It was 6 am in Toronto, a wintry Wednesday morning in late November. The sun was in no mood to pay a visit. The air was frigid. Darkness, gloom and mist prevailed.I frantically searched for my gloves as we alighted the taxi. I have never fared well in winter. The past few months of getting acclimated to boots, jackets & mufflers constantly reminded me of the respite that summer offers. I yearned for sunlight, warmth & Vitamin D.
2 pm , we experienced a much needed transition. We were in Cancun, Mexico….the land of Ola’s & sombreros. A languid breeze and the blazing sun welcomed us. Nature’s way of saying, ” Off with the coats, time for shorts, beach wear & tans!”The blue beach in view and margaritas in hand. A perfect escapade from the cold winters of Toronto….sunny Cancun, where a full week can disappear in the blink of an eye.
This song by Easton Corbin sums up our vacation perfectly….
” I wanna dance by the water ‘neath the Mexican Sky
Drink some Margaritas by a string of blue lights
Listen to the Mariachi play at midnight
Are you with me, are you with me? “
We sojourned at the Royalton Riviera for a week and to make this post a tad informative, I’ll stick to the good ol’ pro vs con list!
1. Space – The resort is new and if I have to describe it in one word….huge! When we received the mail from Sunwing stating that this would be our home for a week in Mexico, excitedly we surveyed picture after picture but it turned out to be a lot bigger than we had envisioned. They currently have 1300 rooms and plan to eventually increase it to 9000! However, they have ensured that every detail is well taken care of , despite the immense number of guests.
2. Like for example, the pools. They have 11 pools and a children’s splash park. (Oh! why children only!) Most pools have an attached bar with a never ending supply of margarita’s & martini’s and more than enough sun beds & swings all around. Lazing around was never better.
3. Relaxing wasn’t restricted to the pool alone. A special mention would be ‘The lobby’ where we spent many happy hours lounging on the mammoth sofas with a book & cappuccino.
4. The room- Again, capacious & lavish with every amenity a vacationer needs and much to our surprise, a free mini bar! The house keeping staff were kind, amicable and tended to the room meticulously.
4. Food – This was the best part and I’m not just saying this because I’m a foodie. Italian, Greek, Japanese, a buffet restaurant…they have it all ( with an array of vegetarian options) and since Sunwing vacations are prepaid , you don’t have to pay a dime during the vacation itself. Everything is already paid for and it includes every single restaurant/bar in the hotel. No wonder the ice cream man at the ‘Scoop Shop’ gave my husband a puzzled look when he reached for his wallet. The Scoop shop unstintingly offers gelato, cold coffee, cookies and other goodies that you can pick up any time of the day. Well, you would think a week of eating 4 scoops of chocolate ice cream a day can bore you down but it doesn’t…only makes you want it more!
There’s a tiny take out restaurant by the pool that specialises in deep fried goodness…french fries & nachos. After hours of wading in the pool with margaritas in hand, lunch could not get any better.
Dinner meant dressing up to the nines and a fulfilling meal at one of the fine dining restaurants. I’m a self proclaimed “pasta- girl” and the Italian restaurant was a huge favourite. Of course , the tiramisu didn’t hurt either but we did try Greek food a couple of times and it did not disappoint.
5. Activities – The entire day was a bustle of activities here in Royalton. Beginning from Zumba classes, aqua fitness, beach soccer, beach volleyball & water sports. I was particularly fascinated with Zumba since I was a first timer and didn’t miss a single class. Admittedly I needed it too, what with all the French fries & Gelatos!
Come sundown, they had live music by the bar. And Monday nights meant the flamboyant Mariachi band would come down to give us a flavour of Mexico, followed by a traditional Mexican dance by the dancers.
A gripping ‘Fire Show’ by the beach was entertaining too. While everyone grabbed sunbeds and cosied up with blankets under the night sky, the performers captivated us with their stunts. The applause that ensued was enough proof. Well, that’ not all because we spent the next 2 hours literally dancing under the stars! A beach party came as a pretty good surprise and obviously, a great way to end the day!
6. Beach – Well, this is the whole reason we flew all the way isn’t it?
The sands rolled in acres leading on to the sundrenched beach. The slow breeze, the scrunching sands and the blue waters made our morning walks worth the early rising. The purity and scant warmth in the air is something I covet and cherish the most.
We didn’t happen to visit any but the resort does have beach bars & shacks for sea food lovers.
Now we get to the Con’s
1. I mentioned earlier about the resort being new but that also meant they have ongoing construction which was visible down the lobby. No it wasn’t disturbing but just the area looking shanty was slightly putting off. Although a couple of days before we had to leave, it was completed.
2. Staff from Guest Services – Where do I begin? The moment we disembarked from the bus, the staff that was appointed with guest services were after our lives! They lure by saying “Oh beautiful necklace” and “Sir how young you look!” and catch hold of you tighter than a warped door. Unfortunately, one staff member did get our precious attention one morning owing to our courteous manners and she spent a good 15 minutes telling us about their ‘Timeshare’ policies and it’s lucrative benefits after peppering us with a million questions about our personal life. Well, drastic times call for drastic measures. My impatience got the better of me and I politely pulled the plug on her lecture by telling her that we needed our privacy and were not the least bit interested in ‘Timeshare’. She was utterly disappointed. The next morning another staff approached us in the lobby. This time however, we were better prepared and before he plastered on his artificial smile and began chewing our brains, we respectfully declined the offer. This became an everyday affair and we noticed some of the subtle tricks the staff employed. They would casually stroll along the breakfast area and ambush the guests while they are still high on caffeine or just block their next prey in an act of desperation. The sad part is once they knew we would not be prospective timeshare holders they refused to even acknowledge that we’re guests at their hotel and those wide smiles turned into faces void of any expression when we walked past them.
Having said all this, I have to admit, 6 Pro’s vs 2 Con’s…not too bad huh! We ended up having a great time and drank in all the treasures that beautiful Cancun has to offer. And we brought this little guy home with us! I think he perfectly portrays the spirit of Cancun!
(This sculpture is made by a famous artist from Mexico, Rodo Padilla.To see more of his work, check here…http://www.rodopadilla.com/
Read our other adventures in Mexico …Mexico Part 1- Chichen Itza & Mexico Part 2- Fifth Avenue, Playa Del Carmen