I am under the old contract so some of this may be different for you. First of all do not listen to I Renee. When I met with Jaqueline (sheâ€™s amazing), I had more choices. I had also booked more than 75 room nights under my contract through Palace Resorts. Once you arrive, things will be so much better, I promise! I hope this review helps you. Rooms: I paid for Conceirge (and am going to be reimbursed for that for 7 days, except the $20.00 per night) and we were given an upgrade to the presidential suite when we arrived. That was amazing and big. All the other rooms are pretty much the same and not worth using resort credits to upgrade. Some of our guests wanted to change their rooms and they were very accommodating and did that for them. One said their room smelled bad another had a bad view. All the â€œAâ€ buildings are near the pools/oceans and the â€œBâ€ buildings are near the lobby/restaurants/bars/theatre. If you have children I suggest buildings 7 or 8. If not, I suggest 1-6. I really think any of them are great, depends on what you like to do. Beauty Salon: I did not like the way they did my hair and were really nice and wanted to fix it. (It turned out okay). They used big bobby pins, so it did not hold my thin hair very well. It was blowing all over. I suggest bringing your own bobby pins. I would also suggest getting your manicure/pedicure at home. They did not take all of my prior toe nail polish off and the French only lasted a day. Give yourself enough time!! One thing I regret is that they made the hair appointment. I had my hair done at 1:30 and ceremony at 4. We were not out of there until 3 and then rushed to get ready. If I could change one thing it would be to have our hair appointment at noon. Resort Credit: I highly recommend booking your excursions through Daris Raydelca Rodriguez de Frias at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is amazing and quick to respond. She is located in the wedding department. You will pick up your vouchers that you booked from her for your whole wedding party. We emailed and created an excel sheet for our wedding guests, then emailed that to Daris. It was a lot of work, but I think our guests appreciated it because our friends that waited until arrival were unable to do things with us because it had already been filled up. It also saves people time of not having to wait in line also. We gave her a tip for helping us out. Resort credit shop- full of paintings, statues, and jewelry. I did not buy anything in there. Jewelry is overpriced. Snorkeling: Overall it was okay. I would suggest it if you have never done this before. Bring some bread with you to feed the fish! It is about a 30 minute drive. Snorkeling was about 15-20 minutes. We sat on the boat and couldnâ€™t drink alcohol while people swan with bottom feeding shark and stingrays (those you have to pay extra). They had some dancing entertainment on the bottom level. Bring money if you want to buy anything in the little shops or pictures. Sunset snorkel/booze cruise: Adult only. Same location. I thought this one was better. They make you wait until after we snorkel to drink. This one was longer, like 20-30 minutes of snorkeling. Then we pulled up to a part where we could touch and drank for another 20-30 minutes before we headed back. It was about 2 hours on the actual boat. We left at 3 and got back at 7. Moonrocker: I liked it because we were the only ones who went through mud puddles. I suggest going after it has been raining so you can go through puddles. I would bring goggles because the sunglasses did not protect all the dirt flying in our eyes. You can bring or buy a bandana to cover your mouth and nose. It was neat to see peopleâ€™s homes. We saw little kids waving and I think hoping to get money from you. I wanted to give really badly but did not bring any money with us. The tour guides in town said not to give them money because then they learn not to go to school and they just want to collect money. They said to bring them candy or treats. We also stopped and there was people selling things. You can buy water for $2.00 but just bring your own. Kodak Shots: My friends did this. The pictures came out really nice. Itâ€™s a garden or beach photo session for 30 minutes to an hour and they still had to pay a bunch of money. Spa: was my favorite. We did the romantic couple package. Itâ€™s so relaxing. I read that you would be charged a 20% gratuity on our bill, but none of our wedding party were charged that upon checkout and we felt really bad not leaving a tip. Golf: The boys thought it was beautiful and had a lot of fun. They suggest bringing your own golf balls, so you do not have to buy theirs. If you want to drink heavily bring your own cooler of beer. They still had to rent their golf clubs for $50.00. Horseback riding: This was my first time and I had fun. It was located right on the beach and it was nice. I had fun making my horse move fast. Romantic Dinner: Our guests really enjoyed this. It was located at the Bongo Pool. Since it rained when we went it was located inside Ipanema. We watch people and they were very unhappy. We made the best of it and it was fine. So just be aware of it in case you do when it rains. We used our credits to buy a bottle of wine. The steak was really good and the lobster was just okay. But maybe that is because they had to move all the food back over. Transfers: Hard Rock charges $38.00 round trip per person no matter how many people coming together or $20.00 one way. We used Conexionâ€™s Tours for most of our transfers and worked with Mandy who was awesome. They held a sign for us saying ________ wedding. Their email is email@example.com. You pay when they pick and drop you off. Itâ€™s only worth it if you have 4 or more people arriving/departing at the same time. We created an excel sheet showing everyoneâ€™s arriving day times and departing times. Some people only had to pay 10.00 total for their transfers. Since we booked so many Mandy gave us a free ride back to the airport. DJ: We used DJ Mannia and they werenâ€™t anything special. I gave a list of songs ahead of time to play so they played them all. Photographer: We used HDC and paid the $500 vendor fee. We paid 6 hours for the wedding and did the trash the dress session which was about $2,000 including vendor fee. They took some really nice pictures. We were given a little more than 800 pictures on a CD. I had pictures of a few things I wanted done. I wanted more ocean pictures than what they took for trash the dress. It was a different guy the second time. I then had my friend take pictures of us under the water with camera. Wedding: Food/location: We loved all of our locations. Food was warm and not hot. We didnâ€™t mind because it was so hot out anyways. They had a nice presentation and the WC would come and check on us to make sure everything was okay. We saw a lot of locations and their set up. They all seemed nice. Closer to the ocean the more breeze youâ€™ll get. Welcome party: @ Eclipse Terrace. Renee said it could only be an hour, but they said we could have 2 hours. menu:4 cold: Vegetable crudite with french onion dip (not very good) Assorted cheese and crackers Shrimp cocktail Tuna Niguiri- we were given sushi. People loved the sushi. 4 Hot: Roasted chicken wings with honey and soy sauce- never got this. BBQ ribs- never got this mini beef brochettes- good mini vegetable spring rolls- very good 7-9 Rehearsal Dinner @ Eden Pool: Italian Buffet- lasagna was so good. We got to choose our color napkins for free. 5-6 Wedding Cocktail @ Element Terrace: We missed this because we were taking pictures but this is what we ordered. We also got to choose napkin color for free! I suggest you have the cocktail and reception at same place. It worked out good for us. They gave us free tables for the cocktail party so if you have it at your reception they will leave them there. The con of having it here is that the bathroom is downstairs. It had a really good breeze. The flower petals I had for the tables did not stay on them. The candles did not stay lit. They made us end at 10:30. Hot: 1. Mini vegetable strudel 2. Fried chicken tacos with Jalepeno sauce- very good 3. Chicken satay with peanut and herbs sauce 4. Mussels stuffed with basil herbs and cheese Cold: 1. Tomato and pesto bruschetta 2. Herbal cream cheese canape 3. sushi 4. Lambi ceviche presented in a spoon 6-10:30 Reception: BBQ buffet and it was okay, but we likes the Italian buffet better. You are allowed to substitute 2 items of the main food. So we substituted the pork chops and sausage for Mahi-mahi and turkey breast medallions on the international buffet. 4:00 Ceremony: Palifito Isla with the old wooden complimentary package. The aisles are short, but this was the longest one. We bought our own sashes to put on the back of the chairs. I suggest making a CD and bringing an MP3 player or IPOD. Our wedding planner gave our cd that morning to a guy and he lost it!!! Good thing we had a backup plan, but they were willing to download the songs. Their music system broke down for 10 minutes during the seating. We had 20 minutes of music prepared ahead of time. 1 song was enough for the bridesmaid and groomsmen walking down the aisle. Then a different song for the bride. Neither of the songs had finished. Then we played 2 songs at the end with the champagne toast. I saw the CC set up next to this one. I did not care for it. No wooden walkway and it looked short. Other wedding information: Be careful with matching your colors. Nothing seemed to match the day of the wedding. I said I wanted orange for everything even part of my flowers and they gave me coral with red ribbon (I hated it) and gave them a sample (persimmons) is they could match with it. We tried to change one of their decorations around for our table and got something totally different. Cake you are able to change the color. Of course that does not look orange. Candles do not stay lit. I brought my own chair sashes and had family set it up from the ceremony. com Other tips: Ask the front desk to print off times of restaurants when they are open and give them to your guests. They update it on the boards outside and in the lobby in case of private parties, etcâ€¦ but who wants to look there every day? We would call the front desk prior to dinner.
Bring a lot of one dollar bills.
Pick a location for your guests to hang out with everyone. We chose to meet at the central pool. It seemed to have the entertainment there.
WC there: Jaqueline, Julissa, Daris, Erika were all amazing! They will help make you feel much better about everything. We gave Jaqueline and Daris a tip for making things go smoothly.
Check out with your WC the night before to see what fees you have and have already paid for. This will help you with check out when you leave and let you know what you will be reimbursed for.
Restaurant/bars ORO- Donâ€™t go there. A rip off! I have an email that Jean Carlos stating he was giving me a deal for my bachelorette party that we could get in for free and pay $45 total for 20 of us girls, which I clarified that I was only giving him just 45 for everyone total and he agreed. We waited for 30 minutes for him to arrive and he said it was 45 each for open bar. We paid that and then entered where we found out that it does not include top shelf grey goose drinks!!! They wanted $90.00 for that!!! Not many people were even in the club and they let a bunch of people in for free. So donâ€™t get caught up with paying a fee to get in!!! We left after a few of us ordered drinks and asked for our money back which they asked for us to pay for those ones. They said they were 8-12 drinks.
Ice cream shop- waffle cones are worth the wait. I loved the peanut ice cream. I had 3 ice creams a day!
Sun bar- has Karaoke and a photo booth and that was a lot of fun. That is where we hung out most nights.
Outside beach bar- near building 6a open until 11pm.
Moon lounge- some nights are for just teens, some nights they have a band.
Theatre- We didnâ€™t really care for their nightly shows: Michael Jackson, circus, boogie night, fashion showâ€¦
Mexican Gallo Restaurant was everybodyâ€™s least favorite.
Zen was everybodyâ€™s favorite. I suggest going there!