Kelly's Review of Paradisus Riviera Cancun~ super long & pic heavy
Posted 22 January 2009 - 05:47 PM
Airline~ American Airlines~ Our flights both ways were uneventful. The only negative thing I have to say is that I was really disappointed that they could care less that I was getting married. I know that this was just me being a sensitive bride and they probably have lots of brides on their flights, but it wasnâ€™t acknowledged at all (and I had on my Bride tank top lol). I attempted to upgrade to business class (the highest offered on the flight) several times and was denied each time. We were willing to pay for it and they still wouldnâ€™t allow it. There were seats available, but they said that because we had paid such a low airfare through a group booking they couldnâ€™t calculate the rate for us to upgrade. I was really disappointed. When we got on the plane they did allow me to hang my dress in the business class closet without a problem. I was still hoping that the flight attendant might offer to move us up, but it didnâ€™t happen. There were only 4 people even sitting in business class. It was a bummer. But, we got what we paid for. Curbside check in at JFK was a breeze. One of the employees got us all set in about 10 minutes and he took care of all of our baggage without charging us for a heavy bag. On the way home the Cancun airport was not bad either. It was about an hour wait in line to get our return tickets and check our baggage. We did have to pay for the heavy bag this time, but we expected it.
Weather~ the weather during the first half of our trip was great. It was bright and sunny by about 6am everyday. It was warm enough to layout that early in the day also. By about 1 or 2 in the afternoon it would get a little overcast and cool down, which was actually perfect for afternoon weddings. The second half of the trip it rained. A lot. It was still warm, but it gets a little boring after a couple of days. It was still way better than being here in CT where it was about 8 degrees that week.
The sun outside our room early am
Resort~ The resort is gorgeous! Every one of our guests commented on how beautiful it was. Everyone loved it. The roofs/ ceilings are very impressive. The pool is amazing and huge! There are plenty of lounge chairs at the pool whether you want sun or shade. If you want one of the beds at the pool you have to get up really early. We were up around 6:30 some mornings and people already had their stuff on them so no one else would take them. Personally I never wanted one, but it was a little ridiculous. Iâ€™m pretty sure some people put stuff on them the night before and some days I never even saw the people use them. But whatever, it didnâ€™t affect us at all. We also commandeered the far end of the beach some days, near where the water sports are offered. It was nice and relaxing, but a little far from a bar. Luckily, someone in our group was always willing to take a walk for a few drinks! The first week we were there it was fabulous and not busy at all. The second week there were at least twice as many people there and things got a little slower. Service was slower everywhere, from the buffet to the bars to getting someone to answer the phone when we called down to royal service for something. It wouldnâ€™t have been noticeable if it had been that busy the whole time, but since our first week the place was pretty empty we noticed a difference. Also, the first couple of days they forgot to refill the minibar. But a quick call to the desk and someone was at our door within 5 seconds to take care of it. After the first 2 days there werenâ€™t any problems. It was always filled without us asking.
The lobby bar area
View of the pool from the lobby bar area with the beach behind
Posted 22 January 2009 - 05:48 PM
Royal Service~ I still havenâ€™t decided if it was worth it to pay for Royal Service. There were some perks that we liked, but we really didnâ€™t take full advantage of it. It was worth it because we had a fabulous view and a great Jacuzzi tub on our balcony. We were in building three. But, if you could get a regular room with an ocean view that would probably be fine. The Royal Service rooms are not really any different than the regular rooms. They are the same size with the exact same bathrooms. The only major difference was that it was painted blue and not the orangey color of the regular rooms and that our bed had a canopy over it. Royal Service offers butler service and has its own pool and reserved area on the beach. We never went in the pool. It was so hard because we wanted to spend time with our guests. So, we were out at the main pool most of the time. We did take advantage of reserving chairs on the beach several days. This section of the beach is right next to the bar. It was great and Ivan was very friendly and helpful. The regular sections of the beach were pretty full so it was nice to know that no matter what time we got down there we had chairs reserved for us. The other plus of Royal Service was that our butler made dinner reservations for us and let me make them for as many people as I needed even though he wasnâ€™t really supposed to. We did have guests make reservations for dinner at the desk for regular guests. They let her add people to her reservation and change them when she needed to without a problem. Since it was our honeymoon I guess it was worth it for the Royal Service, but if it were a regular trip I think that a regular room wouldâ€™ve been just as fabulous.
Palapa at Royal Service pool
Our Room~ Building three is right on the beach. We had a great view. The sun came up in the morning and reflected off the water right in front of our room. The lounge chairs on the balcony rock! They look like regular chairs, but pull out and recline to be full loungers. There was plenty of room for us. I will say that the lighting sucks in the rooms. It was really blah. I did my own makeup for the wedding day and it was hard with the lighting that was there. Had I known beforehand I probably wouldâ€™ve bought one of those makeup mirrors with the lights on the side and used that. The jacuzzi on the balcony was awesome too. We used it a couple of times to unwind at the end of the day. Our butler said that if we wanted to use it he would come fill it for us or have it ready for a certain time, but we thought that would be weird. We could handle turning on the water. lol The beds are HARD. I actually never thought I liked a hard bed, but I slept well every night. Turndown service is awesome. They turndown your bed, close the curtains, leave you chocolate and replace all of your towels. It was so nice getting fresh towels twice a day.
Our room the day we arrived~ so cute
View from our balcony to the right
View to the left
Posted 22 January 2009 - 05:49 PM
Spa~ I had a massage at the spa the day before the wedding and then myself, my moh and my bm all had our hair done for the wedding. The massage was good, but not great. The spa itself is beautiful. Leticia did our hair. I had brought a picture of what I wanted, but the other two girls did not. I would recommend bringing a picture that is really close to what you want. She does not speak much English. I speak some Spanish so it was ok. We got by and in the end I got a look that was close to what I wanted. I didn’t think it was going to turn out well at all because it didn’t start off well. She coated my hair with hairspray. I mean it looked wet like I just got out of the shower, drenched actually, but it was all hairspray. I was going to freak out, but decided to let her finish and then see how I felt about it. I had enough time to fix it myself if I had to. My appointment was supposed to be an hour, but we went way over that. She had some trouble with the top of my hair and luckily when I started to talk to her in Spanish she told me she didn’t really like it~ which was great because I was hating it! She tried it a couple more times and it ended up ok. In the end my hair looked good, but it felt disgusting. It looked shiny and nice, but was hard and crunchy. The curls did hold up until the end of the night so I guess she did what she had to. I had to wash it 4 times to get all the stuff out though. Yuck. Both girls hair came out good and took way less time.
Food~ The food at the resort was really good. The buffet was spectacular. Breakfast was the best. You have to have the French toast. Mmmmm. The snack bar during the day had good food too. My family said the burgers were the best they’d had in a long time. We did the hibachi one night and everyone really liked it. The fried rice was really good. Our friends went to the Reef Grill and Le Hermitage and were not really impressed with either of them. They actually didn’t like the French at all. Capri was the place everyone liked best. They had really good food. I presume Italian is probably a little easier to get right. Oh, you also have to have the dessert in the buffet that looks like cornflakes all stuck together. They are fabulous! I could eat them every day. And, try every kind of fish they have. We didn’t find one we didn’t like and my hubby doesn’t even like fish and he liked them all. Going to an all-inclusive was great for us because we didn’t have to feel guilty about trying something new and possibly not liking it. We just got a new plate and tried something else!
Service/ Staff~ The staff is very friendly. Some go above and beyond or you can just tell they are having a great time. Israel at the pool was always quick to get us drinks and Carlos at dinner was hilarious! Everyone was very helpful and really seemed to appreciate that I tried to speak Spanish as much as I could. Every person we came across was gracious, helpful and in a good mood. It was a pleasure.
Excursions: Before heading to Mexico I had contacted Cancun Vista Tours about a couple of trips I was looking into. Martha contacted me back very promptly and answered all of my questions. The prices I received were the lowest I found anywhere and they were a pleasure to work with. They offer every excursion you can think of. I booked the excursion after I arrived in Mexico and had no trouble receiving the vouchers via fax at the resort. They were delivered by resort staff to our room. The resort does have Olympus Tours at a desk in the lobby. You can book excursions thru them and the guy seemed a little irritated that I had booked my own stuff. He even came over to the van that came to pick us up one day and questioned the driver and myself about how the trip was booked. I wasn’t thrilled with this, but oh well, he went away. I will say that the prices I received thru Cancun Vista were better than what Olympus had to offer.
Cancun Vista~ Cancun and surrounding area tours and activities. I would absolutely recommend Cancun Vista for all excursions. If we head back to Mexico I will definitely set up our trips thru them.
Selvatica Extreme Ziplining~ A gift for my moh and my brother, FI’s gm. Booked thru Cancun Vista. The 4 of us ziplined thru the rainforest, biked to a cenote and went swimming. Then they served us lunch. It was a lot of fun. The guides were great. They called everyone in our group by name and were really funny and fun. They had tons of energy which rubbed off on all of us. My hubby and I even ziplined upside down! Scary~ but fun at the same time. The biking was probably the most dangerous part. Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve been on a bike! Now that was scary.
Chichen Itza~ Also booked thru Cancun Vista. 14 of us went on this trip. A Mercedes Sprinter van came to pick us up at 9am. It was really nice. There was a cooler with ice in the van. We cleared out our minibars and stocked the cooler and I had bought some snacks at the resort store. The tour included use of the van for 12 hours, Chichen Itza and lunch for 50 bucks per person. Lunch was really good. Our driver, Julio, was awesome and our guide at Chichen Itza (an extra charge and totally worth it), Tomas, was very knowledgeable. We had extra time so we also had Julio take us to a cenote for swimming. Everyone loved it, but it was a long day. Chichen Itza was about 2 ½ hours from our resort.
Playa Del Carmen shopping~ 4 of us went shopping on 5th Avenue on a cloudy day. We skipped the resort planned transportation and took a cab. This cost the same price as what the resort offers, but gave us the flexibility to come and go as we pleased. The resort got us a cab and he was willing to wait for us for 2-3 hours without an extra charge, but we decided we’d just get another cab for the way back because we didn’t want to be limited to a certain time. We spent the entire afternoon in PDC and got some really good deals on some items. I was impressed with my Spanish skills here. Apparently I actually learned something in school! We played a game where every corner we came to we had to stop for a drink. It was fun! We ate at the Tequila Barrel. The food was really good. All in all it was a good day.
Posted 22 January 2009 - 05:51 PM
The show~ sorry so dark
Wedding Day~ Our wedding day went perfectly. We only had 2 tiny snags, both turned out to be nothing to worry about. The first was that when my flowers were delivered there werenâ€™t any boutonni¨res with them. Turns out they were waiting for the guys at the ceremony site. So, I sent my moh searching for them for no reason. There just should have been some communication that this was what they were going to do. Second, I was informed in the morning that our minister was going to be a woman, I have always pictured being married by a man. I donâ€™t know why. And the other weddings I saw that week were all performed by men. So, I was bummed for a few minutes, but got over it really quickly. The day itself was totally stress free. I was nervous or worried about anything. I will say though that I was a pretty low key bride and if anything didnâ€™t go as planned it was no big deal to me. I should also add the the BM flowers were not what I expected. I asked for mostly pick with orange, yellow and green accents and got almost all orange with one pink closed up rose. Not a big deal, but not what I asked for and I even supplied an inspiration photo.
BM bouquet~ a day or so after so the flowers donâ€™t look as fresh as they were
My flowers~ at the end of the night; with a starfish passed on from Barefoot Bride!
With that said, everything was PERFECT. Perla and Daniela set everything up exactly how I envisioned it. Nothing was out of place. They used all of my decorations how I had pictured them. The day is a complete blur though. We had a blast. Everyone danced and had a great time. Our bartender and the guy who was in charge of the staff at our wedding were both awesome. We used an ipod for music with a bose docking station and it was great. It was plenty loud enough and everyone loved the songs that we chose. We burned cdâ€™s for the ceremony and they were played at exactly the right time and were also plenty loud enough.
Our ceremony set-up
Placecards~ starfish cookie cutters with recipe on the back. Idea from kellyandmatt08
Our fabulous full moon!
Our cake was great. We got the tres leches cake that was free with our package. We had cupcakes made for our guests but it turns out that here cupcakes have frosting and the ones we got down there didnâ€™t. I never even thought to ask about it because I assumed theyâ€™d have it on them. So, they looked more like muffins. Oh well. We had plenty of cake for everyone to have a piece since we had a small group (28 people). We had the BBQ buffet for dinner. I wasnâ€™t that impressed. If I had to do it over again I wouldâ€™ve chosen something else.
Posted 22 January 2009 - 05:52 PM
Cutting the cake
Our minister~ I watched a wedding earlier in the week and had seen some pictures of others and saw that the minister actually stands in the aisle of guests with the bride and groom at the front, backs to water, facing the guests. I wanted to have the minister in the â€˜normalâ€™ place at the front of the aisle and this wasnâ€™t a problem. Many people commented on how great she was and she made everyone cry. I honestly couldnâ€™t tell you much of what she said. Itâ€™s a blur.
Photographer~ I am nervous that our pictures will not be good. However, we have a fantastic photographer so Iâ€™m sure she got some good shots. It was way more uncomfortable than I thought it would be having our pictures taken. My FI hates pictures so I think his nervousness rubbed off on me. Our guests have sent us some great shots though, so Iâ€™m sure weâ€™ll get something good. We were probably the hardest people she has ever had to photograph.
All in all, our day was perfect and I would do it again in a heartbeat. If you have any questions or I left something out, feel free to ask! Thanks for reading.
more pics coming...
Posted 22 January 2009 - 06:02 PM
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