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4 Affordable Destination Wedding Options in the Caribbean

Posted by Amy Hubbard on Wed, Apr 09, 2014 @ 03:36 PM
  
  

The Caribbean is a staple destination wedding location with good reason: soft white sands and colorful islands offer a fairytale backdrop for a tropical wedding. This popularity can sometimes come with a hefty price tag, particularly among more exclusive islands. Still, there are plenty of ways to enjoy those trademark turquoise waters without paying a small fortune. Here are four of our top picks for affordable destination wedding options in the Caribbean:

Jamaica

Jamaica is home to nearly 700 miles of Caribbean coastline and has long been adored for its friendly people and laidback atmosphere. The Jamaican port town Montego Bay is the place to be if you’re looking for a dazzling variety of amenities at great resorts. It’s also well-known for its family-friendly options and ability to accommodate large wedding parties. For a less-traveled route, Negril and Treasure Beach are small fishing town gems with secluded coves and limestone cliffs that are unbeatable wedding backdrops.

To do: Relax on prime beaches as newlyweds, river raft in the jungle with your whole crew, snorkel, shop/dine/dance on Gloucester Avenue in Montego Bay, take rum and coffee field tours, visit the Negril Cliffs and Seven Mile Beach, and lounge under waterfalls in Ocho Rios.

jamaica beach: planning a beach wedding in jamaica

Dominican Republic

Lest you think you have to give up your “world’s best beaches” wish to your destination checklist, the Dominican Republic is affordable AND breathtaking. This jungle island has both Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean beaches to choose from and has plenty of authentic, natural beauty. On the eastern coast of the island is perennial favorite Punta Cana, with gorgeous, coconut grove beaches that range from quiet and preserved to bustling with high energy. If you’re looking to get out and explore with your wedding party, the island has great water and land excursions too.

To do: White water raft with your guests in the rainforest in Puerto Plata, dive headfirst into the bright blue Hoyo Azul for a refreshing dip, scuba dive through underwater caves and whale watch or fish along the Samaná Peninsula.   

secluded beach: planning a destination wedding in the Dominican Republic

Riviera Maya, Mexico

Mexico is a go-to for many destination wedding enthusiasts, as the country offers great beaches and a lot of bang for your buck. Riviera Maya in particular is known for its lush rainforest, unique Mayan cultural influences and soft white sand beaches. And, the bright Mexican Caribbean waters are teeming with wildlife, making for fun scuba and snorkeling excursions.    

To do: Try a Mayan spa treatment with your bridal party, hang with your family and friends on the white sand beaches, take a day trip to the ruins, and snorkel the Belize Barrier Reef. 

destination weddings in mexico beach weddings

Aruba

Aruba was once a considered an elusive Caribbean retreat for the rich and famous, but this happy island’s recent growth has meant more budget friendly accommodations than ever.  It’s great news—because we think everyone deserves to have their wedding on one of the island’s incredible beaches, framed by the perfectly tangled fofoti trees. This southern Caribbean hideaway also has a fun and colorful capital city, Oranjestad, along with great dive sites and perfect windsurfing conditions.   

To do: Take to the shores of the famed Palm Beach for snorkeling, diving or just relaxing, shop for specialist cigars and local jewelry in town, visit the old-time Paseo Herencia plaza for al fresco dining and paddle board along the breathtaking shore of Eagle Beach.  

aruba beach: best destination wedding locations

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Wedding eye candy with Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa

Posted by Amy Hubbard on Wed, Apr 02, 2014 @ 02:07 PM
  
  

We love Tulum as a destination wedding pick for its earthy, chic vibe and romantic beaches. Between the historic ruins, gorgeous stretches of white sand and a focus on health and wellness, the region is a great choice for couples looking to unwind and explore Mexico’s natural and historic beauty.  Plus, Tulum is far enough away from Cancun that you won’t have to worry about running into endless spring-breakers, while still being developed enough to offer great shopping, nightlife and activities.

Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa is a 44 acre property that’s nestled along a secluded, private beach in Riviera Maya. Of all the reasons we love this resort (the newly updated swim-up suites, elegant pool and fun ambience, to name a few), their stunning gardens and beautiful wedding setups are high on our list.

We’re visual creatures— and bet you are too. So instead of going on about what it would be like to walk down a lantern aisle at dusk and to exchange vows under a canopy adorned with flowers, we’ll show you:

romantic destination wedding setup on the beach in Riviera Maya, Mexico

Or, you might want to compliment the azure Caribbean waters with a pop of bright green accents.

Beach wedding setup in Riviera Maya, Mexico

Then, you can follow up with an elegant garden reception with your closest family and friends.

mexican wedding reception resort setup

Or, opt for a private dinner for two on the beach.

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When it comes to finding the right location for your destination wedding, versatility is a huge plus. With such expansive grounds, along with the option to marry at a traditional Mexican chapel, Dreams Tulum offers an impressive selection of stunning wedding backdrops and setups.

For more information on Dreams Tulum, visit the resort page!

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Planning a fabulous family-friendly wedding at Beaches Turks & Caicos

Posted by Amy Hubbard on Thu, Mar 27, 2014 @ 11:07 AM
  
  

“#1 Top Family Hotel in the Caribbean” by Travel + Leisure has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? Or maybe you like the sound of “Best All-Inclusive in the Caribbean” by Travel + Life. Well fortunately, you don’t have to choose between the two at Beaches Turks & Caicos

This sprawling all-inclusive resort is divided into four villages: the Italian, French, Caribbean and the brand new Key West Luxury Village, each true to their namesake region’s style. With 19 bars and restaurants and so many types of accommodations to choose from, Beaches Turks and Caicos is a great option for couples with large families and wedding guests.  It’s also ideal for spreading out and not having to worry about bumping into all of your guests nonstop on your honeymoon. The wedding couple could hole up at the luxurious bungalows of the Key West Village or enjoy a romantic al fresco meal in the Italian village, while their guests with kids enjoy family-friendly activities in the Caribbean Village.

beaches turks and caicos romantic wedding

Speaking of the kids, they’re treated like royalty here. The resort boasts the 45,000 square-foot Pirate’s Island, which is one of the Caribbean’s largest waterparks. The park is outfitted with ten waterslides that range from gentle enough for toddlers to those with harrowing drops that will keep the teens’ attention. There’s also a SurfStream wave simulator and lazy river. Outside of the water park, the kids in your group can unwind at the much-hyped Xbox 360 Game Garage or teen disco.

beaches turks and caicos: planning a family friendly beach wedding all-inclusive

For your littlest guests, Beaches Turks & Caicos is all about Sesame Street. They have ingeniously combined educational activities with appearances by their favorite Sesame characters. They can learn about colorful Caribbean birds from—who else?—Big Bird. They can put on chef’s hats with the help of Cookie Monster, or learn about recycling on the beach with Oscar the Grouch. What better way to repay the pint-sized members of your wedding party than choosing a resort that wants them to feel welcome too?    

The resort is swimmingly close to two world-famous dive sites. Whether you’re a scuba newbie or are a certified diver, there are a number of classes available. Or, try renting some water equipment and exploring on your own. Beaches Turks & Caicos offers windsurfing, ocean kayaks, hydrobikes, Hobie cats and snorkeling gear, among others. And, if you feel like doing absolutely nothing at all (which we fully support), the beach will never disappoint. It stretches for over 12 miles with perfect white sand and has been consistently voted one of the best island beaches in the world.

beaches turks and caicos: planning a family friendly beach wedding

We know, compromise can be a good thing in life. But if you have a chance to make all of your guests (and their kids) happy and still end up at an incredible beach with top-notch service, we say why not!

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Five wedding destinations for an adventurous, active couple

Posted by Amy Hubbard on Thu, Mar 06, 2014 @ 02:01 PM
  
  

One of our favorite bits of advice for couples planning a destination wedding is, “Know thyself and to thine own self be true!” Okay, maybe Shakespeare said it first, but we couldn’t agree more.

One of the best ways to achieve this when scouting for the perfect wedding destination? Always keep your interests and activity level in mind. This seems like an obvious enough statement, but a thrill-seeking, active couple will likely be dissatisfied holed up on a quiet beach with tropical drink.  

If you’re more interested in diving from a cliff than diving into a good book, here are five great options to satisfy your fun and adventurous spirit.

1. Hotel RIU Palace Costa Rica: Though Costa Rica is known for its thick, humid and lush tropical rainforest, the Guanacaste province that stretches along the Pacific coast is home to plains and dry forests that are reminiscent of African savanna landscapes. The newly-developed Hotel RIU Palace Costa Rica is ideally located to access Guanacaste’s Africa Mia, where you can enjoy a safari adventure surrounding by African giraffes, zebras and monkeys. For couples looking to do a bit of hiking while in Costa Rica, the resort also coordinates excursions to National Park Rincon de la Vieja, where you can hike and climb alongside hot springs, waterfalls and explore over 400 acres of protected wildlife along the stunning coast.

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2. Sandals Negril: James Bond fans have likely already heard of this stretch of Jamaican paradise, whose famous cliffs and beaches are featured prominently in “Thunderball.” Sandals Negril is ideally located along Negril’s famed Seven-Mile Beach, one of Jamaica’s best beaches. Since the resort offers unlimited scuba diving—a relatively rare perk for an all-inclusive— you can explore this coveted beach both on land and in the water. A trip to Negril would not be complete without a visit to the cliffs- a spectacular strip of battered limestone cliffs that juts into the bright Caribbean waters. An ideal ceremony location, the cliffs are also known as a spot where thrill-seekers will jump into the crashing waves below. Just make sure someone has a camera should you decide to join in!

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3. Occidental Grand Papagayo Resort: If you’re looking to add some adventure to an adults-only wedding or honeymoon, Occidental Grand Papagayo has an idyllic location that puts Costa Rica’s wild, natural beauty on full display. The resort offers a wide selection of water sports, and it is also close to Marino las Baulas National Park. Home to leatherback sea turtles that come to the beaches in droves from November to April to mate and lay their eggs, this turtle sanctuary makes for a truly spectacular eco-excursion.  

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4. Couples San Souci: Perched high above the cliffs on Jamaica’s emerald coast in Ocho Rios, Couples San Souci is the perfect sanctuary to enjoy Jamaica’s laid-back beauty and playful spirit. It’s also ideally located for excursions to nearby Dunn’s River Falls, where travelers can scale the natural set of cascading “stairs” for an exhilarating rush. There are also rope swings available for once you’ve made it to the top.  On site, the resort offers a number of water sports, including Hobie Cat sailing and glass-bottom boat tours, which make for perfect post-wedding activities.  

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5. Sandos Caracol: The lush jungles of Mexico’s Riviera Maya region were once a hub for Mayan culture, and some resorts have gone to great lengths to ensure that the Mayan’s adventurous, curious spirit and commitment to nature is still honored. For Sandos Caracol, that means offering guests the Xcalacoco Experience. Based on an ancient Mayan belief that there is an inner jaguar waiting to be unleashed in all of us, Sandos Caracol guides its guests through an interactive program filled with colorful performances, ancient Mayan games, and even learning jungle survival skills! A note about those jungle skills: they might come in hand for the late night walks in the thick mangroves and cenotes filled with spider monkeys, turtles, iguanas and snakes. Just remember: you’re the jaguar, the undisputed jungle leader.

Mayan culture Riviera Maya- planning a wedding in Riviera Maya Mexico

To kick start your own destination adventure, contact one of our Certified Destination Wedding Specialists or browse our site for inspiration.

 

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10 idyllic ways to spend your time at El Dorado Royale, The Spa Resort

Posted by Amy Hubbard on Wed, Feb 26, 2014 @ 12:42 PM
  
  

Although there are dozens of unique and impressive ways to fill your time at this Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Top 100 Hotels Worldwide, ten has a nice ring to it. Once you experience this Riviera Maya gem in person, though, we’re sure you’ll realize just how much is left to be added to this list!

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10. Snuggled up on a beach bed. These luxurious and tucked away cabanas help you indulge in one another far removed from other beachgoers. With a personal beach butler, it’s the perfect way to fit in some R&R after the wedding in an undisturbed setting.

El Dorado Royal beach beds

9. Touring the greenhouse. Yep, you heard us right. This 70,000 square-foot, on-site greenhouse produces a variety of certified organic vegetables and herbs for the resort. Whether you want to learn about the resorts commitment to sustainability or sample from tomatoes, cucumbers, chilies, basils, cilantro and mint, the facility is impressive and unparalleled.

8. Enjoying the hand-crafted cocktails. For craft drink lovers, El Dorado Royale has placed a painstaking attention on ensuring that you don’t have ‘just another’ watery mojito. Their specialty themed bars range from a martini bars to a mojito lounge that offers 31 (yes, 31) different flavors. And of course, Mexican tequila lovers will find heaven with the frozen tequila bar that features daily tasting and education.

7. Horseback Riding. To get out and see the stunning Yucatan peninsula in all of its glory, consider a horseback riding excursion through the jungle trails outside of the resort. This two hour guided tour offered through El Dorado Royale includes pit stops to the Mayan cenotes, where you are encouraged to jump in for a refreshing dip.

6. At Bar Las Guacamayas.  With swinging beach beds and chairs, tiki torches and warm sea breezes, the open air Bar Las Guacamayas is a great place to enjoy live afternoon music, show off your karaoke talent at night or just relax and unwind.

5. Indulging in some chocolate (spa) therapy. If you thought a spa treatment on its own was decadent enough, think again. This ancient ritual treatment at The Spa at El Dorado Royale combines cocoa butter, chocolate and hazelnut oil for a sensuous and indulgent treatment that will leave your skin with an added glow.

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4. Bicycling. Spread out over 450 acres of lush jungle, there’s plenty to explore without leaving El Dorado Royale’s beautiful property. The bike rental services will help you cruise your way through the intricate mangroves, gardens and forests.

3. In a Royal Swim-Up Suite. For newlyweds and lovebirds, the meticulously appointed Royal Swim Up Suites allow you to step just outside your suite to a meandering lazy river and accompanying swim-up bar. When you’re not busy enjoy this lavish outdoor experience, the room also includes an aromatherapy pillow menu, available butler/concierge service and a welcome basket with fresh fruits and chilled champagne.

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2. At the Fuentes Culinary Theatre. This avant-garde concept kitchen is a one-of-a-kind culinary theatre that features gourmet cooking demonstrations from El Dorado Royale’s highly decorated chef and sommelier team. Winner of the 2008 Wine Spectator Award, the restaurant’s unique interactive approach lets you take part in every aspect of the meal—from asking the chef about cooking techniques to learning about the authentic local ingredients.

1. Dining in Kampai Restaurant. When a host of culinary masterminds from Michelin and Zagat-rated restaurants from around the world team up to create a gourmet dining experience, the outcome looks a lot like Kampai. With an unforgettable ocean vista in the background, you can enjoy authentic Pacific Rim cuisine from India, Vietnam, China and Japan. From locally-sourced sushi to authentic spring rolls, this savory menu will hit all of the right notes.

Kampai asian fusion restaurant riviera maya fine dining

 

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10 reasons to say "I do" to Aruba

Posted by Amy Hubbard on Tue, Feb 11, 2014 @ 04:11 PM
  
  

10 reasons to say "I do" to Aruba

10. Trade winds. You might not be able to see it, but you certainly will know it’s there. The breezy Aruba trade winds flow at a constant 15 to 20 knots, keeping the island comfortable and cool. They’re also functional: the island is an international hub for windsurfers and kite surfers of all levels.  

9. Arikok National Park. Home to indigenous rattlesnakes, lizards, parakeets and owls, the park has a dramatic and scenic landscape to explore. Whether you want to climb the rough volcanic hills of the Aruba lava formation, or study ancient rock and cave paintings, there are dazzling displays around every turn. Be sure to check out the Conchi, Aruba's most important natural attraction, with a stunning natural pool surrounded by boulders that's fun to swim and play in.

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8. Fofoti trees. Shaped from the islands breezy trade winds, Aruba’s tangled fofoti trees are as iconic as they are unique. Whether you want to use them as a prop for wedding photos or simple marvel at how they grow nearly sideways, they are an Aruban must-see.

7. Oranjestad. Aruba’s cheerful capital city has distinctive Dutch architecture, with bright pockets of color that speak to its Caribbean heritage.  Onanjestad is home to a number of upscale stores and restaurants, along with casinos and nightclubs to keep your nights interesting.

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6. Eagle Beach. Aruba’s widest beach is consistently ranked among the world’s best. With blindly bright white sands and sparkling Caribbean water, it’s the perfect spot to kick back and relax or try out a water sport. It’s also home to nesting turtles for a few months out of the year. Watching the hatchlings find their way to the ocean is undoubtedly an once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Aruba Fofoti on Eagle Beach

5. The weather. Sure, there are plenty of beautiful beaches and warm stretches of sand around the world, but few rival Aruba’s near-perfect forecast. Thanks to its location just below the hurricane belt, nearly all days are filled with sunshine and an 82 degree F readout on the thermostat.

4. Antilla Shipwreck. Antilla is the largest shipwreck in the Caribbean. Scuttled by its German captain during World War II, this “ghost ship” (as it is known to the locals) is popular with every diver. At a maximum depth of only 60 feet, part of the ship breaks the surface and it is also a popular snorkeling site. Expect to see angelfish, yellow tail and lobster among the coral formations and giant tube sponges covering the wreck.

3. The people. Aruba has an exceptionally diverse population, with more than 90 nationalities on the island. While you will hear many languages (Dutch, Spanish, English and Portuguese, among others), the common thread will be in the exceptional warmth and kindness of the Arubans.

Aruba Local Fisherman

2. Resort options. Though once considered an exclusive choice for the elite, the island has become increasingly accessible, with high and low-rise resorts offering rooms for every taste and budget. Whether you want to stay in a family-friendly property or an upscale honeymoon suite, there’s likely a resort to suit your mood and budget.

1. Water sports. With the bright Caribbean waters for a playground, Aruba has water activities that will appeal to nearly every type of couple. Maybe you’re a daredevil and want to try your hand on some of Aruba’s challenging kite surfing beaches. Or, for a more relaxed activity, take a Mahi Mahi fishing excursion or catch the views from above while parasailing. The island also has kayaking tours, scuba diving and snorkeling through the bright reef waters.

For more information on Aruba or to see resorts and hotels nearby, visit our site or get in touch with your Certified Destination Wedding Specialist.    

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5 reasons to let your belly do the planning in Cancun, Mexico

Posted by Amy Hubbard on Wed, Jan 15, 2014 @ 11:29 AM
  
  

Let’s face it: most of us don’t need an excuse to think about food in our daily lives. It’s a tireless pleasure that never seems to lose its appeal, whether we’re savoring a Saturday morning brunch with girlfriends, hosting a leisurely dinner party, or reaching for that devilishly good brownie between conference calls. Still, for something that plays so prominently into our cultural imagination, we oftentimes mysteriously forget to ask this simple question when we plan our trips: how’s the food?

The irony of course is that for most travelers, eating is practically a competitive, contact sport on vacation. Who hasn’t seen a herd of ravenous vacationers hovering around the dessert tables, or felt a pang of idiocy when you find yourself contemplating the lunch menu as your breakfast plate is cleared. It happens to the best of us.

And why shouldn’t it? Vacations are memorable when—you know— you actually enjoy them.  So instead of settling for the cold pizza, lackluster lettuce, or flavorless fish, let your belly fall in love and indulge.  We won’t judge.

Allow us to humbly kick start your culinary adventure on none other than the famously dazzling, soft white beaches of Cancun, Mexico. Though we have scores of reasons for recommending Cancun’s Paradisus Resort (it’s family-friendly, has great lounges and a stunning beach), the list below has been compiled with your taste buds in mind. Bon Apetit!

Paradisus Cancun- planning a destination wedding in Cancun

  1. You know that restaurant from back home that you have to make a reservation months out for? The one that has the food bloggers clamoring for a coveted bar stool and hosts a chef who’s racked up countless awards? Yeah, Paradisus has one of those. Spanish culinary hero Martín Berasategui calls Paradisus’ Tempo Restaurant home. With 6 Michelin Stars under his belt, this internationally-acclaimed chef serves indulgent dishes at this chic, retro-glam hotspot. Outfitted in off-white accents, you’ll want to graze for hours over intimate conversation.50bParadisusCancun TempoWineCellar resized 600
  2. Tacos and Tequila are a match made in Cancun beach heaven. Whether you’re craving a spicy Mexican dish packed with flavor or want to feel the heat from local tequila, Blue Agave Restaurant is a must. The friendly staff prides themselves on their local knowledge, so prepare for a gastro-tour of the country’s endless flavors.Paradisus Cancun Blue Agave Restaurant- planning a destination wedding in Cancun
  3. Sure, you were expecting heat on your Mexican getaway. You just didn’t know it would be coming from the kitchen. Meet Fuego, a Latin-flavored hideout ready to turn up the temperature. Seductive red decor pairs well with the spicy ceviche, fresh seafood and tantalizing raw bar, making for a mouth-watering and steamy evening.Paradisus Cancun Fuego Restaurant
  4. Stake out a spot on the Zen terrace at Bana for an exceptional Pan-Asian experience. The globally-inspired menu has a dazzling variety of both western and eastern style sushi, leaving you pleasantly overwhelmed with all of your options. Our suggestion? Sample them all!Paradisus Cancun Bana Restaurant
  5. Lest you had forgotten your Caribbean location at Paradisus Cancun, La Perla is here to remind you. This poolside restaurant has fresh, pan-seared fish and plenty of Caribbean specialties to keep your mouth happy. ParadisusCancun MainPoolDayTime resized 600
There you have it: a roundup of culinary treasures to keep those taste buds content on your getaway to Mexico. If you're interested in learning more about Paradisus Cancun, or want to get a jump on planning your dream Mexican holiday, we are here to help

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Finding your Zen at Blue Diamond Riviera Maya

Posted by Amy Hubbard on Wed, Jan 08, 2014 @ 11:13 AM
  
  

You’ve probably heard the expression before: “(Fill in the blank) is cheaper than therapy.” We’ve heard couples come up with countless (and creative) ways to fill this space during the wedding process, ranging from pricey gym memberships to hypnosis, or just a heaping glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Hey, we aren’t here to judge.

Wedding planning is never a stress-free process, even for destination couples. But of all the creative remedies that you stuff into your life to function as someone’s better half/boss/friend/food-bowl-filler, allow us to humbly suggest a new alternative to the grind. Our novel idea is that you consider getting married somewhere that not only doesn’t add to your stress load, but actively reduces it.

Blue Diamond Riviera Maya- planning a romantic #DestinationWedding

We know, you’ve probably thought of this already too, but maybe it seemed out of reach. Allow us to introduce the adults-only Blue Diamond Resort Riviera Maya. No longer the stuff of legends, weddings here are not only lacking in stress, they’re downright blissful. In fact, the Mayans have been working on the mind/body/soul balance for oh, thousands of years. And we think they’ve got a pretty good thing going.

Riviera Maya Blue Diamond Beach - gorgeous spot for a #DestinationWedding

This luxury, all-inclusive enclave boasts generously-sized guest suits that almost appear to have been dropped perfectly onto the 36 acre property, nestled in complete harmony with the lush, unspoiled rainforest and Caribbean beaches.

Still, it’s not just the chic and modern elegance of the property that makes you unwind and breathe a little deeper. With one of Riviera Maya’s top spas onsite, ritual-based healing isn’t a phrase added to your bill; it’s an actual practice. Leap into one of the startlingly blue and pure cenotes or work your way through the Spa’s water circuit, a winding maze of experience showers, hydrotherapy tubs, and temazcals.

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The property also boasts custom art patios to keep up the rejuvenation outside of the spa.

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And, when you get back to your stylish and comfortable suite, maybe you’ll just stare out of the floor-to-ceiling windows from your canopy bed and feel good about life. Soon enough, it becomes apparent that relaxation here is layered, but surprisingly uncomplicated.

Blue Diamond Resort Riviera Maya couple's suite- planning a #DestinationWedding

As for the wedding, if you find yourself so captivated with the spa that you can’t bear to leave, there’s a treatment for that too. The hotel can add a heavy-duty glass paneling over the spa’s pool, and just like that, you’ve got an instant, Zen trip down the aisle. Talk about wedded (watered) bliss.

Blue Diamond Riviera Maya Spa -planning a spa-worthy #DestinationWedding

We say go ahead and make your wedding your therapy. Trust us: you (and your guests) will be grateful down the road.

*To get started planning your zen-like wedding, contact your Certified Destination Wedding Specialist

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A Trip to Remember: The BlueBay Experience

Posted by Kim Wheeler on Tue, Apr 16, 2013 @ 04:32 PM
  
  

The BlueBay Experience

The second half of this familiarization trip allowed me to experience the wonder of BlueBay Hotels and Resorts. These few days were spent exploring and indulging in two all-inclusive properties, Blue Diamond Riviera Maya and BlueBay Grand Esmeralda, both of which have so much to offer. To say that I enjoyed my stay would be a complete understatement. 

Exclusively for Adults

At Blue Diamond Riviera Maya

From the moment you step foot on the grounds of Blue Diamond Riviera Maya, a Zen-like atmosphere surrounds you. The detail in the architecture and the plentiful artistic displays make for a truly unique scene. This paradise, situated along a serene strip of beach, is surrounded by lagoons, cenotes, and lush rainforest, which offers stunning views from each and every accommodation. Speaking of accommodations, the suites at this resort take the cake. Not only are they extremely generous in size, but they are designed and decorated to take your breath away. My favorite part about the suites has to be the dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows that allow you to open up to a private balcony, terrace, or patio. Guests can even take a dip in a private outdoor swimming pool or private infinity pool, depending on which area they stay in.

In three words, I would describe this resort as luxurious, tranquil, and intimate. Being exclusively for adults, this resort caters to romance. The spa, which is absolutely stunning, offers everything you could ever think of, including a variety of wonderful couple’s treatments. In addition to treatments, the spa has a wonderful outdoor pool, hydrotherapy pool, steam room, sauna, temazcal ceremony area, and much, much more! I made sure to pencil in some time in the steam room and wow was that to die for.  The main pools at the resort are situated on a wonderful rooftop terrace, and with the large comfy beach beds surrounding them, it was hard to want to leave. To experience everything, I had to make my way down to the beach and get myself in the water. The lounge chairs at the beach were beyond comfortable, and there was a wonderful beachfront bar area that had great appetizers and ceviche dishes for a quick bite throughout the day. My dining experience at the resort exceeded my every expectation, especially my most memorable meal at Ambar restaurant, where I enjoyed innovative fusion cuisine. 

When it comes to weddings, the couple can choose to wed on the beach or on the awe-inspiring pier that stretches out into the Caribbean waters. Another notable area is the pool area on the roof top terrace, which can be transformed into an elegant dinner and reception area. Whatever the occasion, this resort will make you feel like royalty!

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Fun for the Whole Family

At BlueBay Grand Esmeralda

BlueBay Grand Esmeralda is the perfect oasis for the entire family. This lively resort is situated on a large strip of beautiful white sand beach in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and is surrounded by jungle and mangroves. As we made our way onto the property, I was pleasantly greeted by a sleek contemporary design and an abundance of eye-catching areas. We first made our way to spa and fitness area, which was enormous! Upon entering the spa, I couldn’t believe all of the pools and water features inside the area; it was truly incredible. The pool area of the spa is so unique, with its open-air sides that allow guests to feel completely in touch with the natural surroundings. A strong focal point, the circular waterfall placed in the center of the spa is not only a sight to see but it also provides a soothing sound. As we made our way to the second level of the spa, I was taken aback by the beautiful treatment rooms, spa terrace area, and temazcal ceremony spot.

There are a few different types of accommodations at the resort, and the selection is perfect for couples or families with children. The suites are definitely noteworthy with their two bathrooms, living room with sofa bed, and dining room. Some of them even include a private Jacuzzi on the terrace. With no contest, the select swim up suites are the most remarkable. These suites have the luxurious benefit of access to a private pool that stretches the length of the building.

I think the most impressive area at the resort is the pool area. It’s massive! It has a variety of sections, including a separate area for kids, and its unique design is intriguing. There are bridges that cross over at certain points, built-in shallow sitting areas, and most of the perimeter is surrounded by an ample number of lounge chairs. And all of this, with a beautiful beach backdrop! This picturesque backdrop is perfect for a wedding ceremony, and the extraordinary beach reception area is wonderfully alluring. Another great reception spot is the outdoor lounge area, where I was able to indulge in a phenomenal meal and an abundance of beautiful cupcakes. Can’t beat that! All in all, this is the epitome of a great family-friendly resort. 

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I had a blast exploring these two resorts! Click for more information, and see for yourself if either one would be perfect for your next retreat.  

 

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Featured resort of the week: Sandals Grande St. Lucian

Posted by Kim Wheeler on Wed, Apr 03, 2013 @ 04:14 PM
  
  

Sandals Grande St. Lucian, set in Castries, St. Lucia, boasts a truly remarkable setting. Situated on its own peninsula, this spa and beach resort is cradled by the Caribbean Sea on both sides. This mile-long strip of beachfront property has magnificent panoramic views and some of the calmest waters in all of St. Lucia. An all-inclusive resort specifically designed for couples in love, Sandals Grande St. Lucian is a romantic retreat full of endless possibilities for fun and relaxation. A fun added benefit of staying at this resort is the fact that you have the ability to experience Sandal’s two other properties in St. Lucia. With complimentary round-trip transfers, Sandals lets gives you three vacations in one. 

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With five pools, four whirlpools, and an alluring dive reef, everything aquatic is within reach at this resort. 

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Each room at this resort is its own private sanctuary. With luxurious furnishings, lavish baths, and picturesque views, the accommodations are truly divine. 

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A romantic and tranquil experience, the resort’s Red Lane Spa provides a sanctuary for relaxation and rejuvenation. With a selection of exclusive services, the spa adds a distinctive Caribbean flair to classic European rituals. 

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A truly spectacular culinary experience, this resort has seven alluring gourmet restaurants to choose from. Each ready to delight guests with a different cuisine, each restaurant provides a unique occasion. Guests can also celebrate their love with a private dinner on the beach, in a garden, or on a terrace. 

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For more information about Sandals Grande St. Lucian, contact one of our Wedding Specialists today

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