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Rhonda's El Dorado Royale Review (Wedding 5.02.09)


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#1 Rhonda

Rhonda
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    Posted 13 May 2009 - 05:41 PM

    Wedding Date- 5/2/09

    Resort- El Dorado Royale, Riviera Maya, Mexico

    Dates Stayed- 4/27-5/4/09

    I can’t believe my wedding is all over and I’m sitting here writing my review…..I started planning over a year ago, but, knew immediately after visiting EDR last year for my site visit that this was the perfect place for my wedding. One of the biggest reasons that I chose EDR over other places that I visited was it had that “WOW Factor” that I was looking for. I wanted my guests to feel that their long trip to Mexico was well worth it. As I will mention in my review, EDR exceeded these expectations in many ways!!!
    Check in/ Rooms- We arrived on 4/27/09. As soon as we arrived at the main lobby, we were taken away to the Casita Suite-Check in (separate from standard check in). We were immediately greeted with champagne and cold towels. Our check in went smoothly. We were given free vouchers to use for either a candlelight dinner, massage, or $200 worth of wine. I had thought this was part of our free wedding package, until later when our guests arrived and learned that ALL of our guests received these vouchers! This was such a nice surprise and everyone was so excited to have this nice perk added to their stay. I’m not sure if this was standard, or, if they did this because of the low hotel capacity (swine flu).

    Anyway, we arrived at our Individual Casita Suite, which was in section 25. I had read on here that the nicer rooms were in section 30 or 31 and actually requested that from my TA, but, it turned out to be perfect in section 25 since it was so close to the rest of the resort and it was easy for us to meet up with our guests.

    Our room was very nice. I have to say, I was hoping that we would have been upgraded since I read other brides did, but, that’s ok- we didn’t spend too much time in the room anyway. The room had nice features- our own patio with breakfast table and an outdoor bed and our favorite…the outdoor shower ☺ ! All the rooms come with a Jacuzzi, which we actually didn’t even have time to use, but, it’s a nice feature of EDR rooms.

    On a side note, we locked ourselves out of our room at least 3 times the first day we arrived since all the doors lock behind when they are closed…so, word for future EDR visitors- be careful! ☺

    The Casita area is nice because you are near to a private pool, have your own concierge in each section, among other benefits, BUT, my other guests who stayed in the junior suites were just as pleased with their rooms and service, so you really can’t go wrong wherever you stay.


    Food /Drinks– AMAZING!!! Seriously. I am pretty particular about the food I eat and I ate everything at EDR! Everything was so delicious! All of our guests also raved about the food. The only regret that I have is that I would have gone to more of the restaurants more often. My husband and I ordered room service for breakfast every morning and then we ate at La Isla & Jo Jo’s a few times because they were central to the pool, where our guests were. If I had to choose, I would say D’Italia was my favorite meal, but honestly everything was SO good. The candlelight dinner was also very special and the lobster bisque was absolutely incredible!

    Also, the drinks were great too…perfect strength…maybe too perfect for some of my guests ☺ At the pool, my favorite was the “Electric Lemonade”, which wasn’t on the menu. You could also choose from a variety of beer, wine, soda etc.

    Beach/Pools- I was a little nervous about the beach (even though I had seen it last year) because of the sandbags. My husband and I are definitely beach people. But, the sandbags were really not that bad and I could definitely understand why they are there because the waves were so strong the entire week that you couldn’t even go in the water. We ended up meeting all of our guests at the pool anyway since it was more of a “social” setting. The pools were all nice and clean. We were able to get cabanas no problem. Some of our guests wanted to have more privacy and went to the beach or the casita pools. That’s what I loved about EDR is that there was something for everyone!

    Service- Excellent! Many of my guests also commented on how great the service was. They were very quick to respond to anything we needed and all of the staff were friendly and polite. One time a bunch of our guests came to our suite and left the door slightly open, within 10 minutes, our concierge called the room to say that she noticed the door open and wanted to make sure we were ok….I’ve never had that kind of service at any hotel I’ve ever stayed at!

    Nightlife- There are 3 bars that stay open late at EDR- the martini lounge, Guacamayas and the beach bar. Most of the nights we hung out at Guacamayas because they have live music and games (Dorado Idol- for real). We all danced a lot there and swung on the swings…it was a lot of fun! One night we went to the martini lounge, but, our group was so large and crazy that we had to move it back to Guacamayas. Overall, I was pleased with the nightlife and so were my guests ☺

    Misc. – The grounds of EDR are absolutely gorgeous…very well kept and lots of greenery, which I like. Also, they have lots of activities to do, in case you’re not a pool/beach person. Several of my guests went on a bike tour, snorkeling, one did a cooking class and I saw a couple others painting pottery. Again, since we had a large group, I wanted to make sure there was stuff for everyone.

    Overall, every single one our guests LOVED this resort!!!


    WEDDING!

    Coordinators- For the past year, during my planning, I worked via email with Valeria. She is fantastic! It took me a bit to get used to the whole communicating through email only thing, but, it worked just fine. Valeria helped me with every detail of the wedding, except for the last minute changes. I felt very comfortable working with her and felt she addressed all of my needs in a timely manner. She is also very professional and sweet. I only wish I had gotten to meet her since I felt like I got to know her over the past year. I highly recommend working with Valeria if you’re planning your wedding at EDR.

    The day after we arrived, we had a scheduled appointment with our onsite coordinators. We worked primarily with Gloria & Odette. They were absolutely amazing!! I was a total mess at the meeting because we were just learning of some of our guests who weren’t coming (due to swine flu), but, the coordinators were so understanding, sweet and calm. We had to make a few changes due to the smaller group than expected, but, it all worked out because we got a few extra things to make up for the difference in cost. I felt totally confident that they were going to make my wedding amazing and they did!!

    I could go on and on about every way that the coordinators helped and how amazing they are! Seriously, every time that I would see them, I kept thanking them and would always become so tearful (happy tears- it could have also been that it was a very emotional week).
    Welcome Party- After probably the most devastating 2 days of my life, the majority of our 56 guests arrived on Thursday, April 30. We had a private welcome party at the Health Bar from 8-10pm. I chose to have cocktails and a dessert buffet. Even though I didn’t try any of the desserts (too busy socializing), they looked amazing and my guests seemed to have enjoyed it. The EDR staff stepped up the party by initiating a conga line and then tequila shots for everyone!!! Everyone had the best time! The staff truly went above and beyond ..it was awesome!

    Rehearsal Dinner- I chose to use my “free dinner” as part of the wedding package for my Rehearsal Dinner at El Cocotal. It was wonderful…we had about 20 guests, all at one big table…it was very intimate and the food was delicious. Everyone loved the dessert- Baked assorted berries aromatized with pastis and chocolate granite.

    Ceremony- Perfect, beautiful, everything I imagined!!!! I chose to have my ceremony at Gazebo 55 because it is private and secluded from the rest of the resort. We used the ipod for music, which worked great and we brought our reverend (one of our friend’s/groomsmen). We wrote our own vows and did a sand ceremony. Everyone commented that it was the most beautiful wedding that they had ever seen. I’ll post photos soon.

    Cocktail Hour- I chose to have the cocktail hour at Gazebo 55 (next to ceremony site). I didn’t get a chance to see too much of the cocktail party since we were with the photographer, but, from what I heard it was nice. We had a solo guitarist for 50 minutes and then used an ipod for the remaining time.

    Reception- We were supposed to have 81 guests, so the resort honored my request to have the reception at La Isla restaurant. Apparently, they’ve only had one other wedding there. Thankfully, we still had our reception there, even though, we only had 56 guests in the end. The room was perfect and exactly how I imagined my reception to be!! We had a DJ, but, we gave him our ipod with our reception playlist. This was the one thing that I was nervous about- we hadn’t talked to the DJ beforehand and weren’t sure how things worked. We had spent hours picking our songs that we wanted played. Overall, it worked out, but, I noticed that during dinner, he played 2 songs over twice (no one else noticed) and then he played about 20 minutes of his own music. He had lights and even gave out balloons, which everyone loved! There was plenty of room for dancing…people were going nuts!

    For food, we selected salad, appetizer, 4 entrees to choose from and I also chose to have a dark chocolate fountain (which I didn’t even taste, but, looked delicious). The only criticism that I had was that it took forever to serve the food. My guests seemed to be enjoying the relaxing music, but, of course it was probably only something that I noticed.

    Overall, I was very happy with the reception!!

    Photographer – For photographer, I chose Citlally from Claudia Rodriguez. She is one of the EDR approved photographers. Although I haven’t seen any of our photos yet, she was very sweet and a pleasure to work with. She even extended her stay so that she could get photos of the cake cutting, which I thought was so nice and definitely not necessary.

    Spa- I was booked at the Casita Spa for my nail, hair, and makeup appointments on the wedding day. I had Erika and she did a great job! I was a little nervous about what to expect, but, she did exactly what I wanted. I brought a picture of my hairstyle that I had done at home and she did it exactly how I wanted (even better). For makeup, I only said I wanted “natural looking” and again, she did it perfect!

    My mom, sister, and bridesmaid also got their hair done and all came out great too!

    Overall- As you’re probably aware, I had my wedding in Mexico the week of the crazy pig-flu crisis! Obviously, this is something no one ever plans for. And, although, I was completely devastated about the number of guests who cancelled at the last minute, I can honestly say that my wedding was absolutely amazing I would not change anything! I feel so lucky that I chose a resort like EDR to have my wedding because they did an absolute fantastic job. They made my wedding dreams come true and even exceeded!! I really can’t stress enough- if you are considering having your wedding there…without hesitation, I would HIGHLY recommend EDR. In fact, one engaged couple at our wedding is now seriously considering having their wedding there next year after coming to our wedding.
    I’m sure I left a ton of stuff out, but, Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

    #2 EDRBride2009

    EDRBride2009
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      Posted 17 May 2009 - 11:29 AM

      Great review! I am excited to see the pictures. One question, flowers - which bouqet did you go with and was it close to the pictures on the Lomas site?

      #3 MomentsThatMatter

      MomentsThatMatter
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        Posted 17 May 2009 - 11:42 AM

        Congratulations Rhonda! Sounds like you had a great time and that is what its all about. We to love the El Dorado resorts... very nice location for a wedding!
        Please post some pictures when you get a chance.
        Lincoln & Lori @ Moments that Matter Photography
        Playa Del Carmen Wedding Photographers - Mexico - Cancun - & Mayan Riviera
        Web: http://momentsthatmatterphotography.com/
        Blog: http://momentsthatmatterphotography.com/blog/
        http://i711.photobuc....Ad-Sept09b.gif

        #4 soon2bemsleblanc

        soon2bemsleblanc
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          Posted 17 May 2009 - 12:18 PM

          congrats...sounds amazing! can't wait to see pictures!!
          http://ticker.7910.o....RkaW5nLi4u.gif



          ~Mr. and Mrs. and 18 Guests Booked~

          #5 Rhonda

          Rhonda
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            Posted 18 May 2009 - 12:00 AM

            Quote:
            Originally Posted by EDRBride2009
            Great review! I am excited to see the pictures. One question, flowers - which bouqet did you go with and was it close to the pictures on the Lomas site?
            I actually ordered flowers from the resort, but, then had my friend, who is a florist do the arrangement of the flowers. Here are a few of my favorite nonpro pics, once I get the pro-ones, I'll post those too!
            Click the image to open in full size.
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            Click the image to open in full size.

            #6 Ayita

            Ayita
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              Posted 23 May 2009 - 10:45 PM

              OMG - I love your dress !! You look beautiful !! Amazing !

              #7 allisonmpls

              allisonmpls
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                Posted 11 June 2009 - 03:49 PM

                CONGRATULATIONS, Rhonda!!! You looked gorgeous. Can't wait to see all of your pictures.

                I'm getting married at EDR on 5/15/10. I can't wait! :-)

                Looks like you picked Gazebo 55? I need to email Valeria back with my selection. Did you check out the other options when you were on site? I think I'm leaning towards 55.

                Also, I'm trying to decide whether or not to do the casita suite... did you think it was worth it? I just can't decide.

                Thanks!!
                Allison

                #8 H&F

                H&F
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                  Posted 11 June 2009 - 07:44 PM

                  Your dress is stunning! Love it!

                  #9 Rhonda

                  Rhonda
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                  • 270 posts

                    Posted 13 June 2009 - 11:04 AM

                    Quote:
                    Originally Posted by allisonmpls
                    CONGRATULATIONS, Rhonda!!! You looked gorgeous. Can't wait to see all of your pictures.

                    I'm getting married at EDR on 5/15/10. I can't wait! :-)

                    Looks like you picked Gazebo 55? I need to email Valeria back with my selection. Did you check out the other options when you were on site? I think I'm leaning towards 55.

                    Also, I'm trying to decide whether or not to do the casita suite... did you think it was worth it? I just can't decide.

                    Thanks!!
                    Allison
                    Hi Allison,
                    You're right- I chose Gazebo 55. I liked it because it was a little more private than some of the other areas, but, also, we had a pretty large group, so it was one of the bigger areas too. I also liked the Fuentes gazebo which is the newer one...that one has a lot of greenery (overlooking the ocean)...it's also very nice.

                    I definitely think the casita is worth it. The rooms are a lot more spacious than the junior suite. The only thing for me was that I didn't spend enough time there to really enjoy the privacy of the casita area. Plus, I think it's almost the same price if you book the casita with the free wedding package or if you book a different room + wedding package. So, I think you might as well get a bigger, nicer room. :)

                    Let me know if you have other questions! Good Luck! Valeria is so sweet to work with.

                    #10 allisonmpls

                    allisonmpls
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                      Posted 15 June 2009 - 12:51 PM

                      Quote:
                      Originally Posted by Rhonda
                      Hi Allison,
                      You're right- I chose Gazebo 55. I liked it because it was a little more private than some of the other areas, but, also, we had a pretty large group, so it was one of the bigger areas too. I also liked the Fuentes gazebo which is the newer one...that one has a lot of greenery (overlooking the ocean)...it's also very nice.

                      I definitely think the casita is worth it. The rooms are a lot more spacious than the junior suite. The only thing for me was that I didn't spend enough time there to really enjoy the privacy of the casita area. Plus, I think it's almost the same price if you book the casita with the free wedding package or if you book a different room + wedding package. So, I think you might as well get a bigger, nicer room. :)

                      Let me know if you have other questions! Good Luck! Valeria is so sweet to work with.
                      Thanks so much for your insights!! :-)




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