Cancun was overall amazing! Except for one very specific bad experience which I feel obligated to share with the food allergy community.
As I mentioned in my Instagram post, you can still travel and have fun with multiple life-threatening food allergies! While in Cancun, which I took two airplanes to get to (I flew American on the way there) and two airplanes to get back (I flew Volaris on the way back), I did so many activities. I went to the beach, I went to the pool, I went on jet skis, I went to a foam party, I went to the outdoor mall, I took the public bus, and I went to Coco Bongo (famous club), all within three days and I had no issues. Shout out to Coco Bongo for letting me bring in my medications with absolutely no trouble!!
Besides all the fun I had, let's get to the most important part: THE FOOD. I stayed at the all inclusive resort called GR Solaris Cancun. Before booking, I spoke to the hospitality manager Yesenia multiple times who was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. When I arrived on Wednesday late at night, she wasn't there, but the very next morning, I met with her and she called over the head chef who sat with me for over half an hour going over everything that I can eat. Shout out to him too because he was amazing.
I brought a box of pasta from home which the chef used to make me lunch. For dinner, the chef and I agreed that he would wrap a sweet potato in tin foil and bake it in the oven, and he would also bake me chicken breast in the oven as he told me that there was too much risk for cross-contamination for him to make in a pan. I really appreciated how seriously he took the situation. He personally delivered my food for every meal. For breakfast, he put together an orange, some grapes, and a hard boiled egg, just as requested, which arrived at my table wrapped in plastic. Yesenia and the head chef: thank you for taking my food allergies seriously and for making this trip possible for me.
I brought my own snacks to eat throughout the day as there was absolutely no way I was going to eat from any of the buffets. I brought chocolate chip muffins, some homemade bread, roasted chickpeas, and my maintenance nuts! It was more than enough to hold me over until the meals. I also of course carried all of my medications with me everywhere at all times, including to all meals and activities (EpiPens, Benadryl, Xyzal, Zantac, Prednisone, Inhaler). Luckily, I didn't need to use any of them ever.
Despite amazing staff such as Yesenia and the head chef, not all of the staff was this great. In fact, I didn't get to eat dinner one night because of the hotel manager Daphne. Here is what happened.
The main restaurant for dinner at the resort is called Marco Polo, and it is also the restaurant where the chef had agreed to have my food waiting for me. You must make a reservation in advance, so I did, for 9:20 pm when I was together with Yesenia and the chef. On Friday night, we (my fiance, his brother, his sister, and I) arrived at 9:15pm, so 5 minutes early! We were all dressed up to go out afterwards, but were all wearing flip flops.
The host told us that there is a dress code where girls can wear whatever they please, but men must wear pants and closed shoes. So he told us that we couldn't enter. My fiance tried explaining politely that they did not have closed shoes, but they are wearing pants, and there is no where else to eat so to please let us in. The host said no. (The guys did of course each have a pair of closed shoes in the room, but they were soaking wet from an excursion we had done that day). This is also an all-inclusive resort, so everything has been paid for well in advance.
We decided to proceed back upstairs to the front desk to speak to the hotel manager, Daphne. She said there is nothing to do, and that the guys cannot enter with flip flops. Even after explaining the situation with the shoes, she told us it was our problem. My fiance also mentioned that there was no where else to eat, which she responded that she didn't care and it wasn't her problem. (Quick side note once again - we paid thousands of dollars for this all inclusive resort to ensure that all food was included).
With no choice left, as I needed my special made dinner, the guys put on their soaking wet sneakers and we returned to the restaurant, arriving at 9:30pm, just ten minutes later. The host said they are closed now so we can't enter. He then stated that there are no more restaurants open at the resort, and it's too bad for us. I tried to explain to him that I have a special food accommodation and that the chef has made a special meal for me and that I cannot eat anywhere else. He told me that it is my problem.
*(Just as a side note, the restaurant was literally empty, there was no one there, and this is also not a 5 star resort, it's very casual in general).
My fiance felt so bad for me as with multiple life-threatening food allergies, I don't have the freedom to walk into any restaurant to eat dinner. So he went back upstairs to Daphne and firmly explained the situation, to which she responded that if we don't leave her alone, she is going to call the police. The security guards eventually took Daphne inside and told her to calm down, apologized to us, but told us there is nothing they can do.
Luckily, as a 25 year old adult, I was able to survive without dinner for the night and continue my night at Coco Bongo despite being hungry. I cannot imagine if this were to happen to a family with a young child who has food allergies and the child didn't get his dinner for the night.
Regardless of the fact that this is horrible customer service in general, it is a clear lack of being a decent human being, and I recommend that if you have food allergies to not ever stay here so you are not faced with this situation. There are PLENTY of other all inclusive resorts in the same area that can most likely cater to food allergies just as well as Yesenia and the head chef did, but who do not have managers like Daphne and restaurant hosts who lack even a drop of empathy for those who don't have the freedom to eat anywhere they please, and who make arrangements well in advance to avoid situations like these.
I believe that it is of utmost importance that the food allergy community come together to help one another avoid these situations. As we saw with Downtown Brooklyn Penrith just last week, I am so amazed at the thousands of people who left comments and reviews all over their social media to ensure that no one with food allergies ever gets harmed by their establishment. I am honored to be a part of such a strong and supportive community.
If you would like to leave a review for GR Solaris to help other food allergy families avoid this resort, the links to their pages are provided below.
Expedia: CLICK HERE
Trip Advisor: CLICK HERE
Yelp: CLICK HERE
Google: CLICK HERE
Facebook: CLICK HERE