Overnight at LaQuinta with an indoor pool in Boise with the Idaho grandboys was the finale of our Christmas gathering in our home territory. We flew from there to Minneapolis for dinner with our flight sugar mama (aka Sky West employed daughter) followed by an early morning leg on Delta that took us to our 2020 kick off in Cancun, Mexico.
Our MSP shuttle ride was quite the experience. What would normally have taken 15 minutes from the Hilton to Terminal 1 took a whopping one hour and 40 minutes. “Glare ice” was what I heard the driver report over the radio. Indeed it was. We were stuck on the off ramp a bulk of that time and witnessed slide offs and wrecks frequently until Highway Patrol redirected us back onto the highway to go beyond and circle back to the Terminal. We continued to see multi car accidents and even bus slide offs but thanks to an extremely patient and cautious driver we arrived safely. We did miss our original flight but were easily bumped to the next departure as the ice storm continued delaying pilots, flight attendants, passengers and flight times. Once boarded we had to de-ice for about 20 minutes but then we were safely and smoothly off to our destination.
Airport to hotel transportation is easy to come by in this Caribbean seaside hotel zone, yet a challenge. We pre-booked our private van via SuperShuttle. It was the value in transportation options on Expedia. We found our place in line outside the Cancun airport quite rapidly but the lack of organization we witnessed contributed to our hour plus wait time and the sharing of a van. Not the end of the world (said she whose tenets to work on include patience) but not what we paid for either. Everything we read indicated escalated rates for those who wait to hail a service curbside. We might search out another provider but we’d always choose to prebook to avoid the steepest rates.
Arriving at Azul Beach Resort by Karisma we were immediately greeted by bell staff who managed our luggage for us as we proceeded to the front desk. This property is typically beyond our budget minded travel parameters but the hubster stole this all inclusive deal on the Hot Rate hotel on Priceline. He added in a 10% discount offer and a kickback of 5% from Rakuten. (I’ve included my referral link. I highly recommend the money you can earn when you order online from many different stores/sites.) We paid way less than 1/2 of the regular price of $380-$400 plus taxes. Proving yet again the value in shopping around, being flexible and having familiarity with online booking to figure things out. With three gourmet level meals a day and unlimited premium bar it barely mattered what our room was like. We would already be exceeding value for expenditure.
Once check in was complete we were back in the hands of the bellman who introduced us to the property as he showed us the path to our room. Five pools, seven restaurants, multiple lounges, swim up bars and beach bars surrounded us on the lush garden property. I have already basically stated that if I had to sleep in a lounge chair we would already be getting our money’s worth just in food and beverage but alas, the room and its amenities did not disappoint either. ￼Upscale decor was in stark white, muted blues and pinks to match the hues of the Caribbean surroundings. The room was 640 square feet of clean, comfortable private space. The shower and lavatory were separated by a double sink vanity. The jacuzzi tub situated by a picture window was beyond the bed area next to the sliding glass door leading to the balcony which included pillowed L-shaped sofa, chairs and rattan coffee table. Inside the room were also table and chairs, dresser and closets with abundant storage, safe, coffee maker, electric teapot and refrigerator amply stocked daily with chips, beer and soda. Needless to say we found comfort in our accommodation.
Poolside lounging and beach walks filled our daylight hours. Ironically the pools were a bit too chilly for our liking and so we resorted to afternoon pina coladas or sangria, cerveza or seabreeezes instead of exercise. It was an all inclusive after all 😉 We enjoyed lunch at the beach bbq, Spoon (the buffet which could challenge those of any Las Vegas 4 1/2 star resorts) and Zavaz the Caribbean style restaurant. Room Service was also part of our inclusive amenities and available 24 hours a day. As the sun would glide down to the sea we made our way back to the room for daily pre dinner jacuzzis and enjoyed the fun of getting dressed for the evening.
Nights at an all inclusive are for dining and drinking, dancing and camaraderie. Unless of course you are on a family stay which can take a whole other course both day and evening. For either path this property offered relaxation opportunities supreme. We made a few British friends during our stay and every night we closed down some bar or another. Every bite of every dinner was delectable. The first evening we had to eat in the buffet due to our late arrival. The one piece of the puzzle of this property we did not care for was the requirement to make reservations in advance for dinner. This is not our style as carefree and when the mood strikes is “how we roll.” We had 6pm or 9pm reservations each of the other four evenings of our stay. Restaurants are themed and include Mexican, Italian, Spanish and Caribbean. Also on the property is an upscale dining room that is al a carte. New Years Eve was a preset menu with a main entree of filet and lobster. Beads, hats and horns served as table centerpieces. A beach party with live entertainment was the pinnacle of ringing in the New Year. We are quite novices at the celebration side of New Year’s Eve, having been in the catering industry in Las Vegas and restaurant/entertainment industry since moving from there, New Year’s Eve was always about a great way to make money. Since then we’ve simply stayed home. That’s why this year we decided to try this celebration inside the confines of an all inclusive where we could set ourselves free to celebrate jubilantly (aka over indulge) without fear of repercussions. We had a fantastic time and saw celebrations begin in mass from around 7pm local time until it hit midnight. Each set of countrymen doing their own little joyous bringing in the 20’s in their homelands timeframe. We truly enjoyed the lavish environment and highly recommend you scout out your own similar experience in the coming years of your life. May each of them surpass the one before. May you enjoy the experience of life and make your way to your own true happiness. Happy 2020 my friends!
It’s now time to move on to the true Snowbird portion of the season. Where will we continue? The world is an oyster like that. #cometravelwithme