We had our "Dress Rehearsal" this past weekend and it went great.
We are now back on the fence between AB and Sensatori for a few reasons:
Azul Beach had a foul odor caused by the mangroves right outside of the lobby. For the most part, I was told they only release this odor after the rain, which would make sense because it had rained the night before. The smell was only in the lobby and villa 10 area. After you cleared that area it was gone. The next day it was faint, then the next day, gone.
The pools were all very cold, no one was swimming with the exception of villa 9 family swim up suite area that was heated. I was a little worried that we would be flying guests all the way out here for a cold beach and cold pools. We were told the pools are solar power heated, which, again, makes sense, because it was an overcast while we were there, therefore, no heat.
We did a site inspection of Sensatori and the pools were full of people and warm water. However, it is a considerably larger resort, so you do lose a bit of that intimate feel you get with AB.
So we are now checking to see if we can book Azul Villa Carola next door in addition to some rooms at AB because at the very least, our guests could access the private, heated pools and jacuzzi's at the Villa.
The venues at AB are amazing. Wave lounge and Chil terrace are open air and sit overlooking the water, yet have a roof and curtain access, so you have some protection, in case of wind and rain.
The Blue Terrace is beautiful on it's own, you can save some money here with decor because it has beautiful chandeliers and candles lining the walls which light up so elegantly at night. Again, open air, so you see the water but are on hard floor. The sky terrace is also great one side already has lounge style furniture set up in it which would make for a great cocktail hour.
The restaurants were good. The Italian has a sangria menu of all different kinds and Chil has a great ceviche menu! Blue, of course has the all lobster menu as well.
As far as the dress rehearsal, day one was a site inspection of AS, day two a presentation from 9-1 at El Dorado Maroma and day 3 was a site inspection at AB.
At the presentation, they went over packages, venues, vendors, etc. We were greeted with mimosas and tea, biscuits, etc. Then had a "cocktail party" we got to sample different cocktail menu options and drinks like rum punch, bloody marys, etc. Then, it was more presentations followed by dinner, all of the tables were dressed up with different options of centerpieces, chairs, bows, etc. At dinner we had their house wines which were not so great so we stuck with mixed drinks from the bar. We tasted steak, lobster, salads, cake, cupcakes, etc. The food was fine, but actually much better at the resort restaurants. It was very informative and there were a lot of planners to help answer questions.
Hope to post some pictures soon!