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Everything posted by taylorwd

  1. I’m so excited to do this review and put a good word out there for this resort!! There aren’t many reviews of AB on BDW because the resort is small and does no more than one wedding a day. The ones that do exist are older and possibly outdated. Let me just say that this hotel fit the bill for what we were looking for in every way! We wanted: a boutique-style, intimate resort (AB is only 98 rooms) gourmet food 5-star service a real beach a wedding location not on the sand kid friendly FYI, most of the pictures of the resort on Karisma's website are extremely old from when the resort first opened. A lot of beach beds and foliage have been added and the palm trees are full grown. We were surprised (in a good way) to see the resort had been filled in and in no way looked sparse. Pre-Wedding Planning: DestinationWeddings.com- B: Our TA was through DW.com, and there are a lot of mixed reviews about them on here. I’ve put in my two cents on them elsewhere, so I’ll keep it brief here. We certainly had our ups and downs with using them, and our TA caused us trouble at times by giving misinformation or mixing things up. However, when things got bumpy with Karisma, it was helpful to have our TA fighting for us. Lomas Travel- F: We only used Lomas to book our transportation to and from the airport. Transport was already included for us through American Express, but we wanted private transport and Lomas had the better deal. What a mistake!! Our flight into Cancun was delayed by 3 hours and when we finally got there, they didn’t have a car for us. We waited for 20 minutes in the pouring rain, and when no car came, they finally just paid for us to take a cab to the hotel. The group van that left 10 min. before we did pulled up to AB right before us, so we would have just been better to stick with shared transportation. We’re still waiting to find out if they’ll give us any of our $$ back. Miami WC- C: All wedding planning for any Karisma resort is done through their Miami office. They then send all your info to the onsite team right before you go. Unfortunately, this means that you have NO CONTACT with the onsite team until you get down there. We had two different WC's: the first was terrible and gets an F, the second was awesome and gets an A. I've heard this said many times but it's true: If you can hack it with the Miami office and know going in that they are a pain in the *** to work with, it will all be worth it once you get to the resort! Okay, on to the good stuff!! Azul Beach Overall- A++++++++ Would we have our wedding their again? In a heartbeat!!! We cannot imagine our guests having a better experience anywhere else! Some have already written letters to the resort expressing their gratitude for the wonderful, customers-get-whatever-they-want experience! Customer Service- A+++ Every single person at this resort went above and beyond to accommodate us and our guests. From the moment we checked in we knew we were in good hands. Because the resort is so small, much of the staff knew us after just a couple days. The servers, the beach butlers, the concierge, the front desk, the room service people, everyone was incredibly nice and helpful. Our guests couldn't stop commenting on how great the staff was. Just a couple examples of the great service: This was completely our fault for not using the safe, but we had money taken from our wallets the second day we were there. They were sitting on the desk in the room in plain view of the maid. It was a lot of money and the resort was under no obligation to do anything about it b/c it was truly our fault. They ended up giving us a choice of either getting the money back in cash or giving us resort credit to use during our stay! They found out who it was and let them go, and we had ZERO problems with anything after that. My sister wanted to do a bridal luncheon for me and to accommodate us, they set up and decorated one of the restaurants and left it open just for us after it was supposed to have closed down after lunch. I posted some pictures below. We wanted each guest to receive a program and itinerary at check-in. The Miami team said we couldn't do that and that the programs could only be delivered to the rooms (for which we would be charged a per-room fee). Once we got there, the front desk willingly agreed to hand them out for us as people arrived. No questions, no problems. There was a beach BBQ one day and we were going to miss it b/c we were going out snorkeling. One of the beach butlers offered to keep plates of food for us until we got back. We wanted to do the Couple’s Moonlit Massage. Since they don’t schedule a massage to start after 6pm and the sun in April doesn’t set until 7pm, our massages would have been in daylight. To accommodate us they kept two masseuses on staff until 8pm so that we could have a true moonlight massage. It comes complete with strawberries and champagne when you’re finished—it was one of the best Swedish massages I’ve ever had! My bridal luncheon in Chil All-Inclusive- A+++ At AB, the AI includes everything but spa services and wine by the bottle. All premium liquors, the mini bar in the rooms (restocked daily, btw), 24 hour room service, the beach BBQs, the fish fry—all included. I can't tell you how many times we had champagne delivered to our room! Food/Restaurants- A+++ I've never eaten so well on vacation! As the hotel states, it really is gourmet-inclusive. The restaurants are all a la carte. The only time there is a buffet is during breakfast, and you have a choice between ordering off the menu or going to the buffet. The resort was at capacity while we were there but we never had to wait for a table. Ambiance- A+++ Being such a small resort, you would think it might feel crowded, but absolutely not! The grounds are spacious and well-maintained. There's foliage and flowers everywhere. Soft music plays as you walk around the grounds. You really feel like you're in your own quiet, intimate space. The resort is divided into two different sections by room type: the Deluxe half (the better rooms) and the Superior half. In terms of ambiance, the Deluxe side has more space, is more lush and has a lot more palm trees. I've posted pictures below, but it's not the best one of the Superior area (I was really trying to take a picture of Chil, the Mexican restaurant). On the Superior side, the rooms are closer together with plainer facades. Superior Side Deluxe Side Rooms- B We all had Deluxe rooms, so I can't speak for the Superiors. The resort claims that all the Deluxe rooms are the same size, but I would have to disagree. We were in a center room, and ours was definitely larger than the rest of our guests who were on the ends. Our only complaint is that there's no tub in the rooms. I really wanted the resort we stayed at to have jacuzzi tubs, but AB had everything else we were looking for so I let that go. Our room was spacious and clean—no complaints other than not having a tub, but we knew that going in. Oh, and every room at the resort has a view of the ocean, so there's not a bad seat in the house! Pools- B: There are 3 pools at AB, all very small. But, just like not having a tub in the room, we knew this going in. We never had a problem getting a lounge chair and the pool butlers are incredibly nice and attentive. Except for the kids’ pool, the other two are relatively quiet and empty—very pleasant! Most guests are on the beach. Beach- A: What the resort lacks in pools it makes up for in beach! It's a beautiful stretch of sand, often not crowded at all. You can snorkel right off the beach. There's hardly ever people walking down the beach from other resorts since AB is a bit off the beaten path. There aren't any large resorts next to it. Since there were huge storms while we were there, quite a bit of seaweed rolled in. However, the resort was always quick to clean it up and we never had any problems. Nightlife- B: The resort is very quiet at night, and for us this was perfect. If you're looking for dancing, then AB is not for you. There's nightly entertainment in the Aquanox Bar (pool bar) until 11pm. After that most people head to the Agavero Lounge (tequila bar). Officially they close at 1am but they'll be happy to stay open longer if you're in there having a good time. The Agavero Lounge is definitely where things are most likely to get rowdy. Kids' Services- A+ This resort does so much for families! Basically you don't need to bring anything with you b/c they've got it all—cribs, playpens, strollers, changing tables, toys. They even serve Gerber baby food in the La Mancha snack bar! Every day they had something different going on for the kids: painting pottery, making personal pizzas, etc. More to come...
  2. Hi ladies! Â Just wanted to share this find. Premier Designs has a matching starfish ring and necklace. I haven't seen them in person, only came across them in the recent catalog. The description says: Â Rhodium plated cubic zirconias. Ring is item # 1603 ($48). Necklace is 16" with a 2" extender, item # 20101 ($54) Â I love Premier jewelry and wish these were around when I got married. I love it that the ring is fairly petite as so many out there are too large for my taste. Â If you don't already know a Premier rep, you can look one up on their website. Sometimes I can find their stuff on ebay, too. Â http://www.premierdesigns.com/ Â
  3. I'm a Maybe. It all depends on who the vendors are at the resort. If they're good then it's not a problem. However, in our case we were very underwhelmed with the resort photography choices, so we paid a fee to bring someone in from the outside. Had we not been able to, it would have been a deal breaker.
  4. I can’t believe my time is finally here! More importantly, I can’t believe I’m finding the time to do this right before I go! This forum and all you ladies have been so inspirational that I feel I should give back to all the up and coming brides. Thank you to everyone who gave me such great ideas! I apologize if I don’t thank you personally…I can’t possibly remember where everything came from! Let me start off by saying that I am NOT a DIYer when it comes to my wedding planning! Settling on details has been hard enough, let alone finding the energy to actually make things. I don’t know how all you girls do it! Truly inspiring. We’re having a small family-only wedding with a private reception, and our official colors are coral and magenta. Attire My dress: Paloma Blanca. Half price, off the rack and it fit! Sorry, I can’t post pictures of it directly from the website. If you can’t open the attachment you find it on their website and searching style # 3912. (See attachment at bottom) FI’s linen suit. Calvin Klein, off-white, that we got on sale at Men’s Wearhouse at the end of last season ($129). FI’s shirt. Light pink/white striped from Men’s Wearhouse ($59) My shoes: I was adamant about having wedges. I don’t want to sink in the sand or grass (we’re getting married on grass). Wedding Shoes & Prom Shoes at Discount Wedding Shoes.com My jewelry: I wanted very simple pearl jewelry. The earrings and bracelet are from Macy’s and the pearl hair vine is from Etsy, made by the seller ‘handwired’ Flower Girl dresses: Ivory satin with a coral sash Flower Girl Dresses, Flower Girl Dress, First Communion Dresses - Pink Princess More to come... Paloma Blanca wedding dress.doc
  5. I did know about it but quickly wrote it off because we couldn't afford it. Since it's right next door to AB, we made sure to get a tour of it while we were there and were blown away with just how fabulous it is in person! I think you'll be the first bride on BDW to have a wedding there, and I can't wait to see your pictures!!
  6. Less is More, I'm so so so happy for you!!!! I've been awaiting your return to hear how it all turned out. I was secretly wishing to myself that after moving you to AB, they would then move you over to the Villa because it is so fabulous. YAY for you!!!! Many congratulations!
  7. Holy ****!!! I just read that this happened to another bride on here who's wedding is 8 days away. I'm not on here much anymore but when I saw this I thought of you and wanted to check in. PM me and we can talk AB details!! This is a terrible thing to do to you, but know that you'll be well taken care of at AB and you'll have a fabulous wedding day. That's a promise!
  8. Fab job, Miriam!!! You really pulled off a beautiful wedding and did a great job incorporating your colors into every detail. I LOVE the guitars!!! And right back at ya for the dress
  9. Ours was on the Blue Terrace, and it's the perfect place if you can get it! It's outside but covered with plenty of space for tables, dancing, a lounge area if you wanted it, pretty much anything. There are restrictions on using it depending on how many guests you have. Good luck!
  10. Hi Kerry, You should pop on over to the Azul Sensatori thread and ask this question. Tons of current and past brides are using/have used the DJ. http://www.bestdestinationwedding.com/forum/thread/23412/azul-sensatori-brides-post-here/11560
  11. taylorwd

    Honeymoon in Maui - Hotel Help

    The Grand Wailea is really nice, as well.
  12. Many congratulations on your upcoming wedding!!! This is a FANTASTIC journal. I love your flowers, gifts, and the way you're incorporating a tradition from Cambodia is too sweet. Nice job and I can't wait to see pics upon your return!
  13. I feel so privileged to be doing this review on BDW since I’m Andrew’s first bride from this forum. He’s an established wedding photographer in Cleveland, OH, with a handful of DWs under his belt. Now that his family has a house in Puerto Morelos, he’s looking to grow his business to include the Riviera Maya. We feel like we stumbled upon such a gem with Andrew. If you haven’t already peeked at our pro pics then now's your chance!! andrew jordan photography I know I’m biased because they’re my pictures, but the comments we’ve been getting from other people are things like, “Wow, you look like you belong in a magazine!†and “You need to submit those to the dress designer!†By hiring Andrew, we knew we’d walk away with one-of-a-kind pictures, though even we were caught off guard at just how great ours turned out. There’s absolutely nothing cookie-cutter or ordinary about them. To start, we found each other on this forum, and as soon as DH and I looked at his online portfolio, we knew we wanted to hire him. His style is unique, creative, casual (not overly processed), and beautiful! Having good chemistry with your photographer is so important, and we clicked from the start. He’s easy to work with and talk to, is great at giving direction, is professional, confident, and really makes you feel like you’re the only couple he’s working with. Even when we communicate through just email or on the phone, I feel like we’ve got his attention 100%. You’d never know he’s got a booked schedule. Prior to the wedding he could not have been more helpful. He took a couple trips down there between when we booked him and our wedding, and each time he offered to scope out local restaurants for our group and great locations for our day-after shoot. He even did a site visit to the resort to check it out for us since we were going down site-unseen. Once we were all in Mexico, he came by Azul Beach a few days before the wedding so we could meet and walk through the resort together. The night before the wedding we took our guests into Puerto Morelos for dinner, and as luck would have it, Andrew happened to be having dinner there too! With no prompting from us he picked up his camera and started shooting. We ended up with great pictures of us wrestling Nacho Libre-style in the restaurant (that was the theme of the restaurant)! Priceless! The day of the wedding he showed up an hour before I even started my hair and makeup and stayed until our reception ended. He got the most amazing pictures and yet we never even knew he was there! Our family kept complimenting us on how well he gelled with our group. We did give him a list of group shots we wanted taken, but other than that we let him do his thing. And we’re glad we did because we never could have dreamed up what he came up with! Our package also included a shoot the day after the wedding. Andrew picked us up in a car he’d rented and drove us all over Puerto Morelos, both in town and on remote stretches of beach. He has such a creative eye and the pictures from that day are breathtaking! Our proofs were ready just a few days after we got back from Mexico. Our package also included a coffee table book, and that proof was ready about a week after the online proofs were up. He sent us hi-res images of all our photos, and all this within 3 weeks of our wedding! He's really gone above and beyond to make sure we're happy and even retouched some photos for me beyond the standard post-production retouches. Thank you, Andrew, for being the best wedding-related decision we made!
  14. I'm pretty sure it's open as a hotel now. I just checked Karisma's website and I'm able to book a reservation. You're probably having trouble finding much info because it's so new. If it helps you decide, all the other Karisma resorts are top notch!
  15. This book is wonderful! I made a travel book on Blurb a while back and love how it turned out. The quality was really great, so I know your wedding book is going to be amazing when you get it (if you haven't already)!
  16. These prices sound about right. I didn't get cupcakes priced, but I did submit two very simple designs for two-tiered cakes and they came back as quite high, IMO. The prices were similar to these.
  17. YAAAAAAY Meredith!!! I've been anxiously awaiting your return! I'm so glad everything was fabulous. You look GORGEOUS!!!! I love the bling, especially on the cake. And as for Andrew, well I'm grinning as I sit typing this because OF COURSE he took care of you He's so talented and I can't wait to see the pro shots!
  18. I used Zazzle for our stamps and they turned out really great! They were much higher quality than I was expecting. I don't know if it's true for all their products, but our stamps did come with zazzle's website printed on them. The sample I created and ordered didn't show it and while it wasn't a big deal, I would have preferred it weren't there.
  19. I used them and no, my quote did not include airfare. LOVE!!! Those were my colors so perhaps I'm a bit biased I think they're perfect!
  20. Meredith, Have a FAB FAB time!!! I know everything's going to be perfect for you! I'm excited to hear all about it and see your pictures!
  21. Ladies, don't get too excited about the possibility of the donkey. The reason he's at weddings right now is because those wedding were booked before he was taken away as an option, and they had to honor those contracts. I don't want you all to get your hopes up if you see recent pictures of the donkey at the resort! Of course maybe if you all ban together they'll bring him back!
  22. Definitely make sure you recheck those day pass prices. That's the price for a normal day, i.e. non-wedding day. Usually if you're having a private event on the property and they're there for your wedding, it could be that you don't have to pay for them at all. After all, you've already paid per head for them to attend your private reception. Karisma policies change frequently, but the last I heard this was the case.