Update (May, 2019). The Grand Oasis Sens has been sold off and will now be a family friendly resort. We will keep this review up for archive purposes, but much of it may no longer be true. We will not be visiting the new resort, as we are focused on only staying at kid-free places.
Cancun, Mexico… This place is starting to feel like home to Amanda and myself. We’ve now been here three times and know the routine pretty well, so there’s very little acclimation time for us. There is something to be said for a place if we are going to be repeat visitors. When we travel, we prefer to avoid anywhere that has kids running around and we rarely go to the same place twice, let alone three times. In Cancun, there are numerous “adults-only” resorts, but the Grand Oasis Sens checks off all of our requirements for a great stay and is affordable. This is an all-inclusive resort, so outside of anything above and beyond, you can stay here without spending a peso.
The water in Cancun is among the clearest and most beautiful we’ve experienced to date. It seems like every time we go back it gets even better somehow. Cancun itself has so many activities suited for adults, between their clubs, water sports, cruises, etc you’ll never be without something to do, unless all you want it to relax at your resort. We could sit by the ocean day after day and never have a reason to complain.
Notice: Before I get started, let me address the situation about safety in Cancun. We have talked to numerous people who are scared to go there citing this or that related to violence in the news. Cancun is not an inherently dangerous place. The majority of violence in Mexico is gang related and isn’t affecting tourists. As always, don’t do anything stupid or be in places you shouldn’t be and you won’t have an issue. We have traveled all over the city and even outside of it and have never felt unsafe at all. Fortunately, because the news is being blown our of proportion, there are more vacancies than normal in the area and resorts are doing everything they can to fill rooms. So, enjoy the savings and have a safe and great trip. Back to the review….
This is the one area that can be frustrating at Sens, especially if it’s your first time. At times you wonder why they haven’t updated their systems to be a little bit more organized, and while frustrating if you don’t understand it, their system still works. At the Grand Oasis Sens, they have three categories of room types, Grand, Grand Plus and Sian Ka’an. You’ll be given an bracelet to wear during your stay that indicates your level of stay with the Sian Ka’an affording you an upgraded band. Note though that you can upgrade your band without upgrading your room. This usually cost around $26/day/person and for us was well worth it (we’ve done it all three times). Some of the benefits that come with upgraded bands are top shelf liquor and champagne, access to a VIP lounge with snacks and drinks, access to the beach beds in the Sian Ka’an beach club, the use of their Smart Cars for free + insurance, and a free dinner at Benazuza, the top restaurant in all of Cancun (normally around $50/person) and free room service. The Grand Oasis Sens promotes itself as the only LGBT friendly resort in Cancun, though to us it didn’t seem any different than any other resort, and if it did, it wouldn’t have mattered.
Prior to our check-in we’ve always had some questions ahead of time. Contacting the resort was easiest to do by email and were surprise by the quick and thorough responses we got from Valentina Biegun. She helped put any concerns we had ahead of time at ease.
The Rooms and View
The Sian Ka’an will guarantee an ocean view and a deck outfitted with a plunge pool. The Grand and Grand Plus are similar sized rooms, but with the Plus category, you will be sure of an ocean view and possibly a porch. In our three trips, we’ve always booked a Grand room, but have been lucky to be upgraded depending on availability. Our first trip put us into an Ocean View room with deck. Our second trip, a Lagoon View Room and our latest trip, an Ocean Front room with balcony. We can’t complain about any of the rooms, though the Ocean Front room had an A/C unit that was having trouble keeping up with the Sun that beamed in the room most of the day.
The Beach & Pools
There are two main pools at the Grand Oasis Sens. The main pool by the beach is a multi-level pool with multiple swimming areas. In the main area there is a bar so you don’t even have to get out of the water to get a refill on your drinks. The pool on the Lagoon side is normally the quiet pool, except when they have parties going on. Next to that pool is also an area with half a dozen hot tubs, that most people never even realize exist. The hottubs are often empty, needing to be filled like any normal bathtub. Don’t worry if they are, just turn them on and let them fill up. All pools are topless optional and you may end up seeing some women topless, but it’s actually pretty rare (this isn’t the Playboy mansion). If this is something that will upset you, then this isn’t the place for you to go. Then again, women often go topless just about anywhere in Cancun on the beach, so you may want to check out another location all together.
The beach at GOS is the amazingly beautiful white sand and blue water beach you can expect to see in Cancun. As with most places there though, you may be bothered by all of the vendors that continue to try to sell you their “unique” (to them and a thousand other vendors) goods. Here’s an area where it really pays to do the VIP upgrade at the resort. On the south side of the beach is a roped off area with beach beds, mostly covered, but a few that aren’t. These are only for VIP and must be reserved in advanced for the mornings. After noon, any VIP person can use them. Since it’s roped off, the vendors can’t come and bother you either. On top of that, there’s also full service drinks and food after noon. The food here can only be gotten here and is amazing. If you are on the other part of the beach, you will have to get up and go for walk for a refill on your drinks. This is yet another reason why we highly recommend the VIP upgrade.
Down in the Sian Kaan beach area, Bodereck and Lizette were always attentive and ready to take care of us. Make sure you take good care of them.
Tip: While it’s not required to tip at this resort, we highly recommend you take care of the people who take care of you. There is a noticeable difference in how well they take care of you when you’re generous to them. It doesn’t take much, but your stay will be better overall if you do.
The food at the Grand Oasis Sens is hands down the best we’ve had at any resort. This isn’t your standard all-inclusive buffet, though they do have one of those as well. Their buffet is the main place you can go without worrying about a reservation, though we don’t recommend it. By our third trip we didn’t even need to eat there once. The other options fall into two categories. First, they have three restaurants that require reservations in advance. These include the Black Hole, Benazuza and Sakura Sunset. In order to get a reservation, make sure you’re up early and at the reservation table before 8:00am in the lobby. Depending on how booked the resort is, they’ll only let you get a reservation a day or a few days ahead of time. Space is very limited at these restaurants, but you don’t want to miss eating at any of them. The next level require reservations, but you can’t get them until the same day and just a couple hours before they open. You have to show up at the restaurant ahead of time to get on the list. They include, The Box, Schillibar and Makitaco. These are all great places to eat as well. For those who just want to wander in to any place, you’re left with Coba, the buffet, Moonlight Trattoria and Pizza and Muerdeme Mucho. We’ve eaten at every place and multiple times, so here’s our take on them.
Black Hole: This isn’t to be missed, but you have to be brave as well. You’re asked to wear all black and when you go in it’s more of a show than just dinner. They only have two sets of seating times with a limit of 16 people each time. You’ll eat your meal in the dark with nothing more than a black light to illuminate the waiters white gloves. Don’t be too scared though because the food isn’t always what you expect.
Benazuza: This place is constantly winning awards and is considered to be one of, if not the best, place to eat in Cancun. You’ll experience a 20 course meal that is top notch. Dress nice and enjoy, it’s definitely worth it. If you have an upgraded band, you can eat here once/week for free. Otherwise it will cost around $50/each.
Schillibar: Another great restaurant that’s considered a must eat at. Located at the back pool area. Make sure you get here early in the afternoon to get a reservation.
Makitaco: We loved eating here as well. This is a smaller Mexican Japanese fusion restaurant.
Muerdeme Mucho: Straight up Mexican food and some of the best!
Moonlight Trattoria and Pizza: Italian food, pizza, and no reservations needed. Great food and service as always.
Coba: Your standard all-inclusive buffet. There isn’t much that stands out here, bu there isn’t much that is missing as well. For those roll out of bed and need something quick to eat, this fits the bill perfectly.
Sakura Sunset: Great seafood in the best spot of Cancun for watching the sunset. Make sure you get a reservation just prior to sunset to enjoy a truly amazing experience.
The Box: Another great place to eat. Portions are small, but you get a few. They’re also open late at night with snacks for when you’re finally done dancing away at the Kinky Club.
Coffee & Me: This is your own Starbucks in the hotel without the price. If you’re a coffee drinker, you’ll get to know this place very well. Located just behind the VIP bar on the way to the back pool.
Siankaan: The VIP bar. There is usually a concierge here, who’ll you need to make reservations for the beach beds if you want one. Full service bar with premium liquors and snacks are usually available as well.
The Kinky Club
Most nights of the week, the Kinky Club is the only thing open after 10pm. If you like to stay up late and have fun, you’ll most likely find yourself here at least once. On different nights they have different shows that are a lot of fun to watch. After the show, the club turns into a normal night club with a DJ, dancing and drinks.
One activity that’s completely free of charge that you shouldn’t miss is the Pirate Cruise. Every Thursday night at 10:00pm they bring in a few buses and take everyone over to the Pirate Ship at one of their other resorts. Room on the ship is limited, so make sure you get signed up on their list at the same concierge that does the dinner reservations.
Once aboard the ship, it will set sail out into the Lagoon (smooth water, so you won’t get sea sick) and a short show is followed by lots of music, dancing and free drinks. We have done this twice now and both times were a ton of fun. This was actually the easiest place to make friends and meet new people because there are so many people in such a small place. On this night, the Kinky Club won’t be open as their entertainers will all be on the boat.
We have very little negative to say about the Grand Oasis Sens. In addition to all of the amenities that are offered here, you can visit any of the other Oasis hotels in Cancun and Tulum including The Pyramid, Grand Oasis, Oasis Cancun Lite, Grand Oasis Palm, Smart Cancun Oasis, Oh! the Urban Oasis and Grand Oasis Tulum. The resort will arrange a transfer for you between resorts.
Amanda and I actually took advantage of the free Smart Car at the resort and drove down to Tulum. Along the way we stop by some of the Cenotes and have a detailed write up of that stop, here . We also took some time at the Ruins of Tulum and when we were done, stopped by the Grand Oasis Tulum to relax and check out the resort. Unfortunately, we only stayed there for a couple of hours, so we can’t give you a full review of the resort. The Grand Oasis Tulum was a beautiful resort, with a beautiful beach, but didn’t seem to have the activity and life that Sens has. The Sens is a great resort if you’re looking for some activity during your stay, while the Grand Oasis Tulum seems to be more oriented towards relaxation (oh, and they have kids there too).
Make sure you get a copy of the weekly activities as well. They have pool parties almost daily, including a foam party that you don’t want to miss, night parties, and other entertainment. There is always something fun and adventures to do at the Grand Oasis Sens.
As always, if you have any questions about the Grand Oasis Sens, drop us a line or leave a comment below. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have and even help you get booked for your stay there. You can see more pictures and video of our stays here on our instagram feed.