Posted 04 September 2009 - 05:49 PM
My name is Carrie and I'm another Azul Sensatori bride booked for 3 October 09. I have been terrible about posting on this site. My work is a bit hectic and I am out on travel a lot. I've been reading the posts for months and my guilt finally caught up with me and I decided I should probably give back a bit and post something now that I am getting so close to the date.
Anyways I just wanted to let you ladies know that my fiance and I made a site visit back in April and will be more than willing to share any info about our experience. We did a menu tasting during the visit - which was awesome -- and a full tour of the facility. I highly recommend the food tasting! We even made them give us a full tour of the the Azul Beach - they tried to charge us for a guest pass that day - but we ended up just taking a stroll on our own down the beach and then just asked their onsite coordinator to give us a tour. We also got to watch a few weddings in progress at both locations as well as the set up. The Azul S. is by far and away a much nicer facility.
We are working with Luxe Destination Weddings based out of Canada, but we live in the DC area. Our experience has been interesting to say the least. We are still excited about our choice to go with Azul S., but there have been a few ups and downs along the way. In reading some of the posts I am finding there is a lot of inconsistency in the pricing some of the girls are receiving. I will say this - if you don't think its right - fight it. We sent a very strongly worded email direct to the team in Miami and got a few additional amenties thrown our way as a result. You really have to stay on the hotel and make sure you get everything in writing as they will try to jerk you around if you don't keep on top of them. But I suspect that can happen anywhere.
What we have learned is that you shouldn't take no for an answer. This seems to be their favorite word the first time around. In the end the hotel needs its good reviews so our motto has been "anything is possible" - so if they tell us something is impossible we fight them until they are at least willing to come up with a compromise - you would be surprised to find out what they are willing to bend on.
OVerall we have found the pricing to be a bit ridiculous - especially for flowers. They are charging me $20.00 per orchid for my hair. I asked for a bouquet of mixed roses, callalillies, and orchids and they wanted to charge me $300.00. Don't even get me started on some of the services - $900.00 for a mariachi band for 45 minutes is just crazy to me. I will be happy to share the pricing and the quotes I have received if anyone is interested. One thing I have noticed is a lot of the girls have been quoted $100 to $150 for the fabric for the altar - I was quoted $75.00 each for an orange and pink sheer.
I'm not sure how to post pictures yet on this site, but we took a bunch of the property if anyone is interested.
We originally wanted to do the sky deck wedding, but after our site visit we changed our minds. It was extremely windy during the five days we visited. There was another wedding up there during our visit and they almost had to move locations because of the wind - we asked them afterwards what the back up was if it rained or if it had to be cancelled because of wind and they showed us the meeting room. This was absolutely unacceptable to us after seeing the meeting room. We also found out that if you pay for the sky deck wedding ($1700) and you have to cancel because of weather you won't get the $1700 back. So we opted for the beach wedding since we still came under the free suite wedding package. We also fought them on the backup location. I told them that there was no way in hell I was flying my friends and family down there only to get married in a small, ugly room with no windows. They of course told us this was the only option - but when we pressed them they agreed to allow us to use either the covered walkway in Building three overlooking the pool or the terrace at the Zocalo restuarant - which affords you a direct view of the ocean still.
As for the rooms - if you are on a tight budget then I would let you know that the the rooms are all the same. We were surprised to see that there was very little difference between the jacuzzi, luxury, premium, and honeymoon suites. They are all the same size and look exactly the same. The only difference is the upgraded toiletries they provide and the view. The premium rooms place you in the adult area and you are able to use the concierge service and private butlers they provide pool side - if this isn't a big deal to you then I would say skip it. Most of our guests will be staying in the other buildings anyways - so it really didn't make a difference. The only real advantage of the honeymoon suite is that you get a more direct view of the ocean and the balconies are larger. We opted to go with the honeymoon suite the last three days of our trip - basically I am moving in there the night before the wedding with one of my bridesmaids and the fiance is taking her room. Then we will share it the wedding night. When we did the site visit we stayed in building three. We originally booked a junior jacuzzi suite but asked to be upgraded when we arrived. There are only four buildings and none of the rooms have a direct view of the ocean except for the HM suites. The rest are side views - still good views - just not direct. The front desk told us that there were no luxury rooms available - but then our bellboy told us that this wasn't true and so we went back and talked to the manager. Next thing we know we are on the top floor with a great view. I definitely recommend the higher level floors - they have a better view. The swim ups are nice - but they are not that private. I guess it just depends on what you want. I would also suggest telling your guests to try and request an upgrade when they arrive. The hotel hasn't been at full capacity ever. When we went it was only at 60% -why they are opposed to upgrading is beyond me - you just have to talk to the right person. I would also make sure you are there for your guests when they check in if it is at all possible.
As for the wedding - we are doing the donkey fiesta cocktail party as our welcome reception on Thursday night in the BBQ pit on the beach. A rehearsal dinner on Friday at Spoon. Then a beach ceremony on Saturday followed by a cocktail reception immediately after the ceremony in the adult pool bar, and then a dinner reception on the Zocalo terrace. We were originally about 50, but the recession and what I am now referring to as the baby boom of 2009 hit some of friends and family pretty hard, so we are now a nice solid 28.
Anyways I just wanted to thank everyone for all the posts over the last few months - they have been so informative and am hoping I can now return the favor and provide any information from my experience so far. We leave on 28 September and the big day is 3 October. We decided to HM in Jamaica :-).
I can't believe its almost here - the time has just flown by.
I look forward to hearing from any and all!