COLLEEN’S SECRETS ROYAL BEACH VACATION – PART 3

Our holiday is almost over and we have really loved Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana.   One of the best things about the resort is that you have sharing privileges at the Now Larimar and the Now Garden which gave us access to 13 restaurants!  Our two top picks were Capers which is an Italian restaurant at the Now Garden and the Himitsu restaurant which is the teppanyaki restaurant.  The food at both of these is very good. The other restaurants were good but didn’t have the same WOW factor.

While we were here it was my husband’s birthday and the hotel goes all out. We had a banner on the door, cake, balloons and a card. It was really nice! As you walk around the resort you will see Honeymoon, Anniversary and returning guest banners.  They actually asked when we checked in if we were celebrating anything so no one is missed.  It will be sad to leave but this is definitely a hotel that we will return to.

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If you are interested in visiting the Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana please reach out to our team of agents at 306-242-TRIP. They would love to help you plan your next vacation!

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COLLEEN’S SECRETS ROYAL BEACH VACATION – PART 2

So in talking to people around the resort I always like to ask about what they like best about the resort and some say the great staff, others the food but the best thing around here is the lazy river.

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All of the bottom rooms around the lazy river have lounge chairs so that they can sit on their patios and then it’s just a few steps to the water.

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Some of the rooms are quite secluded around the river with areas to get out if you want there are also hammocks and chairs almost built in along the way.

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Many people come back each year and get their same rooms.  It’s not uncommon to see the waiters walking along the lazy river to bring people drinks.  They all seem to have brought a blow up tube from home or you can buy them from vendors on the beach.  It’s hard to imagine that this is an adults only resort when you see all the blow up toys but it seems to be the thing that keeps people coming back.

Check out my video of the lazy river:

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Colleen’s Secrets Royal Beach Vacation – Part 1

Hola from Punta Cana!

We have been here for a couple of days now and we are staying at Secrets Royal Beach.  This is a great hotel. You pay a little more but it is totally worth it.

Check out our beautiful room.

 

Here are some of the best things about the Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana:

  • Adults only = no kids.  If you have kids you can stay at the Now Larimar next door
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the resort even works on the beach.  No more sitting in the lobby with a hundred other people trying to get the Internet!
  • No wrist bands!  I love not having a wrist band. Say good bye to the wrist band tan.
  • No towel cards.  You can get as many towels that you want, when you want. No more towel cards to search for every morning.
  • 24 hour room service –  breakfast in bed or that late night pizza, your choice.
  • Great chairs on the beach and a small table at each palapa – no more putting your drink in the sand.  Plus there are a ton of waiters to get your drinks!
  • The Jacuzzi tub on your balcony is a nice touch.
  • There is a lazy river that runs through the property.  I have never seen so many adults with blow up toys.
  • There are 5 restaurants in the hotel but you can also dine at the Now Larimar or the Now Garden giving you access to a total of 13 restaurants. If you stop at the front lobby the bell boys are happy to give you a ride to any restaurant in their golf carts. Oh and there are no reservations required at the a la carte restaurants!

It doesn’t get any better than this. Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana is waiting for you!

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Colleen’s RIU Palace Mexico – Part 2

Our hotel is in the Playacar area that is about 30 mins from Cancun. We have stayed in this area before and we always love it. It is more like staying in a nice neighbourhood instead of being off the main highway. When we walk out of our hotel it’s like walking on a street at home. Every night we are able to go for a walk. There are always a lot of people out and about and there is a small shopping plaza about 2 minute walk from our hotel so you can pretty well get anything you need.

The best part about it is that you are just a 20 minute walk from Playa Del Carman so you can go into town whenever you like and to take a taxi back is 90 Pesos so about 6.00. There are also lots of bikes available if you prefer not to walk into town and a bike stand just as you enter Playa Del Carman. The area has lots of different hotels to choose from.  They also have a couple of golf courses in the area that we walk past everyday including the Hard Rock Golf Club. We love that we can leave our property without having to take a cab.

To see the full beauty of the RIU Palace Mexico check out my resort tour here https://youtu.be/Mjznc4ubGVQ.

Colleen’s RIU Palace Mexico – Part 1

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RIU Palace Mexico Beach

We have arrived in Cancun and we are staying at the RIU Palace Mexico in Playacar. This is a really great hotel and I love our room.

It is on a stunning white sand beach with enough palm trees for everyone. The best part is that there is free WiFi throughout the resort so you can bring your music with you everywhere.  No more sitting in the lobby to access the Internet! Because we are staying at the RIU Palace we are able to go to any of the other 6 RIU in Playacar so we have been visiting quite a few for drinks and to eat. You couldn’t ask for any more.

Jamie’s Vallarta Group Adventure – Final Blog

Wow!  Once again, we managed to pack an awful lot of fun into our last few days in Puerto Vallarta.  Our entire 7 days were sunny, 27 Degrees and not a cloud in the sky.  You really can’t beat the weather here!  The highlight of our last couple of days was getting to release baby turtles into the sea.  This normally takes place earlier in the fall, but this year there were still baby turtles hatching in early January, so we were lucky to be able to participate in this event.  The Concierge at the Marival let us know that they would be releasing the turtles at the Luna condominium complex, about a 20 minute walk down the beach at sunset.  We took a bunch of the kids down and for 32 pesos per adult (government fee) and a donation, we got to listen to a biologist and some volunteers tell us all about the endangered species of sea turtle that lives in this bay and how they are helping to repopulate them.  They hold the newly hatched turtles in a safe area until sunset as their chance of survival is best at this time of day – with less threat of being eaten by birds or fish on their way into the sea.  It was truly an amazing experience and my 8 year old has been talking about it for days.  If you are interested in this type of activity, just inquire with the concierge at the Grand Marival and they will let you know when/if it is taking place.

We also had the chance to try two other a la carte restaurants, the Amalfi Italian Restaurant and Las Palomas Mexican Restaurant.  For the Amalfi, we had a group reservation that the hotel was kind enough to reserve in advance for us.  It is a very good, but very long dining experience.  It would be fantastic as a romantic date for a couple and they have tables overlooking the sea and sunset.  It took about 2 ½ hours for our 5 course dinner, which was just a little long for the kids – we had everyone from our group, all 35 at this restaurant so there were lots of kids.  The service was also outstanding and they were very accommodating of the kids.  The Las Palomas, we enjoyed just the two of us, with no kids.  It was a very nice dining experience.  The restaurant is very Mexican in feel and they start you off with an assortment of appetizers to share as well as fresh guacamole made tableside.  After that you pick your soup and salad and main course and then there is desert samples for sharing.  They change the menu here several times a week – we had the Baked red snapper and a soup that had chicken and rice and avocado – the food was very good and it was probably my favorite meal of the week.

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Table-side Guacamole (we were too excited and ate most of it before taking a picture)

We considered using the services of the doctor at the hotel as one of our twins had a fever and bad cough for a few days and we wanted to get her checked out before our flight home.  When we went to the doctors office on site, the doctor wasn’t in yet.  By the time we could have gone back, she was starting to feel better, so we decided against going.  The doctor is on site from 11am-6pm most days and the cost to visit the doctor is $50 USD, plus additional if medical or additional services, etc are needed.  It was very convenient having the option to see a doctor right on site.

A few other observations and tips about the Grand Marival – there is a kids playground at the kids club that you can use anytime and it’s right beside the Mini golf.  The Mini golf is shaded most of the day, so a good activity for kids to get out of the sun for a bit.  There is also an Arcade/teen area with pool tables that lots of our kids enjoyed, even if they weren’t quite teens.  They allowed kids of all ages in this area, but younger kids needed to be supervised.  They have an area by the quiet pool set up every day where kids can paint a piece of pottery for $10 USD and they will finish it and glaze it and you can pick it up the next day.  The kids liked this and it was a nice keepsake.  Last but not least, the pool bar at the quiet pool had bartenders who make the classic Caesar drink and they made them very well.  This was a nice surprise for us Canadians who enjoy our Caesars!

Our return trip home was pretty smooth.  The shuttle was right on time and it was only 15 minutes to the airport.  The check in and security lines moved pretty quickly.  Once through security, there were lots of dining options and duty free, but it was BUSY!  There were a lot of flights leaving late afternoon on the weekends and there were a lot of long lineups to get food and it was hard to find a place to sit.  Otherwise, the flights were pretty close to being on time and the biggest hiccup was a long wait for luggage at the Saskatoon airport – again with no strollers as they didn’t bring them to the gate.  That was probably the biggest annoyance of the whole trip was having to do the Customs and baggage waits with no strollers both ways.  All in all, it was a fantastic trip – as my 8 year old said “best trip ever!”.  We loved experiencing this destination as a group and getting to spend lots of time together and the kids had a blast.  Looking forward to the next one already!

If you enjoyed hearing all about my vacation feel free to check out Uniglobe Carefree Travel’s Instagram page where our whole team shares photos of their best vacation moments.  You can find us at @UniglobeCarefreeTravel.

 

Jamie’s Vallarta Group Adventure – Part 2

Let’s see, where did I leave off?  I think we had just arrived and had our first of many great days at the Grand Marival in Puerto Vallarta.  We have had so many fun adventures since then, it seems like it’s been longer than a couple of days.

On Tuesday nights, the resort has a Mexican Fiesta.  I have been to a few Mexican Fiestas and this was one of the best.  The setup was gorgeous in the courtyard.  They close the Buffet this night, so they suggested we go early to the Fiesta.  We arrived about half hour before it opened and one of us stood in line to get tables for our family.  We were one of the first tables seated and they opened the Fiesta and the food right on time.  We were one of the first to be allowed to eat because they keep track of who arrived first.  The food was fantastic – for a buffet for many, many people (I estimate around 800 or more), they did such a good job.  The food was fresh, hot and tasty.  They had made to order taco stations and the waiter service for drinks, etc was so fast and efficient.  I would definitely recommend that you take this in, if you can.  They had Mexican Mariachi bands and dancers.  It was a fun night out.

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Mexican Fiesta

We had a few of our kids try the trampoline clinic.  It is 50 pesos (less than $4 per child).  They harness them in and they get to jump and do flips – they had a great time.  I would highly recommend for the low cost, it was great entertainment and the kids loved it.

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Trampoline clinic

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Trampoline clinic

We tried the Pergola International restaurant last night for dinner.  The food was really good and so was the service.  They have everything from surf and turf to coconut shrimp and BBQ Ribs.  I would recommend that you order one thing from eat category (appetizer, soup, salad, main, etc) as the portions are small, but we really enjoyed our meal.  We will try the Italian and the Mexican restaurants later this week.

The buffet has improved as the resort has become less busy.  Breakfasts are good and quick with a couple of made to order egg stations and lots of choices.  Lunch and dinner have not been as busy or lined up either – so a much better experience.

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Beautiful Pool at the Grand Marival

I will mention that tipping is widely expected at the resort, but 20 pesos (around $1.50 CDN) goes a long way and they really do earn it.  The service at the resort has been fantastic – everyone from the housekeeping to the bar tenders has been as good as or better than I have seen at most resorts.  All in all, the Grand Marival has been exceptional value for what we paid to come and we are happy with it.

Thanks for following and more to come!