Grade – 4.0 stars out of 5
Initially built in 2009, Dreams Sands Cancun has become a staple option in the main hotel zone and it is one of our top-ranked resorts in the area. This 4-star resort is a decent offering for the price point and if you like to be in amongst the action then this resort is definitely worth considering.
This is a mature resort and is a staple in the Cancun all-inclusive resort offering. That history has some positives with seasoned staff members who know the resort like the back of their hand, but the downside is that the resort is a little old-fashioned in its decor in some parts.
Take the main lobby for example. It’s a perfectly nice lobby, but you can see it was designed a long time ago, it’s those small elements that impact your view of a resort and to have that as our first impression wasn’t great.
- We were disappointed with the strength of the Wi-Fi that is provided. It was very hit-and-miss. The main areas of the lobby and the main pool have decent enough signals, but the Wi-Fi in our room was pretty bad. We took a few Zoom calls when we visited and the connection dropped on a couple of occasions. So, if you were planning on working while you’re on vacation, I’d think twice about this resort.
- All of the information about the day’s entertainment, restaurant openings, and things to do are on TV screens throughout the resort. This schedule is also available on channel 7 on the TV in the rooms.
- This is a dog-friendly resort. So, if you want to bring your pooch along with you, you can. You do need to pay an additional charge if you are bringing your dog. There was a dog park and we saw a few guests with dogs throughout our stay.
- The restaurants don’t take bookings. It’s not something we love, but there are a few elements to consider. The capacity of the resort when you visit and the restaurant-to-guest ratio impact whether having no reservations is positive or not. At the Dreams Sands resort it didn’t prove to be a big issue as the ratio of restaurants to guests is pretty good. We also found that most of the restaurants we open throughout the week which was good to see.
- If you are a golfer, you can get complimentary green fees at the Playa Mujeres golf course. An important thing to note with the Playa Mujeres course is that they do have a mandatory cart fee of $55 per person. So, it’s by no means free.
The check-in process ran like clockwork. When we pulled up to the main gate we gave our details and when we arrived at the lobby entrance the staff had all of the details at the ready, so the check-in process was very smooth.
We were greeted with a welcome drink and a cold towel and were brought straight to a check-in desk. We didn’t seem to arrive at a busy time, so we didn’t have to queue, but we did walk by reception once or twice and saw quite a queue, so it’s the luck of the draw.
The staff member who checked us in was good at explaining the layout of the resort, everything that was included in the all-inclusive package as well and the additional access we had in a Preferred club room.
Located at the start of the main hotel zone, the Dreams Sands Cancun is a nice mix of being near the main action of the hotel zone, but not right in the center of it.
It’s conveniently located within a 20-minute drive from Cancun International Airport, which is around a $30 taxi ride to and from the airport.
Downtown Cancun is also relatively close. There is the R1 and R2 bus line that runs right outside the hotel. Typically it takes around 15 minutes to get into the main strip. So, it’s quite convenient.
How big is the Dreams Sands Cancun?
The resort has 438 rooms on offer, so we would describe it as a mid-sized resort. As this resort is located in the main hotel zone in Cancun the size of the complex is obviously on the smaller side. The size of the beach is very good for its location with a 650-foot private stretch of beach, which is one of the best-sized beaches in this area. If you are looking for resorts with expansive grounds and amenities. Then we recommend checking out resorts in Playa Mujeres, which is a short drive away from Cancun.
Is Dreams Sands Cancun a family resort?
Yes, the Dreams chain of resorts is family-friendly. So, if you were planning on bringing the kids, this is a strong option for you. With a great kids club, lots of amenities, kids menus throughout the restaurants, and things to do locally in the area, they have you covered.
The kids club at the Dreams Sands Cancun is called the Explorers Club and it also doubles as a daycare if you want your smaller kids looked after. There is a surcharge for the daycare which comes in at $25 an hour. The explorers club is for kids aged between 3 – 12 years old.
The one thing that Dreams Sands Cancun doesn’t have, that a lot of other Dreams resorts in the area do have is a teens club. So, if you’re traveling with teens and do some sort of supervised activities throughout your stay we recommend checking out the Dreams Playa Mujeres which has a great teens club on offer. Check out our review of the Playa Mujeres resort here.
The pool situation at the Dreams isn’t the best. There are three pools and they definitely aren’t the biggest. For the size of the resort, there is frankly not enough space by the pools. When the resort is at 50% capacity the pools seem busy. Which says a lot.
There is also a small kids-only section to the main pool. The main pool is heated, but sadly the infinity pool is not.
This is just one of the downsides of resorts in the main hotel zone, but there are definitely stronger options in this category like the Dreams Vista Cancun.
There is no course connected to the resort as it is located in the main hotel zone and land here is at a premium, but the Dreams Sands does have an agreement with the Playa Mujeres Golf Club. If you’re a guest at the Dreams Sands you get complimentary green fees at the Playa Mujeres course.
Located around a 20-minute drive from the resort, the course is a nice option. Don’t be fooled by the complimentary green fees though, playing a round will still cost you. The Playa Mujeres golf course has a mandatory buggy rental policy. The buggy rentals cost around $55 per person and if you add club rental to that the costs add up very fast.
The gym here is pretty good, like a lot of the rest of the resort. It’s on the older side, but it has all of the equipment necessary for a good workout. With several cardio machines, free weights, and machine weights. There will be no reason you won’t be able to get a solid workout in. The gym was never too busy when we went, even at peak times.
Things to do during the day
From Spanish lessons, and fitness classes to beach volleyball and tequila tastings. There is a huge range of things to keep you entertained throughout the day. The daily schedule is advertised on the tablets in the rooms as well as on bulletin boards throughout the resort. You can also download the AM Resorts app onto your phone where you can view the schedule as well.
Several water sports are available at the resort. Kayaks and Catamarans are included in your package. There are Scuba diving lessons available, but these do come at an additional cost.
Things to do during the night
The evening menu for entertainment is good. From movies on the beach, and bingo to the typical Musical performance you get at an all-inclusive, the Dreams Sands has it all. The schedule for each evening can be seen on your TV and on boards throughout the resort. Overall, we thought the Dreams did well in this category.
This is one of the nicer beach areas of resorts that are located in the main hotel zone. Due to its location and the fact that it’s facing more inland than most of the resorts on the main strip, it means the waters are calm and safe to swim in. The sand was lovely and fine and the waters had gorgeous shades of blue. This beach also did not suffer from seaweed washing onto the shoreline, which made the beach experience that bit nicer.
The one negative about this beach is that it is on the smaller side. This resort in general is more condensed. So space is at a premium. When we visited we could see that sun loungers in the main beach area were filling up fast, so you do have to secure a spot in the morning time. The preferred beach area is nice with a few hammocks and the bar is right next to the area.
There is a spa at Dreams Sands Cancun. The facilities are nice and tranquil and a full spa menu is offered. A normal 1-hour massage came in at $150 the time we visited, so it’s definitely on the pricier side. There didn’t seem to be much issue getting bookings, which was nice to see.
There is a nice hydrotherapy run on offer which includes whirlpools, plunges, steam rooms, and saunas. All guests have access to this.
Throughout the stay, the service was really strong. It felt like there was a high ratio of staff to guests and maybe this was just because of the size of the resort, but it seemed like every corner you turned around there was a member of staff looking to help.
This is an established resort and it seems like the staff that work here are very experienced. We have to give a special shout-out to the concierge team and specifically Jorge who was fantastic at organizing a really special anniversary meal.
The resort was very clean throughout. We didn’t have any real issues with this part of the experience. The housekeeping team was also very good. Each day when we arrived back into the room, the place was immaculately kept.
The standard and aesthetic of these rooms are quite nice. Although the hotel was built in 2009, the Dreams brand only took ownership in 2014. During the rebrand, all of the rooms were updated. So, they do feel relatively modern.
There is a wide choice of rooms on offer and from a size perspective, they are all quite spacious. An important call out is that not all rooms come with balconies. So, make sure to double-check this when booking.
These rooms come in a variety of options. Ocean views, partial views, rooms without and without balconies. So, be sure you’re booking what’s right for you. Overall, the Deluxe rooms seemed a little outdated
Coming in nearly double the size of the Deluxe rooms. The family suite comes with 2 double beds and 1 king bed. These suites have room for 2 adults and 2 kids. They are spacious and a great option if you are traveling with a family.
Junior Suite + Corner Suite
These are effectively the same suites. The only difference is that the corner suite has more windows. They are exactly the same size and offer the same standard of room.
This resort is on the more expensive side so we recommend you book without a discount. A standard Deluxe room averages around $300 a night if you book directly through the Dreams website. Although you can get this for significantly cheaper if you leverage discounts and book at off-peak times.
From a value perspective we don’t think this resort is worth $300 a night, we reckon around $175 a night is a good price for the experience you get. So, we recommend aiming for that.
What’s included in the all-inclusive package
At Dreams Resorts their all-inclusive package is known as “Unlimited Luxury”. This package is a pretty standard offering when you think about what is included in an all-inclusive package. It includes all food, drinks, entertainment, use of amenities, unlimited room service, taxes, and tips. Most resorts offer all of the same features, so to differentiate we look for the standout features in packages.
For us, one of the things we really like about the package at the Dreams Resorts is the Sip, Savor & See offering. The ability to dine at other Dreams and Now resorts in the area. There are 4 or 5 other resorts to choose from and we recommend checking it out. It’s a great way to see another resort and mix things up.
Food + Restaurant Options
There are 6 a la carte restaurants, a buffet, a grill house, and a coffee shop on offer, so you shouldn’t have any issue finding a spot to fill your appetite. Overall we found the quality of food and varied choices to be good at this resort. At times was a little bit inconsistent, but overall we would rate it a solid 4.1 stars out of 5 in the all-inclusive food rankings.
Ranking the Restaurants
This was our favorite spot at the Dreams Sands. This Italian spot is a really solid restaurant. One of the highlights was definitely the staff. They were really great. It was definitely the best service experience we had at the resort.
We recommend trying the seafood risotto if you eat here. It was top-notch. We ended up eating here a number of times as we liked it so much.
This was a favorite of ours when we visited other Dreams resorts. This Asian restaurant has a mix of different countries’ cuisines. From Japanese, Chinese, and Korean to Thai, this spot has some of the nicest dishes that Asia has to offer. Although some of the dishes aren’t the most authentic. The flavors and presentation are quite good.
Himitsu also has a hibachi experience. Although we didn’t eat here when we visited we did hear good reviews about the food and the experience from other guests. To get a table at the Hibachi experience you do need to book a table. This is done at the entrance to the restaurant in the morning time. Be sure to check with reception the time it opens and get there early as tables go fast.
- Gaucho Grill
A steak restaurant that packs a punch. Steakhouses are always hit-and-miss at all-inclusive resorts. We were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the meat here. It’s not going to blow you away, but it’s very serviceable.
- Barefoot Grill
Opened throughout the day. This spot has no dress code and is located right next to the main pool. It’s the perfect spot to grab a midday munch. They serve up tacos, burgers, salads, and sandwiches. The food here is quite good.
- World Cafe
The main buffet at the resort. This is open for all meals throughout the day. We found that the quality of food here was really good. All the food tasted fresh and it was all hot. Which is not always the case in buffets. Our favorite part at the World Cafe was definitely the omelet station in the morning and the taco station for lunch and dinner.
With the limited number of restaurants in the resort, they can definitely get busy. There were times at breakfast when we arrived at peak times and had to queue to get in. Which wasn’t ideal.
Bars and Drinks Offering
There are 4 bars dotted throughout the resort and we would have liked to have seen a few more options. That being said you won’t go thirsty. They definitely don’t give light pours on the drinks.
From a drinks standpoint, they do have international and top-shelf drinks on offer in some bars throughout the resort. The only downside is that the majority of the bars stock non-branded alcohol options. It’s really only the main lobby bar that has the premium branded options. We would have liked to have seen these options throughout all of the bars.
Is the Preferred Status Worth it?
Although we didn’t stay in a preferred room when we visited, we did scope out the facilities by sneaking into the preferred club lounge. It’s a decent spot where you can avail yourself of a wide choice of top-shelf drinks. It’s one of the only places (other than the main lobby bar) where there is a decent selection of branded drinks.
Private Pool and Beach Area
The private beach area is quite small here and was actually kind of busy, so it reduced the benefit of having separate spaces. We found ourselves going over to the main beach area a few of the days and the Preferred area was too busy.
For us given that the price tag for preferred rooms is around 15% more than the comparable standard rooms. We feel like the additional benefits didn’t really warrant the price. The main reason we recommend booking a preferred room. Is the quality of the room that you get. We did see some of the rooms and the quality is superior. They are a lot more spacious and have a more modern feel.
Tipping is customary at all-inclusive resorts. The staff don’t get paid that much and are reliant on tips to make a good living. The level of service that is being provided is that of a 5-star resort. The staff makes a concerted effort to give you a great experience for your vacation.
We always budget a certain amount for each trip for tipping. We make sure to bring cash with us as the ATMs at these resorts can be very pricey. We typically tip in USD, just because it’s easiest from a conversion standpoint, but the staff happily accepts any currency. For drinks, we tend to tip USD 1 per drink, and for meals around $10.
Overall the resort is a strong option in the Cancun area. It’s not our top recommendation, but if you can get it at the right price. It is worth considering. The food and service were both quite good. The beach is excellent here for the main hotel zone.
Obviously, we were disappointed with the size and amount of pools and offer. We also felt the rooms were a little outdated which took area from the experience.
We highly recommend checking out the Dreams Vista. It’s flat-out a better resort and experience. Check out our extensive review here.
Q. Does the Dreams offer a shuttle service from the Airport
A. Yes, Dreams Sands Cancun can provide a shuttle or private transfers to and from the airport. This does come at a surcharge though.
Q. Is parking available at the resort
A. Yes, parking is available for guests and it is complimentary
Q. Is Wi-Fi included
A. Yes, Wi-Fi is available to you in your suite as well as throughout the resort.
Q. What local attractions are there?
A. Cancun has a lot on offer and as this resort is in the main tourist zone there is a huge amount to do on your doorstep. But if you want to get away from the touristy things and experience some of the area’s wonderfully natural beauty and great culture, then there are loads of opportunities in the area.