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Riu Vallarta Review and a few pictures


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#1 Helen_S81

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    Posted 12 May 2008 - 07:19 PM

    I'm sorry if this is too long but I hope this helps someone!

    May 2 to May 9, 2008 travelling with Sunquest vacations Toronto to Puerto Vallarta.

    Transporting the dress: I turned my daughters wedding dress inside out, folded it up, and put tissue between the front and back to prevent the beads from catching on one another. Then I rolled the dress up and put it in a carryon suitcase. There were other brides on the flight and there were no closets so all carryon luggage had to go in the overhead bins. I was glad I had the dress in a suitcase as I saw a couple of girls carrying the dresses around the airport in Toronto and then having to stuff them into the overhead bin. Once I got to the hotel I unpacked the dress and hung it in the closet in our room. I had it at one end and then the train spread out the full length of the closet. The night before the wedding I took it out of the closet and hung it on the valance over the patio door hoping for the last few creases to drop out. It looked fine the next day.

    Arrival in Puerto Vallarta: I thought I was prepared for the timeshare sharks but I wasn’t! We got pulled over by a guy who must have seen our Sunquest tags and shouted “Sunquest over here”. Shortly after that I realised he wasn’t a Sunquest rep so we left and went through the doors into the main terminal where you can see the buses, and there was one with “Sunquest” in the window. There were only our party (27 of us) on the bus so the Sunquest rep (Andres) gave us our orientation on the bus. Once at the hotel he sat us in the lobby and handed out keys to everyone. Some of us had to go back to the lobby for bracelets after the fact but it was no problem. Everyone in our party got a junior suite, some had paid for that option and the others were upgraded, except the bride and groom who had a full suite (spectacular).

    Riu Vallarta: Grade A The hotel looks spectacular and is very clean. There are people cleaning the place from early in the morning until late at night. I was on the balcony a couple of times at 7am and I’d see teams of people washing the tiles in the courtyards, wiping down sun lounger pads and testing chemicals in the pools and fountains. In our room (junior suite) everything was in good working order with just a mild smell of damp, but I was prepared for that and it didn’t bother us too much. Got room service everyday, usually by noon, but once it was around 4pm. Got towel art a few times. Not sure if the mini bar was done every day or every other day but ours was never empty.

    The food: Grade B This is hard for us. At least one person in our party is vegetarian and for the most part we try to eat fairly healthy. The food wasn’t bad and nobody really complained but it was a very different diet to what we (me, my husband, and two daughters) are used to. We ate at Flamingo Steakhouse once as an ala carte dinner, and also for the wedding dinner. The food was just ok but the atmosphere makes up for that. We tried Nirvana and we actually liked the food there but it is still buffet food. Most meals we had at the buffet Don Raphaels or Flamingo’s (during the day) which most of us actually preferred.

    Renova spa at the Riu Vallarta: Grade C Katie (the bride) had a hair trial and took pictures of what she wanted (Angela – Cheese_Diva was the inspiration). It wasn’t really done the way she wanted but she just went with what they did. The day of the wedding Katie, myself, and my other daughter all got our hair done. None of us were really very happy and we ended up fixing the hair ourselves. It also took them over 2 hours to do the brides hair. They said we’d be done by 1:15 – 1:30 but Katie wasn’t actually done until 2pm which didn’t leave much time for makeup and getting dressed for the 3pm wedding.

    Wedding: On the beach –When Katie gets back she has said that she will write something for me to put up for future brides. From my perspective it was beautiful, although it was extremely hot. I was so glad that I had got some paper parasols (Oriental Trading) ahead of time for the guests. They were very much appreciated. Katie will also have some photographs and video from the hotel supplied vendors when she returns.

    Excursions: Rhythms of the Night – OMG – five of our party out of 20 got sea sick on the way over. That was after taking Gravol. I’m not sure if it was just extra rough that day but by the time we got to Las Caletas we were all just worried about being able to get these people back on the boat and home again without being even more sick! Whilst we were eating they sent a medic with oxygen up and more Dramamine for the ride home.

    Tour of Puerto Vallarta – we arranged for a private tour and there ended up being 24 of us on this trip. Gave us some details on the agriculture, education system, and general living conditions. Dropped us off at the mermaid in Puerto Vallarta and gave us an hour to wander. Then the guide walked us up to Our Lady of Guadeloupe church, took us to a school and then to the market. He gave us a couple of hours to shop and eat. Dropped some people off at the mall on the way back. Excellent excursion.

    Golf – 3 rounds were played – 2 at Flamingo’s and 1 at Le Tigre? All enjoyed by all that attended but I don’t have many details probably due to the amount of beer consumed whilst playing. If anyone needs more details I can get them I’m sure.

    All in all this was a great spot for a wedding/family reunion. We had guests ranging in age from 19 to 80. They were something for everyone. Walking along the beach, tequila volleyball, boogie boards (80 year old grandma even tried it) to just sitting and reading a book. I didn’t hear any complaints and everyone said that they had a great time.

    If anyone has any questions, please ask. Between the group we have nearly 1000 pictures so far without the official photographers pictures. Just a few to illustrate some points or to show off my beautiful daughter(s).

    Bridesmaids on my balcony before the ceremony. Dresses by Alfred Angelo bought from Bea Shawn (local store) priced from $190-230 CDN.

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    Me on the balcony:

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    Ceremony on the beach:

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    Wedding party on the beach:

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    Groom, Mother of the bride (me), bride, and father of the bride in hotel lobby.

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    Bride!

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    #2 Sandra E.

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      Posted 12 May 2008 - 07:27 PM

      Beautiful pictures and beautiful bride! Congratulations!

      #3 evtalbot

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        Posted 13 May 2008 - 12:22 AM

        Gorgeous pictures! Thank you so much for posting. I am looking at all three RIU hotels for my wedding (but almost sure I want it at RIU Jalisco). I noticed that they got married on the beach, which is what my fiance has his heart set on. I'm sure it was HOTTT!! How was the privacy? (Did you have a lot of bystanders, etc.) One thing I absolutely do not want is people yelling "Congratulations!!!! Yeah man!!!!" during my ceremony!!!! What did you think of the RIU photographer?

        Can't wait to see more pictures! :)

        #4 starchild

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          Posted 13 May 2008 - 03:49 AM

          Quote:
          Originally Posted by Helen_S81
          I thought I was prepared for the timeshare sharks but I wasn’t! We got pulled over by a guy who must have seen our Sunquest tags and shouted “Sunquest over here”. Shortly after that I realised he wasn’t a Sunquest rep so we left and went through the doors into the main terminal where you can see the buses, and there was one with “Sunquest” in the window.
          Aren't they crafty? It happened to us on our first trip down, we slipped up and said "Oh great, we should be on your list our names are..." and the guy glanced and said "Yes, you are here". NOT! Now I look at the list myself and find my own name...lol Glad you weren't detained long!

          Quote:
          Originally Posted by Helen_S81
          Excursions: Rhythms of the Night – OMG – five of our party out of 20 got sea sick on the way over. That was after taking Gravol. I’m not sure if it was just extra rough that day but by the time we got to Las Caletas we were all just worried about being able to get these people back on the boat and home again without being even more sick! Whilst we were eating they sent a medic with oxygen up and more Dramamine for the ride home.
          Yikes! I believe it, the ride can be brutal yet there are always people who say nobody got sick on the ride over. I guess it's the luck of the draw, we had a few sick guests on the way to our wedding there, but I believe none of them took the motion sickness meds. I hope you found that the boat crew treated them well, I've been sick on their boats before and they were very attentive.

          Thanks for sharing the review & pics, everything looks great!

          #5 Celina

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            Posted 13 May 2008 - 10:50 AM

            Helen,

            I want to say thank you so much for the review. Katie looked amazing and you don't look too bad yourself!

            All of your information has been so helpful. What time did Katie get married? I am concerned with all of the lookeyloos on the beach. I would love to hear her perspective on how everything went. She seems so laid back.

            You have answered so many questions for me, and I think she is the first RIU Vallarta Bride! Thank you for sharing your pics and for all of your help. You have been so wonderful and helpful!

            Thank you again SO MUCH!
            ~Celina
            "Love is not who you live with...it's who you can't live without"

            #6 ~Melissa~

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            Posted 13 May 2008 - 11:29 AM

            Great review, thanks. I think that's our first review of the Riu Vallarta in PV! Those BM dresses are very sharp in that color. Your daughter looked beautiful on her wedding day and so did you!

            #7 ACDCDCAC

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            Posted 13 May 2008 - 11:43 AM

            helen! you looked gorgeous, as did your daughter, both dresses were lovely! i love the shade of steel grey you wore, so pretty!

            thanks for the review, can't wait for more pics and the brides perspective!

            #8 Helen_S81

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              Posted 13 May 2008 - 07:49 PM

              Quote:
              Originally Posted by evtalbot
              Gorgeous pictures! Thank you so much for posting. I am looking at all three RIU hotels for my wedding (but almost sure I want it at RIU Jalisco). I noticed that they got married on the beach, which is what my fiance has his heart set on. I'm sure it was HOTTT!! How was the privacy? (Did you have a lot of bystanders, etc.) One thing I absolutely do not want is people yelling "Congratulations!!!! Yeah man!!!!" during my ceremony!!!! What did you think of the RIU photographer?

              Can't wait to see more pictures! :)
              It was very hot but the parasols definately helped. They set a rope up around the area to try and keep people away but they can still walk along the beach at the water level. The photographer told Katie not to worry about any of them because he was going to photoshop them out for her. I heard no one yelling out, but people did congratulate us as we walked around the resort with her in her dress. We sat in the lobby for a while after the ceremony and took some pictures and other people were taking pictures of us too! Complete strangers. I have not seen any of the photographers pictures. Katie and Chris previewed them before I left and were impressed but were going to get some prints after I left. I'm hoping that when she gets home she'll either copy the CD for me or get me some prints (crosses fingers). They are also getting a video. When I get a look at them I'll let you know for sure.

              Quote:
              Originally Posted by starchild
              Aren't they crafty? It happened to us on our first trip down, we slipped up and said "Oh great, we should be on your list our names are..." and the guy glanced and said "Yes, you are here". NOT! Now I look at the list myself and find my own name...lol Glad you weren't detained long!



              Yikes! I believe it, the ride can be brutal yet there are always people who say nobody got sick on the ride over. I guess it's the luck of the draw, we had a few sick guests on the way to our wedding there, but I believe none of them took the motion sickness meds. I hope you found that the boat crew treated them well, I've been sick on their boats before and they were very attentive.

              Thanks for sharing the review & pics, everything looks great!
              I knew about the timeshare sharks and I got tricked! Yes, the staff on the boat were very attentive and concerned.

              Quote:
              Originally Posted by SoontobeMrsE
              Helen,

              I want to say thank you so much for the review. Katie looked amazing and you don't look too bad yourself!
              Great review, thanks. I think that's our first review of the Riu Vallarta in PV! Those BM dresses are very sharp in that color. Your daughter looked beautiful on her wedding day and so did you!
              Quote:
              Originally Posted by DougsGirl
              helen! you looked gorgeous, as did your daughter, both dresses were lovely! i love the shade of steel grey you wore, so pretty!

              thanks for the review, can't wait for more pics and the brides perspective!

              Thank you all for the kind comments. Currently I have access to nearly 1000 pictures from the other wedding guests. I will look and see if I can find one that shows the beach set up and how far away the loungers are from the ceremony site. I also took some pictures of a ceremony set up at the gazebo but as they were taken of a complete stranger I can not post them. However, they are on my facebook so pm me and I'll add you so you can see them. I also have pictures of the set up for Bar Mezcal for the dancing. I will sort some more pictures out to post but my computer time is limited this week (have to share with younger daughter as her desktop crashed and her new laptop won't be here until next week and of course she got a contract with a deadline of next Monday).

              Thank you all once again and if you have more questions I'll try and answer them if not this week then next week!

              #9 Helen_S81

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                Posted 13 May 2008 - 08:12 PM

                OK more pictures.

                This is the ceremony site taken from the ramp coming out of the Flamingo restaurant which is the route the wedding party take to the beach. Notice the 'rope' on the very left hand side of the picture tied to a tree and then it goes down to the water. There are some loungers to the left of the rope but they are quite a ways from the ceremony site.

                Click the image to open in full size.

                And then another looking back the other way, towards Flamingo's with the loungers on the right.

                Click the image to open in full size.

                These are of Bar Mezcal set up for after the dinner. We had dancing (brought an ipod and sound system) and our own bar tender. The decorations on the table are the ones supplied free.

                Click the image to open in full size.

                Click the image to open in full size.

                #10 jmiranda

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                  Posted 13 May 2008 - 08:34 PM

                  Thank you so much for posting all this information!!! Im so happy to see pictures of a wedding at the resort where I will be having my wedding!! It is so exciting.

                  Your daughter was a gorgeous bride that dress is beautiful and you looked really beautiful as well.

                  Can you please post more pictures of everything...please!!! I would like to see more of the set up for the dinner.

                  Thank you so much




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