Ocean Coral & Turquesa â€“ A++
My husband and I were married at the Ocean Coral & Turquesa on May 11, 2012 alongside our friends and family. The resort itself is fantastic! The size is perfect - not too small and not too large. There were 31 of us in total and the size was large enough that we could get privacy if we wanted and easy enough to meet up with people for dinner and drinks. The layout is probably one of the best features because the hotel is very wide and not too deep. Meaning it has a huge amount of beachfront and unlike other massive resorts you donâ€™t need to hike (or take a trolley) just to get back to your room.
Check out some of the aerial photos on the resorts website.
ROOMS - A
The rooms are spacious and airy! They were modern, clean and nicely decorated. The A/C worked well and was easy to use. We didnâ€™t have any in-room humidity issues, however a couple of our guests did and the hotel quickly resolved the complaint by providing a dehumidifier.
All the rooms face the ocean with the 3rd floor boosting the best views. The lower floors look onto the gardens. All of our guests stayed in a Junior Suite and we were upgraded to an Ocean View Junior Suite. There was plenty of room for everyone to get ready.
Thereâ€™s a stocked mini bar with beer, water and pop. Itâ€™s filled every day :-) FYI the staff that fills the fridge is different than the room staffâ€¦.so leave a separate tip inside the fridge if you wish.
The beds are comfy so no complaints there. We were so beat by the end of the day that it didnâ€™t matter where we slept. The washrooms are open too. This wasnâ€™t a problem for any of our guests, but I could see it becoming for people who donâ€™t know one another. Basically there isnâ€™t a door into the washroom, just an opening in the wall. Thereâ€™s a window looking into bathtub with a privacy curtain. The toilet and shower each have a separate frosted glass door that swing shut. Very modern looking.
POOLS â€“ A+
There are 4 large pools spread throughout the resort.
Adult Pool on the far Coral side â€“ This is a very quiet pool good for chilling and reading a book. Most people think itâ€™s for Privilege members only, but itâ€™s really adults only. The only strange thing for this pool is they donâ€™t provide bottled water to regular guests. Itâ€™s for Privilege only, which is really silly because you can get bottled water at any of the other bars at the resorts.
Party Pool with the swim up bar - This pool is where a lot of the action takes place. Thereâ€™s music playing all day, they play games and have contests. At night this is where the dancing goes onâ€¦thereâ€™s usually a dj, live band, karaoke, etc.
Activity Pool on the Turquesa side â€“ I didnâ€™t really use this pool, but it seemed great. Itâ€™s more for people interested in aqua aerobics or pool volleyball. Basically a sports pool.
Kiddie Pool on the far Turquesa side â€“ Super cute for children. Thereâ€™s a park, kids club, snack bar, etc, pretty much an awesome time for young kids.
FOOD - A
I was actually impressed with the food at the resort. Iâ€™ve been to a few all-inclusives in the past and the OCT really surpasses all of them in terms of quality and variety. The buffet was solid with enough food to please everyoneâ€¦the best place to catch a great breakfast. The Italian and Mexican restaurants were my favourties next to the Villa Marina. I didnâ€™t get a chance to try Sensie the Japanese restaurant. Weâ€™re from Vancouver, BC so we thought it was best to leave the Japanese food experience on the west coast rather than Mexico ;-) Our guests that did go said the food was good and the show was awesome too! Mikeâ€™s Coffee shop was an after dinner pleaser and a great place to catch a good coffee. Oh and the smoothie bar by the Party Pool is awesome!
P.S. this resort also works for vegetarians too. I happen to be a lacto-ova vegetarian (no meat/fish, but eggs and dairy are okay) and I rarely had any issues with the food. They even catered to any of my special requests. This brings me to my last point â€“ the staff. I canâ€™t say enough how amazing the staff is! By far the best Iâ€™ve encountered. Everyone is super friendly and very accommodating. Even at every breakfast the restaurant manager would come by to say hi and see how weâ€™re doing. Itâ€™s these little touches that really make the resort standout. People appreciate personalized attention and this hotel is top notch when it comes to customer service.
***Now for the wedding related items!***
TRAVEL AGENT / WEDDING COORDINATOR â€“ A++
I worked with Keine Dennis, Destination Wedding Specialist from Bloom Destination Weddings. She is AMAZING! Check out their website, join their FB page and tune into the short video about what they do.
HAIR & MAKE-UP - A
I had my hair and make-up done at the resort. To be honest I was totally freaked out about this, but scheduled a trial on day 2 and brought in pictures of what I wanted. The stylist you'll want to request is Litzy. She's the best!
My trial was actually done by a lady named Vicky (who doesnâ€™t speak English, hence why photos are key!) and while I really liked the hair I found the make-up too over the top...I actually had her fix it at least 5 times.
On the wedding day I found out that Vicky and Litzy would be â€œtag-teamingâ€ us. Vicky was doing my hair and Litzy would be doing my make-up. For whatever reason I felt a huge amount of relief that it was Litzy doing my make-up.
While Vicky was styling my hair I noticed it was looking way different than the trial. I thought it would come together by the end, but it didn't. As I was trying to explain this to Vicky (again language was an issue), Litzy could see my concern. She came over, put both hands on my shoulders and said that I'm not allowed to leave until I'm 110% happy....AND then she proceed to fix my hair and style it back into what it should have been! It was waaaaaaay better and I was totally happy when I left!
Litzy on the left jumping in to save my hair :-)
Litzy doing my make-up
My only suggestion to other brides is if you really like a certain shade for your eye shadow then bring your own. They have an okay selection, which worked for me, but I found it difficult to agree on a colour when I didn't know how it would look. Also if you're bringing in fake eyelashes make sure they suit you. Lol I brought in brand new ones that I never tried before and looked like spider-women! Litzy only did one eye and I said "no way" haha. One of my bridesmaids was kind enough to lend me hers because she wasn't going to use them. Anyway moral of the story is to try them on before ;-)
FLOWERS â€“ B
(Casa Narciso via the resort, therefore no vendor fee
Bridesmaids bouquets x3 â€“ These turned out great, but were a little smaller than we initially discussed. When we first met with Ana, Astrid the florist also joined the meeting. We let her know that we needed all the bouquets and boutonnieres ready for 2:00pm when the pictures started. On the day of the wedding when Astrid arrived the only flower arrangement completed was my bouquet. So as we were getting ready for pictures she was quickly putting together the BMâ€™s bouquets. They still turned out beautiful, however I think if it werenâ€™t a rushed job they would have turned out to be the right size.
Grooms boutonni¨re (included in the package) & Groomsmen and FOB and FOG boutonni¨res (6 in total)
Like the BMâ€™s bouquets above the only boutonniere ready was the groomâ€™s. The problem we ran into was that the florist forgot all the other boutonnieres so she sent her assistant back to their office to pick them up. This meant the groomsmen didnâ€™t have boutonni¨res in the pictures prior to the ceremony. Honestly it wasnâ€™t a big deal for me, my mom on the other hand was stressing, lol. Either way the guys looked handsome and once the ceremony started everything was taken care of ;-)
MOB and MOG wrist corsages â€“ These were great! My mom bought in two pearl bracelets for the corsages and the florist did a good job putting it together.
Ceremony Centerpieces x4 (we reused these at the Reception and one was included in our package so we paid for 3)
Turned out beautiful. They were a little rounder and smaller than we anticipated, but photographed wonderfully.
Flowers shown between my bm and Santiago (the wedding officiant)
Reception Centerpieces x3
Looked great! Exactly what we asked for.
Floral cake topper & hair flower
Another bad on the floristâ€¦maybe it just wasnâ€™t her day. She forgot these altogether so we went without. All I can say is to remind, remind, remind! My hair was still awesome without the flower so no complaints there.
PLANNER 1 â€“ A+
They were great to work with! Ana dealt with them directly so we avoided an outside vendor fee, however we did pay for delivery. We ordered gold tiffiany chairs to be used at the ceremony and reception. The hotel was awesome and moved them to the reception during cocktail hour. We also had Planner1 string lights around 4 pillars at the reception to add a little mood lighting. It was beautiful!
The lights from Planner1 around the pillars
We had our symbolic ceremony on the Ocean View Lobby Terrace. It was beautiful and was the perfect size. Honestly I donâ€™t remember much of the ceremony except looking at my husband. I had butterflies with all the excitement. Itâ€™s really a special moment and itâ€™s nice to block out everything else and enjoy the moment. Our Wedding Officiant was Santiago and he was wonderful. Everyone loved him!
We ordered this off of Etsy from Starry Night Design
This one was kind of a bummer. For the ceremony we had ordered 4 Greek-looking Pillars through and outside vendor that knew Planner1. I canâ€™t remember the company name, but owners name was Raffaele. Our idea was to have each ceremony centerpiece placed on top. We saw pictures of them and they looked great! However, when they arrived they were hollow plastic and with the wind there was no way we could use them. We paid $350 USD and after a huge amount of haggling after the wedding he finally agreed to refund us $100â€¦.not much, but better than nothing. Looking back I really wished I had asked what the pillars were made of before ordering. Hindsight is always 20/20 ;-)
We arranged for a 1 hour open bar with appetizers on the Lobby Terrace to the left of our ceremony location. It was perfect! They set up a fantastic food spread of appetizers next to the lounge furniture (perfect seating for everyone). Music-wise we used an iPod providing nice background music. When we arrived at the Cocktail Hour we also had servers greeting us with our signature cocktail. Since green was our main colour we had Mojitos and called them â€œMint-to-beâ€. Cheesy I know, lol.
Our "Mint-To-Be" Signature cocktail sign
RECEPTION â€“ A++
Our reception was originally going to be on the Lobby Terrace, a beautiful location. After much discussion and negotiation we were able to change the location to the Petit Creperie. Itâ€™s a location the hotel never uses for weddings, however with the magic of my fantastic wedding coordinator (Keine Dennis, Bloom Destination Weddings) we were able to use that location.
The Petit Creperie in the distance
Our 5-hour reception (3 included in the Paradise Package and 2 hrs extra we paid for) was set up under the roof and the dance floor was outside by the pool. Itâ€™s an open-aired restaurant so the inside flows seamlessly to the outside and the thatched roof added a touch of rustic vibe we were looking for. Ana really did a fantastic job of setting up our decorative items we brought with us (i.e. table overlays, coral placecard holders, seating arrangement frames, guest book, menus, table names etc).
Table names were significant places in our relationship
Dinner was great and was served fairly quickly. We had:
Tomato Goat Cheese Salad â€“ yummy, but very cheesy. I preferred the green salad we had at our rehearsal dinner.
Orange-Lemon Vodka Sorbet â€“ very good palate cleanser
Surf & Turf â€“ steak with prawns. I heard this was excellent. Some steaks were cooked to perfection and others were a little well done. Itâ€™s always tough when cooking for a large group of people
Vegetable Strudel â€“ Excellent! It was a philo pastry stuffed full of savory veggies. Delicious!
Parfait de Stracciatella â€“ Yummy ice cream meets gelato dessert.
Tomato & Goat Salad and Surf & Turf
After dinner the dj started up and we danced the night away until midnight. Sooooo much fun!
We had a 3 tired cake that we decided to cut around 10:45pm. Even at that time many of the guests werenâ€™t hungry or were too busy busting a move on the dance floor. To future brides I suggest providing small cake boxes so guests can take a piece back to their rooms. The guests that did have it said it was delicious!
We brought along little edible pearl balls use as decoration on the cake along with a green ribbon to wrap around the base of the cake. On top was supposed to be our fresh flowers, however the florist forgot them so the idea was to go without. Wellâ€¦.somehow the cake baker thought heâ€™d improvise and make flowers out of icing. Lol it was really awful, haha see below. We were highly amused, my mom was not impressed and turned the cake after it arrived so the icing flowers werenâ€™t showingâ€¦lol it makes for a good story for later on.
Cake cutting with the turned cake ;-)
Overall the wedding was everything and more! Yes, things go wrong but nothing ruined our dayâ€¦.we just have some stories to tell to our future children ;-) In the end youâ€™re there with your loved ones to celebrate your marriage. Everyone had a wonderful time and I continue to hear it was the BEST wedding theyâ€™ve ever been too. The staff is marvelous, Ana is amazing and the resort grounds are beautiful. The staff goes above and beyond to ensure you day flows without a hitch. It was such an amazing time and I canâ€™t wait to go back!
If you have any questions about our wedding please feel free to PM me.