By reynbow, · 1,115 Views · 1 Comment
My now-husband and I scouted 9 venues in the Riviera Maya in April 2014. Since we needed a venue that could accommodate 150+ people, thankfully this limited options, though 9 venues to visit was a lot in one weekend! This included:
* Now Sapphire
* Grand Coral
* Villa Sol y Luna (just a drive by)
* Playa del Secreto
* Blue Venado
* Azul Fives
* Ak'iin Beach Club
* Las Ranitas
* Papaya Playa Project
* Zen Serenity
We ended up selecting Azul Fives which was our second choice. Our first choice was Papaya Playa Project. Beautiful unique location in Tulum, but was too costly and restrictive. Azul Fives was also an amazing location, and since it’s located in Playa Del Carmen, this made it quicker for our guests to get to from the airport. Azul Fives worked out wonderfully since we had multiple days of events and mostly all of them were held at the resort. This included a mehndi night in our suite, a welcome party on the beach, a farewell brunch at one of the restaurants (Flavours buffet) and our wedding. We had our ceremony on the Sky Deck, which definitely had a WOW factor for our guests. The Sky Deck is basically a rooftop overlooking the ocean. We liked that it wasn’t directly on the beach but had a magnificent view. We had cocktail hour directly after the ceremony, one level below the Sky Deck, on the Sky Terrace and the Zky Bar, which also afforded great views of the ocean, and our reception in the poolside garden.
Most of our guests stayed at Azul Fives and loved it. It’s a family-friendly all-inclusive resort and has excellent food compared to other AIs. Our guests received a spa credit through our travel agent which many used. The feedback from our guests who went to Vassa Spa was that it was one of the best spa experiences they’ve ever had. We loved the layout of the resort. It’s not too large. For the most part, the service was excellent. We had some minor room issues (we originally situated in a villa where the elevator was broken so we were switched to a different villa. Then a few days later the elevator in the new villa broke and wasn’t fixed during the rest of our stay. This was annoying since we were hosting one of our events in our suite and my mom has difficulty walking.). Some times the room service took a very long time and expect a long way for your food at Oriola Grill. Another minor frustration was that some times when we called the front desk or concierge, no one would pick up the phone. Calling other hotel rooms was also a challenge at times since not all rooms have the same number of digits. In spite of this, I recommend the resort as it’s beautiful, food and nightlife choices are excellent, great for families, couples, singles, staff are very friendly, and service is decent. The hotel accommodated our special requests. We are thankful for our personal concierge who helped make special arrangements for us.
The food at all our wedding events was amazing. At least that’s what our guests said J We are very thankful to the hotel chef, Manuel, who accommodated our special requests for the wedding, which included arranging a whole roasted pig for our welcome party and making Indian cocktail bites to our liking for our cocktail hour. We had a bbq on the beach for our welcome party. We had agua frescas at our cocktail hour and reception, a tres leches and coconut wedding cake, and late night tacos at the end of our reception. All were hits. My only regret was not requesting that the agua frescas were labeled and that I knew where the taco station would be located. They weren’t very visible for our guests so not everyone knew about them.
HOTEL WEDDING COORDINATORS, FLOWERS:
If you’re having your wedding at a Karisma property, you either already know how the process and costs work. If not, be prepared to hit some road bumps which is inevitable when deciding to have a wedding at an all-inclusive corporate resort chain.
When you’ve accepted the system that Karisma sets up, then you’ll put the blame the system and can appreciate the hard work that the coordinators do for you while sticking to the system. My coordinator up until we arrived at the hotel for the wedding was Brigitte Castro. Brigitte was very pleasant to work with and responded as quickly as she could to my many emails, considering the Karisma sales team is based in Miami and she has to coordinate with the on-site coordinators in Mexico which is why some responses were delayed.
The on-site wedding coordination team was also as fantastic as could be. They were easily accessible during our whole stay, made great suggestions, helped with our last-minute changes, and executed each event magnificently. The Karisma/Lomas team did a beautiful job setting up our decorations for each of our events. (We brought a lot of our own decorations because Lomas overcharges for practically everything. This is again something you must accept if you’re deciding to have your wedding in the Riviera Maya at a corporate hotel chain that makes their $$ by creating a wedding service monopoly at their resorts.) I’m very thankful for Arturo, Gaby, Angie, Lucely, Maribel and Esmeralda, for the time and effort they dedicated to us during our wedding week, and for being as flexible and accommodating as they could be. They have a tough job dealing with brides and grooms only when brides and grooms are at their most stressful time, so I give them mad props. The staff were great at delivering our welcome bags to our guests upon their arrival as well.
The flowers were expensive but beautiful. Our wedding was a fusion Filipino-Indian wedding, so we had strings of flowers drape the back side of our wedding gazebo (mandap). And we also had flower garlands for my husband, both of our parents, and me during the ceremony. They were beautiful, made out of carnations and roses.