We recently had the opportunity to visit Ocean Coral and Turquesa and the nearby town of Puerto Morelos on the occasion of friends’ wedding. A mid-December break from the gloomy East Tennessee weather was a perfect time to venture South of the Border…try 70° and sunny every day. Through the wedding, we coordinated with Lomas Travel ( sryan@DestinationWeddings.com arranged it all) and were very happy with their service and the attention to detail we had for our travels.
When we arrived at the resort, we were greeted and ushered to the Privilege Check-In which we opted for. This gave us a more private beach with beach service, top-shelf beverages, and special dining areas along with a butler, turn-down service, and some welcome gifts. In our opinion, if you can spring for the upgrade, you definitely should. If for no other reason than the Privilege Lounge for breakfast and lunch.
Our overall impression of the resort was positive (the bride and groom did have a LOT of issues with the coordination of their wedding with their on-site coordinator so if you are thinking about a wedding on the resort, you may want to prepare for some headaches, even though it turned out wonderfully in the end). The staff was exceptionally friendly. Our butler, Luis, took excellent care of us, even giving me a lighter for my cigars from his own room since the gift store was out. A special mention to Lucia who was on the beach every time we were there, making sure our beverage needs were met and excelled in giving us a few Spanish lessons along the way. We seriously considered putting her in our suitcase and bringing her back with us.
Remember to take plenty of $1 bills for you to tip with. While it’s not required, you will come off as both miserly and with poorer quality service if you don’t tip. These folks don’t get paid a lot and work very hard for their money (6 days a week, 14 hours a day). i.e. Don’t be an asshole.
The food is what you would expect at any large resort and nothing more really. We didn’t have a ‘bad’ meal while we were there, but there wasn’t much of a chance of us over-eating either. There’s a number of choices from Italian and Mexican to Japanese and drive-in style. But if you’re looking for a foodie adventure, I’d suggest looking elsewhere or planning to spend more time off-reservation.
Our first night on the property we ventured off to Coco Bongo in Playa Del Carmen. It’s a short distance from the resort and tickets (including all beverages for the night and taxi) were $50 for the ladies and $65 for the gents. This is a Vegas-quality show that is not to be missed and a real value considering drinks are included….which they practically force you to drink!
We recovered the next day on the beach. Friday was the wedding day so Mrs Knoxfoodie was helping out with that while I relaxed on the beach. Which was not overly crowded and full of cushioned lounges, grass umbrellas, towels and Lucia of course.
After the wedding and another beach day, we ventured in to Puerto Morelos. It’s a small fishing/trinket town, again full of very friendly vendors trying to coax American dollars from you. Remember to bargain with these vendors if there’s something that catches your eye. It’s expected. A bracelet that M wanted started out at $250. After about 15-20 minutes, we walked away with it for $50 (and I probably could have got it down to $25 had I been more patient). We ate delicious tacos from tacos.com (seriously). And it was our only taste of local cuisine while we were there which is a bit of a shame.
We had a great time, were able to see our friends get hitched and enjoy a break from the grey gloom of East Tennessee for a few days. What could be better than that? Can’t wait to go back to Mexico again!