Hello all. Hereâ€™s a write-up of our trip to Le Reve Hotel recently. We chose to have our wedding at Le Reve almost exclusively based on the information we received through this forum (including some super detailed and helpful messages from some ladies here).
In late January or so, my fiancÃ© and I decided to have our wedding in Sept 2011. A wedding on the beach appealed to us, so we naturally found this website. The one thing we knew we wanted was an intimate and romantic place for the wedding. We werenâ€™t interested in staying at a mega hotel with hundreds of other guests. And since our wedding group will be pretty small (about 30 people), a very small boutique hotel seemed ideal. After reading the reviews people had written about Le Reve, and after seeing photos, we were interested. We liked the fact that since the hotel has only 25 rooms, even a small group like ours would make up the majority of guests during our time there. There were a couple of other resorts we were looking at as well; and we emailed the wedding coordinators at the various hotels, and corresponded with ladies on the BDW forum about them. (Thank you all for taking the time to do that!)
The problem for us was that we were too busy at the time to do a site visit. We felt like we needed to decide on a hotel, and solidify some details â€“ but our schedules wouldnâ€™t allow us to go down to Mexico and see things with our own eyes. For an event as meaningful as our wedding, to not scope out the options firsthand was disconcerting. Also, my fiance and I had never been to the Riviera Maya, never been to Mexico before. But, hey â€“ that was the situation, and anyway, we had the folks at BDW to help us out.
Our hotel-picking research consisted of spending a lot of time on this forum, cross-checking folksâ€™ reviews here with stuff on Tripadvisor and the likeâ€¦ and emailing the various wedding coordinators at different hotels, as well as corresponding with some of the amazingly sweet people on this BDW forum. What the reviews said again and again was that the hotel was minimalistic-chic (which is the kinda style I love), that the staff is super warm and helpful (which I very much appreciate), that the beds are way way comfortable (and thatâ€™s great because I am extremely good at sleeping), that itâ€™s pretty much targeted only at couples seeking a romantic getaway â€“ as there are no tvâ€™s, the location is not close to bars/restaurants/nightlife, and the vibe is one of easygoing relaxation.
All those things were pluses to us. We have no interest in a bustling nightlife â€“ we just want to spend time with each other, with the breeze blowing off the ocean, and the rhythmic whoosh of the ocean. Oh yes, and Le Reve lets you bring your dog with you (if itâ€™s sufficiently small) â€“ and we were really hoping to be able to include our little doggie in the wedding. The reviewersâ€™ not-as-positive comments had to do with the fact that the beach was rocky where the water begins and not good for swimming (although they note that if you walk down the beach about 8 minutes, you will find better beaches for swimming), that nightlife requires a 15 min cab ride, that there are no tvâ€™sâ€¦
In speaking with friends and relatives about our plans to do a destination wedding at the beach, it was clear that many of them had all-inclusive resorts in mind. Some expressed excitement at the prospect of eating and drinking as much as they want. But Le Reve is not an all-inclusive, and although having the wedding at such a hotel would be unwelcome news to some of our guests, it is what it is â€“ or will be what it will be.
One thing that I was told, again and again, by ladies who had their weddings near home and those who had destination weddings, was that the wedding coordinator (her personality, level of effort, tact, etc.) is pretty key. This person will have a lot to do with oneâ€™s stress levels and feeling of comfort as the wedding planning builds and as the wedding date approaches, I was told. So I was pleased to read many positive things about the wedding coordinator at Le Reve, Arlenis.
After two weeks or so of comparing the attributes of the various hotels, we decided to go with Le Reve â€“ never having visited the place or the other options. We contacted Arlenis and then entered the wedding agreement discussion/negotiation phase. This phase took a while. After speaking with various couples, we understood that some bargaining and negotiating is commonplace. But we were also reminded that the people weâ€™re negotiating with will be taking care of us and our guests during a very meaningful and memorable time in our lives â€“ and we want to be careful to make them feel appreciated and respected. So, the drive to get a fair deal was balanced by the need to be tactful and respectful, and all that stuff.
We discovered that a lot of people are totally ignorant about the Riviera Maya and Mexico in general. We had relatives tell us that we shouldnâ€™t have our wedding in Mexico because of the violence, the kidnappings and beheadings and all that. And although we explained that the violence has to do with the narcotrafficking and was happening far far away from the Riviera Maya, a lot of relatives said they would not be going to the wedding. We were fine with that. The great thing about a destination wedding seems to be the fact that, for the most part, the people that attend are people you actually care for. Or so Iâ€™ve been told.
Moving alongâ€¦ the agreement was eventually signed and agreed to, and we were happy to have our date set and some details solidified. Arlenis was a sweetie throughout the whole process â€“ and in our phone calls, her warm and cheery spirit came through. But then there was the fact that we had agreed to the site of our wedding without having visited.
Well we have now seen Le Reve. Recently, fiancÃ© and little doggie and I made an extended weekend trip to Mexico. We spent a not inconsiderable amount of time researching the requirements of bringing little doggie to Mexico. We took her to the vet, and the vet did an exam and provided various documents. Thank god we had done our research though, because the vet didnâ€™t know we needed to test the stool for internal parasites. Many websites specifically said that our papers should state clearly that the animal is free of internal and external parasites. We told that to our vet, but she just gave us papers indicating that the stool had been tested and the results were negative. It caused a lot of issues with the guy at Cancun Intl Airport though. Ladies, if you bring your pet to Mexico, I highly recommend that you tell your vet to state on the health certificate that the pet is free of internal and external parasites (those exact words), and to indicate all vaccinations on the signed health certificate.
We booked transportation from the airport to Le Reve via Cancun Transfers, which many people on Tripadvisor recommend. It went quite smoothly. The company had someone waiting outside the airport with a sign that had our names on it; and within five minutes, we took a van to the hotel. As many have noted, when you turn off the highway onto the road that takes you to Azul Fives and eventually Le Reve, that road turns into an unpaved dirt road that is of low quality. The car must slow down considerably and navigate among gigantic potholes and depressions. After reading the descriptions in Tripadvisor and BDW, I was expecting a scene out of the jungle, something super rugged. But it wasnâ€™t as bad as I expected.
After we passed the Azul Fives complex, you take a turn and (slowly) come upon Le Reve. Itâ€™s a very lovely hotel. As the pictures indicate and as other reviewers described, it is chic and modern with rustic/tropical elements. It has clean white modern lines with dark woods and a tropical palapa roof. We loved the look. We met Arlenis and she was as described as well â€“ warm and energetic and empathetic and cheerful. I was really happy to meet her. The staff was very friendly, and accommodating about our doggie too.
We had booked a garden suite (i.e., the cheapest room) for our stay, but were upgraded to a bungalow (the priciest). That was pretty cool. Thank you Le Reve! The bungalow has a small private pool and looks out on the beach and the ocean. The view from the hotel restaurant, from the infinity pool, from the beach â€“ is quite lovely. Palm trees swaying in the breeze, the whoosh of the ocean. The room, even the bungalow, is not big. But it has clean and nice modern lines, and a super comfortable bed. The toilet in the bungalow is not enclosed in a separate room. Weâ€™d read about that, so it wasnâ€™t a surprise. But itâ€™s something we might want to alert our guests about ahead of time.
The airconditioner works quite well (and you need it, as it is humid!). There isnâ€™t a lot of light in the room â€“ but we werenâ€™t planning to do much reading or writing, so intimate somewhat-dim lighting was just fine for us. Little doggie was happy to be out of the airplane and airport, and I like to think she was pleased with the room as well. There are no tvâ€™s at the hotel. Which is more than fine for us â€“ and hopefully our guests wonâ€™t mind. The hotel is just a picturesque romantic getaway locale â€“ itâ€™s totally geared toward couples. And we thought about how a guest staying there for a wedding whoâ€™s single might feel a bit bored, etcâ€¦ It was really nice to wake up to the birds tweeting, to open the sliding glass doors and hear the ocean. Itâ€™d been a long time since we had a nice beach visit, so we were most appreciative to have a weekend like that.
What we really love is that the hotel feels a bit secluded and truly intimate. We wanted to avoid a place where there might be rowdy drunken hordes of people (no offense rowdy drunken hordes â€“ we just wanna avoid you during our wedding), and lots of people milling about or hanging nearby with no connection to our special event. This part of the beach (itâ€™s a 15 minute drive from downtown Playa) doesnâ€™t have that many people on it â€“ and that really appeals to us.
When the sun goes down and the hotel turns on the lights in the pool, the place looks really amazing. While Le Reve is perfectly attractive in daylight, I think itâ€™s especially romantic at night. And I love the personal touches the hotel offers â€“ they gave the guests a nice surprise each evening which was quite sweet.
There were mosquitos â€“ I mean, hey, itâ€™s a tropical locale. And we foolishly didnâ€™t use repellent the first two days, and we got eaten up. I now properly realize that we (as delectable food sources for those horrible creatures) need to be doused in mosquito repellent as frequently as possible. Itâ€™s true that the other guests didnâ€™t seem to have nearly as many issues with the mosquitos thoughâ€¦
The food was really good. I still think back wistfully on the guacamole we ordered everyday. Prices were better than restaurants in NYC and upper end resorts in the U.S. If youâ€™re drinking top shelf liquor cocktails all day, then you might run up a big bill â€“ but otherwise, food and drink prices didnâ€™t seem too high, considering that itâ€™s a romantic and chic place. The breakfast was included in our room rate, and consisted of breads (rolls and muffins â€“ which were allright, not spectacular), fruit (papaya, watermelon, cantaloupe) and yogurt (with granola on the top), and your choice of omelet, huevos rancheros, etc..
Arlenis arranged a tasting for us, and the really nice thing is that the kitchen is small, and so thereâ€™s a personal touch to the dishes (or so it seemed to me). We tried 6 different canapÃ©s; 2 different first course appetizers; 3 kinds of salad and 2 kinds of soup; 3 different main course options; 2 intermezzos; and 3 different wedding cake flavors. We also tried out different items on the regular restaurant menu â€“ to expand the tasting and see if there were other items we wanted to use instead. The hotel really listens to you, and you can ask the hotel about items that arenâ€™t even on their wedding dinner or regular menus.
The only warning I would give: is do not order the nachos. I donâ€™t know what happened with that dish â€“ but for some reason I canâ€™t comprehend, I do believe they used some kind of cheese spread instead of actual cheese â€“ and itâ€™s the one thing we had which I regret ordering.
Arlenis arranged for us to meet 2 florists, one from Playa and another from Cancun. The one from Playa brought several different arrangements with her (we paid her $35); and it was good to meet with her and demonstrate the type of look we wanted.
If youâ€™d like to bring your dog to your wedding, consider Le Reve. They allow dogs and the staff was friendly to our doggie. The law is that you canâ€™t have dogs on the beach, but we saw a lot of dogs on the beach â€“ and we took our doggie for a walk on the beach too.
All in all, it was a really great trip â€“ and we are very happy with the hotel, and super excited about the wedding. I think it's safe to say that you can indeed pick the right hotel for your beach wedding via internet research, that you probably can rely on the hotel wedding coordinator to arrange everything, that you don't necessarily need a travel agent to get the best travel arrangements for your guests, and that if you want a setting for your wedding that is romantic and serene and intimate, Le Reve might be a good fit.