Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hip Getaways - Ola from Mexico!

Just returning from Mexico with my golden tan and coming back to reality after a week long stay at the Riu Palace Resort in Mexico.

Riu has hotels worldwide and the one we stayed at was in Playa Del Carmen.  At a daily rate of approximately $400 you get:
  • to enjoy the comforts of a 400 sq ft junior suite complete with a well stocked mini bar and liquor dispenser
  • eat till your heart (or stomach's) content
  • try every single cocktail on the menu (there were at least 20 )
  • order room service 24/7
  • use the gym, Jacuzzi and steam rooms at the spa
  • participate in day-time activities (such as salsa dancing, Spanish classes, poolside bingo)
  • and be entertained nightly by live Vegas style performances.

This resort definitely lives up to its 5 star reputation. If you like being pampered like a Senor/Senorita Rock Star this place is for you! Staff is quick to answer questions, offer tips around the city, clean rooms promptly, hold open doors, pull out chairs and the attentiveness of waiters/bartenders were immaculate -- I never saw the bottom of my glass until I requested no more! Plus this place is spotless to boot and would certainly put Mr. Clean out of a job!

The main restaurant is "Don Julian" where they serve a buffet three times a day and you can dine inside or on their beautiful garden patio. Cuisine is a variety of Continental, Italian and Mexican with on the spot cooking stations and a full salad and dessert bar. El Patio is a smaller restaurant by the beach for you to grab snacks throughout the day. There are also four themed restaurants: A Steakhouse, "Krystal" (fusion food), "Miyago" (Japanese) and "Brazilian Rodizio" (a meat lovers dream). 

Unlike the typical stigma of resort food -- everything here was really fresh, served piping hot and there were new things to try on a daily basis. Specially noted is their bacon -- so flavourful and crispy I ate them like chips every morning! You can find bars throughout the hotel, pool side and in cabanas along the beach. Surprisingly with all the unlimited drinking going on, this place still maintained its class and order.

So after 3 days I admit I was starting to feel restless. Luckily there are agents on site whom you can purchase tour packages from. We went on a day trip to visit the Mayan Villages -- this is the same village where the 99 year old Shaman from the movie, Apocalypto calls home. As well I got a chance to swim in a cenote (fresh water hole) and climb the last ruin in Coba (yay! Worked off the calories from my breakfast buffet).

If you are the beach bum type, there is certainly no shortage of water sports. For a reasonable fee you can windsurf, kayak, body board, snorkel or rent a jet-ski, catamaran, etc. If you like golfing, you'll definitely be challenged at the 18 hole course or if you are more into relaxation, book a massage, manicure or facial at the on-site spa.

So all in all, I had a fabulous time and definitely recommend the Riu Palace Resort to anyone looking for an all-inclusive tropical vacation. Gracias to the wonderful staff for their warm and generous hospitality.

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