BROOKE & WILHELM GENN
Greeted at the airport by the boys in blue (no, not the police - the Lomas Travel staff!) and whisked off in a limousine, we feel like VIPs from the moment we land in Mexico!
Passing through private gates and driving among lush green foliage, we arrive at the main building of the El Dorado Royale property. Check-in for our romantic all-inclusive stay is seamless - and paired with champagne, no less! We're won-over immediately.
We're staying in the Casitas Royale, the most romantic setting on the property, and we're met by one of our two personal butlers. (Yep, you read that right - a concierge to look after little-ole us, for our entire stay!)
He tells us a bit about the restaurants and spas as he drives us by cart through the resorts, ending at our beautiful casita.
A lovely, luxury, thatched roof tree house is what we liken the casita to. We open the door and we're even more impressed - an outdoor shower (that's a first for us!), a spacious room with vaulted ceilings, a bath looking out over the palms as they sway in the afternoon breeze...
Last, but certainly not least we make our way to the balcony, and our private pool from which we can even catch a glimpse of the sparkling Caribbean Sea.
We can't help but toast to the beginning of our Mexico adventure - we pop open the bottle of champagne that awaits in our room while devouring the fruits and chocolates they've left as a welcome gift.
There's so much to see and do, as evidenced by our drive from the main building, but we're a bit jet-lagged and the crisp white bed and fluffy pillows are calling our name -
We decide on just a quick nap before dinner....
We wake up to the drizzle of rain on our roof and in our pool, the sky has darkened and the resort is quiet. We spruce up just a tad and head out for dinner at Santa Fe, it's only mere steps from our casita!
The ambiance is inviting and the Southwestern-inspired food is innovative, beautiful and delicious. We began with grilled watermelon and feta with pistachio dressing and then dove into entrees of braised short rib "au jus" before finishing the meal with carrot cake and apple crisp pie.
Full & happy, we head back to our private oasis to pour a nightcap and dip our toes into the pool!
After a restorative nights sleep, we're up and at it early this morning - Off to see the walled Mayan ruins at Tulum!
Mexico is filled with archeological wonders (including Chichen Itza - one of the New Seven Wonders of the World!), but Tulum stands out as particularly fascinating. The juxtaposition of these carefully studied and restored ruins, against the gorgeous blue and green hues of the Caribbean Sea are a unique and worthwhile sight!
Our private guide has forgotten more than we'll ever know about this once bustling Mayan city...
We learn of the incredible, and sometimes heavy, history of this place.
The walls were built not necessarily for protection, but to separate classes. The culture practiced religous rituals including blood and human sacrifice, in aims of earning favor from various gods.
Truth: we got a bit queasy hearing of the tongue and genital bloodletting practices done electively and by using the barb of a sting ray. Intense afternoon education here for sure!
Now an added surprise to our tour - we're off to see a cenote! One of the most stunning natural masterpieces we've ever experienced, these sink holes reveal crystal waters that stun.
You can swim, snorkel and dive to see the different aspects of these lovely wonders.
We watch as new friends leap from the rocks, plunging into the dream-like body of water before us. We love taking in the sights but are quite disappointed we hadn't had the forethought to bring along our suits, just in case!
To wrap up a fantastic day of adventures, we head back to El Dorado, get cleaned up quickly, and head right back out... We're in for quite a culinary treat as we sit down with two new friends at Le Chique!
Before we know it the 21-course, multi-sensory dining experience has begun - and we're in awe! The inspired dishes range from smoked (and literally still smoking) quail eggs and crickets, to a dessert-type-dish made up entirely of flowers and rhubarb!
Each plate is a masterfully designed piece of art, and each flavor is new & exciting! Throughout the dinner the sommelier brings us wine and juice pairings, explaining the reasons for the match.
When we were introduced to the concept of Le Chique, we were told it was meant to "puzzle, amuse and amaze" - and that, it has indeed done!
Today is all about adrenaline! We're off to Maroma Beach - where El Dorado Maroma offers extensive adventure offerings. We opt to start the day on an intense ATV ride through the jungle (and the mud as it's recently rained) and out onto the pristine beach!
It's exhilarating, whipping through the thin paths beneath the shade of the immense trees... and it's enjoyable as we go beyond the trees, riding alongside the sea.
As if the ATV ride weren't enough excitement for one morning - next, we're off to take on the water, in our own mini speed boat!
Wilhelm has never manned a boat, but for some odd reason I agree to let him drive... One thing is for sure, this is an adventure! The boat is tiny, the waves are huge and we're flying!
After we make it back to the safety of land, it's time to take advantage of the beach butler service... We grab a spot beneath the shade of a cabana, place our orders and wait for our margarita and pina coladas to appear!
This, is the life.
Later, back at El Dorado Royale, we attend a gala dinner hosted by Canadian Beef & Kendall Jackson. As we sit beneath the 90 foot thatched roof culinary theater, we watch and learn as Chef Jeff Crump cooks and entertains!
Wonderful wine pairings are provided for each dish and by the end of the feast we're quite silly. We dance and laugh our way past the nightlife and parties happening all about the resort, all the way back to our casita.
Today begins with a glass of bubbly, in the bubblebath, whilst overlooking the palm trees - the sounds of the ocean blending with the soft croon of Billie Holiday in the background... to say the ambiance is romantic, would be quite an understatement.
Soon, the indulgent breakfast we called for arrives at the door and we setup for our first feast of the day. The temperature is just right, the food is colorful and delectable, and we're in our happy place - quietly eating at the table on our balcony, in the mid-morning sun.
If brunching, sleeping and sea-side-lounging were all we did this trip, it still would have been perfection!
But, alas we're off on another quest for adventure... Right here on property there is a ranch! We're driven by cart to a small clearing in the trees where a staff member appears, (dressed somewhat like a safari guide) and leads us through a long path - at the end of which there is a charming orange barn and horses resting from their morning trail ride!
We say hi to the critters (including some pygmy goats along with a plump and friendly pig), then head onward into the trees...
We missed the opportunity to swim in the cenotes earlier in our visit, but we're elated at the chance to dive into the chilly but crystal waters here on the resort property!
Alex, the manager of the ranch, explains that the cenote here is completely natural, and thus more shallow than others that have been dug out. So, while this spot has a darker hue than others, it's magnificent just the same.
We're in the middle of the jungle, swimming about together in a completely natural cenote - this is an adventure for the books!
It's our last evening in Mexico and we're going to check out Playa del Carmen - mostly to snag the amazing tacos and grilled octopus suggested by our friends at Chat Chow TV! We stroll about town, popping in the shops and even stumble across a rooftop pool party (again - we've got to start keeping swimsuits on us at all times!). We wander down a few side streets, grab a seat at a tequila bar, and eventually even make our way out to the bustling beach!
The pork tacos and grilled octopus (pulpo, in Spanish) at Los Aguachiles are all they were hyped up to be, and we toast with new friends to this fabulous adventure.
Just as the night is ending, but just after we've established a Mexican-beer-buzz, we decide we're heading back to a local artist's shop where we had fallen in love with a large, unique piece... It's a giant red skull painting. It sounds crazier than it is, we swear!
It wasn't just beer goggles though and we've no regrets - we can't wait to have this new addition framed and hung in our home!
Sunrise. Seaside. Couples massages.
The morning is absolutely silent apart from the rustle of the palms, the quiet daybreak song of the birds, and the crashing of the waves against the beach.
We have the resort to ourselves, this is paradise at it's absolute finest.
We fall in and out of sleep with the rhythm of the sea, the therapeutic art of the masseurs and the scent of lavender and rosemary oils... If there were only a single aspect of this luxurious trip we'd recommend you not miss - this is it.
We're handed fresh mimosas when our treatment is over and we stop at the spa to let the relaxing moment linger a bit longer.
We have just a few hours left - so, to heck with packing our bags - we throw on our suits and go for a quick dip in the ocean!
We romp around a bit, swallow a little sea-water and try out the GoPro (not much success with underwater footage just yet) - a few more fleeting moments of laughter and sunshine before we're on a plane heading home.
In a very last stitch effort to avoid packing as long as humanly possible, we spy the poolside lunch spot that serves the most delightful ceviche - and we make a beeline.
We've squeezed every last moment of fun out of our last day, and we meander back to our casita for the last time, to toss our belongings in our suitcases and head for home!