No needs for excruciating stomach pains on your vacation! The ice and dinner water is fine, because it's filtered.
Barcelona (buffet): We ate breakfast here two or three times and lunch here on our first day. It was good but not amazing. Omelette station, bacon, hash browns, oatmeal, juices, coffee -- your standard stuff. Toast is in the adjoining room -- put it through the toaster twice.
The Lobster House (alla cart): We found out from another couple that we could go to the Lobster House for breakfast and get most of the same food as the buffet without having to continuously get up and scour for our food lol. It was beautiful! It overlooks the pool and the beach. My friend got huevos rancheros and I got a ham and cheese omelette with a side of bacon. Both were good (again, not amazing). Also: side of bacon is only two small pieces so make sure you ask for more when ordering if you like bacon!
Aroma Cafè (located in lobby): Amazing American coffee. When I asked for iced coffee at breakfast, our waiter directed me here. I got an Iced Caramel Frappucino with whipped cream every day. Felt like I was at Starbucks! They also have pastries and muffins here for all you light breakfasters.
We went to Barcelona once, a "taco festival" at Los Amos once (there were only a handful of choices), and ate by the pool the rest of the days. You can get brick-oven pizza by the pool bar (not great but edible) and order Mexican snacks from a poolside waiter. We got the chicken & cheese quesadillas (best effing quesadilla I have EVER had) and nachos with guac (amazing). No one tells you that you can do this, but we heard others ordering and followed suit. I gave the waiter a $5 tip when ordering.
Bazmati (Indian): So delicious that we decided to skip The Grill and eat here twice. Order the simosas, garlic cheesy nan bread (I cried of joy), Chicken Tikka Masala and jasmine rice. Trust me.
Agave (Mexican): Same delicious guacamole as always comes out when you sit down. Order the oaxaca cheese appetizer. Honestly, order two. Amazing. The sautéed mushrooms were good too. For an entree I ordered the sampler (steak, chicken, pork chop and chorizo) and only liked the steak. My friend got the steak and loved it too. That's probably your best bet.
Spice (Asian): Good, not amazing. We got a shrimp roll that had tempura breading around it (pretty cool but not the best), coconut soup (egh) and beef salad (not good), Chicken Pad Thai, and some kind of thick noodles in a sweet sauce. Wasn't crazy about anything. Fried bananas for dessert was the best thing I had here. *If you have a big group you can do hibachi, which sounded like a ton of fun. I think you have to sign up for that around 5:30PM and wait there until the rest of your party arrives, which was too much of a bummer for us lol.
*We didn't get to try The Grill (steakhouse), The Lobster House (seafood) for dinner, Tuscany (Italian) or the buffet for dinner (if they even had it). Next time we'll be sure to try those, too.
Honestly, I'd skip having dinner on the "party" nights. We went to a White Party (bring a white outfit!) and a Mexican Night party -- both held in the main square outside the lobby. Both were really festive and had good food (esp the grilled chicken), but we ended up regretting having dinner at them because the restaurants were much better quality. Next time we go we'll just go there for a couple of drinks and some guac.