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Old 03-26-2013   #1 (permalink)
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The Royal, March 16-23, 2013: New & Improved!

We just returned from our 7th trip to our favourite resort & without a doubt, this has been the best visit yet!

For the first time, we travelled to the Royal with another couple and we had a great time sharing the week with good friends on their first trip to PDC. Our friends hadn't had a serious trip away together without kids for over a decade and so they were long overdue for a week of sun & fun.... little did they know what they were in for! We hope they'll be able to lead mostly normal lives after this week

This was also our first trip to the RPDC since extensive upgrades were completed this past autumn and we were keen to see how things had turned out, especially after seeing some excellent recent photos here on PI.

We all left our respective kids with grandparents and drove down to Seattle to save a pile of money on airfare. We took a red-eye flight out of Sea-Tac at midnight, connected through Houston and landed in CUN before 9:00 am.

Our friends before heading to the airport:


Time for a quick drink at Sea-Tac before the flight:


The flight and connection went smoothly and we found ourselves landing in a heat-haze in Cancun. A brief mishap with a misplaced passport was soon corrected and we boarded our dedicated shuttle which took us directly to the Royal, stopping briefly at 7-11 to pick up the first of the 500 or so drinks which the four of us would jointly consume over the next eight days

4 Amigos Borrachos en Mexico:


Stay tuned - plenty more on the way!

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Old 03-26-2013   #2 (permalink)
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Looking forward to the rest of your TR!
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Old 03-26-2013   #3 (permalink)
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Excited to see the rest, the updated lobby/martini bar pics from your thread in the other section are what led me to sign up here. Are you sitting at El Mediterraneo in the last picture? That building didn't exist on our 1st trip there in 2008, excited to try it out!

And can't wait to see how the trip unfolds for your friends...10 years and no serious vacation!?!?!?!?!
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Old 03-26-2013   #4 (permalink)
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Excited to see the rest, the updated lobby/martini bar pics from your thread in the other section are what led me to sign up here. Are you sitting at El Mediterraneo in the last picture? That building didn't exist on our 1st trip there in 2008, excited to try it out!
That's the one! One of our favourite places to drink in the evening. The Chichen wing is the quietest and shadiest part of the hotel (unless the construction site next door is active...)

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Old 03-26-2013   #5 (permalink)
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The Royal is my favorite all-inclusive .... more, please!!!
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Old 03-27-2013   #6 (permalink)
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Day I, Part 1

When completing the online check-in, we advised the resort that our friends were celebrating their second honeymoon. At the time we checked in online, the suite selection system wasn't functioning and our rooms were selected automatically. In any event, they scored big with the coveted suite 336, top floor corner room in the angled part of the Coba wing (we were later told that this suite is usually assigned to honeymooners).

In the meantime, let me introduce our friends S&C, who will feature prominently in the escapades to come. We had been trying to persuade them to join us in Mexico for a few years now, and after spending a few envious years living vicariously through our trip reports & photos, they finally bit the bullet. After an earnest chat with the grandparents about babysitting, it was on like Donkey Kong........

S would eventually earn the nickname "Seņorita Mojito" as she pursued her relentless quest for the perfect blend of Bacardi Aņejo, lime juice, simple syrup, club soda and muddled mint leaves, but more about that later....:



Their first vacation without kids in a dozen years, and first trip to Playa. I suspect it won't be their last....

Because our flight arrived in Cancun so early in the morning, we were at the front door of the Royal before 11:30 am which meant a three to four hour wait before our rooms were ready.



Of course, we had anticipated this and came prepared to change clothes and head to Pelicano's for lunch & mojitos, followed by the beach for a few hours:






Finally, it was time to head to our rooms.

The wife & I opted for a Beachfront Swim-up suite and were pleased to get suite 512, one of the originals, next to the entrance to Pelicano's:


Long-time veterans of the RPDC may recall that the two rooms on each end of that row of swim-up suites used to be Master Suites. Some years ago, each of those Masters was divided into a pair of junior suites, meaning that those rooms are a few square feet smaller than other junior suites in the resort, and there is little space between the corner of the bed and the desk. Not that we're complaining...., but anyone needing mobility aids would be well-advised to avoid 508, 509, 512 & 513.

Here's the view directly out of our patio door:


Then it was our friends' turn to head to their room. We remembered what it was like when we first saw our room on our first visit to the Royal, back in 2006, and knew this would be a moment worth capturing:


I think they like it!



Our "second honeymoon" request paid off with some real nice, well-deserved touches awaiting our friends' arrival:






This shot from their balcony helps explain why Rm 336 is one of the most sought-after Ocean View rooms at the Royal:




A balcony worth having!

We settled into our rooms and eventually regrouped for dinner.

Coming up: Maria Marie's.
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until our 9th visit to the Royal and 10th stay in Playa!

The Royal: May 2006, Apr 2007, Jan 2008, Feb 2009, May 2011, Feb 2012, Mar 2013, Nov 2014 & Nov 2017
Gran Porto Real: Feb 2010
Playa Grande, Cabo San Lucas: Nov 2009 & Oct 2011
Pueblo Bonito Mazatlan: Dec 2010
Marival Resort, Nuevo Vallarta: Nov 2012

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Old 03-27-2013   #7 (permalink)
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*adds room 336 to my list of rooms to try to get*

Thanks for the new pics!
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Old 03-27-2013   #8 (permalink)
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Great start, we loved the royal also. carry on
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Old 03-27-2013   #9 (permalink)
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New Upgrades at The Royal

I'll interrupt the narrative here for the benefit of those interested in the upgrades made at the RPDC in the past few months.

Firstly, the new swim-up suites come in two categories: ocean view and beach front (RUO and RUF). The RUF suites include the six original RJU swim-up suites in the Coba wing, next to Pelicano's (Rms. 508-513):


As well as four new swim-up suites along the front of the Uxmal wing (Rms. 535-538):


Each of these suites comes with a designated beach cabana, a nice, comfortable, shady spot for a nap:


The cabanas for the four new RUF suites in the Uxmal Wing are located at the edge of the beach directly in front. Here's the view from in front of Rm 536:


The new RUO rooms are Rms. 615-634, along the south side of the Uxmal wing:




Both swim-up categories enjoy drinks service directly to the patio.

Apart from that, a number of master ocean view suites on the top floor of the Uxmal wing have been split into pairs of junior suites (this accounts for the increase in the total number of suites).

The other obvious changes are around the lobby area, with the front desk having been moved backwards and angled, into what was previously office space. The Real Club sales room has been moved to the former Boutique store next to the spa, and the former sales room has been turned into a sort of games lounge. The most obvious change is the new lobby bar, which occupies what used the be the high-ceilinged space in Maria Marie's. The former Lobby Bar has been removed and replaced with a much smaller countertop which serves as the martini bar in the evenings.

The wedding centre and photo centre have been moved to a new glassed-in area along the corridor between the lobby and the Tulum wing.

All of the lobby furniture has been replaced, with some of the older lobby furniture being placed near elevators and stair landings around the property.

All in all, there has been some significant investment made in the property over the past few months and the upgrades are certainly a welcome enhancement. This resort continues to improve and it will be fun to see what the future has in store.

Back to the narrative shortly....
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Old 03-28-2013   #10 (permalink)
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What a lot of trouble you've taken to share the changes with us, thank you!
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Old 03-29-2013   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsFresh View Post
Excited to see the rest, the updated lobby/martini bar pics from your thread in the other section are what led me to sign up here. Are you sitting at El Mediterraneo in the last picture? That building didn't exist on our 1st trip there in 2008, excited to try it out!

And can't wait to see how the trip unfolds for your friends...10 years and no serious vacation!?!?!?!?!
That you K&D???
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Old 03-29-2013   #12 (permalink)
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That you K&D???
Yup, thanks so much!!
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Old 03-29-2013   #13 (permalink)
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Day I, Part 2

It had been 13 months since our last stay at the RPDC (trip report) and one of the things we missed the most was having dinner at our favourite RPDC restaurant, Maria Marie's. We had had many fine meals there in the past and many fond memories associated with them, so our first dinner there is always something we look forward to on each return to the Royal.

There have been a few changes of note in the past year. In addition to Chef's Plate, reservations are now required for Maria Marie's, El Mediterraneo, and Il Pescatore at the GPR, and can be made through any of the concierges located around the property. We often found that the only sittings available were often late or very early in the evening, and reservations were best made a day or two in advance.

Also, the dress code for men seems to have been relaxed in practice. Long pants and closed toed shoes are still required at Chef's Plate, however the collared shirt seems to be the only requirement elsewhere. As for the ladies, they don't need anyone telling them how to dress; they seem to have that part figured out for themselves:



So back to Maria Marie's, or at least we would be if the Lobby Bar hadn't intervened. This was our first opportunity to drink in the new Lobby Bar, and we were happy to see Matt, a 7-year veteran of the RPDC's bartending corps, and did some catching up.

At the Lobby Bar:




After a couple of rounds, it was time to head downstairs & claim our table at Maria Marie's:




Once again, the Royal's Chief Sommelier, Carlos, took excellent care of us in his usual professional and entertaining way:




As always, Carlos' recommendations were excellent. Even Seņorita Mojito was persuaded to deviate briefly from her obsessive pursuit of the limey-minty nectar:


I had a very tender lamb dish while my wife enjoyed the seafood. An after-dinner bottle of moscato rounded things out nicely. It was time to call a fitting end to a great day.

Coming up: St. Patrick's Day in Playa - the wearing of the verde!
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Old 03-30-2013   #14 (permalink)
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Day II, Part 1

St. Patrick's Day on the Mayan Riviera!


March 17 started off looking a little too Irish for comfort, with a high overcast and some scattered dark clouds. I was soon put in mind of a smoky pub, live band and an Irish 7-course meal (6 pints of Guinness and a spud).

This oddly-appropriate scene of grey on grey soon lost its battle with the Caribbean sun, however, and the day began to warm quickly. I was squinting at the sun once again by the time we all met up for breakfast at Spice:




S:"I'm not sitting down next to dead people!"
C:"It's okay, honey, they're real quiet and they don't move much....."




Meanwhile, an iguana got S's attention:


She later got a great shot of this guy, down on the beach:


After breakfast, a couple of hours or so on the beach:




Along came the mini-burgers, served directly on the beach:




After a brief lunch at Pelicano's, we freshened up and headed up 5th Avenue for a bit.

Coming up next: 5th Avenue and dinner at El Mediterraneo.
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Old 04-01-2013   #15 (permalink)
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Great TR & photos so far. Looking forward to the rest.
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