November 5, 2010
First, I would like to say that DRC is a wonderful resort. We had an amazing time, and our guests loved it. As with anywhere, it had its faults, but all in all, we loved it! The wedding was beautfiul and the service amazing. I would recommend DRC to anyone.
The wedding coordinators, though slow to respond, will make sure that everything comes together on your wedding day. Ana did a wonderful job with us. She made a few mistakes, but that is to be expected. My best advice to anyone planning their wedding, don't sweat the small stuff and enjoy your day! It won't be the flowers, food, or music that you remember in the end. It will be the time that you spend with your friends, family, and husband that you cherish most.
I apologize in advance for the length of my review. I tried to be as thorough as possible about our experience. I know how helpful it can be. I would be happy to answer any questions that you might have. Feel free to message me for a quicker response.
When we arrived at the resort, they took our bags, and we waited in line to check in. The gals around the front desk immediately noticed my wedding gown and brought my husband and I lots of champagne. We had booked a tropical view (standard) room, and when we checked in, we asked if it was possible to be upgraded since we were getting married and bringing 40 guests to the resort. The only deal that they offered us was an ocean view for $30 per night, or a preferred room for $70 per night. We opted for sticking with our original room.
We did not have to wait for our room to be prepared, but several of our guests did have to wait. If arriving early, my advice is to go and enjoy lunch or pack a suit so that you can change and relax by the pool while waiting. Some people did not get in their rooms until 4:00.
Once we checked in, the ladies at the front desk told us they had coupons for us. We decided to check into our room, and then returned to get the coupons. A different lady helped us at that time, and just gave us our resort credit. Other guests said that these employees tried to sell them timeshares and such, and they were rather annoyed. However, we did not experience this. I would say that if you are not interested in the coupons, it's not worth your time. You are NOT required to visit with them. Also, the resort credit is nice, but you have to spend quite a bit to use it (ie: $40 off a spa treatment, but it has to be greater than the 25 minute treatments, so you will spend at least $80 after coupon).
Also at check-in, I asked when we were supposed to meet with Ana. They did not know and tried to phone her. She did not answer, but had already tracked me down at my room an hour or so after check-in.
We met with Ana the day after we arrived. We had a legal ceremony, so we had to go visit her for our blood tests. The nurse came to the business center, where the wedding office is located. The blood tests were fine, and I felt comfortable with the procedures. After that, Ana took copies of our passports and had us sign some documents. She told us that we would need our witnesses to bring in their passports and also sign a document. That is all she had to say to me, so I had to press her with the lingering questions that I had.
I had created a flyer that I wanted displayed at the check-in desk on Wednesday afternoon. I gave Ana a copy of it, and had okayed with this with her prior to our arrival. She assured me that it would be there. The flyer was to inform our guests of where to meet that evening. When I went down to see some our guests arriving, I found that it had NOT been put out, and the front desk could not reach Ana. In hindsight, I would have held onto a copy of the flyer, because I think that the front desk would have gladly displayed it for us.
Ana also gave us our confirmation number for my groom's complimentary room the night before the wedding. And she gave us instructions on where to put our outfits so they could be pressed. Other than this, I had to ask all of the questions. Ana was great, but not very informative.
Like I said, we stuck with a standard, tropical view room, room 1546, which overlooked the garden/jacuzzi area, with a veiw of the ocean if you leaned out a little. The rooms are very neat, but leave little privacy for those that have a roomate. The beds are really comfortable, and we enjoyed all of the room ammentiies (jacuzzi tub, mini bar, etc.). Our room did however have a light out above one of the bathroom sinks. It appeared as though the fixture was broken. We asked for the light to be fixed, but it never was. The lighting in the bathroom area is terrible as it is, so this was especially challenging to do makeup in. The mini-bar is nice, and contains mini coronas, water, soda, and juice. We, along with several guests noticed that the fridge didn't stay very cool. Also, it sometimes takes them awhile to replinish your fridge.
The main issue we found with the rooms is that the walls are paper thin! We were awoken almost every morning by the people next to us playing music and talking loudly at 6 AM. Other guests had similar complaints. And some of our guests had complaints against them for being too noisy, although they were just hanging out and talking in the room. Bring earplugs if you are a light sleeper!
The room service and turndown service were both great! We enjoyed how tidy they made our room. At night, they also leave a newsletter for the next day's events, dining options, and weather. We really liked this! If you are thinking about making a newsletter for your guests, it is not needed!
As has been discussed, all of the restaurants are reservation-free. This can be good and bad. My advice is to plan on putting in your name, and having drinks in the lobby bar while you wait for a table. They give a you a buzzer that can be taken out of the restaurant, which is nice. I had heard that large groups are not accepted, but this is false. We took a group of 20 with no problem, and saw a group of 40 served just fine (both at Portofino). If you have a large group, plan to line up right before opening time to put in your name. Or if your group is okay with waiting around to eat (ie: have drinks for awhile), going a half hour or so after opening is a good idea. The restaurants weren't too strict on the dress codes, but my group was usually dressed nice. The only things I really heard were that Bordeux requires dress clothes, Portofino requires long pants for men, and the pool-side restaurants require cover-ups (no plain suite tops). Everyone dresses pretty nicely in the evening, so be prepared.
Oceana/Seaside: For lunch, these two have the same menus, and everything is delicious! We particularly enjoyed the appetizers. I'm unsure of the flow of menus at night. One night, we at at Seaside, and we had the most delicious food. We had duck, lamb, and steak!!! This was probably the most delicious meal that we had, with the best service. At night, these restaurants are slower than the ones indoor, and so we really liked being able to just go and get in.
Portifino: Following all of the hype over this food here, we were not impressed. We had our bridal party go with us here for a pre-wedding dinner. Our service was so-so, and I wasn't too impressed with the food. It didn't provide the heary italian tastes we were craving.
Bordeux: Excellent service and AMAZING food. Our favorites were the scallops and snails.
El Patio: Very yummy food and easy to get into at night without a wait.
Himitsu: With a small group, we had excellent service and food. We didn't eat at the hibachi grill, but our guests did, and loved it. The sushi is excellent. When we went with a large group, we weren't impressed.
World Caf©: Very impressive breakfast spread, and an unexpected amount of delicious items for lunch, including cook-to-order pasta. We never ate here for dinner, but our guests said that it was "okay" in comparison to the other restaurants. Although this place is not the most exciting, they are very accomodating for large groups. This is where we had our "reception" (see below). The gals that are the hostesses are a hoot. They were always singing "here comes the bride" to me, and asking about how my wedding night was -- lol.
Barefoot Grille: Surprisingly yummy hotdogs, hamburgers, pizza, and fried items. You HAVE to try the jalepeno poppers! They ran out almost every day, so get there early!
Room Service: About half of my guests ordered this nightly -- haha. And they said that everything was great! It takes quite awhile (1 hour or so) late at night, so be prepared.
Bar Areas: We had the best service at the lobby bar. The servers are really entertaining there. One night, they had a mariachi band, and they had me play the fiddle. They also have nightly singers in the lobby area, which is fun to watch. And don't miss the early evening snacks (the sandwiches are great!).
The swimup bar also provided great service. We weren't very impressed with the bar near the pool area (Sugar Reef, I think). They would only let you get one or two drinks per person, so you couldn't bring a round back to your friends.
We visited Desires almost every night, and it was less than impressive, but can be made fun if you have fun people with you. On the busiest night, it wasn't very hopping. The servers try to have fun with you, but we got the feeling that they were in it for quick buck. Several of them would tell us that they weren't allowed to serve shots. But then with the flip of a dollar, a round for the whole bar would magically appear, and you would see them serving up lots of rounds to other people. We also heard this stated by other bartenders, but it seemed pretty hit or miss. It's hard to tell if this is fact or fiction.
There were also shows at night by the pool area around 8:00 that were pretty good. However, we usually ended up missing them because we were at dinner at this time.
A couple of nights before our wedding, we all met in the lobby bar for cocktails. At this time, we also handed out OOT bags that we had made. The luggage guys even came to the room and carted them downstairs for us. The bags were a huge hit, and I would be happy to share ideas with anyone who wants them!
The day before the wedding, Ana told us to lay our outfits on our bed so that they would be taken to be pressed. We did this by 10AM as requested. When we returned around 3 PM, our items had not been picked up. I called Ana to remind her. They must have picked up the items sometime that afternoon. When we returned to the room at 10:30PM, our outfits had not been returned!! I panicked and called guest services, trying to hunt them down. The person at the front desk kept trying to convince me that my dress would be delivered in the morning. I knew that I would not sleep without my dress being in the room, so I insisted that it be returned that evening. They finally brought it around 11:30PM. They ensured me that my husband's outfit would be delivered at 8:00AM the next morning. My husband received a complimentary room for the pre-wedding night. He did not receive his outfit until a half hour before the wedding! I had to have my bridesmaids call numerous times to get it there. What a headache!
My bridesmaids and I (5 of us) went to the salon at 8:00AM on the day of the wedding. We were greeted promptly and the ladies in the salon started in on our hair. They did an absolutely amazing job! I had brought a picture and she followed it very closely. I really enjoyed our time there. It cost $55 for a bride style and $45 for the bridesmaidsâ€¦very reasonable for a job well done. We were all finished by 9:15 or so.
My bouquet was delivered on time and was beautiful! I selected a white bouquet of tiger lilies and roses. It was gorgeous! My husband wore a single white rose. I brought artificial flowers for the rest of the wedding party, and it looked just fine!
Our wedding was scheduled for 11:00AM, and Ana told me that she would come get me at 10:45. When that time arrived, she called to say that she would be 15 minutes late. She finally arrived at about 11:10, and escorted us to the wedding gazebo. We had ordered an alter arrangement, and apparently it was so windy that it fell down and broke twice before the wedding. Finally, they just had to remove it. In all honesty, there is hardly enough room on the alter for anything because you have to sign documents. So I am kind of glad that it wasn't there.
I had brought artificial rose petals for the aisle. The day before the wedding, Ana informed me that they weren't allowed because they are bad for the birds. I told her that I wish I would have known that because the prior coordinator (also Ana) told me that I could use them. Ana said that she would try to find some real petals for me to use, but she didn't follow through on that. However, it was so windy that day, that the rose petals would not have stayed on the aisle. My little cousins sprinkled some before our walk down the aisle and they didn't stay in place. I had also brought tulle to be put on the chairs. We had garden chairs, and via email communications, Ana told me the correct length was 50 inches. I thought that this seemed short, and decided just to cut them there. When I met with Ana, I found that they needed to be twice as long, which was still fairly short. I would recommend cutting them at 125 - 150 inches depending on how full you want it to look. Ana had NO CLUE as to the appropriate length. Oh well...
Anyway, once we arrived to the gazebo, I figured that Ana would direct us down the aisle, but she didn't. We just decided to wing it. Once I reached the alter, the judge gave hardly any instructions. We had no mic and no music (opted for simplicity), and had a legal ceremony. The judge was very quiet and the audience couldn't hear anything. She had really neat things to say. I found the readings online and sent them to our guests after the wedding. When it was time for the vows, she had us move closer to the guests. She had also asked us for our vows. Ana had told me that we were not allowed to change the script, so I prepared nothing! Luckily, she had very beautiful vows that we were able to use. I loved the ceremony, however our guests heard chants of "belly flop" and "ole ole" in the background. I heard no such thing...I must have been in bliss
Once the wedding was over, the wedding party received champagne. Ana tried to sell us extra bottles prior to the wedding, which we refused considering that the bar (complete with champagne) was just a few feet away. We opted not to purchase a reception, but instead eat with our guests at World Cafe. I was very leery of this because I had been told that there was a charge for a semi-private event. I fully expected us to be seated separately throughout the restaurant. After the ceremony, Ana asked when and where we would be eating and said she would take care of it. Then while we were taking pictures, a man approached us and said that they were ready for us at World Cafe whenever we were ready. When we arrived at the restaurant, we were pleasantly greeted. They had a private area set up for us. They had champagne, balloon decorations, our cake, and had brought my arrangement there. I was sooo pleased! We tipped our servers ahead of time, and they gave us great service. They even dressed up my husband with balloons and called him Pancho Villa. And they made me a hat to make me look like a pilgrim. It was hilarious. They also entertained the kids with balloon animals of all kinds! The flower arrangement I had ordered through Ana was supposed to contain tiger lilies and roses, in all orange and white. The arrangement I actually got was multi-colored with various flowers. I was a little disappointed, but not biggie. We ordered the tres leches cake and it was scrumptious!!! The cake seemed much larger than I had anticipated and served all 40 of our guests! I was overwhelmingly happy with our experience here! We were not charged any extra for this. The only costs that we had were for the legal ceremony and for the arrangement.
Although the wedding was very spontaneous and not exactly as I had planned, I wouldn't change anything about it. It was perfect! Brides, relax on the details and enjoy your day. I promise that it will be more wonderful than you could ever imagine!
We visited Cancun one day on the free shuttle provided by the hotel. They take you to three shopping areas. Honestly, we only made it to the first and decided to return. Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling well so we took a cab home ($30). We still enjoyed the time we did get to spend in Cancun. This is a fun trip, but a long one (9-3:30). We also took a group of 11 on the jungle tour in Cancun. We set it up through the travel office and spent $70 each. It was so awesome! Each group of two had their own speedboat. We took a 45 minute boat ride (each way) to a reef and got to snorkel for 45 minutes. I highly recommend this trip! We were gone for about 4.5 hours.
I am posting a few pictures below, and will share more in the near future. Enjoy!