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Unfortunately for me, the next part of the trip was for work purposes but it’s all the more manageable when the global conference is somewhere as stunning at the Grand Velas Riveria Maya on the Playa Del Carmen. It is an all inclusive resort that is divided into 2 areas - a Zen area halfway down the property which is tropical and jungle based and the Beachfront area which is more for families etc.
I could not fault a single thing about the stay here (ok maybe the heat LOL) - rooms were amazing, resort was stunning, staff so friendly, the food was terrific.
But you knew it was going to be special when you pulled up at gates like this and then drove through the grounds to a soaring lobby, before walking down through the lush jungle on covered walkways to your room.
Rooms were massive and in the Zen section, came with your own pond off the balcony. There are a number of quality restaurants (you can choose any of them across both areas) to eat at, amazing buffet style breakfasts, bars and poolside drinks/ dining.
It’s going to cost you some serious coin to stay here but I’d recommend it in a heartbeat.
And the best part of the resort...the pools! There was a big and very open pool down at the beachfront part (have to actually take a minivan there as it’s not in easy walking) but at Zen there is a series of pools and it’s easy to find a quieter spot. There was stated opening hours but I did laps at 6am daily as they were setting up with no issues and actually had a work meeting in there one night at after 10pm LOL.
There is also an adults only pool elsewhere down by the beach but did not make it there.
(And apparently the spa here is amazing and voted one of the top in the world - sadly I had no time).
After arriving I had a few hours to kill until my team arrived so the pool it was - and what else other than tacos (lobster this time) and another margarita. After my first visit to the pool, I was a,ways greeted by name and asked if I’d like a margarita LOL
We did an afternoon visit to Xcaret which is a theme park of sorts on the Playa Del Carmen. It is largely water based activities with things like swim with dolphins, snorkelling etc and a chance to swim around 1km in underground tunnels. Various animal enclosures and Mexican cultural activities too.
It was hot and humid so some of us did a sedate boat ride and then hit the bar for a frozen margarita! There is a dinner show which takes you through Mexican history and then showcases dances from each region. Aside from the heat, the show was actually very enjoyable, especially watching them play a version of hockey with fireballs.
It was not until my last day there that I actually saw the beach! Unfortunately they were under siege from the algae issue affecting the whole coast so the beach was unswimmable and there was constant work to remove it from the sand.
All in all though it was a gorgeous resort. Fantastic facilities. Food was outstanding and all the staff were friendly and helpful. A lot of choice in the restaurants - Asian, Mexican, Buffet, French and others. We had a final dinner in the Mexican one which was excellent.
(Sorry...photos duplicated in the last post and can’t fix it)
Work had organised a shuttle from the hotel to Cancun airport - think it was around $55 one way. Was around 40 mins.
Check in was quick and don’t recall any issues with security either. It is a busy airport with the leisure travel market so people everywhere. And no lounges for the airlines!!
So Margaritaville for a final margarita and guacamole it was!
First flight was DL309 from Cancun to LAX which is about 4.5 hours. Standard armchair style J and not much to write home about food or entertainment wise.
Landed at LAX around 6pm and fortunately departing the same terminal but still had to clear bags and drop again which is a PITA. Interesting colleagues who did the CUN- DFW - SYD route with QF and AA did not have to clear bags in DFW.
Had access to the Delta Sky Lounge in T2 and it did the job - showers, reasonable selection of food and not heaving at the seams. Had to kill about 2.5 hours here before boarding for SYD on DL 41.
We got held up waiting for a departure slot and I remember taxiing and sitting and waiting and then next thing I knew we were about 20 mins off the coast of the USA and they were starting dinner service. I don’t think I’ve ever slept through take off before!
I made it through entree and a rather tasty lasagne before having to call time, shut the door to the Suite and sleep. A couple of hours later I woke up and they managed to rustle me up a ice cream sundae! I certainly enjoyed the privacy that the Suite door brought.
I was racing colleague on the QF flight back to SYD. They’d left Cancun after me but with the delays at LA, they bet me into SYD in the end. Clearing SYD was a breeze, think it took 15 mins in total from airbridge attaching.
All in all a quick trip but with a nice balance of rest/ relaxation along with work