Friday, January 26, 2018

Ocean Maya Royale for the 8th Time! Playa del Carmen ~ January 6-13, 2018

Eight times.

While we've been to the Riviera Maya 11 times, we have been to this awesome place eight times. Steve and I are so fortunate to have the opportunity and mutual desire to do this time and time again.
It’s incredible.

If you’ve read this blog, then you’ve read about Ocean Maya Royale all seven times. You know about the restaurants and you know about the food. You may have an idea of what we drink, our daily routine and that we love to relax and literally do nothing but spend time with one another. I’ve decided to take a different approach with this post. The redundancy of me writing the same thing can get old and while a few things have changed; what we love so much hasn’t changed a bit. I’ve decided to write about all of the things that we love about this time together at this remarkable place we now refer to as our second home.

If you're a fellow traveler and looking for additional information, following these links to my previous seven visits to OMR - July 2017 OMR, January 2017 OMR, July 2016 OMRMay 2016 OMRJuly 2015 OMRJuly 2014 OMR and July 2013 OMR
 Some people get it, but others ask, “Why do you go back to the same place EVERY TIME?” I could go on and on for days about why we visit the same place. Better yet, I’ll bring you with me and from the moment you step foot onto the resort we will relax, have fun and be treated like royalty. Who doesn’t want that!?!
Nevertheless, I’ll save you the time and money and let you simply read as I give you the TOP FIVE reasons we keep going back…
Reason #1 - The Staff
First and foremost, the people. With very little turnover, we continue to see the same staff members over and over again. We are recognized by everyone from senior management to housekeeping and groundskeepers. They are as excited to see us as we are to see them and we are welcomed with open arms everywhere we go. We’ve established legitimate friendships with some of these people and our mutual kindness is far from artificial. We care about them and we care about their families. They will continue to give us a hard time because we still speak muy poquito Español, even though we’ve been there so many times. We keep promising each other that we’ll be better next time, but I guess we just learn one phrase at a time, such as “mas vino Rosado espumoso por favor" (Thanks Oscar!)

Miguel, Jorge, Yovanetti, Manuel, Oscar, Karolina and Eber all go out of their way to make us feel like we're the absolute best!
We've become friends with Guest Services manager Miguel, so he and his wife took us out for dinner one night at Don Sirloin. It was a great time and Miguel even sported his new Cavs shirt!
Reason #2 - Comfort

There is no learning curve. From the moment we sit our butts in those first class seats, we are on vacation (I say that like that's the only way we travel! hahaha).

On a side note, we finished in 2nd place in our fantasy football league this year (1st last year!), so we tell ourselves this is our reward. In reality, we earn each and every one of these trips with our hard work in our non-fantasy world. The first class upgrade is just the icing on the cake!

Once we arrive, we know exactly where to check-in (and by whom), our ideal room location, what we’ll eat for breakfast and lunch and our favorite meals for dinner at every restaurant. We know what to drink and we know who makes them the best. We know what to ask, when, where, etc. etc.

 Our favorite meal was at Blue Moon where the wonderful Jorge greeted us every night. We loved the grilled shrimp with angel hair pasta in saffron sauce as a starter, followed by the beef filet as our main course. The desserts were quite good, particularly with a glass of Rémy Martin cognac.
Our drinks of choice are widely known across the resort. We (almost) always start dinner with a glass of sparkling wine, following by rosé wine. On one particular night, the resident sommelier (Oscar) indulged us with my favorite - A bottle of sparkling rosé! It was so special. They don't offer it anywhere at the resort and he saved it especially for us. First class service.
In the privilege lounge, we enjoyed breakfast, lunch and dinner. I ordered the same dish for breakfast every day - a fruit plate in addition to little ham and cheese croissants with a fried egg on the side. Steve switched it up and ordered omelets as well. The beautiful view and champagne was a welcome bonus!
Privilege lunch had a large variety. We preferred the chicken fingers and club sandwich.
The biggest change this visit was the Privilege dinner menu.  With more of a steak focus, you pick your cut of meat, side dish and sauce. Of course, appetizers and dessert are also available.
 The best change was the addition of Liquor 43 to the privilege drink options. We enjoyed it most poured over ice cream! Yum. Ron and Jean are sure to consume bottles of this sweet elixir when we return in July.
 La Dolce still has the best atmosphere, but it's hard to compete with the steak at Blue Moon! We enjoyed the salad, soup, chicken parmesan, salmon and pizza.
We stopped in at El Charro for their fabulous ceviche appetizer before heading elsewhere for dinner. It's just as good as we remembered! It's so fun to bop around and try different courses at the various restaurants.
We loved making carnitas tacos at El Charro for lunch. The outside grill also had a nice variety for a quick bite.
There was always something going on at the party pool. One day they had a Grill & Beer Fest with burgers, hot dogs, chicken and pizza with a wide variety of toppings.
While we don't frequent the buffet at La Hacienda often, the fruit is delicious and they have great ingredients for salads and sandwiches at lunch.
On our day of arrival, we celebrated the Three Kings' Day Celebration and the pastry chef made this gigantic cake. It was very impressive!
Because there is no learning curve, we can take a nap every day and not feel like we missed out on anything, other than another cocktail we didn’t need. After all, our daily siesta is an integral part of our vacation! My complete adoration for efficiency is when I am able to maximize every second of my vacation by being on vacation. While Steve says I liberate myself from my obsessive structure, I still don’t deviate far from a routine. My vacation routine is just a little different than my home routine J
Reason #3 - Our Happy Place

OMR has unequivocally become our happy place. Date night every night is so much fun.

We get dressed up and have a fancy martini at the lobby bar before heading off to our three course meal complete with both sparkling wine and rosé wine. Dinner is followed by another drink at the bar, but this time either a Manhattan, Rémy Martin cognac, 1800 Añejo, or Liquor 43. It depends on our mood, but nothing crazy. Just relaxing and fun. It’s literally our perfect date on repeat night after night.
Reason #4 - Smiles
The views (and feelings) are permanently ingrained into us. When we’re having a rough day, can’t sleep, or eagerly anticipating our next trip, we have a clear and crisp vision of our paradise.

Talking through what our day at OMR looks and feels like brings about a calmness that is hard to explain. It’s a feeling where you just can’t help but smile, and I love to smile.
 Reason #5 - Climate and Location

The bitter cold in Cleveland can be brutal and the reprieve from winter hats and gloves is amazing. Simply put, on our day of departure, it was 5°F in Cleveland and when we left for home the following week, it was 82°F in Playa.

We're used to the cold and we don't expect anything less in the great city of Cleveland. But imagine, sitting next to the pool where the sky is so blue with barely a cloud in sight. It feels so good, but it gets a little too hot, so you can't help but jump in the water to cool's priceless.
Non-stop flights from CLE-CUN is another huge bonus. While Cleveland isn't a small town, we unfortunately don't have many non-stop International flights. We live barely 15 minutes from the airport and United has the ideal flight schedule. We are literally door to door in 5 hours and enjoying paradise by 11 am.
I also may have a slight obsession with having a great tan. I mean a real tan where I have "worked hard" with the perfect sunscreen, cocoa lotion, exfoliate regimen. It takes a lot of practice and I've become somewhat of a master of my craft. I got a great tan on this trip and I have the perfect weather to thank.
There is nothing like a walk on the beach with the warm breeze on your face and the salt water washing up on your feet. It's both cozy and refreshing at the same time.

...and when I return home, I can always count on my brother Sean to bring out my tan the best!
Well, there you have it. Another fabulous trip is in the books! We napped, stay up past our bedtime and slept in every day. The reprieve from work and my obsessive structure was priceless. The sun and heat that was often painful was amazing, and the laughter, silence and pure bliss shared with my best friend is what dreams are made of. More than anything, we were treated like family. This was our 8th visit and we'll continue to return again and again. Sending love to our OMR family and know that well be back in no time! Cheers!