TravelOnly Expert, CTC
THE ROYAL PLAYA DEL CARMEN RESORT,
MAYAN RIVIERA, MEXICO
This resort is a true example of a luxury ‘all-inclusive’ resort with its opulant accommodations, and delectable cuisines. The spacious suites, right from the Junior up to the Presidential are all complimented with first class amenities including BVLGARI soaps, shampoos and lotions, a pillow menu, and aromatherapy.
No review of this resort would be complete without mentioning the beach. Clear turquoise ocean, and soft white sand, walkable for miles in either direction. Heavenly! We spent long glorious days basking in our beach chairs, being served our premium drinks and handed cool towels and frozen grapes by our courteous and attentive beach butler. Forget your suntan lotion, or a book? No problem, the pool and beach butlers have everything you might possibly need right on their cart.
The entertainment at The Royal is top notch! Stage shows in their theater, musicians and dancers in the lobby lounge, and even fiestas and even acrobatic pole musicians in the courtyard. We enjoyed the entertainment offered at both The Royal and the Gran Porto Real next door, however the proximity to the lively bars and nightclubs on 5th Avenue found us strolling the charming streets most evenings. This gem of a resort is only a couple of blocks from the charming town of Playa Del Carmen.
It has been a couple of years since our two week visit to The Royal. We have stayed at several other resorts, in other destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean since, and always I find myself comparing them to The Royal in Playa Del Carmen. The Royal still reigns as my favorite, and is most worthy of Real’s claim that their guests can Expect the Exceptional.
OCEAN BLUE & OCEAN SAND RESORT IN PUNTA CANA
These are my favorite properties in Punta Cana. There is a beautiful white sand beach that you can walk for miles in either direction. If you are more of a pool person, they have two massive pools that are kept immaculately clean. These sister properties are clean, fresh looking, fun, and relaxing.
This property is ideal for Families as they have an excellent kids club and teen club, lots of fun activities and entertainment, and some unique features such as a bowling alley, rock climbing wall, archery, and reverse bungy jumping.
There is a wide array of restaurants at your disposal where reservations are not required. They also have a sports bar, and a fantastic coffee shop where they make all kinds of specialty drinks at no additional cost.
During the day enjoy a round of golf during your stay. These properties have an affiliation with White Sands Golf Course with greatly reduced rates for guests.
In the evenings, enjoy the casino, shows, the disco, or the always lively lobby bar.
TravelOnly Expert, CTC
RIU PALACE CABO SAN LUCAS, LOS CABOS, MEXICO
This resorts boasts several dining options, from buffet to specialty a la cartes. Dining in the a la cartes is by reservation only. Reservations are made in the lobby, and can only be made the day of. The cuisine in these restaurants is excellent, and well worth standing in the morning line-ups to make the reservations. If lining up is not your idea of a vacation, rest assured the dinners offered in the buffet restaurant are also exceptionally good, with different themes nightly.
This 5+ star resort is just a short walk up the beach from lively Cabo San Lucas. Is is one of the RIU chains premier hotels.It sits next to the RIU Santa Fe, and has exchange privileges there. Both resorts are huge, and boast several pools, bars and restaurants, along with many activities for guests if every age. Some of the pools are quite active, boasting water activities and lively swim-up bars, while those looking for a more peaceful way to spend their day can relax by one of their more quiet pools.
Accommodations range from standard hotel rooms, to junior suites, to oceanview and jacuzzi junior suites. For our stay, we upgraded to an oceanview suite, which afforded us a perfect view of ‘The Arches’ that grace the bay in Cabo San Lucas. The view was worth the upgrade. We enjoyed relaxing on our balcony, after a long hard day of fun in the perfect Baja sunshine, enjoying cool cocktails courtesy of our in room liquor dispenser.
Our visit last March to the RIU Palace Cabo San Lucas was our eighth stay at this RIU resort. We were impressed as always with the High European Standard of quality and service that extends across the entire RIU chain. As a travel expert, I send many of my clients to RIU’s all over Mexico and the Caribbean with complete confidence.
Although the beach at this resort is beautiful and the ocean deep, it is not swim-able due to strong currents. You can safely go into the ocean just a short walk down the beach, closer to Cabo San Lucas.
TravelOnly Disney Expert
DISNEY’S CORONADO SPRINGS RESORT, ORLANDO, FLORIDA
As a Disney Expert, I have had the pleasure of staying at many of the Disney Resorts in Florida. My favorite Disney property by far is Disney’s Coronado Springs resort. From the best design for a Mayan Temple inspired pool area to the location of the resort within Disney itself, the resort is sprawling with Santa Fe-style decorated buildings around a beautiful and serene lake.
This is one of the select Disney hotels that offer many extras such as a free shuttle from the Disney parks back to the hotel, as well as ‘Magic Hours’. Extended Disney park hours. A rare and unique opportunity to enjoy additional time in Walt Disney World parks—above and beyond the standard operating schedule—at no extra charge.
This is the only ‘moderate’ Disney property to offer two queen-size beds in each room rather than the standard two-double beds per room. Great if you need that little extra room!
ALLEGRO PUERTO PLATA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
The resort staff is what makes this resort the best vacation spot I have ever been to. We were encouraged to participate in all activities, aerobics, yoga, volleyball, bacci ball, by the pool activities, beach activities. The entertainment staff were phenomenal, making everyone feel welcome. They knew every guest by name, and made you want to participate.The bar staff came over every morning to say hello and ask us how our night was, those are the fine details that you don’t get everywhere.
I accompanied one of my wedding groups here. The on-site wedding planner was fantastic. Making sure all those special details for the wedding were made and carried out. The gazebo was decorated beautifully, the horse drawn carriage was a beautiful touch, and the on site spa did a terrific job on the brides hair.
DREAMS HUATULCO RESORT, HUATULCO, MEXICO
Located on the Pacific side, this is perfect place to get a real taste of Mexico. Unspoiled by the hoards of North American tourists. The towns are fairly new but built in true Mexican flair. The locals are friendly and excited to show you the area. This resort is built in the cove, so you do not experience the roughness of the ocean, and the water is warm all year round. This resort is one of the nicer white sand beaches on this preferred cove.
The weather here is primarily dry and warm from November through May, and humid with a greater likelihood of some afternoon rain from June through October. From June to October, the locals have told me that it primarily rains in the mountains (not the beach), and that the rain-water flows down to the ocean.
BLAU COSTA VERDE BEACH RESORT, HOLQUIN, CUBA
In my opnion the best 3½ star vacation resort in Cuba. What lacked in the rooms somewhat dated décor, was made up by the resort’s cleanliness, excellent service from the dedicated staff, specialty coffees, pristine beach and amazing snorkeling.