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Old 07-22-2008   #31 (permalink)
sandflea
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
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update

Hope you are having a great time. We are coming there next Monday. Any information would be much appreciated. I am especially interested in beach, buffet, and any trips you may have taken. Also, what are the chances of getting a room with an ocean view or by a pool? Thank you so much.

Christy Turner
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Old 07-22-2008   #32 (permalink)
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Hi, Christy.
Your best bet would be to request whatever type room you want in advance via e-mail. Our rooms are not ocean-front but we can see the ocean with no problem. The buffets aren't so bad, it's just that a lot of the foods tend to be the same day after day so people complain. The omelets for breakfast and pasta for lunch are always really good choices but you will have to wait in line as they are cooked to order, even in the Platinum dining rooms. Soups are also really good. If you choose small portions of different things every day, you should be fine.

Junior Deluxe rooms with swim up are really nice. We see people out at all times of the night, just lounging right outside their rooms. Here's the picture I promised:



We haven't spend a lot of time at the beach but we will be there tomorrow morning. But I would suggest that you bring water shoes, there are a lot of rocks in the water. Otherwise, it's warm and shallow and gorgeous!

Also, brush up on your Spanish if you don't already know it. Even though most of them speak pretty good English, the staff here really appreciates any effort that you make. They are all super nice so far!

Have fun on your trip. Let us know if you have mas preguntas!

Last edited by darkin; 07-24-2008 at 01:22 AM..
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Old 07-23-2008   #33 (permalink)
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Darkin -
I have enjoyed reading your review - We're heading there Saturday, July 26th and your information will be helpful. I was wondering if males have to wear pants in the buffet or is it just in the resturants?
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Old 07-23-2008   #34 (permalink)
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Darkin: You are certainly helping the 'scary demon reviews' to disappear each time I read your updated review. Our supper conversation these last few days are always about you & your family vacation & how much we are looking forward to our August 8th trip.

Keep up the excellent review & enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!!!
P.S.: Did I understand correctly, you brought your own drinks into the Buffet for supper one evening? Is this acceptable or did you just luck out? Also, at the Hotel Basico in Playa, are those 'coo'l tubs all around or is there just the one?? This looks like a place by '20 year old' children would enjoy.
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Old 07-23-2008   #35 (permalink)
sandflea
 
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Darryl,
I heard there was going to be an ice cream parlor at the resort, earlier posts said it wasn't open yet. If its not open I need to talk my kids down before they arrive.
My son wanted request a room near the ice cream place.
See you all Sat. 6/26
Thanks for all the great info.
Jerp
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Old 07-23-2008   #36 (permalink)
tjw
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We didn't see any ice cream parlor, they do have ice cream at the buffets that my husband said was very good. Have fun.
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Old 07-23-2008   #37 (permalink)
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Wink

I thought I read that they have a 'self-serve' ice cream bar near the 'party' pool.
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Old 07-23-2008   #38 (permalink)
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Darkin - I've enjoyed your review and photos. After reading, August can't get here soon enough!
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Old 07-23-2008   #39 (permalink)
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Great report! The food pics are making my stomach growl (cant snack though, not at 11pm!).
Your family is beautiful! It looks like you all are having an amazing time. Keep it up!
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Old 07-23-2008   #40 (permalink)
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Your report is awesome, and your wife is doing a fantastic job on the food pictures!

Thanks so much for taking the time to post!
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Old 07-24-2008   #41 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsOntario View Post
Darkin: You are certainly helping the 'scary demon reviews' to disappear each time I read your updated review. Our supper conversation these last few days are always about you & your family vacation & how much we are looking forward to our August 8th trip.
P.S.: Did I understand correctly, you brought your own drinks into the Buffet for supper one evening? Is this acceptable or did you just luck out? Also, at the Hotel Basico in Playa, are those 'coo'l tubs all around or is there just the one?? This looks like a place by '20 year old' children would enjoy.
Thank you! This makes it all worth while!

You can take your own bottle of wine, etc. to any buffet or a la carte restaurant and they will open and serve it for your with no problem. We found a great bottle of red that we love in Playa for half of what it costs to buy it at the resort. So we picked up a few bottles and bring them to dinner.

The Hotel Basica is a small boutique hotel with very "interesting" rooms.



The tubs are up on the roof at the bar (notice we didn't have the kids with us). There are two large tubs and three or four of the beds we were sitting on. 20-somethings-plus would have a ball there.

Good luck on your trip. Hope you love it as much as we do!

Last edited by darkin; 07-24-2008 at 02:24 AM.. Reason: Spacing
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Old 07-24-2008   #42 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lizz4roxy View Post
I was wondering if males have to wear pants in the buffet or is it just in the resturants?
Men only have to wear long pants to the a la cartes. You can basically wear whatever you want to the buffets. You do need to wear shirts and shoes and the women must be covered up top; i.e., no bikini or midriff tops. Afterall, people are trying to eat! Otherwise, it's pretty relaxed.
Enjoy your trip!
Darryl
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Old 07-24-2008   #43 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerp View Post
Darryl,
I heard there was going to be an ice cream parlor at the resort, earlier posts said it wasn't open yet. If its not open I need to talk my kids down before they arrive.
No ice cream parlor yet. But there is an ice cream machine at the party pool and in the Platinum lounges. Also, there are always a few different types of Mexican-style ice cream at the lunch and dinner buffets.
Talk your kids down (sort of) but tell them there are so many other things to be excited about that they won't even miss the parlor.
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Old 07-24-2008   #44 (permalink)
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Post Grand Riviera Princess Trip Report 7/17-7/27/08

Day 7: Today we split up. My father-in-law and I went to Playacar for 18 holes of golf. Casi, her mom and the kids caught the free shuttle back to Playa del Carmen to shop and spend some time at the beach. Jim and Evonne went to the resort beach and then caught a cab back into Playa.

We had a really nice day. It was all inclusive and the meals were gourmet and delicious. They even brought us cool towels out on the course. And the course was just beautiful. Great afternoon!

Lauryn's ear felt much better so they all did a little shopping and snacking before they headed to the beach for a few hours of relaxation. She was able to take her obligatory picture with the monkey and that made her whole day.



The kids had a great time at the beach. Casi and Mom just wet their feet but mostly sat in the shade and watched the kids have a good time. Then they headed back to the bus to shower and get ready for dinner. Fondue!!!

We had heard good things about this restaurant and since we eat at The Melting Pot in Philadelphia pretty often, we thought we were prepred for fondue. Well, the food was really good but it wasn't what we were expecting.

Here are the salads:
Pear salad
Crab salad

Both good. The crab shell actually had a shrimp and cheese mixture in it. That was crab stick shredded on the plate. It was very tasty.

The soups:
Shrimp bisque (with croutons and whole shrimp inside)
French Onion

The food actually came out fully cooked and very well seasoned. The waiters brought out a cheese fondue bowl with several dipping sauces but, quite frankly, it did nothing for the food which was already excellent. The cheese actully didn't melt that well and we ended up having to cut it to get it to the plate. It tasted good but really wasn't necessary.

Combo meal
Beef only
Cheese and dipping sauces

After dinner we received a place of sliced fruit, cookies and cake and a chocolate dip. This probably would have been really good if our dip had been warm. However, it was cold and the sterno wasn't making it any hotter. We ended up covering it with a plate to try and help it warm faster but ate most of what we had with lukewarm Hersheys-grade chocolate:



The idea was good but execution needed a bit of tweaking. The soups (first ones we received hot), salads and meat were absolutely delicious.

After dinner, Casi took Jordan to the Kids Club (he hadn't been all day) and she and Lauryn caught the Broadway show. It was very entertaining. They performed musical scenes from Chicago, West Side Story, Cats, Grease and The Rocky Horror Picture Show:
Cell Block Tango
Memories (with kids from the Kids Club)
Jordan didn't participate in the show since he hadn't been there all day but there were several kids from the Kids Club acting like cats. They looked really cute.

That's it for Day 7. Tomorrow we go to Chichen Itza!!!

Day 8: Today we woke early to meet up with a driver that was recommended to us by the AmEx Travel agent. We all met at 8:00 am for our trip to Chichen Itza. It was a really long drive. Took about 2 1/2 hours. But Alberto was great. He told us about the towns that we traveled through and about the different Mexican cultures and traditions.

Chichen Itza is educational, interesting and expansive. There are over 2000 buildings and the guided tours are usually about an hour and 45 minutes long. One thing to keep in mind when you get here: everything is negotiable. Everything! We were approached by several tour guides after paying for admission. Some offered $600 pesos ($60) some offered $500. You can really pay what you want. Admission was $9 apiece (even for the kids) so we opted to purchase a couple of Chichen Itza books in the gift shop ($5 apiece) and guide ourselves. It turned out that we were able to tag onto a tour group already in progress so, along with the book, we got the best of both worlds.






Tip #1: Bring an umbrella. The space is wide open and the temp is hot. There is shade on the edges of the complex where the vendors sit but an unbrella would have been really nice.

They sell soleras as you walk in but I didn't want to have to carry it home. I wish I had just brought the one supplied in the room. Also, don't forget your sunblock and bug repellent.

Although the adults appreciated the information, the kids were bored after a short while. The tour was long, it was really hot and there was really nothing to keep their attention so I don't recommend this for small kids, especially because the drive was so long from the Riviera Maya. We took some really great (which I will post when I get a chance) but thank goodness for the Nintendo DS.

After Chichen Itza, we went to the nearby Cenote to swim. Admission here was $6 US for adults and $3 US for kids. Because we hadn't eaten, we went to the buffet restaurant first. Although the selection wasn't immense, the food was really good and we were glad we stopped there.





Tip #2: We all ordered lemonades and they were $3.50 a glass. Refills are not free!!! Whew! If we had known we would have stuck with water. The buffets were reasonable - about $10 per adult, $7.50 per child.

Tip #3: Gratuity is included. You don't have to tip for meals outside of the resort. Check your receipts. Mexicans automatically add a 10% tip so once you pay your bill, you're done.

After lunch we went to the Cenote. It was more than we ever expected. A deep cavern filled with crystal clear blue water. The hole is over 60 feet deep and swimming with a few fish if you prefer to snorkel. Lauryn couldn't wait to get in. She and Casi went down first and Lauryn showed no fear as she jumped into the water.




It took Casi a little longer to get in (and a little cajoling from some crazy teenagers) but eventually she went in as well.




Jim and Evonne couldn't be left out of the fun and joined in a bit later. Both jumped off of the highest point in the cavern.




The rest of us watched from windows in the walkways.



If you are a swimmer, this is a HIGHLY recommended once in a lifetime experience. If you are not a swimmer, they will rent you a life jacket for between $2 and $5 just outside of the Cenote and you can join the fun as well. If you get the chance to experience a Cenote, definitely do it. It was one of the best experiences we've had here so far and a great cool down from such a long, hot day.

On the way home from Chichen Itza, we stopped in Playa del Carmen because Lauryn refused to leave Mexico without having an authentic Mexican churro. Alberto took us to a great churro place that he knew of and it made an awesome ending to a wonderful day. We missed our dinner reservation at the International Restaurant (by a few hours ) so we stopped in at the Riviera buffet for a quick bite before heading back to our rooms.

We have arranged for the resort photographer to meet us on the beach tomorrow morning to take some family photos before Jim and Evonne head off for a dolphin adventure. Time is flying by so quickly. We're not ready to go home yet!!! We came back to a mermaid and a whale left by the turndown service. Really nice. Little things like that make the kids so happy.



Tip #4: If you are a computer person and you have a laptop, bring it. There are only four computers in each Platinum Lounge which are for Platinum and Villa use but they are often occupied for long periods of time. When the kids get on and play their games (the boys this week were playing Soldier Front) they can occupy them for hours. Also, there are only four treadmills in the gym so if you are a treadmill person, as my wife is, you will probably find yourself waiting for a treadmill during morning workouts.
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Grand Riviera Princess - July 17, 2008 - July 27, 2008
Trip Report:
http://www.playa.info/playa-del-carmen-forum/43100-grand-riviera-princess-trip-report-07-17-08-07-27-08-a.html

Last edited by darkin; 07-28-2008 at 01:32 AM.. Reason: Adding pictures from day 7
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Old 07-24-2008   #45 (permalink)
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Each day you share with us is always better than the last. You & your family are certainly having a wonderful vacation. Hmmm, Hotel Basico, definetly an interesting vacation stop.

Keep it coming & enjoy this day to the fullest!
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