I LOVED the resort. The staff was amazing. Everything you asked for was â€œItâ€™s a pleasureâ€. They were so well trained! Everyone working there seemed to really enjoy themselves and had fun with the guests. The resort was just the right size, so that we didnâ€™t loose anyone or have trouble finding each other. It was big enough though, that there was always something to do: botchy ball, kayaking, trampoline on the oceanâ€¦
Iâ€™ve stayed at quite a few different all inclusive resorts before, and this one BY FAR was the most well kept, cleanest, well presented resort.
It was nice that you didnâ€™t have to wear the wrist bands, that way no one had them showing in our wedding photosâ€¦ my plan was to ask if the wedding party could have theirs taken off, but it was nice that non of the guests had to deal with it.
I was a little disappointed that there was no Jacuzzi as indicated on the resort map. The only Jacuzzi available was at the SPA and there is a $35 day rate if you want to go in and just use it for the day (we ended up doing this on a rainy day). Also, we ended up convincing them to let us in 3 for the price of 1)!
I would be careful of kayakingâ€¦ I had my mom, dad, mother-in-law, gramma and aunt go kayaking with the resort â€œinstructorâ€. He had about 12 people with him, and there was an off shore windâ€¦ he should not have taken anyone out there alone. They went WAY too far. It got really rough, people capsized; my Gramma was left alone in her Kayak, and then also capsized. My mom made it back to shore and was visibly upset saying â€œthey need helpâ€. The resort staff stood there talking in Spanish not doing anything and actually were saying â€œitâ€™s not our problemâ€, and Iâ€™m crying and screaming in English â€œdo something, my Gramma!!â€ Finally my (then fiancÃ©) found a fisherman who got in a boat to go help them. Eventually the resort staff took it seriously and got a speed boat. Thankfully they did that, as the fishing boat couldnâ€™t get that close to the reef. They miscounted and forgot my Dad out thereâ€¦ he managed to swim to shore, but ended up WAY down the beach. People were really banged up with the coral. The resort took care of them and bandaged them up. But said there was going to be a fee? We never did see a bill. Things could have turned out a lot worse. And I wouldnâ€™t even necessarily blame resort. I think when youâ€™re at a large resort; you need to use common sense when youâ€™re going out on the ocean (or anything for that matter). With an off shore wind, 12 people and 1 instructor, my family should have been more precautious. Anywaysâ€¦ my point is, warn your family to use their judgment, and if they want to go out with a large group, request that 2 instructors go.
We didnâ€™t go to many of the evening shows/entertainment. We went to the Fiesta, and it was fun, lots of great food, good drinks, band and mechanical bull. Overall it was nothing out of this world.
The beach was perfect. It was nice and long so that you could go for a nice long walk if you wanted to. The sand was soft, but not as â€œwhiteâ€ as I had imagined. But, it was still really beautiful. For the ceremony the rake the sand and make sure that there is nothing in the way of photos.
GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! â€œItâ€™s a pleasureâ€ is all you will hear, all week. They serve you drinks at the bar, drinks by the pool, drinks at your mealâ€¦ they service you where ever you are, and it honestly felt like they never anticipated a tip. We did tip, but not all the time, and it was nice that you didnâ€™t always feel like you should have money on you.
They took care of our group for large reservations, without any question. Once night 20 of us showed up for Sushi and they gave us the entire place! Another night 14 of us went for Italian and they gave us the separate room! Both times, it was not requested, they just did it!
Our room was always cleaned; turn down service was always done! We always felt that our items were safe in our room. We got warning letters a few times about leaving our â€œvaluables outâ€ (i.e. my $20 earrings). But nothing ever went missing.
Some things are funny like if you order room service and request a bottle of wine, they say no, but they will gladly bring you 4 glasses of wine. Maybe they just donâ€™t want us packing it in our suitcase!
I had 2 massages while I was down there, and they were both AMAZING. Iâ€™ve never really been to a spa before, so I donâ€™t have anything to compare it to, but they treat you like royalty! Cucumbers for your eyes, robes, green tea, cookiesâ€¦. And theyâ€™re constantly making sure your experience is perfect!
I had a great experience with every meal that I ate. I tried to stay away from the buffet, except for breakfast (because that was the only place to go). But for lunch they have 2 a la carte restaurants open and both were great! I personally LOVED El Patio, the calamari and cheese sticksâ€¦ mmmmmmmm. Line upâ€™s were never long at lunch time. We had to wait for a table a few times, when there was more than 6 of us in a group. For dinner though, we always made sure one of us was first in line, since we were often eating in large groups.
Even room service was AMAZING. The presentation of the food was always perfect. Wowing us with every meal! One night we had a bit of an â€œafter partyâ€ in a friendâ€™s room and literally ordered 20 plates of foodâ€¦ and in they came, 4 men, marching with 20 plates of food. I was astonished.
Everyone raved about the food all week long. My husband and brother-in-law both got sick while we were down there. It took about 24 hours for it to get through theyâ€™re system. But who knows what that was from. With my husband, Iâ€™m not convinced it wasnâ€™t a bit of the 26 oz flu! J
We had our rehearsal dinner at Bordeaux and they did a great job. Ensuring that everyone had everything they needed at all times. They served us all dinners with silver platters on top, then they called a bunch of servers over and unveiled all 11 of our meals at the same time â€“ very nice touch!
Our room was 8321 â€“ nice room that overlooked the garden. It had a cute little patio (no hammock), and for the amount of time that we spent in the room it was exactly what we wanted. Although we did try to get them to upgrade us to Ocean view for free (no luck!). The room was clean, it had decent TV, and a huge bathroom with Jacuzzi.
Everyday they made sure you had lotion, sunscreen (15 spf), toothpaste, shampoo, conditionerâ€¦ I wouldnâ€™t have packed toothpaste or sunscreen had I known!
We asked the resort to complimentary upgrade our parents room to Jr. Suites, and they did that for us!! So our parents both had very nice rooms, no Jacuzzi though. The remaining guests had the regular garden view room. I took a look in one, it was OK, but nothing super fancy. But again, for the amount of time youâ€™re in it; itâ€™s perfect.
Wedding â€“ Ultimate Package (48 Guests)
Some of Our Wedding Photos: Picasa Web Albums - theforumweddings - Wedding Photo...
It was absolutely perfect!! I loved every single second of the entire day. I wouldnâ€™t change a thingâ€¦ ha, ok, I would change 1 thing, but Iâ€™ll get to that!
Annabel met with us a couple days after we arrived and we went over everything (as everyone says). It make everything come together in your mind and I felt super confident after I left the meeting. I found it a bit odd that I dealt with Aurora & Natalia throughout the planning process for emails, and then once I got to the resort I never saw either of them. It didnâ€™t matter, Annabel was GREAT. She even came up to my room and tied up my dress for me, assisted the groomsman on the wedding day, walked us through our rehearsal, brought us our flowers, pinned the boutonniÃ¨res on the groomsman, tied the corsage on my Grandmaâ€¦ and many more things that Iâ€™m sure Iâ€™m unaware of!
I booked my hair and make up for 11:00am, so that I could be in my room by 12:30pm getting dressed (we had wedding party photoâ€™s planned for 1:15pm). I was shocked when they said that it would only take 30 minutes for hair and 30 minutes for make up. And to be honest, I was kind of worried about it. Well, I should not have worried, they did manage to do it all in 1 hour, and I loved it! All of my bridesmaids got their hair done as well. $40 USD, plus 15% off (only one of my bridesmaids got the 15% off though, the others didnâ€™t speak up!). They even managed to squeeze in a manicure for me before I went to get dressed. I was so happy with all of it! My little flower girl got her hair done too. When coordinating with the spa before I got down they told me it would be $45 USD for a crown of flowers, or $15 for 5-6 orchids. Well, once down there, they did her hair, put 5 flowers in it and charged $6 for the whole thing! It was super fun to have her a part of it!
The girls all met in my room at 12:30pm, we ordered room service and got dressed. My fiancÃ© tried to have a bottle of champagne delivered for us, they said â€œnoâ€ (even though you can get champagne at the bar any time of the day). They then said that the bride and groom get champagne delivered to their room with turndown service on the night of the wedding, so they compromised and sent that early in the day. Little did he know, my bridesmaids were all over it and had already taken a full bottle of champagne from the lobby bar (they always have bottles available for self serve at that bar).
We took the "groom room" for the night before (even though no one slept in it), that way all the boys had somewhere to meet, smoke cigars and get ready. Checkout was supposed to be 11am, but they let them stay until 1:15pm
We got photos done with the wedding party before, which was great, got to get the anxiety out before the actual ceremony.
Ceremony - 3:30pm: On the Beach
It was perfect. Annabel had the petals lined on the sand for the aisle. Annabel also made sure that 3 bags of pedals were delivered to my room the night before the wedding so that I could put them into separate bags for my guests to throw after the ceremony. I tied pieces of paper to the petal bags (thanks to another BDW bride):
Picasa Web Albums - theforumweddings
We rented the speaker set for the ceremony (yes $150, or $175 what ever it isâ€¦). But they had someone actually take care of the music during the ceremony, so it was perfect. I had all the songs organized into play lists â€œpre ceremony musicâ€ â€œprocessionalâ€ â€œbridal entranceâ€ etc. They were great!
The videographer did the ceremony â€“ same as other brides say, nothing super professional, but it captures the moment and I am happy with it.
Family Photos - 4:00pm
Cocktails â€“ 5:00pm: Beside the Sugar Reef Bar (where the ping pong tables are)
Having the cocktails/hors dâ€™oeuvres beside at the sugar reef worked well, as there was an hour gap between the ceremony and cocktails. So it allowed people to just hang out at the Sugar Reef bar until the official â€œcocktail hourâ€ started.
We had the package photographer take group shots during our cocktail hour since we brought our photographer from home. The photoâ€™s turned out really well! He took 187 and we only got to pick 50 of them with the packageâ€¦ which was hard. We tried to get them to give us all 187 digitally and just not print any, but they wouldnâ€™t go for it. Theyâ€™re pretty sticky about not swapping anything in and out of the package.
Picasa Web Albums - theforumweddings - Cyndi & Kurts...
We had the Mariachi Band play for the cocktails; it was really neat and really set the tone of the evening! It was so nice watching the sun set with the bandâ€¦ I think I would have preferred the Romantic Trio (in hindsight) because we saw the Mariachi band at the Fiesta. Also the Mariachi band was LOUD. But it was still great!
The hors dâ€™oeuvres we picked were yummy, but I was STARVING by this point, so anything tasted good! I donâ€™t even recall what we selected because we changed it up during our meeting with Annabel. But I do know that there was lots of cream cheese and everyone loved them.
Dinner â€“ 6:30pm: Seaside Grill
I was really glad we did our reception here, and paid the extra $750. The nights were really cold and windy, but the seaside grill had panels that they could put down to keep the wind out. This made it a perfect temperature inside the Seaside Grill.
Dinner was AWESOME!!! Soooo yummy! Throughout the week I was concerned, Iâ€™d go to Italian and order the chicken and say â€œoh great, I bet this is exactly what weâ€™re serving at out weddingâ€. Not that it was bad food, but I wanted it to be â€˜specialâ€™. There was NO NEED for me to worry. The food for our reception was by far, THE BEST meal we had all week â€¦ The service was perfect. Everything went off seamlessly.
- Starter: Azteca Fried Tortilla with Shrimp and Cream
- Salad: Caesar Salad with Blacken Chicken
- Entree: (a) Grilled Flank Steak with Slighty Spicy Adobe Sauce ( Chicken Breast with Spinach and Cream Cheese Topped with Pepper Sauce
- Dessert: Milk Mousse with Chocolate Sauce
Guests picked up a sand dollar that I had done up with their name and table name. I got the idea from theknot.com, a brown box (which my father-in-law made and brang to Mexico), Annabell filled with sand and placed the sand dollars in with the names/ribbons sticking out. We tied the ribbons to that Guests with yellow ribbon were eating chicken, brown ribbon were eating beef. The servers did a great job and there was no delay in service with the multiple entrees.
We had speeches following dinner, and yes we rented the second set of speakers ($220). This speaker set had a wireless microphone, and we used the hostess stand as a podium. The dance followed after dinner, I was a little disappointed that for the $220 speaker rental price, there was only 1 speaker, and it didnâ€™t really get THAT loud. Everyone was singing along and we could hear ourselvesâ€¦ but that actually made it kind of fun. So I guess it was fine.
So, the thing I would change: I would have asked them to move the tables closer to the center of the room, so that all the guests were closer together, and so that it made the dance floor smaller. We had the tables set around the perimeter of the seaside grill. With only 45 people, the dance floor was huge and there was a giant pole in the middle and it separated the group. Eventually we just brought chairs over to block half the dance floorâ€¦ people then stuck to one side of the dance floor.
Another thing I was a tiny bit upset with was the fact that they tried to kick us out at 9:30pm (as weâ€™ve all read â€“ keep you emails!!). I went over this a million times with Aurora, I understood that weâ€™d only have drink service from 6:30pm â€“ 9:30pm, but as I understood it, we had the room until 10:30pm. I made this very clear, and I told her it didnâ€™t matter to me that no one had drinks for 1 hour. Theyâ€™d probably grab one at 9:30pm and theyâ€™d be fine. â€¦. But at 9:30pm, they were trying to turn of the music etc. Our awesome groomsman paid the bartender $100 and he stayed for the last hour and we told them to re-read their emails and if the felt that they should charge us for the last hour to do it. â€¦ We were never charged.
Also, youâ€™re supposed to pay for â€œDay Passesâ€ for any additional guests that are just coming for the dinner, not staying at the resort. We just never brought it up, as 2 of our guests actually live in Playa, they just showed up on the day of and we never ended up having to pay for the â€œday passâ€. We paid for their meal and drinks with the wedding, I would have been annoyed if we did have to pay on top of that as well.
They also gave us the â€œhoneymoon packageâ€ complimentary since we had so many guests staying at their resort. We had to ask if they would do anything extra since we had a large number of guests. It was really nothing extra except for 2 more massages (which were well worth it). I tried to get them to set-up my wedding dÃ©cor for free instead of getting the honeymoon package, but they wouldnâ€™t go for that either. So we paid $150 for them to set up our dÃ©cor. It was well worth it, not having to worry about everything. The set up the following items:
- Yellow Sashes for the ceremony chairs (those chairs were then moved inside the Seaside Grill for dinner).
- Table Centerpieces
- Tea lights & Votives
- Box with Sand dollars; set up in the sand with the names coming out
- Guest Sign in Book
- 20 Lanterns hanging from the ceiling
We have a ton of photoâ€™s online that our family/friends took.
Picasa Web Albums - theforumweddings
Contacts I used within the resort:
Aurora Garcia: firstname.lastname@example.org
Natalia del Olmo: email@example.com
Our American guests had to book their own transportation to and from the resort. They got a van that sat 10 people and they were really reliable and flexible when the flight was delayed: Cancun Airport - Cancun airport Transportation - Cancun Airport Transfers - Cancun International Airport, Cancun taxi
We went to the Tulum Ruins. Theyâ€™re about a 5 minute cab ride away and it was well worth it. The cab (seats 4) was $7 USD and then it was $51 Peso to get in to the ruins. So a pretty cheap little trip!