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JoannaBanana

Neako's Planning Thread - Riviera Maya 2016

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Have a great trip and enjoy the time away! Would love to hear about the resorts when you get back! I'm praying we're finally, finally close to a decision and just waiting to see what the prices do. We're not a group so can't get group rates. We're at the mercy of just watching pricing. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks we'll have that crossed off the list!!

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So I'll post a more detailed response when I come back. But the beach here at Grand Bahia Principe is a huge let down. There was a big tropical storm which we're told is the major factor causing the seaweed buildup. Additionally the clean up is hindered by turtle nesting. The end result is a completely unusable beach. Such a disappointment. I'll post more and pics Sunday. Grand Sirenis tour was great, and we're awaiting confirmation for our last minute decision to tour Hard Rock.

 

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Glad the GS was great as I've heard they are also battling huge seaweed issues too!!! Who toured you around?

 

 

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I think I may have met her but she was new. She was training possibly. I think it's so neat you are touring them first :) where did you actually stay? GBP?

 

 

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The seaweed is an issue all up and down this year and has been for a few months now, not just from the TS. All of the resorts are battling it from Cancun all the way down to Tulum. They're saying it's something to do with the big oil spill they had in the gulf and that there's an overgrowth from a chemical imbalance in the water. Does any of that make sense??? I'm sorry you weren't able to have a usable beach! That totally sucks!!  Would love to hear your impressions of the Hard Rock if you get to see it!

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So.  We left Saturday morning.  I left my ring at the jewellers to be sized, figured it's a perfect time to do it since it takes a week.  We arrived and it was raining.  This turned in to a torrential tropical storm.  I think it was the tail end of a hurricane system.  It rained very hard the rest of Saturday.  As we were checking in palm tree branches were flying off the trees behind our agent and flying in to the glass behind him.  It was something to behold.  It rained all day Sunday.  By Monday, when it was still raining, we decided we would go swimming anyway.  The whole resort had cabin fever.  I had a cough/cold, there was even more seaweed than I expected (even though we knew it was a bad year) and we weren't totally in love with Grand Bahia Principe.  To be fair, our moods were a little sour.  We did not go on our planned site tour of the wedding facilities.  We had felt we'd seen enough, and this would not be a finalist.  We tried to reach the coordinator, but had no luck.

 

  Tuesday the weather finally broke and we went to go see Grand Sirenis.  Adrianna Gonzalez (sales associate, not a coordinator) met us in the lobby, and took us around on a golf cart.  She is quite endearingly, a terrible driver.  :P   She took us to see the private wedding location (palapa) and then the semi-private.   It's pretty hard to not prefer the palapa.  She showed us the spa, all the restaurants, and pretty much everything in between.  We loved the cleaner look of the building, the junglesque scenery, and how coming around every corner was a new surprise.  The beaches are beautiful in a rugged way, and we were both probably more excited about the lazy river than the average pair.  Only downside I think I'll list for this one is the kids pool area was quite...sad.  Just a splash pad with an umbrella fountain.  She told us they do take the kids around for other activies, which should help.

 

All amped up after our successful site tour we decided HEY LET'S GO TO HARD ROCK!!  Sean had been to the one in Dominican Republic and they let him right on in.  Not here.  We were firmly told to turn our butts around, and so we did.  I emailed the weddings department to set up an official site tour and got a response pretty fast.  She told me to fill out a form and she would let me know as soon as the resort contacted her.  (Their wedding sales department I guess works centrally for all their locations).  Being only a couple of days notice, I sent another couple of emails asking for updates.  Wednesday she said no worries she'll let me know.  Thursday I got her Out of Office Greeting.  Friday I got an apology and confirmation of our site tour approval.  At 1pm.  For a 11:30 am appointment.  I pointed this out and got no further email responses.  Needless to say - we didn't go.  What a disappointment. 

 

So that's my tale of our site tours̶

 

We have a lot to think about.  Honestly the only thing we accomplished was deciding what we don't want.  We're really debating Mexico in general now.  I understand that the seaweed (it's called sargassum) is out of the hands of the resorts. It was in far better repair at Grand Sirenis, but the beaches at Grand Bahia Principe Tulum were unusable.  Sister resort GBP Akumal had better tended beaches, but only by a little.  Even as they bagged it up, more was washing in.  The beaches in Playa del Carmen were no different.  It's a phenomenon, and out of everyone's control.  But is it something that really put a damper on things.  And we could plan to go somewhere that isn't affected by it.  We might consider Hard Rock in Dominican maybe, or the place we stayed at last in Jamaica, Riu Palace Tropical Bay Negril.  I dunno.  I have to digest the experience a little longer and think. 

 

Sean on the beach in front of Grand Bahia Principe Tulum.

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GBP Tulum

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GBP Tulum Ocean

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Swimming in the rain:

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Edited by JoannaBanana
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Wow that's some serious seaweed. However do keep in mind that it is bad this year (may not be next year? I know nothing about these things) and if it was post-storm, it was probably particularly bad. Interesting that Grand Sirenis was in better shape than GBP. Either they are more on top of it or just are less impacted generally. It's too bad that you didn't come away madly in love with a resort, but at least it still probably gives you perspective in terms of what is important to you and what to ask about while you continue your search.

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Sorry to hear your trip wasn't as productive as you'd hoped. In spite of everything, Mexico is still a wonderful place with excellent resorts. We've stayed in a couple of them, and there are definitely good reports here by past brides. But it definitely depends on what you want and don't want.

 

There is always Jamaica but you'll find your price points are different compared to Mexico. We had a wonderful wedding in Jamaica 4 years ago and loved it. I work with a girl that got married last November and did Sandals for her wedding in Negril. She's a bit over the top but her wedding cost her $40,000. I just about fainted when she told me. Her photographer alone was nearly $6,000 (Toronto one and she paid for his trip too). I still think you can do a wedding in Jamaica for fairly reasonable, again depending on what you want, so it might be worth a look.

 

Good luck!

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