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Barcelo Maya Palace Brides


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#1391 yesther

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    Posted 27 March 2010 - 09:30 PM

    So, we get to the desk, and again, I felt as though the staff was ill prepared for the number of people checking in. Of all the encounters I've had with the staff, the front of house staff were the worst. They were a little aloof, unhelpful and not very pleasant. I will say that the front of house staff at night was a different crew, and they were MUCH better.

    We get to the unhelpful desk and were told that our room wasn't ready. Ummm...check-in is supposed to be at 3 p.m. we got there a little after 3, so why isn't the room ready? To be fair, at this point, I was STARVING, annoyed with the long lines in customs, luggage and to check-in, so I'm sure I wasn't the most pleasant person either. Nevertheless, we waited around for 10 or so minutes and then we got to the room.

    We dropped our stuff off and headed straight to the buffets. I <3 the buffets. I like the big one better (Mirador?) and the small Coral grill was OK, but if you could wait another 30 min or so until the Mirador opens, it's well worth it. More on food later.....

    When we got back to the room to change, I noticed we had a message from Xahil requesting a meeting the following morning. Awesome! Off to a great start!

    The next morning, we met with Xahil in the wedding offices. It started off great. STARTED being the key word. LOL. We discussed flowers, we added a tier to the cake (which we ended up not even eating, hahaha) added to our flower packages and were moving along just fine.....until the issue of our welcome/rehearsal dinner came up.

    I learned from this thread that the Brazilian restaurant is for 30 ppl max. However, when I emailed Gabriela in OCTOBER about wanting to do my welcome dinner there, she said it was fine. I gave her the final guest list in February and then reconfirmed both the time 7:30 p.m. AND the location with her. I specifically asked her for a reservation time of 7:30 p.m., as some of my guests were arriving later in the afternoon on Friday. There was no email response from her indicating that there would be a problem.

    #1392 yesther

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      Posted 27 March 2010 - 09:39 PM

      Xahil then tells us that the welcome dinner will be at 6:00. Umm...what? No. That is unacceptable! Our guests won't even be here at 6! Here is how our conversation went:
      Xahil: The only open times are 6 or 9:30.
      Esther (with parts of my husband chiming in, but for ease of reading, we'll limit it to me being the bad girl, LOL) : Well, we requested 7:30 in October, and Gabriela said it would be fine.
      X: Well, it is booked. No more room at 7:30.
      E: How was it that we were not able to secure that time at 7:30 when we asked months in advance?
      X: The reservations don't open up until 2 weeks before. So, in October, they were not open.
      E: I understand that, but when they did become open, why were we not the first people to get the reservations?
      X: You were, for 6 or 9:30.
      E: Again, I'm not understanding why when the reservations were open we weren't given that spot.
      X: It is full with other guests.
      E: OK, here is where the problem is...we are paying to have our wedding here, the time we requested in OCTOBER was secure via my communications with Gabriela, and you are telling us NOW that it is unavailable?
      X: Yes. No more room.
      E: OK, then why weren't we told this BEFORE we came? Or in OCTOBER?! or even 2 weeks ago?
      X: Well, we didn't have your guest list.
      E: Umm... no, no, no. You DO Have my guest list, and you DID have it. (this is where I bust out my emails and show here that approximately one month prior to my wedding, I emailed them my guest list).
      X: Well, you didn't send it to us in time.
      E: If the reservations don't open until 2 weeks before the date, and I gave you the list 4 weeks before the date, then you DID in fact have my guest list.
      X: Oh, then it's because you have 37 people and the max is 30 and we are doing you a favor, which is why we are offering you 6 or 9:30.
      E: Again, if you told me this BEFORE I got here, printed out all my information for my welcome bags etc., then we could've made other accommodations and worked around it. But telling us the day before is unacceptable.

      This continued on for about 1 or 2 more minutes before I busted out the supervisor card...

      #1393 yesther

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        Posted 27 March 2010 - 09:46 PM

        E: Can I talk to the Hotel Manager please?
        X: Why?
        E: So we can work this out...having dinner at 6 when not all of our guests are here or at 9:30 when people will be starving are not options that will work.
        X: Well....her name is Lorena (this may be helpful for any brides having problems down there)
        E: Fine, can you please contact her?
        X: She's not here.
        E: (Not sure I am believing this)
        Karen(?): I got a hold of Gabriela....
        E: Perfect.

        So, I discussed this issue with Gabriela and it got resolved. She had a private banquet room (I think the room they use for the Mint Breeze package-ooops, I should've told you that I got the Strawberry Passions package earlier...) and they let us use the Caribbean menu for our welcome dinner. Nice!

        Needless to say, this soured both my husband and me for the rest of our meeting with Xahil. Because I now felt as though Xahil wasn't going to be helpful, I continued to make the final arrangements with Gabriela. We arranged for her to pick up the welcome bags from my room and have housekeeping deliver them as guests arrived. Awesome!

        I then discussed with Gabriela the issue of day passes. We had 4 guests that were staying at another resort, and we wanted to pay for the day passes for them so that they could attend the welcome dinner and the wedding. The day passes are $95 USD per person, but we negotiated them down to $75...double awesome!!!

        During the meeting, I made sure to write down EVERYTHING we discussed on to the contract. The extra flowers, the change of the welcome dinner, the extra layer of cake, the delivery of the welcome bags, the cost of the day passes, EVERYTHING was written on the sheet. Call me anal, but after the first day...I just felt the need to. We even went so far as to tell them we wouldn't pay them for the package until after our wedding, or when we were checking out. In hindsight, we were right to do that b/c we had 2 day passes go unused b/c 2 of our guests didn't make it to the welcome dinner...but we really didn't want to lose our leverage if we had to do some more "negotiating."

        #1394 yesther

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          Posted 27 March 2010 - 09:53 PM

          Now, before you walk away thinking that I am a total crazy person and was a bridezilla, let me tell you this: the whole point for me to having a destination wedding was so that I did NOT have to make all the little decisions. Flowers? Great! What colors? You decide! Seriously, it was like that...I didn't want to do any of those kinds of things, but what I did want, was for our friends and family to be able to spend time together and feel welcomed, so the only things I was concerned about was the welcome dinner and the reception.

          Oh! That reminds me! When we were going over the wedding locations, she had us down for both the wedding ceremony and the reception to be on the beach. We NEVER discussed it. In all the emails I have between myself and Gabriela, we never once discussed wedding locations, and the email I got before I left was that we would go over the locations once I arrived.

          Thank goodness I was the only wedding that day, otherwise it could've been bad. I actually never wanted the wedding on the beach, and wasn't completely sold on having the reception on the beach either.... Luckily, since we were the only wedding, we were able to have the gazebo for the ceremony, and the Palermas grill for the Reception.

          OK...now that the drama is behind us, let's move on. The next day, Thursday, Gabriela came over with her golf cart and picked up all the welcome bags. They were delivered to the guests around 6:30-7p.m. the day they arrived. I actually thought it was perfect, as it gave guests time to check in, go eat, go to the beach, then come back to get ready for dinner....perfect!

          On Thursday, my husband and I went into Playa, picked up maracas (for someone's awesome "shake for a kiss" idea), went to Wal-mart for last minute stuffers for our welcome bags, and then returned back to the resort.

          After that, we didn't have any wedding related things until the night of the welcome dinner. We had the dinner in Tule 1 in the Lobby building, and it was GREAT.

          #1395 yesther

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            Posted 27 March 2010 - 10:04 PM

            They had the music playing in the background, I said some words, we had SUPER awesome servers, and dinner started. We had the shrimp appetizer, lobster soup, salmon with risotto, and creme brulee for dessert. All of it was good. Some of the stuff came out a little cold, but there weren't really any complaints. Seriously, the staff was AMAZING. They were so nice, soooo accommodating, and overall just super.

            After that, we took the party to the Caray bar...it seemed to be our spot for our hanging out. It was easy to get to, an easy place to find people, there is a ton of seating indoors and along the wrap around porch, and the staff there is also nice.

            The day of the wedding, i got my nails done at 10 a.m. After that, Nancy did my hair. If you can request anyone, I would HIGHLY recommend Nancy. She was spectacular! I had three smallish grainy printouts of styles I liked, and she gave me her opinions, her suggestions, and then turned my hair into this amazing style. Gorgeous. I was telling my friends that if I could afford to, I would have Nancy style my hair for EVERYTHING!

            Xahil came in to check on me during my appointment, and she showed me my bouquet. GORGEOUS!!!! It turned out so well! All of Xahil's suggestions in re flowers were right on, and I told her so! She had great floral recommendations!

            I didn't use my make-up appointment and was going to give it to my mom, but she wanted her hair done instead...so, I asked the guy at the front desk if I could pay the difference between the cost of the two things and have her get the hair done. He said absolutely not. Hmm.....what to do? Waste the make-up appt and pay for my mom to get her hair done? I thought, what the heck....I'll call Xahil and see if she could do anything.

            Sure enough, she pulled through. She spoke with him for a minute, then he went ahead and charged me the difference. Great! Afterwards, Xahil picked me up in the cart, then we headed back to the room.

            I got my makeup done, and we arranged with Xahil a pick up time for her to come and get me for pictures. We decided to do pictures before the ceremony so we met at the Lobby. I'm so glad we decided to do it this way, it just made the flow of the whole day better, IMO.

            After that, we parted ways for the ceremony...Xahil was AWESOME. I had paper cones that I wanted filled with flower petals for people to throw, and she made sure all the guests had one. She also made sure to keep random guests away from the line of pictures, and kept random busy bodies at bay. It was great.

            Also, we did a Christian ceremony, and the pastor we had was SPECTACULAR! (I need to stop using caps so much!) He was sooo great. Everything he did was smooth, he moved us around, he guided us perfectly, it was like he thought of all the little things we never would've thought of. For example, during the vows, instead of saying them into the mic and then having us repeat them, he would whisper them into our ears while holding the mic in front of us. See, the little things! He was sooo great that I am going to send him a thank you card.

            After the ceremony, we took more pictures, had our champagne toast, and then headed up to the Caray bar for some drinks before the reception. I had thought about doing a cocktail hour, but it ended up working out that we didn't. Everyone of my family and friends that were there are sooo chill and relaxed that they could've hung out anywhere. Like I said earlier, the Caray bar seemed to be our bar of choice, so we had some drinks there then headed over the Palermas Grill.

            #1396 yesther

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              Posted 27 March 2010 - 10:11 PM

              It was SUPER windy that night, but it was still great. We had our own music (via Ipod and CDs) and then we had dinner. We did the shrimp appetizer, chicken and lemon soup, the surf and turf and then the molten chocolate cake. I know people had some complaints about the meat for their surf and turf, but we LOVED our meal. The lobster was a good size, the meat was being cooked on the grill and we had it all medium....pink in the middle but not bloody. Honestly, it was the best meal I had at the resort. Again, service was FANTASTIC. The main server there was so attentive to adult and child guests (which I absolutely adore!). There were extra plates of fries given to the kids, and they ate them all up!

              Because the wind was so strong, we decided to leave the Palermas grill and head to...you know where, the Caray bar! Ha ha! Do you see the pattern here?! We took our music with us, they let us play it on the CD player there, they brought us our cake, and we stayed there the rest of the night.

              My husband and I aren't wild going out dancing kind of people, more loungey types, so it was perfect for us. We may have had friends bust out their piano skills, have an impromptu sing along of oddly enough, Bryan Adam songs, and may have taken up the whole bar, but no one complained and we all had a great time.

              So, all in all, the wedding was SPECTACULAR! I do not regret having my wedding there for one minute and despite our minor hurdles with Xahil in the beginning, it all worked out. We had our breakfast in bed the next day, our massages the day we left, and we left happy and married! It was perfect!

              #1397 yesther

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                Posted 27 March 2010 - 10:19 PM

                Sorry for my uber long posts, but here are my helpful tips for all the future Barcelo Brides:
                1. There is a feather bed between the mattresses, put it out the first day you arrive...I was told about it on night 4 and wish I would've had it the first night. it's awesome.
                2. Print out all your emails.
                3. Towels: Get them early in the morning. They run out of towels ALL the time. Seriously, we went SIX times in a row and they didn't have towels. It must be like gold...hahaha.
                4. They have these chocolate filled mini croissants. Eat them. You will not regret this.
                5. Fajitas for lunch...cooked to order. It was at the bigger restaurant, it was AWESOME. Everyone's favorite.
                6. Cooked to order omelets. Can you say my heaven? I can! Plus, if you don't find the bacon there, look around the buffet and you will surely find bacon to put in your omelet!
                7. Smoothies in the morning....you choose the ingredients, they whip them up. Yes!
                8. Avoid the Asian restaurant...unless you want to sit there for 3 hours for blah food. The best part was the sushi...but you can get the sushi at the big buffet. It seriously was sooo disappointing. If you want to make reservations for your group, make sure to do it in advance BEFORE you get to the resort, b/c they fill up super fast.
                9. The other non-palace food choices aren't bad, but they don't have as large of a selection as the Palace, so we ate at the Palace all the time.
                10. If you want to do any day trips, go into Play del Carmen and negotiate with the people in town. The tour guides at the resort quoted us $89 for a private van for our family (12 people) and in town we got the same tour for $35 per person). We saved so much money we decided to buy them as a gift to our fam!
                11. Have fun! After our weird first meeting, I walked away second guessing my decision to have the wedding at the Palace. I admit, I got a little bummed, but an hour later, I resolved to not let it affect my mood or my time with my family and friends. After that moment, everything else was awesome. Xahil and Gabriela really came through, and we made sure to let them know that we were so thankful for all their hard work and their efforts. They really know how to throw a party!

                #1398 yesther

                yesther
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                  Posted 27 March 2010 - 10:30 PM

                  Here is a picture of my hair...I LOVED it.

                   

                   

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                  #1399 yesther

                  yesther
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                    Posted 27 March 2010 - 10:32 PM

                    Quote:
                    Originally Posted by yesther
                    Here is a picture of my hair...I LOVED it.
                    ha! I can't even view my own pic, so if anyone knows how to upload it so the image shows, that would be great. Thanks!

                    Also, if you have ANY questions please email me, I'd love to help!

                    #1400 CaraW

                    CaraW
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                      Posted 28 March 2010 - 02:10 AM

                      Wow yesther!! Thank you so much for the long and detailed review. And congratulations!! I'm so glad to hear your day went well. I can't wait to see photos. :)

                      Cara




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