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Back from our second trip to the resort. It was a terrific week!
We decided to go back to the resort because we knew our way around (we could hit the ground running) and had things we didn’t have time to do or repeat during our first trip.
Some comparisons between our two trips:
We stayed in the Royal section – last time in a Jr. Suite, this time in a Cabana. The Cabana was very nice, but we were split on the Mayan outdoor shower feature. I LOVED it and now want one at home; my partner HATED it because she was cold when trying to shower in the evening or when it was windy. When she tried to use the tub inside the cabana, there was an “incident” (demon possessed jets that propelled water all.over.the. place).
The cabanas are at ground level, in a jungle, so it seemed more prone to bugs, lots of tiny ants. We quickly learned that we couldn’t keep even unopened packaged food without a flash mob of ants. Even a bottle of lotion attracted the scavengers to the bedside table. We threw away our complimentary fruit basket in the trash outside the room, because we didn’t want the ants to find it (I’m sure they were already marching to the table or at least plotting a course!). We didn’t order room service all week because we didn’t want to attract the ants. We came to a mutual understanding – as long as they stayed around the door frames only, I didn’t call to have the room sprayed .
Given those two points of the room, if there's a next time, I think we'll go back to the Jr. Suite.
Fun Times – We met other Addicts on this trip! We met and hung out with another couple on our first trip, too, so this trip proved to me that the first experience wasn’t a fluke. We are not a naturally social couple – we’re homebodies, we’re two women….I think we’re nice people , we just aren’t usually the first to strike up a conversation with strangers. But let me tell you – I find it so easy to meet people at this resort. It was great to have a meet and greet with other Addicts – there’s no lack for conversation when you at least have “where are you from” and “where are you staying” to get started with! To the other Addicts, we had a great time at our quiet little Leap Year gathering at Hemmingways.
Our beach experience – On our first trip we snorkeled in calm-as-glass water. This time we had a week of red flags so no snorkeling, and I was really bummed about it. Definitely not a resort issue; The staff came out and removed the seaweed each morning and kept the beach looking fantastic. I’m just personally cranky that for two weeks I watched the webcam and saw yellow flags every day. We touch down in Cancun and it turned to rough waters for the whole week. The last day people were actually body surfing in the waves, it was so churned up!
So we moved to the pools most of the week, something we didn’t do last time. White Sands pool – It’s terrific! I think we spent most of our time there. Always tons of chairs in sun or shade, close to food options, the swim up bar was rowdy on one side a few days but really calm on the other side, and it connects via bridge to a really nice little adult pool. The adult pool seemed a bit warmer, too, probably just because it’s a little less deep and smaller than the big pool. The Royal pool – Was always busy during the day, fun to see/talk with the same people throughout your trip. With all the maturing trees, it seems shadier than it was even 2 years ago. But it’s such a nice space, great for sitting with a book on one of the in-pool loungers.
Things we did/found on this trip that we didn’t do on our first trip:
--Ice cream at La Laguna bar. Coconut ice cream was as good as reported, and lime sherbet was good, too.
--Chocolate drinks at Royal lobby bar. Hot chocolate was super. Frappe with coconut was great, like a milkshake. The Royal lobby is a nice hang-out, in general. We didn’t spend any time there on our first trip. This time we wrapped up several evenings there.
--Went to Akumal. Saw two turtles and a big stingray. The water was pretty rough even there at Akumal, so I'm (1) happy we saw anything at all and (2) happy we made it back to land - it was a lot of work to kick back in to shore.
--Our favorite a la cartes were Bamboo and El Dorado.
--Pools! We never even made it back to the Spa, because we couldn’t peel ourselves away from our pool time.
--Doctor: We had a minor allergy medical issue. Got right in, got a histamine shot, paid $165 US (got a receipt and written documentation to turn in to our insurance), good service. She took a credit card so we didn’t have to drain our cash. The office is located in the Colonial, around the corner from the guest services, past the tour sales tables. We thought our day was ruined, but by 10am all was right with the world again .
To be fair, we did have some cranky moments. All of them minor in the grand scheme of things:
--Travel club at El Jardin for breakfast. I don’t like the space I paid extra for being used as an active sales floor.
--El Dorado reservation for 7pm, seated at 7:45pm. No pager, so we had to wait in the waiting area of the restaurant, and it was HOT, crowded and uncomfortable. In the end, was the food worth the wait? Yes, it was delicious! Just be prepared that at the popular places, reservation time doesn’t necessarily mean seating time.
--Last evening of trip: water to the entire resort was off for 3 hours. No toilet, shower or sink. It made getting ready for our departure really difficult. Yet, our room service dinner arrived in the midst of it, before we even realized we didn’t have any water, which made me wonder how they were cooking in the kitchens?
--Royal carts – waited at the beach for 45 minutes for a cart to come. Couples had been there waiting before us, too, and all of us had called (or had the bartender call) from the beach bar to request a cart. Cart driver came and said nobody had called him. We learned a lesson that day – don’t bother waiting for a cart there. Walk down the beach to the Kantenah, go to the lobby, and get transport there. At least you can wait in some shade in the lobby, not get bit by mosquitoes, and possibly grab a drink on the way through. And you have the chance to grab another lobby train to at least get as close as the Riviera lobby. Waiting for the Royal cart all the way down at the beach stinks.
-- We were at the Royal pool one afternoon and a bride, groom and two photographers came through to do pictures in the pool. They did a dressed up jump-in-the-pool shot, and everyone cheered them on, it was cute. But then the photogs got in the pool with the couple and proceeded to spend an hour doing various staged underwater photos. It drove everyone out of the pool and surrounding area. I was reading and not interested in getting in the pool at that time, but had I wanted to take a dip, I would have been irritated. The pool is small, and you would pretty much be in the way of their photos anywhere else in the pool. I understand the interest in doing wedding photos, but they shouldn't be able to effectively shut down the venue to everyone that paid to be there.
When I wrote this trip report back in March 2012 (now Dec. 2012), I really didn't think we would be back to the resort, at least not for a few years. But when winter started to rear its ugly head this year, all we wanted to do was get back to the GP! So we're booked for our next trip in February 2013, and we can't wait!!