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Planning Site Visits -- Your thoughts welcome!


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#1 Gr8ful

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    Posted 27 October 2008 - 07:14 PM

    I have to agree with everyone -- this site is a truly incredible place for information and sharing. Thank you everyone for your posts!

    That being said, I need your advice as I am planning site visits sometime in Dec / Jan (if all goes well). We have focused our search on the Yucatan, and from the input and research I have done, I have narrowed it down to these locations in the Tulum / PDC / RM areas:

    - Eurostars Blue Tulum
    - Maroma
    - Ana Y Jose
    - Esencia
    - Tides, Riviera Maya
    - Ceiba Del Mar

    We are looking for something boutique-y, small, and intimate. Last weekend, we actually put together our invite list (105 people -- minimal fighting!), and I have heard that you get something like 50-67% people who actually go, so I am hoping for 75 people at most (does this sound right?).

    Am I missing any locations that I should include in this list, or does it seem pretty comprehensive? I think there is a decent range of pricey to mid, but any suggestions anyone might have would be super and really appreciated.

    Of course, I will share all the juicy details when I actually take the trip. I promise to take copious notes and try to take some decent photos.

    #2 Gr8ful

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      Posted 01 December 2008 - 03:33 PM

      I am still planning my site visits, and we have actually booked a trip down to Cancun at the end of January! We will be staying in Tulum at the Posada Luna del Sur (Rated #1 by Trip Advisor - $75 / night, how awesome is that?). Janet & Jack are very nice -- and responded right away.

      Hotel Website: Posada Luna del Sur. Tulum Hotel Mexico - Posada Luna del Sur Tulum, Mexico* ~* Riviera Maya
      Trip Advisor Reviews: Posada Luna del Sur (Tulum, Yucatan Peninsula) - Hotel Reviews - TripAdvisor

      We are planning to visit:
      - Ana Y Jose. Jackie has been incredibly responsive
      - I have been emailing Erica from weddingsinplaya.com, and will hopefully arrange a visit to some of the sites they recommended. She has been responsive as well.
      - Still trying to arrange something at Esencia, although I still suspect this is out of our range, it just looks so nice. Never heard from them from my original email, however. Maybe I'll be successful this time.
      - Eurostars Blue Tulum -- Does anyone know if this changed ownership? I tried emailing them, and never heard back. Today, when I visited the site: Mexico DF hotels - Eurostars Hotels -- it's no longer listed! So I'm wondering what happened to them? Probably not the best sign.

      Does anyone have any other suggestions as to places I must check out? I think we will probably do drive bys, and go into places that look interesting. I'm going by my original list and the people who actually responded to me. I have read on The Knot to limit the # of potential sites to three at most, so I think I should be set. I hope I am not missing anything critical!

      #3 MarieSam

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        Posted 01 December 2008 - 08:53 PM

        Quote:
        Originally Posted by Gr8ful

        Does anyone have any other suggestions as to places I must check out? I think we will probably do drive bys, and go into places that look interesting. I'm going by my original list and the people who actually responded to me. I have read on The Knot to limit the # of potential sites to three at most, so I think I should be set. I hope I am not missing anything critical!
        You seem to have a great list going, from what I've seen and heard all those places are amazingly beautiful and you will have no problem choosing the perfect spot!

        If you're not looking from something too fancy, and searching for a more laidback, authentic but really beautiful venue, I would also check out the small town of Akumal ~ which is locoated in between Puerto Adventuras and Tulum. There are some great ceremony and reception venues in that town and are very reasonably priced. The town itself is so easy to fall inlove with and the accommodations there are first class but seem to be less expensive ~ here's a link to a post on my venue in Akumal. http://bestdestinati...om/forum/t31355

        With the money we are saving because it's a non-resort/non-AI wedding, we are spending 2 weeks in the area! The first will be at a Villa rental that houses 30 people during our first week in Akumal, and the second using our timeshares! Riviera Maya Hotels, Resorts, Rentals: Mexican Caribbean Vacation is another website that offers some great ideas for wedding venues and accommodations.

        Good luck

        #4 Gr8ful

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          Posted 02 December 2008 - 02:45 PM

          Thank you for all of this information! I love that you are getting in an eco-minded property. Reading your intro -- we are not the AI types either -- I was looking into those more b/c of laziness on my part. I just don't want to do too much planning. And, I'm basing a lot of my decisions here on responsiveness from the WC's that I'm trying to get in touch with. If they respond, I think that is a good sign.

          But, your note has inspired me to do some more research and definitely will stop by TBC in Akumal b/c it sounds great. Can you send me Jen's email? I would like to try to set up something with her while we are down there.

          Not to mention the cupcakes and the food -- the food & booze are more important to me than anything else (and of course, budget!). I think finding the place is the most difficult part of this.

          Do you just know when you find the right place? I'm wondering if you just visit a bunch of places, and finally, one will just seem "right" -- like dating! :-)

          Thank you again for your response -- it was very helpful! Your wedding is going to be fabulous. I wish I had as much together as you did. One decision at a time, right? And deep breaths.

          #5 MarieSam

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            Posted 03 December 2008 - 05:09 AM

            Quote:
            Originally Posted by Gr8ful
            Thank you for all of this information! I love that you are getting in an eco-minded property. Reading your intro -- we are not the AI types either -- I was looking into those more b/c of laziness on my part. I just don't want to do too much planning. And, I'm basing a lot of my decisions here on responsiveness from the WC's that I'm trying to get in touch with. If they respond, I think that is a good sign.

            But, your note has inspired me to do some more research and definitely will stop by TBC in Akumal b/c it sounds great. Can you send me Jen's email? I would like to try to set up something with her while we are down there.

            Not to mention the cupcakes and the food -- the food & booze are more important to me than anything else (and of course, budget!). I think finding the place is the most difficult part of this.

            Do you just know when you find the right place? I'm wondering if you just visit a bunch of places, and finally, one will just seem "right" -- like dating! :-)

            Thank you again for your response -- it was very helpful! Your wedding is going to be fabulous. I wish I had as much together as you did. One decision at a time, right? And deep breaths.
            You're absolutely welcome Jen can be reached at Bartley_Smith@msn.com -- if you check out their website (here's the link): Page Title you can also see some sample dinner menus for their catering services. I think it's a great idea to meet with her while you're down there ~ she's a sweetheart and so full of information! Let her know I referred her to you (MarieSam). FYI, it usually takes about 24-hours to get a response back from her.

            You know when we began the wedding planning process, we had initially wanted to have our wedding at Mayan Palace/Grand Mayan, but their menus kept changing and prices increased. I was totally devastated, but soon after discovered Turtle Bay. Of course, prior to our visit to the area in June I just kept praying it was all I hoped for. During our first visit to the CEA center, I had to keep an open mind. Like I said in my post, it certainly wasn't the Ritz Carlton, but we're not Ritz Carlton people either, lol. There was a wedding there that day, and the couple choose very simple decor. The venue was simple and authentic, but I could envision our style and decor there. I was initially bothered by the fact that there is no AC in the center, only ceiling fans but as the sun came down it really cooled down. With the candle wall and all the candles throughout the area, it is magic. The beachfront is out of this world and I also loved that the place is totally private, a building all your own. It was also great to see how hard Jen and her staff worked to make everything run smoothly. They were on top of everything and I appreciated that.

            But even after our first visit, I wasn't sold because I wanted to see what else was out there. Fortunately we have a good friend in Playa del Carmen who owns a transportation/tour company and he hooked us up with his friend who coordinates weddings and entertainment. We spent the day looking at various wedding locations in Playa del Carmen, Playacar and Puerto Adventuras. Some were private venues others were resorts, some all inclusives -- the places we saw were beautiful no doubt and really spectacular. But honestly, nothing clicked for us.

            We looked at all our options, took into consideration our budget and what was most important to us -- food, affordability and location. When it came down to it, FI and I both knew that the CEA Center felt like "us" and we got a great vibe from Jen because she was willing to spend so much time with us even when we were still undecided. On top of that Akumal has tons of accommodation choices -- all-inclusive, hotels, condos, villas, bungalows -- so it provides options for everyone's budget.

            Honestly, I think picking a location is one of the hardest decisions -- it's right up there with picking your photographer and your wedding dress. But yes, saying its like dating, is a perfect analogy -- because it will just feel right when you find "the one" location to celebrate your special day!!!

            If you need anymore info, please feel free to ask. Also my wedding website has tons of info on the venue and Akumal in general. FYI -- If you and FI, and your guests are water people, Akumal is a paradise for snorkeling and swimming Here's my website www.mariesamandtommy.com -- the password is Akumal .

            Hope this helps!

            #6 Ayita

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              Posted 03 December 2008 - 10:14 AM

              I am getting married at Hotel Le Reve En blanco

              It is small and boutique-y (25 rooms only) and it looks amazing. because it's non resort, you can use the WC you like, all the vendors you like, with no fee. They have a lot a great menus. You don't have to pay an entrance fee for non-hotel guests. And it's in Playa Xcalacoco, right next door to The Tides, the Azul Fives, and Le Petit Laffite Petit Lafitte - family vacation hotel in Playa del Carmen, for 3 different budgets/styles, for those of your guests who cannot stay there (because only 25 rooms). It is adults only but they accept children for the big day. They have great reviews on trip advisor. I'm going down there on Dec 18-19-20 and will come back with pics.

              #7 Gr8ful

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                Posted 08 December 2008 - 04:58 PM

                Thank you both for your suggestions! This is why I love this website!

                MarieSam: I emailed Jen and got an email back right away. I am going to meet with her. I think she will have suggestions for us as to possible locations, but I will definitely check out the CEA center.

                Ayita: Le Reve looks fabulous -- we are going to have to stop by there as well. I have looked at Le Petit Lafitte (I love the name). I have seen that they have great reviews on Trip Advisor.

                I think the problem is that there are so many different options -- each one seems better than the last one. I feel like this is the most difficult decision to make for me. I think I will "know" when I visit / meet the WC / etc -- which one is right for us. At least this is what I am hoping. I know I should be really excited about it, but I'm so nervous and anxious about it.

                But I'm getting prepared -- I have my site visit schedule written down, a place to stay, a car, the fiance (of course, gotta bring him!) and hopefully everything will fall into place. I don't want to overplan, and since we have a few days, I want to at least do some snorkeling and visit the ruins if we can!

                Thanks again for your insight, I will definitely post something about my experiences when we get back!

                #8 San Fran Sarah

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                  Posted 09 December 2008 - 03:34 PM

                  Hi! It seems we have very similar tastes as I was interested in a lot of the same places as you. Here is my site visit review so I don't have to reinvent the wheel. http://bestdestinati...om/forum/t22796
                  I understand that Eurostars in in the process of changing ownership. Our guests are staying there but be very certain they can follow through on what they promise you if you decide to go with Eurostars. I can't wait to hear what you think! We are interested in honeymooning at Maroma or Tides so I can't wait for your review. Safe Travels! Let me know if you have any questions about our site visit. Sarah

                  #9 Gr8ful

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                    Posted 10 December 2008 - 03:14 PM

                    Hi San Fran Sarah (I used to live in SF in the Marina, I love it up there):

                    I have to admit that I read through your site visits, which is why I decided on some of the places that I did! Thank you so much. This is why I love this site! I still wanted to visit the Eurostar -- but I can no longer find them -- do you happen to have their contact information?

                    I never heard back from Maroma or Tides, so in my laziness and b/c I want to go with places that are responsive, I am going with those who have gotten back to me: Esencia, AyJ (Jackie is so sweet), Turtle Bay Cafe, and Playa Weddings (WC for that area). Maybe the Eurostar if I can find them. Plus, we'll probably pop in since we are down there for a week. So we'll see. Wish me luck! I think once we decide, half the battle will be over.

                    I will post what I find out after our trip & I hope it will be as helpful to others as everyone's posts have been for me!

                    #10 MarieSam

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                      Posted 11 December 2008 - 08:16 AM

                      Quote:
                      Originally Posted by Gr8ful

                      MarieSam: I emailed Jen and got an email back right away. I am going to meet with her. I think she will have suggestions for us as to possible locations, but I will definitely check out the CEA center.
                      So glad you were able to talk to Jen ~ she is a doll and a great source for information and suggestions. Make sure you eat at their restaurant, everything is delish!!!! Sorry, I'm always pushin good eats

                      Where ever it is you decide to have your wedding, the Cancun/RM area is so beautiful your wedding will be a spectacular event your guests will never forget. Go with whatever "feels right" and take it from there, the rest is a thrill ride so soak in every moment! Keep us posted on how things turn out

                      On a sidenote I am super jealous you will soon be in the glorious surroundings of Mexico. *sigh* nothing sounds better right now than laying on the sunkissed beaches with a margarita in my hand... Happy travels girlie, be safe and ENJOY!!!!




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