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My big fat non-resort site visit this weekend - blue venado, wickys, kool, isla de la pasion and xcaret (maybe more)

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#1 JessiTaylor

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    Posted 15 February 2012 - 08:34 AM


    This weekend is our planned site visit to playa del carmen so we can finally pick a venue for our wedding.


    Friday - Blue venado appointment with food tastings


    Saturday 9am - wickys appointment


                    6pm - isla de la pasion appointment


    Kool - no official appointment but will check out the venue

    Blue parrot - will probably pass by after 10pm to see the noise levels and how it would affect a reception


    Xcaret im trying to do saturday lunchtime or sunday morning - having trouble getting through to them =S


    Zenzi and fusion were options for me, until they failed to reply to any of my emails in english or spanish in the last month- so ive blacklisted them haha. Im not expecting people to beg for my business, but if im asking for a quote for a big wedding of at least 100 people i think i deserve a reply!


    canibal royale - my least favourite option but ill look if i have time


    Anyway...the point of this thread isnt simply to tell you my plans haha. I will take notes and lots of pictures...but if anyone has any specific questions that they wuold like me to ask please let me know =) i can check this thread before i go, and in the mornings/evenings while im there =)

    #2 starchild



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      Posted 16 February 2012 - 08:35 PM

      Sounds like a great time!  Have fun :)

      #3 Ceelou

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        Posted 19 February 2012 - 05:36 PM

        Lucky you!


        I've been to Playa a few times and you have a really good mix of places to check out.


        Wicky's is nice. Most formal of your choices. Food is great. The beach will be very busy (good to know in the event that you want something private/quiet)


        Kool is also on a very popular stretch of beach. The pics of weddings I've seen look really nice. I have heard that you can stay late but I think you have to start late too because it stays open as a beach club until 6 or 7pm. I've eaten there and liked it (snacks in the day)


        Blue Parrot doesn't get the greatest feedback and I'd say the the least attractive of your pics... the club is LOUD and attracts a young crowd.


        Xcaret looks so cool for weddings... very different.


        Canibal Royal has great food and drinks in the day but I have never seen a wedding there.


        Isla and Blue Venado are secluded which I love. I have booked Blue Venado and have never even been so looking very forward to your review!


        Have you considered the Beach Club at Grand Coral? I just attended my friends wedding there and it was beautiful.


        Happy hunting!

        #4 JessiTaylor

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          Posted 19 February 2012 - 08:29 PM

          ok first things first...anyone thinking of doing a site visit in playa del carmen - dont rent a car!! seriously! seems like a great idea to visit all the places but there is literally no parking whatsover. when we visited wickys we had to walk a total of 8+ blocks to find somewhere we could leave it. so:

          Blue venado:

           it took us about 15 mins driving down the carretera from playa and then 5-10 mins down its own small little track. its very secluded so you can see the stars really well when it gets dark which is very nice

          so we spent about 2 hours with giorgia (i think is the owner?), a man who works with her and elena the wedding planner that they recommend. we were there from 4.30-6.30ish so we saw it in daylight and after it got dark. they showed us pictures of other weddings, furniture options and decoration options. the tables they have are nice enough - small square dark wood ones. couldnt see the other furniture options in person which was a pity.

          I had been under the impression that a food tasting was literally tiny pieces of food to try, so we ate before hand as we were starving. unfortunately they then gave us pretty much full sized portions of everything so we were stuffed!!and this is what we had:

          bruschetta - home made toasted bread with chopped up tomatoes with a balsamic vinegarette. quite sweet (but balsamic vinegar is very sweet so thats normal) but good.
          Then a fish soup. the bouillibaise. (spelling not sure). smelled great, looked great and orlando (fiance) said it was very good. I hate all seafood so i couldnt really judge that one. they gave us both portions of it and i ate some of mine to be polite. my only comment is it tasted like fish haha. looked very attractive though, dark red, chunks of fish and garnished with a piece of bread

          Then beef medallions with mushroom sauce, served with the garlic fettucine and vegetable gratin. the beef was very tender and the mushroom sauce was great. the fettucine is handmade, and cooked the italian way (so garlic and oil, rather than in a kind of creamy sauce). Be warned though, as it is italian they do cook it al dente. which for me is absolutely fine and i enjoyed it, but orlando and his family prefer pasta cooked to death (as in seconds away from being total mush)so he wasnt a fan and wouldnt eat it. so depends whether you like pasta with a bite to it or not! Vegetable gratin...well mixed vegetables like carrot etc,nicely cooked and i liked the cheese they sprinkled on top.

          then for dessert they gave us apple streudel and chocolate cake. The apple streudel tasted absolutely delicious, had lots of cinnamon which i always love...but was a little bit soggy. ive never actually had it before but i was under the impression it was supposed to be crispy? chocolate cake - was the one thing of all the food i really wasnt a fan of. i dont know why, it tasted "different". All in all...it wasnt the best meal ive ever had but i did enjoy it a lor...and i wouldnt have a problem serving it at my wedding!

          They also gave us some kind of passion fruit vodka drink on arrival...which i liked but it was very sweet so i dont think i could manage more than one! then orlando had a whisky and soda and i had white wine.  The white wine was pretty good actually, i didnt love it but its much better quality than ive found in most restaurants or supermarkets in mexico and is easy drinking!

          bathrooms - i think there were 3 mens and 3 ladies toilets. -heres a changing room if you want to put on a reception dress or change into anything

          lighting - extra lighting is definitely needed here i think. when the sun went down it was too dark for me - i mean you can see other people there but its very subdued- so they have some lighting, but i think a little bit more is needed. maybe the kind of uplighting under the tables or something similar

          So the pros and cons
          -completely private event. you wont have strangers wandering around while youre celebrating your reception and/or wedding
          -the palapa is really big and spacious
          -the fact that the palapa is simple means its kind of a blank canvas...you can change the look by decorating it how you want it. they said if you have a buffet they will keep bringing out food until the food time finishes,so dont need to worry about running out of   particular dishes. a
          - theyre probably the nicest people ive dealt with. Saying stuff like "we understand that planning your wedding is stressful-a  big deal so dont hurry....take your time and just let us know when youve made a decision". i like that they dont go in for hard selling tactics. and theyre willing to help you find anything you want, even if they dont have a specific contact.
          - the fact outside vendors are allowed is great - gives you greater choice. also if you are using elena as wedding co'ordinator she said if you find an outside vendor you like that she doesnt know...she will research their reputation and can warn you if they have a bad reputation/
          -They have a small deck area that would be perfect for a dance floor so you dont need to pay for an extra one unless you want the special lighted kind
          -they generally reply the same day! which is a blessing, given how many venues take forever

          cons -
          inside the palapa itself its fine, but the sand on the beach and outside of it isnt that soft...its a little bit scratchy. perhaps becasue its been such a secluded beach whereas places in cancun have very soft sand as it gets trampled by everybody. but youll mainly be in the palapa so not too bad
          - orlando didnt like the fact there were little boat/jetski things around the entrance. said it looked messy...i didnt really care though so dont think its a big issue

          - when we arrived there was a LOT of algae/seaweed in the water so it didnt look very nice. they said that this was very unusual and the beach is cleaned daily, but there had been particularly strong wind that day so it blew all this stuff in. im inclined to believe her and aslo the event will be mostly in the dark...so not a huge issue

          Orlando says he would give the place 8/10 and i would probably give it 8.5/10

          I really didnt like places like wickys where i think the public would always be around...so for me its probably between blue venado or xcaret!

          i really liked the idea they gave me of lining some of the pathways with tiki torches etc, i think it could look very pretty! oh and they said if any of your guests want to leave early they can arrange taxis easily (for example i know my father will want to go to bed a lot earlier than the friends of orlando!)
          i think thats all the info i can think of right now for that venue. (i think perhaps seperate posts are better for venues...but its not me trying to  up my post number!)

          #5 JessiTaylor

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            Posted 19 February 2012 - 08:54 PM

            Isla de la passion

            The sand was beautifully soft here and really nice to walk on! The chapel for catholic weddings was uber simple…basically a smaller version of the palapa (palapa = basically a giant beach hut…thatched ceilings, pillars but no walls) for receptions but I guess you could dress it up. Its all sand so you would have to rent a dance floor for dancing. There is however lots of space and can be adapted for bigger/smaller weddings. The palapa is pretty spacious and there are plastic sheets that can be pulled down in the event of rain or strong wind. In terms of bathrooms there are quite a few, I think was 3 sets of double bathrooms for men and women. they are approx 5 mins walk from reception site


            Here the event time for private events is 5pm, so if you want to have a wedding ceremony rather than just a reception you have time to take photos in daylight (unlike some beach clubs which say post 7-8pm1). Its also 100% private which is lovely (tourists come during the day but are gone by nighttime)

            One drawback is that your guests will have to stay in Cozumel for at least the wedding night, as ferries back to playa del Carmen finish at 9pm. Which I hadn’t thought about till she mentioned it, I think I imagined we would all travel back after the wedding.

            The cabin for the bridal couple to stay in is very nice – its all made from wood. Theres a master bedroom with a massive bed and a small balcony with 2 chairs and a table, and then a smaller bedroom with 2 twin beds (good if the couple has children). There are fans and AC throughout the house, and a big television downstairs. Its also minutes from the beach, and has hammocks and ground level outside furniture if you want to spend time outside


            Pros- private, soft sand, Mariza the co-ordinator there is super nice and very accommodating. They are very willing to cater to dietary requirements and adapt the menu if necessary

            Cons-  we were invited to go for a site visit and I wasn’t happy when I realised a wedding reception was going on at the time. She encouraged us to take a closer look but I kept thinking that in my wedding I really wouldn’t want strangers observing what was happening…especially on a “private” beach


            Another con…and this is super strange I know, is the racoons. There are a lot of them. Mariza explained that they were super friendly and tame, and how she used to have one in her kitchen as a pet and scratch its belly…but as an English women who has never ever seen a racoon before they unnerved me, and when one came incredibly close to me I had visions of it savaging my ankles and having rabies hahaha

            Also is a bit of an effort to get there

            Final con- I explained a lot of my guests would be drinking whisky and apparently is not included in the open bar. She said im welcome to bring my own bottles…but im not sure I would want to pay twice for people to drink.


            Unfortunately we saw the site in the dark. we travlled around by golf buggy and saw lots of things...but maybe i would be more positive if i saw it in the light/

            #6 JessiTaylor

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              Posted 19 February 2012 - 09:04 PM


              Zenzi - i visited it despite the fact that they failed to reply to my emails in english or spanish. shame on them.


              the guy who spoke to us repeatedly emphasised that there was no possibility of a private event as "locals like to drink here". but kept telling us he would squeeze us in. great. i dream of my wedding being in the corner of a bar so that locals can continue to have their fun.


              so the bar prices :$180 pesos/person for the house bar including smirnoff vodka, bacardi, cuervo tequila, beers and soft drinks . includes mixers and ice

              $220 pesos/person per hour with better brands (no more info given) also includes mixers and ice


              also you can buy bottles:

                wine $ 400 pesos tequila 1000  -  1300 pesos rum -1000 pesos    for dollars divide by approx 13.   Thats all the initial info theyd give me, they wont send menus unless im super interested. which frankly im not!

              #7 JessiTaylor

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                Posted 19 February 2012 - 09:25 PM

                Xcaret -


                This place stole my heart (cheesy but true). unfortunately i believe is uber expensive so not sure if can fit in the budget. absolutely stunning location, foliage, wildlife and buildings. all you could ask for in a venue.


                Graciela, the special events co-ordinator, showed us around and she was lovely and bilingual so both i and mexican fiance knew what was going on!


                There were 2 chapel options - the fransisco chapel and the other one (i forget the name)


                franscisco chapel is stunning,,,open air structure with sea views. has some planted flowers (pink) so i guess you would have to work it into your colour scheme. wooden benches, and nice breeze as is open air on top of hill. i loved it!! simple but incredibly beautiful. max capacity of about 200 people i think. there is a special entrance for this chapel.


                The other chapel option is based around a cenote (natural undeground spring/well/water thing)...so has water at the bottom and kind of a mini cave. huge capacity of thousands of people (3500?). it has seats on different levels (like a theatre) The one issue i had with this chapel is that it smelled like horses. it has windows at the top, that open to the area where the horses live and you can tell. also the water at the bottom has a film on it...not quite stagnant but getting there as there isnt really a water flow. both chapels are decorated by candles by every row of seats


                the smaller reception area is basically an open air room. its nice but  not *that* impressive. the real winner is the big reception venue for weddings of 90-100 plus! to get there they have a special spiral walkway that they line with candles to get there, and you pass an underground river with lots of floating candles though a lowish cave like tunnel. its kind of like a giant cave but has open spaces at the top.They have a stage for live music/dancing.dj and lots of space for tables. their set up is quite simple, so you definitely need to add flowers or something. they provide a centerpiece of black stone, a white candle and some pebbles.


                there are some hills and a bit of walking to get from place to place...so heels might be a bit difficult. if we choose there, we will provide flip flops as a kind of party favour


                my only negative is that we had planned for a beach wedding...and its not on the beach. but its so beautiful i think would be worth it!! oh and they wont let us bring outside music in...and told us that if we dont like the list of songs their "approved" bands play then we have to pay for them to learn new ones =S


                the event timeline of this place is that normally couples arrive and take photos around 4.30...and guests arrvive 5.30-6ish. then ceremony, and recept1ion so you wouldnt have the element of surprise wakling down the aisle and "revealing" the dress. first lady i spoke to said private events were post 7pm though so it was a pleasant surprise


                other places i looked at and thought were nice enough places for a wedding...but this was the one that truly got me excited. graciela also gave me advice about best times for weddings and temperatures in different months!


                so... in summary, isla de la pasion, xcaret and blue venado were the main private places i visited. i also have a few comments on wickys and some hotels. but its very late and im sleepy! any aspect i missed, either post a reply or PM me!



                #8 Ceelou

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                  Posted 20 February 2012 - 06:41 PM

                  Thank you SO much for the great review of Blue Venado.

                  Glad to see you didn't have many cons of the reception area/food/service. I can deal with algae and some rough sand.

                  I also love that you can use outside vendors. I have a great planner that has many $ saving tips. I find the decor packages Blue Venado sent to be pricey... I plan on taking care of decor with the planner.

                  I have been emailing with Enzo from BV - and he always gets back to me right away.

                  I like the idea of having cabs available to take people home early too...

                  Again, thanks so much for putting all this together! Any pics???

                  I know it is rustic... but did it feel clean? bathrooms?

                  #9 JessiTaylor

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                    Posted 21 February 2012 - 09:06 AM

                    well im glad you liked the review!  im trying to be as comprehensive as possible as there is still a limit to how much info you can find on this site on non-hotel venues!


                    they did feel clean, though as i remember it some of the doors looked a little bit battered. theyre simple but nice enough. also im sure they will clean them before the wedding and get rid of water and sand that has dripped off people coming from the sea etc


                    beach and sand areas also felt clean...no rubbish, and no leaves or anything. im not a fan of beaches that have the sand all mixed up with little bits of dead palm trees etc - i know its nature at work but i dnot like it. and didnt seem to be the case here


                    i do have a few photos but our camera was playing up a little bit. my fiance has run off with the camera cable but i will be back home tomorrow and can upload what i have then. Enzo is the man who was there, had completely forgotten his name - so thanks for that!


                    im a bit sad that my site visit is coming to an end...im quite enjoying spending hours with lots of people who want to talk specifically about my wedding details (even my closest friends and family have limits to how much they want to discuss it all hahaha)

                    #10 Sandy Planner

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                      Posted 21 February 2012 - 09:44 AM

                      Dear Jessie , Iam a wedding planner  in Cancun I really would like to go visit  Blue Venado.... would you mind share with me their contact information...I am always looking for new non resort venues and everything you said just sound great...would you mind share their contact info for me?


                      Thank you

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