Escape from the Cold - it's All-Inclusive Season!

As fall temps cool down and we start to feel the chill of winter approaching (at least up north!), it's inevitable that we start missing the sun, the warmth... and that "summer" feeling. Not to fear! All-Inclusive season is here! 

If you've never tried out an All-Inclusive, it really is a fantastic experience.  Not long ago, I posted about my time at Secrets Akumal. This year, I've also visited Hard Rock Resorts, Club Med Resorts, and many other great locations. If you have never been to an All-Inclusive, you may be wondering, "what's the big deal?".  Let me show you...

Hard Rock Rivera Maya - Heaven (Adults-only) section

Hard Rock Rivera Maya - Heaven (Adults-only) section

You all know that I am a HUGE theme park fan.  I tend to be a very active individual, and I love being an active vacationer.  That being said, there are times when it's nice to just have a beach.  And some sun.  And fabulous service. This is where an all-inclusive comes in.  

When you purchase an all-inclusive package, it's just that... inclusive of everything.  Food, drinks (yes, alcoholic ones too), entertainment... it's all there.  Now as you might imagine, there are different types of all-inclusive resorts, and not all are created equal.  That being said, there is a great option for everyone.  Whether you want adults-only or family-friendly, we can find a perfect resort for you.

Secrets Resorts are high on my list of loves.  I visited two locations in Riviera Maya, and WOW.  Top-notch, personalized service, 24-hour room service, adults-only, beautiful amenities... oh yeah, and palm trees.  Here are some pictures from Secrets Akumal and Secrets Maroma Beach. Oh - did I mention that Maroma has been consistently ranked among the top 10 beaches? Both are great; Akumal has a great vibe for couples or just friends hanging out -- Maroma definitely caters more to the romantics.

Related to Secrets is Dreams.  This would be the family-friendly version... but the great news is, there is absolutely no sacrifice in quality.  Check out these pics of Dreams Tulum!  Sure, it was cloudy that day, but it was warm, and the spa looked even more inviting as a result!

Looking for a little more lively entertainment? Hard Rock Resorts will give you an amazing experience! The best part is, you can go to "Heaven" (adults only) or the "Hacienda" (family).

One more mention in Mexico- because I was SO impressed by it! The Valentin Imperial Maya is a family-owned, gorgeous adults-only resort.  

Another popular location is Punta Cana.  Although it's a newer resort area as compared to Riviera Maya, there are some fabulous places! A popular family place here is the Nickelodeon Resort by Karisma.  Top quality + family fun = a great vacation!

Let's head to Jamaica and to a resort name I know you know -- Sandals! There are a lot of beautiful Sandals locations -- this one in Negril has such a beautiful beach! Oh, and by staying Butler Level, you'll get the ULTIMATE pampering experience.

Sandals is a couples' resort, but not to fear - Beaches is the family-friendly answer. And guess what? There is a Beaches Negril!

Ready to hit the beach? Contact us, and we will help you plan the All-Inclusive vacation you've been dreaming of.  

The Secret's Out About Secrets Resorts!

At the beginning of this month, I had the opportunity to travel to the brand new Secrets Akumal for a long weekend with some of my fellow agents! This was my first trip to a Secrets Resort - but it certainly won't be my last! From beginning to end, the trip was amazing. 

Heading to Mexico on our charter flight!

Heading to Mexico on our charter flight!

The Secrets brand is part of AM Resorts, a company who holds other popular properties such as Zoëtry, Breathless, Dreams, NOW, and Sunscape. Secrets and Dreams have more locations than some of the other brands, and they can be found in several locations throughout Mexico and the Dominican Republic, and there are even a couple in Jamaica. 

Because we flew out of Pittsburgh, our tour operator has access to charter flights, making it a quick 3.5-hour nonstop flight.  We were at the resort by 11am!  The check-in process was smooth, and immediately we felt as if we were being treated like royalty.  In fact, that vibe was around for our entire trip.  

 

The Secrets brand is all-inclusive, and it is "Luxury Included" as well.  Every aspect of the resort was clean and well-maintained, and service throughout was impeccable. We were starving, so we immediately headed to the outdoor grill near the pool/beach area for some lunch.  The food? Delicious!

Pictured above are shrimp cocktail, fish tacos, and chicken nachos. Hungry yet? 

After some beach time, we headed to our rooms ... and we were so excited to see that we had swim-up junior suites!  The complimentary toiletries were also impressive, as they included toothpaste and bug spray! 

Each floor has a floor concierge, and ours was amazing.  Jain visited us upon our arrival to our room, and she gave us a tour of all of the amenities.  She also showed us the "secret" box where you can receive room service - without even opening the door! Talk about convenience.  She also said to let her know our preference for stocking the mini-bar area.  The mini-bar holds a variety of sodas and beers (in Club Level, there are also snacks).  The room attendant can customize the mini-fridge with whatever your choice of beverage is! I was just excited that the soda was in bottles...

Tastes sooooo much better in a glass bottle...

Tastes sooooo much better in a glass bottle...

The grounds and beach were lovely ... I did a couple of Periscopes, which you can view here:

Walk-through
Beach Time and Q & A

But let's get back to the food... 

There were fantastic restaurants ranging in flavor from Mexican and French to Italian and Asian. The Hibachi Grill was delicious!  

And the Italian was divine as well!

In fact, the food throughout the resort was great, so definitely go to dinner hungry!  In terms of activities, there is free snorkeling in addition to many planned resort activities; since there are beautiful reefs and a large turtle population, snorkeling is a great option!

The entertainment included nightly shows (ours was a Beatles tribute). We also experienced an outdoor market on Saturday night, and we were able to purchase beautiful crafts from local vendors. One of our girls even had a custom painted mini-surfboard!  Check out the video below for a clip of the beach plus a clip of the artisan painting at the open-air market!

If you're looking for an upscale, adults-only, luxury inclusive and all-inclusive destination, I highly recommend the Secrets Brand. The best news? They have a 50% off sale now through the end of the year! 

We also visited some other great properties, including Secrets Maroma Beach - stay tuned for future blog posts on these locations as well! 

Hard Rock Riviera Maya

Recently, I had the honor of checking out the all-inclusive resort offerings at Hard Rock Riviera Maya.  You may be familiar with Hard Rock Resorts scattered around the US, but what you may not realize is that they have beautiful properties in popular locales such as Cancun, Punta Cana, and Riviera Maya.  

The Hard Rock Riviera Maya

The Hard Rock Riviera Maya

I have to say, I was impressed.  The Riviera Maya location has two distinctive sections: Heaven (adults-only), and the Hacienda (family). I had a beautiful room in the Hacienda section, complete with rooftop soaking tub, dining, and even a second bathroom!  As  you can see from these pictures, the rooms are well-appointed and clean - and the view was beautiful!

The fridge/mini-bar area was well-stocked with an assortment of beverages (both alcoholic & non-alcoholic), and there were snacks as well.  I spent several hours enjoying the rooftop view! The breeze was so nice, and it was incredibly peaceful. 

The facilities in general were lovely, and there were activities to keep everyone busy - of course, if you are more inclined to relax on the beach or by the pool. that option is always open!  I even did a little periscoping while down there - check out some of the action live by clicking here!

Beautiful huh?? And the best part is that the service was also wonderful.  Every employee we met was polite and provided great customer-service.  

Now, I can't possibly blog about a location without mentioning the dining.  Being the foodie that I am, meals are an important part of my vacations!  I am happy to say that the food was quite tasty.  I won't go so far as to say that it's the best I've had, but it was flavorful, presented nicely, and there was always plenty.  In particular, I enjoyed the desserts that were often delivered to our room.  Oh - and room service was always very prompt, which is another important note. 

How on earth do I only have 3 food pictures? I guess I was super-relaxed and slacked on my photography! Well, this is only a sampling... I promise the food was tasty.  We also had some stunning views of the beach while dining in the "Heaven" section at the steakhouse. 

Of course, this is the Hard Rock - so there was cool memorabilia scattered everywhere!

We also enjoyed live entertainment! There are frequently concerts scheduled by popular bands, but even if there isn't a concert, the resort has live bands, dance clubs, karaoke and much more!  

The spa facilities were also wonderful! I enjoyed the sauna/steam/cold rooms prior to a great massage. Speaking of which, I enjoyed that massage with my resort credit! Oh did I forget to mention it? Many stays at Hard Rock Resorts come with a nice amount of credit to your room! You can use this credit for merchandise in select locations, or as I did, for spa treatments! You do pay 20% of the rate, but heck, paying $30 for an hour massage with full access to the spa facilities was a steal in my opinion! 

So, in summary, I found that the Hard Rock is a great option for adults and families looking to enjoy a fun, relaxing all-inclusive vacation. Want to see for yourself? Contact an Upon A Star Agent today!