Saturday, September 1, 2012

Almost Grand in Mexico (Part 1)

James Taylor sang:
Oh, Mexico
It sounds so simple I just got to go

Brooks & Dunn sang:
Life is sublime here on Mexican time
They've got something we need to learn

Our trip south of the border began on the other side of the country from where we live.  My husband (Chris) and I flew to California to visit family and then I decided we should stop in Mexico on the way back to Virginia.  It's on the way...right? 

Flying on Mexicana from LAX was a bit of an adventure itself.  It was not difficult to see why the airline would cease operations soon after our flight. We were given customs forms in Spanish.  Chris avoided leaning on the wall of the airplane because the emergency exit door was leaking.  Many of the other passengers stood in the aisle with their (free) beer hanging out like it was a party which made me feel claustrophobic in the aisle seat.

Previous trips to Mexico did not wow me and I admit I had negative pre-conceived notions about all inclusives even though I had never visited one.  I thought the food would be bad and the drinks would be watered down.  But I like to try to new things so when I got a GREAT deal at the Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso in the Rivera Maya area of Mexico, I thought...why not?  It was so cheap that we thought we could eat and drink enough to justify the cost.  Not in a fat American kind of way, but just because it really was a great deal.  Plus I saw that "The Grand" was the top rated resort in the area on Trip Advisor and all the reviews were stellar.  Also, it was adults only which really appealed to me for peach and quiet. 

After arriving at the Cancun airport, our bags were last off the the plane and were wet for some reason.  Again, not surprised about Mexicana going out of business.  We waited in some long lines, played "red light, green light", ran the gauntlet and got to our waiting van for the 45 minute ride to the Grand.  You cannot see much of it from the street behind the gate, but the Grand is truly beautiful.

I was happily surprised at the welcoming upon arrival at the Grand.  We were led to the lobby bar and the bartender asked if we wanted a drink.  Why yes, yes we would.  I had not anticipated that and could not think off the top of my head what I wanted so Daniel suggested a glass of champagne.  Good choice Daniel.  Daniel would end up being our favorite bartender.  Chris got a gin and tonic.  Once we finished those, it was off to the room!

The Grand has a few different buildings so were taken in a golf cart to our room. On the way to our room we got to see much of the property. It was gorgeous and felt more like an Italian Vegas resort than something in Mexico, but I was good with that! Check in took place in our room with the butler. I would have rather just checked in at the front desk since we had to wait around for the butler to get to our room. We had to hurry through the check in process because we had dinner reservations so we did not understand that we would need to wear wrist bands. The butler later came chasing after us though to mark us as guests. These ended up being unnecessary though because the staff usually recognized us and did not mind when Chris took his off.

We were in a corner ocean front room with a jacuzzi on the balcony. All the rooms are "junior suites" but this is a bit of an exaggeration. There is a very small sitting area with a chaise large enough for only one person.  I am not sure how this makes it a "junior suite", but that is how they describe the rooms.  The room was very nice though and a fruit basket and a bottle of wine were on the desk for us.

Wow, what a balcony and view!!!

So far so good!  It would not all stay perfect though...

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