ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Quintana Roo Series - Day 1

Updated on September 26, 2014

Our Quest for the Grand Luxxe OR Cussing a Blue Streak in Mexico

So, what jackass would visit Belize and the Yucatan in the course of a year and never set foot near a Mayan ruin? Answer: This jackass. Somewhere in a draft, yet to be published, about my trip to Belize is a promise to go to a Mayan Ruin when I got back to the area. I did get some good inside scoop about these sites on this trip, but due to our schedule and a little bit of weather, I will have to put off the experience a wee bit longer. Hang in there. This is not our last trip to the region.

Before I begin my tale, I have a request. If someone in the airline industry reads this, perhaps you can enlighten us in the mysteries of airline scheduling and pricing. On a very nice Saturday morning, we made our way to Richmond airport for our flight to Cancun with a short layover in Dulles. Shortly after takeoff, the flight attendant announced, "Welcome once again to United Flight number 5993. We've reached our cruising altitude and the captain has turn off the fasten seat belt light…annnnd…he's turned it back on since we are on final approach. Please stow your trays and place your seats in the upright and locked position." Really?! We could have taxied to Dulles. And if I had driven to Dulles, it would have cost more to fly directly to Cancun. So please, dear airline person, reveal unto us the mysteries of ass-backward pricing, hubs, landing fees and coffee-less flights. I just don't get it.

That said…

When planning to drive in a foreign country, even one next door to the US, don't use the rented GPS from the car rental place. Better to buy quality GPS that offers directions in multiple countries and keep it for regular use. We've traveled in Italy and now Mexico with devices from our rental company and have only met with wailing and gnashing of teeth. In this case, our little box didn't even understand the names of major cities - even in Spanish.

After traveling down the coast from the airport following the GPS to the only location in Playa del Carmen that it actually understood, we found ourselves driving in circles. That's when my language…began to deteriorate a tad. Three more circles and I was speaking in tongues. Actually, it was more like yelling. Five stops for directions and one english-speaking person with a cell phone later, and we found ourselves more than halfway back to the airport at the gates of the Grand Mayan/Grand Luxxe. Who knew they'd be together? Anyway, Grand Luxxe doesn't have its own highway sign. Look for the green road sign for Grand Mayan a mile or two south of Puerto Morelos.

At the end of our week, we would end up with a full refund for the GPS. The Foxx Rental rep couldn't get the GPS to understand the word Merida.

A
Mayan Resorts and Golf Riviera:
Unnamed Road, Quintana Roo, Mexico

get directions

We stayed at the Grand Luxxe which is part of this complex. From Cancun, if you reach Playa del Carmen Centro, you've gone way too far.

B
Cancun Airport:
Cancun International Airport (CUN), 75220 Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico

get directions

Bingo!

Everything, including my mean-guy travel mood, changed upon out arrival at the resort. From the gate you will be directed to the Grand Mayan main lobby. The resort is huge. When you get to the main lobby you will be met cordially and efficiently by staff. They will give you a receipt for your vehicle and luggage and direct you to a golf cart. In our case, resort check-in was at the Mayan Palace. Once again the staff was five-star and friendly. Once we had a room key and information, we were taken to the Grand Luxxe.

Don't let the small lobby of the Grand Luxxe fool you. You are going to be happy with your accommodations and your luggage will likely be there already.

The room key is actually a wristband that activates a proximity reader, unlocking your room. It is also your ID. At check-in, your credit card is swiped and registered against your room number. While on the resort, you never need to carry your wallet.

Source

Our room was immaculate and inviting. It covered 960, cool and relaxing, square feet. It included two balconies, a large bath, microwave, a sitting room and two balconies. The hotel supplies a safe in the closet. We used it every day.

Source

The bath can be opened up through folding doors to the main bedroom. Some strawberries, a little champagne, and your stay becomes exponentially more interesting.

A note about the staff: A week before our arrival, we were contacted by the Grand Luxxe concierge. They wanted to know if we had any questions, requests or special needs/allergies/disabilities, etc. It is a testament to good training and communications that we were greeted by name almost everywhere we went.

Moving about the resort was made very pleasurable by a fleet of golf carts driven by cheerful drivers who never kept you waiting more than a minute or two.

During the peak season, I suspect all this royal treatment becomes more difficult and staff is added to accommodate larger numbers of guests. But I recommend you consider traveling off-season. Peak is, of course, winter, with Christmas and Easter bringing the heaviest crowds. One of the bartenders at the swim-up pool told me that he would serve six or seven thousand customers a day as opposed to the few dozen we experienced there.

Prepare to be spoiled.
Prepare to be spoiled. | Source

Meeting the Local Talent

Our first order of business was dinner. After getting settled in we made our way to the Italian restaurant in the Mayan Palace. This requires reservations. if you are going in peak season, find out which nights the various restaurants are open and make reservations with the concierge before you arrive. See bolded section above. Also no flip flops/sandals and no tee shirts.

We ordered cocktails and relaxed as the skies opened up. A hurricane that had broken up as it passed over Mexico from the Pacific. It was a small but powerful band that passed us as the storm was reorganizing over the Caribbean. With a twenty foot wall of glass to provide our view, it was quite a sight. Palm trees were thrashing about, planters and even some fairly heavy furniture were being thrown around. Some water got onto the entrance floor, holding up the entertainment.

Within 20 minutes the storm moved on. Maintenance crews had the floor dried and the outdoor furniture back in place in no time.

With dinner and wine came the sound of very mellow jazz from the floor. Malonie Carre and her pianist Gianny Laredo are a staple here. Much like Sinatra in Vegas. Malonie has been singing here for 20 years. To look at her, you'd figure she had to start when she was 4 years old. But you'd be wrong. They do a combination of jazz send ups of old favorites and their own compositions.

Malonie Carre with Gianny Laredo
Malonie Carre with Gianny Laredo | Source

Riviera Maya Gastronomica

For our first meal, I had Lasagna and Lyn had Shrimp Alfredo. The waiter, ever up to speed, asked if the gluten would be a problem. I told him no and that, "I only roll around the floor choking and thrashing for a minute or two." But truth be told, I can get away with an occasional meal or two if I don't push my luck of if I have been very active during the previous 12 hours. His relief was palpable.

The meal was first rate. The portions are close to the giant portions we've become accustomed to here in the States, but that didn't hurt the quality. No element of the Lasagna was over-powering. At first I thought there was a bit too much cheese, but it all worked. Having traveled extensively in Italy, I always rate taste to what I found there. This captured Augusta Bay nicely. Herself commented on the freshness of the flavors, each notable but nicely balanced. This was just the beginning of our tasting adventure that would last all week, most of it right here on the resort.

Much More Follows

In upcoming installments we visit Progresso, Merida, Playa del Carmen and much more. As always, I will not show you everything there is to be seen. The idea is to inspire your wanderlust and get you to see the world. If you can't do that, feel free to ask me anything and I'll share it with you directly.

Matt Jordan is a travel writer living in Thornburg, Virginia

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Ty Tejada profile image

      Ty Tejada 

      3 years ago

      Loved your point of view...felt your frustration and your enjoyable moments as they happened! :)

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)