Wedding and Resort Review
· The size of this place is not comparable to pictures. If you are the bride and groom, you do get a fast check in but if you are a guest it can be a little time consuming. That being said if you are in Hideaways or Diamond club, I believe your check in experience is similar to those of the bride and groom.
· After check in they give you a card key that is attached to your wrist band. This is for the regular area ( I believe diamond club and hideaways had usual wrist bands and separate key card). We LOVED the wrist key card because there was never an issue of losing your room key. I suppose the only inconvenience is that you cannot hand your key to someone else if they need something from your room. But that rarely was an issue for us.
· We got upgraded to the Presidential suite in Building 8 and it was phenomenal. We were there for 8 days 7 nights and the staff was amazing. Sure there were times it took awhile for room service or bellman/wait staff but if you see the size of this place a 20 minute wait is expected. The suite had a living room, bedroom, and massive bathroom with Jacuzzi, two rain shower head shower. The patio had another Jacuzzi and the living room had a separate bathroom with toilet and bath. This room becomes the hangout spot for our bridal party and it was clearly obvious why! I also used Building 6 as the bridal suite because my hubby used our Presidential in building 8 for the groomsmen and family. The room we had had a rooftop terrace and sitting area which was gorgeous.
· The restaurants and buffet were great. The food was delicious! Everything is tapas, small plate servings which was great because there was never too much we could order and we shared everything. Our favorite restaurant was Armadillo – their fish tacos are awesome! Few things to note- Zen has a wait for their tepanyaki side so get there about 2 pm to line up to make same day reservations. This is worth it for the hibachi experience but not enough to do twice. Also if you are diamond club you don’t have to do the wait thing as you get reservations made for you. Agave had great duck roasted plates. Each restaurant does have private rooms that if you have a large party you can obtain for 1-2 bottles of wine that generally cost $50 each. This isn’t a bad deal if you are trying to have a private dinner and everyone has a glass of wine it’s worth it. We did this twice, at agave and at Opa. Opa has great chocolate baklava! Score’s is open essentially 24 hours, I only ate there after our wedding when it was 3 am and we were hungry after a night of drinking! Their wings were really yummy. We did not get to go to Hunter, although people raved about it. And the buffet is like no other buffet at an all-inclusive. Their food choices are amazing, not just mass made. Grazie was probably my least favorite but still ok choices.
· Pools – we stayed at the main pool outside the lobby for the most part as it was an easy meet up spot for us to tell the group (which we have over 100!). The kid’s pool and section was fun from what our friends with children stated. The hideaways pool was fun looking and very private. We saw it when we were allowed to eat at El Dorado , as this is a hideaways only restaurant, but the wait staff remembered us from serving our wedding =)
· Beach – the seaweed was gone! The sand was perfect, the pictures show it all!. Feel free to email me if you want to see pictures
· Bars – the drinks were great. They had some premium liquor .We only bough ultra premium stuff for our bridal suites. Other than that people were satisfied with the choices. My favorite drink was the michelada!
· Staff- there was some complaints of pushy staff waiting for tips. I personally did not incur any but I can see how this would cause some discomfort. But overall I thought they were friendly and courteous and efficient.
2) Wedding - 142 guests, beach
· Wedding planning pre getting to the resort - I had Sofia Baptiste as our wedding planner who is PHENOMENAL. She not only did her job but went above and beyond to make my vision as her vision. We vibed well and she gave me ideas and vice versa. She also worked with the vendors to really get prices in the range we were ok with as well as not straying from the vision we had. She had a very detailed invoice that she updated with any changes almost daily at the end.
· Photographer – I used Sarani Photography , which is an outside vendor. I loved her portfolio and had to have her so we negotiated with Royalton as they usually do not do this. We believe that both parties would mutually benefit from this relationship so we pushed and it happened! We used their house photography team for the rehearsal dinner which was held in the semi-private area of Gourmet Marche and I have not seen the pictures yet so cannot comment, but the photographer himself was a pleasure to work with. Sarani was so much fun, her team was barely visible to us in terms of being in the way during ceremony and getting ready. And in terms of taking pictures of moments that were meaningful to us, we sent her a list of things we absolutely wanted as well as gave her a few props we wanted to use such as a thank you sign. I cannot wait to see the images that come back!
· On site wedding planners – Siada and Elizabeth were the dream team. They had a meeting with us where every aspect of the plan we had concocted with Sofia was ran through, confirmed and tweaked. They then showed us where everything would take place, asked if we had suggestions, and then showed us the backup locations. We had the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception on the beach. Everything was laid out near each other but the individualized in its own way. They then laid out the timeline of where they would be and how they could assist. They were available in their office any time before the wedding and all day the day of the wedding. They were even onsite for the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. I had 3 of my own family/friends who assisted Siada and Elizabeth and they all got along smoothly
· DJ – we used their house/staff DJ which was in liason with their own vendor, Encore. Miguel was the one we had correspondence with and he was great. Their methods of obtaining songs for bridal party entrance, genres we like and don’t like, and the emcee that comes with the package, Alfonso, were all great. The ceremony was audible to everyone considering the size. There were no complaints of the music for the reception. They had 90% of the guests on the dance floor!
· Décor vendor – Euforia is the contracted vendor through Royalton. We initially were going to do the reception and ceremony on the sky terrace but as we become over capacity everything ended up being on the beach. I was disheartened at first because a lot relied on the weather if it is on the beach. However, when I suggested a tented reception, they were all receiving and quickly thought of how to make it beautiful. They suggested spot lights and chandeliers on a steel frame clear tent. It was magnificent. For the ceremony, Sofia had suggested a circular set up so it was more intimate and there was visibility from all angles. The vendors set it up just right and the day of the ceremony, there was visibility for all 142 guests. Majority of the centerpieces and other décor I made myself to avoid costs of fresh flowers etc. Everything was transported beautifully and they set it up just as how I wanted. During the meeting I showed Siada and Elizabeth our vision and they met it perfectly!
· Spa – I don’t know where to begin. I have been a bridesmaid many times and have never had the experience I have had here. I had 15 bridesmaids, only 14 were able to come and the spa accommodated all 14, myself, and the 2 moms. Every girl walked out looking like a model. They did hair and makeup perfectly, with no problem of color matching and they were efficient and even ahead of schedule. Elias did my hair and make-up and that man is a genius. I showed two pictures and he worked magic. All of our hair and make-up stayed all night despite the wind.
Overall, we loved our experience. The few glitches that went wrong were not attributable to the hotel and could have happened anywhere and aren’t even worth mentioning as they did not stop us from having a great time!