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My Puerto Morelos Site Visit - NOW Sapphire, NOW Jade, Dreams Riviera Cancun, Ceiba del Mar and Azul Sensatori - with link to photos!


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#1 1106wedding

1106wedding
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    Posted 05 December 2010 - 08:43 PM

     

     

    My Fiance, Chris, and I flew down to Puerto Morelos a couple weekends ago to site a few of the resorts we had put on hold for our October 22 2010 wedding. We were there November 20 - 23. We stayed at NOW Sapphire for the first night (we arrived at 10am as we had taken a red eye) and stayed at NOW Jade for our second and third nights. I wish we had been able to stay (and eat!) at all resorts to be able to truly compare but time and funds didn't allow for it! Overall, our trip was awesome! It was very productive but we managed to have some fun - pool time was mandatory every day :). I made a list of pros and cons for each even though in most cases cons aren't really cons, all of these places were wonderful and we'd be lucky to get married at any of them. We had to be super critical to even come up with a con list but we needed to make a choice so it had to be done! These are totally subjective and our pros might be someone else's cons...I still thought it would be helpful to others to read if interested or trying to decide yourself! 
     
    If anyone wants to ask more specific questions, I can try to answer those too! 

     

     

    LINK TO PHOTOS BELOW!

     

     
    General Notes: 
    • Cancun airport - Puerto Morelos: 20-25 minutes. I'll try to share a map we made ourselves that shows where each of the resorts are along the coast in relation to each other. It was pretty hard for us to find maps online beforehand and google maps was totally wrong, it was pretty funny to find out how wrong once we were there! 
    • Cabs our OUTRAGEOUS! Like shockingly expensive. From the airport they quoted us $70 one way to PM. We talked them down to $50 and the hotel staff said they were impressed. Ridic! We took them from hotel-hotel and felt ripped off everytime, haha.
    • The town is TINY, a little fishing beach, but it's cute and I'm glad we walked around. Took us about 20 minutes! It's farther south than most of the resorts we saw (Jade is even farther south). 
     
    Resort Reviews (sorry for any repetition or spelling error, I wrote this over a few days):
     
     
     
     
     
    Dreams Riviera Cancun
    • Ranked #5 on Trip Advisor
    • 485 Rooms / 9 restaurants
    • Ceremony locations: Beach, Gazebo
    • Reception Locations: Beach, Pool Deck, Ballroom, El Patio (for $30++ per/person additional)

     

    Pros:

     

    • New (1 year old)
    • Clean
    • Infinity pool
    • Restaurant selection
    • Desires, open until 1am
    • Liked cocktail area options (surrounding Jacuzzi or on pool deck)
    • Liked Pool Deck
    • Rooms were gorgeous

     

    Cons:

     

    • The resort Felt REALLY big!
    • A little Too modern for our taste (at least for the wedding trip)
    • The gazebo wasn’t very private, wasn’t crazy about location
    • Location of restaurants, they seemed very separate from everything else, All in one place
    • Felt a little like a “wedding factory” – could be good or bad!
    • Coordinators seemed non-committal, couldn’t answer a lot of questions, wouldn’t quote pricing.
    • Outside vendor fees (but all resorts have them!)

     

     


     

    NOW Jade
    • Ranked #10 on Trip Advisor
    • 555 Rooms / 7 restaurants
    • Ceremony Locations: Beach, Pergola
    • Reception Locations: Bamboo Room, Las Olas

     

    Pros:

     

    • New (2 years old)
    • Loved the pool areas
    • Restaurant selection seemed good, liked that they were all central
    • Sports bar, open until 2am
    • I liked the Pergola (even though it wasn’t totally private)
    • I liked the Bamboo Room (even though it was pretty basic)
    • LikedBlue Bar for cocktail area option
    • Rooms were Pretty nice, good sized.
    • Enjoyed the Mexican restaurant a lot (Mediterranean was pretty good)
    • I liked Pilar. She’s pretty no-nonsense but seems to know what she is doing!

     

    Cons:

     

    • The resort Felt Big and commercial
    • Way too many sales people in the lobby. We almost got tricked into meeting with timeshare people that were introduced by hotel staff AS hotel staff. Very annoying!!!
    • A little Too modern for our taste (at least for the wedding trip)
    • Service at check in (bellman, valet, reception, etc) not great. Huge tour busses were arriving with people and they got most attention.
    • Only one restaurant open for breakfast
    • Preferred area was very separate, which could usually be nice but if we were to have all guests staying in regular area, it would feel too removed.
    • HUGE lines at restaurants (hotel was at or over capacity)
    • Outside vendor fees (but all resorts have them!)
    • The buildings (with the sleeping rooms) could have been better maintained.
    • MOSQUITOS!!! NUMBER ONE CON! I’m not sure why I haven’t heard much about them from other brides. It rained one day and after that, they were everywhere (see pictures!) I usually don’t get bit but I left with about 6 or 7 on each leg and on my arms too. That’d look REALLY cute in a wedding dress! They itched for days….

     

     


     

     
    NOW Sapphire
    • Ranked #13 on Trip Advisor
    • 534 Rooms / 6 restaurants
    • Ceremony Locations: Beach, Beach Terrace, Tequila Terrace
    • Reception Locations: Beach, Beach Terrace, Tequila Terrace, French Restaurant

     

    Pros:

     

    • Design had mayan influences, felt like we were actually in Mexico! Had the most authentic feel of all resorts we visited
    • Service was excellent
    • Lobby bar was huge, open, palapa-style
    • Tequila terrace was nice (plus, they’re updating with some renovations soon)
    • Layout of the resort was nice. Preferred wasn’t totally separate.
    • Ocean front room = Awesome!
    • Restaurant selection seemed good, liked the central locations
    • “Fun Pub”, open until 2am
    • Weather back up options were decent. French restaurant could be an okay reception location.
    • Sandra was very friendly, seemed somewhat flexible…

     

    Cons:

     

    • Only one restaurant open for breakfast
    • The pool was big but there didn’t seem to be very many chairs right next to the pool with easy access
    • Beach Terrace was right off pool area, not too private, Didn’t look very Big either?
    • Japenese restaurant wasn’t good (wish we had tried a different one for the one night we were there!)
    • A little concerned that beach-front ceremony and reception would be really windy?
    • Would they block off buffet restaurant (or move it for the night) if we had reception at Tequila Terrace?

     

     

     

    Azul Sensatori
    • Ranked #9 on Trip Advisor
    • 438 Rooms / 6 restaurants
    • Ceremony Locations: Beach (2 spots), Sky Deck
    • Reception Locations: Beach, Yoga Platform, Zavas Plaza

     

    Pros:

     

    • I liked the layout and how they had the buildings separated by type (Family, all, adult, premium) and yet there wasn’t total segregation!
    • Grey goose included in all inclusive J
    • Mojitos bar with 30 different mojitos (mmmmm….)
    • Loved the sky deck!
    • Liked Zavas Plaza (even though it’s right below building 3)
    • Ipod dock in all rooms
    • The rooms were very nice, maybe nicest of all resorts we saw?? Jacuzzi tubs in all.
    • Pools were awesome
    • Three swim up bars!
    • 2 night time bars (mojitos and teen club)
    • more than one restaurant open for breakfast!
    • The kid’s area was huge, they had everything! I almost wish we had more kids coming.
    • The drinks were yummy (wish we could’ve tasted the food)
    • Resort seemed way less busy than all others

     

    Cons:

     

    • They weren’t prepared for our visit (comm. From Miami was lacking) but Claudia was able to give us a tour anyways.
    • No Outside vendors allowed
    • Planning process, through Miami, wish I could work directly with resort
    • Seems to be a little more expensive than other resorts

     

     


     

    Ceiba Del Mar
    • Ranked #2 on Trip Advisor
    • 88 Rooms / 2 restaurants
    • Ceremony Locations: Palapa
    • Reception Locations: Restaurant, Terrace

     

    Pros:

     

    • Cute, cozy, intimate
    • Only one wedding a weekend, which would be totally special, we’d have our choice of ceremony/reception location, our wedding party would be at least 50% of in house guests.
    • Grey goose included in all inclusive J
    • Nice area of beach (seemed a little more private than some of the other areas)
    • Authentic Mexican feel
    • Recycling outlets throughout
    • All rooms have ocean views
    • Upgrade bride and groom to top floor room (with large patio)
    • Free wifi
    • No outside vendor fees
    • D©cor/rentals would be less expensive than at other resorts
    • The ceremony is very pretty (although it’s on sand and I am looking for off the sand)

     

    Cons:

     

    • Room rates are more expensive than all others we looked at L
    • Wedding packages are pricer than we’ve seen elsewhere.
    • Rooms were least impressive, pretty basic
    • Only Two restaurants and two bars (since it’s so small)
    • Lobby bar stays open until 11pm (not late enough
    • The reception location is nice but not totally WOW!
    • The pier is super windy, but is usually used for cocktail hour.
     
     
     
    Photos here: 

    share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8AbOGLls5ZNVElg

     

     
     
     

    Jessie & Chris 10/22/2011 *51 booked and final*


    #2 TLGnhci

    TLGnhci
    • Member
    • 899 posts

      Posted 06 December 2010 - 05:37 PM

      Yay, thanks for the comparison.  Makes me happy to have AS as my resort! Glad to see you made that decision too.  :o)



      #3 bryteyedbride

      bryteyedbride
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        Posted 07 December 2010 - 11:18 AM

        Thanks so much for the pics!  PS-  Your rings are beautiful!



        #4 1106wedding

        1106wedding
        • Jr. Member
        • 317 posts

          Posted 07 December 2010 - 12:03 PM

          Thank you! We cheated and got the full set for the engagement ring since my fingers are so long and skinny and I needed more "width" :)


          Jessie & Chris 10/22/2011 *51 booked and final*


          #5 Jessie

          Jessie
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          • 231 posts

            Posted 07 December 2010 - 01:06 PM

            Awesome review!  It was nice to see the comparisons, since I chose AS without doing a site visit to any resorts.  Thanks for the pictures!



            #6 AmyG

            AmyG
            • Jr. Member
            • 189 posts

              Posted 21 December 2010 - 10:41 AM

              1106wedding,

               

              Thank you sooo much for sharing your Pro's and Con's list and your pics!!  I recently just decided to change my destination wedding from Costa Rica to Riveria Maya Mexico after 5 months of already planning so now I am starting over. I actually just spoke with Sandra at NOW Sapphire this morning so I am happy to hear that you had a pleasant experience there because I was leaning towards that resort.  There are a ton of threads here so I haven't read through them all, but which resort did you decide on and what would have been your second choice?

               

              Thanks!!

               

              Amy



              #7 1106wedding

              1106wedding
              • Jr. Member
              • 317 posts

                Posted 22 December 2010 - 12:08 PM

                Ahh...I'm glad it was helpful to you! Good luck starting over, I'm sure all of your work hasn't been for nothing. You're probably a pro by now! ;)

                I loved Sapphire but we just went to contract with Azul. It just had more of what we were looking for (though it's hard to let Sapphire go!)

                I also loved the special feeling of Ceiba, though it was too expensive for our guests...


                Jessie & Chris 10/22/2011 *51 booked and final*


                #8 lshaef

                lshaef
                • Jr. Member
                • 170 posts

                  Posted 30 December 2010 - 06:32 AM

                  Thanks for sharing your pros and cons and all of the pictures.  I am getting married at Ceiba del Mar b/c I wanted to the initmate feel but there are defn some cons.  I love using this site but it also always makes me second guess every decision I have made! 

                   

                  Happy Planning.



                  #9 TA Wendy

                  TA Wendy

                    Insiders

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                  • 185 posts

                    Posted 30 December 2010 - 05:35 PM

                    Great list of pros and cons!

                    I would add that Azul Sensatori has especially fantastic food throughout, and Dreams Riviera Cancun has what I think is the coolest looking Gazebo around! Look kind of almost polonesian.. different and very pretty! Plus I think Now Jade has a really great color palatte throughout the hotel.. pretty bright but tasteful color scheme. ... and good prices too!

                    Plus the AM resorts, Dreams, and the Nows have the especially generous group program where you begin to earn amenities with just a 6 room booking.

                    Makes it easy to get perks, free rooms and upgrades with fewer rooms booked!

                    If anyone would like more info on any of the above I would be delighted to check for you!

                    TA Wendy


                    Looking for a travel agency that specializes in Destination Weddings? We are an award winning travel agency and you can read our reviews HERE.

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                    #10 Silvr109

                    Silvr109
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                    • 4 posts

                      Posted 11 January 2011 - 10:49 AM

                      Thanks for the review! I am looking in that area, and all your info is super helpful. I was wondering where all the resorts are located?  .....my mom LOVES Puerto Morelos and I was hoping to find a resort north of PM (she said it's industrial and not as nice to walk on the beach south of the village).

                       

                      I saw on a map that Now Jade is north of the village and very close, but I couldn't find NOW Sapphire or Dreams Riviera.

                       

                      Thanks again!

                       

                      Anna






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