Riveria Maya Corridor
Dreams Tulum August 2014 Wedding Review (with photos)...Long!
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By TnBMcMahon, · 3,113 Views · 0 Comments
Hola! Following is an extensive review of my all-inclusive vacation at Dreams Tulum. I'll start off by admitting that this has been my one and only all-inclusive vacation and both my husband and my first trip to Mexico. We were married on August 9th, 2014 and we flew from Calgary, AB to Cancun on August 4th; returning one week later on August 11th. We had approximately 26 guests total and most everyone flew from Calgary (the exceptions were my Mom and her husband who flew from Toronto and one of my bridesmaids who flew with her Mom from Vancouver). We flew with WestJet and there were about 12 of us that booked the same Monday to Monday package so we were all on the same flight - this was nice because we got to get the party started on the plane. The one downside was that the flight staff was very unpleasant - unusual for WestJet. It was a very full flight and there ended up not being enough space in the overhead compartments for me to have a bin to myself for my wedding dress (I was told weeks earlier when I inquired that this is the typical procedure when a bride is flying with her dress) - to make matters worse the two bags that ended up being placed in the same compartment as my dress had owners who kept getting up throughout the flight to retrieve things, then shoving their bag back in which caused my dress to keep being moved around, jostled and crumpled. It made for a pretty uneasy flight since I was seated right by the cabinet my dress was in so I was hyper-aware of it the entire time. I actually almost had a heart attack when at one point I noticed that my garment bag was sticking out and the cabinet door had been closed on it... just no respect for this very special garment which was obviously a wedding dress!! Tsk Tsk WestJet. Ok so at the end of this somewhat tense flight we arrive at the Cancun airport - and it is madness! We clear security very quickly which is a relief because one of our friends had come a couple of days earlier and it apparently took her almost two hours to get through the airport. Once we claim our baggage from the carousel there are literally dozens of porters and reps from the various shuttle companies mobbing us! It was very intimidating and all the more so because they were very aggressive and most didn't speak English very clearly. We had pre-booked our shuttle along with our Expedia travel package and it was with Best Day Travel. One of their reps approached us and without more than a word took our bags and started walking quickly away - apparently we were supposed to follow him! He leads us to our shuttle and after some shuffling around and a bit of waiting we manage to get our entire group of 12 onto the same shuttle. Phew! About an hour and 20 minutes later we arrive at the Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa - and it is breathtaking!! We tip our driver (who was wonderful) and head to the check in desk. Apparently it is busier than normal for this time of year and the hotel is booked solid but it's ok because it actually results in all of us getting even better upgraded rooms than we had booked :) And now for my review of the Resort... in a word: INCREDIBLE. I've provided a detailed description of my reviews by area: STAFF From the concierge, to the porters, the room service staff, to the bartenders, to the AMAZING entertainment crew that worked around the clock the entire week we were there, the people were without fail, the most kind, polite, hard-working, thoughtful, and helpful that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Everywhere we went on the resort, every single employee there always had a "hola, como estas?" for us and they all acted like we were doing them a favor by letting them do things for US. It was unbelievable... and I'm from Canada! ROOMS We had booked a Garden View room and were upgraded to a Junior Sweet which was very lovely. It had a big King bed, a jetted tub a nice big shower and a beautiful view into lush green space. The décor was fairly updated and definitely had a Mexican flavor which we loved! Our room was very clean and we only saw one insect "a coo-ca-racha" as my husband was told by one of the room service staff! We were fine with it - after all we were in Mexico during rainy season! :) Many of our friends were upgraded to rooms that backed out onto private pool areas on the resort and they were sooooo amazing! (We spent many nights keeping the party going in one of these rooms and took advantage of the gorgeous little pools!). RESTAURANTS & BARS I will only review the venues that my husband and I went to... Rendezvous - located right in the heart of the plaza and the place we ended up using to meet up the entire time we were there. The bar staff were friendly and efficient. World Café - Really good - especially the pasta!! The staff were incredibly friendly and attentive as well. We held our Welcome Dinner here and it was terrific! Our waiter was awesome and they brought us special drinks and desserts to celebrate the occasion. The Seaside Grill - Excellent food! Ate there 3 times and loved it every time. They have an incredible Caesar salad on their dinner menu! Again, service staff were very attentive and friendly. El Patio - the Mexican restaurant was SO good... the "Crusty Tacos" meal was to die for and almost everyone at our wedding ended up trying it during the week were there! Their drinks are incredible! Such good tequila (surprise surprise!) and if you aren't sure what you want they'll whip you up something delicious from their arsenal. Barefoot Grill - Yum Yum Yum! Sadly I didn't try out this gem until the day before we were leaving but man oh man was it great! A lot of our friends raved about the pizza but personally I'm a burger lover and theirs was excellent! The perfect cure for a hangover ;) Portofino - Saved the best for last... this restaurant is EXQUISITE. The food is like heaven (especially the tenderloin - melts in your mouth - and again I'm from Alberta and I know good steak!), they bring you bruschetta to whet the appetite and it is DE-LICIOUS. Honestly one time when we went there as a big group, we ordered most of the menu and tried bites of each other’s' meals so that we could sample as much of their delectable menu as possible - everything and I mean every-thing was impeccable. If you only go to ONE restaurant at Dreams Tulum (though I don't know why you would) make it this one! POOLS, BEACH & OCEAN We spent every single day going back and forth from Manatees Swim-up Bar to the ocean and back! This pool was so much fun and the bartenders were incredible! Do yourself a favor and try a "Ticket to Fly" - warning: it’s one of the stronger blended drinks there - but SOOOOO tasty! Manatees is a party from the time it opens (about 9:00 am) until it closes (about 6:30pm). If you are looking for a quiet place to relax you might want to try the adults-only pool a bit closer to the Mexican Restaurant... that is the ONE weird thing: The swim-up bar was in the kid-friendly pool so these little kids were constantly taking up all of the swim-up seats and you really had to keep an eye out so you could cover up your drink when kids were splashing around near you! Regarding the adult-only pool - we never went to it. We passed it every day when we were heading over to Manatees and it looked very serene and definitely quieter - but that's not what we were looking for. If you want to lounge quietly and read a book - but be away from the beach - then this is the pool for you. The beach was beautiful - a mixture of pristine areas with white sand and gorgeous rugged areas further up where it is less crowded. The ocean was amazing and so warm! It was like being in tepid bath water (I know that may sound awful but it was glorious!). The one downside is that the area of the ocean right next to Manatees, is very rocky and there is a lot of coral - my younger brother and one of our friends both cut their feet on coral on two separate occasions. The resort puts up buoys to mark the area you should stay out of but it can be a bit confusing when you're out swimming in the ocean... so be careful! ENTERTAINMENT The entire time we were there, there was a group of about 6 to 8 entertainment staff that was working around the clock - they were like energizer bunnies - and so much fun!! They were at the pool everyday (Manatees) - holding various competitions and games for old and young. At night they would hold fun events and games at Rendezvous, and this was only when they weren't performing in the various nightly shows held behind the Coco Café! This staff was THE. BEST. So hard-working but obviously love their jobs! Their energy and enthusiasm was contagious and we all got suckered into participating in lots of games! From iron woman contests in the pool, to Karaoke and Movie Trivia at Rendezvous, to riding a mechanical bull at Mexican Fiesta behind the Coco Café! (apparently they didn't realize they had Calgarians there - and we ride mechanical bulls at least once per year at the Stampede!... obviously one of our group won the contest and stayed on the bull the longest!!) ;) SPA I organized a girl's spa day while we were there and 9 of us ended up getting 50-minute Swedish Massages following a good hour-long hydro-therapy session. It was INCREDIBLE. I loved the hydro-therapy - it is set up in a big round room - like an atrium - with a gorgeous dome that is tiled beautifully. There is a hot-tub and cool-pool and you cycle through them - hot-tub to cool-pool and then resting on the very comfortable loungers... this cycle feels amazing and promotes circulation. The hydro-circuit is then followed by whichever treatment you have booked - like I said for us it was a 50-minute Swedish massage; now I don't go to spas often and I can count the number of massages I've had on one hand but this was hands-down the BEST massage I have ever had!! Also it should be noted that their staff is incredibly wonderful - especially Dany - the Spa Concierge that was onsite the day of our group booking... he was terrific!! WEDDING Coordination: We had Landy as our wedding coordinator on site and Nayeli was my point of contact up until we arrived. Both of these ladies were incredible! These two are a well-oiled machine... super efficient, knowledgeable and so helpful. It is apparent that they really just want you to have the wedding of your dreams and they will do whatever they can to facilitate that. I am a big party-planning type of person so I knew exactly what I wanted and my fiancée (now husband) and I had already discussed and agreed to the various components of our Ultimate Wedding Package that we wanted to upgrade - we upgraded to gold tiffany chairs, paid to have chair sashes and Chinese lanterns in our wedding colors, got the under-lit dance floor for our beach reception, and some myriad other extras. The way that Landy and her team set up the ceremony site and reception was even more beautiful than I had imagined - the colors we had picked were stunning and perfectly beachy (fuchsia and light aqua). I was SO impressed. Also the flowers were gorgeous! We upgraded here and there from the flower options that came with our wedding package and everything was just beautiful! My husband and I were just incredibly pleased with every aspect of what Landy and her team achieved with our vision. Ceremony Location: We opted not to get married on the beach and instead held our ceremony on the Terrace of The Convention Centre. It was so very beautiful and the walkway/path to the aisle is flanked by lush vegetation on either side which makes for spectacular pictures of the walk to the altar. It is far enough away from the ocean that the wind is pretty minimal and it is definitely much quieter without the sounds of waves in the background. It was perfection. Officiant: We had Pastor Kiko Flores as our officiant. His email responses were fast and well organized. I added a blessing of the hands reading and we wrote our own vows. I basically wrote a script for him and he followed it to a T :) He did struggle with pronunciation of some of the words but we didn't mind at all - he was such a lovely man. Resort Photographers & Videographers: We booked an external photographer (Moments That Matter) based out of Playa Del Carmen, who were absolutely incredible, but we also had a resort photography inclusion that came with our wedding package and I coordinated with Simone from the resort photography studio to have our included pictures taken at the reception. Videography of our ceremony was also included and I received the finished product package from them just over a week ago... unfortunately this is where I take a break from the love-fest... the disk of pictures I received were by and large, bad. They didn't appear to have been touched up at all and the timing in the vast majority was off which resulted in some seriously unflattering photos! The video of our ceremony was likewise disappointing. The picture quality wasn't great and the video only started when we were beginning to say our vows. They didn't capture the walk down the aisle and they only recorded a portion of my husband's vows. The wedding aside, we also purchased a picture from the pool that the resort photographers took and it was really nice. Bottom line: Not bad at their craft but not the best choice if you want to have your special day beautifully captured in film. Now - I know this is a review of Dreams Tulum and I have already written a review on the Moments That Matter vendor page on this site already - but I must once again sing the praises of this AMAZING photography team! After the disappointment of seeing the resort photography work it was SUCH a relief to see that the wedding photos from our external photographer were even better than I could have imagined! Lincoln and his assistant Alfredo are true artists and knew exactly what they were doing every step of the way! We ended up with a breathtaking photography package that everyone has RAVED about... and it so beautifully captures our entire day that it makes me cry every time I watch the video slideshow they compiled for us!! All in all this was BY FAR the BEST vacation my husband and I have ever been on and it was absolutely, unquestionably the wedding of our wildest dreams!! There may have been a hiccup here or there but I honestly didn't even notice and couldn't tell you now what they were. I've included some pictures with my review and you can see the entire slideshow via the following link to the Moments That Matter website (our video is called “Tamara & Brett”): http://momentsthatmatterphotography.com/wedding-videos/ I hope you find this information helpful and If you have any questions please feel free to message me :)