By ChocoTaco7568, · 1,124 Views · 10 Comments
Resort: Now Jade Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa
Guest Count: 22 (including Bride and Groom)
Package: Eternity with upgrade to Devine dinner selections
WC: Pilar (all email correspondence) and Marie-Carmen (on-site)
Wedding Date: May 18, 2013
Ceremony: 5:00pm Pergola
Cocktail Hour: 6:00pm Mix Beach Bar
Reception: 7:00pm Ocean Terrace
MY REVIEW IS LONG BUT THOROUGH (OR MAYBE I JUST TALK TOO MUCH). PLEASE FEEL FREE TO READ ONLY THE PARTS THAT ARE OF CONCERN OR INTEREST YOU. MY ONLY HOPE, IS TO PROVIDE USEFUL INFORMATION FOR THE NOW JADE BRIDES TO COME… HAPPY PLANNING AND LET ME KNOW IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS!
We arrived at Now Jade on Wednesday May 15th around 5:30pm. We were greeted with sparkling non-alcoholic beverages and cool towels. The bellman tagged our baggage (6 pieces plus my dress) and we were escorted to the Preferred Lounge. Note: due to a few issues with our group rate we were upgraded to an ocean view preferred room months prior to our arrival. So I cannot comment on the free upgrade for the Bride/Groom. Check-in was a bit long (15min) and I don’t really know why. We sat idly for about 10 minutes waiting to be escorted to our room. Checkout was much quicker and what you would typically expect.
The rooms were beautiful and just like the photos. Our guests were very impressed and found the standard rooms to be well appointed, spacious, and comfortable. Regarding cleanliness, I would rate them a 4/5. When we turned the shower on the steam showed evidence of mildew and soapy water stains on the glass between the shower and vanity. It was apparent that is had went without cleaning for quite some time. Our outdoor Jacuzzi was clean but looking across the courtyard at neighboring units some were pretty gross with obvious yellow/brown rings. I would hate to see them close up. Also, it’s true that the resorts water system has a foul smell; I have never taken shorter showers.
The grounds were beautiful and well maintained; there was never a day when I didn’t see someone doing a bit of pruning. However, the water used at the resort is a bit distracting. You were well aware when the irrigation system was on. It’s something that our noses never got used to.
Both were great and as many have said, the beach on the south end of the resort is better (no rocks). Most in our group are pool people, which is where we spent most of our time. We never had a problem with finding lounge chairs, but my mom is an early riser and would reserve 8 chairs by the infinity pool for us. This wasn’t necessary as there were always open seats even with the resort being booked to capacity. But I did like having our own zone instead of everyone being scattered.
The staff provides floaties for the guests. And our group organized a sand and pool volleyball games on different days. It should be noted that the pool area can be slippery. I’ve seen a few people fall and I had to catch myself a few times from doing the same (even before alcohol consumption).
We at dinner between 6:30 and 7:30 every night and never had to wait for a table. Our first night we ate at the hibachi table in Spice. The service and entertainment was great, but our cook was bit heavy handed with the soy sauce which quickly led to a sodium overload. This wasn’t my favorite meal, but the atmosphere made up for it.
Mercure was fantastic. Take my advice, if you see multiple items on the menu and you cannot decide, than order both. You won’t regret it. The portion sizes are small and there will always be someone at your table who will want to try a bite or share. Another item worth noting Mercure has a 6 person limit on table sizes, but if availability permits you can request a section of tables together. My group met at Mercure at 6:30 and occupied half of the indoor seating on one side of the restaurant; (2) tables of six and (2) tables of four. This worked out perfectly for us.
All of our guests really enjoyed the buffet for breakfast and lunch and we never at there for dinner. I know a big complaint on trip advisor is the repetition, but we were only at Now Jade for 4 nights, so this didn’t catch up to us.
I was a bit disappointed with the alcohol selection as it was very limited in my opinion, I think my bar at home is better stocked in both variety and quality. There are no flavored vodkas and I typically drink a flavored press. But my go to drink quickly became a mojito… pretty tasty!
The mix bar was our favorite, but we didn’t spend much time there since it seemed to play the same top 40 cd every hour on the hour for the duration of our stay. My least favorite bar was scores night club. We went two nights before the wedding and our consensus was that it was pretty lame and we could do better on our own, and we did.
So many of us on BDW were concerned about sanitation at the bars and the glassware used based on recent reviews on trip advisor. While I didn’t witness anything questionable, I did have a few glasses of water that tasted like the remnants of a mixed drink (bars and restaurants). I also had guests who experienced the same. Easy fix 1.) Specifically ask for bottled water; 2.) we all used the personalized tumblers that I sent in my pre-travel packages. The wait staff was more than willing to use them. When taking orders either pool or beach side, they would take the tumblers, write down the name and the drink order and bring them back to us. This could get a bit hairy for those who don’t make custom name labels for your guests though.
We were all very pleased with the customer service at Now Jade. They must have been trained to end every reply to a service request or response to a guest saying thank you with “My Pleasure”. Some were more genuine in their delivery, but everyone was gracious.
If it’s one thing this resort lacks is timeliness of room service (specifically food). We order 3 times and it was always a 45 to 65 minute wait. Food was delivered cold and beverages were warm. This was really disappointing to wake up to the morning after our wedding for the special breakfast in bed. The breakfast was late (requested at 9:00 and delivered at 9:20) but cold omelets and warm mimosas isn’t the best way to kick off a honeymoon. With this being said, it should be noted that the rooms do not have microwaves.
Food aside, anything that we wanted was always delivered within 30minutes: extra towles, restocking of mini bar etc.
I didn’t use the hair or make-up from the package and chose to do my own. I didn’t want to pay more for a trial nor did I want to feel like an experiment the day of my wedding. I did transfer both service to my MOH, who looked awesome when it was all said and done. In hind sight, I probably had nothing to worry about, but I was very pleased with how my wedding day look turned out and I was stress free.
The couples massage was fantastic and very relaxing. We had our schedule at 10:00am the morning of the wedding before going our separate ways.
I received an email from Pilar on Tuesday night (less than 24 hour notice) telling me that she scheduled our meeting for Wednesday Evening at 6:00pm. I wasn’t too happy with this considering that Wednesday was my day of travel, my plane wasn’t expected to land until 4:30 that evening, and I didn’t like the lack of notice and her expectation that I should be ready and available (bear in mind that she knew my itinerary). When I arrived at Now Jade at 5:30pm she met me in the Preferred lounge and expected me to collect all my wedding décor and still meet her at 6:00pm…Um, no. It’s weird to me that I actually had to explain that I needed time to decompress after traveling for 9 hours, wanted to shower, have dinner with my Fi. Anyway, we reschedule the meeting for Friday morning at 10:00am. This was my only gripe with the wedding planning process.
Friday morning I met with Marie-Carmen in the wedding department. I never met or heard of her prior to our meeting. This wasn’t an issue as she had copies of every email and my wedding planning form, which she seemed to have committed to memory. I also planned most of the wedding on my own and just needed to relay information. I provided her with all my décor (vases, candles, tea light holders, cake topper, signage, sashes, runner, fans etc…) as well as my dress and grooms attire. I created mock-ups and diagrams which I provided for her use; I left nothing open for interpretation. Marie-Carmen, was diligent with her note taking and separated everything into 3 piles – Ceremony, Cocktail or Reception. The meeting took about 45 minutes. I was given a copy of my bill for careful review with the requirement to make payment prior to the wedding. The only read flag on my bill was that it was based on the 2013 package rates and not 2012 ($2199), but this was an easy fix. My total package came to just over $2600, which included an upcharge for ironing/tying the chair sashes, upgrade to Devine dinner selections, and floral upcharge for using orchids in bouquets, bouts, and corsages. I was not charged for any of my décor set-up, wedding passes for either photographer or sound system for reception.
Luckily, a couple of concessions were made for me, but when I showed up I was fully prepared to pay the retail value for everything that I wanted that was quoted as an upcharge. Of course you have the right to ask and I encourage you to negotiate but I would recommend doing this in person, or on the phone. I personally didn’t want to bother with the frustration of tryin to negotiate via email. I exchanged all of 4 emails with the WC’s at Now Jade between February 2012 and March 2013. My only tip is to consolidate your emails and ask multiple questions in one exchange and separate them by numbers or bullets to avoid receiving a partial responses.
I do want to point out (and I hope that I don’t sound harsh), but it has always clearly been stated that items cannot not be swapped/exchanged and if you don’t use an item in your package than it is forfeited. As such, I would recommend to all future brides to take this as truth and not rely on any concessions that have been granted for those before you as your own. Now Jade is not obligated to do so and none of our weddings are apples to apples so making comparisons from one bride to the next could potentially lead to disappointment. No, it’s not fair, but if you understand this and base your budget accordingly, you can save yourself some stress and reduce your anxiety waiting on an email response or reading one that differs from someone else.
So the night of our welcome dinner was also the night of the Mexican Fiesta hosted in the Garden of the Resort. Pilar gave me the option of having the dinner inside at the buffet or outside to enjoy the festivities. We had two round tables reserved for the 22 of us in the garden, in front at the main stage. There was a Mexican themed buffet and live entertainment in the form the theatrical dancers who represented the varying dance styles of the different states of Mexico. The show and dinner was about two hours. Vendors were also set-up for those interested in shopping afterwards. None of us did but it added to the atmosphere.
For the most part I was very pleased with the how everything came out. I provided images of exactly what I wanted for the brides and MOH bouquets, groom’s bout, standard bout, and corsages. I also listed out the specific flowers to be used. I provided ribbon to match my color scheme and pearl bracelets to be used for the mothers’ corsages. Everything was executed perfectly with exception to my bouquet. Yes it was pretty, but not what I wanted and it was even more disappointing because it could have been provided and I paid and upcharge for my bouquet…i.e. fuchsia roses provided instead of lavender specified, and I specifically showed and listed purple dendrobium orchids and fuchsia phaelanopsis orchids which weren’t included in my bouquet but used in the corsages.
So our ceremony started on time but our guests weren’t seated until moments before. I don’t know where this coordination fell through, but I assume my guests were to blame for the tardiness. I honestly don’t remember much about the décor details of the ceremony, I don’t even recall hearing music play I just remember seeing my groom and everything else seemed to fade into the background. But based on my video, everything was perfect executed. We had a symbolic ceremony which we scripted and the officient delivered it seamlessly in 20 minutes.
Immediately following our ceremony we had our congratulations toast. I requested (4) non-alcoholic beverages and they provided a sparkling fruit beverage which was perfect. For the cocktail hour We provided tables runners, signage (thank you, guestbook, app menu), guestbook puzzle, and teallight candles. We didn’t have a signature drink, but the day prior to the wedding we met with Darius (mix beach bartender) and sampled drinks in our color scheme to be provided during the cocktail hour. We didn’t partake in the cocktail hour as we were too busy with newlywed photos. Based on guest feedback, everything was yummy:
- acapulco shrimp ceviche on tartlet
- beef brochette
- fish corquette
- Sopes w/ sausage
We had our reception on the ocean terrace which I loved. It was pretty windy that night, but the way the terrace is situtated, it made for a cool breeze that wasn’t over bearing. We opted for the long banquet table which worked perfectly for our wedding group. Unfortunately, my décor wasn’t set-up as shown in my mock-up or diagram, which is frustrating because they were reviewed during the WC meeting the day before. Only half of my tall tealight candles were used which left my table looking skimpy and incomplete. Additionally, my ‘Mrs.’ and ‘Mr.’ chair sashes weren’t used. Granted, no one recognized this but me, but when you take the time out to make something and your expectations are explained and seemingly understood, then it just lead to a bit of disappointment. No, this didn’t ruin my wedding and I got over it in 30 seconds, but I think it’s worth noting. Additionally, during our dinner, 3 of our entrees were 15 minutes late to our guests. Just about everyone was done or close to complete by the time the 3 plates showed up. They provided 3 too many of the steak and shrimp instead of the scallops and mahi. This worked in our favor since some of the men were still hungry and ate the additional plates:
A) Appetizer or Salad: CAPRESE SALAD
B) Soup: LOBSTER BISQUE
C) Main course: SCALLOP & MAHI MAHI; BEEF & SHRIMP; VEGETARIAN
D) Desert: CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE W/ BAILEYS SAUCE
The food was exceptional and easily the best meal while at Now Jade. The wedding cake was really tastey too, different in texture than what we’re used to, but good. We went with the Bella Matrimoniale Classic and had it served concurrent with the chocolate soufflé. The presentation of the cake was nice. Since we were only going to have 2 tiers. I really wanted them to be tall like WC002 and this was also shown in my inspiration pic, but wasn’t provided. Again, not a deal breaker, but when it’s shown as something that can be provided, and its specifically requested, then I have the expectation.
We used the sound system and our Ipod for music and dancing which worked for us. My group can make a party anywhere and with anyone, so I’m glad we didn’t waste money on a DJ. And my brother did a fantastic job as our MC. As previously stated, we weren’t fans of the sports bar so we head to the mix beach bar for about an hour. And then 10 of us made our own party on the beach with an ipod docking station and lit up lanterns. It was more fun than I anticipated.
Sascha Gluck Photography
I’ll keep this short and sweet since I have a separate review to right. We contracted Sascha for 5 hours; 1.5 TTD and 3.5 hours on the wedding day (getting ready, first look, ceremony, and newlywed pics). Sascha was great to work with and knew the resort well which was a huge asset. I’ve only seen a handful of pictures so far but know that we made the right choice.
In a nut shell I’m not too impressed and happy that they weren’t my primary photographer. I decided to use the photography included in my package soley for reception coverage which started at 7:00pm. At this point, the only positive thing that I have to say is that he showed up on time. He didn’t introduce himself, and stood in a corner for the entire duration. It has been 2 weeks post our wedding and we have yet to receive a link to our photos and we were told we would receive them within a few days of the wedding. But I don’t think I’m missing out on anything. How great can they be if he only shot from one vantage point? I am thankful to all my friends who made it a priority to capture our memories during the reception.
Believe it or not, I think that’s all I have to say. But let me know if you have any questions. I seem to nit-pick over details, but that’s just the nature of who I am and the result of expending so much of my own time to make this seamless. If I had to do it all over again I would choose this resort in a heartbeat.