Desire Pearl trip report: July 2017
My husband and I had a great week at DP. Just about everything was wonderful and we enjoyed every minute of our stay.
A little background: we have been married for 25 years. We have kids ranging from middle school to post-college. We live one of the most vanilla lifestyles out there. For 20 years, we busted our butts and worked, raised our kids and never went anywhere. On our 20th anniversary, we dared to have a little fun for ourselves and went on our 1st real vacation ever. We loved it so much, we decided to make it a yearly (semi-yearly) thing. Once we found Cancun, we knew we had found exactly what we needed, especially when we discovered Temptation. It was like a puzzle piece that had been missing all along. We loved the fun, flirty, seductive vibe of the resort. Even though we are not swingers and still very vanilla, Temptation resort brought out a fun, frisky side to us.
We’ve been to Temptation 5 times and to Desire Riviera Maya twice prior to this trip. I had tried to book DRM for this week, but it was sold out. Just as we had been nervous before our 1st trips to TTR and DRM, we were nervous about Desire Pearl.
Needless to say, all fears dissipated once we got there. The resort is beautiful, elegant, clean, luxurious. The staff is top-notch: everyone makes you feel welcome and comfortable. The guests are so friendly. The food is great. The entertainment is lively.
Not sure where to start with details, so i’ll start with check in. The lobby at DP is much larger than the one at DRM. The process was smooth and effortless. I think we were checked in by Emmanuel and then Many (not “Manny”, but “Many”) We had arrived early in the morning, so the room wasn’t ready. We were prepared for this and had set aside swimsuits, flip flops and sunscreen so we could grab and change. Our bags were held by the bellboys until our room was ready. We had lunch and enjoyed the pool activities until about 3pm. One of the workers came to the pool area to find us to tell us our room was ready.
Just outside the lobby (sliding doors are not automatic):
First of all, I am a budget-conscious person: i typically try to get a cheaper room. Imagine my surprise when the resort gave us the most beautiful, spacious room we had ever had. (I kept telling my husband, “I’m sure they made a mistake; NO WAY did they mean to give us THIS room!”) It was so huge, so spacious! It had TWO bathrooms, for starters. Each with its own shower and separate bathtub. The room also had a huge living room, TWO couches, two sitting areas inside, TWO patios (with sitting areas and beds), a mini-fridge/sink area with so many cabinets, TWO TVs and a king size bed. The only things “missing” were a jacuzzi and plunge pool, but to be honest, I wouldn’t have cared for those anyway. The room was absolutely gorgeous and every time I entered it, I said out loud, “I love this room!”
Our lovely room:
Pool activities were so fun! The members of the entertainment staff: They would work from day to late evening, so you’d see them doing fun pool stuff and then later at the lobby and disco. There was a posted schedule of activities for each day and night. (You will also get a printed schedule of the whole week at check-in) Some of the daytime pool activities included yoga, pool aerobics, pool volleyball, water polo, water basketball, tequila tastings, cocktail tastings, couples contests and dance lessons.
Each night, the party would begin in the lobby around 9pm. There was almost always a live band. Guests gathered, got drinks at the bar; some danced in the open area during the music. The disco opened at 10:30pm and that’s when the party would kick in. Each night, there’d be a live show, or a fun competition involving guests and then dancing on the disco floor.
Desire Pearl has only 3 restaurants: Aphrodite, Pearl and Unik. We spent most of our time at Aphrodite: this is where the buffet is for breakfast and lunch. For dinner, they have a menu that changes each night; there is no dinner buffet. Dress is casual and reservations are not needed at Aphrodite. The food we had there was excellent, for all three meals. My favorite night was Saturday for Brazilian night. This is where they bring grilled meats out on skewers and slice off portions for you at your table.
Dining at Pearl for dinner was more upscale: the dress code was elegant and men needed to wear long pants and shoes. We only dined there once and the food was very nice. Pearl also does not require reservations.
Unik is the only restaurant that needed reservations. (We made our reservations in the morning when we were having breakfast; just asked the hostess to add us to the list - no lines to wait on or no number to call.) The dress code is elegant there as well. It is a very upscale atmosphere. Chandeliers, candles, soft music. The kitchen, interestingly, was located outside the restaurant. The servers were constantly in and out. What made it funny, was that the doors were sliding doors, but not automatic sliding doors. So the servers were constantly sliding open the door, exiting, sliding the door closed, getting the food, sliding the door open again to enter. Desire Pearl should really invest in automatic sliding doors or make the doors non-sliding. The slide-open, slide-close, slide-open, slide-close process for the staff is ridiculous.
The food at Unik was OK - not the best meal we had at DP. My husband ordered the lamb osso bucco, but we were told they didn’t have it that night. So he ended up with salmon, as he didn’t like the other choices on the menu. I ordered the burger combo, which was a regular burger and a chicken burger. No idea these would be 2 full-size burgers! I was expecting half-portions of each or mini-burgers. I couldn’t finish them (I cannot eat 2 full burgers at one sitting!)
Some of our meals:
2 full size burgers at Unik:
The beach was nice, but it seemed a little small. The waters were calm the entire week we were there. On some days, the seaweed was much heavier than others. On our last full day, the seaweed was light and the waters were so clear. We did not see a single vendor on the beach. Beach traffic from non-guests is very low, but it does happen. I did see kids on separate occasions walk past our beach when there were naked DP guests present. There is drink service at the beach. It was not hard to find beach chairs on any days.
Light seaweed (and clearer waters):
There is one pool, but it is pretty long. In fact, we did not even walk the length of the pool; we just stayed on the “busier” end, where the bar is. There are no elevated portions like there was at Temptation, so you can’t lie in the pool unless you use a floatie. There are plenty of pool chairs; we never had trouble finding any at any time of day. And even if so, Victor the towel guy does an excellent job finding you a spot for you (at the pool or beach)
The jacuzzi is huge! Much larger than the one at DRM. It is at ground level, not rooftop like at DRM. There is a bar in the jacuzzi. There are also palapa beds, plenty of towels and storage cubbies and 2 outdoor showers. There are no bathrooms; you’d have to walk a few yards to the ones by the main pool. The jacuzzi has elevated portions, so your partner can sit comfortably in the hot tub while you sit behind, elevated, with your knees at their shoulders. The jacuzzi opens in the afternoon and closes at 3am. (The bartender there, David, is such a nice guy too)
The disco is where everyone heads to at 10:30pm each night. Each night, there is either a performance or a guest contest. There is a bar and a dance floor. The bathrooms are just outside the disco, where another bar is. There is a playroom (aka “Sin room”) It has one long curved couch and maybe a sex swing in the center of the room. (Only took a brief peek on our first night and it was empty) There is also a stripper pole. On some afternoons, there were sex workshops, dance lessons, pole dancing lessons - we didn’t check any of these out because we were always at the pool in the afternoons.
I’m typically antisocial at home but I do like meeting people and making small talk at resorts for some reason. We met some great people at Desire Pearl. Shout outs to Santos + Cindy, Cliff + Sandra, Steve + Jasmine, Jose + Rachel, Richard + Renee, Bob + Francesca and so many others whose names I forget. Everyone there was so friendly!
So many wonderful people at DP! Many familiar faces from Temptation like Fredy at the pool bar and Lucio at Aphrodite. Some of my favorite staff members: At Aphrodite: Lucio, Oliver (aka “Junior”), Reynald, Ivan, Dayane (hostess), Galdiel (kitchen chef, also outdoor grill chef) Towel guys: Victor and Irving. Beach/pool drink service: Jesus + Erlinda (not sure if that’s her name) Pool bar: Fredy and Fernando. Jacuzzi bar: David. Entertainment staff: Charlie, Viko, Mike, Vince, Mia, Kia and Kayla - all super people! They all knew our names, which was a nice touch. They also would go around and greet everyone in the lobby in the evenings. It really made us feel valuable and comfortable.
My husband and I are also fans of Temptation and Desire Riviera Maya. We love each resort and each has its advantages over the others.
Party vibe: Temptation has much more party feel; the most fun resort of the 3. Desire RM and Desire Pearl also have good parties. DP has a more intimate vibe as the staff members get to know you and will stop to chat with you.
Food: The food at Desire Pearl was good most nights, but we felt there could have been more options. Unless you have a reservation, there are basically only 2 options for dinner each night. The breakfast buffet at DP is good, but I thought it had fewer selections than at TTR and DRM. There is no grill station or omelet station at the DP buffet, but you can request omelets, quesadillas, fajitas, etc from their kitchen. We wish DP had better late night food, too. Restaurants close at 10pm and it was a challenge to find food after then.
Drinks: Excellent at DP. I’d say all 3 resorts are equal in this.
Pool/jacuzzi: Desire Pearl had a nice pool, but I wish it had those elevated platforms that Temptation’s pool had. The jacuzzi at DP is larger than the one at DRM and we liked that it was at ground level vs rooftop. We preferred the DP jacuzzi to the DRM one.
Foam party: Desire Pearl has its foam party on Saturday at 2pm - I think they're all great at all the resorts. DP had beach balls, and that made it fun (I don't remember if the other resorts did this too)
Disco: I think Temptation and DRM have the advantage here. DP had a good disco, but often the dance floor only had a handful of people on it. The DJ at DP played the same songs each night and it got annoying after day 3.
Staff: The staff members are excellent at all 3 resorts. I can’t say which resort has better staff because we’ve always felt welcome and comfortable at all 3. The entertainment staff at DP did do a great job learning names of most of the guests, so that was pretty sweet.
Timeshare push: Timeshares are pushed at all 3 resorts. However, it was very mild here at Desire Pearl. It was a simply yes or no and once we stated that we weren't interested, that was it. When we were at Temptation, there'd be a constant push, even after we had said no. Good job to DP for not pushing the premier to people who do not want it!
There were only a few negative aspects of our vacation. They were minor and will not prevent us from going to DP again, but here they are:
1) Late night dining options here are not as good as at Temptation or Desire Riviera Maya. On our first night, we overslept and missed the dinner cut-off time. So at 11pm, we hungrily searched for food. We were told there would be pizza outside the lobby at 11:30pm. When we got there, all the pizza was gone so we had to ask them to bring out more. The pizza was OK. The choices were pepperoni, ham/veggie and veggie; there were no plain slices, which is what we would have preferred. There is also the option of room service, but that incurred an additional $10 USD fee, so we skipped that
2) Air conditioning at Aphrodite ranged from OK to non-existent. We never felt that rush of cool air you associate with entering an indoor restaurant at a resort. On one night, I don’t even think the A/C was working at all as it was so hot, humid and our waiter was soaked through with perspiration. On other days/nights, we figured out a particular table that was directly under the A/C vents and tried to pick that table each time. The air conditioning was fine at the other 2 restaurants and it was excellent in our room.
3) The dance music playlist at the disco consisted of the same few songs every single night. On any given night, you are guaranteed to hear the following songs: “Party Rock” by LMFAO, “Shots” by LMFAO, “I’m Sexy and I Know it” by LMFAO, “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson/ Bruno Mars, “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, “Fireball” by Pitbull, “Danza Kuduro” by Don Omar/Lucenzo, “Vivir Mi Vida” by Mark Anthony, “Shake Dat Ass for Me” by Eminem, “Yeah! 3x” by Usher, “Despacito” by Luis Alfonso/Daddy Yankee - Do not get me wrong as I love all these songs. However, it got old by the 3rd night hearing them again and again. There were no songs by Lady Gaga, The Weeknd, Katy Perry, Beyonce, Kanye, Kesha, the Chainsmokers, Martin Garrix, Alan Walker, Drake, or even Justin Bieber. I might have heard one song by Rihanna the entire week. By our fifth night, I was doing pretty good predicting the next song to come up. Come on, Mr DJ, ya gotta do better.
4) Housekeeping entered our room AT LEAST 3 times when we had the “Do Not Disturb” sign hanging. I say “at least” because that’s how many times they walked in (not just knocked, but used the key to swipe in) while we were still in the room. We’d ask why were they coming when the “Do Not Disturb” sign was hanging and they’d say “Oh we are just checking, do you need towels or anything??” - Actually the more I think about it, the more disturbing it is. If the sign says “Do Not Disturb”, then there is no need to ask us if towels are needed. Also, it is more troubling that they took the initiative to just enter the room. What happens on days/nights we are not in the room and they just waltz in? Please use this as a reminder to keep your valuables in the room safe or hidden well.
5) There was a pool of water that collected outside our (ground-level) room. The puddle was present all week. They did put a “Wet Floor - Cuidado, Piso Mojado” sign and sometimes a towel. It did not seep into our room nor affect us other than we had to be careful not to slip when we were walking to/from our room. We did not see a leak from the ceiling so we guessed it was coming up from the floor.
6) Mosquitos! The mosquitos were extremely aggressive on our Thursday night. So many guests were being bombarded with the pesky pests. My husband and I were dining at Aphrodite and the constant pinching of the bites was so bad we had to pack up the food and take it to our room. I ended up with at least 25 bites all over (nice souvenir to take home!) I realize mosquitos are a natural nuisance but I felt maybe the resort could have done a better job when the infestation was particularly high. Bug zappers, citronella candles, flypaper, maybe? We were there 1 week and the mosquitos were only problematic on Thursday. On other nights they were barely noticeable and I doused myself with repellent anyway.
7) Sliding doors at the lobby and at the Unik restaurant. These sliding doors are not automatic, so you have to manually slide them open, step out or in, slide them shut each time. It was worse for the wait staff at Unik as the poor guys were in and out, in and out continuously. Their kitchen is outside the restaurant, so they had to make several trips. I found it grueling to watch; I felt sorry for them!
8) If you want to leave the resort and take a walk or a bus, I do not think it is an easy task. For instance, at Temptation, if you want, you can leave the resort and there’s a pharmacy across the street, a corner store just to the left and the bus stop is a few steps away. However, at DP, I don’t think this was an option. Not that we tried, but when we finally checked out and left, it took the shuttle driver quite a while, by car, to get to the main street area.
One of the many things I loved about Desire Pearl, was that it’s smaller and centralized. For example, most guests get up and have breakfast in the buffet from 7:30a to 10a. Then almost everyone heads to the beach or pool. By noon a lot of people are in the pool. Then some will go to lunch and take a nap. Around 9:30pm, most of the guests can be found in the lobby where there’s live music and a bar. At 10:30p, the disco opens and practically everyone goes there. It’s not mandatory and it’s not universal: some guests linger in the lobby or outside the lobby and some head straight for the jacuzzi. But I like that most of the guests end up going to pretty much the same places throughout the day. Even though i’m typically antisocial, I found that seeing the same guests day after day was comforting and even opened up to start talking more.
On Wednesday and Saturday, there were performances by the staff. Some other guests told me they were not very impressed. I had to remind them that these were staff members; they work for the resort and they were not necessarily professional performers. For instance, the amazing pole dancer Vee, I think she works in Human Resources. The talented acrobatic Alicia is the chef and nutritionist. There were also nights when professional dancers came and that was fun, too.
This was our review of Desire RM from March 2017 Desire RM (Mar 24-Mar 26 2017) trip report
Other photos from Desire Pearl:
Desire Pearl beach
Desire Pearl breakfast buffet
Desire Pearl breakfast buffet
Desire Pearl grounds
Desire Pearl - turtle building
Desire Pearl - Iguana!
Sorry this got so long, but I didn't want to leave anything out.