Mexico Resorts Getting married in the Caribbean Reviews – Getting married in the Caribbean – Mexico Reviews

Great Resort
Hotel Grand Palladium White Sands Resort & Spa
User Rating:  
Brett >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jan, 2011 | Leisure | Family
I will be at the White Sands section of Grand Palladium, this is our 5 stay. Why? because it is great. If you complain about this resort you should stay home. I have been to 3 different 5 star resorts in the Mayan and other resorts in the Caribbean over the last 15 years and they do not measure up to White Sands. The food is very good, the service is very good, the rooms are clean and quiet, the entertainment is very good, the pools are very good, the bar service is very good, the sports facilities very good, the tenis pro very good I dont need to go on. This is a fantastic resort.
Other Comments
If you have mobility issues this may not be the resort for you. There are lots of bridges andwood plank walkways.
John and Renata’s Honeymoon
Hotel Riu Emerald Bay
User Rating:  
John and Renata >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Dec, 2010 | Wedding | With Spouse/Partner
Overall we loved this newly built Riu hotel. Especially for a couple that was on budget after a huge wedding in Vancouver 24 hours before landing. We loved the large size rooms and the mini bar and large bathrooms full of granite floors and walls. The huge front lobby with its 30 foot ceilings and 18ft Roman soldier makes you feel like royalty when you first walk in. The huge cafeteria down stairs covered in marble and granite feels clean, cool and inviting. I loved the fresh squeezed mango and other fruit juices with a variety Mexican, American, Italian and Oriental foods. My wife loves seafood and found it very edible and plenty of it. Our favorite spot to hang out was the swim up bar in the 36C (97F) weather we had with its four hot tubs in each corner. Tipping with US single bills gets you quicker, quality drinks at all the bars. This hotel is situated in a spot for half decent surfing too. The only complaints we had was the theatre lacked talent and some shows were cancelled without notice. But we had the place to ourselves for the first four days with only 40% of the rooms sold and then they gave the locals a super deal just to fill the place with screaming kids in the pool for the weekend making the slow elevators feel cramped. So we took a tour bus of Mazatlan in the 40C heat which we enjoyed except the locals always hounding us to buy a time share and the annoying shop owners yelling across the street to venture into their stores.
Arrival
The swim up bar is the best I had ever seen with its four hot tubs. The bartender at the sports bar had trouble finding hockey games so I settled for the NFL until my wife caught me on my honeymoon. For a couple of picky eaters we actually loved the food in the cafeteria and the 2 restaurants we tryed weren’t to bad but don’t try the sushi. The seafood in cafeteria is better then the Sushi Restaurant. We rate these as a 4
Beach/Pools/Grounds
We would definitely go again if the price we paid was the same and the theatre got better as did the elevators and limiting the amount locals on weekends
Restaurants and Bars
We took an open air taxi south to the mall and to the gold zone but we got bombardied by locals trying to sell us time shares and shop owners trying to drum up business. There are tour buses available of old town Mazatlan we enjoyed and others tours available. The gold zone night club scene is more for someone braver and younger (like 25yrs old and under) Overall we give a 3
Room Block
We were surprised at the size of the junior suite with its king sized bed and its large bathroom with its granite floors and walls. All rooms in the hotel come with a oceanview because all the rooms are built on the west side the building. The mini bar in the room with stocked fridges of beer and water, and soda came into good use. We rate it a 4
Room Number
Upon arrival we as newly weds felt like royalty only because our super travel agent got us our own mini shuttle bus for $38Can, so we didn’t have to wait for our luggage to be sorted. The complimentary drink and huge front lobby was a excellant surprise only because we got in front of the other huge bus. We rate it a 5
Rooms
Because of the quality of the surfing 200 yards north of the hotel and and the exercise classes in the pool my wife enjoyed, the awesome gym room and spa with indoor hot tub (But take sneakers that have white bottoms and don’t mark the floor or you won’t be allowed in the gym) we give this a solid 5
Wonderful Vacation
Hotel RIU Palace Riviera Maya
User Rating:  
Lee >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Dec, 2010 | Leisure | Family
This is a beautiful resort. I don’t understand the negative reviews. "You can’t satisfy everyone all the time". The food is very good. The rooms are very clean, and the staff is absolutely delightful – they will do everything possible for you to have your vacation as care free as possible. The beach is beautiful. The pool is amazing and the staff who tend bar and deliver drinks are friendly and timely. There are plenty of lounge chairs at both the beach and pool to accomodate guests. Everyone is friendly and can not do enough to help you with any possible problem you may have. This hotel is much better than others(pricier)I have stayed at in Mexico = and I have been in the same area 18 times. A gold star for management and staff. Can’t wait to return. What a pleasure!!
Happy, but a little dissappointed
Hotel Grand Sirenis Mayan Beach
User Rating:  
George >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Dec, 2010 | Leisure | Family
We were fortunate to book our trip before the busy season. My wife said that she would have wanted more people to talk to, but I was perfectly happy not waiting in line for anything. The service was excellent and there were no complaints when it came to the food. I didn’t mind walking around as it gave us a bit of exercise. The room, however, was lacking. I didn’t appreciate sheets and bed spreads that looked more at home in a cottage. They were worn and it was obvious that they were well used. My balcony door wouldn’t lock, the drapes were broken and it took me about a half hour to figure out the hot tub because the tap handle kept falling off. The Hotel on a whole looked a bit worn. You could tell when this hotel was first built it was meant to be a 5 star. There was a lot of maintenance going on but this did not bother me. I figure the hotel was trying to get up to that 5 star level again. The beach was wonderful, lot’s of fish to look at, we even fed them with pieces of bread. My daughter enjoyed the "Kid’s Club" 3 out of the 6 days we were there, and the entertainment was passable. I was never much for show tunes, or musicals.
Room Block
29
Great Resort
Hotel Grand Palladium Colonial
User Rating:  
Colleen >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Dec, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We’ve been to Mexico a few times before so we didn’t need to leave the resort, plus there was so much to see and do that we didn’t need to leave the resort. We took a pontoon boat ride on the resort. There is a train that will take you from one resort to the other. There is a wonderful spa that is all free as long as they don’t put there hands on you.
Arrival
The drive from the airport took about 1 hour and a half, but once we got to the resort we were checked in immediately. Our room wasn’t ready till 3 and we were there around 11:30, so it gave us time to go eat and check out the resort.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The grounds are kept amazingly clean, and maintenance is always being done to keep things looking spotless, pool is Huge, but it wasn’t being used much while we were there due to the cool nights not being able to heat it. The beach is huge and we never had an issue getting a lounge chair, we stayed more to the Kantenah side, there was more of a sandy bottom and a reef there that we snorkeled at every day, the fish are amazing to see. There is also a sea fed saltwater pool, that you must try.

They have flamingos and crocodiles, it’s just a beautiful resort.

Other Comments
My only off comment would be they should have more better quality alcohol and the outdoor wait staff should be given warmer clothing for the off nights when it gets cold. Other than that we had an amazing time and would recommend this resort.
Restaurants and Bars
The restaurants are fantastic, fun is probably the best I have had anywhere in the Caribbean, all the ala cartes were fabulous, we never had to make a reservation, the service is amazing.
Room Block
2
Rooms
The rooms were cleaned daily, and the mini fridge was restocked daily, we never had an issue with towels or facecloths. The rooms are a little dated but we only slept there so no need for anything fancy. We were on the ground floor with a nice balcony and had no issues with bugs at all.
A Month of Bliss
Hotel Valentin Imperial Maya
User Rating:  
Keith >  1 contribution(s) Spain
Dec, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
A Month of Bliss We are both English, have travelled extensively around the world for both work and pleasure, and now live in Spain so the journey entailed fifteen hours flying over two days. We were at the Valentin for a month, Nov. 20th thru Dec 18th. Cancun Airport is a nightmare on arrival, but we were efficiently met by USA Transfers, and taken on the thirty minute drive to the Valentin. Check-In: was super efficient. (Can’t understand the reviews that complain about everything being to far to walk!) The Room: was large and well appointed the bed and pillows were comfortable. Free internet access; just bring an Ethernet Cable, or wireless access in the lobby. Room Service was very good, Breakfast excellent, and Evening meals had a good selection, the pasta and fish being the best option. The Grounds: are spectacular, from the front entrance to the beach, there are so many plants, shrubs, and trees, with lizards, Kotomundies, and Agouti everywhere, plus brightly coloured birds. Just strolling through the various pathways was such a pleasure. Admittedly at night some of the pathways were a little dark, just bring a torch. The Restaurants: are all very good and above average for an AI, our favourites were the French and Italian, although the Seafood was good, as were the Japanese, and Indonesian, the Mexican was also very good but the service was a bit slow. We didn’t try the Steak restaurant as it was either too busy or too cold to sit outside. As for La Marche, Breakfast had everything you could possibly want from fruits, cereals, eggs anyway, plus pastries, salmon, and cheese’s. At lunch La Marche again has an excellent choice, you must try the ‘Marina Mixta’. The Entertainment and evening shows were generally quite good; the Michael Jackson Show was very well presented, as was the Caribbean Evening with great food. Trips: Having been to the Riviera Maya previously we travelled everywhere by ‘Collectivo’, Playa del Carmen, Cancun, Puerto Moreles, Puerto Aventura, Tulum. The average fare was five dollars, yes 5$, for two people. Just take a ten minute stroll to the main road, stand by the edge, and within minutes a Collectivo will ‘flash you’, just wave, and off you go. Hotel side of the road for Cancun, and Puerto Moreles, cross the road for the other destinations. Sometimes the ‘ADO’ bus will stop that takes you into the centre of Playa del Carmen. The Valentin is an ideal location for a relaxing holiday, and very tranquil, with outstanding service, and amenities. All of the staff are exceedingly friendly, always greet you with a smile, and any request is dealt with immediately.

The only drawback was that the Dress Code, was not adhered to, ‘casual elegance’ was construed as turning your baseball cap the right way round. OK for Piggly Wiggly, bu

Room Block
3
Room Number
3306
Would go back for sure.
Hotel Occidental Grand Flamenco Xcaret
User Rating:  
Connie >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Nov, 2010 | Leisure | With friend
Rooms
The room was nice, clean, overlooking the jungle. Lots of birds and butterflies. TV didn’t work, but they fixed it. Bathroom was nice and shower was huge and water pressure great and hot. Fridge restocked every second day
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Activities were great. We went to Xcaret park for a day and saw turtles, butterflies, fish, crocs, etc. We took a gondola ride which was really nice. You can also take a ride where you go up in a glassed in panoramic room and see all over the area. The highlight was the show in the evening. Spectacular!!! It traced the history of Mexico from the Maya til today through song, dance and performances. A must see,event. We took a tour to Isla Mujeres by ferry where you can zipline, swim with the dolphins, snorkle, shop and best of all…drive around the town in golf carts. On the main road. It was an awesome way to sightsee. We took a tour to Tulum to see the ruins and our guide was very informative. Nice beach too. And we still didn’t scratch the surface of what there was to do.

Playa del Carmen is fantastic too. $10 from the resort and lots of food and shopping. Practise your "no grascias " for the vendors.

Arrival
My friend and I arrived at Cancun Airport and Air Canada was there to take us to the resort – fast and professional. Arrived before checkin time – checkin was smooth and we were given a nonalcoholic punch and our bracelets and were free to roam around.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Hung around the quiet pool mostly. Nice shadey cabanas. Water was cool, but nice. Being from Nova Scotia, it would have to be pretty cold to deter me. lol
Other Comments
The only negitive things I would say is that for a trip to Mexico, it wasn’t very Mexican. The shows were good, but I don’t necessarily want to see a tribute to Las Vegas, or Elvis – very Americanized. And on international night, the shortest skit was the Mexican hat-dance. But, the staff was friendly and helpful….but, beware of the ppl trying to sell you the "this is not a timeshare" royal club deal. They are there all the time and haunt you to death. They are so friendly and nice at the start – They promise you T-shirts and tequila and other cheap crap for an hour and a half of your time. Its actually more like 3 hours and when you say no they get really rude and pushy.

But, all told, I will go back again. Sooo much more to still do and see.

Restaurants and Bars
The a la cartes were fully booked all the time and it was very hard to get a reservation, except at the Mexican, where the food was ok and the service friendly and fast. Oddly, when you went to ask if there were any tables available at the others, they would say "no" but the restaurants were only 1/4 full at any time.
The buffets were nice, but I would have liked more "Mexican" food.
Rooms
The room was nice, clean, overlooking the jungle. Lots of birds and butterflies. TV didn’t work, but they fixed it. Bathroom was nice and shower was huge and water pressure great and hot. Fridge restocked every second day.
wonderful
Hotel Dreams Villamagna Resort
User Rating:  
Debbie Gazdacka >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Oct, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
My boyfriend and I were here in July of 2010 for 1 week and we had a wonderful time. The staff were wonderful and they were always looking to help someone. There were dirty dishes in the hallways which I did not like either but I did not make a fuss about it. If I seen any rodents running around then I would have. Most of what we saw were bottles. The hotel rooms were very clean and comfortable. The hotel had a special theme every night and drinks of the day and lots of activities for adults and children. My child did not go with this time but they have all day activities for the children and they seemed to be very excited to go and could not wait to go back. This place was much more than I expected and I will definetly be going back. I loved that there was a waiter that came by the pool and the beach to get drink orders. I was just awesome.
Arrival
As soon as we arrived we were welcomed with a complimentery drink (i was not expecting it right after we got off the bus. Our conceirge took us to our room and explained everything to us and was very helpful to us during the week.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
very clean
Restaurants and Bars
Most of the food was good. Good selection of mexican/american. Bartenders made good drinks.
Rooms
the rooms are clean and large. I loved how the shower and toilet were separated by glass.
Something for Everyone
Hotel Azul Sensatori
User Rating:  
Elizabeth >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Oct, 2010 | Leisure | Family
We wanted a last minute getaway somewhere hot with good food, good service and a good kids program. My husband and travelled with our sons who are 7 and 5. We found this resort lived up to our expectations and was a very good value. The hotel has and excellent program for children. At the same time if you are looking for an adult vacation there are three pools that are primarily for adults and areas in most of the restaurants with tables for two away from the tables they sit families and groups at.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The entertainment team on the resort was excellent. Always had things going on and kept you in the loop but never applied to much pressure to participate. There were activities all day long and several options in the evenings. There was early entertainment a few nights during the week at 8:30 with chances for the kids to participate (talent night, mini disco, Africa show). As we were travelling with kids the programming for the children was important to us and was excellent. The indoor kids club was probably 2000 sq feet if not larger and included an bright gym area with a padded floor and climbing structures, an interactive gaming room (Wii), a theatre, a nap room with 4 beds, a large craft room, a Fischer Price room catering mostly to babies (although baby care cost extra)and a doll room. Our kids did not spend more than a couple of hours a day a the kids club but loved to go and always came back to us with fun crafts and stories of fun games they played. The kids club was also open in the evenings from 7:30 to 9:30 usually for a movie with popcorn and drinks. There was a theme for every day, a daily family activity at 4pm and play time in the morning for the under 4 crowd with a participating parent. For the adult activities I enjoyed the yoga, pilates and aqua aerobics while my husband participated in the tennis related activities and got to play against the onsite pro.
Arrival
The hotel was close to the airport. The bus ride was less than 20 minutes which was welcomed after the plan ride. The staff was very friendly when we arrived and had champagne for adults and smoothies for the kids. We arrived around 10 am in the morning but did not get our room until 3pm. We were prepared for this and had bathing suits ready in the carry on.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The best thing about this resort is the size. From our room which was in the middle of the resort we could get to every spot on the resort within a minute or two. No need for a golf cart which many of the larger resorts required. This was one of our reasons we chose this resort and it was great. There are five pools a the resort. Children are encouraged to use only one of those pools but it is huge and has two shallow sections and a swim up bar. The kids also have a special area away from the other pools with a splash pad, wading pool and small waterslide. The beach itself is very nice with several chairs, umbrellas and beach palapas. If you wanted a good spot on the beach you do need to claim it early or go after lunch. The park on the beach was a hit with all of the kids at the resort. There is a large Covered open air area in the middle of the resort which has self serve coffee, tea, soft drinks and ice cream in the afternoon. It was a great spot to find some shade and curl up in a comfy chair in the afternoon especially if you don’t like to be in the sun all day.
Other Comments
This resort was not perfect but exceeded our expectations in most respects and we would definitely go back. All the staff worked very hard to make sure we had a great vacation and made a big difference in the overall experience We chose this resort and would recommend it if the the following is important to you: 1) Great value for the vacation dollar 2) Excellent childrens (ages 4 to 12) program 3) Food and water safety ( I could not find review anywhere that mentioned tummy problems and was comforted to see a staff member using a laser thermometer on the yogurt at the breakfast bar at 8am.) 4) Food Quality and Childrens menu – I am not a big fan of buffet, like good food and liked kids menu resort wide so we could eat with them at the nicer restaurants 5) No need to commit to a la carte reservation times 6) Great staff that make the week enjoyable 7) Family friendly but not wall to wall kids 8) Good size (no need for a golf cart and easy to run back up to room)
Restaurants and Bars
There were lots of food choices. An a la cart menu in most restaurants even at the spoon that was set up primarily as a buffet. The childrens menu including all the standards was available in all restaurants so the kids always had choices. The a la cart exceptions are the Beach BBQ which is only open for lunch, Le Chique the adults only food experience set menu restaurant and the Tapaz restaurant which also has a nightly fixed menu but also has the childrens menu available. I really liked that there were no reservations needed with the exception of the Le Chique. Our favourite restuarant was the Italian restaurant Sienna followed by the Caribean Zavas.
Rooms
The rooms were great. We stayed in a Luxury Oceanview Jacuzzi room. The rooms with two beds had two Queens which is hard to find as most resorts have two double beds. The Rain shower, flat screen TV and clock radio with a docking station were all great features. I also found there was plently of storage in the room so we could unpack and put the suitcases away for the week. Most of the rooms above the first floor have an Ocean view which I also loved.
Wonderful resort, fabulous vacation
Hotel Grand Palladium White Sands Resort & Spa
User Rating:  
Debra >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Oct, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
My husband and I arrived in the evening and were greeted by a friendly face at the desk. We had two gentlemen take our suitcases and walk us to our suite which was very close to the lobby. It was a wonderful location. The suite was large and very clean. We had two balconies, one from the bedroom and the other from the sitting room. We faced the trees and was secluded. The bathroom was large and extremely clean! The bed was comfortable but the pillows were lacking. You could rent others but we decided not to. We could utilize the facilities of the White Sands, Riviera, Colonial and the Kantana resorts. Lots of choice to eat, buffets and speciality restaurants. The fish restaurant had wonderful food and a very romantic setting on the beach. There was a lot of choice at the buffets, fresh fruit, cooked to order choices and well as authentic Mexican food. Something for everyone.

The beach was very clean and you could choose where you wanted to swim. Some of the beach was sandy and some areas were rocky, great for snorkling. Because of the time of year we travelled, there was no issue getting a beach lounge chair or shade. The ocean pool was the best! Fish are able to enter and exit the pool making for some wonderful snorkling. The day we left was the best (of course), we saw lots of bright and colorful fish. A real gem!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The staff work very hard to make sure you enjoy yourself. There were shows in the evening and live music in every lobby. We made the rounds every evening to the 4 lobbies, either walking or taking the choo choo train. The train travels to and from each lobby only. Each resort has their own transportation(golf cart looking vehicle with additional seating.) If you choose not to walk, you could use the free transportation.

We also took the Collectivo (local bus)from outside the Colonial lobby, on the highway, to Playa Del Carmen. You could also take a cab if you wish. Playa is beautiful with lots of local shopping. We purchased some souvenirs, don’t forget to haggle the price! The ferry to Cozumel was docked and we could watch tourists come and go. The beachfront is very pretty.

Other Comments
We will return to this amazing resort. Take some of the negative reviews with a grain of salt. The staff work very hard to ensure you have a good time. We did not meet anyone that was either rude or uncaring! The grounds are immpecably clean and constantly groomed, cleaned or painted. Word of advice, take water shoes if you want to go into the ocean pool or to the areas of the beach to snorkle. You can travel comfortably without worrying about stepping on a rock. You can purchase them in the lobby but they are a little pricey. We ran out of sunscreen and had to purchase some in the lobby, it was expensive but needed.
Our 30th wedding anniversary
Hotel Valentin Imperial Maya
User Rating:  
Vivian >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Oct, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
We arrived at the Cancun airport and on the way out to the curb to find our hotel transport, some people in a booth at the airport hustled us over and convinced us to go see a different hotel than ours the next day. They were very persistent. At first, we thought they were our transport. don`t talk to anyone not bearing the logo of your chosen transport! The ride to the resort was pleasant and once there, we were greeted and handed cold towels and flutes of champagne. The heat was brutal.We were taken by car to our building. The room, a JR. Deluxe suite, was awesome! Two double beds, livngroom, TV, dvr. Amazin bathroom with whirlpool jets, enclosed toilet with telephone next to it, enclosed shower with glass doors and frosted glass, small fridge stocked to the gills with sodas, water & beer, bucket with ice. Safe in room, awesome veranda. Cool AC plus fan overhead. The huge long winding pool was lovely, though some small tiles were missing. It was very clean and the swim up bar is a great idea but nobody in the whole place knows how to make a Pina Colada the right way. It always tasted pasty and icky sweet. The food and drinks are all included except for premium liquor and wine. You have to ask for the house wine or pay extra. the house wine tastes like rot gut but the good stuff is incredibly expensive. They also don`t know how to make good cheesecake. At the restaurants, what passes for cheesecake is a small frozen lump of stale tasting cheese the size of a muffin. all the restaurants served it the same. I was dissapointed in the Italian restaurant. The food was nothing special and very bland and there was no tiramisu. At the French rest. again, dissapointed; no creme brulee! I asked for the risotto and the rice was crunchy! ugh! The only thing on the menu worth eating was the bacon wrapped filet Mignon. Awesome! At the Japanese rest. we sat at the Tepanyaki table. We don`t eat sushi but we had beef, chicken and shrimp. again, very bland, nothing special. We did not go back to try their regular menu.

The Mexican rest. was very romantic on the outside as it overlooks a fountain and it is lit up at night. We dined inside because of the mosquitos.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
They have a show on stage every night. We only went to the Circus show and it was very good. The Mama Mia show was very bad. We didnt bother. after the show comes dancing under the stars at the main plaza. There is a DJ some nights and others there is a house band which is very good. You dance, you sweat, you sweat, you dance. I couldnt stop mopping the rivers of sweat pouring down my face. My feet and ankles were swollen from dancing on the hard

cobble floor but the music was good and the other guests were having a good time too. We dint go on any excursions. We wanted to be safe and save our energy for dancing. The main hotel lobby has lots of brochures of excursions, day trips, etc.

Arrival
We arrived at the Cancun airport and on the way ou to the curb to find our hotel transport, some people in a booth at the airport hustled us over and convinced us to go see a different hotel than ours the next day. They were very persisteent. At first, we thought they were our transport. don`t talk to anyone not bearing the logo of your chosen transport!

The ride to the resort was pleasant and once there, we were greeted and handed cold towels and flutes of champagne. The heat was brutal.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
The beach is not good. It is a stretch of deep angry sea with rip tides, gusts of gale force winds and the sand is littered with garbage. Apparently, they dont rake the sand or pick up the litter there. No fun at all. The pool is awesome in that it is long and winding, has lounge chairs on a ledge inside the pool,and covered and uncovered cabanas all around. There is also a swim-up bar and the pool is only about less than 5 feet deep throughout. The grounds, unlike the beach, are kept very clean but we were puzzled by the many piles of scattered rocks and small boulders about the property on grassy areas. There are many paths running off from the main street inside the resort which lead to guest buildings, restaurants and so on. They were lined with shrubs and small trees, adn whenever you aproached a certain faux rock, it

regaled us with beautiful romantic Mexican music. It was fantastic at night under the full moon.

Other Comments
I gave this resort a rating of 3 points because all in all, the food was mostly average and sometimes below average. The mixed drinks like the Pina colada which is my favorite, was terrible and the house wine even worse, but check in and check out was easy, the rooms were clean, the hotel grounds were clean and the employees friendly. The many ponds and fountains, trees, bridges, etc., around the property, made us feel like we were in Paradise.

For our anniversary, they made a swan out of towels and spead rose petals on the beds; too bad they had the wrong date for our anniversary even though we told Cheap Caribbean the right date.

Restaurants and Bars
The food and drinks are all included except for premium liquor and wine. You have to ask for the house wine or pay extra. the house wine tastes like rot gut but the good stuff is incredibly expensive. They also don`t know how to make good cheesecake. At the restaurants, what passes for cheesecake is a small frozen lump of stale tasting cheese the size of a muffin. all the restaurants served it the same. I was dissapointed in the Italian restaurant. The food was nothing special and very bland and there was no tiramisu. At the French rest. again, dissapointed; no creme brulee! I asked for the risotto and the rice was crunchy! ugh! The only thing on the menu worth eating was the bacon wrapped filet Mignon. Awesome! At the Japanese rest. we sat at the Tepanyaki table. We don`t eat sushi but we had beef, chicken and shrimp. again, very bland, nothing special. We did not go back to try their regular menu. The Mexican rest. was very romantic on the outside as it overlooks a fountain and it is lit up at night. We dined inside because of the mosquitos at the urging of the hostess, but I only got bitten once on our last day and my husband did not get bitten at all. The best dish on the menu at the Mexican rest is the fajitas they serve in a huge flaming bowl looks like a sacrificial urn. The big finish to the meal was the Mayan coffee. It has liqueur and yes, they set fire to it too. It tastes awesome and it is a big production for which we had to wait an hour because the waiters were too busy. Le Marche is were you have breakfast and lunch every day. They have a great array of pastries, fresh juices, fruits, breads, omellete station and many casserole dishes etc. The place is very hot, no ac inside. The tables by the pond are the best.

The resort has its own water filtration system. We drank both bottled water and the one they poured and did not get sick at all. You just have to use the bottle water for brushing your teeth and avoid drinking from the tap or getting water in your mouth from the shower.

Rooms
We were taken by car to our building. The room, a JR. Deluxe suite, was awesome! Two double beds, livngroom, TV, dvr. Amazin bathroom with whirlpool jets, enclosed toilet with telephone next toit, enclosed shower with glass doors and frosted glass, small fridge stocked to the gills with sods water & beer, bucket with ice. Safe in room, awesome veranda. Cool AC plus fan overhead. The ride on the elevator (each building has 3 floors) was liker iding a bumper car. Everytime it came to a stop, it did so violently. No fear of anything happening, just very jarring.
Amazing trip!
Hotel Gran Bahia Principe Tulum
User Rating:  
Sara >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Oct, 2010 | Wedding | With Group
I loved this vacation, although it may have helped that I was with a large group of people. There was always something to do, but you could get away and relax as well. Because the complex is huge, very rarely does anyplace on the resort seem crowded. It felt like you could find a corner to yourself for some privacy at any time. The shuttles to and from the different hotels and the Hacienda were convenient. Sometimes you may have to wait 10 or 15 minutes, but you just have to plan for that.

The weather was beautiful! Very little rain!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The entertainment staff are wonderful people! They work very long days and very hard to keep everyone entertained. Archie and his friends are so much fun and upbeat! They were very welcoming and tried to involve everyone in everything!
Arrival
Check-in was very speedy. Martina and Melchor were wonderful, not just at check-in but also with other services. The welcome drinks were great!
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Be careful of the bugs at the beach! I suffered worse once I got home. I think the alcohol, chlorine, and sun kept my bites sufferable while I was at the resort, but they got worse in the 24 hours after I returned home.

The pools and grounds are beautiful and well-kept. Sometimes I felt that there was at least one employee for every person staying at the hotel. There was always someone doing something, serving something, cleaning something.

Other Comments
I didn’t venture off of the resort because I didn’t have to! Fun, food, drinks, shopping, beach, pool… it was all there!
Restaurants and Bars
We ate at the Japanese restaurant on Coba, the Brazilian restaurant on Tulum, and Don Pablo, the gourmet restaurant also on Tulum. Be sure to make reservations early on in your stay. The food is much better at the restaurants than the buffet. I’m a picky eater, but I was always able to find something to eat no matter where it was for.

The bars are great, but limited hours. The lobby bar is good for relaxing, entertainment, a little bit of dancing, and drinks. The Hacienda courtyard has a great band and usually the coldest beer. The discotheque specializes in disco, so it may not be for everyone.

Rooms
Our room was very neat and clean all week. We had three people staying in our room, and they had the extra cot/bed already prepared and made up when we arrived. I can’t really call it a cot because it seemed bigger than a twin, but smaller than a double. It was truly a real bed. And the beds, pillows, and blankets were very comfortable. You must remember to shut the balcony door very tight… the slightest crack will keep your room’s air conditioning from working full force. The bathrooms are not air conditioned, so you should leave the door open as much as possible.

Also, the mini-bar isn’t a typically stocked mini-bar as some may be accustomed to. Usually there were two cokes/diet cokes and two beers. Occasionally a bag of potato chips and a candy bar. If you want more than this, just leave a note, or call the desk and request it. It shouldn’t be a problem getting what you want. We had a bottle of tequila one day.

Most fun you could have in a week
Hotel Viva Wyndham Maya
User Rating:  
Linda >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Oct, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The activities staff worked real hard to keep us entertained in and out of the pool. Plenty of handsome men and pretty women. I enjoyed the entainment at night and they even had my son dancing on stage.
Arrival
No problem checking in our rooms were all ready and clean
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The grounds were always kept up clean and pretty and so was the pool. I liked seeing all the different creatures that came out and none of them bothered us.
Other Comments
I would love to be able to facebook the entertainment staff. I talked to Pillow one of the dancers and he was going to tell us how to get on the hotel facebook but I didn’t get to see him the night we were leaving. He is a nice guy who is serious about dancing and he does a great job. I enjoyed watching Spike and Oscar too.
Restaurants and Bars
The staff was excellent at the bars and restaurants. Drinks were very good with plenty of booze in them. Loved the Japanese Restaurant and the food around the pool bar.
Rooms
Neat and clean rooms with a towel animal every day on our bed
lovely holiday
Hotel Grand Palladium White Sands Resort & Spa
User Rating:  
linda >  1 contribution(s) United Kingdom
Sep, 2010 | Leisure | Family
we have just returned from this wonderfull resort we were in bdg 59 which was very close to the beach but far from the lobby area which didnt matter as we took the little train that takes you around the resort we had no problems at all, we went horseriding and would recommend that beautifull beach and scenery, we saw racoons that were around the complex and lots of interesting wildlife and the place has been left pretty much as natural as it can be without spoiling the landscape everyone works so hard to keep it looking beautifull cant wait to go back
Romance and Relaxation with a splash of Customer service.
Hotel El Dorado Maroma by Karisma
User Rating:  
Rene >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Aug, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
My wife and I stayed at El Dorado Maroma for our honeymoon from August 16th to 23rd. I apologize in advance for the length of this review. In planing our vacation, we had a lot of questions so I figured it best to give as many details as possible.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Excursion
You can book excursions with the concierge or with Luis, the Lomas Travel Rep who is on-site. We did the wave-runners and truly enjoyed it.
Arrival
Flight The flight on Air Canada was uneventful. Flight was on-time and service and cabin were top-notch. Arrival in Cancun We arrived in Cancun and got through Customs and Immigration fairly quickly. After making it through the gauntlet of time-share salesmen, we found our transportation waiting outside as expected. We had to wait approximately 45 minutes for the rest of our party to arrive to join our shuttle to 2 other resorts. If we had known this, we probably would have booked a private transfer to the resort. Arrival at the Resort Upon arriving at the resort, we were greeted in the small but very luxurious lobby by a check-in agent who offered us a moist wash cloth as well as a glass of sparkling wine. Within a few minutes, we were greeted by many of the staff who came to the lobby to meet us and welcome us to the EDM. Katarina, one of the butlers gave us a tour of the resort and introduced us to many of the staff. They were all courteous and gracious. We were then led to our room so we could freshen up and head to lunch. We also took some time to meet with our concierge in order to plan for the theme dinners for the week. We attended the Mayan, the Italian, the Mexican and the Dinner around the World. She also made arrangements for our honeymoon package including a massage lesson and candlelight dinner on the beach. Carmina also offered to help us out with any excursions we might like to do. She also tried to schedule us for a sales-pitch meeting for the resorts Exotic Club but we were not interested.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The Beach This is probably the most beautiful beach we have ever seen. The southern part of the beach is rough.. stumps in the ground, etc. But walk north and you have miles of pristine white sand beaches. Right next door to the resort is Maroma Marina which is a starting off point for a lot of the activities. Above the beach is a large 3 tier palapas where the sky massages are given. Some people are put off by the sandbanks about 400 feet from shore. There are probably about 20 sand bags which protect the beach from motorized traffic and act as a break wall. To be perfectly honest, they did not bother us in the least. When I took some time to snorkel, the sandbags provided a refuge for many fish and created a man-made reef. Snorkeling equipment was available to be borrowed from the animation team. The beach was wonderful for wading and cooling off although it was quite warm. It never got very deep so it’s perfect for those who do not like deep water. Animation Staff Kary, Ariel and Diego from the animation staff try very hard to get people involved in activities. Bingo, bocce, horseshoes, volleyball are all available activities. However, most guests are content to simply sit on the beach and relax. We were very pleased one day to have Ariel and Kary spend some extra time at our beach bed for a private spanish lesson. The pools There are two pools. The smaller pool is in the Mihotelito section. There is a swim-up bar (Bar 24). Emilio and Estrella kept us entertained with their funny stories and witty banter. This pool was usually the quieter one. The main pool is next to Sabore’s restaurant. This is where we usually ended up at the end of the day enjoying cocktails or tequila shots provided by Carlos or Cesar.

Both pools were cleaned daily by the pool staff. The pool staff worked all day long cleaning out the swim-up section leading to the main pool and also emptying and refilling the infinity plunge pools on the 2nd to 4th floors. Water temperature was very warm in the pools.

Other Comments
Staff The staff at this resort are outstanding. Every request within reason is granted. When you ask for something, the typical response is “It’s my pleasure”. I’ve named a few who left a particularly positive impression on us. However, we did not meet any bad apples or anyone who did not seem to want to be there. The thing that amazed me about the staff was their ability to remember people’s names. They asked for your name once and they remembered. We were starting to think we were wearing name-tags!! This is such a nice personal touch. One thing we found particularly interesting occurred on Saturday. Apparently, Saturday is cleaning day at EDM. All the managers and office staff step back from their regular duties and start cleaning all parts of the resort. It was neat to see Alfredo, the GM, raking grass, and Walter, the restaurant manager, cleaning in the restaurants. I think this is a neat initiative. Nightlife We did not partake in the nightlife. We stayed up to watch the Michael Jackson tribute night on Friday and we highly recommend it. Departure Check out was smooth, but we did not want to leave. It was nice of Alfredo, the General Manager to come and see us off. We really appreciated your hospitality. This resort really has changed my philosophy about what a resort should be about. Customer service is not to be taken for granted. El Dorado Maroma brings that to a whole new level. The size of the resort creates an intimate atmosphere ideal for a romantic and relaxing vacation. We cannot wait to go back! Gracias por todo!!

My pictures can be found on facebook at the following link http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=251290&id=515800235&l=64d393c2b5

Other pics can be found on the Facebook group called “El Dorado Maroma Magic”.

If anyone has any questions they can email me at gaudreaur+EDM@gmail.com

Restaurants and Bars
The Food There are no buffets at the EDM. Sabores restaurant is located by the pool on the south side of the resort. Breakfast and lunch are served here as well as most of the theme dinners. Papito’s is the palapa restaurant by the beach. It was nice to have lunch on the patio, mere steps from the ocean. A different lunch theme was served every day. Myo and Kiyoko were the italian and oriental restaurant. We ate at both and enjoyed them. The quality of the food was excellent and was very well prepared. The theme nights allowed us to try some different things that we normally would not have necessarily ordered. The entertainment during these theme nights was a great touch. Service by the waiters was excellent. Special thanks to Cindy, the hostess who always found us an excellent table and to Gabby, Alejandro and Rodmiro, some of the waiters, among many who served us during our stay. Our last night ended was supposed to be a candlelight dinner on the beach. Thanks to the staff who set Andrea and I up for dinner on the platform above the water where the sky massages are held. It was very romantic and something we will never forget. Special thanks to Walter, manager of restaurant services for running such a good operation. We really like the dinner that Chef Paco prepared on Thursday night. Chef Kim and the Chef at the Oriental restaurant (I forgot his name) also left a very favorable impression on us. The bars

Bar service was excellent. Top shelf liquor here but you do have to ask for them. Bartenders will usually remember what you like to drink and how you like it prepared. Each bartender seems to have his own special drink. Order them all.. they are all good.

Rooms
Our room We were in room 302 which was a swim-up jacuzzi suite. This room was located 2nd from the edge of the building. There was a path in front where staff and guests were always walking by. Since most of our time was spent on the beach, this traffic did not bother us. When we were out there, we just waved, smiled and hollered “hola” to everyone who walked by. The room is mere steps from the beach and was located at the most central part of this small resort. Our room had a King size bed, a living room area with a pull-out couch. A well appointed bathroom with jacuzzi, double sinks and a shower. Inside the shower was a door leading out to the Aguas del amor, the outdoor shower, which was really cool. A safe, free to use, was in the closet by the front entrance. A small refrigerator was located in the TV stand and it was refilled daily with sodas, beer, water and snacks.

Thanks to Laime and Margarita who cleaned and turned down our room daily.

de sonhar voltar um dia
Hotel Catalonia Riviera Maya
User Rating:  
todinho_20056@hotmail.com >  1 contribution(s) PORTUGAL
Aug, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
este hotel e de 5 estrelas somos bem tratados sao amigaveis e tem uma ekipa de animacao espetacular com pessoal da pesada pra nos rirmos e divertirmos vale a pena irmos pra este hotel k e de 5 estrelas.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
ekipa de animacao espetacular paola jimenez 5 estrelas e a ekipa tbm.noite de tekila…futbol,danca,ping pong,byke…..etc nao paramos e nao percam nada com eles k sao demais
Arrival
fomos bem recebidos com um coktail e foram rapidos a acomodarnos pk eramos muitos mesmo e no estante o pessoal desapareceu da recepcao sao muito amaveis com os portugeses venham aeste hotel k e um espetaculo
Beach/Pools/Grounds
espetaculo de corais e peixes de todas as cores mergulhem com a mascara de mergulho e desfrutem da beleza k eles teem a frente do hotel nao percam esta oportunidade.
Other Comments
hei-de voltar a este hotel k vale a pena ir voces sao 5ESTRELAS

ABRACOS ….SAUDADES

Restaurants and Bars
comer ate fartar tudo de varios gostos nem sabes onde comecar ou acabar e graca e os passaros k tem a voar la dentro mesmo a moda tropical k ate da gosto de tar ali dentro
Rooms
sempre arrumados frescos e ainda por cima com enfeites k eles deixavam em cima da noxas camas muito bem feitos tudo a maneira
had the best time
Hotel Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa
User Rating:  
karen >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jul, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
I hear all the bad things about royal elite but in really life. My husband and myself went they in early 2009, after a 6 week trip to jamaica that end witha friend getting hurt. We had a great time and did buy a one bedroom, since then we have had a couple hickups but all has been worked out. We returned to sandos caracol in december and had no problems. no problems booking or with are stay. the have changed thing and are working hard to make it all right. we love the staff and the staff loves us no are money. like we found in jamaica they love your money not you.

cant wait to get back there

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
lots
Beach/Pools/Grounds
clean and nice
Restaurants and Bars
fast, good and clean
Rooms
nice clean and cleaned everyday with towel animals on the bed
Splendid resort….
Hotel Iberostar Paraiso Beach
User Rating:  
Yvan >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jul, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
What a delightfull pleasure to have chosen this resort. We have travelled to many Iberostar resorts, this one being one of the best we stayed at.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We went shopping to Playa del Carmen with the shuttle from the plaza of the hotel, 4$ each way for a 20Km trip very reasonable I would say, found the presents we needed on 5th avenue. We took the visit to the ruins of Tulum, I was impressed with the place, ruins and by the knowledge of the guide we had for our trip. you must remember that it is very hot there, dont forget to bring water. They also gave us about 1hr to enjoy ourselves on the beach at the bottom of the hill. Since there are no secure place to leave your things, keep an eye open, I noticed many…. people looking for an occasion to pilfer.

All and all a very pleasant and instructive excursion.

Arrival
We arrived via Westjet airlines from Toronto, my spouse being somewhat apprehensive about flying, this trip was superb, smooth all the way, nice updated aircraft, exit row seating with tons of leg room, video display in every seat which gave us a choice of various tv or movies to choose from.
We arrived Cancun ahead of schedule, after baggage reception and clearance through customs, we proceeded to the chaos outside the terminal, IMHO, very poor service from Best Day travel as far as arrangement of transportation, we had to wait outside in suffocating heat, for our transport to be ready, even though the bus was in place and air conditioned, they made the group wait until complete before boarding.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The beach is very nice, lots of huts and chairs for one and all, a few large rocks near the entrance of the beach, however, the water being so clear, it was easy to navigate around them and never did we have any problem with them. Unfortunately the first two days of our stay, the beach had a red flag waving, the water was quite agitated and not recommended, we still had the choice and I realy enjoyed the large waves/breakers comming to shore. Did not do the pool, as a general rule, since it is secluded and protected from the ocean by vegetation, way too hot for my liking and during the late afternoon much too noisy for us, the animation crew and pool bar were the culprits.
As all the IB resorts we have visited, the grounds were impeccable, an army of groundskeepers were at work everyday it seems everywhere to make the looks of this place so great.
Other Comments
I would greatly recommend this resort to anyone that wants a clean, well maintained and pretty quiet place to relax and enjoy a vacation. I would certainly return in a heartbeat.

We hope everyone enjoy the place as much as we did.

Restaurants and Bars
We were given 4 restaurant choices, we made the gourmet, japanese, italian and steak. All were excellent, the food always hot and cooked to order, if a complaint was to be made, the Italian restaurant is situated in one of the pool snacks, not air conditioned so a little uncomfortable but nevertheless, the food was very very good. The Buffet breakfasts were what we are accustomed to having in all the resorts, excellent choices of fruits, pastries and the omelet bar was manned by a lovely lady for our entire week, she made it a pleasure to see her smile every morning. Suppers at the buffet was always thematic, changed every night and the food was always good, the catch all was always there, if you did not appreciate anything being served, the pasta bar was excellent.

This was our 6th visit to an IB resort, we have never been let down anywhere by the food.

Rooms
We arrived the resort 20 mins later, to the friendly Iberostar reception, well organized, the check in took no more than 5 minutes, since we are many times guests of an Iberostar resort, they even gave us a free upgrade to a junior suite, the staff being polite, friendly and spoke english and french quite well. We even took time to go to the concierge desk to make our restaurant reservations for the week all in less that 15 minutes we were taken by cart to our room, building 31, very near the beach to a wonderfull room with good a/c, clean and well prepared, everything we have been accustomed to by the Iberostar chain. The maid service for the week was of all thing done by a male worker, what a pleasant surprise, superb service, the fridge always stocked full, and room decorations, figurines and flowers galore. My wife was in awe for the entire week. Of course, daily gifts and a couple dollars must surely have helped. Clean, well air conditioned, no bugs.
By far the best all inclusive hotel out of four stays in Mexico
Hotel RIU Vallarta
User Rating:  
Douglas >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jun, 2010 | Leisure | Solo
I arrived at this resort and found out my wallet had fallen out of my carry-on luggage on the aircraft. The desk manager Tony Braun was extremely helpful and spent a long time helping me locate it. The staff were very friendly and helpful and were cheerful and extremely hard working. The resort was spotless.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The catamarans, hobie cats were a great time to sail and if you used one it was a good workout with the wind and waves. I thoroughly enjoyed them thanks to Pancho’s excellant service. It is too bad all were not servicable, as it would have been a lot more fun to have others to sail with.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Pools were great, swim up bar was awesome thanks to Jesse, Tere (Happy Birthday) and of course Manual, the entertainer. The grounds around the resort and pool areas were kept pristine at all times, the only thing I noticed was one afternoon there was a huge mess on the beach, probably due to a lack of security guards ensuring people used the garbage containers.
Other Comments
Out of all the resorts I have stayed at in Dominican & Mexico this one is the best one for the price charged and the service, food and general resort shape, activities and entertainment. I would definitely stay at this resort again, and would recommend it
Restaurants and Bars
Restaurants, were reasonable, the food was good, with a good selection of variety, although one may get tired of the sausages floating in grease, in general it was the best of the resorts I have stayed at. The specialty restaurants were from good to excellant, especially Sir Georges with really great food. The asian was westernized more than any oriental restaurant, but still featured good tasting food.
Rooms
Someone made a comment about the beds being hard. Yes they are firm mattresses but reasonable to sleep on and not worn out like other resorts that I had stayed at. The room was fully stocked with a bar fridge with bottled water, beer and beverages as well as a liquor cabinet with dispensers for it. The cleaning staff were extremely hard working and never once overlooked anything in the room.
Your Arrival
I checked in with no problem whatsoever, the majority of the clientèle of the resort were Mexican nationals, which is totally understandable at this time of the year. I was always treated with respect and courtesy, and made to feel welcome as a guest of the resort.
Most amazing place ever
Hotel Grand Riviera Maya Princess
User Rating:  
Tanya >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jun, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Don’t listen to any of the bad reviews people write. They have nothing better to do then complain about everything. Honestly, this hotel resort, was the most amazing place to stay at. It is always super super clean, the staff work very hard all day keeping the place as clean as possible. The rooms are beautiful. my room was always cleaned to perfection, i left money lying around, it was NEVER stolen and my safe in the hotel was never missing anything and no one ever came during my sleep to steal stuff so please don’t believe anything this couple is saying about the hotel because these people that work here are the most amazing people you’ll ever met in your life. the staff is always smiling and greeting you everywhere you go, always willing to help and serve you. They have the biggest hearts i’ve ever seen in my life and they arre very hard working people. I recommened Gerando at the buffet. he was such a nice guy and served us with the best service you can get. The food wasn’t amazing, but it was good. breakfest in the morning is very very goood!!! never really ate lunch there, but im sure its good and supper depends what you get, but i grantuee you its eatable not like in cuba!!!! resturants.. miso is a waste of time, very satly the best ones are grill and fondue!, very very good!!!! im telling you youll fall in love with the staff and hotel and never wanna leave.

I really enjoyed my stay at this hotel and will be coming back for sure!!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
AMAZING!!!!! LOVED THE ACTIVITIES, VERY FUNNY STUFF KEEP YOU BUSY AND ENTERAINED

I REALLY ENJOYED IT

Beach/Pools/Grounds
GROUNDS, YOU CAN LICK FOOD OFF THE GROUND FOR HOW CLEAN THEY ARE BEACH, DIDNT REALLY STAY THERE, WAS MORE AT THE POOLS AND I LOVED IT

SUPER CLEAN AREA! FUN PLACE TO BE! ALL THE ACTION IS AROUND THE POOLS

Rooms
VERY VERY CLEAN!!!
BEAUTIFUL ROOOMS, BEAUTIFUL VIEWS
Your Arrival
VERY GOOD !
STAFF WAS VERY HELPFUL , SMILED ALWAYS
I would NEVER recommend getting married at the GPR resort!
Hotel Grand Riviera Maya Princess
User Rating:  
Jaime >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Jun, 2010 | Wedding | With Group
My review is too long to fit in here..so I will split it up into the different categories. We wanted to make everyone aware of the poor customer service and wedding exhibited at the Grand Riviera Princessresort during our destination wedding (July 6, 2010) that resulted in 52 guests choosing to vacation at this hotel. From the outset, there was a complete lack of information provided. Numerous emails were sent months in advance as we attempted to plan this extremely important event. We were seeking detailed information as to pricing and ‘the process’ by which weddings occur. At best, what we received in explanation was always minimal and never detailed enough to answer all of our questions. Ours was not the first wedding held at the resort and as a result, we believe that a complete package of information outlining the options and specific details should be readily available to all prospective bridal couples including the revised venue for inclement weather conditions. We continually felt that we had to pester and plead for every piece of information while giving ample opportunity for the wedding planners to communicate with us by providing phone numbers and other contact information in all our correspondence.

We were not told when our appointment with the wedding planner was and in fact had to seek out the wedding department as we had heard nothing a few days before our actual wedding. By us seeking out the information we were told we had a meeting with Sandra on Friday at 10:00 a.m. This was news to us as we had not been contacted previously. When we arrived for the 10:00 a.m. meeting, an office move was in progress and we were asked to come back the following day at 10:00 a.m. A note under our door in the absence of a proper inter-room telephone communication system would have been the polite way to handle this situation. Instead, we had to use our limited vacation time to arrange the details of our wedding that we had been trying to arrange for over 5 months rather than enjoying the amenities of the resort

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
In summary, we brought revenue of approximately $35,000 US (excluding airfare) to the resort and surrounding area, we paid $6,300 US for a beach wedding for which there was no acceptable Plan B alternative for inclement weather and we suffered much unnecessary tension and stress due to the resort’s lack of professionalism and all this on what should have been a relaxing start to our lifelong marriage. All in all, we tried to give the resort and wedding planners a proper amount of time to apologize. We sent in all the information as they had asked for our comments and after many many emails from August until now, November 1st, 2010 – it was apparent that this resort does not care about their customers and all they see are dollar signs when people choose their resort for a wedding. They completely take advantage of tourists and charge you for every little detail for your wedding – and their product and service are not at all the quality you would expect with the expensive price you pay. All we wanted was an apology and all we received was empty promises of compensation and that they were "working on it." We finally heard from West Jet Vacations that the resort was not planning on doing anything for us.

West Jet is a wonderful company who actually care about their customers and felt horrible about our experience. They gave us a generous credit towards future travel and apologized countless times, even though it was not at all their fault! Thank you West Jet!

Arrival
The one piece of information that we were aware of was the start time of the wedding at 4:00 p.m. At our first meeting with Sandra at the resort, we were informed that the bride walked down the aisle at 4:00 pm. Given the lack of inter-resort communication, this important detail had already been communicated to all guests in the form of a written itinerary. No aid was offered by the wedding coordinator to ensure that all 52 guests were contacted and advised of the time change. Guests were not called to let them know of the changes of the wedding ceremony and reception locations due to the tropical rainstorm that occurred on the day of our wedding. We did that ourselves and at a time when we had other things to attend to. It was assumed that guests would call the concierge however when approached and asked for details, they had no knowledge of the location of the wedding or correct time.

Also during our first meeting with Sandra we had discovered that the Platinum suite we were staying in had strict guidelines to the guests allowed in the building. If you weren’t Platinum, you weren’t allowed in. We understood the reasoning, but no where was this information given until you arrived at the resort. This would have been nice to know as we would have stayed elsewhere in the resort. We discussed with Sandra that our room being so close to the original ceremony site we had planned for all preparation for myself and bridesmaids to take place in our room (5219) along with our photographer and hair stylist (all who were non Platinum guests). We were told that this would not be a problem and Sandra would take care of this detail and they would make an exception as it was for our wedding. This information was never relayed to anyone working in the Platinum lounge. And when the group of bridesmaids, hair stylist and photographer made their way to our room they were rudely stopped in their tracks and told that security would be called to have them removed.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
We had planned to have our ceremony completed by 4:30 p.m. allowing for 1.5 hours of photographs prior to the start of the banquet. As a result of the delays described above, we had 45 minutes to take these once in a life time photos. Regrettably, we failed to get all the shots we had wanted (including the signature bride and groom portrait) as there was simply not enough time. This was through no fault of our own. We paid $3000 US to bring an amazing photographer to the resort and failed to utilize him to his full potential (he was a photographer not a wedding organizer). There was NO element of privacy and in fact we felt completely on display to all of these people we did not know. The post ceremony photographs were also compromised as the bar patrons were in the way and did not voluntarily move. It was very uncomfortable and definitely not what we had imagined our wedding would be like. Even on the beach, we would have had random people in the photos however they would at least have been distanced from us and not in our faces!

My mother also determined that we had been given the wrong name for the banquet hall (Hivaljo) and was finally given the correct information at 5:45 pm when the reception was to start at 6:00 pm. Despite all the hard work that the reception staff went through to make up for the disappointing ceremony the issues did not seem to stop. The reception halls were amazing with large vaulted ceilings and chandeliers. Unfortunately, adjacent to the chandeliers there were two dangling projectors 15 ft from the ceiling that made the room and all of our photographs appear tacky. A person’s eye is automatically drawn to the un-retracted projectors making the photos of this amazing banquet room unusable. The head table was about 6 ft too short for the 10 people in the wedding party (a detail that was made known ahead of time to the wedding planners.) We were shoulder to shoulder with barely enough room to eat. As well, the back drop was that of a fire extinguisher and exit signs – again not a fitting scene for our Mexican wedding! The buffet set up had a better back drop than the head table. The reception staff was very attentive to our needs however at times they were too attentive. The groom, when questioned how everything was going, simply stated “dinner was amazing however the ceremony was quite rocky.” The staff then proceeded to question the groom for details at a time when the groom’s only concern was to have fun and attempt to enjoy the rest of the evening. The DJ appeared to be slightly aggravated from the outset. He was standoffish when approached by the best man about a microphone for speeches and overall was not easily approachable. It seemed whenever someone asked him to play a song off of our playlist he didn’t seem very happy about it, it was like we were inconveniencing him. There were some major sound quality issues, severe enough to the point where people could not understand due to the halls acoustics.

Restaurants and Bars
With the advent of foul weather, we understood that we would be unable to have our wedding ceremony and reception on the beach. We had discussed the “Plan B” option with Sandra and that the substitute ceremony location would be a closed off area of the main lobby bar on the Riviera side. The area looked perfect based on the pictures shown to us. We agreed based upon those pictures and our assumption/understanding that the designated area would be private as this was the only option given to us. However when our photographer and assistant made their way to the ceremony area at 3:15 p.m., 30 minutes early to set up some lights, the area was full of a large group playing bingo. When the concierge was questioned as to where the wedding was happening, he pointed towards the bingo group and said the ceremony would happen at 5:00 pm where they’re playing bingo. As previously stated, we had been told the bride was to be walking down the aisle at 4 and the groomsmen were supposed to be standing there waiting at 3:30. Our photographer had to convince the concierge that the bingo playing people had to be moved. When we questioned Sandra about the ceremony site, she simply stated that “You wouldn’t be here if you had your perfect day on the beach, we can’t control the weather”. We had long accepted the weather as an uncontrollable issue. However, we do blame the resort for making this unforeseen situation even more difficult by their lack of caring and again extremely poor customer service. It is clear to us that they are not set up to handle a ‘perfect wedding’ if the weather is bad.

We were not asked where we wanted to get married under the Plan B option. Instead we were blamed for having such a big group. Surely a resort of their size would have more suitable premises (Platinum Lounge, Piano Bar, a Hallway even!) for such an important and solemn event. Instead, the processional was along the lobby bar with patrons turned on their barstools watching me and my parents. There are very few photographs that show a beautiful Mexican backdrop for the ceremony. Most show vacationers sitting in the lobby bar and gawking at us – total strangers – and worse yet, taking our photos and videos.

Rooms
Flowers form an integral part of any wedding ceremony including photos with various family members prior to the ceremony. In our case, we had our 2 grandmothers (aged 89 and 82 yrs) in attendance and would have appreciated the traditional picture of the pinning of their corsages. However, this was not feasible as the flowers arrived at the bride’s room late and 10 minutes before the bridal party was to leave on the golf cart (3:40 as opposed to 3:00 as it stated on the itinerary presented to us by Sandra). In addition, the flowers were of inferior quality, were falling apart and drooping. We questioned Sandra about the flowers and she immediately passed the blame to the bell boy or whoever delivered them. How they managed to appear in this condition is of no consequence to us. They were ordered and paid for and should have been beautiful and available to us in a timely manner. Thankfully, a friend from Cozumel saved the day and showed up with the most magnificent bouquets and boutonnieres! I would highly recommend not using the resort flowers! They were awful and so ugly! The lack of communication we had experienced leading up to the wedding was continued throughout and was extremely frustrating.

We were always the ones calling and even those calls the afternoon of the wedding day when the alternate site plans were not clear were ignored by Sandra. Simple things went awry – the groom had to re-start the music with the correct song, the cue to start the processional was aborted causing a bridesmaid to stand by herself waiting anxiously for the rest of the wedding party and eventually returning herself to ‘do it again’ and the aisle was not wide enough for 2 when in fact there were 3 trying to navigate the space. Many of the issues could have been avoided had there been upfront and unhurried communication. After all, we paid thousands of dollars to have a spectacular Mexican wedding.

Exceeded our expectations
Hotel Azul Sensatori
User Rating:  
Adrian >  1 contribution(s) United Kingdom
May, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
AZUL Hotels are the ‘family’ brand of Karisma Hotel. We stayed as a party of 7 at the end of May 2010 and were accommodated in the family area. The Hotel is exclusive to Thomson for guests from the UK but also open to guests from other countries, notably the USA. In summary we all thoroughly enjoyed the holiday and were lucky with the weather, which for most of two weeks was hot, sunny but often with a pleasant sea breeze. It would be difficult to fault the hotel in terms of administration, rooms, gardens, facilities, entertainment, activities, bars and – the fantastic selection of restaurants.

The only slight criticisms would be that it is more a good 4 star than 5 star luxury, it has a very average beach which gets a lot of seaweed and so is not ideal for swimming or snorkelling.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
In terms of activities and entertainment there is a weekly ‘What’s On’ sheet for Sport & Leisure, Entertainment and Play which has a two week rotation. You would be hard pushed not to find a sporting activity during the day to suit from morning beach and pool exercises, beach and pool team games, card gaming, tennis, dance lessons, shuffleboard and kayaking. It’s even not too late to brush up on your Spanish. There is nightly entertainment in the roof garden lounge stage area with a house band and then the Show Cast or external entertainers such as a Cuban Circus, Mayan Dancers or Michael Jackson tribute. For the young or young at heart there is a Thomson Cancun ‘bar-crawl’ on Mon and Thurs which ends in Coco Bongos or Carlos n’ Charlie’s – plan to take the next morning off! For the children there is an under 5’s crèche and play area, for 4-12’s there is a daily supervised entertainment schedule and rock climbing wall. Finally for teenagers there is a separate supervised programme and dedicated teens club computer games area (closed for one of our two weeks for repairs).
Beach/Pools/Grounds
There is a choice of sunbathing area, adequate sun loungers and parasols around the pool and beach although if you want a particular spot or it’s busy you may find towels have beaten you to it! There is covered seating for 70-80 in the BBQ area. There are also 29 beach cabanas of which 10 are in the premium section and 20 palapas albeit all seem to get bagged very early in the morning but free up mid/late afternoon. There is also a nice jetty with shaded seating. At the concierge and towel change huts you can borrow/exchange paperback books and magazines (plus they promote their own trips and time share!) There are three swim up bars by Zocalo, Zavaz and a premium one near Le Chique. The “World-class” spa looks very swish but is quite expensive and there is a reasonably well equipped and free gym.
Other Comments
The Hotel is rather isolated and although you can walk southwest along the beach to Puerto Morelos in about 50-60 minutes. Heading northeast takes you towards a distant Cancun reaching a nudist Hotel Desire and another Azul Hotel in 15 minutes. The Hotel has a very average beach which shelves gently but is uneven and a little stony plus gets a lot of seaweed so not ideal for swimming or snorkelling. Because the Sensatori is all-inclusive you only need to budget for tips ($3-5 dollars per day per head) and trips or visits (say $200 per head for 2 weeks). There was some building work but it only involved maintenance (drains and balcony planters), In terms of views all the rooms (apart from sea facing suites) face the pool area. To the northeast side is a rather unattractive building plot area between the Azul and Desire Hotel.

The hotel does not seem to have a business centre but you can have a Wi-Fi connection for $15/day or use the CyberCafe (6 modern terminals) for $10 per hour or $6 for 30 minutes. There is a small and very pricy shop for gifts, cloths and toiletries you have forgotten or run out of. There is a separate gift shop with local crafts.

Restaurants and Bars
There are 6 restaurants to choose from the international Spoon, a bit canteen like to the intimate Le Chique, the only one for which you need to book well in advance. In between you have the Zocalo, Mexican; Sienna, Italian; Tapaz, Spanish and Zavaz, Caribbean. There is also a beach BBQ for lunch and on Thursday evenings for Mexican night. We recommend the terrace of Zocalo for al fresco breakfast or lunch. We thought Zavaz was the best restaurant. The service in Sienna was very poor and Le Chique is certainly an experience but may leave you peckish! Make sure you check all the opening times as some are only open in the evening and some shut one night.
Rooms
The rooms are very spacious with his and hers sinks, walk in wet room and two large separate beds or king sized four poster. Every room has a balcony, mini bar, jacuzzi bath, TV, DVD and IPod docking clock radio. The air conditioning is very good as long as you keep the patio style balcony sliding doors closed. Room service is good with daily linen change, mini bar refill and turn down.
Your Arrival
First impressions are very good with a welcome towel, drink and check-in was painless. Your first view of the resort is from the roof garden lounge so you can take in the whole complex with its lagoon-like interconnected pools.
We all loved it!
Hotel Occidental Grand Flamenco Xcaret
User Rating:  
Chris >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
A group of family and friends flew from Halifax, NS, to the Myan Riviera on April 4th, 2010. Our group consisted of children, teenagers, parents and grandparents.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We took a taxi to Playa Del Carmen to go shopping. It was a lot of fun to barter and see all the sights on Fifth Avenue! We went to Xcaret Park to the show and that is indeed a must see. For 2 hours you are spellbound by the performers (200 in total) There is a golf cart with "cars" to take you around the resort. You will be asked to check out the Time Share. Very expensive and the promise of 1.5 hours of your time always stretches to 3 hours. Sometime the compensation is worth it. See what they have to offer and then made your decision.

We also went to the silver factory. Some items were reasonably prices while others were extremely expensive.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
There were so many pools that we didn’t see them all! The grounds are beautiful but if you had mobility issues, this isn’t the resort for you. It is BIG and there are a lot of steps. Xcaret Park is only steps from the resort and there are deer grazing on the property and other wildlife as well.

The only draw back to this resort in my opinion is the beach. If you like waves and a beach to go to walk on, this isn’t for you. The beach is a man made lagoon. It does have beautiful tropical fish and there is a restaurant and bar there.

Other Comments
We had a wonderful vacation with 7 straight days of nothing but sunshine and hot temperatures.
Restaurants and Bars
The food was amazing. This part of Mexico is very Americanized so the food was for the most part, food we eat at home. There were 4 a la cartes, 2 buffets, a snack bar buffet, a pizza and tacos place that alternated nightly. The Steak House was exceptional!
Rooms
The rooms were spacious, extremely clean and the bathroom had an amazing shower that would have held 6 people (no bathtub) No problems with a lack of hot water as I have experienced in other resorts. We had a King Sized bed which was comfortable. Towel vouchers were given to us at check in and the room contained a digital safee (both free of charge) The room was cleaned daily and the maid left "towel animals" every day as well as a fruit tray and refilled the frige with beer, 4 bottles of water, a pepsi and a 7-up daily!
Your Arrival
When we arrived at the airport I was pleasantly surprised by the simplicity of going through Customs and Immigration. Our buses were waiting and we were on our way within minutes. It was an hour drive to the resort. When we arrived we were headed cold non alcholic drinks and our room was ready, although some of them in our party were not. Check in is 3 p.m. so no fault of the hotel. The staff at the Main Desk spoke perfect English so it was a breeze.
Fantastic Vacation
Hotel Dreams Resort and Spa
User Rating:  
Derek >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
The Dreams Riviera Cancun was a perfect blend of service, atmosphere and enjoyment. Yes there are children at this resort but we went as a couple knowing this and were able to still have a wonderful vacation.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Lots of energy and activities if you wished to participate. Not overly agressive to gather people for events and the noise from them was never really annoying.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beach was unfortunately not that great due to the weather during our stay. Winds were strong and had a storm front for a few days of our vacation.
Other Comments
Excellent service, attention to detail and memorable experience. Would highly recommend and we plan to return soon.
Restaurants and Bars
Food was excellent…we really enjoyed the Japanese and French. Plenty of bars to accomodate a thirst of any nature. Good selection of liquors availble.
Rooms
Exact replications of what they portray on their websites. We found them stunning and almost all have some sort of oceanview.
Your Arrival
Nice and close to the airport with about only a 30 minute drive.
Fabulous hotel, but be careful!
Hotel The Royal Playa Del Carmen
User Rating:  
john >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Apr, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
Truly one of the most beautiful hotels staffed by the best employees I have ever encountered. the only complaint is we get roped into a timeshare presentation under slightly false assumptions. The salesmen are extremely aggressive and I actually signed up for what I thought was a good deal. when I got home, I researched "Club Real Timeshares" and started to read the horror stories. I immediately sent in a cancellation notice. the contract indicates you have 5 days for a full refund. I am not getting any response from them at this point.

Enjoy the hotel, but DO NOT ATTEND THE TIMESHARE MEETING!

Un pays magnifique, un hôtel irréprochable, le paradis !!!
Hotel Gran Bahia Principe Tulum
User Rating:  
sandrine >  1 contribution(s) FRANCE
Apr, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Nous avons séjourné au Gran Bahia Tulum du 11 au 19 avril, tout était présent pour nous faire passer des vacances de rêve. L’hôtel est magnifique, très bien entretenu comme les jardins qui sont très fleuris. Les chambres sont bien décorées, et la salle de bain toujours très propres, de plus la femme de ménage nous offre des pliages de serviettes représentant des animaux chaque jour de la semaine. Les nombreux restaurants sont très soignés et la nourriture y est riche et variée. Les nombreuses piscines sont aussi très bien entretenues, nous n’avons jamais vu autant de personnes être aussi "travailleuses" de vrais petites fourmis !!! Le personnel est charmant surtout un grand merci à Laura MOULEDOUS qui a sû être présente pour le soucis que nous avons rencontré pour notre retour sur la France. Et un moins pour Rosie notre Déléguée Nouvelles Frontières qui n’a pas êté à la hauteur du tout. Il en reste néanmoins que nous avons passé des vacances paradisiaques. A refaire dès que possible.
Your Arrival
Nous sommes arrivés le 11 avril 2010
Absolutely Amazing
Hotel Grand Palladium Royal Suites Yucatan
User Rating:  
Sarah >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Apr, 2010 | Wedding | With Group
I can not say enought about this entire resort. My husband and I travelled to the Grand Palladiun White Sands resort in May 2009 where we got engaged. We knew right away that this would be our spot for the wedding. So, the planning began and we were booked for the White Sands again for Aprtil 2010. When we arrived at the resort we were pleaseantly surprised to find out that the resort had over booked the White Sands and we were being upgraded to The Royal Suites Yucatan. All I can say is "WOW" The amenities are endless, the private restaurant and lobby is fantastic and the late night room service is perfect especially after a night of dancing at the Disco. We brought a group of 20 for the wedding and everyone LOVED the resort. I would recommend this entire resort to anyone especially brides to be – the wedding staff are fantastic and so easy to deal with.

We are already getting ready to book for our one year anniversary.

Unforgettable!!!
Hotel Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Resort
User Rating:  
Sandra >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
This is the second time I stayed at this resort and I will definitely be returning. We departed Ottawa on March 7 for 2 weeks and we all had the time of our lives, I know you can give 5 stars but if it were possible I would give the Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya 10 stars for excellence.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We didn’t do any excursions out of the resort but there were many to choose from. They also have a beautiful spa and gym. You can take a nice walk there (about 5min) or you can have your concierge call the shuttle for you. The gym is state of the art, we went everyday around 3pm and there was always something available to use. They also provide you with water and towels. The spa is without a doubt beautiful and the staff is very nice. The shows in the evening were by far the best entertainment I have seen in Mexico and the animation team is fantastic. Always getting everyone involved.

The Disco at this resort is also very nice. You need to take a shuttle to ge there but it is a 5 minute ride an well worth it!

Beach/Pools/Grounds
We spent most of our 2 weeks at the beach, however the pools were equally beautiful. The beach can be a little bit rocky but not enough to need shoes although we saw some people wearing shoes. The pools and the grounds at this resort were imaculate, there wasn’t one minute of the day that we didn’t see someone cleaning it, very well kept.

There is also a lazy river at this resort, very very fun and a perfect place to get a beautiful tan. They provide you with a floatation device and it takes you through the river very nice touch.

Other Comments
I would have to say that the Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya excels in every way. A special THANK YOU to the Managment of the Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya you have created a world class resort. We thouroughly enjoyed our vacation and will be returning without a doubt next year. THANK YOU again and see you in 2011. Adios!
Restaurants and Bars
There are 8 a la carte restaurants to choose from: Italian, Mexican, Mediterranean, French, Japanese, Steak House, Cajun and Brazilian. We manageg to go to all of them because we were there for 2 weeks and they are all VERY VERY GOOD! My favourites would have to be the Steak House and the French restaurants. The Buffets are equally good. I never had a problem finding something to eat and everything I ate was very good. Excellent!!!! The staff at the bars are very nice they go out of their way to make everyones experience enjoyable. Look for Gabriel and Joakin these guys know how to mix a drink!!!!

There is also a coffee bar at this resort and you can go for a coffee at any time of the day, very yummy!

Rooms
The rooms are spacious, beautiful and very clean, nothing to complain about.
Your Arrival
We arrived in Mexico around 12:30pm and went through customs security very smoothly. We had to wait awhile after we got our luggage to go through security but we were in paradise so we didn’t mind. We took a bus to the hotel that takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Check-in at the hotel was seamless. The bell boys were very friendly and assited us with our luggage. We were then greeted with a glass of chamapgne and guided to reception to check-in. The reception staff were very accomodating answering our questions and helping us fill out all the necessary paper work. We were then given our bracelets and our rooms keys. We then went back to the bell boys and we were driven to our rooms and our luggage quickly followed.
Great Hotel – Great Experience!
Hotel Barcelo Maya Beach
User Rating:  
Ron >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We did take part in one off-site tour – Coba ruins. We enjoyed the ruins and the visit in a Mayan family home. On site, we took part in water aerobics and enjoyed the use of the kayaks and the large tricycles. We also snorkled next to the resort at the far point (it was too rough in front of the Palace where we heard there was good snorkling) and there was a decent reef there to check out with plenty of fish. The evening entertainment was decent with a cultural flair in all shows but the circus show on Friday night. We went into Playa Del Carmen on the one afternoon that the weather wasn’t great. If you go, be prepared to be ‘bothered’ as you shop with ‘deals of a lifetime’, etc.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The pool area is very nice, with crystal clear water (albeit a bit too cold for many people). The grounds are immaculate – the nicest I have seen at a resort. The beach is nice and you can walk a decent distance in both directions. There are rocky/weedy areas in the water in spots which makes swimming a challenge in some locations but there was a large rock/weed free area for swimming that was very nice. The water is shallow for a decent ways, so great for kids swimming.
Other Comments
We are a couple in our 40’s and have travelled extensively in the caribbean. I would rate this hotel as one of the best I have stayed at, anywhere. The staff were fantastic in all locations of the hotel and did everything they could to help. I was surprised by the number of older teens at the resort (man, where do they get the money?! :-)), but other than at the bars in the evening, they weren’t very noticeable. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line at scuba24@hotmail.com

Best of luck as you research your ideal vacation!

Restaurants and Bars
The food was above average compared to other caribbean resorts I have been to. Something for everyone. Desserts often looked better than they tasted. Highlights for us were the varieties of fresh bread each day and the salads. We went to the Italian restaurant and the Steakhouse and found both very good. We had beef tenderloin and it was very nice. The flatbread in the Italian restaurant was awesome dipped in the oil/balsamic.
Rooms
We had a room on the 3rd floor in Building G, on the far side of the property. We had a king bed – fairly firm but comfortable. The air conditioning seemed to only have one setting – cold! I didn’t check it out with management; perhaps it could have been adjusted somehow. I ended up shutting it off and on a few times each night. Overall the room was very nice – large enough with a couch, clean, updated and a very nice shower.
Your Arrival
Arrived on March 13, 2010 – just in time for the Canadian March Break crowd! Check-in was quick and uneventful. We had to wait for an hour or so for our room to be ready, so picked up some food, a beverage and took a brief tour of the property. The property is breathtaking. If you exchange US funds into Pesos, be aware that the hotel will not convert back to American funds (you can do this at the airport, if they are open!). The other option is to do it at a bank in town.
Wonderful Experience
Hotel Grand Palladium Royal Suites Yucatan
User Rating:  
James >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
We had the most wonderful experience in Mexico imaginable. THe service was excellent as well as the facilities. We had a small complaint and it was handled immediately. We have stayed at the Royal Suites 3 times and each time it seems to get better. So good that we bought 420 nights at the Palladium Travel Club. It’s a bit like buying a car with the saleman but all went well. Sice we had been there 3 times, given the cost of these vacations, we should have bought years ago. We look forward to the future stays for us and for our friends and family.
Hotel ok but issues with maintenance of rooms and service definitely not more than 3 stars
Hotel Grand Sirenis Mayan Beach
User Rating:  
Kay >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Beautiful Resort Lots to do with Kids… crafts, swimming, games etc Great nightly entertainment Rooms needs attention and maintenace – tv not working, locks in the rooms, concierge outside the room not too helpful more worried about timeshare sales Staff need more english training Beach very disspaointing too many rocks in the ocean and seaweed Front Desk not too responsive

Overall i would rate this resort good but not great

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Lots of choices for activities, but very disspointed in the beach compared to Cuba
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Rocks make it hard to swim…Pools very nice and clean, great choices for pools for kids especially lazy river.
Other Comments
I am not sure i would return back… very disspointed at Service, and ofcource the beach with rocks.
Restaurants and Bars
Food choices excellent and fresh everyday. Service is great, lots of variety of foods! Buffet restaurant excellent choices and hot food!
Rooms
Tv not working, Beds really hard, Great Housekeeping, Staff not very helpful and cannot understand.. they nod but do have a clue of what you are saying.
Your Arrival
Too Slow at the Front Desk… cannot understand English, very slow to respond,Service is satisfactory but not great!
excellent place
Hotel Barcelo Los Cabos Palace Deluxe
User Rating:  
glen >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | Family
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
there were some activities on resort but we did not participate in any, just vegged and drank by the pool or on the beach. off the resort we went on the sierra buggies which were great, we rented waverunners down the beach and went to cabo on a tour for snorkeling, whale watching and to see the arch. we also walked up to the town centre of san jose a couple of times. we ate at la panga which was very good, we sat in the rooftop bar called shooters and had 10 peso beer. there happy hour is actually 6 hours from 10 am till 4 pm. did some shopping downtown and felt very safe walking around town.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
the beach is nice, sand very fine and a big beach it just drops down to the water very fast and you can not swim in it. the pools were very good a little cool but once you got in great. the grouds were kept in great shape with lots of work on the sidewalk. they had about 8 to 10 fire pits with chairs around them, they were propane with the flame comming up thru rocks.
Other Comments
on a sad note we went on westjet vacations and had a horrible time at the airport when we left. the airport personel hit our plane with the stairs and they had to fly a different plane in from toronto. it was a 11 hour delay in the airport which is very small and closes at 4 pm. they kept the restuarant open till 6.30 for us but after that all was closed. the westjet people handled this delay terrible, we were never informed of how long our delay would be, just maybe 2 more hours. the air conditioner was on a timer and shut off at 4pm, no one knew they could leave and get back thru security till we were there for about 8 hours. we were promised rooms when we arived back in regina because it was going to be 4 am, but that never happened. we got ten dollar food vouchers at the airport but all that would buy was a hamburger we had to buy our drink with our own money. ALL IN ALL WESTJET VACATIONS SUCKED

bad ending to a great trip any questions email glgeddes@rfnow.com

Restaurants and Bars
first of all men need closed toe shoes for the ala cartes. we did four alacartes listed best to worst japanese, mexican, steakhouse, italian. both buffets were great for breakfast dinner and supper. lots of bars during the day but at night if you wanted to sit at a fire on the beach you would have to walk all the way back to the lobby bar for drinks. at night the three bars were crowded but good, my favorate was the lobby bar, they made the best mojitos.
Rooms
we had a room with two double beds, would liked to have a king but we didnt complain so was alright. the room was very clean with a jacuzzi tub separate shower, balcany overlooking the adult pool. the smart tv had all the room controls on it including internet. we brought a laptop so got the password rom the front desk and used it instead. had a room safe robes and slippers,great mini bar including two different kinds of beer, four cans of soda, fruit juice, nuts, chips, and even asprin and alka seltzer.
Your Arrival
greeted at airport and got onto bus, check in at hotel was a little slow but we were served drinks while we waited so alls good. our roomwas ready, it took the bellboy about half an hour to get our bags to our room, but again there was beer in the mini bar to keep entertained.
OMG!!!!!! SIMPLY THE BEST!!!!!!
Hotel Grand Sunset Princess
User Rating:  
Brenda >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
Just returned from this amazing place yesterday, and had to write a review. Don’t listen to all of the negative comments, go, go, go!!!! I have travelled to Cuba and the DR, and this has been by far the best. We were a group of 11, and everyone had a great time. This resort is simply beautiful. The staff are so friendly and helpful. We can’t wait to go back next year, only next time it will be for 2 weeks.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Didn’t really do any of the activities, just laid around an relaxed. We did hire a private driver to take us around. We went to the Coba. Our driver was so knowledgable and friendly. He took us shopping and sightseeing. Some of our group did the 4×4 excursion. They had a blast.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The beach is alittle rocky. I had water shoes with me, so it really wasn’t a problem. The water is awesome, lots of waves. The waitresses will come around the beach and take your drink order, so you don’t have to go stand in the line for one.
Other Comments
Please don’t listen to all the negative reviews. This resort is simply the best!!!!!! Can’t wait to go back.
Restaurants and Bars
The food was amazing. Lots of different choices. If you couldn’t find anything to eat, then you are a very picky eater. We found the food was the best by far. So much to choose from. The bartenders are great, and will do their best to make you anything you want.
Rooms
We stayed in a junior suite, (room 1163) and it was amazing. Marble everything!!!! So clean, so beautiful!!!!
Your Arrival
We arrived from Halifax at 11am local time. Check in was a breeze. Our rooms were not ready until 3pm, but no problem. We got our braclets on and were free to use everything on the resort. Had some relaxing drinks in the lobby bar, then went and had lunch at the buffet. Explored around some, more drinks, then our room was ready.
Closest thing to Heaven on this Earth!
Hotel Gran Bahia Principe Tulum
User Rating:  
Allison >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
We have stayed at various resorts in the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico and this one is by far our favourite. The weather was perfect, the room was clean, neat, tidy and always refreshed to within inches of its life. The staff at this resort are more than just a couple of notches above others. We recently tried the Barcelo Palace, RIU Maya and Gran Bahia Principe Coba, but the Tulum was so much better when we were last there, we rebooked. Now that we are back, we cannot wait to go again. Highlights included the theatre (even Circus night was incredible); the food (the servers make you want to go back – incredible as it is, our favourite server was Manuel in the buffet, who remembered our names when we went back there on the second day for breakfast); the manager, who sought us out at supper one evening and presented himself to personally address any concerns, as it was out third time there); and a host of other issues. For a huge hotel, this place is all about personal, and I do mean personal, service to each person. They make you feel like you are the only person they have to deal with at that time and they just want to make everything good for you. We took advantage of the spa and enjoyed that personal touch. We enjoyed the a la cartes (we did not use all we were offered, as we wanted to enjoy the buffets as well). We have toured the ruins, pyramids, cenotes, zip-lining, jungle tour, Xcaret and other off site trips in past visits, so this time we stayed on our resort with a few hours in Playa del Carmen for some shopping. Oddly, the shops at this resort were dynamite and we preferred them to the shops in Playa for quality and value. We will be there again next year if God is willing…
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The shopping in Playa del Carmen is not as good as on the resort for trinkets and take home things. Value at the hotel is better. We went to Walmart in Playa. I needed dress pants since I packed in a hurry and forgot some items home on the bed… So, I bought the best dress pants I could find at Walmart. They set me back $12.50, which would be $50 at home, I would guess. I will see after they are washed this weekend. If they fit my little brother, then…

There is lots to do on the resort, if you want. Our lives go 90 MPH at home, so we went away to slow down. There were a few Mayan Monkeys and several vino tintos, though. Another drink I discovered is called the Riviera Maya. It is go-o-o-d!

Beach/Pools/Grounds
Clean. Pools were a bit cold but after you were in, they became fine. The bathtub water was nice and warm in our room… I guess I am a bit of a wimp… The beach water was cool, but again, I like a bathtub… The grounds are impeccable. We watched the groundsmen pick weeds from the gravel beside the walkways… I felt bad for them, but they always were nice, smiling and saying Hola to us…
Other Comments
Just 340 more sleeps til we go again! I can’t wait!
Restaurants and Bars
Waiters and waitresses were wonderful! Cheers to Senor Manuel Kuk in the buffet. His wit, charm and personality was welcoming and he is a reason why our experience was so great in the buffet restaurant. The food was always good. The a la cartes were excellent, especially the Don Pablo and the Japanese restaurant.
The bars are always good.
Rooms
Always cleaned to within a whisker of perfect. Towel art was plentiful. The chamber maid was very friendly. Only downside was the biting insects that were out on the deck. When I spent some time there, my legs did get bitten.

Bed was two doubles pushed together but we got to accept that and they put an egg crate mattress on the top for us so it was a little softer. We slept great!

Your Arrival
Our check in took about 90 seconds. The people were great and the welcome drink was welcomed. Our room was ready and though the bed was two doubles pushed together, the hotel was booked solid and they would move us in a day or two if we would like. We declined as we are the type who will make do and if that is the worst thing that we have to deal with, then we must have had one HECK of a great vacation!
we LOVED the Grand Sirenis
Hotel Grand Sirenis Mayan Beach
User Rating:  
Melanie >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We did quite a lot while on our vacation – Xel-Ha, we booked online though their website before we left and paid $71US/person. We also went to Tulum for ½ day (entrance at Tulum was $5US/person if I remember correctly.) We went to Playa Del Carmen to shop and have dinner. Our AT rep recommended the restaurant Ajua, on 4th between 5th & 10th and we had one of the best meals there!! There was a live band playing, and they made our entire meal tableside with made to order Caesar salad, flambéed chicken & snapper. From there we went over to the Blue Parrot beach club and caught the fire show/drinks/dancing. We enjoyed PDC so much that we took a second trip there the next day. Everywhere we went, we took the collectivos and the most we paid was to go into PDC and even then I think it was only $3US/person. Of course the night we were out a bit late, we took a taxi back to the resort and it was only $20US. On a side note, we heard that Wal-Mart was the place to go for cheaper booze purchases but really I found the duty free in the Mexico airport quite reasonable as well.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
I previously read in many reviews that there were many beach palapas/chairs available at this resort, and I’m afraid that was not my experience. Both at the beach and at the pool if you were not out first thing in the a.m. all of the chairs were gone. People definitely were reserving them with the GS towels and some were left for hours at a time. This may be as a result that the hotel was at full capacity when we were there, (and we were always up early) but the few times that we wanted to go to the beach in the afternoon we just never bothered because it was too much of a hassle getting chairs altogether. When we were at the beach, even though crowded, again the service was great! We really liked the ‘design’ of the beach I thought it was very aesthetic, but not the type of sprawling white sand that you can walk for miles though – just VERY picturesque. Pools were great too, very large and refreshing, not cold, but not warm.
Other Comments
Overall and by far, the very best service I have received on any a.i. vacation – on & off the resort. From the staff in the restaurant to the activities staff to the bartenders to the grounds keepers…all very efficient, and extremely friendly. You didn’t pass one that didn’t have a smile and a ‘hola’ for you, and they always asked you if they could “do anything to make your stay more enjoyable” and I believed it.
Restaurants and Bars
All I can say is that if anyone has a problem with the food at this hotel, I’d love to know where you have travelled before because the buffets were well stocked and I couldn’t imagine someone not finding something they could eat. We always tried to sit in either Alejandro, or Miguel’s section (on the Mayan Beach side) because right from the first day we were talking with them and they always wanted to know where we had been/what we had done/if we like our trip, and so on. They really went out of their way to greet us at every meal and it was nice to see them. I also noted quite often that the temperature of the food on the buffet was being monitored and taken on a very regular basis – which btw, I don’t think I’ve ever seen previously at a resort so it’s good to know that they are taking these measures. For a la cartes, we ate at the Japanese where Victor served up the most amazing fried rice, and yes the fried ice cream is good too. We also ate at the Mexican restaurant where Benjamin was our server. At the end of the meal he came around with some tequila poppers (shots) for us and put sombreros on us while we drank them, hilariously pics from that dinner!! Lastly we ate at the Brazilian, where Angel served up the most amazing meat EVER. Yes, like everyone says this restaurant is a lot of meat. They bring around 7 different skewers of meat, white & red sausage, chicken, pork, beef tenderloin, beef ribs, and NY steak. We weren’t too fond of the beef, but surprisingly were HUGE fans of the sausage, and the pork was to die for. At the end of the meal they even grilled whole pineapple brushed with some sort of cinnamon/sugar concoction that I’m dying to try myself on our BBQ this summer. My mom & husband thought the Japanese was their fav (I think just because of the novelty) but I feel the food at the Brazilian was WAY better – YUM – just pace yourself through the skewers – that’s the key
Rooms
One week prior to departure I emailed the resort as suggested and requested by priority, building 27, ocean view, 3rd floor – we received building 23, garden view, and 1st floor. So pretty much the complete opposite of everything we were hoping for. We were asked to stay in the room for the night and if we weren’t happy we could try to move the next day, and so on but with the resort at capacity there wasn’t much of a chance. Of course we didn’t bother doing this, but much regretted it as the days went on for 2 reasons: 1) it is the furthest building from the lobby (and pretty much everything) so we had quite the hike to breakfast every morning, and 2) our room was located right at the end of the path that led to the disco so we had to deal with obnoxious, drunkies walking by our room each night. My mother has some minor mobility issues and the shuttle was not available to hop on/off as mentioned. Every time we tried to flag it down they would not stop – the concierge suggested that we call ahead to arrange pick up but even when we did they asked why we needed it, blah, blah, blah…it was too much of a hassle so instead mom took her meds & we walked ; ) which in the end, likely saved us 5lbs of extra weight so really it all worked out for the best
Your Arrival
We were late departing because the airport traffic was heavier than usual in Cancun (said the pilot). Upon arrival that was evident as the customs line up at the Cancun airport was RIDICULOUSLY long – I’ve travelled a bit so I expected this, but this by far was the worst airport experience. Bus was easily located outside of airport (and thankfully still waiting) and beer/water was available for purchase ($3/beer if I remember correctly.) There was no washroom on board so we did not partake.
Fabulous Wedding !
Hotel Barcelo Maya Beach
User Rating:  
Louise >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
We were 22 people at the Barcelo Maya Beach from March 6 to March 13 2010. We got married on the beach on March 11. Resort: The rooms are spacious; they are nice and very clean. They always fill up the fridge with beer, water and pop. The beach: Best beach of the 5 resorts, it was well groomed and the water was warm and blue. Food: The buffets were average. The lunch buffet was excellent but at dinner it was bland and everything tasted the same. The restaurants: The Mexican was very good and we paid extra to go to the Palace, La Brasserie and it worth every penny. It was delicious. We were told by some friends that the Steak house and Spanish was also very good. The Wedding: The Wedding coordinator Xhail & Karen were fantastic, everything was perfect. They were professional and really make sure that this day was a special day. We took a package (mint), it was very affordable and we had a private dinner reception where there was 7 servers taking care of us (for 22 guests), we were spoiled. There was a nice bar, we had brought our own music and they provide us a music system, it was fun. The food was excellent and the cake also. Thank you very much to Xhail, Karen and Roberto at the reception. Overall, we would recommend strongly this resort to get married and to spend a wonderful time on the beach.

Louise & Derek

I wouldn’t return to the Mayan Beach Resort or recommend it
Hotel Barcelo Maya Beach
User Rating:  
Kathy >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Feb, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
We ate at the buffet on our last evening, Mexican night. While I was eating I removed what I thought was a bone only to find out it was a large molar with the roots attached. I was so grossed out, I was spitting my food into the cloth napkin. I showed the waitress, she was shocked. My mistake was to ask her to remove my plate, I should have kept the molar. I spoke to the head chef with regards to my experience, he was rude and intimidating, refusing to speak English to me. The waiter told the chef I did not speak Spanish. I was unable to sleep, I was gagging every time I thought of that tooth in my mouth. I submitted two complaints, one at my departure by filling out their questionaire, the second upon my return home via email. To date I have not received an apology from the resort.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The shows were entertaining.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
The beach and grounds were beautiful and clean, the pool was not clean.
Other Comments
We went to the resort to celebrate a wedding, they did a wonderful job.
Due to the chef’s behaviour and the resort’s inability to apologize for my horrible experience, I will never return or recommend the resort. My eldest daughter and five of her friends went to the Mayan Riviera in May, I advised them to take this resort off their list. As the saying goes, you tell 3 people, they tell 3 people and so on.
Restaurants and Bars
The bar was okay, the bar staff were wonderful. I liked the fact that there was plenty of bottled water available. Our experience at the steak house was exceptionally good.
Rooms
I was very disappointed in our room, it was small and dark. We left tips for the cleaners everyday, it was not unusual to return to find our room was not cleaned; coffee, cream, sugar and the fridge wasn’t replenished but the tip was gone.
Your Arrival
Upon our arrival the front desk staff were welcoming and polite.
It was not a great experience
Hotel Barcelo Maya Beach
User Rating:  
Jaclyn >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Dec, 2009 | Leisure | With Group
To Whom it may Concern, I would NEVER recommended this hotel as the staff was extremely rude and unaccommodating and made the stay VERY UNPLEASANT. I was there for a family wedding with 35 guests who all spent a fortune at the hotel for the wedding. Despite a wedding planner from the hotel, we were not able to have a rehearsal dinner, even though it had been arranged months in before. Once we arrived, they said sorry there are too many of you, even though at the time the restaurant was empty and set up waiting for all 35 of us. The manager, Fransico was absolutely disobliging at the Capri Italian restaurant and he was enough to set off the entire trip and represent the entire hotel franchise very negatively. He was not the only rude and unhelpful staff member. As we were setting up the reception we were greeted by staff members yelling at us because we complained about the heat in the room. The food at all the restaurants and buffets were below par and I found hair in my food twice. In addition, the front desk was very ineffective as when we would call and ask for help, they would agree that they would send someone, BUT no one ever arrived. For example, two rooms had broken safes that beeped and opened continuously for three days, and no one ever came to fix it. Furthermore, several of us experienced lizards in our bedrooms. On top of that, it is probable that a staff member stole gold bracelets from my aunt’s room. Overall, it was not a great experience, and I would never recommend this place to anyone ESPECIALLY FOR A WEDDING. I only have two good comments regarding this entire hotel complex: they offered a variety of water sports free and they had nice pools.

Just remember bad staff have the ability to completely ruin a vacation!

We got married under the gazebo located next to the Tequilla
Hotel Gran Bahia Principe Tulum
User Rating:  
Lisa from Minnesota >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Nov, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
Here is my review of our wedding at Gran Bahia Principe Tulum. I will rate each aspect of the wedding out of 10 (10 being the highest).
Dance/Reception 5/10.
We had a pool side dance from 8:30-10:30pm. We paid $8/person to have the dance be private for that price, we got beer, wine, and margaritas. Jazmin was there and welcomed us and had the bride/groom come out for the first dance. We had our first dance on a CD, but that was the only music we brought. The DJ we had was thru the resort (it cost us $140/hr). We attempted to hire DJ Bob, but the resort is now trying not to use outside vendors. The DJ spoke very little English. So he did not announce anything the whole nite. He just played mostly hip hop music. He played a couple of slow songs at the end. We tried to request music, but he never played any of the requested songs. Prior to our trip, we had thought about just bringing our own music and playing it on a CD player that the resort could have provided. I am glad that we didn’t do that. We saw another wedding party that did that and no one danced and it was much quieter and there were no lights, like we had with our DJ. We did have 2 people who crashed our dance. They didn’t speak English or Spanish. We tried to explain to them that it was a private party. As soon as Jazmin saw us talking to them, she came and asked us if they were in our group. When we said no, she took care of it and escorted them away. I assume that DJ Bob would have been much better, but that wasn’t an option for us. So my advice is to use the resort’s DJ for their equipment, but bring your own music on CD’s and ask one of your guests to announce any special dances. On a side note, since the dance was so close to the pool, my groom pushed me into the pool at the end of our dance. It was very funny by the time I got my head above water, we had 15 people who joined me in the pool fully clothed. Even though I only rated the dance/reception as a 5/10, we had a blast. We made the best of it and danced even to the songs that we didn’t know.
Dinner 8/10.
We ate at the La Gran Tortuga. We had reservations from 6-8pm. We were ready to go by 7:30pm. The food was amazing. They served the meats on swords and they just kept coming with more food we were so stuffed. My only complaint about the dinner was that there was no one to greet us or explain how things worked there. We just had someone point us to our reserved tables. Most guests filled up on the salad bar, because they were not aware that more food was coming. The other thing I wish I would have known is that we could have brought our own music to play during the dinner. Also, when they ask if you want Mexican coffee say yes. It’s really cool how they make it!
Photographer #1: 3/10.
With our wedding package we had 10 pictures included. We had Jose Martinez as the photographer. He was only there during the ceremony since we were just getting 10 pictures. We were not impressed with him. We met him the day after the wedding to pick out our pictures, but the computer was not working so we had to reschedule for the next day at 3pm. When we got there the next day, he did not show up. He had a letter in our room that evening, stating that he was rescheduling for the next day, but we were leaving for home. So we never got to meet him to pick out pictures. He did end up emailing us 10 of his chosen pictures about 2 weeks after the wedding. I can honestly say that his pictures were no better than what my guests took.
Photographer #2: 10/10 so far (we haven’t seen pictures yet).
We hired Erick from Claudia Rodriguez Wedding Photography. They did a special photo package for us for 2 hours of coverage for $1,000. They will send us our photos on a CD using fedex shipping within 4-6 weeks after our Wedding Day. We will get approximately 100 pictures with special effects and editing. Erick was very professional and friendly. He spoke perfect English. He actually ended up spending an extra ½ hour with us. We didn’t ask for this, but he said he wanted to try a few more poses. We have not seen his pictures yet. However, my brother stood behind the photographer and took a few pictures and those turned out great, so we expect the professional photos to be even better.
Travel Agent: 10/10.
I would like to recommend our travel agent, Rudy Mees thru Vacations International (760) 512-0825. He did a wonderful job answering my millions of questions. He also would talk with Jazmin (wedding coordinator) for me when it took a while for Jazmin to respond to my emails. Rudy also got us an excellent discount for having a group of 30 go with us. He always responded to my emails within 1 day, except when he was in Mexico, and he did let me know about this in advance.
Wedding Ceremony: 10/10.
We got married under the gazebo located next to the Tequilla. It started right on time. Jazmin made sure that our preludes ended right at 2pm, when the wedding was supposed to start. It really was beautiful. It was 90 degrees and super humid on the day we got married. Jazmin made sure that there was some water for us located under the gazebo. The whole ceremony lasted about 20 minutes. Like I said earlier, the judge said everything in Spanish, and then Jazmin translated. We did a sand ceremony and that was wonderful as well. It was super windy and we were worried that our containers for the sand would blow over and break, but they had set up so that it would blow over. Jazmin took the music cd and sand vases with her after the ceremony, and we just picked them up the next day. Jazmin also played all of our music at the right times. The ceremony was wonderful. We did have a couple of gawkers in swim suits, but that was to be expected.
Wedding Coordinator: 8/10.
We weren’t too sure about her at first, because it did take her a while (5-7 days at times) to respond to some of our questions via email. However, our travel agent told us to expect that. And our travel agent would call her to get the answers to our questions if I got really antsy. Jazmin’s emails were hard to understand because her written English skills weren’t the best. However, she spoke wonderful English (very easy to understand). We did get to meet Jazmin on the day we arrived to the resort. However, we didn’t meet to confirm details until 2 days prior to the wedding. We ended up meeting for 2 hours. She went over every detail. And she had everything exactly right from all the emails that we sent back and forth. She went over all the costs in details. The package price was actually cheaper than we were quoted. Jazmin attended the wedding. She translated the actual ceremony, since it was in Spanish. Jazmin coordinated everything wonderfully. She was with us for most of the day.
Loved it!
Hotel Grand Riviera Maya Princess
User Rating:  
Debbie >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Nov, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
Read the reviews here..had to leave my own. Stayed in mid November 2009 and had a great time.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Never left the resort, been to Mexico a few times before and was just happy to stay at the resort.
Beach/Pools/Grounds
Grounds were beautiful, clean, well kept. Had a few bug bites but nothing to complain about. Never had a problem finding a place to lie around the pool(s).
Other Comments
Would go back but would love to have one of the swim out rooms on the Princess side as that is where the sun is all day.
Restaurants and Bars
Buffet was good. Loved the nachos and homemade salsa. The Grill ala carte was awful but the Italian was wonderful. Never had a problem getting coffee at the buffet. Staff was super friendly. Felt bad in the morning because I always forgot to bring cash, but on the last day there, tipped the girls who served us every morning.
Rooms
Room was nice, king size bed. We were on bottom floor, used the balcony every day after beach/pool to have a drink and watch the sun set. Very private. Beautiful bathroom.
Your Arrival
Arrived around 1:30, room was to be ready by 3. Not a problem, went to the bar had a drink and then went for lunch. Went back at 3, received 2 key cards and check in information. Luggage arrived shortly after we arrived at room.
Spoiled for Life
Hotel Secrets Maroma Beach
User Rating:  
Leslie >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Sep, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
My husband and I have been to Secrets Maroma Beach twice. The first time the resort was not finished. Unhappy you ask? Yes a little. However, on our second visit all the bells and whistles were finally finished and boy was it worth it!
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Activities! Well you could never get bored. There is tequila tasting, wine tasting, salsa making, volleyball, water polo, kayaking, snorkeling, game room, etc. If you want to pay a little money there is excursions that can be booked and when you arrive they will let you know where and when to book. You can go shopping in Playa del Carmen, although you can grab a cab and do it yourself and its cheaper! You can go to Xel-ha, which is a ecological tourist trap…but I have to say it is fun! Worth the money? Nah but still fun! Tulum is awesome..I would say its a must if for nothing else but the view of the beach and the swimming. There are booze cruises and bar hopping tours. Trust me there is a ton to do on and off the resort. If you do nothing else check out playa del carmen..no matter how you get there!
Beach/Pools/Grounds
What would a mexican getaway be without beaches and pools. If you don’t know Secrets Maroma is situated on one of the 50 most beautiful beaches in the world. I for one believe every word of that! The sand is soft and white and the water is so so blue! Nothing is better than getting a kayak and paddling out first thing in the morning! By the way the Kayaks are included and they can be found on the beach under a tiki hut. The beach is calming and soothing to one’s soul. Magical!
As for the pools. I loved the pools. Sometimes the beach gets really hot so being able to hop into the pool is a great feeling. There are two pools. There is an infinity pool and the regular pool. The only complaint I have about that is that the pools are divided by a walkway and I would have preferred to have a bridge or something you could swim under to get to it. Other than that they were awesome! However, during the day at certain times they play pool polo and volleyball. if you don’t want to get hit by a ball or don’t feel like being pestered about playing I would stay away from that area during that time.
Other Comments
Amazing trip and I intend to take a third!!! OlaH!!!!!!
Restaurants and Bars
Ahhh my favorite part..eating and drinking! The swim up bar..seriously how can that be bad? A lot of my afternoon was spent drinking margaritas at the swim up bar! All of the restaurants are good. Some are better than others of course. My favorite was the italian and french restaurants, Bordeaux and portofino! The fiesta night is good too its all authentic mexican food and a pretty much a big party. The international cafe’, I believe its called, has different themes on differents nights. You will be left the " Sundial " each night for turndown. The "Sundial" is a piece of paper that will tell you what resturants are open each night, the drink of the day, and what activites are going on and at what times. Check that little piece of paper otherwise you probably wont know what is going on at the international cafe’ … and it is definatly not something to miss!! All the meals I had there were great! If you are a sushi fan the Asian restaurant is GREAT! The best I’ve ever had! As for the lobby bar, the drinks were good and it was very relaxing!
Rooms
The room! Whats not to like? It was very modern and old school charming as well. The bed is HUGE and so comfortable. The shower in the bathroom area is small but very conveinent for us ladies who need to shave our legs before going out to beach, due to its bench seating! The vanity is huge and perfect for applying makeup before dinner! The mini bar has everything you could ever want, beer, soda, and juice. All of which you are able to have. Whatever you use they replace the next day. Plus, if you don’t want a certain item just leave a note and they will replace it with what you want. For example, we don’t drink Diet Coke so we asked them to only bring regular and they did! We had a Garden view room. We had a swim up room. A swim up room means that you have a private, well semi private pool outside your room. That was a great feature especially first thing in the morning before getting breakfast. You can just hop in the minute you get up..its very refreshing. However, although your little cove is private you are sharing the stretch of the pool with the other people who have the same types of rooms. All in all the rooms are the best!!!
Your Arrival
Upon our second arrival we were greeted by the same bellman we had been greeted by before and get this he recognized us! Although, we had been there twice in one year. We were also greeted by a wonderful cocktail and nice cool towels…ahhh home, at least for the next 7 days. The bellman whisked away our luggage and then we were escorted to our room!

Old Reviews – Getting married in the Caribbean

Grand Velas – Puerto Vallarta
Hello. I just returned from Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico where I had my wedding at the Grand Velas. To anyone who is thinking about or debating booking this hotel for a wedding- I strongly urge you to reconsider. The Grand Velas is a beautiful hotel, the rooms are fabulous and the staff is excellent. However, for being a five-star hotel- the food is not great. I have stayed in the past at Dreams. Dreams has a better beach and better food (at least in my opinion). But let me get to the important stuff- the wedding! The wedding coordinators, or whatever they call themselves were terrible! I was bounced from one coordinator to the next and had difficulty understanding them. The Grand Velas has three different wedding packages. I decided to go with the second package because I had 22 guests attending the ceremony. The wedding coordinators nickel and dimmed me for everything! First of all, they completely lied to me and told me that I could not book reservations for dinner at one of their dinning establishments (this was completely untrue). So I decided to purchase a dinner menu for each guest- which cost me about $110 per plate. (Thus an extra $2,000) to the wedding package price. Next we decided that we would compile a list of songs to be played after the wedding. They charged me close to $500 to rent a stereo system. I also had to pay an additional fee for flowers on each dinning table (which was fine). At the last minute that decided that it was "mandatory" that I rent a tent for the wedding (which only had to cover three dining tables). They wanted to charge me $1,000 for the rental of this tent. I told them that this was totally unacceptable- and then all of a sudden I was allowed to have the dinners I paid for in the restaurant by the beach. The package that I purchased included a one hour open bar for the guests. They stated that it was mandatory that I provide liquor for three hours and wanted to charged me $25 per guest per hour for the remainder of the evening. This is an all-inclusive resort…I just didn’t understand. I told them that that was not necessary- if my guest really wanted more drinks they could go to the bar. They stated that this was not an option and that if I didn’t buy this package- they would not even provide water and soda for the guests. Finally we compromised and I had to purchase liquor for the remainder of the ceremony- for which they charged me a corkage fee for. Well- turns out- they DID NOT even set up the open bar and I wasted money purchasing the alcohol. Needless to say, the whole situation was a total disaster. They did not prepare us for the ceremony and we did not even know how to proceed- and then when he did tell us what should happen- it never did. To top it all off- my aunt and uncle were unable to come to Mexico because my Uncle was ill in the hospital- I let them know weeks in advance- and they said they would credit me for the dinners- they did not- and now I have to dispute the claims with the credit card company. But let me save the best for last. We returned to our hotel room after the ceremony to find that it was flooded- the drain under the sink produced mass amounts of water, bubbles and sewage (they believe from the tub above our room) and we actually had to request to be placed in another room!!! Wonderful memories- moving in the middle of the night. Ohh, and incidentally- they state that they will put you in the honeymoon sweet for the night of your wedding- this is just a lie.

Again, the hotel is beautiful, and we really hoped that everything would have turned out well, but it did not. Maybe others have had good experiences- but please- at least try to find other reviews before booking your wedding here.

Grand Palladium Riviera
My fiancé and I travelled to the Grand Palladium Riviera to get married and stayed in the Royal Suites for two weeks. The Royal Suites were fantastic; we would not go any other way. We had a Jacuzzi tub on our deck, very romantic. You get superior service, including the ability to make reservations at a la cartes, unlimited beach towels, and personal golf cart service to travel around the resort. I would recommend that you get a Royal Suite if you are getting married, especially so you can call a cart to get your hair done or get around quickly to meet up with guests, etc. It saves a lot of time. Some of my guests did not stay in the Royal Suites and they had a hard time getting around, especially those with children who can’t get a Royal Suite. At times it felt like the resort had two classes of people, not so great if you are in the second class. We were staying in the Royal Cabanas. On the day before my wedding, the huge bathroom mirror fell off the wall and shattered all over the suite. The Royal Suites Manager, Leticia, took excellent care to calm me down (Bridezilla) and move us to a Royal Suite, as well as give us free massages (which proved to be some of the best massages ever with Rubi and Alma!) When we first walked into the Royal Suite, there was a trail of petals leading to the bedroom, and the entire bed was covered in petals and a giant towel heart. This really helped me to relax and prepare for the wedding the next day. We liked the Suite so much we stayed there the rest of the trip, although a Royal Junior Suite would have been big enough. The Cabanas were a bit rustic and we tipped the canoe twice into the swampy lake water. We arrived to the resort on Saturday and met with Erika, Rocio’s assistant on Monday, where went over the details of the ceremony and reception. She said we would have El Dorado until 8 or 8:30pm, and we joked about them kicking us out, we were assured that would not happen. They also steamed our wedding clothes and sent us a fruit basket and champagne. On the morning of the wedding, I had my hair done by Caritini at the Spa, I chose a photo and my hair was perfect (I also did a trial a few days ahead). She is an excellent hair stylist! I chose bright tropical flowers and they arrived to my hotel room even more beautiful than I could have imagined. I wore an Alfred Angelo destination wedding dress and my fiancé wore a white linen suit from Le Chateau. It’s important to dress for the heat and you can get any style of wedding dress in a lighter (and cheaper!) version if you look at the destination wedding section.

The wedding ceremony was amazing!! Our wedding ceremony was at 3pm, at 2:50pm the golf cart came to transport me and my photographers (Citlalli Rico from Claudia Rodriguez’s team) and my family to the marble wedding gazebo. The ceremony was extremely well organized. Thirty of our friends and family were gathered under the gazebo in white covered chairs. The aisle runner was strewn with petals and we hired the trio of Mexican guitar singers to play before and after the ceremony. The Judge, Jorge Carlos Denis Zapata, was very charismatic and spoke excellent English and said many wonderful words during our ceremony. My fiancé originally wanted a religious ceremony and although the Judge was not a minister or priest (and did not actually talk about God) we felt it was very spiritual. It was also fun to get fingerprinted at our wedding, just your thumbs. The view from the gazebo for the bride and groom (as well as the guests) is breathtaking. After we were pronounced husband and wife we kissed (until the Judge said, “Ok, enough!” very funny) and as walked back down the aisle together the guests threw petals that swirled around us. At the bottom of the carpet we were each handed a glass of champagne and we toasted each other, visited with guests and took photos with our photographer. Half a dozen people told me they cried at the ceremony because it was so beautiful (even a guy). I can’t imagine a more magical wedding ceremony.

The wedding dinner was at El Dorado at 6pm. The starfish wine stopper favors (weddingstar.com) we had given the wedding planner were beautifully arranged and the food was very good. The cake was very pretty (although they misplaced the cake topper and had to find it) and the arrangement of champagne glasses in a heart was lovely. The only unfortunate incident occurred because we had the room booked from 6 – 8:30pm, but the service was slow. We weren’t worried because the wedding planner told us we could run a little over. Our meals did not come out until after 7:30pm and at 8pm we had still not had our champagne toasts or the wedding cake. Our best man asked for the champagne to be handed out for over 30 minutes, eventually he handed out the glasses out himself along with the groom. We started our toasts at 8:10pm and at 8:20pm the Hostess came over to us and was standing behind my new husband telling him we’d been there too long because there was a group waiting for the room for 9pm. She would not be quiet even when I was proposing a toast to the Groom. I finally had to tell her to get out. I said, “Please – leave – now” and I think she may have seen her untimely death in my eyes, so she did leave the room. We finished our toasts at 8:30pm, a groomsman grabbed the cake and we took a golf cart to La Laguna. We cut the cake and danced at La Laguna, a lovely large outdoor pool restaurant/bar. The rock band playing that night, Conclasse, happily played our wedding songs and we had our First Dance (“With or Without You” by U2) and Father/Daughter Dance (“Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond) and then the whole group danced for hours. We knew what songs to choose from because we went there earlier in the week and found out they would be there for our wedding and chose a couple songs that were great. We loved the band (and tipped them well) and they did line dances and the conga with us and everyone had a blast! Many people told me it was the most fun they had at a wedding. Later that evening we returned to our Royal Suite to find more petals around the room, plus our Jacuzzi tub on the deck was filled with rose petals and there was chocolate covered strawberries and champagne. It was a very magical ending to a wonderful day. The minor bumps were shadowed by the beautiful wedding ceremony and kind service we received. There is no wedding planner present at the restaurant, only the ceremony. A lot of my guests were mad about being kicked out of the restaurant (and openly voiced their concerns to the Hostess) but we tried to laugh it off and continue with our day. My advice to other brides is to laugh off the mishaps, they happen anywhere. When we handed in the survey a few days after the wedding, Management sent us champagne, a plate of chocolate strawberries and apologized. That’s nice; hopefully in the future they handle the situation with more consideration and courtesy. When I spoke to Rocio a few days later about it, she was very apologetic and was kind enough to send the Judge’s words from the ceremony to our room before we left (as we requested).

Overall, we are thrilled with our wedding experience at The Grand Palladium Riviera and would highly recommend it.

Dreams Tulum
WEDDING 9.5/10 There were 2 other weddings during the week I was there, so 3 weddings in total in 7 days. I was surprised there weren’t more, when I asked Landy she said November and December are very busy, January a bit less, February and March are pretty slow (I was shocked, this is when all the spring breaks are, February for universities and March for elementary/high school in Canda) and then April, May and June are very busy. The rest of the summer and the fall are not very busy she said. The wedding was amazing. Although I had had some trouble getting answers to my questions by email, once I was so there Landy was great, she had a long list of questions to ask and took notes of all my answers and all my special requests. We used the free package, and yet I was made to feel that we paid thousands of dollars to them because they worked so so hard to make things right. Landy worked really hard to get the gazebo decorated the way I wanted (a bit different than the normal way) and to get me flowers I liked (talked to the florist for like half an hour while I stood there saying what I wanted and didn’t want based on the florists’ ideas). My family were all completely blown away by the service and how beautiful the wedding site was. Where I put less than a 10/10 I am really just being overly critical because I don’t want to say everything was perfect.

COST 10+/10

All I paid was 150$ for the blood test and 50$ judge’s transportation. Both paid in cash with the proper change. The only other things I paid for was getting everyone’s hair done (45$ each). Also Landy asked me for 5$ tip to pay the guy who set-up the speaker system and played our songs at the ceremony (no charge, just this 5$ "mandatory" tip). When I went to pick up my marriage certificate I tipped Landy for her services and the two men who set up the ceremony site. Even though we had some substitutes (no boutonnier for the groom, no flower arch on the gazebo, but we got two bags of petals and also flower arrangements for the aisle; and smaller flowers on the gazebo) and even though I asked for a more complicated gazebo decoration (I brought my own tulle for them to do this) they didn’t charge me anything for the substitutes or the for the extra work to decorate the gazebo! They also didn’t charge for me to change from vanilla or chocolate cake (included free) to Tres Leche, nor to have a small two tier cake (my request) instead of the small one tiered one I was suppose to get in the package. I got a flower bouquet different than the ones shown in the flower document Landy had sent me and didn’t get charged extra for that either. I also requested that they have the beach cleaned around the gazebo (they always pick up garbage like straws in the sand, but I wanted the seaweed/coral raked up) and said I would pay the guys to clean it but Landy said I didn’t have to pay. I couldn’t believe they didn’t charge me for any of this.

FLOWERS 8/10

I was really concerned about not getting flowers I liked so I ended up ordering natural touch silk flowers from Angel’s Accents. The natural touch flowers look very real, my family were all shocked at how nice and real looking they were. Since the bouquet and boutonnier were free in the package, I decided to take the bouquet anyways hoping it would be better than my silk one or to use as a centerpiece. I didn’t like any of the bouquets in the book so I wanted something different. I really wanted hibiscus, Landy said she’d talk to the florist. Landy got back to me the day before my wedding and said the florist said hibiscus wilt very quickly so they couldn’t do that. I requested birds of paradise and bromeliads. The bouquet was beautiful but it was only delivered (by Landy) one hour before the ceremony, and by then my photographer had taken a ton of pictures with my fake bouquet, so I didn’t want to change bouquets half way though my photos, so I used the real bouquet as a centerpiece for the dinner table. I definitely recommend asking for your bouquet to come earlier! I know Landy gets them in the morning, she told me so and I saw the ones from another wedding when I was there at 1pm. I don’t know why they wait so long to bring them to you. I didn’t want the flower arch that they normally do on the gazebo (this comes free even with the free package), I thought it was too much. I gave Landy a picture I saw where there was just a small palm leaf with a few flowers on each side of the gazebo, so that is what she did. I also requested some palm leaf/flower arrangements for the aisle and they were beautiful.

MUSIC 9/10

I had booked the Caribbean Trio, but Landy said that was something more appropriate for after the ceremony, not during (i.e. it’s not really walking down the aisle music) and since we only had 10 guests who would all be doing photos after the ceremony, I didn’t want to pay 350$ for the Caribbean Trio (for 45 minutes) after the ceremony. She said we could get the “Romantic Trio” instead, this is not in the info booklet, it’s the same people but different style of music and instruments, she said it’s more like serenading music and more appropriate for walking down the aisle. So we agreed to that for during the ceremony and a little bit after. But then we saw another wedding and they used the speaker system with Canon in D playing and the music was very beautiful and very clear so we cancelled the band (no charge, it’s always booked last minute anyways). We didn’t have to pay for the speaker system, just a 5$ tip (requested by Landy) to the guy doing it.

PHOTO AND VIDEO

We didn’t use the resort photographer or videographer. My photographer was one of my guests, and for a videographer we used Paul Schrank from playaweddings. We didn’t get charged anything for using outside vendors.

HAIR 9/10

Me and my 2 bridesmaids went to the salon to have our hair done at 9am. We had 3 different stylists and it took 45 minutes total for us to be done and out of there! The appointments started right on time. We had planned 1.5-2 hours for the hair in case they were late and in case it took a long time (I’ve had updos before that take over an hour). My two bridesmaids had shorter hair so their updos were smaller but I have long hair so lots to curl and still only 45 minutes. I told them to put lots of hairspray and it held up pretty good all day. The only problem is my veil wasn’t back from being steamed so I couldn’t get her to put it in. I slipped it in myself later and it didn’t stay well at all, it stayed for the ceremony but fell out like 20 times during pictures so I eventually gave up and took it out. Would have maybe been better if the hairstylist had put it in. I was very happy with my hair even though it wasn’t quite the same as my inspiration picture I had brought, it was close (as a side note, they have a bunch of hair books if you don’t bring your own picture). My bridesmaids were satisfied with theirs but not overly happy, probably because their hair is so short (less than shoulder length).

CLOTHES STEAMING / IRONING 8/10

The resort steamed my veil and dress and irnoned my husband’s suit and shirt for free as part of our package. They picked the stuff up around noon the day before our wedding and brought it back at 11am the day of the wedding. I called Landy at 10am the day of the wedding when we didn’t have it because I was ready to get dressed soon, but they came shortly after. As mentioned it would have been better to get the veil back sooner so that the hair stylist coud have put it in. Also when our clothes weren’t there by 10am, I was a little bit worried.

TIMING OF THE DAY 10/10

I originally booked my ceremony time at 4pm based on the sun setting at 7pm (as it did last year on the same date) as I wanted 2 hours of good light after the ceremony for photos. But I found out 2 weeks before that sun set would be at 6pm because daylight savings time was only starting a few days later (it starts on the first Sunday in April, whereas in Canada and US it now starts on the 3rd Sunday in March). When I met with Landy she was able to change it to 3pm. The ceremony started only a few minutes late, I think like maybe 5-10 minutes. 3pm was a perfect ceremony time (based on 6pm sunset) because it gave us sufficient time for photos (we had taken photos separately with our families for a couple hours before the ceremony since I didn’t want to see the groom before the wedding). Another good thing about 3pm is that it wasn’t too hot. The hottest time of day at the resort is from about 10am – 2pm. The sun cools down a lot around 3pm as it’s farther down in the sky. I’m really happy that I made my hair appointment for 9am and that left a lot of time for photos, I couldn’t believe how fast the time went by and how long it took to get all the shots I wanted. Having my hair appointment so early also made the whole day relaxing since we weren’t rushed at all.

CEREMONY 10/10

The judge spoke Spanish and Landy translated and there was a microphone so everybody could hear. The ceremony only lasted about 15-20 minutes (even though Landy had said 30). The only thing we added to the regular ceremony was our vows.

DINNER 10/10

We scheduled our dinner for the seaside grill at 6pm. I chose this restaurant since it was open air and near the beach. There are a few mosquitoes around but not that bothersome. We didn’t have a private reception and it didn’t matter, we had one long beautiful rectangular table for the 10 of us and it was perfect. They brought the chairs from the ceremony site (still decorated with bows) over to the restaurant. They meticulously set-up the table lining up each piece of silverware (my parents were so impressed as they watched them do this). They set up a small table next to it with the cake. The dinner and service was wonderful. Everybody was allowed to order from the regular menu since we were only 10 people. We got lots of champagne (they were very generous with this, we had gotten a bottle in our room the day we arrived, a bottle in our room the wedding day, a bottle for the toast and then more for dinner!). For dessert they asked if we wanted to order dessert on top of the wedding cake but we stuck with just the cake. It was tres leche and very delicious. There was way more than enough for 10 people, we only ate half of it. I asked Landy to clarify the new policy related to renting out restaurants now that they have the ballrooms (Convention Center), and she said from now on the only restaurants than can be rented for a private reception are the seaside grill and El Patio. You can no longer do a private reception at the other a-la-cartes (Portofino, Bordeau, Himitsu, Gohan). The cost for the private reception at these two places is 700$ or 750$ (can’t remember). If you have the Ultimate Wedding package you can also have your reception on the beach at no additional cost. The only free option for groups larger than 10 is the buffet, otherwise you pay a 18$ per person set-up & service fee to have dinner in any other restaurant (less than 10 people is free at any restaurant). In my opinion the buffet is actually not a bad option, our whole group ate at the buffet the second night and we had a large table off to the side and it didn’t feel like we were at the buffet at all, it was all candlelit and we got excellent service from the waiter for drinks and clearing plates.

DANCING

For the 1st dance, we planned on going to the Disco but we got there and there was not one person, and we were only 10 people, so not enough to get a good crowd, and it was very dark and they had a disco ball going and it wasn’t really a nice atmosphere for a first dance so since I could tell the parents were uncomfortable we just left and went to bed (I didn’t care as we will dance at our reception at home in a few weeks). What I wish we had planned instead was just to take the ipod dock station from our room (you would require batteries to do this) and do our dance next to the pool, or even right in front of the lobby. Both locations would have been beautiful for a first dance.

PHOTOS AT TULUM RUINS

So it turns out you can’t take wedding pictures at the Tulum ruins! I arrived at the ruins at 8am in my dress (the day after our wedding since we didn’t have time on the wedding day) and they wouldn’t let us in! They told me to change so I put on my bathing suit (there is a washroom at the entrance) and then when I got to the 2nd gate where they stamp your ticket they told me to put my dress in a locker! (it was in my beach bag, but they knew, all the employees saw me walk in wearing my dress) so we just got a refund and left. The employees were nice and polite about it but very firm about not letting me in with my dress on (even though we were practically the only ones there since they had just opened) I was so disappointed because the beach is so amazing and pictures from the look-out point near the beach and on the beach would have been spectacular.

CONCLUSION

I think it’s pretty clear that I was very happy with the resort and especially the wedding. Like I mention the only 2 big problems were the beach and the fact that the resort is far away a lot of things. I was really impressed at how hard the staff (Landy, the two men who did the gazebo set-up, the dinner waiter..) worked to make my wedding day perfect.

Grand Palladium White Sands Resort & Spa
On the Monday I met with Rocio – she is lovely. We went over all the paperwork and then she brought out a folder of flower photos. I was disappointed with this, because from reading other posts I was under the impression that there was going to be a really large selection of bouquets to choose from – well there wasn’t. I didn’t bring a single photo with me of what I would like to have so I just selected from the book. I was still happy with the flowers – they were really fresh and lasted until I left the following week. We had our blood taken and it was virtually painless. This Dr. needs to come to Canada and teach the blood takers how to do it. The wedding was on thurs so we had lots of time to explore and enjoy Mexico. A group of us went to the Coba Adventure Tour – zip line, rappel, hike, see the ruins and it was really good, a lot of hard work but tons of fun. I took the girls swimming with the dolphins at Delphinius for a thank you to them and it was the experience of a lifetime, the Dolphins are amazing, so soft and they love to play. We also did a snorkeling trip on the friday after the wedding. The Wednesday night before the wedding the bridal party all booked into Portofinos for dinner – it was ok – disappointing really, the italian night at the buffet was heaps better. and then my hubby went back to our room and I bunked with my girlfriends.

After breakfast I headed up to my room to begin preparations for the day. My maid of honour curled my hair and then her and my BM pinned and styled it for me. It turned out amazing and lasted pretty good all day. (the resort stylist was too pricy for us $80US) We all got dressed and then at 3 the Photographer Alberto (www.claudiaphoto.com) showed up. He took a variety of photos and then left at 330 to go to the gazebo.

The little cart was supposed to show at 4 but by 410 we still didn’t have a cart so my dad walked to the lobby and got a guy to come get us, so we got to the wedding site around 420. We arrived at the site and it took my breath away, it was beautiful, as I hopped off the cart all sorts of people started to applaud, it was really sweet. The trio started to play and the girls headed up the flower strewn isle. I got a little choked up and my dad made me laugh and unchoke by explaining all about the birds and the bees as we walked the isle. I was laughing like crazy. The JP was great, he spoke English and he was wonderful, the ceremony was sweet and to the point, we exchanged rings and the JP allowed us to say our vows. My DH had his memorized, and I had to pull out a piece of paper to say mine. After our vows my brother said a few words and then the JP finished the ceremony off and we were introduced as Mr and Mrs. We had lots of photos after that and then dinner at the buffet. The dinner was fantastic. They had reserved two long tables for us and when we walked in all the buffet staff were standing at the entrance and applauded us as we entered. The staff were attentive and kept our glasses full and our plates clean. I wouldn’t have changed it for anything. It was relaxed and everyone had lots to eat. We said a few speeches during dessert and then they brought out the wedding cake. hmmmm, not to sure what I can say about it except, it tasted amazing. All I did with regards to the cake was hand in my cake topper and figured it would be a plain white cake – perfect. Well I guess the chef decided it needed to be jazzed up so he went to town on it and had all these edible maple sticks sticking out of it in all directions including a small stick in between the cake toppers grooms legs – it was the funniest thing we had ever seen. After dinner we went to the lobby bar where we had our first dance. Then we went to the La Laguna and danced the evening away to Quarzo. Quarzo is a coverband and they are really good, heaps better then some of the coverbands that play in local pubs. Everyone was dancing, the place was packed. After Quarzo left we went to the disco and the finally back to our room. Our room wasn’t decorated for the wedding as it was supposed to be but it really didn’t matter cause my girlfriends went up and made it look pretty for us.

It was a fantastic day and it exceeded all my expectations. We had a amazing time and I would go back to the resort in a heart beat. You will NOT be disappointed if you choose this resort or if you choose to be married here.

Grand and Club Marival Resort
Maureen and Chris 
June 2008
Photos We were guests at the Marival recently {early June}and witnessed a wedding , so I took photos of the reception set up in the hope it might give some insight for a future bride. Our own daughter had a destination wedding and I know that I searched the reviews and especially any photos I could find of the resort we were booked at. Anyway, this reception was set out beautifully at the La Bamba restuarant [open air] near the kiddy pool at the Marival which is tucked at the side of the resort so no guest traffic bothered the party as it was in the evening and all the kiddies had gone in. The tables had white linen cloths and chair covers with gorgeous tall flower arrangements on all the tables. A seperate table was set up just for the bride and groom.

You may wonder why we were so near by. We were sitting on the beach listening to the waves and the wonderful Mariachi band dressed in their traditional dress as they played for the wedding reception. We saw quite a few waiters attending all the tables [we figured about 70 guests]. During the reception the resort put on a spectacular fireworks display which went out over the ocean and lasted about 15mins. It was very impressive for the people just staying at the resort and watching during their after dinner stroll.

Grand and Club Marival Resort
Our Wedding! Rocio is the wedding coordinator at Marival & she was wonderful in answering all of my questions. We corresponded by email until we arrived at the resort & she always responded right away. Once at the resort we spent about 40 minutes with her going over all of the details like the dinner, flowers, & cake. She assured me that I would have nothing to worry about on the day of the wedding, & she was absolutely right! My flowers were delivered in the afternoon & were more beautiful than I ever expected! Everyone was amazed at how gorgeous they turned out! We were married on the beach at about 5:30pm & the location could not have been more beautiful. It is a very simple ceremony that only lasts about 30 minutes. They had speakers set up & were more than obliging to play the music that we requested. Afterwards, we took some pictures before we headed to dinner. Dinner was outdoors at La Pergola & was reserved only for our wedding party. The food was fantastic & the set up was beautiful. White linen with flower centerpieces. They provided us with a speaker for background music & again allowed us to use our cds that we had brought from home. This allowed us to have our first dance & have one of our friends sing for our party. Rocio even worked with my mother-in-law to provide a surprise for us, which was a fireworks show once the sun had gone down. We also hired the on-site photographer, who was a blast. He made having your picture taken so much fun & all of the pictures turned out great. He took photos of the ceremony, afterwards with our families & bridal party, & finally at sunset, which I thought was a great idea. The sunsets in Mexico are unbelievable. Once dinner & dancing was over we retreated to one of the bars to contin ue the night. It was such a great experience & one that no one that was there will ever forget. I recommend a destination wedding to anyone who does not want the cost & stress of getting married at home.
Occidental Grand Xcaret
We got married at 5pm. I would suggest getting married between 3-4 as the sun went down at 5:20pm and it was very dark for photos. It didn’t help that there were dark clouds that day, however I wish we had it at 4pm for more light. We got married out in the gazebo by the coast and they set up white covered chairs for your guests. We had 32 in total and they accomodated us no problem. It is very very windy down there most of the time, so be prepared for that. Otherwise, the ceremony was perfect. 20 min. in length and they translated into english for us. Immediately after we had champagne to toast for everyone, which was a nice touch. We had dinner reservations at the Mexican restaurant. Initially I wanted the seafood restaurant, but they had a conference booked there and we couldn’t go. I was disappointed, however the Mexican restaurant was great. We had a corner to ourselves that they decorated for us and it was very good food. Our wedding cake was heart shaped and very cute. There was enough for all of our guests. The flowers were absolutely beautiful. I was thinking that I would have to have tropical flowers, but when they showed me the book to choose from, they had roses and lillies and anything that you wanted. I was very impressed with the arrangements and it was well worth buying additional flowers for the rest of the wedding party. Our wedding coordinator Edith was very good at responding to my questions via email prior to going and she was wonderful once we got down there aswell.
Bahia Principe Coba
Cynthia Edmonton Alberta
February 2009
We chose this hotel based on the reviews of websites and friends. We were disappointed with a lot of the hotel None of our 28 guests were booked close to use and that we had to search around for their rooms. We also had many problems with the wedding planner not knowing the language and suggesting things to us without us trying them. For example the venue for the reception. We were told a lot of things could not be done but after looking around at all three parts of the resort we found out that anything was possible. The wedding planner forgot a lot of our requests and did what she wanted not what we requested. She kept a lot of the items we had brought for our wedding and didn’t fill our guest favors up and ended up keep a whole box of candy for herself. They also charged us for a certificate that we didn’t need to have our marriage legalized in Canada and now we are having problems 3 months later getting this certificate that cost us 120.00 USD. The manager of the hotel is a rude man who is never wrong and will admit no fault. The best part of our wedding besides our family and friends being there were the photographers Conrado and Joe. They were amazing and did some amazing pictures. If you are getting married at this resort I would defiantly decide to go with these two. While our wedding was there another couple was there to get married and we found out that their laptop and cash was stolen from their room. When they brought this to the hotel manager they were told that they didn’t want to deal with it. The couple decided to take matters into their own hands and went to Playa Del Carmen and brought the police to the hotel. The manager offered them a free stay at any of their other hotels. This couple took him up on this but I feel it was a cheap out for the hotel. We made a complaint to the Customer Relations Manager while we were there about our problems with the wedding and were told that the Manager of the hotel was on holidays to contact him with our concerns when we returned back to Canada. When we did this the manager was quick to get back to us but accused me of being to picky and wouldn’t let me get a word in edgewise. He also tried to offer my husband and me another stay at their resort but I have no desire to go back to any of the Gran Bahia Principe hotels. I told him that his wedding planner and his hotel ruined my wedding and the least they could do was refund my parents their money back. Eventually he did but made use sign a ridiculous waver stating we wouldn’t request any more money from them. It leads me to think that we are not the first wedding/ vacation this hotel has ruined for people. The hotel itself was nice the grounds were kept up nicely the problem we had was our room was only cleaned well the first week we were there. It was like after our wedding they no longer cared if we had a clean room. We were not the only ones with this problem as a few of our guests stayed two weeks as well and had the same issues. The food at the buffet was ok, a lot of the same food and it tasted very plain, I am not a food critic but like my food to have flavor. Our best meal was off the resort.

I have travelled a lot in my life and would never expect my destination wedding to go off without a hitch but all of the problems that we had were due to the wedding planner. I feel that I can never get my wedding back but now have a story to tell my children and grandchildren. If you do decide to get married at this resort do it with caution and stick to what you want. If you don’t like the answer ask for someone else. If your wedding planners name is Alana ask for another wedding planner and remember if you’re doing a legal marriage in Mexico the certificate you put your thumb print on is enough to legally change your name in Canada.

Dreams – Puerto Vallarta
Leah Canada
November 2006
I just returned from my dream wedding in Puerto Vallarta. We stayed at Dreams which was such a luxory resort & catered to wedding parties in every way. There was one snag, the wedding planner I hired made arrangements for the resort spa to do my makeup, hair & my wedding party of 4 hair & makeup. I am so glad I had a trial 2 days before because it was terrible. One of the spa employees gave me a card for a Canadian woman who lives part time in Vallarta & does wedding styling. I emailed her from the hotel & she contacted me within 2 hours of my email. Long story short, she came to my hotel room & she alone did all of our hair, makeup & even did hair extensions for me, they were incredible & truly made my wedding complete, I love my pictures & just want any brides getting married in Puerto Vallarta to give this wedding stylist a serious thought. Her website address on the business card is www.hairextensions-illusions.com. She even brought the exotic pink flowers I wore in my hair. Also Dreams has great wedding packages & pay the little extra for the disk of pictures, it’s worth it.
JW Marriot
I got married in Cancun October 2006. It was everything we expected and more. We booked everything on the net through my-cancun-wedding.com. There were no complaints with them at all. If you want an entirely stress free wedding then go for them. We e-mailed many times in the few months running up to it to get the finest details right. They even asked us if we would like to postpone the wedding date when we were out there because the weather was forecast rain and wind. We waited four days for the bad weather to pass and ended up getting married in the gorgeous evening sunshine (5.30pm) just like we had dreamed. That’s a good tip, cooler towards the evening means its much more relaxing. The flowers, photography, and DVD were excellent and worth every penny. The way they deorated the area with flowers was gorgeous. We had some photography taken on the beach too. The beaches there are gorgeous. White sands and bright blue sea. We had a small wedding but I know they do many larger weddings and I would certainly trust them with any special requirements you have no matter how big or small. Ours was held at the JW Marriott hotel although we were staying in a hotel 5 mins down the road. (This hotel would have been very expensive to stay at but gorgeous if the budget allows it. We went with family that have a timeshare with another hotel) It has gorgeous gardens, and there are choices of other hotels too. For the bride, I had my hair and nails done at the JW Marriott hotel beforehand. I took photos of how I would like my hair to look. We had a practice run a few days before. I was more than pleased. I could have had my make-up done too but opted out for that (too worried I wouldnt like it even though they did end up helping me a little anyway) The traditional mexican wedding cake called tres leches I think, was gorgeous. I would definitely recommend it. We loved the area so much we’re thinking of going back this November. If only we could do the marrying part again and re-live it. Loved every minute of it. If you need to know anything else at all, just ask. Be happy to help with advice, thoughts etc.

donnamilner2001@yahoo.co.uk

Iberostar Paraiso Lindo
Liz is a great wedding coordinator. I think her only problem is that she is understaffed. Always running around and missed a couple of minor details for the wedding. However, she was very responsive over email ahead of time so we pretty much knew what to expect. The beach wedding was spectacular. I thought we would mind all the people on the beach, but the way they position the aisle, there is not that many people around. When we looked back at the pictures, our friends kept saying that we were on a deserted beach! According to other reviews the hotel photographer was not very good and he/she was unresponsive when we asked questions over email. We chose to go with Claudia Rodriguez and her team. We did not regret our choice. Both the videographer and photographer were professionals with many years of experience. We enjoyed our photo and video shoots a lot. The pictures and DVD were awesome. If you are getting married there and have more questions about any details, email me.
vtsinman@yahoo.com
Hyatt Cancun Caribe
Let me just start be saying that I have been to many beautiful places around the world, but for some reason I am always drawn back to the Mayan Riviera. I absolutley love Cancun!! I have been there five times in the last seven years!! From the first time that I stepped on that prestine white sand and looked upon that turcqoise water I knew that this is where I wanted to have my wedding! In March that dream became a reality and myself and my husband got married at the Hyatt Cancun Caribe. The beach in front of the property is by far the most unbelievable sight you will ever see. It is postcard perfect!!

If you plan on getting married in Cancun, on the beach, I suggest that you look this sight up. My wedding coordinaror Paloma, along with the Hyatt made my wedding spectacular! I explained my vision and they made it a reality. I could not have been happier with how they arranged that unforgettable day. My photographer, Claudia Rodriguez was the most amazing photographer along with her husband who does the videography. On our wedding day it was very windy and Claudia was concerned that we might have not taken the best pictures, so she drove two hours out of her way the next day to our honeymoon hotel, the El Dorado Royale to take more pictures of us that she knew we would love. Wow….she is the best!!!!

Speaking of the best…….the El Dorado Royale was what a honeymoon is supposed to be! We stayed at the Casitas, which were very romantic. The property is amazing!!! It is an all inclusive resort with five star restaurants to eat at every night. The staff were so friendly!!

If you are going to the Mayan Riviera, do some homework on this beautiful destination. There is so much to do and see you don’t want to miss out on all it has to offer!!! Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Xcaret, Isla mujeres…..this is paradise!! Have fun…

Iberostar Tucan/Questzal
Curtis & Lisa Alberta, Canada
January 2007
Our wedding coordinator Mariela was amazing. She offered to meet with us the day after we arrived, immediately after our blood tests. On a side note those worried about the blood tests shouldn’t worry. The doctor was very professional and used only brand new disposable needles, though the $150 cash grab for 10 minutes of blood work is a little pricey. We met with Mariela right afterwards(she has at least 2 other girls working for her also) and we went through all the options for decorations i.e. white or Mexican themed wedding ) and flower options for the tables, wedding party, etc. We also confirmed our numbers for dinner and confirmed the private booking of the disco from 8-10 on the wedding day. Because we had a group that nearly filled the restaurant, we were able to dine with just our wedding group. If you had less than 40 people you would be eating with strangers. She also agreed to us having a rehearsal the day before the wedding. There was a wedding planned for that day as well so it was nice to rehearse with all the chairs and alter set up. Our wedding was scheduled for 4pm so we spent the day on the beach, with the bridesmaids and bride getting their hair/makeup done in the early afternoon. The gentlemen arrived at the wedding site( Jungle location) at around 3:40. We selected the jungle location over the beach location as it was more private. The beach location is essentially the beach volleyball court. It was a gorgeous day, luckily with a little breeze to keep cool. The ceremony went perfectly though the judge was a little late. The ceremony was in Spanish and then Mariela translates the judges speech into English. Though it was a civil ceremony translated from Spanish into English, it was surprisingly meaningful and the exact same ceremony performed at every Mexican Wedding.. It was very quick though so if you wanted a bit longer ceremony you may want to ask a friend to speak, or write your own vows for the ring exchange like we did. By 4:20 we were hitched and the ceremony was followed by a champagne toast in the jungle area before we were whisked off to the beach for photos. The time for photos is narrow as the sun starts to set by 5:15 5:30 ish. We got in all the pictures we needed on the beach and with the group, and then spent some extra time with the photographer at different points around the resort. In total pictures took just an hour and we were back to the lobby bar for a pre dinner cocktail by 5:45pm Regarding pictures – the photographer takes the maximum amount of photos available regardless of what you say you want before the wedding. You can then go in and pick a package based on how many photos you like. We ended up getting around 90 photos (5X7) that come in an album and include a CD with all the photos saved for you digitally. The also try and sell you a very cheesy, poorly done video which we passed on($300USD). It turned out they through it into our album anyway for free. Dinner was at 6:30 and were told that we would be kicked out at 8:15 so the staff could get ready for the 8:30 sitting. We had the steakhouse menu but due to the large group we were forced to have a set menu, which was fine. We wanted to do some very quick toasts to the bride,groom, welcome to the family) etc. but we ran out of time and then finished them at the Disco. If we could do one thing over again it would be to do all the toasts at the Disco as then no one would have been rushed, plus there is a microphone at the Disco(also where the cake and cake cutting took place)

Shortly after that we did a first dance(we brought a wedding disc with 15 or so songs on it which the DJ played. At 10pm the disco opened to everyone else at the resort, and we partied there until early into the next morning

Iberostar Tucan/Questzal
Sharon Calgary, Alberta, Canada
December 2004
My husband and I got married at the Iberostar Tucan on November 17, 2004. All in all, it was a complete dream come true – it was all truly fantastic. Background info – we’re both 29, have been to this area twice before – once to the Viva Azteca for a wedding 3 years ago, once to the Iberostar Paraiso in April 2004 for a wedding and this time for our wedding. Have also been to Dominican Republic and stayed at the Barcelo Bavaro. Iberostar Tucan is by far our favorite!! My husband and I travelled to Mexico along with 50 other people from various parts of the globe. The majority of us came from Calgary, Alberta, while there were some from Vancouver, Toronto, Ohio, England, and Ireland. There were about 30 of us staying at the Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal, the other 20 stayed at various other resorts, some by choice, some becuase they didn’t book soon enough and the Tucan was fully booked.

FLIGHT

From Calgary we flew via Sykservice through signature vacations. Skyservice was not quite as bad as I had anticipated. The seats were tight, but we learned on the way home that rows 20-30 are the tightest. Anything before 20 and after 30 has a little more leg room, which really made quite a difference on our way home. The flight went reasonably well – it’s a long cramped ride, but worth it for where you’re going. Arrival in the Cancun airport at around 3:45pm on the Friday was quite smooth. We were the only flight that arrived to the terminal at that time, so while we were in line for about 20 minutes, it wasn’t too bad at all. (as a side note for future Mexico brides, we did carry down with us gift bags for all our guests. We had boxed them up into smaller boxes to distribute to some of our family and friends to check as baggage on the plane, which worked quite well. Our baggage, however, was too heavy. We were overweight and had to pay about $180 for overweight luggage, which we were expecting, so it wasn’t the end of the world for us. It was quite stressful upon arrival to make sure all the boxes were collected and got on the bus and to our room at the resort, but as soon as we had them in our room, it was all good. I did also carry on my dress, which I learned probably wasn’t necessary, other than the fact I would have been horrified if they lost my luggage. But, in terms of wrinkles, it didn’t make any difference. The airline would not hang the dress, so it went in the overhead bin folded neatly on top of bags, but fell off the hanger numerous times throughout the travels to the resort and for the most part sat at the bottom of the garment bag in a ball, but as soon as I hung it for a day, it didn’t need any pressing what so ever. My dress, however, did not have any thick heavy fabric, which also helped in terms of wrinkles). Cancun airport went smoothly, got through customs and collected our baggage and all our boxes. Unbelievably, no one in our group got the red light, which was great! Hopped on the bus and made one stop at another resort on the way to ours.

CHECK IN

Got to the resort and check-in went very smoothly. We were greeted with welcome drinks and given our room number and resort information and room keys. We were also given an envelope with a note from Mariela, the wedding coordinator, asking us to meet her at 10am the following day in the lobby to go over the details of the wedding.

ROOMS

Got upgraded to a GREAT ocean view room on the Quetzal side (we had originally booked on the Tucan, but truly, it DOES NOT make a difference. I have seen some reviews where people are dissapointed by which side they’re on – it really doesn’t matter – they do each have different decor to the rooms, and different sort of pathways, but they’re both beautiful. You have to be really picky to be upset about one side over the other). So, we got upgraded to the oceanview room which was great. They had left us a bottle of wine, a nice fruit basket and flower arrangement. The rooms was great. Yes, the bed was firm, but we really didn’t have an issue sleeping. Nice size bathroom with great stand-up shower with lots of water pressure. The only thing lacking in the room are drawers and places to put clothes and things – there are some shelves throughout, and lots of counter space, but more drawers might have been handy and kept us a little more organized. The night was pretty low key – had something to eat at the buffet, had a few drinks and went to bed.

WEDDING PLANS

The next day we were up nice and early (weather was perfect throughout the 2 weeks until the last day we were there). Went to the beach for a while before our meeting with Mariela. Met with Mariela and her assistant (Anna I think was her name). The meeting was great. They showed us pictures, we picked our decor (Traditional white or Mexican – we went with White), we picked our flowers (you can pick traditional bouquets, roses, gerger daisies, etc, we went with the tropical flowers and weren’t dissapointed in the least). They showed us pictures of cakes, we chose one, they gave us the cake flavours, we picked one. And we went over some of the other details of the day. All in all the meeting took 45 minutes. 45 minutes to plan a wedding – how wonderful!! The next couple days were great. Oursleves and all our guests were extremely thrilled with the resort – everything about it.

GREAT RESTAURANT IN TOWN…

Tuesday night the immediate family and wedding party went into playa del carmen for a rehearsal dinner (we didn’t really have a rehearsal dinner, we just wanted an excuse to go out with all of them). We did it at Yaxche restaurant – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!! It was great. We were set up in the garden area. The food was the best we had in the whole 2 weeks in Mexico. SOOOOO good and the service was fantastic too.

WEDDING DAY:

Next day was the wedding day. I had always wanted to be sitting by the pool the morning of my wedding, so I made a special point of getting up and out right away so I had a couple hours at the pool. At 11:00 I headed up to my room for a shower. Headed over to my mom’s room with my bride’s maids and dropped off our dresses, then over to the spa to get our hair done. We all did our make-up ourselves in the spa while others were getting their hair done (they only have 2 girls doing hair, so we had to take turns). Though the ladies doing hair in the spa spoke very little English, they gave us a book of up-do’s and had us pick which one we liked and they did an ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC job! And no worries about my hair staying in place – they have some SERIOUS hair spray! They incorporated my tiara and veil into my up-do and I was really really happy with what they did. By now we were running a little behind schedule, so we rushed off to my mom’s room and got dressed. Flowers were delivered on time – WOW!! They were absolutely fabulous, I was so thrilled with them, could have never gotten flowers so beautiful here in Canada. The boys lapel flowers were delivered to the room where they were getting ready – also great!

PICTURES:

I know some of you brides to be out there are wondering about pictures – I was lucky, my uncle is a professional photographer and he came to Mexico with us and did our pictures for us down there. The resort does not allow off-site photographers unless they are part of your wedding group. I have seen the on-site photographer and the pictures done, which are great, but really you can’t go wrong with the scenery there, however, I do have to admit it was nice having a REAL professional photographer rather than the same one that takes pictures of the iguanas and parrots throughout the resort that day. I’m really not meaning to ‘diss’ their photographer, I’ve just grown up with an uncle as a professional photographer, so I really know the difference, but the albums that the resort photographer was doing looked beautiful – I’m just biased. I had my pictures with me and my bridemaids and my mom before the ceremony. We took a bunch of them throughout the resort as we made our way to the beach for the ceremony.

WEDDING CEREMONY:

We arrived at the wedding ceremony and had to wait hiding behind a building for a little bit because the guests wouldn’t take their seats! But, eventually we got underway. We were given a list of music for the processional by Mariela to choose from, but it was mostly filled with cheesy Mariah Carey and Celine Dion type music. Instead I asked her to just play some ‘Mexican’ music. She had a mariachi CD she used, it was great. We also cheated a little bit with the legal requirements. We legally got married in Canada prior to our departure, which saved us some of the paperwork. Usually, for a non-legal ceremony, they offer a ‘non-denomination Christian minister’ to perform the ceremony. This didn’t sit well with my husband and I as we wanted no religion in the ceremony at all. So, instead, since it wasn’t a legal ceremony anyways, we asked one of our close friends to perform the ceremony, it was a wonderful way to include someone so important to us and it was absolutely perfect. Following the brief ceremony we had a champagne toast and more hugs and kisses than I could ever count. Yes, there were on-lookers in bikinis and speedo’s during the ceremony, but to be completely honest, I only know this from some of the pictures and video, during the ceremony I was so wrapped up in everything that I didn’t notice at all. As well, Mariela and her assistant were very good at clearing most of the people away from the area for the ceremony. Champagne on the beach with mariachi music playing from the speakers – it was fantastic. We did pictures of the wedding party, family and bride and groom immediately following champage. It was so much fun!!!

COCKTAIL RECEPTION

We had a cocktail reception planned to take place in the jungle from 5:15-6:15 with a mariachi band. In comparison to all the other costs, this was the most expensive event of the entire wedding – but worth it!! The mariachi band was unbelievably fantastic and fun. The food was good (appetizers), and drinks of course were great. It was QUITE costly in comparison to everything else, but quite cheap to compare to doing something like that at home. To us, it was worth it. Gave us some time to mill around and socialize with everyone after the ceremony and before the formal dinner. It was a lot of fun.

DINNER RECEPTION

We chose the steakhouse (la Marimba) for the dinner/reception because we wanted the open air environment and we just liked this restaurant from what we read in previous reviews. It was a GREAT choice. I did have to negotiate a bit prior to departing in order to get the entire restaurant reserved for JUST us for the entire evening (6:30-10:30). Because we had less that 75 people we couldn’t just have it for the evening, but because we were 52, Mariela allowed us to have the whole restaurant for the entire evening as long as it counted as one dinner reservation at an a-la-carte restaurant for each of the guests. This was fine with me, I don’t think any of the guests minded, in fact, most of them didn’t even realize that they had one less reservation. The table set up was fantastic, the flowers were great (we upgraded the flowers at the ceremony, and then they took the flowers from the ceremony and used them as centerpieces at dinner – it was great). In fact, I upgraded flowers anywhere and everywhere we could – they were really cheap and really beautiful. We had dinner, which was served, including appetizers and main course. We had ordered a DJ for the evening to have a microphone for speeches and play music for the dance afterwards (we burned our own CD’s for the dance as we didn’t know what to expect the DJ to have in terms of music for dancing). This was my one of 2 disappointments of the entire wedding – the DJ was REALLY cheap ($50 for 2 hours), which surprised me, but really, the DJ was nothing more than a getoblaster with 1 speaker. It was loud enough for the speeches, but pretty pathetic for dancing, but really not a catastrophic thing, we got over it pretty quickly. Just meant that dancing didn’t really catch on, most people just mingled and drank – if the music was louder, people probably would have danced more. The wedding cake was AMAZING!!!! It was beautiful (we ordered fresh flowers as decoration of course), and it was sooooo tasty. We went with the strawberry vanilla cake – basically it was like strawberry shortcake and soooooo yummy!!

AFTER 10:30pm

We headed over to the disco. Lots of dancing and fun, not much more needs to be said. All in all we had a FANTASTIC day!!

VIDEO:

2 days after the wedding our video was ready at the photoshop. We ordered the video not really expecting the most quality video in the world, but just so we had a video of the day. We brought our own personal DVD player, so we were able to take the DVD back to our room and watch it. This was the 2nd disappointment of the wedding (there were only 2, and neither of them are major as you can see). The video was pretty terrible. The editing was just soooo choppy and bad. We took the video back to the photoshop and told them how we felt and they said they would re-do it. So, we picked up another one a few days later and it wasn’t much better. All I can say is for $300US, don’t expect much for the video. I’m still glad we did it, even for the money, because I’m happy to have the video, but the quality is just pretty bad. REST OF THE TRIP The rest of the trip was totally delightful and wonderful and relaxing and fun. I can’t give any reviews about the a la carte restaurants because, if you can believe it, we didn’t eat at any for the entire 2 weeks except the steakhouse. We were pretty content with the buffet and we weren’t keen on having a reservation at a specific time – this isn’t the way we like to vacation in Mexico. We also ate dinner in town quite a few evenings. We liked venturing into town during the evening for a bit and you could find pretty cheap restaurants to stop and eat at. If you have any other questions about anything at all, please feel free to ask. I spent a lot of time researching a lot of things, so I know a lot about it all. Thank you to this board for all the great information I got and used in my research prior to my wonderful wedding – what a dream come true. Honestly. And now, we’re planning our next trip to the area next year – probably the Iberostar Tucan again – it’s the most amazing place – and all our 52 guests agreed!!

swhitton@royallepage.ca

El Dorado Royale a Spa Resort
Because we had so many people along Lindsay actually traveled with the group without a cost to us. Actually she did not charge at all for her service which I found ammazing because she is worth a million dollars! Which was great for our budget and family. She was wonderful. Prior to us getting down there she went through every steps from flowers to cake to vows to music to location. She even had the picture poses down to give to the photographer. Once we where down there all we had to do was the blood tests and enjoy the beach. She met with the wedding coordinator at the resort then asked us and everything set. We chose the beach gazebo, kudos to the resorts design team. Very nice flowers creating almost an arch as I stepped up. Lindsay had the aisle marked with white flower petals and tiki torchs (sorry not lit) with tulle and some tropical flower. The chairs where cover in white too. The night before she actually had us rehersal which was very nice. We found a place that I could hide to surpise Chet before I come into view. Friends of ours went to Sandals last year (where we got the idea) and never had that. We even had a rehersal dinner too that she coordianated. The day of the wedding we had little gift bags for our guests which where a suggestion of Lindsay plus she included a wedding day time table. Us girls went to the spa and she got the guys a tee time up at the new Moon Palace course which they loved. The whole day was orchstrated without a hitch. We even had Lindsay’s husband helping the guys keep it together another nice touch! The wedding staff at the resort allowed us one of the dinning rooms for both the day before and after the wedding. To them I say thank you! Lindsay did not promise this which I liked she said we can try and that is what we always did. I would highly recommend this lady and her service again, again and again. Two couples friends of ours got engaged on the trip which she lined up the private dinner at the beach for them. They are looking at next year but already talked to her about Jamaica and St Lucia. I got the Save the Date already for both. Truly if you are looking for a company that does weddings in Caribbean and Mexico plus I think she does Hawaii or some Pacific area you email me and I will forward you her information.

You got questions then email me lauriealmi50@yahoo.com

RIU Tequila
Kathryn & Emery Canada
August 2005
Thank you Debbie for hosting this great site, which I have found to be accurate on several occasions. When researching our destination wedding, there were almost no reviews for the area/hotel we were looking for, so I hope this will help someone else planning their wedding at the RIU Tequila. My husband and I decided on a destination wedding in Mayan Riviera, Mexico since there was something for everyone – tours, gorgeous beaches, shopping, nightlife, etc. We arrived on March 28th and our wedding took place on the 31st. We had 26 people join us for our event, and it was an amazing week.

We booked our hotel and made a deposit in August 2004. As soon as everyone in our party was confirmed, I contacted the RIU Hotel Wedding Coordinator who booked a wedding date for us – her name was Jessica and she was excellent – very prompt and efficient. You have to book a date as soon as possible since there are many weddings held at this hotel and surrounding RIU hotels, and dates become limited the more you wait. By law, we needed to be in Mexico three business days prior to the wedding so it worked out perfectly for us.

We arrived in Mexico late in the evening on March 28th. The following morning we had an appointment to meet Jessica, our wedding coordinator. We woke up and met Jessica at the RIU Palace for about ½ hour – during this time we provided her with our passports and paperwork and went over all the details for the wedding. She provided us with a binder of flower selections, cake choices and ceremony spots. We chose to get married on the beach of the RIU Playacar (we came all this way after all) as opposed to the garden areas. Although the beach was much less private, it was the reason we went south to be married in the first place. Our wedding was scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on the 31st. At 2 p.m., the flowers arrived and shortly after the hairdresser came to my room for an updo. She was fantastic – I would suggest you bring a photo along since their English is quite limited. At 3:30 p.m., I headed towards the beach area with my parents, my maid-of-honour and Emery’s best man. The ceremony was gorgeous, and quite brief. There were many (probably about a hundred) people taking photos of us and video taping as we were not in a private area. The Coordinator did a great job of cordoning off the area which we were to me married, but weddings like this attract almost everyone. This didn’t bother us in the least as we were concentrated on us, and our ceremony. If you want a more intimate ceremony, choose the gardens. After the ceremony, we had professional photos and a video taken in several different locations of the four RIU hotels – the beach photography was stunning. After the photo/video session, we met our family and friends at the Kiosko bar and terrace for a few drinks and casual photos before dinner. Dinner was at the “Steakhouse” à la carte restaurant and was perfect. We ate, had a toast, and made speeches before giving all our guests a gift for joining us. There was also a small cake cutting.

It was an amazing day and we would not have changed a thing. It’s a big day and a big deal – you should thoroughly do your research to ensure it’s one of the best days of your lives.

Barcelo Maya Beach Resort
Laura Canada
December 2005
We have just returned from 2 glorious weeks at the Barcelo with 57 family and friends! I must say that everything was perfect! I secured my wedding time/date back in April, and the process was very quick and efficient. My wedding Co-ordinater was Carolina Marin -who I cannot say enough about. She was very prompt in returning all of my emails and answering all of my questions. We had a bit of a scare with Hurricane Wilma passing through 1 month before our arrival. After hearing back from Carolina after the storm, I had no hesitation about going as I was reassured that the resort was in full operational condition. When we arrived, our whole group was located in the same building, close to the beach/pool/bar/disco -we couldn’t have asked for anything better. The endless amounts of food and drink were amazing. I am usually one that likes the ala carte restaurants vs the buffet, but the buffet was amazing every day and every night. I cannot speak enough about the great variety of the food and drinks!!! We met with Carolina a few days before the wedding to go over the final details. We had endless choices for flowers, cakes, extras etc…which turned out so beautiful. The wedding day arrives and mother nature is not at her best -a few showers in the mid morning and the forecast for the rest of the day was enough to cancel the reception on the beach, which then was moved inside the banquet hall. The ceremony on the beach was a last minute addition as the rain held off enough for us to be out there –which was unbelievable -the set up, the music -everything was absolutely perfect!!!!! The banquet hall turned out great -the set up, the meal, and the DJ was amazing! The photos turned out very nice -the prices for the pictures were reasonably priced. The DVD video that they take is great -but very expensive ($295USD). We had someone tape the ceremony for us, so we didn’t need to purchase it.

I would highly recommend the Barcelo for your wedding. Every detail was taken care off, stress free, hassle free and fun!! There is no other way that I would have had my wedding. It was an experience that all of us will carry with us forever!

Bahia Principe Tulum
The wedding was 100 times worse than we could have ever imagined. Let me tell you the horror story… I mean wedding story: – We arrived late on Sunday (Jan. 7th) and were assigned our room. Other than a simple ocean view there was NO room upgrade. During our check-in we received a letter from the wedding coordinator, ************ asking us to meet her at the main lobby at 9:30 am the next day. – Jan. 8th – we arrived at the main lobby bright and early 9:20 am excited to get the wedding arrangements out of the way and get on with the day. During the next hour I made inquiries 6 times at the front desk as to the whereabouts of *****, each time being assured that they had contacted her and that she was on her way. 10:45 am after finally getting the assistance of a manager ***** was located. ***** greeted Karen and myself by promptly advising us that WE WERE late and "did we not get her etter ? "…she further went on that people had to be punctual and that she had lots of other things to do. Trying to keep my composure I quickly challenged her to ask the front desk staff who were now annoyed with how many times I had asked for her and ask them how long I had been here. *****, without apology changed the subject. – During the meeting with *****, she still did not have the majority of the details about the wedding correct as per previous numerous e-mails. For example she had our quests listed as 31 as opposed to 41. She also argued with me on what our menu selection had been. ***** became matter of fact and told me that I had only made one entree selection off the menu and went on to show me the e-mail I had sent her. Much to *****’s surprise I was right. – Throughout the meeting ***** assured us that there was no reason to worry about the details as everything would be just fine. She also assured us that if it rained then a location would be set up to have the wedding indoors. After finishing the paper work and looking at some of the locations ***** assured us that she would have a formal letter prepared for each guest listing the itinerary so they would know where to go for the wedding on such a large resort. I told ***** that we were having a get together that evening with all the guests and that this would be the best time to deliver the letters. ***** assured us that we would have the letters well before this time (before 6pm.). – 7:00 pm went by and I finally put a message into ***** to call us back. Lucky for ***** that when she called back ; Karen answered the phone. ***** told Karen that the letters were not ready and that she would hand deliver them by 9:00 am the next day ( the wedding day). – Jan. 9th – ***** never showed up as promised and we are now scrambling to get ready for the wedding and worrying about tracking down 41 guests to deliver letters to. I called ***** and she advised me that she had sent the letters already by bus boy and that we should have them within 20 minutes. I reminded her that she said that she would deliver them personally and she replied that she was busy !!!@!!!. I told ***** that if the letters were not at the room in 20 minutes that I would be calling her right back, she then stated that she was not sure when the letters would arrive in the room. Then amazingly ***** told me that she would hand deliver them in 10 minutes (…this is after she told me they had already been sent). ***** arrived and gave us the letters without apology. – It took us almost 3 hours on our wedding day to search the resort and deliver the letters to our guests. ***** had offered to have the letters delivered at this late hour to the guest’s rooms. I reminded ***** that these people were on an expensive vacation and were not going to wait in their rooms all day for a letter. – ***** called later in the day and told me that she would not be around for our wedding and that she would send one of her co-workers. The reason she gave for not being there was that she had to go to "an employee of the month meeting"…..this is no lie. ***** assured me that everything would run smoothly. ***** also asked if we wanted the wedding inside or out as it was now raining. I reminded ***** that as previously agreed, the wedding would be outside if it was not raining and inside if it was raining at a decorated location. – Separate transportation to the wedding was arranged for Karen, me and our wedding party. A trolley was to pick us up at 2 different rooms and the guests were promised exclusive transportation from the main lobby to the wedding site. It should be noted that it is now pouring rain. – Both the transportation for Karen, myself and our wedding party was 10 minutes late. As such we obviously thought our guests would be waiting for us. We arrived at the wedding location in the rain just after 4 as the wedding was scheduled to start at 4. – Much to our horror, none of our 40 guests, including parents were present. The new wedding coordinator ; ***** said that they were likely in another lobby because of the rain and that she would go get them. ***** returned 15 minutes later telling me that she had NO IDEA WHERE MY GUESTS were. – Obviously upset I went outside in the rain to catch my breath. Out of pure luck, one of my wedding guests who went looking for us had gone to the 3rd story balcony of one of the Villas to see if he could spot us. Luckily wearing my now soaked red serge my guest spotted me and stated he would send the rest of the guests over. I attempted to have ***** send transportation for them as it was pouring rain but this did not work. MY GUESTS WEARING FORMAL WEAR WERE FORCED TO WALK 5 MINUTES IN THE POURING RAINING TO THE LOBBY OF A RESTAURANT AFTER THEY HAD BEEN PROMISED TRANSPORTATION. This was probably the biggest embarrassment. ***** went to get umbrellas but came back with only one for herself as there were none left. – The quests who had been dropped off at the wrong location advised me that they were becoming very upset thinking that they had missed the wedding. Several of them checked with the front desk and were advised that nobody knew of the MILLER / PAWLOFF wedding and that they had no idea where they should go. – It is still pouring rain and I have 40 people waiting in a stuffy entrance to a seafood restaurant. The minister is ready to preform the wedding and I am inquiring with ***** where we are going for the inside wedding service. ***** then tells me that I had wanted to do the wedding outside and that nothing has been set up at any indoor location…..It’s now after 4:30 and I have 40 soaked guests staring at me and wondering what the hell is going on. Out of pure frustration Karen announced to our guests that we were now getting married……yes….in the stuffy entrance of a fish restaurant. There was NO walking up the isle. There was NO having the parents give us away. The flower girl was NOT able to walk up an isle with her flowers. There was NO music as promised. There was NO seating for the guests….the list goes on and on. The minister was great but his cell phone goes off in the middle of his service. * Needless to say my face in now the color of my red serge. * I had a quick chat with ***** at the end and told her to express my displeasure to management. * From here everyone was supposedly brought to the wedding dinner location. Nobody was brought to the correct restaurant and it was only with the help of some very nice bell boy that we got to the dinner. * To add insult to injury …… The wedding dinner was very nice, however, in big bold letters on the personalized menus it read…." Wedding of KARY and Brent" * During the wedding dinner ***** sheepishly interrupts me during my meal to say she was sorry. I quickly advised her that this was neither the time nor the pl ace to be having such a conversation. * After the dinner the guests were actually transported to the so called private terrace. This was in a big open court yard which anyone had access to. ***** again met me there and stated that she would make things better by giving us an extra hour free on the Terrace. I told her this was not needed as everyone had already planned to be elsewhere at the end of the hour we had paid for. She said she would do it anyway. It was very nice and many of the resort guests unrelated to our wedding enjoyed the free music and drinks. !!! * ***** said she would be speaking with her boss and would talk with us the next day. This never happened, although we did get 2 cheap t-shirts and a $6.00 bottle of sparkling wine in our room. * Being very frustrated with everything and having lots of other commitments we never had an opportunity to speak with management direct. In fact the last day when we paid almost $800.00 American and checked out they advised us that they were unable to give us a copy of our bill as 1st the printer did not work and then they could not find it on their computer after we paid. ** I am hoping you can forward a copy of this to someone at the Resort who might actually care and other travel agents in Uniglobe. There were numerous frequent travelers in our group many of whom hold prominent positions in news media, policing and government across Canada. For example: One guest is the Mayor of Toronto’s assistant, another guest is the former Chief of Police of Niagara Falls, and another guest produces the 6 o’clock news for City TV in Toronto. I mention this only as the experience has been very bad advertising. ** These are just some of the highlights….I’m sure if I think a little harder I can come up with many more complaints. ** Good Thing is…Karen is still married to me.

** It has been almost 5 months and the Resort is refusing to acknowledge any of our coorespondence

Bahia Principe Tulum
31 of us stayed at Bahia Principe Tulum the week of June 3-10 for our wedding. Most of the information about the resort has been written up by previous travelers so I won’t need to touch on that, I will just write about the things that our group went through.

Arrival

Emailed the resort weeks ahead requesting that we all stay in the same complex. Unfortunately we all got separated but this was not a big deal at all. We got upgraded to an ocean view room in villa 4. The majority of the group stayed in villas 9-11 which was close to the 24 hour snack bar.

Food and Restaurants

We’ve stayed at the Akumal side of the resort before so we were quite familiar with the facilities. Our group ate mainly at the Tulum buffet because they had larger tables. Our server Marcos was great the whole week. We ate at the Akumal buffet for lunch and it was nice and breezy. We ate at Coba buffet one night, and it was super hot. No breeze going through that restaurant. Selection at all restaurants varied and you will definitely find something to eat there. A lot of times for lunch, the group would eat at the snack bar because they served these amazing ribs. We also went to Coba pool area for lunch when they made Paella in front of everyone. As a whole group, we had a big problem trying to book a ala carte. We decided to split up the group and go to different restaurants. The Gran Tortuga Steak house was enjoyed by many. They said the steaks were gigantic and the service great. We all ate at the El Senador Seafood restaurant at the Coba side and had the best food. We weren’t supposed to but we requested two different entrees cause we couldn’t decide which one to order. The manager, Alfredo, was so accommodating to our large group. We also ate at the Oriental restaurant on a Thursday during the Fiesta night. Although they say you don’t, we got into the Fiesta for free by showing our reservation sheet at the entrance. The Don Pablo was also a nice romantic restaurant.

Activities,Night Shows and Excursions

As a large group, we were fine entertaining ourselves. We joined animation staff when they played volleyball, or had beer drinking contests. We also had fun watching our friends learn to dance some meringue. At nights after dinner, we would go and watch some shows and then head over to the live band while having a couple of drinks. After, we would all head to the La Rancherita disco at the Hacienda and dance the night away. Drinks are also included here, and everyone from all three sides of the complex are welcome. We stayed up late many nights trying to catch turtles laying their eggs. Usually happens around 3am and the ecological team can show you where it is. Saw the eggs but missed the turtles. Paid $30 to learn how to operate a Hobby Cat, after that, you can take it out as many times as you wish. Negotiated down to $50 for the parasailing. As for excursions, we went to Tulum on a Sunday so it was FREE entrance. We decided to take taxis and negotiated a deal for all taxis. Some went on the ATV/Speedboat tour. It cost $69 and they negotiated prices for all the pictures and DVD of their tour. We all went to Xelha. We bought the tickets from our rep but only paid for entrance which was $59 all inclusive. Others paid extra $139 for their dolpin experience at Xelha. Again, negotiated cab rides for everyone. Xelha is only about 10 minutes away. Went to Playa Del Carmen and took collectivos, $2 each way. At Playa, they opened a Walmart just west a couple of blocks off 5th Avenue. There we bought local snacks and super cheap liquor. We also had a girls night out and went clubbing at Blue Parrot. Entrance was $6 and this included 2 drinks. Just a note, collectivos stop running at 11pm so if you have to get back to the resort you have to take a cab. It will cost you $20 for 4 people. Some also went on the Coba Mayan Adventure tour and this was $89.

Wedding

My dress was steamed and pressed for $15, it takes atleast 48 hours so do it in advance or you will end up paying express prices. Went to the Bahia Spa and got my hair done. It was very pricey but well worth it. It cost $65 for an updo but if you have a veil it will cost $85. Put the veil yourself and this can save you money. My friend had a pedicure and it faded the moment she went on the beach, she went back and they gladly rescheduled for a free touch up. Ladies, ask for Guadalupe to do your hair. She did a fantastic job. Jazmin Ortiz was the coordinator and we met with her two days after arrival to discuss the location and flowers. We picked the site at the gazebo. Restaurant menu was picked ahead of time and flowers were picked that same day. We provided our own music and everything was nicely synchronized. Champagne was served after the ceremony. We booked the Mexican restaurant for dinner at 7. There were other hotel guests with us but not a concern. The band was also walking around playing to everyone. Food was great but the restaurant was boiling hot. We had to step outside to get a breeze. Our wedding cake was a Tres Leche Cake (three milk cake), and was delicious. The service staff at the restaurant did a good job serving the food while we made speeches and toasts. We rented the disco for an hour and upon arrival they gave us a nice cocktail. Had first dance and bouquet & garter toss there as well. Disco opened up an hour later and quickly filled with other guests. Wedding party had tons of fun. The following day, upon return, there was cake and champagne ready for us in our room. All in all, this is a great resort for large groups because there are a million and one things to do. They had many weddings that week and we are very happy at how well everything was organized. Your trip can be a lot of fun if you let loose and enjoy the sun. Email me for more info about the wedding or for pictures.

surashni@hotmail.com

Bahia Principe Akumal
I have mixed feelings about this resort. My wedding was actually our third trip to the resort. The first time I was there was with a friend. The second time we went back at the last minute and didn’t have time to shop around for the resorts. We decided to have the wedding there because it was a "known" quantity.

Many hotels in the region have gazebos for the wedding. We were very attached to marrying in the sand beach. Gran Bahia’s "hammocks" area is on the beach and would let us be barefoot for the wedding. Yuritizia, the wedding planner was amazing and everything about the wedding flowed very smoothly. Though we were told by our Spanish speaking cousin that her translation of the wedding wasn’t quite as precise as it could be, it was still lovely. Also, the service is amazing – at the front desk, in the resteraunts, by the pool, everywhere. We also noticed several weddings having pretty receptions poolside, this was not offered to us, but that looked very pretty way to have a post-wedding reception. Oh, and the mariachis! We loved having a wedding with a mariachi band!

Bahia Principe Akumal
Erin and Shawn Vancouver, BC
October 2007
We were married at 4pm on April 27, 2007 at Bahia Principe Akumal resort with about 25 friends and family in our group from Canada. We chose the resort based on wedding packages, size of the resort and past reviews. I did quite a bit of research on both Mexico and the Dominican before deciding on the Mayan Riviera. We wanted to stay closer to home for those only planning to stay for 1 week but we also wanted white sand beaches. This resort was large enough too that if someone wanted to book late, they could and stay at Tulum or Coba. I started talking with Patricia at the resort in March of 2006. I was told I could reserve a date and then book my trip later so long as someone that already had booked the trip did not want those dates. I had read past resort reviews and tried to keep on top just by emailing every once in a while. It was a bit of a fiasco because the wedding planners changed and they said the next one said they couldn’t hold my date but luckily I had saved my past emails and they held the date until I was able to book our trip in July when Air Transat’s rates came out. We flew in on a Sunday and had our wedding Friday – which was perfect timing for everyone. Those that were staying for 1 week were flying out on the Sunday after we were married which worked out great because they had a day to recover before they flew. Everything really worked out great. I took the advice of past reviews and chose tropical flowers, took pictures of the hair style I wanted in case there was a language barrier at the spa – which there was – and just went with it. We had our ceremony at the hammocks location and after watching weddings all week at the other locations, the hammocks were the most private and I still think are the nicest. We hired Claudia Rodriguez and Erick from her team came out to do our pictures. They turned out fantastic! She books up faster than the resort so make sure to get in touch with her right away. A couple things if you are having your wedding at this resort. I know some reviews say not to email the resort all the time like a bridezilla, but thankfully I just kept checking in cause when the planners changed, I almost lost my date. Try to set up an appointment to meet with the wedding planner before you get there. If you are trying to plan excursions like diving, fishing or going off the resort, it can be difficult if you don’t know in advance when you are meeting your planner. My appointment was booked for 1pm in the afternoon on a day I had planned to dive but luckily I was able to switch because another bride wanted to switch. We decided not to do the legal ceremony down there but to do it at home when we got back. Thank god! The other bride I met on the plane down there said they had spent 1 full day making arrangements with the planner and getting blood testing done and still had to come back the next day to do paperwork! I only have 2 overall complaints about this resort. When I booked my package in July I also booked the disco. On Wednesday before my wedding I was told that the disco was not available due to the "Mexican Fiesta" at the Hacienda on that night. Apparently the Fiesta is always on Thursdays but had been switched to the Friday that week. They gave us 1/2 price tickets for all of our guests to go to the fiesta but it wasn’t the same thing. The unfortunate part is that the disco was not being used at all during the fiesta so I’m still not sure why we couldn’t use it. Secondly, there was another wedding on our day. I was told this resort would do 1 wedding per day and would ask the bride if it was ok before they booked two on the same day. No one said anything to me about the second wedding and I only found out because someone in our group told me. I was disappointed in this because I had been told otherwise and assured many times about this policy by the resort.

If I could do it again, I totally would. The resort was great, Yuritzia – our planner – was fantastic and everything went smoothly on the big day thanks to her. We picked the perfect time cause it was hot during the ceremony but cooled down shortly after that and we were able to get in all of our pictures without having to rush. Our dinner was at Dolce Vita and the staff there were fantastic as well. I can’t say enough about the staff, the people and the resort as a whole.

Bahia Principe Akumal
Jennifer & James Vancouver, BC
October 2005
The reason I write you is because I used your site when choosing my own wedding destination. My husband James and I were married in Play Del Carmel area in January 2005. We chose the Bahia Principe Akumel due to it’s reputation, size, location and handicap accessibility as my husband’ mother is in a wheel chair. This resort is great for anyone with a handicap. Not only are the staff incredibly helpful all the time, but the rooms are equipped and the resort has ramps all over the place. Excellent rating on that front. The wedding coordinators Karla and Antoinette were superb!!! At first they seemed too relaxed but that was simply because I was a complete bridezilla. They kept telling me every thing would be fine and it was! I had many correspondences with Karla by email and phone which was so helpful. When we arrived at the resort our room had been updated to the golden rooms and the view was breathtaking. A package arrived the next day setting up an appointment where to meet our wedding coordinator to discuss all the remaining details that hadn’t been decided over email correspondence. We met with Antoinette and picked out our flowers and discussed documentation and she answered all our questions. Then we had arranged to get our blood work done in Mexico to avoid bringing more documents with us. That I must say was a nightmare for me. The doctors office was located on the resort site and it was clean etc with clean needles that came in packages but the doctor and paramedic could not get a vein from me as I have bad veins. I finally brought back my cousin (who is a paramedic) from Ontario and in one shot, she took my husband and my blood work. I would recommend taking a nurse with you on your trip or a paramedic and if you can’t, have your blood work done in Canada or US. The day of the wedding the flowers arrived around noon and they were beyond what I had imagined. They were cream roses for me and my sister had Gerber daisies.. so beautiful and fresh. outstanding!!!!! I had been very nervous about what might arrive and so was my mother. The beach area looked fabulous with covered white chairs in the sand, cream rose petals, a dj who played music that I didn’t even pick which didn’t bother me-romantic music. There was limited decorating at the site, but the ocean, sand and white chairs looked so breath taking. The ceremony was approx 20 minutes and they did supply a microphone for our vows which was nice as the ocean is loud. The wedding coordinators arrange for a shuttle to pick you up at your door to come down to the site the day of the wedding -ours was on the beach. The shuttle forgot to come so we just flagged one down, that was not a problem. We had arranged to have Champaign served immediately following the ceremony that was delicious and it looked great in photos toasting in front of the ocean! The restaurant we picked is the resort’s nicest restaurant in my opinion, the Arlequin. We begged for a private dinner for one and a half hours. We got our wish, head table, podium for speeches and decorated so elegantly. The dinner was phenomenal. Chicken, soup, rolls etc etc. Everyone loved our wedding cake and the staff were UNBELIEVABLE and we tipped them well. They put on a service that would blow your mind. After dinner we took the old beat up shuttle which was funny to the disco that we rented out privately-costly but WORTH it for two hours but we stayed all night and no one else came in. We had private bar tenders and private dj’s and the girls took over the d.j booth throwing c’ds at him to play and it was an absolute blast!!!!!!!! All in all the wedding was a dream wedding and the most beautiful wedding I have ever attended. There were minor hiccups that there are in every wedding ie. not thinking we could get blood from me and having to do a non legal ceremony but it turned out PERFECT. The day after our wedding we received a bottle of Champaign and cake in our room and the room was always done up so nice with romantic things for us. I would rate this resort for it’s weddings as a 10/10 and the food in general 10/10 and the staff helpfulness 10/10 things to do and activities 10/10 transportation around the huge grounds 10/10. The only thing I was disappointed with was the beach frontage as I am a beach worshipper and I would give it 7/10.

Feel free to email me back at james_jenn@sympatico.ca if you have any questions for us.

Bahia Principe Akumal
Jill and David  USA
March 2005
David and I decided to have our wedding at the Bahia Principe Akumal due to multiple recommendations from travel agents and friends. My travel agent said that Mexico is equally as beautiful as any of the Caribbean Islands, but much more affordable. I wanted to be sensitive to the finances of the other 23 guests that joined us for the week. I began emailing the wedding coordinators at least 8 months before the wedding. They were all very helpful and answered questions within 48 hours. There was a little bit of a language barrier, but for the most part, we overcame this. I am a planner, so was a little surprised when the coordinators said that we would not pick the flowers, location, and some other details until we arrived, but I tried not to worry. And I didn’t need to! It is much easier to do these things after arrival. Make sure to read the requirements carefully for paperwork, passports, etc. The wedding coordinators will tell you everything you will need to know. I was extremely nervous that the airline (US Airways) would not allow me to carry my dress on board. It was a very puffy dress, and I refused to check it as luggage, so I was fully prepared to wear it on the plane if they were not going to let me put it in the overhead compartment! Luckily, there were no problems, and we even had another bride on my flight with her dress. I think the airlines are used to brides carrying their dresses onboard. David’s brother even told the flight attendant that we were getting married, and he told the story of how we met over the loudspeaker. It was really sweet. David and I arrived on Tuesday 3/8, as our wedding was on Friday, March 11. The resort is absolutely stunning. It is meticulously maintained- the grounds are just beautiful. I can’t say enough wonderful things about the surroundings. We had to wait about an hour for our room to be ready. We received a slight upgrade for being the bride and groom, and were promised that the rest of the week, we would be upgraded to an Ocean View room in the Golden Club area, which we did! We received a letter from Antonella (wedding coordinator) in our room, asking us to meet her the following morning with our passports, and bring our 4 witnesses with their passports. The following morning, Antonella met us right on time to take our information and pick the flowers and the location. I gave Antonella a picture of some flowers that I wanted to special order, and also ordered extra flowers for my father, the best man, maid of honor, and our mothers. The extra flowers were very inexpensive. We decided to have the ceremony at the hammock stands, which is relatively private and right on the water. Spectacular. Antonella had made an appointment for us that day at 1 pm to have our blood drawn on-site at the medical center at the Hacienda. The doctor could not find a good vein in David’s arm, so he took the blood from his hand, which he said was a little painful. He did fine with my arm, though. We paid him $140 USD, and were on our way. No bruises, no harm done. We had an incredible week with our friends and family. We spent actually more time on the Tulum side, which we preferred. It is more open and airy, and there was a better vibe by the activities pool. Both sides are great though. The food is to die for. Delicious. Five-star.

Rehearsal Dinner –

We made some arrangements with Lomas Travel to take all 25 of us on a catamaran and a candlelight dinner on the beach. At the last minute, Lomas told us they had overbooked, and we couldn’t get the dinner on the beach. But it all worked out eventually, as they refunded part of our money, and arranged for all 25 of us to have dinner at Tequila at the resort after returning from the boat ride. The boat ride was great – there was an open bar, and everyone got the chance to get to know each other. The scenery was beautiful and very romantic. We had a great time at Tequila as well. Make sure to do “Tequila Boom-Boom” at the restaurant! It’s a lot of fun.

The Wedding-

David got ready in the best man’s room, while I got ready in our Ocean view room. My maid of honor did my hair and makeup, so I can’t give any recommendations about the spa services. We hired photographer Claudia Rodriguez and her husband for pictures and videography. She was very sweet – I haven’t seen the pictures yet, but I felt pretty confident in her abilities based on prior reviews from this site! She came to the room an hour before the ceremony to take pictures of me getting ready. The flowers came on time and were beautiful – and very much like the picture I had provided. One of the boutonnières was missing, but we called Antonella, and she sent it right over. The ceremony started about 10 minutes late because the judge was a little late, and then Antonella forgot to come up to tell us that the judge had arrived. But then we walked down the sandy aisle, and everything was absolutely perfect. I mean, it was better than I ever could have even dreamed it would be. The sun, the blue skies, the palm trees, the sand….I wore a very formal gown with bare feet and it felt great. We hired the Mexican guitar trio, which was just perfect. Very romantic and appropriate. There were white covered chairs set up in the sand and some tulle around the hammock pillars. Two tables were set up with white tablecloths, one for signing papers (it had a flower centerpiece on it that matched my bouquet) and one for champagne after the ceremony. We actually did all of our paperwork and fingerprinting during the ceremony, which was different. It was a very casual, laid back ceremony, so we felt comfortable. We were actually dancing and talking during the paperwork, it was just great not to be nervous or formal. The judge spoke in Spanish, and Antonella translated into English. My dear friend Heidi read a beautiful poem on the microphone, and David and I had the chance to say our own vows that we had practiced on the microphone as well. It was a great personal touch. The ceremony lasted about 30 minutes, and the trio played again at the end. It was really the most special ceremony, everyone was crying. The sound of the ocean and the view just took your breath away. Champagne was served while we had more pictures taken. Everyone had a chance to go back to their rooms before our 6:30 dinner at Frutos del Mar. I kind of wish we had started the wedding at 3:30 instead of 4:00 because we had to hurry the pictures before we ran out of sunlight. But Claudia went as fast as she could, and we got plenty of shots. All of our guests were seated at the restaurant, and they asked us to make a grand entrance so they could announce us. It was so nice; all of the other restaurant patrons were clapping and congratulating us. We had drinks, and then we had our first dance. They dimmed the lights, and Claudia had brought in CD with a romantic song since we had not thought to bring a special wedding song. Everyone watched us dance, and we felt like royalty! We had a really nice dinner, and after our soups, we cut the cake. It was a “Tre Leche” cake, which is 3 milks. It seemed like it had vanilla pudding in it – whatever it was, it was the best wedding cake I’ve ever tasted. The manager was very accommodating, and checked often to make sure we were happy. We all did “Tequila Boom-booms” and even a few funny games after dinner. It was really great! After dessert and coffee, we headed over to the Pakal Bar, where Antonella had saved us a table right in the front for 25. It was set up perfectly for us. We felt like VIPs again! We had originally considered renting out the disco, but someone else rented it before we decided. It was just as well, because we all had a blast dancing at the Pakal Bar! When the band left the Pakal bar, we followed them to the Hacienda, and danced like crazy over there as well! The staff led us in some line dances which were a lot of fun. After the band left the Hacienda, we danced to the DJ at the disco until 2 am. It was a fantastic evening. All of the other resort guests were so friendly- complete strangers were hugging and congratulating me. It’s such a happy, friendly atmosphere. The tram even made a special trip for us to take us back to our rooms at the end of the night.

The next day, a staff member brought a bottle of champagne and a heart-shaped chocolate cake to our room and set up a romantic table for us. They also brought our wedding documents and a paper copy of the ceremony in English.

Bahia Principe Akumal
Amanda Alberta
February 2005
When we were making plans to book our trip, we had the mayan riviera in mind for our wedding. We just had to narrow it down to the resort. We were recommended the BPA by our travel agent. We decided to look into this one and several others, and we ended up deciding on this resort mostly by word of mouth. We met several people who had been to this resort and couldn’t say enough good about it. Also when it came down to it, this resort was a little cheaper fee, and also included a reception dinner, a lot of others were an extra charge. When planning my wedding i found this review site very helpful, as i was able to contact other girls from their reviews, and got good information from them, which made me feel better knowing i was hearing good things from other brides in Canada. Most of the other posts pretty much sum up all the information on this resort, so i’m not going to go into great detail on the resort itself, other than it is FANTASTIC. I honestly can’t say enough good things about it.

WEDDING: First of all, air transat upgraded us to first class flying, because we had a good size group (44), which was really cool. In regards to your wedding dress, they will not take it on the plane, so you either pack it yourself, or have it wrapped in a box to check as luggage. When we arrived at the resort we had also been upgraded to the VIP area in the resort. (I was told after so many ppl booked you automatically get VIP at the resort). Anyway, we were booked in villa 66, which was by far the best villa in my opinion. It was ocean view and the closest villa to the ocean. It was really neat waking up to the sound of the waves, and sitting on the balcony. We were also overlooking the wedding location too, so that was nice as we got to see other weddings set up etc. before ours.

PAPERWORK: when we checked in, we found an envelope left from the wedding coordinator Karla, requesting we meet her the next morning at 10:30. When i was contacting the wedding coordinators via email, i received replies from several different people. At first i got emails from Fernanda, and Martina, and then the last month before our trip, i was getting replies from Karla. We went to the reception area to meet Karla, and as mentioned in other emails, they work on mexican time, don’t expect them to be on time. (Even though every other service at the resort was on time). We waited about 15 minutes and still nothing, so we got the front desk to page her and she finally came at 11:30. She apologized, and proceeded to tell us that the wedding the day before gave her a bad cheque, and that they are short staffed so they are very busy. So I understood, but at that same time…..not my fault. I had asked her about martina and fernanda, and she told me they were no longer at the resort. I was a little frustrated but whatever not a big deal. I had previously emailed her and let her know that our witnesses wouldn’t be there until after us, so we finished what paperwork we could, and had to meet her again monday morning with our witnesses and their info. So again, we show up at 9:30 monday morning at her request, and paged her, and she was 45 minutes late this time, which made me mad because she’s not just wasting our time, but our guests as well. So then we were finished with the paperwork portion, but the photocopier on the akumal side doesn’t print good enough so she had to keep our passports and we had to go back the next day to pick them up.

DAY BEFORE WEDDING: I requested to have my dress steamed and my own wedding music at the ceremony. Karla had instructed me to leave my dress on my bed the day before the wedding and someone would pick it up to have it steamed. I hadn’t talked to her since monday, so i finally called her on wednesday afternoon to ask her when she was going to get my wedding music, so she told me to leave it at the front desk, which was fine. Also by 4:00 my dress still hadn’t been picked up for steaming, but i just called the front desk and they had someone pick it up asap. We didn’t want the big wedding extravaganza, so we didn’t have a rehearsal or rehearsal dinner or anything.

WEDDING DAY: My dress was returned to my room by noon carried in by 2 staff, one holding the train up in the back, it was very nice. I had a hair appointment booked at the spa, i was booked in with a lady, and i gave her pictures of what i wanted, not expecting it to be perfect, but quite honestly she wasn’t very good and really quite snotty, and she didn’t listen to what i asked her, and i think i was very polite about it. She kept saying yes, but she never changed what she was doing, so i finally just quit asking, but she basically greased my hair to my head in the front which i did not like at all, but i decided just to get out of there and fix it myself. This is where i made my mistake because other brides had recommended booking victor and i didn’t specify him, and now i would stress to anyone getting your hair done, please ask for him. I had brought some clips etc, to put in my hair, but because i was frustrated by the end of the appt, i just said i would do it in my room myself. Well victor came over and he was so nice, and he wanted to put them in and he reassured me it would be OK, and if i still didn’t like it then i could put them in myself. But as everyone else told me, he was fantastic, both in personality and skill. The back of my hair looked good, it was just the front i had to fix, it was basically glued right to my head. So i managed to pull it out and fix it a bit on my own. I still wasn’t 100% happy, but i’m probably a little picky about my hair. Bottom line though, get victor. Also the hair appt. costs 80USD and a nail repair is 10USD.

Our wedding was scheduled at 3:00, which i highly recommend, as again in "mexican time", we weren’t picked up until 3:30. We were ready to go by 2:45, and we could see everyone on the beach waiting around. During the signing of the papers, we had music play, and the person playing the music didn’t have it hooked up properly so the song kept cutting out, which was a little annoying, but not the end of the world. We also had outside spectators which was fine from a distance, but there was one guy who came right into the wedding, and sat on the rock ledge at the front right beside my uncle who was videoing, i could acutally look right at him from where i was standing, and then he ran into us later and bragged to us that he was there at our wedding, like we were supposed to be complimented or something. You may want to get ppl in your group to set up a perimeter keeping non-wedding guests out. Anyway, at 3ish, there is a cool breeze that blows off the ocean. Like mine wedding, and every wedding we saw after was always running late. We watched a wedding one day that didn’t start until 4:30, and they ran out of sun for their pictures. It gets dark at 5:30. We had a photographer in our group, so he took our pictures, we did ocean pictures and we moved to another location of trees behind the seafood restaurant along the path and took pictures there, which i think turned out great. We also did some fun pictures, sitting on a beach chair, dipping feet in the pool, which looks neat. We only took probably an hour to do the pictures, but again, if your wedding is later, you’ll run into dark. Our reception was at the Arlequin restaurant, and i cannot brag enough how good the food and especially the service was. They were all over us, pulling one plate out and putting another down. We had also requested just a wedding cake and no dessert. We got the vanilla, and it was without a doubt the best cake i have ever had. We had several ppl in our group comment on how good the service and the cake was. We rented the disco for the evening because i thought it would be nice when you have a group. The DJ was 20 minutes late, and when i’m paying 170 USD per hour, i want to start on time. We had fun, but we also saw other wedding groups throughout our 2 weeks who just went to the live music bar and joined the disco at midnight, and they looked like they had a great time. Unless you have a really big group, i wouldn’t bother renting the disco. Our wedding day went extremely smooth, we all thoroughly enjoyed it, and we weren’t going to complain about anything until… we got a call 3 days after our wedding from a mexican waiter at the arlequin restaurant where we had our reception. He couldn’t speak very good english, but he got the point across that our wedding documents were there. We didn’t think too much about it as we thought we just misunderstood him. However my husband went to check it out. Sure enough, our official, legal wedding documents were at the restaurant. This is when we got mad. We called the wedding supervisor, to find out what was going on. We told her what happened, asking who took them there, that we knew nothing about it. So because it was sunday, we called her back the next day, and sure enough,she found out that the coordinator had dropped our documents off at the restaurant, but didn’t tell anyone. To me these are like a passport, i kind of thought they would be sent to our room or handed directly to us. So hadn’t this guy had called us on it, we would have never known where they were. What if someone had thrown them away? Because of this the supervisor gave us a dinner on the tulum side which we normally didn’t have access to, which was nice. We were still a little mad, but we just left it at that. In the end i can’t say a bad thing about this resort vacation wise. I don’t know if i recommend having a wedding here right now, even though i have nothing else to compare it to. I understand they work on mexican time, but being late twice? Dropping my papers off at a restaurant? No one called us to ask us how the wedding was, to settle the bill, nothing. I was very happy with the day itself, but they are very short staffed and a little unorganized in the wedding department right now, and it showed. They did take money off our final bill, so we did leave fairly satisfied. Hadn’t the day itself gone great, i don’t know if i would have been. Maybe in a year from now when they are fully staffed again, this would be the best place to be married, we did have a great day, but for now i would say keep it as a consideration, but look around. Please feel free to contact me to see pictures, or ask questions.

aryan31@hotmail.com, please use BPA as subject.

Bahia Principe Akumal
Erica CO. USA
January 2005
I wanted to write a review of my wedding experience at the Bahia Principe Akumal Resort in Riviera Maya Mexico being that this website was such a huge help with planning my wedding. Dawn and Susan’s reviews were such a huge help in my decision and they were great with getting back to me when I emailed them with additional questions. Now that the holidays are over and life has slowed down a bit I am finally able to sit down and write about my experience at the BPA resort in Riviera Maya Mexico. My husband and I had never been to this part of Mexico but had heard so many great things about the Yucatan Peninsula with the white sand beaches and the Caribbean water that we knew that was the perfect place to exchange our vows. We had a pretty large wedding party, 60 total people, flew to Cancun Airport from all around the USA for our wedding on Friday November 12, 2004. The planning started shortly after we got engaged in Los Cabos Mexico in November 2003. I did a great deal of research on beach weddings and narrowed it down to the Mayan Riviera. I had initially contacted a travel agent locally in Denver, CO, but quickly realized that standard travel agents are not accustomed to booking such large groups and don’t have a lot of the same access/rates that wholesale travel agencies would have. So I did a lot of research on the internet and located a wholesale travel agency: Vacations International (1-866-925-9408 toll free) /email vacationsintl@earthlink.net and Rudy Mees was the travel consultant that took care of everything. We had guests would be traveling from the east and west coasts and everywhere in between so we needed someone that could accommodate all of that. Why we picked the BPA: *It’s a mega resort and could therefore accommodate ‘late-bookers’ and people could spread out among the BPA or visit the BPT and use services on both sides *All-inclusive (food/drink), and was affordable for all guests *Nightly entertainment for hotel guests and for kids *Kids club/activities for kids during the day (that was a must because we have many nieces and nephews) *They will only have 1 wedding per day unless it has been authorized by the 1st bride/groom that it is ok to have another wedding that same day. (BPT and BPA are considered separate resorts). After deciding on the resort, I emailed Rudy a list of all the guests we were inviting with their departing locations. In turn, he priced package deals with RT airfare, hotel cost, transportation to/from hotel/airport, and all taxes and fees from all departing locations nationwide. With that, I located an invitation company on-line (www.psaessentials.com) and ordered ‘save the date’ cards and magnets. In the envelope I included a card that I made pricing a total cost for a 7-day package from where the guest would be departing from. This allowed guests to plan several months in advance and to contact Rudy directly to book their trip. Rudy has worked on many occasions with the staff at the BPA so he put me in direct contact with the wedding coordinators at the resort: Kathrin, Angeles, Martina, and Fernanda. The majority of the contact I had with the wedding coordinators was with Martina and Fernanda via email. They were extremely attentive and were understanding that this happens once in a lifetime and that every bride wants things to be as perfect as possible. I asked literally a million questions and they would always reply with in 24-48 hrs and would say, “Let me know if you have any other questions…” I had asked about set menus and they emailed me all of the menus that I was able to choose from to pick the menu. They confirmed everything over email and no deposits were needed. Everything was just charged to the bride and groom’s room bill upon checkout. I was even planning on ordering set menu place cards but Fernanda told me that they typically do that so I left that up to the resort and they were perfect. They were rolled up and placed on everyone’s place setting at the dinner.

Photography was another must that had to be booked early on. After reading all the reviews I knew that I wanted to have Claudia Rodriguez do the photography for our wedding. She was amazing! We opted for the largest still photography package and the pictures turned out amazing. Claudia met us at the honeymoon resort the following week and delivered all the photos (about 250 4×6 that she put in a photo album), as well as the enlargements and all the negatives. I cannot say enough about Claudia’s services—it was truly amazing.

One to two months prior to arrival Fernanda would again confirm the wedding date, number of guests, set menu, restaurant, if we wanted live music at the wedding ceremony, Rancherita Disco (for reception after the wedding), full names, etc… In addition to confirming all of that, I faxed all the documents to Fernanda in Mexico to be sure that we had everything necessary. (Our travel agent told us that a prior wedding took place there and the medical certification was not completed and so the wedding was not valid in the US). So needless to say, I made sure I had all the proper documents. For US bride and groom must have valid US passport, birth certificate (with parent’s names listed) with an apostille attached (and it must be translated into Spanish and typed and signed/dated by the translator), and the Mexican Tourist Card that you receive when you are on the plane to Mexico. For US residents, you can order a certified copy of your birth certificate from the Vital Statistics website. After receiving the birth certificates, you need to send them to the Secretary of States Office in the State you were born and they will attach an apostille (a document certifying that the notary who notarized the birth certificate is in fact a notary). I would allow AT LEAST THREE MONTHS so that you are not rushed with getting all of this done. We arrived at the Cancun Airport on Saturday November 6, 2004, and the wedding was the following Friday November 12, 2004. Guests arrived during that week before on different days and we knew everyone’s flight schedules so we could meet and greet everyone upon their arrival and give them their welcome bags that we made. It is quite a long journey by bus to the resort because the BPA is pretty far down on the Mayan Riviera from Cancun. We were so pleased upon arrival because the lobby was just absolutely amazing (the pictures on the website don’t do it justice). The staff had mimosas lined up at one of the tables in the lobby and we were greeted with a very warm welcoming by the entire staff. We had not problems checking in at all at the hotel. There were some people in our group who had booked through different vendors (Apple Vacations vs. Fun Jet) based on the city in the US they were departing from. The guests who were Apple Vacations were “gold club members” and so they had to check-in at a different lobby at the resort and they were also allotted more ‘ala carte’ dinner tickets. That was the only discrepancy. We made contact with Fernanda on Sunday and sat down with her and discussed the plans for the wedding. We were able to choose the wedding location, flowers, and book spa appointments. We also made a date later in the week with meet with her with the 4 witnesses and all of their documents. We went and did the blood work that day as well and it was $140 versus $100 because the blood work was done onsite as opposed to going into Playa del Carmen to get it done. My husband absolutely hates needles, but everything was sterile and there were no problems at all. Thursday November 11, 2004 In lieu of doing a rehearsal dinner (that is not a tradition in Mexico) we chartered an 85-foot catamaran for a snorkeling sunset cruise for about six hours off the coast. We had planned this well in advance after reading Sue Dyson’s review. We booked this through Paradise Tours with Kim Gill (office@paradisetours.info). Kim was so responsive and took care of all the details. We had an open bar, which wasn’t opened until after the snorkeling portion, and we had sandwiches and snacks prepared for us by the company. Everyone had such an amazing time. I sent out invitations in advance with response cards so we would know an exact number of guests because they charge a base rate for chartering the boat and then a PP rate for the open bar and food. Friday November 12, 2004—Wedding Day Greg and I had treated our mother’s to Caribbean massages and I had treated my wedding party (3) to French manicures and I had my fingers and toes done. I opted not to have my hair done at the resort, instead I had practiced a simple up-do with my hairdresser in Denver and my mother was able to practice with me the day of the wedding and she did my hair for the wedding. My maid of honor did my makeup and the girls in the wedding had their hair down and just put a bobby pin in their hair with a flower attached. (Prior to heading to Mexico I went to an arts and crafts store and bought faux off-white colored flowers and then glue-gunned them to the end of bobby pins). We had 2 flower girls and 1 ring bearer and so we had ordered flower petals for the girls’ flower baskets. We were also able to get our dresses and Greg’s suit and the groomsmen outfits steamed for the wedding. They we supposed to pick it up on Thursday morning, but we arrived back from the catamaran trip and the clothes were still on the bed! We called Fernanda and she took care of everything. The wedding was scheduled to start at 4:00 p.m. so Fernanda had the flowers arrive at my room at 1:30 p.m. and sure enough they were all there. We had ordered extra flowers for the ceremony site and those were all delivered there and setup, but she had the boutonnieres, corsages, bouquets, and flower petals delivered to my room. There was a delay with our arrival to the ceremony site because the little golf cart that is supposed to pick of the bride, father of the bride, bridesmaids, maid of honor, flower girls, and ring bearer did not arrive until 4:30 p.m. so we were late and we were rushing through pictures after the wedding because the sun was setting. I would recommend starting the wedding at like 3:45 p.m. because things are just done at a slower pace in Mexico. We had a live mariachi band play as I walked done the isle, and from what people tell me, they were playing beforehand as well. The ceremony lasted about 30 minutes and then we had a toast of champagne on the beach and then we went onto the rocks for pictures. Our dinner was at the Dolce Vita and was scheduled at 6:30 p.m. It was just amazing. We cut the cake and did toasts at the dinner and then at 8:30 p.m. we left the restaurant, headed to the front lobby and waited for the trolley cart to pick us up for the Rancherita Disco. We had the first dance, bouquet and garter tosses at the Rancherita. Everyone had such a great time. At 11:45 p.m. they closed the bar for 15 min or so to clean before opening the club for the public at midnight. We all stayed there until they re-opened the bar and partied with resort guests. When we arrived back to our room that night (early a.m.) our room was decorated with flowers, a chilled bottle of champagne and a chocolate cake. This was truly a dream come true and we plan to go back to the BPA for years to come. Many people who have gone to all-inclusive resorts complain about the food and say that the drinks were ‘watered down’, but that was far from the experience we had. The food was amazing and there was such a variety to please everyone’s taste. The service was outstanding and the resort accommodations were exceptional.

Feel free to email me if you have any other questions, please write BPA in the subject line. elcarp3@hotmail.com

Best of luck! -Erica

Bahia Principe Akumal
Shelby Port Moody, British Columbia
December 2004
My husband and I recently got married at the Bahia Principe Akumal on November 19, 2004. After reading Tyler & Julia’s review, it would be hard to put things in to words better than they did but I will still share our experience.

Resort Selection:

In the spring of 2004 I was thrilled to find Debbie’s Carribean Resort Reviews since I really had no idea how to begin searching for a resort for the wedding. After reading all of the reviews, I had narrowed it down to the Palladium and the Bahia Principe Akumal. The final decision maker was 2 comments made by others which were that the Palladium charges for each guest at the reception and the photos of the Bahia Principe Akumal on certain websites did not give it justice. Thus, the Bahia Principe Akumal it was.

Contacting the Resort Wedding Planner:

Luckily with all of the resort reviews, I was able to find the website address to begin the process. The e-mail address is: grupostulum@tulum.bahia-principe.com and website address is: www.bahia-principe.com. All I did was send them an email to let them know that I was interested in having my wedding at their resort and sent them a wish list of a few dates. I received an email back advising me that all of the dates I’d chosen had been booked already so I had to look through my calender to find others. This is a very busy resort for weddings, so the sooner you figure out what you want to do and book with them, the better off you will be. What you need to keep in mind is that you (and your witnesses) must be in Mexico for three working days prior to getting married – so if you arrive on Saturday, you won’t be able to get married until the Thursday.

1. The Wedding Planner will send you a package advising of all prices, what is included and what you are expected to provide. You may initially be assigned to one wedding planner throughout or deal with 2-3. I spoke with Martina, Fernanda and Karla. Once at the resort, I had been assigned to Karla – she was great!

2. After providing our names and the resort requested (Akumal or Tulum), we were then advised that a file had been opened in our names. The Wedding Planner sent us a questionnaire with the following questions: Which Resort: Akumal or Tulum; Full names of Bride and Groom; Date of Ceremony – Civil or Religious; Name of Tour Operator; Arrival/Departure Date; Time of Wedding; Number of people + their names (to arrange rooms); Restaurant to have dinner at (if at Akumal you have a choice of one of the 3 A-La-Carte Restaurants, unless your group is over 17 people then you will go to La Dolce Vita – but choose a set menu from one of the three restaurants at Akumal); Dinner Hour; Kind of Music (CD or additional cost for live music) and do you want to rent La Rancherita (disco bar).

3. Just before the Wedding date all details were confirmed by the Wedding Planner again.

Booking and Charter Company:

We booked with Air Transat through Discount Travel Warehouse in Vancouver. The reason for choosing this Travel Warehouse is that they are ‘no frills’ and offer 10% off the prices that you see in all Charter Company brochures (ie. Air Transat, Signature etc..). We did not get an additional group rate as Discount Travel Warehouse already provides such a large discount. I have used this company for various vacations since 1999 and they have proved to be trustworthy.

Air Transat – We flew from Vancouver International Airport on November 14th, 2004 and only ran into one problem which was the ‘wedding dress’ issue. I won’t go into too many details but since it was a ‘warm’ wedding, my wedding dress was very thin and was in a garment bag. When I got to the airport I requested to hang it up in the plane possibly in the closet where the crew would keep their coats but was told that was not possible. The agent offered to put my dress in the ‘fragile’ section instead. When I arrived in Cancun, I found my garment bag in a ball on a baggage carrousel under a very large/heavy suitcase. The bag had been gouged in various area and had a long streak of dirt on the back. Fortunately, I had wrapped my wedding dress in plastic drycleaning bags prior to putting it in the garment bag – so the only damage were a few beads and stitches pulled off – which I was able to fix.

My point – If you choose Air Transat, be sure to pre-arrange your weddding dress details and bring a sewing kit just in case.

Photos

After reading the amazing reviews on those who had used Claudia Rodrigez before, I decided that since my photos would be so important, I wanted to be sure that they would be well done and that was the one thing I was willing to pay a little extra for. I checked out Claudia’s and wrote to her. Claudia was absoloutly wonderful from the start. She was so helpful in providing little tips to us even prior to our arrival in Mexico. For more information on my review, please see her website. Anyone who has seen our photos have all mentioned what a great job the photographer did. Our DVD and Special Highlights were also amazing. The Special Highlights was a last minute decision – but the best decision. It is the perfect thing to show anyone who wasn’t there and only lasts about 5 minutes (or 2 songs).

The Resort

We arrived at The Bahia Principe Akumal on November 14th, 2004 and I was amazed by how beautiful the resort was. We were greeted at the door with Champage and orange juice while we waited to check ourselves in. Since many of our relatives were from Saskatchewan and Ontario, they had already arrived the day before and were waiting in the Lounge for us. The staff were always very polite and would go out of their way to ensure we had whatever we needed. The Bahia Principe is a huge resort which is almost in a Triangle. On the waterfront is the Tulum Resort & the Akumal Resort and between them both near the highway is La Hacienda. Tulum and Akumal are about a 5 minute walk on the beach, 15 minute walk on the roadway, or 5 minute trolley ride (which comes approximately every 15 minutes). You can catch a different train to La Hacienda which also comes about every 15 minutes. La Hacienda is pretty great as well – it is the Resort’s own shopping center. It is quiet, clean and has a photo shop, internet cafe, La Rancherita Disco, Sports Bar, Pharmacy, Doctor and numerous shops. The Sports bar is mainly open outside which tables and chairs everywhere and a band that plays in the evening where you can dance. After the Sports Bar closes, La Rancherita opens until about 2am. Because it is part of the resort, all drinks are included. Both the Tulum and the Akumal resort were so beautiful, between the Lobby, Restaurants, Lounges, Pool and Beach. The washrooms were very clean as was the rest of the resort. I don’t think I could put it’s beauty and quality into words – it was immaculate. There is a 24 hour snack bar at both resorts where you can continuously order drinks, pizza, ribs, fries, tacos, hamburgers and hotdogs all day and night. There are various places closeby to visit such as the town of Tulum, Xel Ha and Playa Del Carmen. You can can take the Collectivo (a large white van) into Tulum for 15 pesos each and Playa Del Carmen for 20 pesos each. We took a cab to Xel Ha for $8USD.

Wedding Planner

The next day it was pre arranged that we would meet our Wedding Planner, Karla, in the lobby at 1100am. We were requested to bring our witnesses (2 for the bride and 2 for the groom), with our Tourist Cards (that you receive at the airport) and passports. We also had to provide our Birth Certificates translated into Spanish. Please remember that both you and your witnesses must be in Mexico for 3 working days before your wedding. We had actually not heard of this until we were approached by another couple, Tyler & Julia, advising that there guests would not be arriving in time to satisfy those dates – so they requested that we be their witnesses. Although it worked out great that we were able to meet another couple, I would imagine they might have felt a little stressed at that time. While with Karla, she showed us photos of flowers and later brought us to the ceremony location, which was right on the beach in a more private area. We were advised that my husband, the groomsmen and guests arrive 15 minutes prior to the ceremony start time and I, with my bridesmaids, would be picked up at my room with a Trolley and taken to the Ceremony location. Karla gave us a slip of paper and told us that we could see the doctor in La Hacienda at the resort to have our blood taken. Karla arranged ahead of time to have my dress, the bridesmaids dresses and my husbands suit to be picked up for steaming. The Resort did a great job with that. I brought my own CD for our Wedding Music. The resort played the Wedding March for our first song and I had three others that I requested they play for the downtime while we signed the papers and when the ceremony was over. The blood test cost $140USD for the two of us and although I did not have a bad experience, they could not seem to find the vein in my husband’s arm and ended up squirting his blood all over his arm. He had a bruise on his arm for the entire two weeks that we were there. Really, this was not a big deal – it’s just something that we now look back and laugh about.

The Wedding Day

I spent the night with my bridesmaids and my husband stayed in our room the night before the wedding. We just arranged in advance not to be in the same place at the same time for breakfast and planned that he would be out of the room 2 hours prior to the wedding so that I could get ready. I had my hair done by Victor at the Salon and he did a really nice job. He told me that he has 15 years experience and it shows. My flowers did not arrive at the room until a little later than we were expecting and the groomsmen were calling over every few minutes looking for them – not a big deal at the end of the day. Claudia arrived at my room for ‘getting ready’ photographs and video. She arrived right on time and was always patient and helpful. Once our guests were ready at Ceremony Site, Karla called my room to tell me that they would be on their way to pick us up. Our Ceremony start time was at 3pm and the trolley took a few additional Mexican minutes to show up. We did not have a rehersal so really just guessed as to who would go where, when we arrived at the site – it made it fun – but if you are concerned about that you may wish to make a plan ahead of time. The Ceremony was beautiful and the JP was really nice. While she was speaking to us in Spanish, she looked at us the entire time. Karla did the translation after the JP finished what she was saying. We had to give a thumb print while signing the papers which was unexpected but fun for the photos and DVD. At the end we all just walked to an area behind the Ceremony location, had Champagne and took Photos. Claudia and her husband have been to that resort so often that they organized us and took us everywhere that they knew would be great. Again, our photos and video were amazing. While we were waiting for the reception, our group just went to the Snack Bar for a few drinks and to socialize. When it was time for dinner, they were completely organized and we just walked in and sat down. The dinner was really good and the Maitre D had a funny tradition he made us do with Tequila when we were done eating. We did not rent La Rancherita but had everyone go to the Lounge where they play Live Music everynight and have a dance floor. I guess the Wedding Dress gave away the fact that we just got married, so the band played us a cute 1st dance song. Although there were other people around from the resort, the Lounge was still very beautiful, relaxed and we all had a great time. When we got back to our room, there was Champagne on our little table in our room and our Marriage Certificate was laying on our bed. The 1st night after the Wedding, they also sent someone to decorate our table with a table cloth, napkins, Champagne and a cute chocolate Cake.

Overall

We and all of our guests had a wonderful holiday and great time at the wedding. Some of our guests told us that it is the best trip they have ever been on. For me, it was hands down my best trip ever (besides the wedding) and I still find myself wishing I were back there. I could not find enough wonderful things to say about the Bahia Principe Akumal/Tulum, their staff or their Wedding Planner Karla. It was everything I had hoped it would be! The food was great both in the Buffet and A La Carte Restaurant. The only problem was during a certain time of the day – they would be lacking on beach towels – and if that’s all that one can complain about, then you are pretty well off.

Suggestions

If you are thinking of having your wedding in Mexico try to remember the following: – You are on Mexican time, everything happens slower there than anywhere else – If you are high maintenance, you may be disappointed – it is Mexico, they have certain ways of doing things at the resort and given the language barrier if you ask for something they aren’t expecting – you might not get it. – if you are looking to have a great time, relax and let someone else do everything for you – this is the place to go – don’t forget the in Mexico your body plumbing may either get backed up or work a little more than you’d like – bring the appropriate remedies – if you have guests at both the Tulum and Akumal Resort, try to see if you can get them a different wrist band which allows them to eat at the Buffets in both resorts – otherwise they only time you can eat with your guests at the other resort is when you book an A La Carte together. Requirements (copied directly from the information provided by the Bahia Principe) 1. VALID PASSPORT, drivers license will not be accepted by the official. 2. BIRTH CERTIFICATE and the translation into Spanish; the birth certificate should show also the names of the parents of the couple. 3. DIVORCE PAPERS or DEATH CERTIFICATE and the translation in Spanish. The copy of the original document has to have an Apostille. 4. TOURIST CARD (Clients get this card upon arriving to Mexico). 5. BLOOD TESTS (Sexually Transmitted diseases – VDRL, HIV, Blood Type) and MEDICAL CERTIFICATION. It is recommended to get these papers done here in Mexico (cost aprox. 50,– USD per person) as soon as they are not valid after 15 days. If you bring these papers from outside of Mexico, you will need an Apostille, they are not valid after 15 days and have to be translated into Spanish. 6. FOUR WITNESSES: two for the bride and two for the groom with passport, drivers license will not be accepted by the official. The parents of bride and groom cannot be witnesses. The witnesses have to be older than 18 years. ** All the translations have to be done by computer or typewriter, not handwritten. They have to show the name and signature of the person who did the translation.**

I’m sure I’ve forgotten to mention a few things so if you have any questions, please contact me at shelbydawn@shaw.ca and I’d be more than happy to help you out. Good Luck and All the Best.

Bahia Principe Akumal
James and Tasha Vancouver, BC
December 2004
Hello Debbie:

We just got married at the Bahia Principe Akumal resort in the Mayan Riviera on Wednesday, November 10, 2004. We had about 46 people in total join us from Vancouver, 2 from Prince George, we were very fortunate! Everyone could not believe how beautiful the resort was. Pictures cannot do it justice. Fernanda Nino, our wedding coordinator did an amazing job. We had been corresponding with her via email for over a year and she answered all my questions promptly. The spa services were wonderful, even though they do not speak much English. I had 4 bridesmaids and their hair and make-up were stunning. They took extra care of me with my hair and make-up and I was very impressed. We were not happy that the blood test cost $140 US for two instead of $100 for two. Apparently, this has been misadvertised so I would check on this before you get married or contact the resort so you know the costs ahead of time. It is a very simple procedure that is done at the resort. It was a bit painful for me, but I think that is because they do have the best techniques with taking blood. It isn’t that bad. The wedding day was seamless except that it poured rain at 2pm but cleared up right away before we took pictures. After that, we had amazing weather for pictures, clouds, winds, sun. We got married at 4:30pm so we had to take pictures before it got dark (In November it gets dark around 5:15pm). The photographer we hired was Claudia Rodriguez and she takes the most amazing pictures. She is very thorough, efficient and professional. She is the person to hire if you get married in Mexico. Her shots were very unique and candid. I have a photojournalism educational background so I was highly impressed. Back to the ceremony, the music was played perfectly, champagne was served right after. (I recommend ordering champagne right after, it is a really nice touch) There were no glitches, we were so lucky! The judge and wedding coordinator did an awesome job with the spanish/english translations. They had a microphone so everyone could hear the ceremony. There were even rose petals in the sand. Our reception was at the Dolce Vita (Italian) and the service was great! They made a special menu list for us and each guest. It listed everything we were eating that night. You do need to pick this in advance. (Usually the day before the wedding they will ask you) We used shots glasses with our names on them as our favours and they set those up in front of each place setting in advance. Before dinner, they made us do tequila shots off each other which was really cool. We didn’t eat our cake but it looked good, we were on our way to the LaRancherita disco for dancing after the dinner so we didn’t have enough time as we rented the disco from 9-11pm. I would highly recommend renting this out $300 US I believe so you can do your dancing. There is no other place to do this for a large party and it is really fun. We brought our own CD collection as they do not really have that great of a selection. The disco only really plays Rave music so bring your own. As for the legalization, you need to only get the short form of your Canadian birth certificate translated into spanish. Approx. $100 for 2. I do recommend getting it apostilled by the Mexican Consulate ($50 Cdn)It is good to have just in case. We got our marriage certificate the day after the wedding and we need to find out how to make it legal in Canada. That is something I am working on. Also, we didn’t find it necessary to have a rehearsal dinner.

The resort specializes in weddings (they do many all the time) so my advice is to trust them and not to worry so much like I did. One last thing, you need to have 2 witnesses for both the bride & groom. Passports are mandatory for the witnesses. Also, I would advise all your guests to bring a passport. Please email me at tashabailey@shaw.ca if you have any questions.

Grand Palladium Kantenah / Colonial
Amy and Ben Edmonton, Alberta
June 2008
My husband and I got married at this fabulous resort on May 22, 2008. We were a group of 22 people and had no idea what to expect since none of us had been to this resort before, and many of us had never even been to Mexico. We chose the Grand Palladium based on advice from many friends as well as the wedding reviews on this website. Because we were getting married in Mexico, we wanted a resort that we felt confident would make our wedding dreams come true. We had heard a few horror stories from other people who had gotten married at other resorts and their weddings were a bust. All we can say is “WOW!” This is a very lovely resort. Staff are courteous, friendly, and more than accommodating. Food was excellent, pools, beach, and lounges absolutely beautiful. The men in the group kept themselves very busy with the many activities this resort offers. The ladies were very happy to hang out on the beach and by the pool. Our wedding day was absolutely perfect and I wish I could re-live that day over and over again. We did not meet Rocio, but we did meet her assistant Erika. She was very pleasant and very easy to work with. We had our blood taken in the doctor’s office which was very painless and very quick. We then moved into the lobby and made our arrangements with Erika. We had three different wedding location options to look at from pictures. We had already seen the beautiful gazebo on the beach, so we chose that right away. There is also a garden location, which is a bit more private, and also another beach setting to choose from. We chose Portofino the Italian restaurant for our dinner and picked our menu right there. We also hired the trio and picked the flavor of the wedding cake. The meeting was very laid back, which was great, because we were envisioning a laid back wedding! Erika was very thorough and wrote everything down that we discussed. On the wedding day, I had my hair appointment for 11am at the spa. I brought a picture with me, and Angelo worked his magic. I wasn’t sure how well it would turn out with the humidity, but it was absolutely beautiful. I highly recommend getting your hair done at the salon. They know how to make it stay up! Erika came to my room and dropped off the flowers. We did not have a wedding party. Our parents were our witnesses so we had wrist corsages for the Mom’s and boutonnières for the Dad’s. I also requested a couple of lilies and orchids for my hair to choose from. My bouquet was beautiful as were the rest of the flowers. As I started doing my makeup, Claudia Rodriguez, our photographer arrived. I highly recommend asking her to do your wedding photos. Not only is she a fabulous photographer, but she was a great deal of help with a few things such as calling the front desk to ask for a bigger cart to take us to the gazebo and showing me where to pin my Father’s corsage on! I honestly forgot that she was even in the room with all of us as she is very unobtrusive. We took a few pictures outside as we were waiting for the cart to arrive. It was on time and we drove to the gazebo. The JP pulled up as we arrived, which was perfect timing! We got off the cart and my parents walked me down the aisle. The gazebo was tastefully decorated and the trio sounded excellent. Again, spend the little extra money for the trio band. It really adds to the mood of the wedding and just makes things so perfect! Since we only had 20 people with us, the chairs were all under the gazebo, which was great for shade. It was also a breezy day, so it provided some relief. The JP was excellent. We had each of our siblings to do a reading of their choice because we did not want to write our own vows. It was a nice touch to make them feel included in our day. The JP was humorous and we had a really fun ceremony. After we walked down the aisle, they had champagne waiting for everyone. Such a nice touch! Then we danced on the beach to the trio for a song and took our wedding pictures with Claudia. Our family and friends stayed at the beach bar and had some refreshments and snacks. After we were finished, we joined them and had a shot of tequila and ordered a pizza! My husband noticed the lagoon on the resort with the little boat the day before and suggested that we all take a trip before supper. It was such a perfect idea! The driver was very friendly and played some great music. We waved to everyone as we were getting driven around on the boat and then made it over to the restaurant for our dinner. My best friend set out our place holders and party favors that we had brought with us at the restaurant. The set up was really lovely and we had three servers for our party. They were constantly filling our glasses with wine and told us how to toast with our tequila shots. They even had a little speech for us! The wedding cake was very yummy. We chose the Mexican cake. Erika had asked me if I had a topper for our cake, but I didn’t want to bother with that so we didn’t bring one. Don’t worry if you don’t, as it will be decorated beautifully with flowers that match your bouquet. We cut our cake and then the servers cut up the rest and served it. There was even some left over for them to enjoy! After supper we went to the lobby where there was a very good musician playing. We entertained everyone in the lobby dancing to all of his music. We then moved on to the disco…..this is my only warning…smoking is allowed in the disco. We did not know this and my sister in law is pregnant and a lot of our guests left because of this. It was already pretty late, so it wasn’t a big deal, but at least if you know ahead of time you can figure out what you want to do that is entertaining if smoking bothers anyone. The few of us that were left danced for about an hour and then went to the adult pool to cool off. Most of us just put our feet in and my hubby stripped down to his boxer-briefs and went for a swim. We all decided that we were hungry again, so we went down to the beach bar for some food. I can now say that I got to eat pizza and a hot dog in my wedding dress! After that, we all called it a night. Our room was decorated beautifully when we got back. Lots of rose petals and towel art on the bed and our tub was even filled with water, bubble bath, and rose petals. There was also a fruit basket and bottle of champagne waiting for us. In the morning, we were treated to breakfast in bed by a very happy and hilarious server. There was enough food for four people!

It was a dream wedding! As long as you aren’t a bridezilla and want a laid back wedding, this is the place for you. I’m sure if we had any demands, they would have met them, but we didn’t. We just went with the flow and everything that we dreamed of was met and beyond! Remember that you are going to another country and they do things a little differently. Sit back and enjoy it!

Grand Palladium Kantenah / Colonial
Karen & Kevin Canada
January 2007
We are from Penticton BC Canada and we were just married Jan 25/07 at The Grand Palladium Colonial, total attending guests was 37 (26 on site & 11 off site), we just returned on Saturday the 27th. The end result of our ceremony was beautiful; however, I wanted to share our experience to help any future brides with knowing what to expect. We arrived on the Saturday and didn’t marry until Thursday. Upon our check in we did get the notice from Rocio to meet her on Monday to go over the final details and get our blood work. Prior to arriving, I was under the impression that during our meeting she would physically take us to the ceremony sites and would review how the ceremony would be done etc., this did not happen, we had to choose from pictures on the computer and the meeting was quite short and to point. So if you have the opportunity, check out the ceremony sites prior to your meeting – we did choose the spot on the White Sands beach, which was beautiful and was very close to the beach bar and bathrooms, but we never had the chance to even check out the other choices until it was to late. After the ceremony we gathered briefly with our guests, then did photos on the beach, and then met with everyone at the white sands beach bar for snacks and drinks. We had our dinner at the Tikal Buffet and then gathered at the Grand Azul (pool bar) for dancing & throwing the bouquet & garter, which worked out fine, but again prior to arriving we were never really informed properly on the other options. They will serve your drinks at the Tikal but the only alcohol available here was wine or beer, and the service seemed to be slow (especially for beer, the wine was easier because they would just bring the bottles out and refill at the tables). We saw that other wedding parties had theirs all at the Grand Azul, with more information we more than likely would have choose this instead; however, I’m not sure on what the cost would have been. The cake was done very nicely and tasted excellent and the food at the buffet was pretty good. We did our speeches at the Tikal, they wouldn’t provide a mike due to being in the restaurant and the back noise was pretty load, but it worked out nicely – they had us sectioned in one of the outsets of the restaurant and it was semi private. After dinner, speeches, and cutting the cake we headed over to the Grand Azul (pool bar), which is right next-door. Then around midnight, after dancing to the band and partying at the Grand Azul which was a ton of fun, we went to the Disco to see if they would play our actual first dance, which they did and we also had a few other dances here, but the disco is very load and the atmosphere not so great especially for the older crew so our time here was very short and a lot people dispersed right away – but by this time we were ready to call it a night anyways. Rocio was a nice lady, and maybe my expectations were to high, but I felt that she wasn’t as attentive as she could have been. So, please keep in mind that yes she does her job well, but do not have your expectations to high and be as prepared as possible for your meeting with her and to get a hold of her after could be very difficult (there were a lot of other wedding this week which may have been a factor). For example, I wanted the tables at the restaurant to have assigned seating, so all I asked was that they set up four tables in a very simple layout with a certain amount of seats per table and I would then get my sister to do the rest – well this had to be approved by the Tikal restaurant and Rocio couldn’t confirm this until the night before. There were a couple of things like this that I needed to get clarification on and it took me all of Tuesday & Wednesday to finally get a hold of her to confirm; also, even on things that she said no problem too during our meeting were not properly followed through with. I felt that a simple phone call on maybe the Wednesday morning and on the morning of the ceremony would have alleviated a ton of stress from me. In the big scheme of things these were minor complications, but when you’re a new bride and somewhat in a state of disarray it just seemed to compile on the stress, which I felt could have been avoided. The resort itself was great; some staff was definitely better than others, but mostly pretty good. Keep in mind that everyone is very nonchalant and they don’t seem to pick up the pace for anything. Because the resort is so big that if you have two-way radio’s to take this may help. We had our radios, but they weren’t working properly because the batteries were faulty; we definitely would have used them all week if they had worked. I guess the main thing to remember, is that your in Mexico, and they have a very very laid back attitude whether you’re a bride to be or not. Doing your hair – the humidity is VERY thick, all the girls in my group said that their hairspray didn’t seem to work at all (expensive or cheap stuff, didn’t make a difference). The friend that did my hair for the wedding used ICE mist, which did hold a little bit. I suggest to have you hair pulled back into a nice bun, and not to count on hair spray or product to hold a fancy updo with curls. My hair did seem to get curly because I have a bet of natural curl, but a lot of the girls in our group had a hard time with their hair regardless of what they tried. All of our guests had a great time, and a lot are planning to return to the resort so in the end it did turn out great. My word of advise is that if you’re in a group don’t worry about what the others are doing they can take care of them selves, be prepared to not get your questions answered immediately, take things in stride. I believe that it wouldn’t have mattered where we were in regards to dealing with the laid back attitude of Mexico and yes Rocio is good but don’t leave your meeting with unanswered questions or be prepared not to get them answered until the very last minute.

FYI: when flying home, do not trust the Cancun airport duty free shop – Yes, you even need to beware here. They made us believe that on top of the one bottle ea. that is allowed that we were also allowed Kaluha – no matter what type of alcohol you take back you are only allowed 1.4L ea. – They managed to scam a number of us, who either had to dump their bottles or pay duty ($33 per kaluha bottle) at Canadian customs.

Kantenah Palladium/Colonial Palladium
We were married June 8 at the Grand Palladium and it truly was the wedding of our dreams. Forty-seven of our friends stayed with us at the resort and then we had other friends join us the day of the wedding so we had 68 guests. They upgraded us to the Mayan Suite and the room was incredible – complete with an outdoor shower that I used every day instead of the regular shower. The staff were so friendly and accommodating. The day that we arrived there was a letter in our room indicating what time we were to meet Rocio and have our blood test. I have a strong aversion to having blood taken but it went very smoothly and the doctor took our blood painlessly (and a very small amount). We then selected our choices for the wedding. The flower selection was excellent. Rocio pulled out a very large book to choose from and you could get any flowers that you wanted (from lilies to roses to more tropical flowers). I opted for pink roses as we had a more traditional type wedding and it went with the theme. We rented the Gran Azul for the wedding and could therefore select any dinner that we wanted from any of the restaurants across the resort. We had caesar salad to start, sweet potato/carrot soup, steak and then creme brule for our dessert and a wedding cake on top of that. The meal was excellent. I also ordered flower centerpieces for all of the tables and wrist corsages for our moms and mc and all of the flowers were exactly what we wanted. The Gran Azul looked beautiful and was very private. We had it set up with tables of 10 and Rocio also had candles on all of the tables. I had my hair done earlier in the week for a trial as I was worried. It was only $40 and was well worth it. I was glad that I did do this as we worked out all of the bugs before the day of the wedding so that I could just relax. The woman who did my hair was wonderful – very patient as to understanding what I wanted and I was extremely happy with my hair. I highly recommend getting it all put up as it is incredibly hot and it is much neater for the pictures especially in the wind.

The day of my wedding, it rained. I was not concerned as the rain in Mexico seems to come and go and right before the wedding, it did clear. I had breakfast with my 4 bridesmaids and Glen had stayed over with his groomsmen. I then went to the hair salon around 10 am with two of my bridesmaids who swam in the pool at the spa while I had my hair done. We all got ready in my room which was a lot of fun. My parents arrived around 1 pm along with the photographer and I had photos done with them and my bridesmaids. We used Claudia Rodriguez and I would highly recommend her. We were to be married at 2 pm. The cart did not arrive until 2:15 pm to pick me up but I was not really concerned. Our plan was to have the wedding in the garden (very private) versus the beach but because it rained, they moved us to the Kantennah lobby overlooking the flamingos and waterfall and this was beautiful and we were not disappointed. Glen and I said our own vows during the ceremony and we were very glad that we did as it made our ceremony even more meaningful to us. We also had two of our friends do readings/poems and Rocio was very accommodating for this. We ended up doing pictures after the ceremony until 5:00 pm or so and then I went to check on the reception set up. Rocio had done an excellent job and I put out the decorations that I had brought with me and set up the tent cards as we had assigned seating.

As soon as the reception started, Glen & I had our first dance before dinner and we were glad that we did this as our photographer could take pictures as she was there for the first 20 minutes or so of the reception. We wished we had also cut our cake before dinner so she could have taken pictures of this as well. We had a microphone for speeches and the band let us play our own music for dancing until 11 pm. We then had to leave the Gran Azul so we all went to the disco and later ended up at the Beach Bar until 3 am. It was a perfect wedding and perfect night and our photos are amazing. Our friends absolutely loved the resort and many said that they would go back again. It was the best experience of our lives and we had such a great time all week with our family and friends. You can check out our pics on www.kataandglenn.com if you are interested.

Kantenah Palladium/Colonial Palladium
The food was excellent. I did take me a few days to get used to it, but once I did I really enjoyed it. We had a group of 37 on our trip and no one got sick from the food… a few from drinking too much, but not one from the food. They also had lots of things that we are used to from home, like yogurt and boxed cereal, so if you are concerned about eating unfamiliar food, don’t be! I have read some reviews about the drinks being too weak…. we didn’t have a problem with that. We didn’t have any problems with mosquitos at night either. The pool was also fantastic. I would recommend bring a pool noodle or some sort of floatation device if you are under 5’4". The water was over my head in most parts and there were many people asking me where to get a noodle like mine. We also had to air mattresses that conveniently held 18 drinks each that were given to us by another couple that were leaving. We returned the favour when we left and also left the air mattresses and our pool noodles for others to enjoy (plus more room in your suitcase for souvenirs!). The staff at the resort was unbelievably helpful. Not one person was mean to any of our group… even when we were ordering 18 drinks at a time! I would also like to mention Ivan "Diesel", the train driver. He was such a good time! He drove us the long way around the resort just so we could go up and down the hills on the Riviera side. We saw him multiple times through out our trip and each time he was a riot! Jose at the Kantenah pool was also very accommodating to our group. The water at the beach was a bit rough and we weren’t able to do any snorkelling from the beach. We were always able to find beach loungers both at the beach and the pool. May is a good time to go to this resort because it isn’t during high season. The beach was clean and we did enjoy it… my husband more than I because there were lots of topless women! Overall we thought that the Palladium was top notch and we would definitely recommend it.

The wedding-

Rocio took care of everything for us. We chose to get married in the pavilion on the White Sands beach. We picked this location because there were no beach loungers around it and the beach bar is right beside it. It turned out to be a fairly hot day, so we were glad to have refreshments nearby and washrooms. We met with Rocio 2 days after our arrival and made all of our decisions regarding flowers, location and dinner. After, we met the doctor in the Kantenah lobby and he took our blood samples. I have to admit that seemed a bit sketch… he took our blood in the lobby, where anyone could see. Everything seemed sterile enough and I wasn’t worried, but that part did seem a little odd. Rocio was with us the whole time, so that made us feel better about it. Wedding day- We spent the morning on the beach trying to relax. I wasn’t too nervous and managed to eat some cheese fries from the beach bar, but my husband couldn’t. About an hour before the wedding I left to get ready and found our flowers waiting in our room. At 3pm sharp the golf cart arrived at our room to pick me, my mum and the bridesmaids up. After a short trip we were there. Everything looked stunning! Very white and blue. We requested not to have the red carpet because I felt that it was a bit too bold for the look we wanted.

Alberto, our photographer, was also there. We booked him through Claudia Rodriguez and he was amazing. I was a bit worried because I hadn’t heard from him since leaving for Mexico, but everything went very smoothly. We also had a videographer that was book through Claudia. We haven’t seen the video yet, so I can’t comment on it (should be arriving shortly).

The ceremony was quick and simple like we wanted. All we had to say was, "I do". The JP guided us through the whole thing, which was very helpful. He spoke English as well, so it made the ceremony a bit quicker. He was very professional and made it a lot of fun. When asked if we had something special to say to each other we both just said, "no", which made everyone laugh. Neither one of us wanted to write our own vows so this was perfect! After the ceremony we had champagne, mingled with our guests, then did some photos with Alberto and videographer by the salt water pool on the Riviera side. Pictures took about 1.5 hours. It was hot. I recommend bringing a small towel or tissues for the bride and groom to dry themselves off with. You don’t want to look shiny or wet in your pictures! Also, bring water with you when you get your photos done so you don’t dehydrate. After pictures we met our guests in the White Sands lobby for some celebratory drinks. We also went to Churchill’s (which is right off the lobby) to do some shots of tequila. First the women, then the men. We had a great time! Following that we took a train ride with Ivan to the Kantenah lobby for our buffet dinner at Tikal. We are glad that we chose the buffet because it gave our guests more food options. It was also cheaper and there was no one else in there! We had our own private section and the staff served everything but the food (drinks, cake, etc…). And we could eat/drink at our leisure. It was fantastic and very relaxed. Then we went to the Colonial lobby for more celebrating and then off to the disco around 11pm. We were exhausted but it was a lot of fun! It really was the wedding day of our dreams and I’m certain that our guests enjoyed it as much, if not more, than we did. Rocio was super and took care of every detail. If you are booking a wedding at the Palladium in Mexico…. RELAX! You have made an excellent choice!

We are looking forward to going back to the Palladium next year for our anniversary, and hopefully every year after that!

Kantenah Palladium/Colonial Palladium
Angie and Neil 
April 2006
We have just returned from our ‘holiday/ ‘wedding in paradise’. We flew out from England on 15th April along with 12 other adults to the Palladium resorts. The flight was extrememly long (11hrs) but we were all very, very excited which helped pass the time. On arriving at the complex we were all blown away by the beautiful surroundings. Everything about the hotel was fanatastic including rooms, beach, sea, food choices and quality, bars, activities etc. We are all hoping to return in the future. On our first day we had to meet with Rocio (wedding coordinator) to finalise our wedding plans, flowers, restaurants, book hairdresser appointment etc. We had previously emailed Rocio from England and thus knew we could bring favours, confetti and a CD of our love songs to play during the ceremony and first dance. Rocio runs through evey small detail and then allows you to ask any questions you may have. Our wedding was booked for the 25th April at 3 pm. We were very pleased with the time as we wanted an afternoon wedding. Rocio was very helpful and patient, she allowed us to go and view the specilality restaurants before commiting to one. We finally decided on the Portofino (Italian) because of the menu and of the romantic setting. We asked Rocio if we could all be seated on the terrace overlooking the water. It looked so romantic! Rocio rang the restaurant and reported back that we could book for 8pm but could not have the terrace. We were disappointed but still fancied the food options on the menu. We opted for prawn ceasar salad, soup, stuffed chicken with bacon/ cheese and wedding cake as the dessert. We had two vegetarians in our party and we were allowed to choose an alternative menu option for them. Thay had caesar slad, soup & vegetarian lasagne. From reading previous internet reviews about weddings at the Palladium I was under the impression that we would receive champagne, cake, restaurant etc for upto 8 adults and that we had to pay supplements for additional guests. This was not the case. We had 14 adults altogether and did not pay any additional supplements. The champagne flowed throughout the ceremony. However, I do believe that American and Canadian couples who married at the Palladium did have to pay additional costs for extra guests. I guess it depends on the holiday company the wedding was booked through. The American and Canadian couples stated they had been given the opportunity of a variety of wedding packages at various costs. One of these was to book the Gran Azul restaurant solely for your use. We did not get this opportunity but to be honest we had a gorgeous wedding meal in very romantic settings (see below) without the huge charges that come with booking the Gran Azul. After finalising the wedding details we visited the doctor on site for our blood tests. I am a complete wimp and found the ordeal a nightmare but my hubby said it was painless and even recorded me having mine done. So loving!! Not.We were then allowed to chill out and enjoy our holiday in paradise for a week prior to the wedding. In the morning, us girls went off for a champagne breakfast. The complex is so huge that we ordered the men to stay on one side to avoid bumping into each other. Following this, me and one bridesmaid went up to the hairdressers. I had read some disastrous reviews about the hairdresser and thus was very worried. We opted for an early appointment (10 am) so that if things went wrong we could have time before the ceremony to alter our hairstyles. I should not have worried. Our hair was stunning. I picked a photo from the salon and she did it exactly the same. It was so beautiful. Everyone in the salon commented on the style. It took about 1 hour to finish. However the style was very expensive. They price according to length of hair and style picked. Mine cost $150 ( £70). Word of warning the hairdressers do not speak English at all. After the hair salon we met up with the other girls and went for lunch. After we returned to the room and began to get ready. Sol Tamargo (wedding photographer) arrived at 2 pm. She was fabulous, she took photos of everything but in a way that was unobtrusive. The photos are stunning, so arty, classy and capture the moment perfectly. Would definitely recommend her. The groom plus guests had to be seated at 2.45p.m. The golf buggy was supposed to arrive at 3pm but was late (3.15pm). Not that this ruined the atmosphere. We were all so at ease having a good old girly time. We had champagne in the room which helped immensely. The buggy took us all the way to the beach. Our music began and we walked down the aisle. I was amazed at how stunning the setting was. We opted for the larger of the gazebos on the beach. It was decorated with flowers and chairs were decorated with sashes. Both groom and guests had gone to a lot of effort. Everyone looked amazing. The ceremony flew by, we had a Spanish officiant and Rocio translated. Afterwards there was champagne for all. The photos took about 2 hours and afterwards we all retired to the shade of the Riviera lobby for drinks. We had a boat ride booked around the lake at 5pm. It was all so beautiful.

The meal was booked for 8pm. To our surprise, we actually had the terrace at the Portofino restaurant. Rocio had kept it a secret. We were so ecstatic. It was a perfect ending to a fairytale wedding. The food was delicious. We were all absolutely stuffed and struggled to eat the wedding cake. It was definitely the nicest of the speciality restaurants. We had speeches before we cut the cake. A Mexican trio came along and played music for us for no charge. This just added to the romance of the setting. The terrace was empty barring our party. It was just so romantic. We had the chance to have a first dance in one of the restaurants after the main bamd had finished but we were all worn out and retired to our rooms. The final surprise came at the room. The maids had scattered red rose petals everywhere. On the floor, on the bed, in the jacuzzi, on the toilet etc. It was stunning. I would definitely recommend this location for a destination wedding. A sample of our wedding photos are on Sol Tamargo’s website in her blog.(www.soltamargo.com/blog)

Kantenah Palladium/Colonial Palladium
Erin and Richard 
March 2006
Hola!! We are back from our wedding at the Grand Palladium in the Mayan Riveria!!! What a great time and perfect wedding!! I could not have asked for more. The resort itself if beautiful, safe, clean and huge. My only complaint would be that it is almost too big. We stayed on the White Sands side and were upgraded to a suite (only after I asked for it). The beach itself it nicer by the Kantenah, so we walked down there every day. We really didn’t spend a lot of time at the pool, but it was very nice. The food was great, the a la cartes were awesome. We ate at the Brazilian, Ribs n’ More, Portifino (Italian) and El Dorado (steakhouse). The buffets were great, and there was a wide selection.

Our wedding was originally for 1pm on March 3/06, but there was a cancellation for the 3pm spot, which is what I preferred. Rocio asked if I would like it and she even called Claudia (the photographer) to see if she was available. She was so it worked out perfectly.

The night before the wedding my mom stayed with me and my FH stayed with my dad. We woke up and had a leisurly breakfast, then my mom and I went to the spa to hang out in the pool, hot tubs etc. This place is like something out of the movies…..unbelievable. Then at 12pm I got my hair done in an updo. I was really happy with it, and I had even forgot to bring pictures. The girl didn’t speak any english, but thank god the salon manager was there and he helped translate. After that, we went to my room, I had a relaxing bath and got ready. Claudia and her brother in law Alberto came at about 2pm to start taking pictures. Around 2:30 they headed to the wedding location. We picked the one with bamboo on the beach. It was just more laid back for our group of 12. My dad had already come to my room as he was going to come with my mom and I in the golf cart to the location. I was completely ready to be late for the ceremony as everyone had warned me about being on Mexican time. At 2:45 there was a knock at the door and it was the golf cart. He said everyone is ready and it looks like a rain cloud is coming, so he will be waiting for me. Well, I had been ready for a while and was ready to go. We went to the wedding site, my mom sat down first then my dad and I walked down the sand to see my FH for the first time that day. I wasn’t nervous or anything. I was so relaxed it was scary. The ceremony was in english and took all of 15 minutes. After that the Mexican trio we hired played, we had a little dance in the sand, had some champagne and then took pictures. It had started to rain, so we hid under a palapa for little while. Claudia and Alberto were so patient. We waited for the rain to stop, then we took more. It worked out really well, because the rain cloud had scared most of the people off the beach, so we didn’t have to worry about them. All in all, it was the best way to get married. Rocio was very professional and answered any of our questions. Claudia and Alberto was awesome to deal with too. Our pro pics won’t be here until next week or so (I will post more when they come).

I will post the link to our web page to you can see some non-pro pics. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me elm1818@rogers.com. http://www.piczo.com/ErinandRichard?g=17358830&cr=2

Thanks again for all of your help,

Kantenah Palladium/Colonial Palladium
My husband and I just got back from Mexico, where we spent a week with 36 of our close friends and family. We decided on this resort through our travel agent. About 6 months before we left for our trip we contacted Rocio, the wedding coordinator at the resort. (weddings.riviera@fiestahotelgroup.com) She booked (temporary) our wedding date and reception location/time. She cannot confirm the date until later on, due to the schedule of the justice of the peace. We also picked our wedding package. We decided on package two, which includes a reception dinner. Trust me; it’s worth the extra money! We also found our photographer in advance. We went with Claudia Rodriguez (claudia@claudiaphoto.com). She is the best in Mexico!! We left Toronto (very early) Saturday morning and arrived at the resort around noon. The first impression of the resort is overwhelming; the photographs don’t do it justice. It’s absolutely beautiful! When we checked in, we received an envelope instructing us to meet Rocio on Monday morning. We went to our room (4923-an upgraded Junior Suite) and got settled in. The room is really beautiful, mostly made of marble. Monday morning we met with Rocio and picked our flowers, menu, and location. Our witnesses came along with us for the first part and signed some papers. We also brought our clothes for the wedding (for pressing). The whole thing took about 30 minutes as Rocio knows exactly what she is doing. We met with the doctor shortly after that and got our blood work done (140USD). He’s good and all the equipment is sterile. We both work in the Health care profession and we didn’t have any worries.

Our clothes arrived on the Tuesday. Wednesday we got married. I spent the morning having breakfast with my mom, and tanned at the small pool with some friends. My sisters and I got ready in my room. I read a lot of the reviews about the hair salon and no one liked what they got, so I had my sister do my hair. Rocio delivered the flowers to my room, and I had one of my sisters run the groom and best man’s flowers over to them. Claudia, the photographer, called my room at 215pm from the lobby and said she would see me at the beach. Our guests, and the groom met at the wedding gazebo at 245pm. We picked the Gazebo on the Kantenah side, on the beach. It was so beautiful. The flowers were stunning. The stretched golf cart picked my sisters and I up at my room at 310pm (the wedding was to begin at 3pm….remember, its Mexican time!) The whole ceremony was about 25 min. This included signing and finger prints. The justice of the peace spoke Spanish, so Rocio translated for us. They served champaign after the ceremony. Claudia Rodriguez took photos throughout the ceremony and after along the beach. Again, she knows exactly what she is doing and it only took about 20 min. She’s definitely worth the money.

We had dinner at the Portofino, the new Italian restaurant. It was my favorite meal of the whole week. We had chicken cesar salad, minestrone soup, chicken stuffed with procuitto and cheese, and champaign and cake for dessert. We had some guests that were vegetarian/vegan, and ordered them separate meals. It was all great. We had a section of the restaurant to ourselves and they had set up two long tables for us. We went to the disco for 11pm, and had our first dance (we brought a CD with us). A live band played that night, starting at 1130. They were absolutely amazing. The whole day was perfect; both of us wouldn’t change a thing. As for the resort itself, I would recommend it to anyone. It’s really beautiful, and the food is fantastic! We had guests ranging from ages 23 to 55 and they all loved it. The beach is beautiful and there are always tones of chairs. There are four resorts within one another. The Kantenah, Collonial, White Sands and the Riviera. They are all Palladiums. The a la carte restaurants are spread throughout and you can eat at any one you want. The resorts are pretty big, so you can either walk off the big meal, or they have this “crazy train” that runs every 5-7min. The train runs from 7am to 2am. It stops anywhere in the resort you want. Some of our guests took day trips and had a great time. I went Parasailing with my mom (which I highly recommend), and went to the lagoon (a short taxi ride from the resort) to do some snorkeling. Again, highly recommended and a lot cheaper than the tours. You can rent snorkel gear when you get there. It was my husband’s favorite part of the trip…other than the wedding.

If you have any questions, you can email me at katwatt@sympatico.ca.

Kantenah Palladium/Colonial Palladium
We had our wedding at the Grand Colonial Palladium, November 16, 2005. What an amazing resort!! WE had a group of 45 people who joined us. I have to say that it was a trip of a lifetime. I had basically based our decision of getting married at this resort, from the comments of this site and some reviews of friends who had already been to the Palladium. So I only found it right that I should post my experiences on this site!!! Well it started off like this.. We got the resort on Friday November 11, 2005. I had booked a hair trial with the spa for the morning of the 12th. It didn’t start off great as the hairdresser was over 45 minutes late. Then when I was put into the room where she was going to do my hair, I found out she didn’t speak a word of English. But I wasn’t worried, I had brought some very detailed pictures of my hair. To make a long story short, it did not go well. I walked out looking like a poodle. But luckily the owner of the spa told me they would bring in a new hairdresser to try to do it for me the next day. Well… that didn’t go any better!! This time I also attempted to have my makeup trial. I was getting very frustrated because all I wanted was a very simple half up, half down hairstyle. This time I walked out looking like an Egyptian Princess crossed with a Football player (that was the makeup part) I don’t want to discourage anyone to try the hairdressers, it’s simply that they couldn’t achieve the look I was going for. I just suggest going for a trial first. Luckily I had 2 hairdressers in our group. And my friend came to the rescue and managed to do all my 3 bridesmaids and my hair for the wedding. It worked out fantastic really!!! Since I do makeup for a living, it was no biggy to have to do it myself, I had just wanted to get pampered the day of my wedding, but it turned out great anyways!! We than had our meeting with Rocio the wedding planner. Rocio did all that we needed and she was great. We had no worries and she had all the little extras that we wanted handled perfectly. My flowers, cake and reception was fantastic. We had planned our wedding ceremony outside of the resort, as we wanted to have a Catholic wedding. We got married at the Xcaret chapel. Let me tell you that this place is well worth it. It is breathtaking and made our wedding that much more special to us. The wedding planner there, Gabriella, was great. She made sure I had no worries.

As for our photographer, we hired Claudia Rodriguez. We chose her #3 package. It turned out amazing. We don’t have 1 bad picture. She is very friendly and really knows what she’s doing. We have had so many people look at our pictures and comment on how great of a job she did!! I also have to recommend everyone to do the video. We had not originally planned on taking it, but we are so happy we decided to do it. It is worth way more than what it costs. Believe me. The memories that we have with that film with last us a lifetime. I strongly recommend anyone booking their photographer or video to book through Claudia. Her team is great and you will not be disappointed in the least. They’re amazing at what they do!!! For our reception we had rented the Grand Azul. It was really a wedding or our dreams. Everything looked classy and we had our own privacy. We had an amazing meal, and an awesome dance. They have a singer and band play for us until 11pm. They were great. You could also play any music that you wanted to. Rocio is there the whole night making sure everything goes off without a hitch.

We had a magical wedding and everything was perfect. I was expecting to at least have to deal with something going wrong since we were in a foreign country, but there was not one problem. I strongly recommend going to the Palladium, and if you want a catholic wedding get married at the xcaret chapel. Father Bernard spoke fantastic English and everything was beautiful. I would not change a single thing with how our wedding took place!!

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to email me. rondeau_lise@hotmail.com

Aventura Palace
Becki & Jim North Carolina
March 2003
Wedding: I had some minor reservations that the wedding might not seem serious as a wedding should , or be marred in some way. After having been there, and taken part in the wedding and after seeing the wedding album and video, I must admit I could not have been more wrong. I have been to many many weddings, (and paid a good deal for one several years ago) and I have never seen one as lovely, intimate and touching as this one. Naturally, a great deal of that has to do with this bride and groom, and their love and friendship, but a lot of it was due to the professionalism that was exhibited by the resort regarding the wedding. Generally, there are things that go wrong, even in the most planned wedding. Every moment of this wedding was perfect. Their plan included a horse and carriage ride, wedding album, cake, champagne,wedding dinner with 45 minute serenade, spa treatments, breakfast in bed, and more. The bride and groom were very spontaneous regarding what they wanted…. the horse and carriage (a gorgeous horse and very colorful, nice carriage) arrived at the Labyrinth (Maze) next to their building( Adventura side) . The groom and the family and friends met there. The bride arrived there, and the couple was taken for a ride around the resort on the way to the gazebo, while family and friends walked to the gazebo and were seated. The gazebo had been decorated beautifully with a good amount of very nice floral arrangements, lace tablecloths, the chairs had very nice covers on them, the cake and champagne were either there or arrived discreetly at some time. The bridal bouquet was beyond beautiful. The ceremony was very personal and reverent. The sea and lagoon as a backdrop were a dazzling turquoise, and the wind blew lightly through the gazebo, adding to the entire scene. The photographer and videographer took the happy couple all the lovely vistas on the resort for the pictures. The dinner was excellent, very intimate and personal, the band that serenaded were so good, with such great personalities, they became almost part of the wedding celebrations themselves. The one thing that impressed me the most is how professional the wedding planner was, as well as the photography and video were. These were true professionals and it is so apparent. I have NEVER seen more perfect wedding pictures or video, no matter what professionals Stateside were involved.

I would highly recommend a wedding there!

Riu Palace
We booked an independant wedding photographer for our wedding vow renewal in June 2005. Unfortunately the photographs were delivered to us at the airport 30 minutes before our flight home so we did not have time to see them before we left Mexico however alarm bells should really have started ringing when the photgrapher’s (Michael Maurus) wife who had been booked to perform the ceremony told us laughingly on the morning of the cermeony that she had dropped the wedding cake we had paid for on the floor the previous evening so there would be no cake! The ceremony was planned to take place on the beach in Cancun but the weather was really bad so had to be postponed to the following day, unfortunately the next day was no better and although we had paid the photographer and his wife to arrange everything for us they had not had the common sense to arrange a contingency plan in case it should rain. The $860 we paid to them included a charge of $50 for the use of a private beach at the Baccara Hotel in Cancun for the ceremony (which they arranged) and although we never as much as saw that hotel we did not see a refund for this, neither were we refunded for the ‘dropped cake’.

The Manager of the Riu Palace Hotel where we were staying (Karima) was fantastic and saved the day totally by permitting us to have the ceremony in the hotel’s beautiful little chapel. She also arranged for our room to be decorated, sent us champagne, booked us a lovely table for dinner which was decorated with flower petals and swans made of white table napkins and even had the staff gather around our table to sing congratulations to us whilst presenting us with a yummy chocolate wedding cake!

Unfortunately on arriving home and looking at our photographs we were completely devastated to see how dreadful they are. Every single one was dark and dreary looking. The focus is not great and some have been taken so far zoomed out that you would have trouble recognising who is actually in them! I have requested a refund from Michael Maurus and his wife Petra but he has had the cheek to offer me a mere $30 despite the fact that those photographs can never be retaken now and this experience has almost ruined our memories of the day altogether. Michael Maurus is unapologetic and whilst the photographs on his website look great DO NOT BE FOOLED! If you book him as your photographer you will not get photos like those on his website, we didn’t!

Riu Palace
Jeannette and Dan Charlotte, NC
May 2005
The wedding was actually better than expected. Being that we had a lack of good communication during the planning stages before we came to Mexico. So we thought we could be in for a big disappointment. But the wedding coordinator was very helpful when we got there. Everything came out beautiful. The photographer did a great job and our wedding DVD is fantastic. (we upgraded and got the $900 additional picture/DVD package) The coordinator actually set it up so that we could do a first dance by the pool. And they played a couple other songs so that family and friends could join in. The only thing they don’t do is a rehearsal dinner or a reception. So you have to plan something yourself. I did think the cost of the wedding packages was very high compared to what you got in the packages at other resorts. Other places the bride arrived by horse drawn carriage, dress and tux pressing, make up and hair done, you get an hour of music with appetizers and drinks for a reception. For the same price we paid here. We just were set on a timeframe and this was the only hotel that had the dates available. So as far as cost, I thought it was very high for what you got. But then again, we had a great time.
jmpreston@mail.com
Riu Palace
Sara Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
May 2005
My husband and I recently got married at the Riu Palace Mexico on April 8, 2005. I was corresponding with the hotel wedding coordinator, Jessica for over a year. She was always very thorough and quick to respond to all of my questions. She was also very good at providing me with the wedding package information as well as reception locations, and dinner menus. Just prior to our departure to go to Mexico I arranged my meeting time with Jessica at the hotel, and everything was in the order and well organized when we met face-to-face. I was so excited about arriving to the hotel. I wanted a very upscale resort that would cater to all my needs…I wanted to feel like a princess on my wedding day. And boy, let me tell you that they exceeded my expectations. As soon as we arrived we were impressed with the hotel facilities and the staff members. The resort rooms, dinning lounges, entertainment, beach, staff and food were all amazing. Okay, so back to the wedding part of this review. I arrived 5 days before my actual wedding day. I met with Jessica three days before my wedding day and picked everything from various samples she had in a book. I ended up customizing my bouquet a little with a similar style that she had, but with different types of flowers. The actual wedding packages are a little more expensive than other resorts, however everything is very good quality. I decided to have my wedding near the beach under palm trees. They decorated the location with a beautiful white arch with flowers, and a white covered table with fresh flowers arrangements. Then they created the alter with tikki torches (with cascading flowers) and a red carpet, and then finished the alter with two flower arrangements on either side. They also provided me with white covered chairs for my guests. And to top it off, we decided to pay a little extra and got a mariachis band to play during and after our ceremony – highly recommend!

For us, most of our family and friends could not attend, so the pictures and video were extremely important to us. I decided to go with Claudia Rodriguez as my photographer and videographer. She was extremely responsive and provided all the information upfront. A few weeks before we finalized the scheduled for the wedding day, and she was right on time the day of my wedding. Her calm presence was very much appreciated, and her husband Mike ended up taking our video. The results of the pictures and video were out of this world. The pictures were more photojournalism style, and truly captured the emotions of my wedding day. The video captured every important and funny moment of our wedding day. I highly recommend Claudia’s services to anyone getting married in Mexico. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at sarasned@hotmail.com

Riu Palace
My husband and I were recently married at the Riu Palace Mexico on June 7, 2004. I began e-mailing the wedding coordinators at the Riu Palace in March and they were very good about responding quickly to all of my questions. This was my first choice location followed by the Palladium (which is where we spent our honeymoon!) and it was the definitely the best choice! Currently the wedding coordinators at the Riu are Nora, Meike, and Jessica. Jessica is the one who was our coordinator and she did an excellent job. We did not have guests or family attend our wedding so we purchased the wedding video which came out excellent and as our photographer I chose to have Claudia Rodriguez. She is an independent photographer I found out about from other brides online and after seeing her work I just had to have her as the photographer. She’s very nice, patient and professional and even met us at the airport to deliver our photos before we left Mexico! Our friends and family say we look like movie stars and the location and hotel are gorgeous! Neither one of us are very photogenic so it just goes to show what a great job they did!!! Our officiant was Francisco aka "Kiko" and he gave us a very touching and heartfelt service that could not have been more perfect. The whole experience was just an absolute dream come true! They have an album to show the couples what the locations and flowers and cakes look like. I described what type of bouquet I wanted and they did it even better than I had imagined it. It was pink and white roses hand-tied with white ribbon. We had our ceremony in the chapel and it was very intimate and sacred and romantic. The Palace itself is very intimate and romantic! Jessica did our dinner reservations for us and the night before our wedding we had a romantic dinner at the El Patio restaurant where they had decorated our table with flowers just for us! Then for our wedding dinner at Sir Edward they again decorated our table but this time it was with rose petals and roses to match my bouquet! Rich and I were the only wedding couple in there that night and the other guests celebrated with us by clinking on their glasses everytime they wanted us to kiss. It was sweet and special! Sir Edward is the French Restaurant and it’s intimate and very elegant. The service at the Riu is very friendly and professional. Much better than the Palladium I have to say. I had my hair done at the Riu Renova Spa by Felix. He doesn’t speak English well but he is a hair genius! I do recommend doing the hair trial the day before if you want to calm your nerves a bit. He will come to your room on your wedding day too. He does hair, make-up, manicures, pedicures. He also gave me my manicure on my wedding day. He’s a very sweet and calm person and I trusted him completely. For the wedding video you can choose which music you’d like to have on it. Richard and I felt like celebrities and were treated so well by everyone at the Riu that we are planning to go back for our first anniversary! If you have any questions I’d be happy to answer them to the best of my ability! E-mail me at rasandiego@aol.com.
Riu Palace
I was just married at the Palace on May 6, 2004. We were booked at the Tequila for the week. My wedding coordinator was Ana Lopez. I was only ever in contact with her by email. Her email address was Playacar so I was assuming she was working at the Riu Playacar. She was very helpful with all my questions. The only thing we had to do beforehand was fill out a contract stating which package we wanted, what restaurant we wanted to be booked at and how many people there was going to be. When we arrived at the Tequila we had asked for our wedding coordinator. The first person at the lobby we dealt with said they didn’t know her. The next day the lobby staff told us to go over to the Palace to see the Wedding Coordinator but when we asked for our coordinator by name they proceeded to tell us she was no longer there. The coordinator at the Palace was pretty stressed about not knowing about our wedding but they made the arrangements anyhow. We were apparently supposed to have booked an appointment BEFORE we showed up and she was quite stressed about not having enough time to fit us in. We met with her Sunday and set up an appointment for Tuesday. Our wedding was on the Thursday. Just an interesting note, we were told we had to be in the country 2 days prior to the wedding and that didn’t include weekends. So we asked for Wednesday which Ana told us was not an option because it was a Mexican holiday, yet when we arrived there was wedding everyday including Wednesday. On Tuesday we filled out paperwork; choose flowers, a cake and a wedding area. Then we had our blood tests. Our witnesses had come to the meeting to fill out paperwork as well. They had brought their ID but they also needed their tourist visa which they had left in their room. We had come to the resort thinking we were doing a garden wedding. I pictured a garden, but their idea of a garden wedding was back from the beach under the palm trees. I assumed the garden wedding was at the Tequila where we were staying but all of the areas we had to choose from were at the Palace. I didn’t want to stand in the sand so we changed our mind and did the wedding at the gazebo in the centre of the Palace resort. It was beautiful. Our pictures look amazing with the resort in the background and the gazebo was decorated simple and tasteful. I had seen a wedding on the beach when we were getting photos taken and was glad I didn’t choose that area. It was pretty windy at the beach. The only other problem we had was getting our hair done at the Salon. The palace has its own salon and they book back to back. Another wedding had booked before us and showed up late. I had 4 girls, myself and 2 mothers who were booked for 12:30 to 2:30 for our wedding at 4. The 12:30 appointments were backed up to 1:30 because the group before had come in late and they were being very picky with their hair and makeup. Our last girl was finished at 3:30 with only 15 minutes to get back to the Tequila to do her own makeup. They had told me that it would have been better to have booked them to come to our room because there is not enough room in the salon to do more than 3 people at time. It wasn’t their fault but we wouldn’t have had to wait so long if we had known to have them come to our room. It also would have saved us all the walking from the Tequila to the Palace. None of the hairstylists spoke a word of English. The women, who I assumed was in charge, had left shortly after she had straightened out the issue with being behind. It was difficult for my girls to explain what they wanted. Pictures are a must! They have a few books there but if you don’t find anything good luck explaining it. They also don’t have much experience with people who have natural curl, the one girl’s hair was a little frizzy and they didn’t spray my mom’s hair enough so all her curls fell out. I had no complaints about my hair though. The prices weren’t the best, I paid more for “bridal” hair ($55 US) and there was no more work in my hair then anyone else’s. All the others were $45 US. They charged $72 US for my bridesmaid who had longer hair, that was an unexpected kick. The amount of time and effort they put into our hair was not worth the money. I think it mainly had to do with them being pressed for time. The flowers were brought to our room, when they arrived I just about cried. They were so beautiful. I had a red rose for my husband and little white flowers for the guy’s boutonnières. I ordered a bouquet with white Orchids and red roses but they added the little white flowers that were used for the groomsmen. I decided to do my makeup and change when I got to the Palace. The moms went there before me and were apparently quite mad because they wanted me to change in the Public bathroom that had water all over the floor. When I arrived we used the other bathroom which was much cleaner. They have beautiful stairs that went down to the gazebo. The girls walked down one side and the guys walked down the other where they meant at the bottom. Another thing that happened that I didn’t notice was a few vendors were anxious to set up early so they started bringing in crates and setting them up in our wedding area. The wedding coordinator yelled at them and they stopped but there were still a few crates that were never moved. The wedding was a short 15 minutes. We had a nice trio of Mexicans playing a harp, and 2 guitars. After the wedding we had pictures taken and I would have to say the Photographer was pretty damned good. Nothing like a super professional, but definitely not an amateur. After pictures we went back over to our resort at the Tequila and had dinner. They had the wedding cake their and we did the traditional cutting of the cake. I did notice that our package included flowers on the table and I don’t recall seeing any but it really didn’t matter. Strange thing was they served another cake to the guests and we had to take our cake back to our room. I had taken a CD just in case we had the opportunity to do the traditional dances but there was no where to do that. Everything was short and sweet and our group of 24 had an amazing time. I have zero regrets. All the little things that went wrong meant very little when it was all said and done. The photographer came to our resort the next day with a photo album of all the pictures we had chosen. His pictures were good enough that we chose to pay $250 US for the CD. We have a total of 122 pictures on CD. He gave us 30 6×9 pictures in a basic photo album. Any other questions just email me.

sam_ormsbee@hotmail.com

Riu Palace
I just returned from being married at the Riu Palace Mayan Riviera. I had 50 people attend the wedding and the day was spectacular. The resort currently has 3 wedding planners. I say currently because the turnover rate of the planners is quite high. Actually the girl I had dealt with for 6 months had quit a week before we arrived at the resort. I was a little perturbed at first however I was fine after meeting with the new planner. We got married in the gazebo area which I think is the best way to go at this resort. It is absolutely beautiful and we were able to set up a grand entrance for the bridal party as they came down the gorgeous stair case. I would recommend this if you plan to have a larger wedding party and larger number of guests. We had the ceremony at 5pm which was perfect as the grounds were pretty much empty at that time. I would caution against the beach area as it is very winding and there are quite a few people hanging around – and it may not be your idea of romance to see a middle aged man in a Speedo and his topless wife in your peripheral vision as you say your vows. If you are set on doing it at the beach, be very adamant about arranging a private beach area. My flowers were absolutely beautiful and the girls at the spa did a great job on my hair and makeup. They don’t speak English very well so I would strongly advise that you bring a picture. We had our reception in the El Patio Restaurant which was great. We had the entire place private from 6:30 to 10:30 – more than enough time for dinner, cake and speeches. The service staff was excellent and the food was very good. We then took our party to downtown Playa Del Carmen where we went to Carlos and Charlie’s first and then to Senior Frogs. We had let them know the day before that we were coming in a big group and they were more than accommodating. They totally catered to us the whole night. We got a deal on the drinks – all you can drink – $10 for the ladies and $20 for the guys (I think the bar lost out that night). If you decide to get married at this resort I recommend that you make sure you are on top of things with the planners as they are very busy and will have as much as 5 weddings a day. I dealt with Jessica and found her to be excellent. Julio the photographer is great – he has excellent picture ideas and doesn’t force you to do any of the standard cheesy wedding photos. We took pictures all over the resort including the beach, and they turned out amazing.

If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at tmancinelli@vtllp.com.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.