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delauren

Just married, Hotel Esencia *Review*

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When I was planning my wedding, Hotel Esencia (on Xpu-Ha Beach) didnâ€t have any reviews or comments so I thought I would post one to help out. We got married there two weeks ago! Iâ€m ready to go back!!!

 

For those of you who havenâ€t been to Esencia, youâ€re missing out! It is a gorgeous property, very private and quiet. The staff was truly wonderful and helpful and all of our guests commented on the service they received while at the wedding events. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about the property or the staff. In addition, the food is spectacular and so are the drinks : ) I think many of our guests will continue to go back to this property for their vacations.

 

Just wonderful!

 

We did a buy-out of Esencia for our wedding weekend (so it was only our guests on the property) but since the hotel only has 29 rooms, about 20 of our guests stayed at the nearby Catalonia Royal Tulum. Those guests could walk to Esencia in about five minutes and for the events, we had Balam (a transportation company, review below) take a van back and forth for everyoneâ€s convenience. The guests who stayed at Catalonia said the front desk/concierge there were rude and that the property had a very “spring break†feel – lots of people partying. That being said, they all had a great time at Catalonia, the price was right and the food/drinks were solid. It was a perfect option for our guests who chose not to stay at Esencia.

 

All our wedding events took place at Esencia –

 

Thursday Night: We hosted a cocktail hour from 9-10pm at my parents†cottage. The staff did an amazing job making the cottage look beautiful and they even hung up a banner weâ€d brought along for decoration. We had margaritas, caipirinhas and mojitos and they threw in some delicious desserts for free. It was very casual and a great way to start off the wedding weekend.

 

Friday Night: We had a Welcome Fiesta that started with a traditional Mayan Wedding Ceremony (a gift from the hotel). Since it was also my birthday, Yazmin de la Mora (our wedding coordinator, review below) arranged for there to be a piñata for me to hit, filled with Mexican candies. It was SO fun! My mother-in-law made beautiful paper flower centerpieces in lots of bright colors and we had mariachis and a delicious authentic Mexican food buffet.

 

Saturday Night: The wedding/reception! Review below : )

 

Sunday: We did a farewell brunch in Esenciaâ€s main restaurant. We picked a special menu filled with some American favorites and some Mexican.

 

Wedding Details:

 

For those of you wondering about our ceremony, we had a civil one and Esencia handled those details – they had a lab technician come to the hotel on the Wednesday morning we got there to draw our blood and it was very easy and professional.

 

For all our planning, we dealt with Esenciaâ€s on-site wedding coordinator who is no longer there (she got let go right after our wedding). Even though she was truly a lovely woman, she was not very helpful in planning our wedding. Once we realized that we needed some additional help, we hired Yazmin de la Mora to be our additional coordinator and she was great. Our photographer (Elizabeth Medina, review below) recommended her to us.

 

The one thing I will say about Esencia is that you must be prepared to spend, spend, spend – they do not really allow outside wedding vendors and they add an additional service charge to everything. The vendors, I must say, were all very good so I guess you get what you pay for but if youâ€re thinking of the Riviera Maya to have your wedding because it will be CHEAP, Esencia is not your place. Just being honest.

 

I found that Esencia did not negotiate with us on anything – if we couldnâ€t afford a service, it had to be cut, not modified. Some of this may be due to the fact that the wedding coordinator was difficult but my word of advice is to make sure as much is figured out beforehand as possible in your contract. In Esenciaâ€s defense, some of the difficulties we had with the hotel may have been due to the coordinator who was recently let go.

 

All that icky stuff being said, once we arrived, the hotel couldnâ€t have been more accommodating or kind to us. They upgraded us and our parents and threw in the third hour of the bar for the Friday Dinner for free. They treated us and our guests like royalty and the moment we stepped onto the property two weeks ago, we forgot all our previous problems and had the BEST time!! As I said in the beginning of my review, I do think a lot of our guests (us included) will spend many a vacation at Esencia – itâ€s just that amazing!

Vendor Reviews:

 

**Just a note – all our vendors were Esenciaâ€s preferred vendors except for Elizabeth Medina, whom I chose before we had finalized our plans with Esencia.

 

Yazmin de la Mora: As I said, we were recommended Yazmin by our photographer and got to meet her when my mom and I went down for a site visit. She has a great energy and is very knowledgeable and professional. She was so helpful in communicating with Esencia, as she spoke Spanish and we do not. Yazmin helped me survive a couple of meltdowns before we got down to Mexico and did a lot of work behind the scenes that I wasnâ€t even aware of until my mom told me!

 

At both the rehearsal and the wedding, she brought along two assistants and they were always there to help me and/or our guests. She was prepared for everything - we had such a windy night for the wedding, at one point Yazmin and her assistants fixed my hair with hairspray and new bobby pins. It was fantastic! Because she has done so many weddings, the Esencia coordinator looked to her to guide her in the itinerary for the wedding day/night. It is because of Yazmin that everything went so well.

 

Makeup/Hair: My mother, sister and I got our hair and makeup done by Fernando and his team from Makeup Pros. They were amazing. I live in Los Angeles and am used to professional hair and makeup and these guys more than impressed me. They were also fun to be around! They stayed until after the ceremony to touch me up for our photos (a service which, we paid for) and I think they did a really great job.

 

DJ: We used Mayansound as our DJ and for rental audio equipment at both our Friday night dinner and during the wedding/reception. They were fantastic. They were very professional and did a great job gauging the guests†mood in terms of music at the reception. People were raving about how good they were and Iâ€d recommend Mayansound over and over.

 

Photographer: We used Elizabeth Medina for our photos – she brought along her daughter as her assistant (who is an adult, donâ€t worry!). I havenâ€t seen any photos yet so I canâ€t really give her a review but she and her daughter were great the night of the wedding. If youâ€ve been to her website, you know how beautiful her work is. Hopefully, Iâ€m not jinxing my photos by saying all this!

 

Lighting: We used Alex and AV Solutions for lighting at the reception – he was recommended by both Yazmin de la Mora and Esencia. A week before the wedding, they sent me a bunch of photos of lighting theyâ€ve done and I chose a photo that they basically copied. I asked for all blue and lavender lighting and I thought they did a great job. I did notice our photographer had to have her assistant walk around with an extra lamp so I donâ€t know if it was enough for her but it looked beautiful to me on the night of – guess Iâ€ll have to wait for the photos to find out. Alex was extremely easy to deal with and speaks perfect English.

 

Transportation: We organized transportation shuttles for most of our events and we used Balam transportation as our “preferred vendor†for this service. We also used him for our guests†airport transfers. Javier, who owns the company, did a great job handling all our guests and when there was a mix-up with the Welcome Bag Delivery (which we had hired his company to deliver), he immediately sent a driver to pick up the bags and re-deliver them properly. He speaks great English so was easy for our guests to communicate with, as well. We did have some guests mention that their airport pick-up was 20 minutes late or the sign was wrong but I think in a foreign country, some things are bound not to go smoothly. Bottom line is, Javier always worked it out.

 

Flowers: We used Euforia and Lucrecia (who was the designer) did a spectacular job. She worked within our budget and let us go back and forth a couple times with changes. She sent us photos in order for us to better understand what she was going for with our design and she just did a great job. Even though there were things that didnâ€t get to be installed (because of the wind, our candles all blew out and they had to cut back on the amount of them), they did a beautiful job with what we could have. She had lots of good ideas and was very amenable to our suggestions.

 

Feel free to PM me with any questions you may have about our vendors and/or Esencia. Good luck with planning, hope this helps!

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My fiance and I are staying here at the end of the month for a site inspection. We are also visiting, Ceiba Del Mar, The Tides & Le Reve. Did you consider any of those properties as your wedding site?

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Sun and sand 78 and de Auden, first of all congrats!!! Very interested in both of your views on Esencia and whether you considered Ceiba del Mar, Azul Beach, Las Ranitas, etc. My FI and I are looking for an intimate yet kid friendly resort for about 60 people in late November - where the beach is not only beautiful but easy to swim in without being to rocky or grassy. Any suggestions would be truly appreciated! Thanks M&M

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Hi ladies,

 

I looked at both The Tides and Le Reve before choosing Esencia - what Esencia has that The Tides and Le Reve definitely lack is a very quiet beach. There are really no other resorts on Xpu-Ha and I felt it was private and serene.

 

The Tides was expensive and I felt like everyone would just stay in their rooms the whole time at their little private pools - not socialize with other guests. Le Reve we really loved and I think would be a wonderful location for a wedding but Esencia was a bit more upscale and I knew the service and food would be better at Esencia. You get what you pay for, I guess.

 

We are heading back to Esencia for our one year anniversary in a couple of weeks - can't wait to go back!!

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There is a reason that Corona rents out the beach at Esencia and its neighbor Al Cielo to film their commercials and shoot photo shoots.... its one of the Riviera Maya's best best best beaches in my opinion... Happy anniv and good luck coming back! 

 

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hello!

I've been reading almost millions (lol) of reviews and everybody (100% of the reviews until now) says that CRT is the most calm and no-party resort...it's the first time that I read that there is one party athmosphere :)  Welll, maybe it's not so calm like we were expected...:) :) :)

 

Even knowing is not for my hotel, great review ;)
 

Originally Posted by delauren View Post

The guests who stayed at Catalonia said the front desk/concierge there were rude and that the property had a very “spring break†feel – lots of people partying.

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