Wedding was November 26th, 2008
EDR â€“ El Dorado Royale
All Inclusive, Adults Only Resort in Mayan Riviera, Mexico.
Let me preface this by saying, we have travelled a lot and been to several AIâ€™s as well, and EDR by far wins our vote hands down! This sentiment was echoed by many of our guests also, majority of them travelling lots and feeling EDR was their favorite AI to date. In fact, one of my BMâ€™s had been to the Mayan Riviera like 8 times in the past 4 years and she picked EDR as her absolute favorite too. Also, on our flight home I was siting next to someone who married at a child friendly resort and honeymooned at EDR and loved EDR by far more. So, all in all, it was raved about by many!
I must say I was nervous once I chose EDR and then saw the boycott against EDR based on their outside vendor policy â€¦ But Iâ€™m glad I stuck to my first choice! It was a dream come true and honestly, better then I had even imagined.
The review is long and detailed, sorry!!!! IF you are more interested in just seeing some photos, here is a link to some of my non pro pictures (wont get the pros for a month). WEDDINGBELLS Message Board Community: Non Pro Teaser Pics of our Destination Wedding
First I will review the hotel in general. Many girls chose this place as a Honeymoon location and I can understand way. EDR was amazing!
We all found this to be a breeze. Greeted with cool towels when we got off the bus, and champagne when we entered the lobby. Most guests stayed in standard garden view rooms and they found check in to be hassle free. For us Casita folks, we were taken away in a golf cart to the casita section, and for us as well, sign in was easy! One of our guests did not know you could upgrade so once she learnt she could, she upgraded to ocean view and it was no trouble at all. She was very happy with how her request was handled. (put in block one for the ocean view and she loved it!)
Myself , I asked about a free upgrade given it was our wedding, and given we brought so much business with us, but it was not received ... kinda a bummer, but oh well!
Rooms (hotel has two types of rooms, regular rooms and Casitaâ€™s)
As mentioned, most of our guests were in standard rooms, and they LOVED them. They were so romantic and there were so many nice features: the hammocks, the sinks in the washrooms, the cozy beds, and the large jetted tubs to name a few. All our guests appeared happy. In our opinion, in comparison to other resorts we stayed at, given this was the "basic/standard" room ... they were far superior to any other resort we have been to. They were beautiful, and honestly something you would need to upgrade to get at other resorts. We, and our guests, were thrilled by them.
My husband (I love saying that) and I stayed in block 25 ... the oldest of the blocks. We chose this because it was closest to the resort and to all of our guests. We loved our room and were SO HAPPY to be in Block 25, as it was so convenient to get anywhere and for being close to everyone else.
I would say, if your there with a group who are in the main part of the resort, Block 25 is great. If your there for romance and don't mind being a) secluded and walking, the newer ones like block 30 and 31 are nicest. Our uncle was in 30 block and his room was awesome - beautiful! But he felt very secluded.
* Id like to say that neither our guests in regular rooms, or us and our guests in Casitas felt treated different then one another. This was a concern of mine given most guests were in standard rooms and I should not have worried about it at all! Seriously, service was the same for all of us.
I loved the Casita and I think if you can afford it or if you get a good price on doing so, it is worth it. The room was beautiful and we were so so so happy.
OMG, this was amazing. At home, we often eat at higher end, pricey restaurants. When we travel, we only eat at the best rated and reviewed places, cost is not a factor for us .... and I can honestly say, the food here did not disappointed. One of my least favorite things about most all inclusive resorts is the food ... I get sick of it, I hate the same old buffets etc. I was thrilled with all of my meals and found the quality and standard to be great! My guests all loved the food too and commented many times about it. We had guests there for two weeks, who were not sick of it, and myself personally, I wanted to extend my trip in part because I loved the food and wished I could have gone to some places more then once! I was soooo happy with the food. We had guests who are not used to eating fancy, they loved it, we had vegetarian guests, they loved it, and we had some very picky eaters and they loved it - so there is something for everyone.
While the 24 hour room service menu is limited, itâ€™s a nice option to have. We all used it a lot for burger and fries and nachos late at night!
Here are some of our thoughts:
Cocotal - great breakfast, guests loved their dinners there too. Glad our dinner was there for the wedding.
Fuentes - most people were disappointed with this for dinner
Jo Jos - a crowd favorite for dinner (didn't have it for any other meal sadly), Id say most people rated this as their favorite ... service was kinda slow though, but I wanted to go back there for sure!
D'Italia - another crowd favorite and many guests repeated their dinners there! Yumm! I wish I could have went back!
Fondue - While I found it to be okay, given I can make this at home, our guests all LOVED it. They found it very romantic and loved the food.
Kampai - really liked it, sushi is okay quality. The shrimp is so good! Awesome for breakfast and supper, many of our guests repeated this place. I did not hear great reviews for going here for lunch though.
Mexican place - a hidden gem, loved it! SO good!
Health Bar - nice lunches, lots of guests raved about it, I personally thought it was just ok!
Pizza Lunch Place - Soooo good, we all loved it!
Great. Good strength. Could ask for top shelf and got it no problem at all. They had no problem giving TONS of shooters too. Lots of variety of drinks! I wish I had drunk more but I had so much going on with wedding planning, hahaha. Awesome blended drinks.
Really, it is personal opinion. I think the whales (large sand bags filled with sand to help re build the beach) are no big deal. In fact two of the days we were there the waves were massive and you could understand the purpose of them. I have been to resorts where there is a red flag (no swimming in ocean) due to the waves for the majority of the trip and that just sucks! No worry of that here, the "whales" protect the beach making it swimable any time. No you cant frolic in the waves right on the shore, but you can swim outside of them if you really want waves. Our guests LOVED snorkeling right off the beach and said the whales provided awesome snorkel conditions (calm water, and the coolest fish they had seen without going by boat to coral reefs). Some of our guests who like to swim laps, loved that you could "pick a lane" between the whales and do some good ocean swimming! I personally liked jumping off them, climbing on them and having fun! hahaha. I also enjoyed that we could all go sit in the water and hang out casually without being plowed over by the waves.
There are so many pools, none of the felt crowded. We basically took over Fuentes pool. Basically there is the main pool is where everyone goes, and its fun and there is lots going on, but the Fuentes pool plays music (more party pool), and no one really goes there, not sure why ... we had so much fun there!!!! We loved the number of pools, total bonus!!!! I think there are like 14 or something like that! You could be totally private (just go to a Casita pool, each block as a whole one) or see people to mix and mingle at the main pools.
Beds and Lounges
Not as bad as I had expected based on what I read, but again the hotel was only 70% capacity. The main pool, filled up fast. Fuentes, we could always find a bed or lounger. At any casita pool (you donâ€™t have to be a casita guest to use these), you can always find a bed or lounger. The beach, you had to look, but you could always find some! Again, we had a large group and we all always managed to find spots where we wanted and or all group together (so it cant be that bad!!!). Plus, we slept in a lot and often did not try to find loungers till closer to lunch!
I was worried this place would be dead as it is so couple focused. We had many single guests as part of our wedding group. I should not have worried. The night life here was better then the other AI's I have been to. Often there is a "disco" that is lame and no one goes. Here, at Guacamaya's each night it was packed. The shows were lame, but by 11:00 pm things picked up and stayed busy and fun till atleast 2:00 am! We had a great time here. Better then I expected. Great times. Honestly, it is what you make of it - if your having fun, doing some shots, getting up dancing etc., it was a blast! (and no, you dont have to drink to have fun, one of our guests doesn't drink and he even had a blast)!
ON TO THE WEDDING REVIEW!
I was nervous to pick EDR as it meant my guests paid $2,000 per person to come. We had a great turn out though, so people were not too deterred by that. Plus, I want to note, one of my guests has been to two AI weddings this year already and stated she was SO GLAD I asked guests to spend a few hundred more and picked a nicer location (5 star). Again, this may not be the case for everyone, but for her she felt the overall value was great and she was glad to have paid more.
EDR has so many options to choose from for weddings; from ceremony locations, to reception locations, to what you want to do!
I am totally confident in saying, they know what they are doing!
I was nervous, planning a wedding in Mexico, at a resort I had never been to, all the way from Canada. Sometimes the communication is slow, but it all works out!
I kept all of my emails in a folder, in case I had troubles once there, but I did not need them at all!
Basically you plan everything before you go (they have a nice website for you to make choices from with pictures and descriptions), and once there, you meet with the wedding coordinator to plan everything and verify.
My wedding planner changed once, both were awesome. I had Monica and then Carolina. Both were totally attentive and answered all my questions. Again, sometimes it took a while (a few days), but nothing extreme.
EDR has tons of options, and while I was not totally happy with my pick, it was my fault. Flowers are not important to me and I donâ€™t know one type from the next, so I didnâ€™t know what to expect! Haha. I just wish I had spent a bit more and got a bigger bouquet both for myself, but definitely for my bridesmaids.
So yummy! One tier was chocolate and one vanilla. I spent a little more to have it two tiered because cake is important to me. Of course we did not eat it all, but everyone who ate it loved it! They did a nice job of it and the taste was great! I wish I hade eaten more!
EDR has about 12 places to chose from on the resort based on what you want indoor (chaple), ourdoor with lots of trees, beach, a gazebo etc. We picked Gazebo 55. It is at the far end, and there were no sand bags in the pictures. There was also enough room for large wedding groups here. We loved it!!!!
The ceremony was awesome!
The minister did such a good job. My maid of honor said: I fell in love with your minister. She was just so kind and sincere and the ceremony she read was soooo beautiful.
We did a sand ceremony too. I am glad to have included this, and its nice to have brought the product home with us to look at as a memory.
The music was great. I was nervous that the Mexican people who did the music would not really understand how I wanted it â€“ nope, they nailed it! It was perfect from the fade in to the fade out! It is nice they had someone running the music, not just pop in a CD and hope for the best.
As you can see in some photos, the set up was beautiful. I could have paid to have the chairs covered, but I thought, why, the white chairs looked great as is on the beach! I paid about $300 extra to get the colored fabric, colored aisle runner, and those large flowers. I am glad I did as I think it added. Its so nice, you donâ€™t need much for decoration there as the place itself is so beautiful!
I had someone hand out fan programs, and EDR did not mind at all. In fact, they offered to do it for me!
We hired Claudia Rodriguez. While we have not gotten the photos yet, we were thrilled with how she was to work with. My husband hates getting his pictures taken and he even was raving about her. She made us feel so comfortable and was so sweet and kind to work with. I trust the photos will be great. The few she shoed us on the camera were phenomenal, I couldnâ€™t even believe it was of me.
The EDR has a photographer they often work with. I was turned off by their website and seeing as photos were super important to me, I hired Claudia. I did talk to the wedding photographer and looked at his photos while there, and I can honestly say the guy knows what he is doing. He had some great pictures in his portfolio. That said, I am still so glad I used Claudia! LOVED HER!
You could do a private dinner, and pay a price per person etc., and we saw one of these going on and LOVED it! I wish I had the money to have done that!!!! It looked so magical.
I however felt like since it is an AI and we paid already for food, why spend more! Haha. Plus the food there was so good. So I used one of the free locations (choice of El Cocotal or Fuentes). I went with El Cocotal, and I am so glad I did. It is so pretty and so classy there! Amazing really. Food was great. We had EDR set up the flowers from the Ceremony on the tables of the Reception (so saved on more decoration), as well we had them set up candles, place cards and menus for us. It worked great. Food was great and the location was perfect.
Following dinner I did want some sort of a private deal, so we had a place for speeches and dancing etc. So I booked 2 hours private reception at Tuscanes. EDR did a great job of setting it up and the whole thing was breath taking. We had a table for the cake, and we had another table with a chocolate fondue. They set up several high top tables and had placed out signature pink drink on all the tables for our guests to enjoy when the arrived. We did speeches here, cake cutting, first dance and then dancing. We did not pay for a DJ but rather hooked up our IPOD with the pre selected play list we created. It worked perfect!
EDR wait staff took good care of us and eve did some silly things to get everyone involved.
At the end of the night , many people jumped/ were thrown, into the pool! It was a fun way to end the night.
Following all of this, we went to Guacamayas bar, and kept the party going! So fun!
What else can I comment on?!
Dress â€“ loved it â€“ it is Phillipa from Maggie Sottero.
BM Dresses â€“ I ordered them all from Nordstromâ€™s from their Maggie London line. We loved them too.
BM Gifts â€“ we got them Tiffany starfish bracelets. I loved them. They are dainty, unlike the traditional heart of Tiffany which is a bit chunkier, and they are a nice reminder of the wedding week on the beach!
Oh yea â€“ we did one group excursion (optional for guests) â€“ it was called TULUM EXTREME or something like that. It was a full day (about $100 a person) and we went to the ruins at Tulum, then ziplining, then rappelling down this cliff, and snorkeling in a cenote cave. It was a great day and so nice to get a bit of everything.
We also did one group bar excursion (optional for guests) â€“ rented a bus through Lomas to take us to and from Cancun nightclub CoCo Bongo! (from 9 pm to 2:30 am or something like that) This was so fun. The show they put on there was awesome! We had guests of all ages join us and it was enjoyed by all. I was up dancing on the bar with my husbands mother for instance! Haha. It was a total blast! Loved Coco Bongo.
EDR was great
You cant go wrong with picking this place. When I say it was better then I could have even imagined and that it was a dream come true â€“ I mean it! It was PERFECT!
I have no reservation suggesting this place to future brides planning a DW or for honeymooners or just those persons taking a vacation. I know I will be back!