Hi Ladies were back from our site visit. I could not wait to post the review as soon as I got back. I just would like to mention the following is based on my personal opinion. I do not want to offend anyone and the choices they have made. So I will reiterate this review is based on my personal choice.
Note this is a reallllllyyyyyy loooonnggggggg review. Here is the link to see all the pictures I took http://theroyalwedding.shutterfly.com
The pictures include La Tortuga Hotel & Spa where we stayed and we decided in the end to do our rehearsal dinner here.
To start the airline, we flew US Airways. This was possibly the worst airline I have ever flown. I really highly recommend not taking this airline. For starters there were five weddings on the flight. They stuffed all five dresses in the over head compartments and the flight crew would not stop complaining about it. We ended up having to check our bags in because there was not enough room on the plane. In addition the following was not a big deal but amenities that some people may care about. There were no TVâ€™s or an in flight movie and you had to pay for all the food and drinks.
Next is the wedding coordinator. We have been assigned Zulma Dominguez. We went to meet with her at the Wedding Center which is located on at The Royal. It is a really nice office and very easy to get to. I canâ€™t not say enough how wonderful Zulma is. She is very thorough and was very accommodating to all our needs. I was so happy we met with her because there were so many things that were different based on what Angie had told us. Here is the list,
1.You only have to pay $100 outside vendor fee not the guest fee on top of that unless your vendor is eating.
2. I had wanted square tables however they are only offered for very small weddings. The round tables can seat up to 12 however Zulma recommends no more than 8 at a table.
3.The dance floor is included. However I personally did not like the dance floor and would not recommend it. It was just two wooden planks put together and was very small.
4.As for passes for Gran Porto guests it is $85 per guest for 9-5 or 5-11, $140 for the whole day, or itâ€™s only $60 for all three days. The three day pass is a special they have going on right now.
After we met with Zulma we went on our tour. We first went and saw the Gran Porto. The Gran is beautiful and it looks like a very fun spot for kids. We looked at the gazebo just to see it. It is very nice but also would be for a very small wedding. The one thing I like better about the Gran Porto was the beach. It is much less crowded and also much larger. It seemed much more private. We asked if there was any way we could have the ceremony at the Royal and the reception at the beach over at the Gran. However we were told no.
We than looked at the first beach right next to the pier. This is where we were originally booked because of the size of our wedding. I did not like the pier being there at all. Until 4pm there are boats coming in and out with hundreds of people. They all come from Cozumel and come to go on the tour buses to other excursions. Also there were seagulls sitting everywhere. There is this small roped off section with these red posts. I just thought aesthetically it did it not look nice. The worst part is it is the main entrance to the beach. The beach is public and tons of people were coming in and out. The pro though is this beach is the safest in terms of erosion and offers the most beach.
The next beach is in the middle area. This is right by the main entrance from the beach to the Royal. It has a nice wooden walkway and large beach area. The con here is of all three beaches this one gets hit second. So if a storm comes its possible this one could erode.
Finally there is the beach right in front of the gazebo. It is the smallest beach section so we could not have it there for the amount of people we are having. Also if a storm comes this is the first beach to go. This beach is the nicest in terms of entrance. People are not waking in and out of walk ways.
We ended up picking the middle beach by the pool entrance. We actually almost ended up calling off the whole thing and picking another resort because of what we saw when we walked down to see an actual wedding. We went alone after we met with Zulma because our appointment was in the morning with her.
We walked down at 3:30 and the beach was packed. People were topless and literally on top of the wedding that was going on. They actually were turning their beach chairs to face the wedding. People were also just sunbathing right in front of the wedding. I know you expect some of this at a wedding and Mexico. However for us this was just a huge deal breaker.
Luckily we went back down at 6 which is when we would be having our actual reception. There was not a sole on the beach except for a few people sitting on the pier. We saw the middle area and liked it the best. No one was walking back and forth at that entrance and the set up was beautiful. The standard setup is so beautiful. The tables were all lit up, tiki torches and the bar looked marvelous. Sorry ladies I did not take pictures out of respect for the weddings that were going on at the time. Take my word for it the standard set up that they do was breath taking.
Something to keep in mind, it was pretty breezy down by the beach. I felt fine but some older relatives might be a little chilly. Of course this varies on the time of year as well. Also donâ€™t worry about it being too dark they do such a phenomenal job with all the lighting. They offer a candle or a hurricane with the candle. I liked the candle a lot but it is only offered in orange. I saw the hurricane with the candle and I thought it looked very elegant. I was also worried about sand going in our food however even though its breezy somehow the sand does not go anywhere. So I would not be concerned about that. The sand is extraordinarily soft by the way.
The next portion is the Gazebo. I just love this area for the ceremony. It is in a much more private part of the resort. They make sure that people cannot walk by during the ceremony time. We actually also ended up moving our cocktail hour to this area. There is a small grass garden right there and is still private.
We originally had it in the main garden. The main garden is right in the center of the whole resort. They had a wedding being set up when we went to see it. People were staring from the balconies and taking pictures. Also everyone has to pass this way in order to get to the beach, pool and restaurants so there was a lot of traffic passing in this area. Again this was a personal choice. It was just something we did not want for us. Ladies by the way definitely no heels in the grass. I sunk right in with my heels and it was very difficult to walk on. I would do wedge or flip flops.
Finally we looked at the ballroom as the option in case of rain. We also got to see where they have the ceremonies if it rains. It is a long marble hallway with a fountain and a cross. Not to terrible of an option. It was actually a very serene spot.
We also went to see the spa. I picked up a rate card of all their services. A trial session for makeup is $45, the actual makeup session is $60. Up doâ€™s range from $40 - $70 depending on the style and $45 for a trial. Pedicures are $30, manicures $25 and French manicures are $40. If you want to use the Spa sauna and pool its $25 per person for the day or $60 unlimited use if you stay in a master suite for more than three nights. They always have special offers going on at the Spa. Right now its 20% off all services.
By the way I did go to the Mac make up store. It is literally around the corner from the Royal. It is two blocks up and not a far walk at all. You walk in and go up on elevator. The whole upstairs is the MAC store. They told me they will not go to your room. It is $70 for a trial and $100 for the actual application for the bride. For brides maids, moms and so on it is $70. I thought that seemed pretty expensive. However it is a nice walk down and you could get great pictures.
The final portion is the food tasting. The food was phenomenal and as you will see from the pictures the presentation was just wonderful. We had the following,
For the cocktail hour:
Breaded chicken fillet with sesame seeds (was absolutely wonderful and delicious!)
Shrimps au coconut with mint sauce (was also amazing and I loved the sauce)
Cantaloupe pearls with prosciutto & spearmint (this was my favorite, the prosciutto was very fresh and light)
Spring salad with goat cheese & almond oil (Not what I expected, it was basically a big block of cream cheese with a piece of goat cheese on top)
Caribbean salad with shrimp, smoked pineapple pesto & jasmine flower (The presentation is really cool but it was to fishy for me. It tastes like a seafood salad)
Prosciutto with cantaloupe and Dijon mustard vinaigrette (This was my favorite and the option we chose. We are changing another option for the cocktail hour so we donâ€™t have the same thing twice)
Oyster cream soup with fried leek (absolutely fabulous, creamy and was just wonderful)
Clam chowder with chopped vegetables au white wine (The clam chowder was also very good)
Princess cream soup with green vegetables au white wine flavor ( This soup was the one we chose because not everyone likes oysters and clams. It was our favorite of the three. Again very creamy and flavorful)
Beef fillet with Dijon mustard, garnished with provencal herbs (This was good but the sauce as a little off and we did not really like it)
Valentino beef fillet with pink pepper sauce & Jumbo shrimp (Everything was delicious except the sauce was way to over powering)
Beef fillet tournedo with three peppers sauce (This was the dish we chose. The beef was perfectly cooked and we asked for them to add jumbo shrimp to this one instead.)
Dessert & Cake:
Lime pie with strawberries (It was ok, I have had better)
Paris chocolate shell stuffed with fruit au white Cinzano flavor ( We licked the plate clean with this one it was so good. We chose this one as our dessert. It comes with marscarpone cream, it was amazing)
Tres Leches Cake (I canâ€™t not even describe how delicious this cake is. We chose it for our cake flavor. It is moist, creamy and light. We both absolutely loved it.)
Finally the rehearsal dinner. We originally were going to do Catamaya and take everyone snorkeling on a catamaran. We realized this just does not work for the adults. We were going t do the 3:30 â€“ 7:30 but honestly by 5:30 it is pitch black ad being out on a boat we thought it might get quite cold. Instead we are doing this as a gift to our bridal party and switched to the 10am â€“ 2pm session.
Instead we are going to do it at the hotel we stayed at this time. We stayed at La Tortuga Hotel & Spa right on 5th. I cannot say enough about how much we love this hotel and we go back every year. They have a beautiful terrace and we are going to do a mixture of tables, lounge areas. We opted for cocktails and tapas and kept it relaxing and fun. This hotel is like a secret oasis in the middle of 5th avenue. You walk in and the ambiance speaks for itself. I posted the pictures of it in the link.
Finally I swear just some last tidbits of information. For those of you looking for maracas 5th avenue is covered in them. They range from $1 - $3 depending on the size. I bet though you could haggle for a good price if you buy a lot.
Also for bachelorette parties there are two main clubs. Coco Bongo is the newest place and the line goes on for miles. It is $60 all you can drink and is a really fun spot. Senor Frogs is $35 all you can drink and depends on the kind of crowd you are looking for.
I am going to end up going to a handle full of wine and martini bars as well as having tapas with the girls. There are some really cool lounge areas. There is one place called Deseo (Desire) that is a roof top lounge that has beds and linen canopies. It is a martini bar and a great spot for chicks to hang out together. At the end of the night we are going to end at Coco Bango. They also have a Cancun Charlies but it is more of a sports bar.
I am sure I have forgotten something so please feel free to ask questions. All in all ladies itâ€™s your big day let the professionals take care of it. Once you get to the Royal you can just see that they go above and beyond to make your day just the way you want it.