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Published: July 19th 2016
"The earth has its music for those who will listen". ~
Our big Mayan Adventure continues...Honestly I almost am out of superlatives and adjectives & big fancy words to say how fantastic this summer trip has been. First with my family: Al and our girls Rory and Ava, along with Al's parents, and now Marth. We are so blessed to enjoy stays in a spectacular oceanfront condo in Playa, and wake to eye-candy views of the ocean every day. I'm completely rejuventated, recharged and revamped! 😊
Almost a week has passed since Martha arrived to join me here when Allan and the girls went home. I tell you, she settled in like she owned the place 😉 I'm calling her Gumby for the level of relaxation she's taking this to! She deserves it after starting a new high-level position within Citizenship and Immigration so she is quite deserving of this vacation.
She had quite the adventure a few days ago. After breakfast while I was working on my laptop on the balcony she said she was going to float in the ocean. At one point I did take a picture of her bobbing away. When she gets back
to the condo she's darn near out of breath and her eyes were lit up with excitement. Apparently (she says) she was lying there floating when all of a sudden a school of 50 (maybe 100s) jumped right out of ocean over her head. Now I'm half inclined to believe her since she's not been into the tequila, but it (ahem) sounds a little fishy
to me (heh heh...C'mon you must admit that was a good one!)
Anyhow, I asked her if anyone else witnessed this Cirque-du-Soleil
fish moment, and she said there was a woman near her at the time who quickly got out of the water! Marth seemed pumped with energy all day after that incident. I think she took it as a very good omen to have a school of fish jump out of the water over her head. She spent time trying to find a picture on-line that re-created that moment and here it is on the sidebar.
Otherwise, it's been really nice sight-seeing, reading, eating some really nice healthy food (lots of very nice seafood and Mediterranean choices), lounging, and doing what lazy people do on vacation. Life is such a rat race,
and frankly I could do with a bit more cheese. The 'cheese' being this vacation without anybody else to worry about which holds so much value to me.
Saturday we hopped the transit to go to a new type of Bed Bath & Beyond store for its grand opening so I could gift the owner with something nice for making our stay so wonderful. Marth was pretty keen on winning the big 'door prize' of the day which was a scooter. We arrived at 11 am & draw wasn't till 7PM and in order to win it, you had to stick around. We're in a tropical location with ocean, loungers, music, margaritas etc. so I tell Marth that I'm not really keen on waiting 8 hours in a concrete jungle in the hopes that her name will be picked for this draw. (Frankly Satan would be ice skating to work before that was going to happen.) Update: Very sorry to say that Marth has not been spotted zipping around Playa on a new scooter. She made peace with it & doesn't feel the need to join some therapy group of people whose name was not called in a scooter
draw. Maybe next time Marth.
On Friday I had my meeting with the managers of the boutique condo hotel I'm hoping to add to my blogging business. The managers were so welcoming along with the staff. It is an impressive spot, in the heart of Playa, and close to all amenities. It's particularly close to Mamitas Beach which is known for its young hip crowd, DJs, day beds, and party theme which makes this boutique hotel a draw for that demographic.
While it's not oceanfront, it has a particular feel for those that want to be right in the heart of the action yet only 2 blocks to the beach. In Playa you don't need to be oceanfront. You can be on the beach all day and then back to your condo in the heart of the fun nightlife of 5th without the higher costs associated with being ocean front. The hotel like other condo hotels is impeccably decorated, with its use of bright colors, glass, bamboo and marble. The second floor enjoys a pool, Jacuzzi and waterfalls that flows from the end of the pool. You simply walk out the door and you are right on 5th
The managers were so informative while giving us the grand tour. It will take some adjusting to think about writing for this spot since I do not know the hotel at all, but I know this area well, and the restaurants and businesses in this area so I will get myself up to speed in no time. I plan on taking a more in-depth tour of the area before I leave. I have faith in myself it will all work out. When you are passionate about something you love, things usually come together as they are meant to be.
So the big event was soon to be upon us. Marth & I were heading to the THE 'VENICE OF THE CARIBBEAN'.
Finally yesterday our adventure to the Venice of the Caribbean was happening as we had booked a night at the Fairmont Mayakoba. Some of you may ask why we'd spend money to go to a resort hotel when I'm getting a beautiful oceanfront condo comped by my company? Well read my next few blogs and I think you'll understand why.
A few days before check-in, I get an impressive email from the hotel saying
"We Look Forward to Seeing You", and the opportunity to use their express 'check-in now' option so they can prepare our room. OK dokey - so I checked us in. Then the next day another email came that said, "We Are Preparing For Your Arrival". Wow I said to Marth, "What do you think they are preparing"?! The excitement was darn near overwhelming me (haha). These 2 emails were enough to send me into fits of giddiness!
I emailed them back that I wished to check in early, given we were just there one night. Promptly a new email came indicating that they could honor my request. (Thank you fairy godmother!) Then I enrolled in their free President's Club for extra perks which is always beneficial, and it certainly was at the Mayakoba. Martha is already a member of the Fairmont since she travels extensively and enjoys her stays with them. I did put in my note that Marth had a knee issue so having accessible accommodations would be ideal. And that we were celebrating a birthday (ahem, yes mine). Marth wanted me to mention it since she missed my big day. It never hurts to mention all these
things and boy does the FM Mayakoba pay attention to details. 'God helps those that help themselves' as Mom likes to say.
Monday arrives, and we were up and at'em & showed up early (on time) at the resort like an unwanted relative at a reunion. I told Marth to gussy it up a notch - this is an elegant spot and we needed to look the part! So before noon we promptly arrived via taxi and we received THE biggest welcome to the Mayakoba which also includes the Rosewood Mayakoba and Banyan Tree Mayakoba.
Check in was so smooth & welcoming from the front desk manager Erick which was then followed by fantastic news. They upgraded us from a 'room' in the main building to our own private casita on the lagoon. When Erick delivered this news to us, I was very gracious but at the same time felt a tingly warm sensation come over me like really? Is this really happening that we are being upgraded? My dreams were coming true! (Thank you fairy godmother once again! Forget the fairy godmother, thank you Erick!)
(NOTE: I made eye contact with Marth and without speaking our
eyes said to each other, "This is going to be freaking amazing". I whispered to Martha, 'Be nonchalant; don't let 'em see how excited you are. Just pretend this is run of the mill for you, like you show up to a fancy resort in the tropical forest every day...')
Once check-in was over which was a case of telling us that they have top shelf everything included in our Appetite for Luxury plan, it was all such sweet music to our ears. Very little was off limits which quite often you don't find at a resort hotel. We were then greeted by Mario, our concierge who gave us a tour of the premises on the way to our casita. Whether you have a boat-load of stress, or you're already in a vacation mood, as soon as you step on this property it feels like you are under a spell. You feel lightweight, relaxed, and in-tune with the surroundings. It's like they took modern luxury and the ancient world & shook up in a shaker and poured it into a martini glass for your enjoyment.
This was off to a great start with us walking down beautiful tree
lined-walkways, the sounds of trickling waterfalls and birds filling the air, and little iguanas skirting into the plants. Then we get to our casita and we knew this was quite an upgrade. It was an end unit on the main level and very private, offering both lagoon and golf course views with a private deck to enjoy the views from. I was thinking to myself, please don't pinch me because if this is all just a dream, I want to keep on dreaming.
We walk in and both Marth and I were speechless. We were grinning like two donkeys over the luxuriousness of this spot, with floor to ceiling glass doors overlooking the lagoon river. Then Mario shows us around. The living area is spacious & open-concept with a couch & chair, a dining area, a flat screen TV, Bose sound system, with sliding doors to the deck. Then to the left is a huge spa-like marble bathroom with a glass wall & outside a marble area enclosed with plants and small trees. The bath includes a really big walk-in rain shower. (Turns out that was JUST the 'guest bathroom'). Holy toledo.
Then he opens these sliding doors
to a master suite, king size bed with lagoon views too! Big flat screen TV with satellite. How much more can my heart take I'm thinking? Mario then explains to us, that once we open the doors to the lagoon, there is a sensor to tell the A/C to turn off. Likewise to turn back on when the doors are closed. Honestly, what brilliant woman came up with that? I often stress over the air conditioning at our condo since I know the owners and feel if I'm getting comped we need to be extra vigilant about the a/c. The stress over monitoring the a/c is enough to make you reach for a margarita. No a/c stress at this place and plenty of margaritas to go around!
Then off the master bedroom there's a little powder sitting area with big mirrors which I thought was rather quaint, UNTIL he opens more sliding doors to another huge spa bathroom outfitted in marble, with a sunken-soaker tub, with a glass walled-in area with plants which looks like you are showering/bathing outside while you're inside. (I know, now keep up please!) This bath too enjoys a walk-in rain shower, with his/her sinks,
and the bath has every amenity a human being could ask for. I'm now out of breath telling you about this. (Taking a sip of water... OK now I'm back to tell you more!)
Toiletries, lotions, grooming & dental care kits, soft bathrobes, slippers, fluffy big towels...Wahoo! I could spend a day in the bathroom and have been as happy as a lark! They offer twice daily housekeeping (how messy are some people?) and turn-down service at night. And the bath...did I mention the bath? If they want us to stay in our room and not eat & drink our share, they are onto a pretty darn good idea. Nah, you can't fool me. As I said, I'm here to partake in my share of heaven. And boy did we!
Mario tells us he is available for anything we need. To book dinner arrangements, take a boat tour, catamaran tour etc. Marth is now swooning with delight over the FM Mayakoba and also patting me heartily on the back for suggesting our trip here. Yes, I was the hero of the moment.
I know it may sound strange to say but this is unlike anything I've ever
experienced, and I've experienced alot with my trips to the area, private villa and condo stays. I have seen 'luxury', and know what luxury is. I've hired professional photographers to shoot some of these luxurious spot, some of which I haven't stayed in but salivated over. Marth too has enjoyed some amazing hotel stays during her share of traveling around the world, for both work and pleasure, but this place is almost unlike any other. It's like being in some spectacular wonderland where both nature and luxury meet in perfect harmony. Everywhere staff is waiting to meet your every need, and needs you don't know you have till they offer you something.
And after spending a few days here, I realized it seems to attract a certain type of guest. It's like the guests have been immunized against rudeness and obnoxious behavior that seems to affect many guests at resorts/condos I've stayed at. It is my biggest pet peeve about staying at a big resort. The loud abrasive people who think because it's all inclusive and they are on vacation that it's a license to be obnoxious. Typically this is why condo life suits me; if someone is annoying
or infringing on our space, we have a fully-equipped oceanfront condo to retreat to. As I said, I couldn't stand another big gaudy resort, and the FM Mayakoba is something way beyond that sort of experience.
Everything was carefully built around nature here, from the moment you look out the hotel lobby which overlooks a network of mangrove lined-canals which wind around swimming pools, casitas, villas and swirl around the El Cameleon golf course. Read my next blog that touches more on how the FM Mayakoba brilliantly developed this resort hotel which has become one of Mexico’s most impressive, environmentally-friendly developments.
After Mario left, we changed into some casual summer wear, and off we went following the beautiful paths to the golf cart express to head to the ocean for lunch. What a beautiful drive; trees, plants, flowers, rivers, lush lagoons as you wind through the tropical forest towards the ocean, passing gardens, pools, bars etc. It is fun seeing all the beautifully landscaped areas but especially the birds, iguanas, & butterflies. The golf cart express was a fun mode of transportation.
When you arrive at the ocean you are treated to a beautiful infinity pool overlooking
the ocean, while private palapas and loungers line the beach. The beach has kayaks, guided catamaran tours, and other water activities at your disposal. We drifted over to Las Brisas, a beautifully constructed open-air restaurant with soft breezes cooling our faces while we enjoyed an amazing lunch. From the moment our server Angel said hello, in no time we had some exotic drinks and a menu in hand.
I had jumbo lemon garlic shrimp tenderly cooked over a wood grill with a fresh tasty salad perfectly dressed. (The grilled shrimp is not an item on the menu; they made it especially for me due to my request! Many thanks to Angel for arranging this!) Marth had a type of Cobb salad with lettuce, avocado, grilled chicken, garbanzo beans, ham and a Mexican mozzarella-type cheese called Oaxada (much like Monterey Jack) that Marth fawned over. I enjoyed a fine glass of Pinot Grigio while Marth had a berry smash lemonade that made her ooh and aww. Freshly baked mini-buns were brought to our table accompanied by a ash -cheese infused butter. I had to have a taste even though wheat has become a nasty enemy to me. (Celiac disease is
in my family 😞 The waiter did tell me I could have gluten free bread at any time and just to request it. Yippee.
A bill for lunch was presented to us, but there is actually no charge as we are on the luxury dining plan. I expect it is a way of keeping inventory and also to ensure the staff receive their proper gratuities (a portion of gratuities are included in your dining plan but leaving something extra when the servers go above and beyond is the right thing to do). Which includes the servers, housekeepers, concierge, managers, towel servers, drivers, boat guides or whoever shows you that razzle dazzle attention.
So I signed off on our bill, and it was charged to our casita, but at the end of the day wiped out. I believe our first meal at Las Brisas cost $70US dollars. We felt like we won the lottery to be able to enjoy all we did without putting down a credit card. (We could track charges via our TV in our room and everything was bang on).
Later we sat by the loungers by the pool with fluffed up towels by our
heads & of course tropical drinks. I occasionally enjoy a gin and tonic and am fussy about how it's prepared. They did it to my exact liking. My grin was from ear to ear.
It wasn't too busy and both adults and kids enjoyed the infinity pool. There was one child who kept whining and screaming in the pool. I almost lost my hearing floating next to him. Before you know it, his mom got out of the pool and went into the restaurant leaving him unsupervised with his inflatable alligator. While he was causing a fuss, I felt I should keep an eye on him till his mom came back. She didn't so I finally reported it to the pool server that this child was not being supervised. Enough is enough; I am not your kid's babysitter. Marth paid no attention to anything going on. I think she fell asleep dreaming of scooters & lamb chops (which was coming up next at dinner). Good for her. That is what normal people do at a resort. Me...well not so much as I had to supervise an annoying kid that I strangely felt sorry for as his pathetic mom abandoned
Later we found a palapa by the ocean & received a free 10 minute neck massage & the guy told me I was tense. Well yes I'm tense - I just finished supervising someone else's kid in paradise... Nothing a margarita couldn't fix. Happy face again.
Afterwards we took the golf cart shuttle to another pool near the main building which no one seemed to know about as there were only 4 other people there. SCORE! PS while you wait for the golf cart express, they have a nice shaded area to sit, and a stand with bottled water and hand towels to refresh yourself. I'd be hard pressed to suggest a thing they haven't thought of to be honest.
We floated in this fresh-water pool till we hit the lounge bar for a final glass of bubbly (for me) and Marth enjoyed a fabulous smoothie before returning to our casita before dinner. (Till...more greatness happened). God I should've been wearing a seat belt!
We get back to our casita, and once inside Marth was clapping to beat the band and I didn't know if she was having some sort of attack till she pointed
to something on the dining table, and then I saw a spectacular 'Happy Birthday' slice of cake. (On a side note, thank god Marth was OK. I thought she got word she won that scooter after all!) And there on the table is a note saying Happy Birthday from our room attendant Rudy.
Come on now, don't you want to clap along with Martha? It was THE best chocolate cake that I've ever wrapped my lips around. And written in chocolate "Happy birthday" (see photo). Given I was sick on my birthday, what a way to relive the moment. I swear to god if the band Abba jumped out right then and performed Dancing Queen (which I felt like I was with all the special treatment) I might've just given up the ghost.
Dinner was back at Las Brisas on the ocean, with candles lighting up the night, and a well-rounded menu offering fresh seafood, steak, ceviche, fish, and a new raw bar of oysters, clams, mussels etc. Marth went for the grilled lamb chops she'd been dreaming about. We were seated indoors under this beautiful palapa-style restaurant with an impressive catherdral ceiling that is almost dizzying to
look up at! We enjoyed the sun setting with gorgeous ocean views and let me tell you, the luna (moon) was out in full force. I enjoyed a $25 glass of Pinot Grigio (all drinks up to $25 per glass are included. Honestly I can't say that I've ever ordered a $25 glass of white wine in my life. I felt like a movie star enjoying the perks of my meal plan 😊
I think Marth enjoyed her lamb given the silence and the sounds emitting from that end of the table. The oohs and ahhhhs. I had an adobo Spanish slightly spicy grilled chicken and a fried rice with cashews & grilled vegetables which had a nice Asian flavor to it. We enjoyed the soft jazz playing, watching the moon dance on the ocean and just feeling so completely sated. Once again service was tip top.
After dinner we meandered back to the lobby lounge to be greeted by the very pleasant Sandra and Maria just like we were family who showed up there every night. Marth enjoyed a wild berry mint drink, and I had a Kahlua for a nightcap with an order of apple tort
with a velvety vanilla sauce and inhouse-made vanilla ice cream. It was heaven on a spoon. Sitting out gazing at the stars which were so brilliant and close that we felt we could reach up and grab one.
We headed back to our casita, and lo and behold the birthday wishes weren't over. The bed was covered in pink and red rose petals made into a heart design with more birthday wishes from the staff. God almighty I felt like the queen of England...except Prince Philip is no Martha or is it the other way around?! HAHAHAHA.
It was all so romantic, and then I was hit with the thought. Where is my husband and why is Martha in the king sized bed with me? Oh well...tis what it tis when you travel with your friend.
It's been a day from our breakfast to that super duper boat tour, to riding bikes through the mangrove pathways, to floating in the pools & ocean, to fine dining to birthday surprises. And then...Tah dah. We discovered an adults-only pool overlooking the lagoon with birds all around, and there were only 4 people there. Honestly I thought my eyes were
playing tricks on me it was that freaking nice. We had private loungers, umbrellas, food, drinks, a breeze and the lagoon type river floating by. And no annoying whining kids I had to protect or listen to. WINNING!
As we settled down for the night, around 11 we heard claps of thunder so I slid open the doors and it was so refreshing to hear the raindrops hit the lagoon. After the day we had, I honsetly thought if I stuck out my tongue the raindrops would taste like pink champagne! (I am quite sure the FM Mayakoba could arrange that!) We slept like babies after a full feeding. Before drifting off, I said to Marth if this gets any better, well I just don't know what I'd do! Marth was enthralled too. Nothing could've been better except her winning that scooter from a few days before 😂
It was SO good that the next morning we talked to Erick the front desk manager telling him how much we loved our one night extravaganza here, and he was able to extend our super duper-all inclusive deal to us so we could stay another night (they do offer a
Best Rate Guaranteed). Unheard of I say. AND he allowed us to stay in our upgraded lagoon casita as our reservation was really for a room in the main building. I shed tears of joy and did a happy dance right into my spa bathroom! Then I went and had a mimosa!
*I have to sign off now. Marth is by herself at this adult-only infinity pool and who knows what trouble she'll get up to on her own 😊 It's so quiet here; we can hear the yells from the other pools with kids, but not here. A beautiful yellow oriole just landed on the side of the pool to take a sip and a look around. The mangrove trees are waving in the breeze and a palapa boat passed by quietly leaving a small ripple behind. We also have our own server that hovers nearby to attend to our needs. She is amazing and I believe her name is Stephanie. Ahhh, tranquility is the word of the day.
Love from the Mayan Queen and her sidekick. The Great Big Mayan Adventure Continues tomorrow...
See the photos of paradise.
*Must be of legal
age to TRY & read this blog.
*I'm by a pool with a drink. Read between the limes (heh heh)
I love you for making it so great for moi to be away & doing this. I love you my husband... OR Te amo, mi esposo ❤
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