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by on October 24, 2013 |
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I just returned from another amazing vacation at the Iberostar Grand Paraiso in the Riviera Maya of Mexico. I have been to this hotel many times and it is getting better each time.  You know the minute you step out of your transfer that all hotels are not created equal. The front desk and the bellman are simply wonderful and the Atrium lobby area is simply beautiful. The main hallway to the garden view room is stunning with marble floors, huge chandeliers and the painted ceiling.   Once you make it to your room your are greeted by your butler and at that point it is game on!  The butler will be sure that your every need is attended to. They will set your dinner reservations, spa appointments, run the hot tub and personalize your mini bar.  If you need it just ask.

The main pool area is a lot of fun with a great swim up bar and a wonderful ocean view.  The main area of the resort is easy to manage and the entertainment team will have activities going on throughout the day. The pool has plenty of chairs and covered cabanas and the beach cabanas are plentiful.  The Grand has beach butler service so put your toes in the sand and enjoy some nachos and an ice cold bucket of your favorite beverage.  Speaking of beverages you can get about any kind of beer you would like and all the liquor is top shelf.   Do not forget to spend your morning at the quiet pool.  You will probably have it and the the pool butler to yourself.

The food at the Ibrerostar Grand is wonderful. The lunch buffet is the best you will find and they do offer an ala carte menu. You can also order up some nachos and a cheeseburger to be delivered to you poolside.  Dinner is always a treat at the Grand and I truly enjoy every one of the restaurants.  The room service menu has some special dining options available after 7 pm so dinner in the room is also an option.

This hotel has been rated #1 in the industry for the past 3 years and I agree !  The Grand Paraiso opened it’s doors as #1 and like a fine wine, is just getting better with age.  If you want the very best in all inclusive travel then visit the Iberostar Grand Paraiso.

by on October 9, 2013 | 1 Comment »
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A key part of a travel agents job is the ability to give you honest and first hand advice on the resorts we offer for all inclusive travel.  Sure, you can read about it online, but there’s nothing quite like stepping off the plane and into the warm Mexico or Caribbean air for the first time.  And while pictures speak a thousand words, we prefer to give you first hand advice on the resorts we work with the most.  That’s why from Sept 18-21 Dreams Vacations turned off our computers and phones and headed down to Cancun and the Riviera Maya, Mexico.

Luck was on our side when the Iberostar Grand Paraiso, one of the top adults only all inclusive resorts in Mexico, agreed to host our company.  Upon arrival we were generously upgraded to oceanfront rooms right on the beach!  But our work didn’t start at check in, we started the minute we cleared customs and headed out those airport doors.

Our first stop was the Iberostar Cancun, a family friendly jewel.  Luxurious and grand the Iberostar Cancun is sure to please any family with children.  With a small waterpark right next to the main pools, keeping an eye on your little one’s is a breeze at this open family friendly resort.

The Riu Palace Peninsula was second on our list and this is yet another new resort that offers the ultimate in luxury.  Choose from the regular junior suites for a family friendly experience or upgrade to the adults only villa’s and enjoy the child free pool and location.

Next we headed to the new Secrets The Vine for lunch.  Adults only luxury at it’s best, enjoy top shelf everything, no wrist bands, no reservations and accommodations with ocean views that will take your breath away.


Our last tour on our first day in Mexico was the Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita.  Known for their holistic spa and wellness techniques this stunning boutique style all inclusive resort is perfect for those seeking rest and relaxation.


Day two had us up bright and early heading first to the adults only Valentin Imperial Maya.  An impressive resort that’s just the right price and offers a lush jungle feel.  Perfect for those adults only travelers looking for a good deal for a honeymoon or anniversary getaway.

Our next stop was the more moderate Ocean Coral and Turquesa which turned out to be our Diamond in the rough!  Offering modern rooms, never far from the beach and ocean, this family friendly resort boasted an amazing kids and even a teens club.  Benefits like no dinner reservations required, the unique Route 66 bar/restaurant  and only a 15 minute ride from the airport, the Ocean Coral and Turquesa is value for the money at it’s best.

We enjoyed visiting the Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun next.  Another Am resort property offering wonderful pools, accommodations, unlimited luxury and a great kids club. The choices were endless and with a wider more than longer layout you were never far from the beach here.

We ended our afternoon with a stop by the Dreams Riviera Cancun, the premier Dreams in the Riviera Maya.  High end family luxury is what you will find here with modern rooms, a beautiful beach and the all features the Am brand is known for, no dinner reservations, top shelf drinks and personalized service.

After a quick break at our host resort, and a nap for one or two of us, we headed to the luxury Secrets Maroma Beach resort for dinner.  One of the best in adults only all inclusive travel, if you are looking for a pristine beach this is the resort for you!

Our final full day in Mexico was spent enjoying the pool, beach and sunshine.  I’ve only been home for a little over two weeks and I’m already ready to go back!

by on September 26, 2013 |
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I just returned from my second vacation to the Secrets The Vine in Cancun and it was even better the the first one.  I always say the second trip to a hotel is always your best.  The Secrets is located in the heart of Cancun’s hotel zone and is a high rise hotel boasting marvelous ocean views.

The rooms at the Vine are my favorite.  The room are very modern with a laminate flooring, NO TILE! This might sound silly but the flooring is a big hit.  Most hotels are marble or tile floors and they get slippery with condensation from the AC, hot tub or from being cleaned.  Often these marble floors can be like an ice rink so no skating around your room at the Vine.  The mini bar was stocked every day and the maids showed up pretty early so you had access to your room in the afternoons.

The hotel is so easy to manage.  No long walks to your room, beach or restaurants.  Everything is a very short walk or an elevator ride away.  The lobby area has a real “at home” kind of feel with a fireplace and cool common areas to play

games or just relax.  The lobby also has a coffee shop that has fresh doughnuts in the morning and cold cuts in the afternoon and evening.

The Ala’Carte restaurants are amazing and most of them offer indoor and outdoor dining options.  The Secrets hotels do not require reservations for dinner so you can dine where you like, when you like! Almost all other brands require a dinner reservation and many can not accommodate all their guests. So at some adult only hotels you can not get into some of the restaurants during your stay.  My favorite was the Italian.  Ask for Jimmy he was the best waiter I have ever had on a vacation!  The Vine also offers 24 hour room service and a 24 hour Sports Bar so you can always find food and drink.

The Entertainment team is the best in the business!  They get people involved in the games and it creates such a better

environment.  They make sure you meet other guests and I can promise you they will not forget you name.  They host a night on the town at different clubs each night so you will see more of Cancun with preferred seating and special rates.

I have been to many of the top adult only hotels including most of the Secrets hotels and this is my all time favorite.  The Vine has the best rooms and a beautiful beach.  The food is wonderful but the service is even better.  This hotel really has it all.   Call me today and let me send you to the best All Inclusive hotel in Mexico !

by on September 19, 2013 |
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Secrets Resorts is opening it’s newest resort in Los Cabos on 12/15/2013.

The new Secrets Puerto Los Cabos will be Cabo’s newest all suite “adult only” resort. Secrets Puerto Los Cabos will be just 30 minutes from Los Cabos International Airport, and a short 10 minute drive from San Jose del Cabos.  Guests will enjoy an array of gourmet dining options, plenty of chic bars and lounges, a wealth of daytime activities, live nightly entertainment and so much more. The hotel has 500 spacious suites, each suite will offer magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean.   The hotel will have 8 gourmet restaurants and 24 hour room service as well as a fully stocked mini bar in each room.  No reservations required for dinner at the Secrets so dine where you want, when you want !  The hotel has 2 pools and a swim up bar along with pool and beach waiter service.  Secrets serves all top shelf liquors and many imported beers.

This is brand new construction and the Secrets has some of the finest hotels in the industry.  Secrets hotels are known for great food, great rooms and even better service !  Come to Cabo San Lucas and experience the new Secrets Puerto Los Cabos and you you will enjoy a magnificent getaway in a world of pure serenity.

by on September 13, 2013 |
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Visit October 13-20, 2013 and enjoy some singles fun in the sun at the adults only all inclusive Barcelo Bavaro Beach!

Each and every detail has been taken care of so this escape becomes an unforgettable one. Every morning there are stretching exercises on the beach, to start off the day with the positive energy we absorb from the sea breeze and with the healthy feeling provided by stretching. Within this program, the days are focused on the private surroundings and in combination with having fun: volleyball tournaments held on the beach, water aerobics, excursions, table tennis, dance competitions… no time for being bored! As the sun goes down on Bávaro beach, the evening air soaks up the magic of this Dominican beach, leading the way to some of the calendar’s most vibrant dates: White Party, fancy dress party, Karaoke Night, 80′s party, Miss&Mister Bávaro, and the gala dinner and farewell party of the last evening

Sunday, Oct 13th – Welcome & Dinner at Higuey Bar.

Monday Oct 14th

  • 10:00am – Stretching at the beach
  • 11:00am – Beach Volleyball
  • 12:00pm – Water Aerobics
  • 2:00pm – Horse Shoes
  • 3:00pm – Beach Soccer
  • 4:00pm – Pool Party
  • 8:00pm – Dinner: Caribe Restaurant
  • 10:00pm – White Party: La Piña

Tuesday Oct 15th

  • 10:00am – Stretching
  • 11:00am – Crazy Games
  • 12:00pm – Water Aerobics
  • 2:00pm – Table Tennis
  • 3:00pm – Beach Volleyball
  • 4:00pm – Table Changing
  • 8:00pm – Dinner: Caribe Restaurant
  • 10:00pm – Karaoke Night: Theater

Wednesday Oct 16th

  • 10:00-6pm – Gymkhana
  • 8:00pm – Dinner
  • 10:00pm – Fancy Dress Costume Party

Thursday, Oct 17th

  • 10:00am – 6:00pm-Excursion day
  • 8:00pm – A la carte restaurants in Barceló Bávaro Palace Deluxe
  • 10:00pm – Party – Disco Bávaro

Friday Oct 18th

  • 10:00am – Stretching
  • 11:00am – Table Tennis
  • 12:00pm – Water Aerobics
  • 3:00pm – Beach Volleyball
  • 4:00pm – Dance Competition
  • 8:00pm – Dinner – La Brisa
  • 10:00pm – Miss & Mister Bávaro

Saturday Oct 19th

  • 10:00am – Stretching
  • 11:00am – Beach Volleyball
  • 12:00pm – Water Aerobics
  • 2:00pm – Bocce Ball
  • 3:00pm – Crazy Games
  • 8:00pm – Gala Dinner: Convention Center
  • 10:00pm – Goodbye Party: Convention Center

Sunday Oct 20th – Check out. See you next year!

*This program is subject to change and is independent from the activities of the hotel

by on September 10, 2013 |
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The Riu Palace Peninsula is one of the newest hotels in Cancun. Located on the northern stretch of the Hotel Zone, this towering resort is the most visible structure from air, land, and sea. Upon entering the expansive modern lobby dressed in purple and gold, I wondered if I had stepped into a Prince video. I was greeted with a warm inviting smile by Alex, the bellman. He took my luggage and set it to the side to be delivered to my room. Check-in was a breeze, even though it was 2:00, which is normally a busy time of day. I received a silver VIP bracelet indicating I was staying in the Villa Section.

A short walk down the hall and through the open-air theater led us to a path with a sign reading “VIP, Adults Only Villas”. The small 3-story white Villas contrasted the giant modern structure that towered over them. They had a peaceful feel that seemed almost removed from the flurry of activity in the lobby. My request for a upper level room was honored and I made my way up the three flights of stairs. There are no elevators in the Villas, so if you have difficulty with stairs be sure to request a lower level room. One observation was that the marble stairs can get quite slick when wet or if you have sand on your feet.

My room was what they consider a Villa Garden View Junior Suite. The interior of the room is identical to the standard Junior Suites in the main building. The vibrant theme of white and purple is carried over from the lobby. The bed, which in the past was a common complaint of the Riu’s, was very comfortable. Just off the bed was a large Jacuzzi tub, which is standard in every room as well as a large Jacuzzi on the balcony that can easily fit up to 4 adults. On the other side was an inexpensive looking love seat that appeared to be constructed of plywood. It served the purpose, though, and was actually rather comfortable. There was a dining table and two chairs across form the loveseat which came in handy for those late night room service calls. The flat screen television appeared to be about 32” and the Jacuzzi Suite rooms have a 40” that rotates between the bed and the living room. The bathroom consisted of two sinks and a purple-hued glass block wall separating the large shower which had a removable shower head and an alternate rainforest shower head. There was also a separate toilet area with a privacy door. The refrigerator was stocked with beer, soda, water, and snack bars. I prefer my beverages very cold and it did not suite my taste, so I pulled the fridge out and turned the dial, which was set on 50%, to 100%. That setting resolved any concerns and actually froze some of the sodas on the top shelf. On the wall above the fridge and coffee pot was a liquor dispenser with a fifth of four common liquors: Jose Cuervo, Smirnoff, Bacardi, and Presedente Brandy. The Jacuzzi Suites are about 30% larger, most of that space being a living room area.

One of the most common guest objections with Riu’s is the difficulty making reservations for the gourmet restaurants. This objection was validated when I was unable to make reservations for the Steak House or the Japanese restaurants for any of the three nights of my stay. Fortunately for me, staying in the Villas allowed access to the exclusive gourmet Caribbean restaurant, Kulinarium. The 5-course menu there was limited in choices but certainly not in taste! I had the filet and it was phenomenal. Although there was availability there each night, I chose to dine at the buffet the other two nights. I understand that being unable to eat at the restaurants of your choice at an all-inclusive that advertises fine dining can be frustrating, but the Riu Palace Peninsula more than makes up for that deficiency with some of the best buffet food I’ve eaten, including lamb and Caribbean lobster. For lunch, the Italian restaurant does not require reservations and has a nice a la carte menu as well as a wonderful Italian buffet. The 24 hour room service menu was also limited and took about an hour to be delivered, but the freshness and quality was on par.

Without a doubt, one of the best features of the Villas is the private pool. The ambiance there just could not be matched at the other main pools. The long private infinity pool was the perfect place to relax and enjoy the views of the gorgeous turquoise Caribbean waters merely steps away. It was never a problem getting a pool chair or even a bally bed and the towel cards that most all-inclusives are known for were not necessary in the Villa Section. And the pool waiter, Fernando, would never let me get to the bottom of my drink. Although the private Villa pool is top-optional, I did not notice anyone sans top throughout my stay.

All in all, the Riu Palace Peninsula exceeded my expectations in most every category. I was disappointed that I could not make reservations at the restaurants I desired, but that actually made very little difference to the overall quality of my experience. I enjoyed my stay and look forward to my next opportunity to return.