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RM Whirlwind Site Visit Report

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I just got back from a very unrelaxing 2 1/2 days worth of site visits in Riviera Maya. If any of you have any questions about my opinions & impressions of, or any information I gathered at any of the following resorts, hotels, and restaurants/sites I visited that I will list below, let me know. Or if you feel I should share them with everyone, I will - wasn't sure if people would be interested or if I'd scare people off with my viewpoints.


This is what I managed to see and do in 2 1/2 days:

Paradisus Riviera Cancun - stayed 1 night, tour w/WC, visited again on way to airport and saw some stage of a small wedding

Azul Beach - tour with sales manager (WC and I had scheduling conflicts)

Azul View - tour of constuction site w/same sales manager. Scheduled to open in Sept 08 maybe?

Grand Sunset/Riveria Princess - self-guided tour of not quite finished resort. Opening sometime in the next month or so I think. Found WC afterward (we had an appt. but couldn't find her intially), but she didn't have much info as of yet.

Grand Sirenis - stayed one night. Skipped mtg with WC

Grand Palladium - tour with guest services.

Al Cielo - tasting and mtg with WC

Esencia - just peeked from outside

Ana y Jose beach club - WC didn't show up to our mtg, so we met with the manager on site

Ana y Jose hotel - tour with front desk lady

Zamas - peeked at a couple rooms and restaurant

Cabanas Copal - tour with manager, then realized (tho didn't see evidence of) that it was clothing optional

Dreams Tulum - self guided tour at night. Saw wedding reception set-up and met future bride.

Hotel Akumal Caribe - saw one room at night.

Catalonia Royal Tulum - quick tour at night.

Barcelo Maya Tropical - stayed one night b/c met up with cousins' family who were already there, and I wanted to see if the beach lived up to the hype. Also peeked at Barcelo Maya Palace, opening on Christmas '07.


I wish I had time to see Petite Lafitte and Fairmont Mayakoba but I didn't -if anyone has, please let me know!

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Ok then!

Paradisus Riviera Cancun - + = positive, - = negative

+ Amazing amazing amazing pool, including in pool seats, poolside beds, nice pool furniture, and very pretty and tasteful design. Big yet still intimate and elegant. REALLY pretty.

+ Smaller resort but not too small.

+ Architecture/Design of resort grounds were tasteful and relatively consistent - elegant but not overboard (I thought it would be too marbley fancy but actually it felt elegant beachy, with palapa roofs on most buildings and lots of open air areas and pretty covered walkways that were open to water on the side).

+ Ocean view buffet area.

+ Has beachview terrace/deck area for wedding reception.

+ 1 wedding a day.

- Had a hard time trying to get into the ocean because the waves had coral and rocks floating in them and they were hitting me. I had been hopefuly b/c the sand is super fine and white and pretty, but getting into the water was unpleasant, and if I get married in RM, it is partially to have a great ocean to swim in (since I live a mile from the beach in Venice).

- I cannot have my reception in the back-up area, which is an indoor ballroom. Although it was nice enough, it is the opposite venue as what I want for my reception, and it is what I'm avoiding by trying to have a beach wedding, so taking a chance is out of the question.

- View from beach, especially at area where wedding is, has ugly buildings in the distance.


Other thoughts -

Room - I was in was a nice size. Didn't love the decor, but it was fine. There were tacky plastic lawn chairs on the balcony. The Ocean View rooms seemed to be decorated more nicely, and I'd definitely go for one of those if I went back.

Food - The food was aok, lots of healthy choices, which is nice. You don't have restictions on number of a-la-carte meals or anything, which is nice, and there is free room service (which I didn't try). I ate breafkast at the buffet and dinner at Capri.

Bar - Only tried one drink from main open air lounge/bar palapa area and it was bad, but maybe I ordered poorly? Great area to meet up with your guests for a drink at night though, and there was a good lounge act with vocalist and 2 musicians performing before and after the evening show (which I missed).

Service - Service at the restaurants (including buffet) was great - super nice folks. Front desk was very very slow for check-in.

WC -Perla the WC seemed nice.

Kids - Cute kids mini club area.

Gym/Spa - Spa seemed nice (from tour). Gym had standard equipment but no tvs.

Internet costs $10 an hour unless you have Royal Service, in which case it is free.


I'll post pics later today (when I'm on my other computer).

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Continuing on...


Azul Beach -

Firstly, the sales manager was SO sweet and we were greeted with a drink (non-alcoholic version) by another employee and then during the tour the employee gave us 3 other drinks (non-alcoholic versions). They were all delicious and didn't taste fake/mixy. SO definitely a + on service or at least on sales!

+ I loved the design/architecture of the buildings, including the room buildings (although I did not get to see a room b/c they were full) and restaurants.

+ Small and intimate.

+ Great service.

+ Restaurant menus looked good, including a vegetarian menu.

+ Has open air palapa restaurant area with ocean view for reception, no need for rain back-up? And the ceremony area for rain is still outside and ocean view.

+ Details like beautiful candles along pathways and so forth.

+ Beach beds and swinging beds at bar.

+ 1 wedding per day.

- Pools were REALLY small. Smaller than my parents small backyard pool.

- Beach was smaller than Paradisus even. Water looked just a LITTLE better but I didn't get a chance to get in and see obviously. Also seemed crowded with stuff.

- Didn't get to see the rooms.

- Has 60 guest maximum for weddings.

- Kids playground and other stuff in immediate view of wedding ceremony and reception area, and ugly buildings in view in distance.


Oh I also saw there was a mini club and a small but adequate gym with tv.


So basically, I'd have to cut my guest list in order to have it here. I considered it, but the beach and pool areas are really meant for a much smaller group and it would just be hard to cut it to that small.

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Azul View - Only skeletal construction so pretty hard to tell what it'll be like, except that the renderings I've seen are gorgeous. It is MUCH bigger than Azul Beach, but it is supposed to have the same service/amenities - actually more. Supposed to be 440 suites, but somehow, it looks even bigger. Couldn't tell how beach will be b/c was all a mess from construction. Will have swimup rooms. Saw a model room in progress of being put together and it is supposedly bigger than Azul Beach but it wasn't that big. Double sinks in bathroom and a jacuzzi tub in room. Anyhow, it will not be done until August at least and I feel like I'd have to see it again to see what it is really going to look like. Another hotel or something was being constructed right next to it though.

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Grand Sunset/Riviera Princess - Very tasteful and pretty construction - all white with palapa roofs, lagoon and pool winding along the path on one side and rooms on other, so lots of lagoon and pool view rooms. Also swim up rooms. Pretty landscaping. No beach front restaurants but there was a lagoon front one and maybe one near a pool? Hard to tell. Beach was big with lots of new palm trees. Ocean looked like it had potential, better than further north, but not great. Maybe it was b/c it was afternoon and windy? The walk from lobby to beach was really really far, although pretty. The resort is long. I really liked the design of the resort (maybe not the length, but otherwise) despite how huge this place was, as it was tasteful and consistent, and not too busy feeling. I have no idea how the food will be, and I didn't get to see a room (the WC is going to send me a photo).

The WC didn't have much info yet. She didn't seem very experienced either. We'll see what happens once they open...

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Grand Sirenis -

+ Just ate at the buffet but the food was pretty good.

+ Rooms were big and the 50s mod design was pretty cool.

+ Shower had lots of different spraying spout things.

+ Beach is very scenic because it is cove shaped and the ocean water color was very pretty. Would be BEAUTIFUL for a wedding ceremony. Also, can't really see too many buildings from the beach, which is nice, and anything you do see is part of the resort.

- I met people there who loved it, so to each they own, but I hated the architectural design of this resort. The lobby area had massively high ceilings like an airport hanger, and was far from intimate - it felt very cold in energy. The buildings of rooms looked like monorail stations with the pathways between them looking like a monorail track. It was just the opposite of me and I couldn't stand it. I even tried to cancel my reservation but they wouldn't let me. Also, the materials used in building were inconsistent and changed constantly. Some areas looked like there were still under construction.

- The phones in the rooms didn't seem to work as I was unable to contact anyone at reception or concierge or anywhere so we had to lug our luggage on our own. Service was lacking all over the place.

- Our room had a view of the entrance driveway and parking area in distance. There were many rooms with this view or with views of the one large white wall of the lobby building.

- There space between the bathroom area and the bedroom area is completely open, so that you can't get up and turn on the bathroom light in the middle of the night without waking the other person, and the door to the toilet has space underneath and is glass and thus there is no sound privacy.

- Our mixed drinks weren't very good, and the wine was undrinkable (Paradisus had nice wine).


Other notes -

The pools seemed nice enough.

The path to beach is not direct at all so it takes a while even though it wouldn't if there was a straight path. We did go in the ocean briefly, but you definitely need water shoes. We managed to get in and there were really soft sandy spots under water - softer sand than the coarser sand of the beach, but then there were more rocks, and because the water wasn't clear, you couldn't really tell where they were. So we just managed by floating the whole time! Again, it was VERY SCENIC.

The lights went out briefly while we were there, but they went back on after about 15 minutes, so it wasn't really an issue.


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