As everyone knows, we recently took our 12th trip to our home away from home at Ocean Maya Royale in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. We celebrated my 40th birthday with 8 of our closest friends and family and it was a lot of fun! A more detailed blog to follow...
12 times?!? Yep! We've been going at least 1x per year and as many as 3x per year since 2013. We've loved every minute and can't wait to go back again!
People often ask, "Why the same place?" and I have so many answers. I could go on and on for hours, but instead I decided to write this post about what "Shannon" does at OMR. While slightly narcissistic, we all had a lot of fun with this!
Steve surprised me and had these faces made. He had no idea they'd get such a great reaction!
It all started with this photo taken at OMR in May 2019....
And it became this...
Hold on tight! You're in for a fun ride!
Hold on tight! You're in for a fun ride!
When it comes to cocktails, Shannon's drink of choice at OMR is always a Ketel One martini (no vermouth!) with a few olives. The heat really warms the drink up fast, so she's always adding ice and it ends up taking her FOREVER to drink one :)
La Dolce Vita is Shannon's preferred restaurant. She loves the open air and Jorge always takes care of them. It was only appropriate that she celebrated her birthday at La Dolce with all of her friends! Thanks to Rodrigo for the incredible cake!
The beef carpaccio is one of her favorite appetizers on the menu. Yum!
She was so surprised to receive a bottle of her FAVORITE wine - Moët Rosé - compliments of Rob & Sue Matthews.
She was so happy! Ron & Jean even bought a second bottle to share with the group. Shannon was so appreciative.
Carolina is in training to be a Sommelier so she helped present the wine.
Time for another martini!
What's a birthday party without maracas! Party, party!
After dinner, Shannon likes to return to the lobby bar for drinks and entertainment where Tiger is always ready to pour. Since it was a special occasion, she cracked open a bottle of Don Julio 1942 tequila. Only the best for Shannon!
1942 is a sipping tequila, so Shannon enjoyed drinking it like a baby bird. Even her mom joined in the fun!
Rise and shine! It's pool time!
Shannon always brings an insulated cup for the pool, but this time her friend Jean had some made for everyone that read "Cheers to 40 Years! Shannon's Birthday Bash. OMR, Mexico, 7.8.19". They were so fun and kept the drinks cold!
They even had all of our names on them! Shannon was so happy all of her friends joined her on this trip...
Then comes the most difficult decision of the day...what does Shannon want to drink at the pool?! Top shelf margaritas are a staple, but a good piña colada is another solid choice.
Shannon loves a good tan! To help get the best tan possible, she brings LOTS of sunscreen and a very specific raft (Target or Amazon). Our group actually had 5 of these! Jean and Shannon have been using these for many years and spend most of their time in the quiet pool
Shannon loves all of the servers and bartenders at OMR, but JoJo is one of her favorites. She can be found at the lobby bar, serving drinks at the pool, or in Mike's coffee shop. Shannon and JoJo have known each other since Shannon and Steve's first visit in 2013!
One of Shannon's best kept secrets are the waters in El Charro for lunch. She like to stop in and grab a cup and then brings it to the bar for margaritas. The watermelon and cucumber waters are her favorite!
Eber, Jonny and Miguel make some of the best margaritas at the pool bar. Shannon always asks them to add Grand Marnier.
New since her last visit in May was La Heladería. She enjoyed the coconut and chocolate ice cream the best, but the mango was a close second. Aurora was there every day scooping ice cream!
Shannon makes an appearance at the party pool every once in a while and the swim-up bar is very convenient.
Shannon also likes to attend the Aqua Aerobics class from time to time. Arturo is a great instructor and a really funny guy!
After a long day at the pool, Shannon enjoys a nice siesta. She has slept in almost all of the ocean view buildings and 10, 11, and 12 are not the best for napping. They are located very close to the party pool and it can get very loud at nap time. She prefers buildings 8 & 9....close to the water and pools, but quiet during nap time. Win win!
A massage is another great way to relax. At OMR you can get a massage outside in the massage hut, or inside at the spa.
After nap time, it's time to get ready for dinner! Shannon and Steve always seem to get ready before everyone else, so they always take a selfie before the sun sets. They have so many selfies in this exact location!
Shannon and Steve enjoy meeting up with everyone at the lobby bar before dinner for martinis and enjoy stopping at the fountain for a photo opportunity.
Anna and Tila are two other servers in the main lobby area and always shaking up cocktails for our group. They are such sweethearts!
Cristobal made us Washington Apples every night. What a treat!
The Privilege Lounge is where Shannon went to check-in, make dinner reservations, and any other requests. Mario, Aranza, Miguel and the rest of the Privilege staff are always on point to make sure everything is taken care of!
On July 9th, Shannon's hometown of Cleveland, OH was the host of the MLB All-Star game. Shannon was joined by her friends and a few other Americans and they all watched the game in the sports bar. Shannon's step-dad Rich was very excited! He loves baseball.
Shannon really loved the wings at the sports bar! Luis was a great server and bartender. We look forward to seeing him again during our next stay.
Shannon's other favorite restaurant at OMR is Blue Moon. She and her friends love it so much, the staff (thanks Carolina!) even put their picture on the wall. Make sure to check us out next time you're visiting Blue Moon. Shannon still takes a selfie every time. Lol. You can't miss us!
Collectively, Shannon & Steve (22), Rob & Sue (32) and Ron & Jean (14) have been to OMR nearly 70 times. You don't get much more VIP than that :) Even Shannon's mom was making her 3rd visit! Rodrigo arranged a very special dinner for Shannon and her friends (thanks to Rob Matthews for making the request). Shannon and her 9 friends enjoyed a salad with blue cheese stuffed calamari, lobster soup, seared tuna, tiramisu and ice cream. It was an incredible meal! Compliments to the chef.
Once a week there is a dance party at the beach. Shannon had a great time!
She and Steve danced the night away and Shannon even tried her hand at a new career as a DJ!
The entertainment crew is always on hand to keep the party going. Arturao was our favorite! He was funny and so nice.
Shannon and Steve always have an early flight home. Since the sports bar is open from 4 pm until 7 am, they decided to stop in to get wings for breakfast! I told you Shannon likes the wings!
Shannon isn't a big shopper, unless it's duty free shopping at the Cancun airport. She has found Don Julio tequila to be the best deal!
Shannon also has the Priority Pass which gets her and her friends access to airport clubs. They enjoyed a few snacks and drinks in a relaxing atmosphere before boarding their flight.
Steve and Shannon enjoy flying first class when they travel to Mexico. It's always fun to get a drink as everyone else is boarding. Ahhh.....
Wine with breakfast?! Sure!
Shannon's brother Sean picked them all up from the airport. She thought that was so nice! She was so excited to tell him about her great time at OMR.
The pizza at OMR is not very good, so Shannon and Steve's post-vacation tradition is Angelo's pizza in Lakewood, OH. It's only steps away from their house and they LOVE it so much. This trip was no different! Shannon chowed down on a pesto pizza with pepperoni. Yummy.
Ron & Jean know how much Shannon loves OMR, so they stayed back with her for a few days and kept her hydrated and well-fed.
Later that week, Shannon headed off to England with Rob and Sue. Wow! What a great surprise. She met both of the pilots and even sat in first class. Nothing but the best for Shannon!
After Shannon returned home to Cleveland, she went to dinner at Sarita with her brothers and sister - Travis, Tracy, Todd & Sean.
Following dinner, they were joined by her mom & Rich, dad & Berneda and some of her nieces and nephews (Louie, JoJo, Zach and Dylan) for cake and ice cream. They have a good time with Shannon.
The kids really wore Shannon out and she was found face down in the grass!
She also ended up sleeping outside in the rain...Poor Shannon!
Shannon had a really great time, but she is exhausted! Now you can see why she keeps returning to OMR time after time. Not only does she have a great time, but she also loves the staff and all of the people she's met there. Friends forever!
Until next time...