Celebration Vacation

Allie and Shain were scheduled to take the Bar Exam in August, and we had planned an amazing European trip for them for right after the exam. Then COVID happened, cancelling their trip and the exam. When the Bar was rescheduled for October, they contacted me to see if we could plan some kind of last-minute getaway to celebrate finally being done. We found a wonderful “escape” to Mexico with an oceanfront swim-up suite at the adults-only El Dorado Seaside Suites in the Mayan Riviera and, from the trip report below, I’d say the celebration vacation was a hit!

Best of all, they both recently found out they passed the Bar 🙂

Hi Ann! I’m so sorry for the delay in this reply, I just wanted to make sure I had enough time to appropriately review the whole experience. Overall, it was wonderful! There are hardly any, if there are any, cons to the experience. 

The resort was very very interesting, the way they have it set up for the “Infinity” side and the “Palms” side. We ended up sticking solely to the beach on the Palms side because it is so so beautiful,

A last minute celebration getaway is not only possible but incredibly relaxing and beautiful! Find out how Allie & Shain enjoyed their all-inclusive resort on the Mayan Riviera!

“the water was beyond perfect in that it felt like an actual bath and had really cool snorkeling spots and the beds were the perfect place to lounge.”

It’s kind of funny we realized we didn’t end up going in any of the pools at all other than the one attached to our room.

Other than the beach, Shain and I were both in agreement that the food and the service were beyond exceptional and definitely the highlights of the resort. We have both been to all-inclusives before and were expecting the standard type of foods, drink service, etc. that is not usually outstanding but “good enough.” However, we ended up trying all of the restaurants at the resort and struggled to think of which one we wanted to visit twice because they were all so unique and had incredibly delicious food. 

The service of the staff was also superb. Everyone was extremely welcoming, friendly, and accommodating. We had a few small issues with our room, the safe broke a couple of times, etc. and they attended to us almost immediately. There was hardly, if ever, a time we were struggling to find somebody to help us and that was also including the shuttles around the resort which came regularly.

A last minute celebration getaway is not only possible but incredibly relaxing and beautiful! Find out how Allie & Shain enjoyed their all-inclusive resort on the Mayan Riviera!

“Not only that, but the entire resort was extremely clean (which is something I tend to be acutely aware of) especially considering there was a hurricane the week before, there was hardly any indication of debris or trash, etc. anywhere. The rooms were also very very tidy and cleaned at least once a day.”

We ended up purchasing a spa day and an excursion to Cozumel, which were both easily the highlights of our trip aside from the day-to-day lounging.

A last minute celebration getaway is not only possible but incredibly relaxing and beautiful! Find out how Allie & Shain enjoyed their all-inclusive resort on the Mayan Riviera!

“The spa was a promotional deal they were offering where we had a one-hour “water journey” in the spa which was surprisingly cool, then a 50-minute massage and a 30 minute facial on the beach which was this bungalow type of a structure built right along the water so we could hear the waves crashing while we were receiving our treatment.”

The price was very fair in relation to the level of the treatment and the experience overall. I would 100% recommend this experience to anybody visiting the resort, I honestly think it’s silly for anybody not to do it and tell them to make sure they choose the beach location because you can’t get a massage on the beach nearly anywhere else. 

A last minute celebration getaway is not only possible but incredibly relaxing and beautiful! Find out how Allie & Shain enjoyed their all-inclusive resort on the Mayan Riviera!

“As for Cozumel, I know this isn’t a resort-specific experience because we booked it through Amstar but this was also incredible and would 10/10 suggest it to anybody looking to do an excursion.”

Our day started at 7 am and we didn’t get back until 8 pm, but everything throughout the day was included and it was truthfully so cheap considering what was included. We had our own jeep to cruise around the entire island in and we ended up scuba diving which was amazing as neither of us had done that before, there was also a tequila tasting, a trip to a historic lighthouse and visit to a private beach club on one of the most beautiful beaches and a free lunch. All of the transportation was included on top of those activities so overall it was a no-brainer for us to book it. 

The few things I would suggest to people who ask about the resort would be to definitely get to the Palms-side beach as the Infinity side beach is not as nice. We would also tell them that the first floor rooms are definitely more of the “party” rooms because they are attached to the main pool, so if you are looking for a more relaxing stay then book a room on a higher floor.

A last minute celebration getaway is not only possible but incredibly relaxing and beautiful! Find out how Allie & Shain enjoyed their all-inclusive resort on the Mayan Riviera!

“Our room was amazing with an awesome view and much less rowdy than the activity on the first floor.”

Also, we decided it was definitely more of a couples resort, rather than a group-of-friends place to stay only because there wasn’t too much happening at night for activity despite how crazy it could get during the day. There was some entertainment like singers and musicians that were all actually extremely entertaining and talented, however, it wasn’t much of a “party” scene so much as a couples resort. This was perfectly fine for us and exactly what we were looking for, I just wouldn’t want people going to stay at the resort expecting to be a crazy/wild experience. Other than that there really is very little “negatives” to say.

“We cannot thank you enough for booking this for us, we know it was last minute and during a hectic time so we are very appreciative!! We look forward to booking more trips with you — hopefully all of this craziness is near ending and we can eventually book the Europe trip! 😄”

Best, 
Allie and Shain

Just right in Jamaica

Girls’ getaways come in all shapes and sizes, from a simple spa weekend to a whirlwind trip to Paris. Today’s trip report is from an all-inclusive “escape” that was JUST the right fit for three friends in need of some tropical R&R.

Hi Ann!

Thank you, so much, for all your help in planning our Jamaican escape. We really appreciated all your ideas and research beforehand, and we ended up in a great spot!

Here’s some basic info, in case you need it…

– Jamaica was a perfect location for a girls getaway. We wanted tropical, and also wanted to feel like we were going somewhere with its own culture / style… not an Americanized resort community. Jamaica was beautiful, and the people were so kind and fun — really helped to showcase the true feel of the island. Hilton Rose Hall was a great property — clean, beautiful, fun, and great service.

Montego Bay was a great choice for us because we wanted to be near the airport. However, I think if I went back and had the time, I would go to Negril, mostly for the beaches. The beach at our resort was a rather small, and it was completely within the resort. This is understandable and great for safety, but it is nice to have a bigger beach that you can walk along, which is what I think Negril has to offer. We still had a blast and thoroughly enjoyed the beach!

– Beaches / pools at the hotel:

– Main beach, a bit small and water a bit cloudy, but nice. They do offer kayaking and catamaran rides here for free, which was fun aslo.

– Adult beach – a little alcove next to the golf course that is great for a quiet day. It’s not easy to swim here – too rocky, but the beach is fantastic for just realaxing and so pretty.

– Main pool is a nice place to layout with a view of the ocean.

– Loved, loved the lazy river. There were a ton of families, but it was still really nice for us to just float around and chat in.

Hotel food was good. It was mostly your basic resort food, but on the higher end and all pretty good. There are 3 restaurants, all very nice and very tasty – Italian was our favorite. Great spot. There is an afternoon snack cart that serves great jerk chicken and Jamaican beef patties – yum!

Hotel was clean and enjoyable to be at. Always a lot going on, good energy. Service was fantastic – every single worker we encountered went over and above to make our stay pleasant. There was a lot of entertainment at the hotel. Not so much stuff we were into, but I could see it being a great property for families. There were a lot of families there and they all seemed to really enjoy it.

We only left the property one day. We did a full day tour with the Cool Runnings group. It included a bus to Ocho Rios, nice lunch, hike up Dunn’s Fall Waterfalls, and then snorkeling and an hour and a half or so on a catamaran party boat. Great day — definitely recommend the group. One note though… climbing the waterfalls is not for the faint of heart. There is a staircase next to it, if you just want to walk up along it, but climbing the actual falls was quite intense. A lot of people cut out halfway up. We’re all pretty active, and we had to cut out for part of it and then come back on. I’m only mentioning this in such detail because the Jamaicans really don’t tell you that when you are there. We were shocked at how hard it was, and were also shocked at how many older people and kids were climbing it… many of whom looked absolutely terrified and had to get help getting down. The Jamaican staff there were not so helpful — it was mostly other tourists helping each other down. But, it was a beautiful site and we had a nice time. The boat was great as well. It’s a long bus ride to get there, but personally, I sort of like that as you get to see other parts of the country.

We had a fantastic trip! All 3 of us really just needed to chill out and relax and it was perfect for that. I think the hotel is a little more geared toward families than couples or groups of friends, but that said.. we had a great time and it was just what we needed for this trip. Keep the property in mind though if you are looking for a Jamaican family trip.

Thank you so much for all your help!

Anne Marie

You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)