Czarina’s Mayan Riviera!

The Mayan Riviera never ceases to amaze me!  Although this is my seventh time to the area, it always feels like the first. The Paradisus La Perla is a stunning, modern resort within a 30 minute walk from Playa del Carmen.  It’s the adults only side to its sister the Paradisus La Esmeralda – the family section – which shares certain facilities.  My first impression of the resort was another Miami inspired, posh, Art Deco hotel with hardly any Mexican feel at all.  Then I realized its the accommodating staff that embodies the Mexican culture and gives it that charm.  This is certainly a five star resort.  No watered down drinks here!  Nothing but the best for Paradisus guests who can rely on the staff for anything and everything.  There are three key signs that this a luxury resort:

1) Cold towel and refreshments waiting for you as you arrive at the resort.
2) Turn down service every night before bed.
3) Waiter service by the swim-up bar and the beach.

I love all three of these things!  How did I live without it?

We are in a beautiful One Bedroom Master Suite with a gorgeous jacuzzi tub on our large balcony, two 42′ plasma TVs, large living room and kitchen area provided.  This room is the nicest room I’ve ever had!  There are so many room categories to choose from including a multitude of swim up rooms.




The food has been phenomenal with plenty of a la cartes to choose from.  One major upset is the pool is freezing cold and it’s not appealing to jump in even if it’s unbearably hot.  Our first couple days were quiet around the adults only swim-up bar with nothing but some “adult contemporary” to ease the silence. Sadly, that ended when a group of 400 Americans showed up for a wedding taking place on Saturday.  They are loud and unruly.  It went from being the “Ritz” to some raunchy Las Vegas resort in a heartbeat!  I’ve never seen anyone cut off at an all inclusive but a portion of this group were given the red light by the wait staff at the swim up bar at 3pm on Tuesday.  It was like watching a scene from the Jersey Shore!  Good on the Paradisus for drawing the line and not putting up with the crude behaviour.  This incident in no way diminishes what a fabulous resort this is.  Well, off to Playa del Carmen!

Jamie’s in Africa! – Final Blog

Well, we have just completed our three full days of lively chairmans circle meetings and tomorrow morning will be checking out of the One and Only Hotel hotel, embarking on a full day wine tour, then we will start our 31 hour journey home tomorrow night (unless the snow storm in Amsterdam continues, in which case we may be out of luck!)

We have thoroughly enjoyed our time in South Africa and Capetown. The hospitality has been incredible and we have felt 100% safe the entire time. We will definitely be returning someday. There seems to be a consensus in our group of well travelled agency owners that this has been a highlight and truly a trip of a lifetime. If you ever get the chance to come to Africa, please do!

To update you on our activities of the last few days, there was a harbour catamaran and speed boat tour. Mark and a few others went cage shark diving for about $200, it was an early morning start and takes a full day as it’s 2.5 hours driving each way. It was well worth it for the unique experience and they got up close and personal with several great whites!  Yesterday Mark and a few others tried sand surfing, which was an hour away and was only $50 including transfers and equipment and today they were doing a Cape Peninsula tour, including a visit to the penguins… so the spouses have had quite a lot of excitement while we were in the meetings!

Last night we all tried to have sunset at Table Mountain, but it was closed from the wind, so we had some time at Signal Hill before having a sunset dinner at Paranga restaurant in Camps Bay about 15 min away – spectacular!

I am looking forward to visiting the wine region tomorrow, but will then be ready to head home in time for the holidays!

Thanks for following our blog and I would love to talk about Africa if anyone has thoughts of going. You can email me at

Jamie’s in Africa! Part 5

We arrived in Capetown on Friday, Nov 30, welcomed by a very bumpy landing and howling 100km winds, which are very unusual at this time of year. Thankfully the wind improved by the next day, although it’s still been cooler than normal.

The One and Only hotel in Capetown is perfectly located beside the Aquarium and steps from the Victoria and Alfred waterfront area.  The staff is friendly, the hotel itself is lively and the rooms are enormous and gorgeous! Some of the group even saw Charlize Theron in the lobby. I guess she’s staying here, so I’ll keep my eyes peeled! 🙂

We have done lots of shopping, walking and eating. There are so many choices within an easy walk that it’s hard to pick! It is also nice having time to catch up with everyone in our group before the meetings and real work start! Sounds like everyone enjoyed their safaris and time in Africa as much as we have.

I am constantly surprised by how inexpensive everything is. Our meals for two with drinks have typically been $20-35! A steal!

We went to Robben Island yesterday and were able to go in Nelson Mandelas cell and hear all about the political uprisings of the 1960’s thru the 1990’s when Apartheid ended and the political prisoners were finally released. It was interesting because it’s so recent and I remember when Nelson Mandela was released. The ferry ride is about 20 min each way and the tour was about two hours.

Today Mark is off with another member of our group to see the great whites from a cage in the ocean (eek!), and I am off to the spa for a massage before we all meet up for the cocktail party and official kickoff to the Chairmans Circle tonight.