By bigboponthebeach, · 955 Views · 8 Comments
My Azul Sensatori Wedding Experience Review
I want to begin by saying that we had an amazing wedding and we, as well as all of our guests, had a PHENOMENAL time! In hindsight, I spent too much time during the weeks prior to our wedding in planning mode and not enough time “living in the moment” of our potential union celebration. Second, I want to thank all of the past AS brides who shared advice, guidance, and their experiences with me and the rest of this amazing forum thread. I really don’t know what I would have done had I not found this thread and all of the wonderful past AS brides. While there were some occasional snafus, for the most part it was such an amazing experience; we just chopped it all up as life. If you are realistic with yourself and remind yourself that life happens and not everything will be perfect (even your wedding day), you will be prepared to cope with whatever issue might arise with grace and dignity.
And lastly, before you read my review please be prepared for candid honesty. It’s just in my nature and I don’t know how else to write a review (even a wedding venue review), so forgive me. Writing this review was bittersweet for me because I didn’t want to offend or worry any of you; however I felt it would be a disservice (as well as lack integrity), if I wasn’t thorough and honest, hence my lengthy review. So here it is the good and the bad, although the good heavily outweighs the bad! Be prepared, it is a novel…..but if it helps just one bride, it was worth my time. Happy reading and wedding planning!
We booked our wedding through Destinationweddings.com (DW.com). We did not care for our first DW.com Travel Agent (TA) because we felt heavily and unreasonably pressured by her to book with Karisma. When we were first contacted by her, she asked us what we were seeking in a resort. We stated that our most important desires were 1) A beautiful beach and gorgeous ceremony location on the beach (Myself and my father lived in San Diego for many years and we love the water and know the attributes of a beautiful beach.) 2) A newer model resort with modern and clean designs 3) Less than 500 rooms 4) Family friendly 5) All-inclusive dining and 6) Minimal communication stress or complications with the wedding planners. She responded by stating that she had a perfect resort line for us and presented us with the Azul Sensatori and Azul Beach as our best options. We truly liked both resorts after reviewing their websites, but did not want to make any hasty decisions and we requested that she provide us with all additional available options prior to booking. She presented us with about two to three resort chains that were of poor quality and in comparison, made Karisma look like a 10-star chain. I work long and erratic hours and we didn’t have time to do the resort search ourselves, hence our purchase of their services. We assumed they / she would present us with a formal or professional list of resort options, but instead she would just email us a name here or there of a resort. As a quick example, we had no clue of the Secrets, Iberostar, Palace, RUI, or several of the other large resort chains existed until I found this forum and we had already booked. In hindsight, maybe a quick Google search conducted by us would have proved more productive and objective than her; but it is what it is. She contacted us daily to inquire about whether we had made a decision and kept pressuring us because she said, “Karisma Resorts are highly sought after and book quickly and I would hate to see you lose out on the weekend dates.” We kept asking her if she was positive that there were no other viable resorts within our specifications to review and she was curt, impatient, and aloof. We booked AS and figured we’d forfeit the deposit if we found another option. After sharing our plans with my parents, my Dad requested that we marry in Jamaica. He offered to reimburse us for any planning and deposit costs to date in exchange for relocating our wedding to Jamaica. We had no issues with this and contacted our TA. She was irritated and rude to us and told us that all of the resorts in Jamaica are “plantation style” and we would not find what we were looking for in Jamaica. While she may have possibly been right, we were disappointed that she didn’t even provide us with one name of one resort in Jamaica and I find it hard to believe that not one Jamaica resort met our desires. I felt that she should have honored my Dad’s request, especially since she was getting paid to do so. After approximately three weeks of working with her, we did not feel comfortable with her level of service (moreso me) and by that time I had found the forum and read about other members DW.com TA recommendations.
We requested to be reassigned and provided a list of three TA’s we preferred to work with. We were reassigned to DW.com Karilyn Barnett, whom former AS bride Wendy recommended. On a scale of 1 – 10, I would give Karilyn a 6. She was very kind initially and took the time to explain why Karisma was a wonderful chain that would exceed our expectations. I don’t know if our later disconnect with Karilyn was our fault or hers, but essentially, as we got rolling and the majority of our guests booked, we heard from her less and less and a few of our guests complained about her lack of responsiveness. One of my friends purchased the insurance package and had to cancel at the last minute due to job related requirements and while my friend was reticent to share this information with me, she said Karilyn was downright rude to her as she processed her refund. I still don’t know what occurred between the two of them, but my friend is a consummate professional that I’ve known for years and while I’m partial to her, I find it difficult to believe that she was the source of their negative interaction. Lastly, on occasions Karilyn appeared to be very busy or heavily involved with family obligations during normal business hours. We often felt insignificant and somewhat “out in the cold” as we navigated our out of country wedding. Often times we felt that mere communication regarding her availability or lack thereof, would have alleviated some of the disconnect between us and Karilyn. In being fair, Karilyn threw in a few unexpected extras, which you will see below. We booked our Honeymoon at El Dorado Maroma through Jennifer of VIP Vacations and she was a class act in comparison to our DW.com experience. In being completely honest and fair, Jennifer didn’t have to handle accommodations over several months for our entire wedding party as Karilyn did, but Jennifer’s communication was always prompt, detailed, professional, thorough, and friendly. She came recommended by former AS bride Meredith, and I highly recommend Jennifer. If I had it all to do over again, I wouldn’t give DW.com a second glance and would work directly with Jennifer or another GI Consultant. DW.com hires TA’s as sub-contractors (several of whom are preoccupied running the daily operations of their own Travel Agencies) with disregard for professionalism and proficient customer service, in my humble opinion. While their BBB rating boasts a grade of an “A” on their website, take the time to go to the BBB website and review the ample complaints submitted by others. The responses submitted by the DW.com President are very defensive and disheartening. I only read these reviews after we were too far along in the process; however it is clear that they are in business to generate revenue rather than to fulfill their sales pitch of “dream weddings”. Enough about that; hindsight is priceless.
Planning with Miami Karisma Coordinators:
Our first Karisma Planner was Cecile. We had minimal interactions with her and because our wedding was still ten months out, she responded to the very few emails I sent her in less than a week. I assumed it was because we were still months out and couples with pending dates were higher priority, which didn’t bother me at all. In July I sent her an email, to which she never responded. I obtained Fabio’s email from this forum and sent him an email and three additional emails later, he never responded. It took my DW.com TA getting involved to finally learn that Cecile had left the company. We were eventually transferred to Maria Faye, who was good and I only had one complaint regarding her. She was VERY friendly, upbeat, and excited each time I spoke with her. Whenever I asked for a telephone conversation, versus a lengthy email game of ping pong, she made it happen. The only issue I ever had is that we requested the names of the DJ’s Lomas uses and she went ‘round and ‘round with me and would never give me a name or company name or just directly tell me, “I don’t know” or “We are not allowed to provide DJ company names.” We only asked because DJ Mannia and DJ Doremixx had/have YouTube clips online and for $1,500, we wanted to see a sample of what we were paying for. She seemed to avoid this question by pacifying me and giving me the run around by responding with, “All of our couples have loved our DJ’s” or “All of our DJ’s are wonderful.” However she never provided a direct response. When I outright emailed her the names of the two above DJ’s and asked if they were options for us to select from, she responded, “Our company is familiar with and has used both of them.” That was unacceptable for us, so we made our own selection, negotiated our rate with the DJ, and paid the outside vendor fee; which was in sum still cheaper than Lomas requested $1,500 rate. Aside from that debacle, Maria Faye was wonderful. When we got down to the last two weeks, she would respond to my emails within the hour. We also spoke telephonically a few times and she even assisted me in purchasing the cigar roller as a surprise for my Husband and KEEPING IT A SURPRISE until the moment of the reception, which was very important to me. J Needless to say, he loved it!
Cancun Airport Arrival:
We arrived at the airport in Cancun at 1pm and proceeded outside where we saw several representatives and eventually found the LOMAS representative holding our name tag. There were NUMEROUS transportation representatives outside the airport holding signs and we assumed it was because we picked a busy holiday weekend. We also later learned that the weekend of our wedding there was a college function in Cancun called, “The Jump Off.” I’ll let you Google it, just suffice to say that it included half dressed collegiates looking for a good time and tons of liquor. We believe it is a slight downgrade from Spring Break. J Luckily, we witnessed no “Jump Off” participants at AS. J Back to LOMAS transportation….. We found our representative dressed in turquoise and white and he talked to us about visiting the LOMAS Rep at AS as soon as we arrived at AS for excursions, transportation, etc and stressed the importance of this. We nodded and smiled and never bothered until we needed information. He stated that we had a private transfer to AS, which came a surprise to us (Thank You Karilyn!) and off we went to AS in an air conditioned, new Lincoln Navigator. When we were transported back to the airport, our luck had run out and we found ourselves in shared transportation. J All in all, none of our guests had any LOMAS transportation issues and all appeared pleased. Each guest of ours said LOMAS was outside the Cancun airport waiting when they arrived.
AS Arrival (Wednesday):
We were greeted by a bellman that provided us with cold face towels and Brut champagne. He told us that the Wedding Coordinators (WC) were waiting for us and seated us on a couch in a quieter part of the lobby. We were greeted moments later by Lorena who provided a WC letter stating that our meeting was the following day at 1pm. She said our room was not quite ready yet, offered us lunch at a restaurant, and gave us a tour of the resort. She escorted us to Spoons and said she would return shortly when our room was ready. She didn’t return after an hour, so we returned to the lobby to find her and after being unable to, I took a 30 – 45 minute nap on the couch of the lobby until my Husband found her. She then escorted us to our room and we were upgraded to a Honeymoon Suite on the 3rd floor of Building 3. We assume we have Karilyn or DW.com to thank for this upgraded perk as well! After hearing from other DW.com brides, this appears to be a silent perk of utilizing DW.com.
Our Room (Honeymoon Suite):
As I mentioned, we received an upgraded room. We loved the view, the balcony, and frequently ordered room service breakfast each morning and dined on our balcony in our robes. J Our room was decorated when we arrived with rose petals, towel art, and champagne; but we did not receive any additional “turn down” service while there for six days. The room was clean, the bed was comfortable, the IPod dock was an added bonus, and we loved the balcony. Our shower leaked from the shower window/plexi-glass onto the little seating area, but we learned to re-position the showerhead away from the window / plexi-glass, place towels outside prior to showering, or just wipe up the leaked water and we just got over it and never called it in. We enjoyed each other’s company so much that a service call wasn’t worth the trouble for a shower that we assumed had leaked all along and well before our arrival. (Although the night after our wedding we developed a bad ant problem near the patio sliding glass door, which we had to call in. There were also major ants in the hallway outside our room leading up to our room, which my cousin happily sprayed with Off and hair spray the day of our wedding so that my wedding dress train wouldn’t wipe them up. J ) We were supposed to get a one category upgrade due to booking a few days after attending the Karisma webinar, but the Honeymoon Suite superseded our upgrade. We believe the upgrade was probably a courtesy of Karilyn or DW.com’s relationship with Karisma, so we are thoroughly appreciative!
A quick negative…. When we called in the ant problem we were having in our room the day after our wedding, maintenance came while we were out swimming. When we returned, we had a voicemail informing us that they accidentally broke one of our engraved toasting flutes while spraying the ants. Our flutes were on the table, but accidents happen and I wish I had just placed them back in their box. They were very apologetic and reimbursed us in cash because the balance of our room was paid, however my Husband had to complete an incident report. I just wanted you to be mindful of keeping your items of sentimental value in a safe place.
Meeting with Onsite Wedding Coordinator’s (WC):
Our on-site wedding coordinators were Claudia, Lorena, and some other woman who I think was named Denise (But I have forgotten now). Our wedding was held on the beach near the pier and was scheduled for 5pm and our reception was held at the Plaza Zavas from 7pm – 11pm. Our initial meeting with the WC’s was lead by Claudia with “Denise” taking notes on a laptop. Lorena was in the room as well, but did not provide any input. Claudia came off as the friendly and warm one of the duo and “Denise” appeared very stern and serious. We made a few additions regarding vendors and they were very flexible and accepting. Additionally, I did not have all of my wedding stuff together yet because my mother was bringing a portion of our ceremony and reception items and her flight was delayed. They were very understanding and accommodating and allowed me to bring our complete trunk of wedding items down the morning of our wedding. We brought inspiration photos and they quoted and charged us $150 for set up prior to seeing all of our items and they also did not charge us a fee for not wanting the “candy cane wrapping” around the gazebo poles. I handwrote out each of our items under “Ceremony” or “Reception” along with the quantity. I provided the WC’s with a copy of our list and they repacked all of our items and returned them to their office following our ceremony and my Husband picked them up the afternoon after our ceremony. Lorena was GREAT! She never took notes, but was the one who received our items the morning of our wedding and she has a memory beyond belief. I have to concur with all the past brides who said in some form or another, not to stress too much prior to arriving in Mexico because most of the planning is completed in Mexico generally 12 – 24 hours before your actual wedding. I know it sounds crazy, but it is true. And lastly, it is a destination wedding, not your local country club wedding down the road from your house, so be prepared for a few hiccups. Just remain focused on WHY you’re actually marrying not HOW.
Friday Night (Our 3rd night at AS):
We utilized our free Welcome Cocktail Party at the Zavas Terrace for our guests from 4:30pm – 6:30pm. This was a perk of booking with DW.com. My Husband gave them a signature drink in our wedding color, which they happily prepared and served to our guests. The bartender initially gave my Husband a little grief because I guess the menu calls solely for beer and wine, but my Husband tipped him and all was well. This was a nice welcome ice breaker event for our guest, which allowed them to meet and greet. We brought our own Bose Soundock and IPod and created the atmosphere that we wanted and it worked out great. At 6:30pm, we headed over to Spoons and used our free Spoons reservation for 40 people, had our “Quasi- Rehearsal Dinner,” and listened to toasts and watched our friends and family bond, eat, and be merry. J It was wonderful and I honestly can’t complain about a thing that evening. (Partly due to shots of tequila and partly due to the loving atmosphere created that left little to no room for analysis.) The food was excellent and the servers were very attentive at Spoons and from looking at our non-pro photos, a good time was had by all.
Our Wedding (Saturday/ Our 4th night at AS):
We were scheduled to marry on the beach near the pier at 5pm. Our wedding didn’t start until 5:30pm or shortly thereafter for a few reasons. I initially booked my hair and make-up appointment four months in advance through Maria Faye of Miami for 11am. (See more details on the Spa below) When we met with the onsite WC’s, they suggested that I change the time to 2pm because they said my hair and makeup would not maintain for that long with the heat. I took their recommendation and needless to say, I was rushed and pressed for time and did not make it back to my room until shortly after 4pm. By the time I made it back to my room, it felt very frantic and was just an overall blur. No attendant ever came, called, or inquired about my needs per our package. Claudia arrived to pick me up from our room at around 4:50pm. Once I was dressed, I was waiting for my Dad so that I could give him his boutonniere. I expressed my desire to have my Dad pick me up from my room for a private moment and to pin his boutonniere during our onsite WC meeting and they nodded and smiled. Neither Claudia, nor whomever she was calling over her radio could find my Dad and I later learned that he was in the Groom’s room with my Husband. My Dad finally was located by my Mom and it was about 5:20 by then, he came to my room, and I quickly pinned him up. At one point, I overheard Claudia telling my Mom that we had to go now or else the officiant was going to cancel our wedding. This stressed me out and made us all rush out of the room in a panic. My Husband later told me that the officiant was kind and calm and was just hanging out talking to him, his Father, and our guests. He said she made no mention of cancelling our ceremony and her demeanor did not display discontent. When we got near the Family building, Claudia told us to stop and began calling someone on her radio. Our photographer began taking photos of me and Claudia raised her voice at her while stating, “Elizabeth, we don’t have time for that!” I did not care for this and Claudia put me in a momentary really pissy mood. I gave her the look of death and frankly, had it not been one of the biggest days of our lives, I would have given Claudia a piece of my mind. I also didn’t want to start any negative confrontations with her considering we still had our ceremony and reception to follow and I didn’t want any issues to impede our festivities. We paid BIG money for our photographer and I did not appreciate Claudia’s treatment of her. I also didn’t like the chaotic and anxious mood Claudia created in those few 15 to 20 minutes and my Mom felt my mood shift and calmly talked me out of letting any negatively settle in due to Claudia. With bridal nerves already heightened, I didn’t understand Claudia’s demeanor.
About 10 months prior to our wedding, we requested Alina Monroy as our officiant and her name was listed on our detail sheet. We aren’t sure of the name of our actual officiant; I’ve seen her in a few of the other AS forum girl’s photos. I personally thought she was nice; however she was a little too melodramatic for my taste. We are big jokesters and there were times when I couldn’t even look her in the face because her words and expressions were so elongated, exaggerated, and passionate. At times, she was almost corny to me and I knew I’d begin to giggle at her which would make my Hubby giggle too, so I behaved. J All in all, it was a beautiful ceremony. Most of our guests said the ceremony was touching and gorgeous, but I honestly don’t recall much of it because he and I were so into each other that at times we were having our own private whispering conversation at the altar. J This was one of those moments where neither one of us can recall anything that occurred around us because we were stuck in the moment that we both had tunnel vision and only saw each other. So again, I say….. everything will be fine!
The only minor issue here was that we brought a basket full of flip flops for our guests to use as “dancing shoes” during the reception and for whatever reason; the WC’s placed them on a table at the ceremony site on the beach? I do recall seeing several of our guests in orange Old Navy flip flops and I still don’t get what confused them about this request, but we paid it little attention and just asked a friend to relocate the basket to our reception site. Aside from this, everything else was set up just as we requested to include our sheers, gazebo flowers, chair sashes, and sand ceremony.
Our reception was held at the Zavas Plaza from 7pm – 11pm. It was the best option for us, the weather was perfect, and it was gorgeous once decorated! The breeze was plentiful and we felt pleased with this location. We loved every minute of it and we felt that it couldn’t have gone better. From a sentimental standpoint, it was PERFECT. I surprised my Husband with the cigar roller and he and his fellas were in heaven. I loved seeing him happy!!! It was all worth it!
The not so great…. They did not light the votive candles of our centerpieces and when I asked them to, they said they were waiting “for dark.” They were intended to be lit from the time they placed the decoration over the votive, but I digress. They took WAY too long to serve our guests. My Dad grabbed the mic and went for his heartfelt speech after our dance and that lead others to follow. I had to ask the waiters to please serve our guests while others were on the mic because I could visibly see the hungry faces. At one point, they had not fed our table of photographers and videographers (after everyone else had eaten) and when I inquired as to why, the wait staff responded by saying they were checking to see how many dinners we purchased. I was displeased by this and found it incredibly rude considering we had a last minute family cancellation and had overpaid for plates since we prepaid 45 days prior to our wedding. In my only Bridezilla moment of the entire planning/wedding period, I instructed them to serve them IMMEDIATELY and we’d talk finances at 11pm. I do not believe in mistreating people that you hire to perform services and I refused to allow them to withhold dinner from our photographers and videographer. They brought out their meals and I did not hear another word about that issue. Because our guests kept coming up to us to hug, kiss, and chat; when I got up to hug someone, I returned to our sweetheart table and they had removed my partially eaten meal. My best friend talked to someone about this and they whipped up another and I stayed seated long enough to scarf it down. The cake was okay and nothing to write home about. They never served the dessert that came with our meal package and we didn’t realize this until the following morning. They merely served the cake we ordered. We didn’t care enough to make an issue about it; we just felt that they got over on us. These are all minor issues in comparison to what could have gone wrong, but I felt it was best to be completely honest so you may avoid these issues if they are important to you.
We negotiated a rate with DJ Mannia, hired them, and paid Karisma the outside vendor fee. I give them a C+ because they didn’t seem to “get us” and our type of music. We specified no Lady Gaga, Brittney Spears, Akon, or bubble gum pop, etc in preference of Seal, Melanie Fiona, Anthony Hamilton, Jill Scott, Sade, Amy Winehouse, Jay-Z, Prince, Tribe Called Quest, Tony Toni Tone, Common, The Roots, etc. My husband and I danced to “The Point of It All” as our first song and my Dad and I danced to “Unforgettable.” These were songs that my Husband downloaded onto our IPod Touch, which my Husband gave the DJ prior to our reception. While they played our specified two dance songs, the DJ didn’t seem to recognize what kept our guests on the dance floor and what made them take their seats. I thought with him having our IPod in his possession, he could get an idea of what made us all want to dance. No such luck there. Of large importance was the fact that the DJ was also late. We actually had to wait around the corner from Plaza Zavas for about 15 minutes because the DJ had not arrived and we couldn’t be announced yet. I was baffled by this but Claudia told us to go up to our room and enjoy the AC and she would call us. We went up to my Husband’s grooms suite since we didn’t sleep together the night before, and took shots of tequila together, and he bustled my dress for me. J
Photographer Elizabeth Medina
LOVE HER, LOVE HER, AND LOVE HER! Hire her if you can!!! She is so sweet, warm, personable, and professional. We have yet to see our pro photos yet, but we know they will be phenomenal. She is everywhere during your ceremony, but yet barely there. She seems to move about the crowd and be there at all the right times, but yet she never is a glaring presence. We hired her for 8 hours on our wedding day and we also had a TTD the next morning at 6am after I regained my composure from too many Patron shots. J We brought our own bottle and my best friend went up to our room and grabbed the bottle so that we could take shots with my Bridal Twin. Back to Elizabeth…. She is first rate, worth every penny, and did I say that I love her and her daughter Lindsey??? J
The only bad issue here was that the resort photographer was rude to Elizabeth and made an abrasive an unnecessary comment to her. I still cannot understand why Karisma is so tense regarding outside vendors, especially those that have successfully performed services on their properties in the past. Karisma also knew for the past 11 months that she was coming as our photographer, so there were no surprises. Our package only came with one free 5x7, which Elizabeth could not have been impeding the resort photographer from taking during our entire ceremony. Elizabeth took the high road and was very professional about the resort photographer’s demeanor. The resort photographer emailed us our jpg. last week (so much for a 5x7 photo on photo paper) and it was a comical joke of a photo. We had a hearty laugh at the poor quality and he should be ashamed to call himself a pro. Our facial expressions are priceless, yet so jokester us. Caribe Photo leaves a lot to be desired in my opinion and judging from his behavior, he must have been jealous that Elizabeth dipped into his cookie jar that evening. J
Our videographer was Efren Gutierrez. He was so quiet that I cannot say much about him at this point other than his booking communication is great and he was professional. He barely said 10 words, so I truly can’t say much at this point. I know my Husband spoke with him, but even their interaction was minimal. As long as he captured our pertinent moments, he is good in my book. I’ll let you know when our video arrives, as it should be here this week. I can say that he and Elizabeth worked well together and he seemed to follow her lead.
Shuttle Transportation to Cancun and Playa Del Carmen
When we first booked with AS we were told that AS offered complimentary or low cost ($15 per person) shuttles with daily schedules to and from Cancun and Playa Del Carmen. This was a great selling point for us and we intended to take full advantage of this service to wrap up some last minute reception and favor purchases. Unfortunately this service is no longer available and LOMAS charged us $70 as a couple for round trip taxi transportation to Playa Del Carmen and $80 to Cancun. We were displeased with this and as you can imagine, the costs add up. We’re not really sure when the resort discontinued their shuttle service, but we were equally as displeased with the fact that we had included this service information in our guest brochure that we mailed out a few weeks prior to the wedding. Several of our guests inquired with us regarding this service and we had to apologize for the inconvenience. We considered trying to rent a bus and coordinate trips for our guests to each city, but figured we already had a full plate. I just wanted to give you a heads up that if you intend to travel into the surrounding popular cities, be prepared for the expense and driver tips.
Was wonderful and we had no complaints. My Husband tipped her on our last day because we felt her service was excellent.
We utilized room service almost daily, if not every other day. The children in our group loved calling room service each night and ordering french fries. It made them feel like royalty. J We enjoyed their breakfast menu thoroughly while dining on our balcony. It gave us some quiet time with each other before all of the excitement with our guests took over each day. On a few occasions, they forgot ordered items such as a side of bacon here or a glass of orange juice there, but it was never a huge deal. Our only advice is just to be aware that their 24 hour menu is not gourmet inclusive. I believe it is limited to hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, and french fries? This wasn’t an issue for us, but there were a few health nut whiners in our group that commented on the limited late night room service menu. But hey, you can’t please them all. J
We ate at every restaurant but LeChique. We thoroughly enjoyed all of the restaurants, especially Sienna and Zocolo. My Husband had dessert at each restaurant and said Sienna and Zavaz were tied in the sweets department. Make sure you try the fish quesadilla on Zocolo’s dinner menu, it was very flavorful and I loved it!
If you want reservations at LeChique, they only take reservations between 3-5pm and their closed on Sunday. We didn’t dine here, but my parents did. My Dad was somewhat displeased with the fact that they called to make reservations on the day of their arrival to AS and were told that nothing was available until 5 days later, which was the date of their scheduled departure. On Thursday, he requested that they be placed on a waiting list for a table of four. On Monday afternoon, we were swimming and hanging out by the pool when my kid sister yelled out from their room that LeChique just called and said my parents and my Aunt and Uncle had 30 minutes to get over to LeChique if they wanted to dine there. This worked out perfectly for them and three weeks later, he is still raving about how wonderful their dining experience was. He continuously states that he wishes they had brought their camera to the restaurant because the presentation of food courses were so unique and impressive. They all stated that the service was excellent and they were flattered by the Chef’s presence and explanation of courses. Their only complaint was that the restaurant was barely full, which bothered and intrigued a few of our other guests as well. This gave them the impression that the resort is not servicing as many customers as possible each evening, which caused our guests to question their integrity and reservation practices; especially the guests of ours that were unable to secure a reservation yet were told by other diners that the restaurant was partially full during their experience. Nonetheless, the guests of ours who had the opportunity to dine at LeChique thoroughly enjoyed their dining experience.
My Parent’s Room:
My Dad didn’t like their room (overlooking Plaza Zavas) and upgraded to a swim up. It was adorable to watch him “swim home” at night. J He was pleased that they allowed him to switch his room and they even gave him keys to a few rooms to check out the view prior to finalizing and purchasing his upgrade. This was cool, but it baffled me because everyone kept saying how booked up the resort was. How could he look at four different room options, when the resort was allegedly booked? Anyway, he was pleased with his final choice. And honestly, although they said the resort was booked, it never felt like it at the restaurants, bars, or swimming pools. We always found a cabana bed to enjoy and were always served promptly.
We ordered drinks at every bar and restaurant on the resort grounds, to include partying at the Mojito lounge. The service was excellent, the bartenders were friendly, but the drinks were SEVERLY watered down. We heard this complaint from many of our guests who were seeking “premium” liquor. At one point we went into Cancun and bought Patron to appease our guests. It was kinda embarrassing to keep hearing people say, “Make it a double,” just to taste the liquor. But such is life and all was well. I just wanted to give you a heads up in case you decided to buy premium liquor at the airport and bring it with you to AS, which I would suggest if you and your guests are “Top Shelfers.”
Edgar did my hair and make up the day of the wedding at the salon and I did not have a trial. I / Edgar didn’t need a trial, because he did a great job. I just told him that I wanted natural make up and showed him an inspiration picture of my hair (which was just a messy bun / chignon). He went to work and it was beautiful. He was very meticulous and paid attention to detail. Many of our guests complimented me and my Husband loved my look. I didn’t see Edgar’s full selection of makeup, but I know he used all MAC products. I brought my own MAC make up and he just ended up using theirs. I also brought my own false eyelashes, which he applied with no issue. His assistant was so awesome! She actually helped me sew clips onto my bun extensions because I had forgotten to do that prior to arriving. I tipped them generously for their willingness to help me. When my nerves finally caught up with me and I started crying in the Spa out of nowhere, he called Elena and she stopped by with a glass of champagne. J Anyway, he spoke very little English, but did an AMAZING job considering my hair texture and need to clip in bun extensions for fullness. Everyone complimented me on how beautiful my hair and makeup were. My only suggestion is that you book early and not take the WC advice regarding the heat, especially if you are going directly back to your room where there is AC. J My only complaint was that it took a lot longer than I thought it would and I should have maintained my 11am appointment.
This Forum and my Bridal Twin:
I can’t say enough about the women on this thread! My bridal twin and I began communicating thanks to this forum. We emailed one another and had quite a bit in common. My Husband and I were coming back from Cancun one day and walking through the lobby to our room and I saw a woman staring at me from across the lobby. I am in Law Enforcement and have a tendency to be overly aware of my surroundings. J We had never exchanged photos, but when I noticed the big grin, I knew she had to be my bridal twin. We hugged, embraced, and chatted for a few. We also had the chance to party it up the night before our weddings in the Mojito lounge. (My God Mom took a picture of us both two sheets to the wind yet hugging on the dance floor. J) The night before our wedding, I invited her and her wedding guests to our reception to party with us following her reception and my Husband said, “This is one of the reasons I asked you to marry me; you are selfless.” I started crying of course. J We also got to see one another as I was walking to the gazebo to get married and she was taking pictures on the big stairs following her ceremony. I felt as if I was congratulating an old friend and it was so great to see her in her moment and celebrating with her new Husband. I was SO glad that she and her guest came and celebrated with us. It was such a warm and celebratory environment and I could not have felt more blessed! We also took shots together and it made the celebration all the more festive and memorable. I consider myself to have made a friend for life and at the least, this forum made that possible. Our Father’s chatted and they were both SO proud. Thank you, Sherylle for being such a wonderful person!!!
We went to El Dorado Maroma (EDM) for seven days. My Husband organized and booked our Honeymoon with Jennifer of VIP travel. She upgraded us to the Infinity Pool Suite, sent us a travel document holder, and several quality luggage tags beforehand. LOVE HER! Our room and the resort were INCREDIBLE!!!! All I can say is that Maroma beach is 100 times better than AS’s beach and I almost wanted to get married again at EDM!!!! It is clear blue water and white sand and at knee level I was able to watch schools of fish swim by. I saw Claudia there on Saturday organizing a gazebo wedding, in fact. But if you ever have a chance to go back to a Karisma resort, the EDM is a MUST SEE and DO!!! We felt like royalty and we LOVED their food!!! It is truly GI and one night the power went out and the chefs still prepared a five course meal by candle light! The resort is secluded from all the other resorts and while it is near the Marina Maroma, it is not on the stretch of 20 + resorts as Secrets Maroma is. We walked to Secrets Maroma one day and it was more than a mile walk and took us more than 45 minutes. When we saw all of those resorts clustered on top of one another and heard the loud music, we knew we made the right choice. EDM is serene, peaceful, sophisticated, quiet, romantic, and relaxing! The room even included an outdoor shower! (Along with your normal indoor shower) We had a beach bed, bar, and infinity pool on our balcony and we actually slept under the stars a few nights. Their liquor was of a higher grade than AS and they had a larger selection of premium liquors. My Husband is a Crown Royal man and they had Crown Royal Black which is new and hard to come by even in some stateside stores. Oh and ask for the Coco Loco drink, it’s served in a coconut. J WE LOVE that resort and we plan to return very soon!
I would highly recommend AS to any bride and groom. The AS is an excellent choice to have a wedding and they are well versed at facilitating weddings, for the most part. I have BDW to thank for preparing me for the unexpected, informing me of the little secrets and loopholes, and keeping me sane. I truly obtained majority of my wedding ideas and information from this forum, and really only used the WCs to finalize details and make payments. The planning process can be very tedious and frustrating at times, especially when you begin to feel that your wedding is more about Karisma making money and less about ensuring your day is as you would like it. I realize that you must pay for quality, which I have no problem with, but I took issue with Karisma telling us who we could and could not have as a photographer, DJ, etc, solely because they were financially in bed and obligated to a few mid-grade vendors. I felt that if we wanted to pay for quality, let us….but don’t charge us exorbitant fees just because we are at your mercy and you can. There was no rhyme or reason to some of their practices and with me being a practical and reasoning person, I sometimes had to just bite the bullet and ignore some of their unfair practices. With my rant over, everything was wonderful! We were rarely told no and our guests were pleased. Please do not let the reviews on Trip Advisor distract you or your guests from looking forward to your special day. Overall, the wedding week and day were AMAZING! Although my type A personality was apprehensive going down there, looking back on the day it was BEAUTIFUL and MEMORABLE. Yes, a few things went wrong but we just pushed past it and enjoyed ourselves. We had the time of our lives and would do it all over again if given the option! I hate giving any negative feedback at all; I just wanted to be as honest as possible so future brides can be fully prepared if they are borderline type A, such as myself. Best of luck to you all and feel free to PM me if you have any questions! Happy Planning!!!!