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Extremely long AVENTURA SPA PALACE review!


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#1 ktrant

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    Posted 24 June 2010 - 10:41 PM

    June 11th 2010 was our wedding date and it was absolutely beautiful! Our total head count was 89 people and we were told that this was the by far the largest wedding that ASP had ever had.

    Here we go…I have so much to say…Wedding first then I will complain…haha

    There are events that lead up to this Thursday night welcome dinner and I will get to those at the end of the review.

    Thursday June 10, 2010

    Pool Party - Cove Pool

    On Thursday we decided to throw our own pool party at the pool on the Cove side and this turned out to be a great party! Half of the 89 guest were mine and half were my husband’s so needless to say, we had a lot of people who had never met before. This made me nervous because I didn’t want there to be cliques.

    I had been running around dealing with the resort on some other issues so I was late to the pool party. When I arrived, I was so excited to see that EVERYONE was drinking, intermingling and having a great time. No introduction was needed by anyone…everyone met everyone and just started partying! As new guest arrived, they would join the party. The pool has a DJ during the day so we were recommending songs and dancing, drinking and singing the day away.

    Welcome dinner - Maracas Inlet (Cove Side) – 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

    What a great idea!! This dinner really set the tone for the rest of our wedding weekend. We decided to hire the DJ to play from 7-9p.m. Relaxing music of course during dinner and as soon as everyone finished we had people up on the dance floor. This was a casual dinner because it took place at the inlet which is on sand. The DJ had such a great time that he continued to play until 10:30! After that we all headed to the club at the resort, which isn’t too bad. Our party was big enough that it made the club look somewhat full. I left around 1 am and most of our guest stayed until 2!

    Friday June 11, 2010 – D Day!!

    Highly recommend doing a massage in the morning to help relax! It was GREAT!

    I flew in my own hairstylist and make-up artist who airbrushed my make-up (GREAT because it is HOT outside and the make-up stays on and looks flawless!!) I would recommend putting your hair up because it is windy. I wore my hair up, but wish I would have not had long bangs. They were flying around all throughout the ceremony! Drove me nuts and ruined some of my guest pictures. I haven’t seen the professional ones yet and not really all that worried. But if I could do it again, I would have it all pulled back.

    My bouquet was made of calla lilies wrapped in ivory ribbon and I brought a broche to add to it. Looked beautiful!

    Ceremony – COBA Gazebo (Cove Side)

    Definitely get the carriage. (funny story…no one knew about the horse carriage except for my MOH’s and Dad, so as the carriage pulled up, they heard the sound of a horse through the speakers at the ceremony and they all looked around like WTH is that…then they see the carriage pull up and once they saw my dad lift me out of the carriage everyone was in tears!) It was beautiful! The carriage does not pull up all the way to the Gazebo, our guests were all up on their feet watching my father and I walk down the stairs. This was great because it gave my dad and me a chance to get in a quick laugh before arriving to the Gazebo.

    We provided white fans which definitely helped the ladies!

    We decided to have the harpist play…which was lovely!! Everyone was crying and I should’ve provided Kleenex!! The flowers that the diamond package came with were hideous so I paid extra to have calla lilies at the end of the isle. Which were great but they should’ve been positioned behind us so that they weren’t in all my guest photos! The vases that they have decorating the isle are plan ugly and are fake orchids!

    My uncle married us, which was perfect! As we exited the gazebo our guest threw confetti which made for some great photos. We were then given a glass of champagne which I don’t remember. Then we were summoned to the lagoon so that my husband and I could take pictures when the fireworks went off. This was great until the freaking ashes started landing on me (which were HOT!) We were in the middle of a photo and my husband was dipping me and he saw an ash land near my eye and his eyes got big….Pretty funny….The fireworks were great for photos! But beware!! Haha

    Next, we took a group shot, which was disappointing because we had so many guest that you couldn’t see the ones in the back row…but Oh well. Still was fun.

    The photographer stole my husband and me for photos while our guest went to the cocktail hour. Super excited about these photos. My girlfriend took some candid ones with her camera from a distance and they are absolutely beautiful!

    Cocktail Hour – Maracas Terrace 4:30-6pm


    I wish I could tell you about this, but I wasn’t there! Haha We hired the Trio to play from 5-6 which apparently our guest loved. They loved the Superior Hors d’oeuvres that were served and loved the view and shade!

    Reception – Solarium Mandaca 6:00-10:30pm

    Dinner was great! The view was beautiful and the wind was blowing which helped cool everyone off. Most of my guest changed for dinner which ended up making everything a bit more casual then we had wanted but hey…they were all comfy!

    I purchased 11 calla lily centerpieces for 11 tables and was later told by my mother-in-law that they were fake! SO beware…and make sure you get fresh flowers. They looked nice at the time so I guess it didn’t really matter. But I paid for real flowers and would have liked to get them.

    I was disappointed in the fact that the food ran out and it took them about 15 minutes to replace the buffet. The food was great though.

    We chose a 3-tier cake with chocolate, strawberry and lemon (I think). I only had a bite when we cut the cake and it was good. I asked guest about it the next day and they said it was good. So...

    I had purchased maracas, shot glasses and tortilla holders as gifts for my guest. Each table had maracas and shot glasses (looked more like a tea cup but didn’t care at that point). Towards the end of the night a table was set up and the tortilla holders were displayed and guest grabbed them on their way out. Everyone loved the gifts. Maracas were a big hit when we entered the reception dinner and while dancing.

    We hired the full DJ, speakers, microphone and lights which worked out nicely. We did our first dance; father daughter dance and mother son dance while guest were still eating. We wanted to speed things up so that we could start partying! Our first dance was beautiful…everyone crying again. Then came the father daughter dance…”I loved her first” by heartland. OMG…my dad and I were like big babies and so were our guest. I had never seen my dad cry and once he started crying we all started crying. It was a special moment! Loved it!! After my hubby danced with his momma we were all tired of crying and hit the dance floor.

    We were about to announce that the party was moving to the resort club when it started pouring down raining! Perfect timing!! It really helped cool everyone off. We moved the party to the club and didn’t leave until they kicked us out at 2am! I stayed in my dress all night long and danced the night away! I seriously didn’t leave the dance floor. At around 12:30am I kicked off my cobalt blue 4 inch heels and went barefoot! I know…disgusting…but didn’t want to leave the party to go get my flip flops. It was just that good!

    Our guest are still talking about how spectacular our wedding was and how they have never cried so much at a wedding! It truly was a story book wedding.

    Trash the Dress – June 13, 2010

    So…there is no beach at this resort but they do have a beautiful lagoon to the far left of the resort. This is where I decided to take our photos. It’s rocky so wear shoes! I didn’t want to trash my wedding dress so I went and bought a $70 dress and used that one instead.

    ADVICE...do not sweat the small stuff! You're guest will not remember that. Focus on having a great time and savor the moments! This day goes by so fast and my husband and I made sure to sit back and soak up all the great memories.

    Our guest continually complemented us on how beautiful our wedding was and didn't want it to end. Neither did we!

    I’m throwing a picture party next weekend so that some my guest can exchange photos…so when I get some I will send your way. I do have some on FB that some of my friends have posted already. Look me up (Kimberly Trant Vargas and message me that you are with BDW and I will accept friendship so that you can take a peek.)

    Welcome bags-

    The resort charges $2.50 per room to deliver the bags. Make sure Dulce sets this up and get a name of a person to talk to when you deliver the bags. I spent 2 hours explaining to the bell man what they were supposed to do with the bags. A bit frustrating!! The beach bag was a huge hit; most guests forgot to pack a beach bag so were thrilled to have one. I provided our itinerary, sunscreen, shot glasses, and a bunch of other goodies.

    So the not so nice stuff is coming…Will try and post tonight.

    Hope this helps!!! Questions welcomed!!
    Kimberly Vargas!
    kymteez@yahoo.com

    #2 lalanyc

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      Posted 25 June 2010 - 12:50 AM

      I'm so happy to hear it turned out great for you! thanks for sharing!

      #3 Afaybik

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        Posted 25 June 2010 - 01:47 AM

        Great review! My daughter is trying to decide between Adventura Palace, Moon Palace, beach Palace and Dreams Resorts. This may help alot. Can I ask you how much it was for the dinner and everything else just to get a ballpark figure since I think my daughter might be having between 80 and 100 people. Did you pick a certain package? Did they charge you extra for the private functions? Where did you get married and where did you have your reception. She does not want to get married on the beach. Also she wants her reception to be private and preferably indoors in case it rains.
        Any help you can be would be greatly appreciated.
        Congratulations on your marriage.

        Thanks,
        Arlene (mother of the bride)

        #4 AishaB

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          Posted 25 June 2010 - 07:12 AM

          Great review. Thanks so much for sharing. You have some good info and advice for future bries in here. Thanks.
          BDW the best place for my TYPE A personality!

          #5 lilbuddha

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            Posted 25 June 2010 - 07:58 AM

            Fabulous review! I am still trying to decide between Aventura, Iberostar Paradiso Maya and Rui....so this is a big help since Aventura at this point is our front runner!

            Thanks for all the details we are expecting around 80-100 next year so I am so happy to hear that they were accomadating.

            Can I ask did they charge extra for the pool party or the welcome dinner at all?

            Did you do a site inspection before hand? Any suggestions/questions we should ask? We are doing one next week....

            This has been so helpful! Thank you! ~M
            Mia & Pauly May 5th, 201163 guests + bride & groom.....and counting.

            #6 ktrant

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              Posted 25 June 2010 - 10:34 AM

              Quote:
              Originally Posted by Afaybik
              Great review! My daughter is trying to decide between Adventura Palace, Moon Palace, beach Palace and Dreams Resorts. This may help alot. Can I ask you how much it was for the dinner and everything else just to get a ballpark figure since I think my daughter might be having between 80 and 100 people. Did you pick a certain package? Did they charge you extra for the private functions? Where did you get married and where did you have your reception. She does not want to get married on the beach. Also she wants her reception to be private and preferably indoors in case it rains.
              Any help you can be would be greatly appreciated.
              Congratulations on your marriage.

              Thanks,
              Arlene (mother of the bride)
              Arlene, because we knew that we were expecting between 75-100 people, we had called around to Dreams Resort (my first choice) and Aventura Spa Palace and our date was only available at ASP. They had also said they would work with us since we had such a large group. We purchased the Diamond Package because I wanted all white d©cor and because of the unlimited private functions. The package is $2395 (or close to that). I did opt to change the flowers because they were just plain ugly! I paid $160 for two tall calla lily vases for ceremony and $660 for 11 centerpieces for reception. The package does come with the bouquet for the bride and boutonni¨re for the groom. I paid $120 for 4 other boutonnieres (2 groomsmen and 2 fathers). I also paid $160 (might be a little more) for 2 bouquets for my bridesmaids. I also paid $120 for 3 orchid flowers for our hair. They do not budge when it comes to negotiating. I had originally wanted orchids for everything (centerpieces, bouquets, boutonnieres) but they were outrageously priced. My husband tried to speak to Lorena (Dulce’s superior) about coming down on some of the floral cost and she went into this spill about how the flowers are all imported and blah blah blah. The costs were much higher than what we would pay here in the US and I wasn’t going to pay that amount. I do have to say that dealing with flowers was one of my biggest headaches. The pictures they sent me of the centerpieces I could chose from were just awful. So I went with the basic calla lilies centerpieces, which ended up being FAKE! Grrrr!

              The DJ was extra too; the package comes with the basic system, which wouldn’t have worked for us. I want to say we paid $1350 and had him for our welcome dinner (7-9, but he stayed till 10:30) and we used him for our reception (6-10:30). My husband hooked his laptop up to the equipment and the DJ played what was on our playlist. My husband’s family is known for throwing great parties and having great music so we didn’t want to cut cost when it came to the sound system. The lights that they provided added character to our party and our guests literally danced the whole night away! I would recommend having a DJ if you have that many people.

              I didn’t want to get married on the beach either so we chose the Coba Gazebo. I had 3 kids (14yrs old) so we had to get married on the Cove Palace side, which was perfect. I didn’t care for the Gazebo at the Spa Palace. It looked wimpy (if that makes sense). Our reception was on the Solarium Mundaca which was huge! This overlooks the lagoon which was a perfect backdrop!

              They do have ballrooms at this resort but I didn’t chose a ballroom because I could do that back home. The weather was absolutely perfect! The sites I had looked at before I went said thunderstorms and it rained twice the whole 5 days we were there. Once in the morning around 6 (lasted 20 minutes and really helped cool things off) and at 10:30 the night of my wedding (which no one cared because we were leaving anyways). We just moved the party into the club. Our guest loved the fact that the wedding was outside and the scenery made for great photos. Yes, it was hot at times but you get over it pretty quickly because it is windy.

              If you book over 25 rooms or 75 nights, you are able to have an unlimited amount of private functions. So no extra cost for the welcome dinner, cocktail hour, reception, etc. That was one of the main costs when we tried doing it a la carte. So the packaged deal worked best for us. We had 40 rooms and over 140 nights booked at this resort and they did absolutely NOTHING extra for us. We brought them over $44,800 and you think they would throw in some extra things for the bride and groom. Ummm NOPE! We were told that we would be upgraded to the Presidential Suite and this never happened. We ended up just staying in the concierge level. Which was nothing special. The rooms are small and we wouldn’t have had room to get hair and make-up for myself, bridesmaids and mom so my husband had asked to move us into a bigger suite. Well…after putting up a fight, we finally were able to move into a bigger suite but were immediately kicked out as soon as I walked out the door to get in the carriage. We were rushing to throw all of our goods in bags so that the bell man could take them to my room. A bit aggravating.

              We also received 7 nights complementary for booking over 25 rooms and have not received our refund yet. We stayed at the ASP from 9th – 14th then transferred to the Cozumel Palace from 14th-16th (which was SO much nicer). We had originally planned to do our honeymoon within the Palace Resorts but because of the way we were treated, we decided to cancel our extra 7 days with the Palace and go to the Excellence Playa Mujeres. This place was INCREDIBLE!! More expensive but worth every penny!!! I will never spend another penny with any Palace Resort.

              Hope this helps!
              Kimberly

              #7 ktrant

              ktrant
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                Posted 25 June 2010 - 10:54 AM

                Quote:
                Originally Posted by lilbuddha
                Fabulous review! I am still trying to decide between Aventura, Iberostar Paradiso Maya and Rui....so this is a big help since Aventura at this point is our front runner!

                Thanks for all the details we are expecting around 80-100 next year so I am so happy to hear that they were accomadating.

                Can I ask did they charge extra for the pool party or the welcome dinner at all?

                Did you do a site inspection before hand? Any suggestions/questions we should ask? We are doing one next week....

                This has been so helpful! Thank you! ~M
                My guest loved this place because there were 2 sides (adult/children)! Both are really nice. We did have some issues with room keys not working once our guest got to their rooms but I think that was it. The rooms were a bit small but little time was spent in the room. All of my guests are still raving about how great of a time they had. The issues I had were between me and the resort and I made sure not to let my guest know what was going on.

                Since I had over 25 rooms booked, all the private functions were free. The pool party was something I created on my own. I just added it to my itinerary which I provided all of my guests with. Basically I just told them Pool Party, Cove Palace Pool. I had no idea the pool had a DJ so this was a bonus. They even had a person (in costume) that worked the pool area and was able to get a volleyball game going. Really ended up being a great idea.

                The welcome dinner was included in the unlimited private functions so I paid nothing extra. HIGHLY recommend doing a welcome dinner! This was a highlight of the weekend for my hubby. Also we had 5 people including myself who had birthdays that weekend so had a cake and sang happy birthday. It was also a great place for guest to give toast so that they wouldn’t take away time at the reception the night of the wedding.
                Our schedules were so hectic that we couldn’t do an inspection beforehand. I would make sure to take a notebook and ask every single question or concern you might have. Make sure to ask if the flowers are real/fake. If you have ideas about floral arrangements take pictures and ask the cost upfront. Flowers were one of our biggest issues.

                If I think of any more questions you should ask, I will send them to you.

                Have a blast!!
                Kimberly

                #8 skadow

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                  Posted 25 June 2010 - 11:01 AM

                  Quote:
                  Originally Posted by ktrant
                  My guest loved this place because there were 2 sides (adult/children)! Both are really nice. We did have some issues with room keys not working once our guest got to their rooms but I think that was it. The rooms were a bit small but little time was spent in the room. All of my guests are still raving about how great of a time they had. The issues I had were between me and the resort and I made sure not to let my guest know what was going on.

                  Since I had over 25 rooms booked, all the private functions were free. The pool party was something I created on my own. I just added it to my itinerary which I provided all of my guests with. Basically I just told them Pool Party, Cove Palace Pool. I had no idea the pool had a DJ so this was a bonus. They even had a person (in costume) that worked the pool area and was able to get a volleyball game going. Really ended up being a great idea.

                  The welcome dinner was included in the unlimited private functions so I paid nothing extra. HIGHLY recommend doing a welcome dinner! This was a highlight of the weekend for my hubby. Also we had 5 people including myself who had birthdays that weekend so had a cake and sang happy birthday. It was also a great place for guest to give toast so that they wouldn’t take away time at the reception the night of the wedding.
                  Our schedules were so hectic that we couldn’t do an inspection beforehand. I would make sure to take a notebook and ask every single question or concern you might have. Make sure to ask if the flowers are real/fake. If you have ideas about floral arrangements take pictures and ask the cost upfront. Flowers were one of our biggest issues.

                  If I think of any more questions you should ask, I will send them to you.

                  Have a blast!!
                  Kimberly
                  Your review did worry me a tad, but as long as the problems were between you and the resort and the guests loved it, I am ok with that. I am glad you added that! I have my wedding booked their for next Feb. atleast I know what to except.

                  I am not sure what to do with the flowers at this point. I saw some in Palace photo's I really like, however none of those were included in the picture book PDF they sent me. Probably cause the where done by an outside source and are expensive. I will only be having 4-5 tables tho. Probably a little less costly then 11 tables.

                  I dont mind fake flowers at all. I almost rather have them so I dont feel like they are waisted on one night. However....I better not be paying full price then!...thats something I might work out ahead of time now....thanks for the heads up!

                  We booked palace resorts because of the free events as well. Plus this resorts looks really natury from the photos. Is it? Thats a big deal to us. I loved all the waterfalls in the pictures.

                  #9 ktrant

                  ktrant
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                    Posted 25 June 2010 - 11:17 AM

                    Quote:
                    Originally Posted by skadow
                    Your review did worry me a tad, but as long as the problems were between you and the resort and the guests loved it, I am ok with that. I am glad you added that! I have my wedding booked their for next Feb. atleast I know what to except.

                    I am not sure what to do with the flowers at this point. I saw some in Palace photo's I really like, however none of those were included in the picture book PDF they sent me. Probably cause the where done by an outside source and are expensive. I will only be having 4-5 tables tho. Probably a little less costly then 11 tables.

                    I dont mind fake flowers at all. I almost rather have them so I dont feel like they are waisted on one night. However....I better not be paying full price then!...thats something I might work out ahead of time now....thanks for the heads up!

                    We booked palace resorts because of the free events as well. Plus this resorts looks really natury from the photos. Is it? Thats a big deal to us. I loved all the waterfalls in the pictures.
                    Sorry to worry you! The issues were behind the scenes and we made sure to keep it between us.

                    The staff there is wonderful!!

                    I suggest emailing that photo to your coordinator and having her check on a price. I did that for my centerpieces and ending up being cheaper than some of the photos Dulce had sent me. I pulled my photo from the immaculate package at the Moon Palace (I think). I even pulled photos from other sites and emailed them to see how much it would cost to duplicate. I wouldn’t have minded fake flowers either but I was told they were real. So that is what bothered me. If I purchased real flowers, I want real flowers. I didn’t know they were fake until the next day when my mother-in-law mentioned it to my husband. So it wasn’t a big deal the day of the wedding.

                    The resort is definitely a part of nature. You will see spider monkeys as you enter the resort and iguanas near the pool and lagoon areas. At first, I thought my guests would be bummed that there was no beach, but it didn’t faze them. We hung out by the lagoon and when we were done, we went to the pool. The pictures I have seen so far are gorgeous! You’ll love it!
                    My wedding was on a Friday so that our guests who were checking out on Sunday could enjoy their Saturday to themselves or with us at the resort. This worked out great because some of our guests went to the Palace Resort in Playa for the day (which has a gorgeous beach) the shuttle there, restaurants and bars there are also included in your package so they were able to eat and drink for free there too! It’s a 20 minute cab ride from ASP.

                    Hope this answers your questions!
                    Kimberly

                    #10 ktrant

                    ktrant
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                      Posted 25 June 2010 - 12:22 PM

                      Also for info about the vacation dollars, go to the thread PALACE VACATION DOLLARS.




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