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! 

Disney's Vero Beach Resort

There’s something magical about vacationing at Disney that puts a spring in my step and a huge smile on my face. It’s one of my favorite ways to vacation. But then again, a vacation at the beach is so relaxing. There isn’t the hubbub of people, the waiting in lines for attractions, and the go-go-go feeling of having to be somewhere at a certain time. For me, it’s hard to choose between the two. Luckily, there’s a place where we don’t have to choose between the magic of Disney and the relaxation of the beach. Enter Disney’s Vero Beach Resort.

 

Disney’s Vero Beach Resort is just a two- hour drive southeast of Walt Disney World Resort. Nestled right up against the Atlantic Ocean, it combines the beauty of nature and Disney-inspired family fun. This is a Disney Vacation Club resort that offers accommodations ranging from studios to one and two- bedroom villas. There are also a small number of 3- bedroom cottages available.

When you first arrive to the resort, you will see a sign that says “Welcome Home”. As well as some fun topiary hedges, such as one of the crocodile from Peter Pan.  In true Disney fashion, you feel like you belong.

 

There is so much to see and do at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. Before we even discuss the beach and ocean, let’s look at what’s available right at the resort. 

 

The pool is a Mickey shape with a fun 163-foot spiral water slide.

Near the pool is the Tiger Lily wet play area as well as a pirate themed 9-hole mini golf course. There is also activities hosted by the cast members, such as poolside trivia and waterslide races. Visit Eb & Flo Rentals on the pool deck to rent bikes and more as well as get complimentary billiards, sports balls, ping pong equipment, and board games. If you go out to the front of the resort, you’ll find a tunnel walkway that will take you across the street. Here you will come to a beautiful nature area, where you can play sports, go for a nature walk, or just hang out and enjoy the scenery.  You can also get tennis lessons or learn how to fish.

All of this and we haven’t even touched the beach yet.

 

Disney’s Vero Beach Resort features a private beach with guest only access. As with any beach, I love to just sit and relax on the beach. To soak up the sun and put my toes in the sand and the ocean or to look for seashells. Visit the SeaBreeze Cabana Company to rent beach chairs and umbrellas daily or for the week. You can also rent boogie boards, jet skis, surf boards, and other fun ocean equipment. The resort also share beach space with the nesting grounds of the Loggerhead Sea Turtles. In keeping with Walt Disney’s conservation legacy, the beach has been specifically designed to create a minimal impact on their nesting patterns. During the warmer months, you can join a nighttime outing to view the nesting turtles. You will be accompanied by cast members who have degrees in a related field.

 

 

Sea Turtles are much of the resort’s theming. My husband and I have a tradition of taking a family picture in front of the Sea Turtle painting in the foyer.

The resort has 2 dining rooms as well as a lounge and a quick service restaurant near the pool. Shutter’s, the casual dining restaurant, also offers character dining twice a week. Typically on Monday nights, Shutter’s hosts a family style, all you can eat, Pirate dinner with Pirate Goofy and Pirate Donald.  Feel free to dress up and join in the fun! (Featured in the summer through Labor Day)

On Saturday morning, join Goofy and Donald for breakfast at Goofy’s Beachside Character Breakfast. This is also a family style, all you can eat meal.

 

 

With so many different things to do at the resort, including The Spa at Disney’s Vero Beach where you can indulge in various different spa treatments, you might hesitate to venture off property. However, there is so much to see in the surrounding area as well. The boardwalk of Vero Beach features shops as well as dining and this can be found throughout the area. Just ask the locals for some of their favorite places to shop or eat, they have suggestions that turn out to be hidden gems! So if you are looking for a relaxing beach vacation and that Disney flair, don’t hesitate to check out Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. If you have any questions or want to book your Vero Beach vacation, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Until then, dream of the sun on your face and your toes in the sand,

Patti
patti@disiningmemories.com
www.facebook.com/uponastartravelwithpatti
Twitter & Instagram: UponAStarPatti

 

 

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