It's long but worth the read.......I have also posted this along with some photos on tripadvisor. Brides to be DO NOT USE SMILE MARKET!! Our Wedding and Honeymoonâ€ Pending review
I have taken awhile to write my review because there are so many positives about Le Blanc and the vendors we dealt with I didn't want the negative things that happened to make the good part look any less. So before I begin, if anyone has any questions please feel free to contact me. Our wedding was March 3, 2012 and we stayed at Le Blanc for 9 days.
A+++++ Marcie from Beach Bum Vacation. Can't say enough about her! She is not the typical "travel agent". She is with you from beginning to end for all of the planning! The decision to have her as our agent for our wedding and honeymoon I think really made things that much easier. You have someone on your side, looking out for your best interest at all times. I have dealt with other travel agents that once you book with them, they receive their payment and you don't hear from them. Marcie always responded to calls or emails in a VERY timely manner, even when it was something small that could wait. She puts YOU first every step of the way and when/if something goes wrong....SHE'S ON IT!!! More about that later on.
We opted for the 9 days at Le Blanc with 2,000 resort credit and the complimentary wedding. We were not having any guests attend and this was going to be a very intimate and special wedding. We dealt with Janessa from Le Blancs Miami office (she gets a C-). She had given me the details and choices of the wedding and prices for add ons. My advice, do not deal with the Miami office, just deal with your travel agent and onsite wedding coordinator. Janessa at times didn't respond in a timely manner, had incorrect information and wanted to charge for every little thing. She also wasn't the most personable...you could tell she was in sales and that's what it was about. Sandra our Wedding Coordinator was much more helpful with the planning, personable and helped add our personality to the wedding. I don't want to bog everything down about the wedding so if I miss anything, again feel free to ask since I know there's not many wedding reviews on Le Blanc on the web. Before we dealt with Sandra another woman by the name of Yesina was helping us, she wasn't that great and not sure what happened to her. Sandra with the help of our fantastic Marcie from Beach Bum helped us choose all of our details (flowers, cake, music, etc) I spent months picking everything out and when I got on the plane to leave I was very confident it was going to be smooth and easy. Sandra had also put me in contact with Clarissa (Spa Manager at Le Blanc) and Adriana (Smile Market for Photography). More on them to follow. I wasn't able to burn a CD for our ceremony music and Sandra went out of her way to download and make the CD for us, free of charge. NOTE: Janessa wanted to charge us a few hundred dollars to do this.
D- Clarissa (Spa Manager) at the Le Blancs Spa - Before we left I had planned my hair and make up with Minierva at the spa for the big day - I HIGHLY RECOMMEND HER A++ she did a wonderful job and is a very sweet woman. Anyway, I planned through Clarissa (Sandra was copied on every aspect of the planning) on the day of the wedding I would get my hair and make up done and then go back to the room to meet my photographer and get dressed. My husband to be would go to the spa, do the hydrotherapy circuit then a massage. We had received permission from Clarissa and Sandra that our other photographer would meet my husband there and they would take getting ready pics of him at the spa. This is where things started to go wrong.... all I wanted for my husband to be was a stress free day getting ready with some great unique pics...there were issues right from when we walked in to check in, Clarissa had not notified anyone that we were OK'd to have our photographer to take photos of him at the spa. The people at the spa would not give him and the photographer 10 minutes in a small private area that a curtain could have been dropped and everyones privacy would have been respected. My photographer was awesome! He rolled with the punches and took great photos - more on Lincoln from Moments that Matter in a little bit.
Also, during the planning process Janessa and Sandra had put me in contact with Adriana from Smile Market. Adriana is all about selling, and really doesn't care about what you want or how you want it. Side note - I used to work for a photographer and am VERY into photography and video - this was VERY important to me and everyone involved was well aware of this. I was doing my research comparing Smile Market with other photographers - I had inquired about cenote TTD photo shoot. Not only did Adriana pull alot of nonesense and danced around she wanted to charge a unheard of price! I know this because they wanted to charge more than any of the other photographers I had inquired with. I contacted and interviewed at least 20 photographers based in the Cancun area before decideing on Moments that Matter. Adriana was very pushy but something kept telling me not to book with Smile Market for the photography. THANK GOD I DIDN'T!!! Although the packages offered do look very appealing, their photos weren't up to my standards, the customer service was terrible and the prices were just too much. To this day, I regret hiring Smile Market to video our wedding....more to come on this but they get a BIG FAT FAIL!!! DO NOT HIRE SMILE MARKET FOR YOUR WEDDING YOU WILL BE STRESSED OUT AND DISAPPOINTED! I ended up going with Lincoln from Moments that Matter who ended up being the 2nd photographer I looked into LOL! And I went with Adrianas promises of a great price, great professional video from Smile Market (I have lots of emails saved to prove that Smile Market is totally not professional in the least bit). I also feel Le Blanc should set their standards to just as high as everything else they do, Le Blancs name is trusted and Smile Market also claims they are a Kodak company, they are NOT, they just use Kodak cameras. Once I finally pinned Adriana down to a price on the cenote shoot she then went on to tell me she couldn't promise that the day we arrived we would get it. Obviously she should have been honest and said, we don't offer that or our photographers don't do that....she did not. She was not honest and this wasn't going to be the last time she lies.
More on this to follow....
Day of the wedding: We woke up to a great breakfast (Our ceremony was going to be at 4 - a few hours before sunset everything was timed and confirmed more than twice with everyone involved) We relaxed a bit then made our way to the spa, I already wrote about the issues of dealing with Clarissa and the spa for my husband. The salon was perfect, Minerva is wonderful. I work in a high end spa/salon here in NY and my friends/stylists had done a trial with me so I showed Minerva the photos of how I wanted my hair done, brought some of my own make up and she worked her magic - couldn't be happier with her. One small negative - they don't have disposable wands for the mascare so bring your own.
Photography - Lincoln from Moments that Matter and his assistant Nai - were A++ all the way and then some! PERFECT! They showed up early to scope out Le Blanc and Lincoln met my husband at the spa to take photos - Lincoln took charge, rolled with the unprofessionalism of Clarissa not making arrangements for him and still got great shots. I am not disappointed in the least bit of the photos, I am disappointed in my husbands experience at the spa. It was tacky and not nice. He was not treated special or like a groom at all, just like another guest at the resort. I made my way up to the room.....
Side note: Our butlers Mario and Miguel were fantastic and always a step ahead of everything for the most part. When we arrived at the hotel we handed my wedding dress and husbands suit to be steamed. I left detailed instructions to ONLY steam the dress for minor wrinkles. I had brought a cute hanger for my dress to be put on photos and was told no problem. When I arrived at the room my dress was laying on the bed in the dry cleaning plastic bag (No BIG DEAL). I had time till Nai my photographer showed and Sandra was meeting me in my room to help me get dressed, bring my flowers and zip me up. I carefully took my dress out of the bag and placed it on the hanger then I noticed my dress had pulls and it was shrunk! They cleaned my dress instead of just doing a quick steam (And wanted to charge me over 100 bucks for it!). I called my butler into the room to show him, he was speachless and told me they send it out. I was not informed of this, if I was I would have brought my own travel steamer and did it myself. Nothing I could do at this point and wasnt going to let anything ruin the day, so lets just roll with it now. Nai showed up a little early and we got to work she was so pleasant and really made me feel comfortable, she went above and beyond helping me. Sandra never showed up to help me with my dress, or give me the flowers so I could take pics until a little after 4 O'clock - ceremony was to start at 4 Oclock! Flowers looked a little off but still no big deal, lets roll with it. Nai helped me get dressed and I had to literally SQUEEZE into my dress due to it being shrunk (note, I tried my dress on 2 days before we left - it fit just fine!). My dress was strapless so ladies, you know what happens when the dress is too tight - back fat! Nai was great, she kept an eye on me the whole time tucking me and letting me know when I needed to adjust since now my bra was sliding out of the top of my shrunk dress. She really stepped in and helped! Sandra finally shows, after I had called downstairs and was told she would be up soon cause she was with my husband - I called my husband, she wasn't with him? Still never got an answer to that. But today was going to be a great day! No matter what and I laughed it all off. We finished up our photos and started downstairs to the gazebo (note if your having more than an intimate small wedding choose one of the other locations at Le Blanc - it's much smaller than it looks) There's no aisle to walk really. The music started, butterflies hit my belly and I started the walk, it was very windy but we were ok with that - again, nothing you can do about that. I made it to the alter, shook the ministers hand and then that's when I noticed my videographer from SMILE MARKET WAS A NO SHOW! Not only did they not show, no one noticed they weren't there - not even my wedding coordinator. After all the confirmations and promises with Adriana from Smile Market they just didn't show. I looked over at Sandra and said where are they? She looked mortified and said don't worry. Because our wedding was just the two of us the photos and video really meant alot so we could show our parents, families and friends when we got home. NO VIDEO what so ever of our ceremony, no exchange of vows, not the silly whispers when we met at the alter or the reaction on my husbands face when he saw me walking towards him....they will live in my memory and photos but NO VIDEO! Lincoln our photographer was there the whole time shooting away, he realized what was going on and took over - THANK GOD FOR HIM! Sandra panicked and stopped directing us as to where to walk or go. We went on to our photo shoot (We had to move quickly cause of the timing we had enough of time before sunset but Sandra had not come to my room on time, the video didn't show and all set us back). Off to the beach we went....what an amazing experience we laughed the whole time! Our photos truly show our love and the fun and emotion of the day! My only regret is that I didn't spring and hire Lincoln to come earlier and have him with us the entire day. After the beach we made our way around the grounds then the pool....it all went great!!! About 5 minutes AFTER our ceremony Sandra informs me that she called our videographer and he told her there was a car accident. I used to work for a photographer - you always have a back up plan. They didn't!!! About 10 minutes later, Sandra says I would like you to meet our videographer from Smile Market he is going to video your photo shoot free of charge. Big deal! At this point we could care less and were disgusted with them. The nerve to say free of charge....it better be! They weren't videoing what we were paying for our contracted to have. Again, we rolled with the punches and hada great day anyway but the bottom line no matter what anyone tried to do I don't have my wedding video to have for years to come. Lincoln was so good, he stayed late at no additional charge and did a slideshow to music for us so we had something to bring home with us...he had the slideshow up before we left Mexico.
After the wedding we went up to our room to get changed for our dinner on the beach (Lobster and steak that we were using part of our resort credit for). Sandra notified us that because of the wind it would be inside at the international buffet. They had a table set up for us next to the sliding doors - the food was great but made no extra special touches that it was our wedding things went wrong and tried to make up for it. When we were up to the room, I emailed Marcie from Beach Bum - she was on it and horrified and just as upset as us, she was going to get involved. She told me to please enjoy your night and she would take care of things, and she did.
When we arrived back from dinner our room was cleaned perfectly as it was every night and our jacuzzi tub was set with rose petals, champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. Overall I married my bestfriend in Mexico - how could it be bad? Looking back at it - I don't have my video, Smile Market dropped the ball and so did Sandra Le Blancs wedding coordinator. My dress was shrunk (
The next day we were approached a few times by various managers apologizing and saying they would make it up to us. My husband put it very well to them....we are not snobs and know that no one is perfect - we didn't want perfect. We just wanted our 20 min ceremony to be perfect. The bottom line is, my wife is going home without a video. We were approached a few times, rehashing it and it just got me upset I finally walked away and let my husband handle it. We paid so much in time and money planning this how could something so simple and routine go wrong? I did receive an email from Adriana after that basically lieing saying that there was not a car accident but that there was an issue with the equipment. It's a long story but the bottom line is Smile Market screwed up and put it all on Le Blanc to handle the aftermath. Even when I got home and emailed them I got a short, cold apology. They did Nothing to accomodate us. Le Blanc went above and beyond to try to make it up to us and gave us a honeymoon that you only see in Disney movies. A few nights later Ceasar one of the managers told us to be ready for dinner and our butler would get us for a surprise. We were escorted out to the grass gazebos all lit up for a private dinner with our own private wait staff and viewing of the video Smile Market took on a huge outdoor screen. The dinner was great. The video was mediocre at best, you can tell he just followed my photographer shooting nonstop then they did a rush edit job. Marcie was still doing follow up emails to find out what went wrong to ensure this doesn't happen again but seems people were dodging her, I'm sure she gave them hell and I know she really helped us while we were there! The whole Beach Bum team got involved! My photographer did a better slideshow...but hey! Le Blanc really did try to make things right. They also upgraded our spa appt that we were using our resort credit for and didn't charge us but then again, it was a resort credit so anyway you see it....we paid for it one way or another.Over a month later I still have not received a sinciere apology from Smile Market or any answers as to why this happened and why adriana lied to me and made it seem like Sandra was lieing. Andreas Schmidt the general manager of Le Blanc met us at our dinner to give us his sincere apology and shake our hands. He is a busy man and took the time to come see us, that meant alot to us! The rest of the honeymoon was great! The weather was choppy at times but we kept busy with our relaxing and honeymooning....onto Le Blancs review:
Every positive thing said about the resort here on tripadvisor is right on. Food A++, Drinks A++, Resort is clean, the service is the best I have ever seen with sincere smiles, please tip everyone that deserves it they all work so hard! The pools, beach and grounds were spotless at all times, everyone tries to be step ahead of your needs and doesn't want you to lift a finger. I do agree with posts that the constant spa music for 9 days got to be a bit too much and the entertainment pool needs a little more upbeat, modern music. I would totally recommend Le Blanc for a honeymoon spot but unless they work out something where you don't have to spend an extra arm and a leg to bring in your own photographerin - yes the resort charges if you don't use Smile Market. I wouldn't chance using Smile Market (Le Blancs prefered vendor -even their customer service isn't up to Le Blanc standards). The minister they had do our ceremony was also GREAT!
Conclusion - Upon leaving Le Blanc, We were treated great for the most part although at times felt like we were looked at like the problem child even tho the issues that went on weren't our fault. When we went to check out they actually gave us a bill but my husband asked for a manager and it was taken care of. They try to charge us for the cleaning of our clothes for the wedding and a bottle of wine at our special beach dinner that was held in the buffet....Cesar the manager took care of it. Mr Schmidt met us, shook our hands and invited us to come back for a few compd nights at any Palace Resort within a year. But like my husband said, no matter what or how beautiful I still don't have my video. Would I go back to Le Blanc for a vacation or for a honeymoon - Sure! Other than the day of the wedding mishaps it was almost perfect! Will we use the compd nights? Since it's only good for within the year, not sure but we are going to try. If we do make it back we are calling Marcie from Beach Bum to help us out and making an appointment with Lincoln to do another fun shoot! In the meantime we have already discussed trying to do a small family getaway and Marcie is now part of our family and our forever travel agent! This is a very long review and I could have gone into even more details, if you would like to inquire about my experience with Smile Market I have all the documentation saved on how they dropped the ball and don't mind sharing it, please feel free to contact me.
Marcie at Beach Bum - firstname.lastname@example.org
Lincoln at Moments that Matter - email@example.com
Tips: Governers suite was amazing, coconut martinis to die for, all the wait staff at breakfast are great! Ocean view is the way to go! Confirm and re-confirm any plans made at the spa or anything special. Yes, we smoked cigarettes and were respectful of non-smokers with no issues, bring your ipad with some music, room service is just as good as the restaurants - even the service. Private transfers were amazing - 20 min from the airport. Overall my travel agent did an amazing job! Smile Market was a great disappointment. Le Blanc is everything all of the reviews say it is.