My girlfriend and I had arrived at the airport mid-afternoon on a Monday. The line for passport control was a little slow-moving but it didn't bother us a bit. We were just happy to feel that warm breeze blowing through the palapa-style terminal, which was a fine contrast to the frigid temperatures we had left behind in Minnesota
. After making our way through the wait, a gentlemen guided us to the booth of Prieto Tours, the company with which we had made arrangements to shepherd us to and from our accomodation. They quickly checked us off their list, grabbed our luggage, and we headed out to the shuttle. The ride lasted about ten minutes, and it was quick and effortless. Upon arrival at the resort, we were immediately handled with kindness and grace. We stood outside the entrance for a few minutes just soaking in the sights of gently swaying palms and smiling faces waiting unhurriedly and patient to assist us. During our stance of inspiration, a woman came outside and handed us a delicious libation mixed of fresh pineapple and orange. Eventually we moseyed our way into the lobby for check-in. The friendly woman at the counter gave us all the information we needed, including maps and restaurant schedules. We stepped over to a nearby desk where another kind woman helped us make our dinner reservations for the week. It was all very simple and again, effortless. From there we followed a concierge to our room and unloaded our things. Everything was clean, orderly, and comfortable. After exploring the interior of our "Royal Superior Ocean View" room, we reached into the mini-bar, grabbed our first El Presidente cervezas and headed out to the balcony. We spent a rather idle hour or so there with our legs kicked up just unwinding from our flights until hunger came upon us. Beyond the lazy river and across the courtyard of red-tinted bodies laying about in the sun, we could see the bustling of other famished guests relishing themselves at the buffet and we were keen to share the same sentiments
. After fitting ourselves into some more tropical-climate-appropriate attire, we made our way toward the signature buffet-style sounds of clanking plates and silver spoons. Much to our surprise, the selection was far more extensive than we had anticipated. Regardless of how particular a person may consider themselves to be, there was an ample array of enticing edibles to satisfy any level of discriminating tastes.
So sometime later, maybe an hour (maybe two), seated there outside at our table with a view, I can truthfully declare that from that moment forward into the remainder of our stay, the parallel grins never resigned from our faces. While perhaps a statement like that may be somewhat skewed by the company we were in, there is no doubt that the backdrop of hospitable staff, meticulously cared for grounds, and a seemingly endless assortment of activities at our disposal, didn't somehow make it all the more easy to enjoy ourselves. We certainly didn't do all there was to do, nor see all there was to see, but we certainly took pleasure in a fair share of them. Though there were very few to begin with, any of the criticisms I had read about this place seemed rather trivial and isolated, and we would be digging to find something even worth mentioning now. There were no damp or musty odors in the room, nor were the lounge chairs on the beach ever in short supply
. Only twice were we approached by anyone on the beach, but they were simply offering tours, photos, or parasailing expeditions, and when we kindly declined, they kindly left us alone. As well, after taking a leisurely stroll, certainly by comparison, this beach far exceeded the cleanliness of any other nearby resort that we had walked past. The food? As I remember others mentioning as well, it was more or less, predictable. Often losing track of time, we did not visit every restaurant, and opted instead a few times for early dinners at the buffet. Regardless, wherever we ate each night, any food that we stuffed into our bellies left us, well, content.
To play a devil's advocate for a second, sure, I suppose there is a faint chance that we just happened to land and stay on the perfect week. We never did see a drop of rain until the day we left and it was brief, though it did make it slightly less painful to say goodbye. Perhaps all the staff had just returned the week before from their own vacations and were fresh, recharged, and ready to return to work. Maybe somehow even the tides managed to wash all the seaweed and other vegetation clear from our sight for this week only, but seriously, I'd have to state that as being a rather unlikely tale. Instead I'd say the story is much more solid than that. The blueprints for an idyllic "all-inclusive" holiday are here, but it's up to you and those you are with as to whether or not you'll know how to read them
Lastly, the only hint or suggestion that I had read about in previous reviews that really hung about in my mind were concerning guests tipping the staff. This will also serve as the only truly useful submission that I can pass along to any future vacationers of this place or any other comparable setting. That is, by no means is tipping here expected from anyone. Everyone understands that the monetary price you pay for your stay is heavy, but seriously, in a country where the average wage for a common worker is $86 to $172 USD a month, a few extra bucks spent on reciprocating the smiles they are providing you with is at the very least, kind, respectful, and positively appreciated. I went with $140 USD in single bills and tipped everyone from the shuttle driver to the concierge, and housekeeping to the servers and I swear, my only regret was having not brought more. So, for others before me, thank you, and to those arriving tomorrow, you're welcome. Pay it forward, literally, and enjoy yourself. Cheers!
I realize the insignificance, or perhaps redundancy, I do. There are several reviews available online of this place already and really, mine is probably no different, but I feel somehow obligated to reiterate and support the previously spoken evidence anyhow. While I haven't typically cared for the idea of all-inclusive resorts in the past, I decided to make an exception this time and honestly, I am grateful for it. This was actually my first all-inclusive experience, and the previous apprehensions I held so close before have subsided a little more since. Spoiled on this one? Perhaps. Lucky? Probably so. Either way, this place, this time, proved a rightful choice.