A Promising Gluten-Free Haven, but Cravings Left Us Wanting More – 7/10!

We travelled to Grand Sunset Princess Resort & Spa in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, in May 2023 and conducted our first resort review as part of our Allergen-Free Recognition Program for Hotels and Holiday Resort Destinations. The goal of the Gluten-Free Food Program, is to not only provide a recommendation based on our experience to the celiac and gluten-free communities, but to also encourage holiday destinations to become part of our program, ensuring food safety to those who need it.

The Review

This review reflects our resident celiac, Rob’s experience. Diagnosed in 2011, Rob has extensive travel experience, both before and after diagnosis. Everyone’s experience varies due to personal food preferences and other dietary needs or allergies. Yet, Rob’s insights offer a reliable gauge of The Grand Sunset Princess’s safety for people with celiac disease.


Private pool in the cabana area

Age of the resort: 2007

Restaurant options included six à la carte eateries with French, Italian, Steak, Japanese/Thai, Seafood, and Mexican cuisine, plus three buffets for all guests.

Post-booking, food allergies were not requested as we booked via Redtag.ca with a 40% resort promotion.

Upon check-in, they did not inquire about any food allergies, but à la carte restaurant hosts inquire about them and inform servers.

No central contact for food allergies exists on arrival, but our room’s concierge service enabled us to communicate Rob’s gluten “allergy” for reservations.

None of the restaurants are exclusively dedicated to allergy-friendly dining.


We were able to speak with the hotels Chief Conceirge and Assistant to the Chief Conceirge during our visit. We would like to mention that we tried to book an appointment with someone from the resort, starting weeks before our trip without success. It also took days during our stay to finally be told that the head conceirge would speak with us. Two conceirges arrived, and their knowledge of the food safety practises seemed accurate. Without speaking to someone from the kitchen or hotel management, we can only speculate that the answers to our questions are correct and truthful.


Do they have separate prep areas for all gluten-free restaurants? YES. The conceirge informed us that by law, the resort has to have separate areas for allergens such as gluten, nuts and others. We were unclear as to by what law or if it is resort policy, partly because of the language barrier.

Do they have dedicated equipment? YES. We were told that by law they had to have separate preparation areas for those with allergies.

Do they cater for other food alergies? YES. They also deal with nuts, shelfish and dairy for example.   

Are menus labeled for Allergens? YES. Some of the menus listed gluten-free, vegan and dairy-free options.   

Are gluten-free drinks avaliable? YES. There was no shortage of distilled and non distilled beverages. They did not have gluten-free beer available.

Are the staff aware of gluten-free requirements? YES. The wait staff will go over gluten-free options on the menu or the chef will come to speak with you about your meal choices.

Are the staff trained in gluten-free procedures? To some extent. The wait staff is trained to bring the allergy letter provided by the resort or verbally let the chef know that a guest requires a gluten-free meal.

What procedures do they have in place if someone gets contaminated? We were told that they have not had anyone report a gluten contamination as of yet. They call a nearby doctor in the case of unknown allergic reactions.

Are there gluten-free room service options: YES, a few.


We did offer the conceirges the feedback about the number of menu and dessert options. Whether they pass it along to the head chef will remain to be seen by future gluten-free guests.


Number of gluten-free options on the menu at the ala carte restaurants: Limited to one or two from each section.

Did they have gluten-free appetizers? YES. Limited to one or two and mostly salad.

Did they have dessert options available? YES. Limited to one option or fruit as an option.

Was there bar food? YES. The gluten-free bar menu consisted of only a salad but it is something, so we have to say, yes. We were told that the nachos were fried in the same fryer as other items containing gluten, so that was disappointing. The bar seemed to be the only “restaurant” that did not have a separate prep area.


Did you get glutened while staying in the resort? NO

Did you feel relaxed about gluten-free environment? YES. Luckily most Mexican cuisine is naturally gluten-free.

Buffet experience: Rob loves a good buffet because there are lots of options and he can usually go around with the chef and eat well.

Buffet dessert experience: There was a small area that had three gluten-free items in it at all times. We never saw anything different, only the same three items all week. That was disappointing.


We booked a catamaran tour with lunch through our Sunwing representative, informing them of Rob’s gluten-free needs. Rob was delighted with his meal, similar to others’ but with gluten-free substitutions. This was a positive change, as he often gets bland, distinct meals unlike other guests. Our Cancun Adventures catamaran trip to Isla Mujeres included two snorkeling stops and island time. The water was stunning, the weather perfect, making for an amazing day!


Our gluten-free experience at the resort rates a seven out of ten, based on Rob, our resident celiac’s experience. Rob expects a full dining experience, including an appetizer, main, and dessert, like any patron. At the Grand Sunset Princess, Rob was often limited to salads for appetizers, few main courses, and satisfactory desserts at only two restaurants.

The buffet’s only enjoyable dessert for him was ice cream, but as a celiac, excessive dairy is problematic. Caution is advised with Caribbean ice cream, as it may contain gluten; inquire about ingredients.

Rob avoids fruit and salad at Caribbean resorts due to washing practices and the risk of parasites from undercooked or raw foods.

Rob has stringent standards for his gluten-free experience, trusting his extensive travel experience as a celiac. He’s learned, often through tough experiences, what to eat and avoid while traveling.


We recommend this resort for good value, but it left us wanting more. The Grand Sunset Princess, located on Mexico’s Quintana Roo Peninsula, boasts pools, a beach, and access to sister resorts, Princess Riviera and Platinum Yucatan Princess (adults-only), based on room type.

During our stay in a Laguna Villa Suite, we enjoyed perks like free cabana use, a personal concierge, a private beach area, complimentary premium alcohol, and a 25-minute spa massage per person. If one skips the massage, it’s transferable for a 50-minute session for the other.

This resort is famed for its swim-up rooms near the main pool and bar, ideal for participating in pool activities, afternoon breaks, and spotting monkeys and deer.

If choosing the Grand Sunset Princess, email them at atencionttoo.riviera@princess-hotels.com for gluten-free dining arrangements. On arrival, get a Spanish gluten-free restaurant card at the concierge or download one from celiactravel.com.

Make dinner reservations upon arrival, especially during busy periods, to accommodate your travel party’s needs.

Follow our Gluten-Free Finder social accounts on Instagram @gluten_freefinder and on Facebook at Gluten-Free Finder for more pics, video and info from our trip!

Happy gluten-free travels!

Disclaimer: This review is based on the experience that we had at this resort. Food options and choices may vary depending on additional dietary preferences and allergies. The Gluten-Free Food Program and Gluten-Free Finder website are not responsible or liable for any recommendations made by the writer or the resident celiac.