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by on February 20, 2013 | 1 Comment »
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As a travel agent, when traveling to various All Inclusive Resort locations for my own personal vacations, I find myself always comparing places I have been to before and the place I am currently staying at. Last year my wife and I had the opportunity to travel to the brand new Secrets Vallarta resort in Puerto Vallarta Mexico in October and here is my honest travel agent review.

First of all the location of the resort is ideal for anyone wanting to be able to go into downtown Puerto Vallarta for site seeing, shopping, night life etc. A taxi from the resort to the Malecon which is the board walk is only $6 each way and it takes about 10 minutes or so with traffic. Upon pulling into the drive way of the Secrets Vallarta you will immediately see the high rise luxury appeal with a modern architecture. The Secrets Vallarta is connected to a property called the NOW Amber which is also a brand new luxury resort but the NOW Amber will accommodate all ages of travelers including kids while the Secrets Vallarta is fully Adult Only.

The lobby of Secrets is very nice with a private check in provided for all guests, lobby bar with refreshments waiting and upon entering the resort you are immediately greeted by their amazing friendly staff. The resort has elevators all throughout the property so it’s very easy to navigate and get around. At night, the resort bings in local musicians for entertainment in the lobby and keep in mind that this is again two resorts side by side built as one big hotel with the NOW Amber having thier own identical lobby and entertainment as well.

The pool area is great with the main pool having a wooden deck around it that you can lay out on in a lounge chair that’s only steps away from the sand! They have swim up pool bar, pool side grill restaurant (Barefoot Grill) and they even have swim up room categories that can be purchased. The swim up rooms have a little pool off of the patio that you step right into that is shared by all ground floor rooms in the building your room is located in. Swim up rooms are little more expensive than the standard category but for my wife and I a swim up is perfect! We like to lay out by the “pool” and not have to leave the room for anything, even the wait staff will bring drinks and food right to your door step. Overall the rooms are very nice and elegant but if I had one complaint on the standard room types, the balconies on the upper floor rooms were pretty small. And again, that is my only complaint on the rooms. Very large space, very modern, jacuzzi, double sinks, awesome shower.

The beach at this resort is beautiful to look at and inviting to take pictures of amazing sunsets but, the sand in the ocean is more like a little gravel bar. Not to the extent of really needing boat shoes but not a bad idea. It’s not a long walking beach because of how close the resort is located to town, but again very beautiful. The food in the restaurants was very good, the gourmet restaurant is the nicest of all with amazing steak and fish options along with gourmet dinning from various cultures. Food is tough to give a review on because everyone is different but overall on a 1-10 scale, I give the food a 7 or 8.

Here’s the overall skinny on this resort: Location is great for being close to town. Beach is okay but not great. Rooms are amazing but small balconies. Food is very good, but adults will go to the family resort next door for some restaurants. Staff is fantastic. Nightlife pretty slow but the hotel was just opened when we traveled so the occupancy was really low (go to downtown for night life). Pool area is great and swim up rooms are well worth it. If you are looking for a great honeymoon or anniversary location in Puerto Vallarta, this is the resort I would personally recommend over almost anything else out there.

by on February 15, 2013 |
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I like a great beach but I love a great pool.  I spend most of my day pool side so I think  pools are a key factor when selecting your all inclusive hotel.  Here are a few all inclusive resorts that have really cool pools.

The Iberostar Paraiso Maya and Iberostar Paraiso Lindo in the Riviera Maya of Mexico actually share an enormous lagoon style pool.  The pool has an amazing swim up bar, ample seating and shaded lounge chairs.  The pool winds through the complex starting with a lazy river and a wave pool and ending up at the beach access.

  

Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas in Cabo San Lucas Mexico.  Look at the view !   Not the biggest or the newest pool but the view is to die for.  Sip on a cool drink as you look out to Lands End.  The Palace swim up bar has the same view of the Arch.  The Riu Santa Fe is a moderate priced hotel next door but it also boasts some amazing pool views as well.

  

The main and quiet pool at the Iberostar Grand Paraiso in the Riviera Maya of Mexico.  The Grand has an amazing inifinity pool with a swim up bar and food service one of the most photographed pools in Mexico but their quiet pool might be one of my favorite pool hangouts ever!  You usually have the entire pool and wait staff to yourself !

  

Dreams Punta Cana  located in Punta Cana,  Domimican Republic.  The Dreams showcases one of the largest free form pools anywhere.   The pool winds its way from the lobby down to the beach and is complete with waterfalls, a swim-up bar and venues throughout.  Each person seems to get their own little pool area so even though the pool is enormous it feels very private.

  

Many of our hotels have incredible pools these are just a few that I thought I would highlight.  The adult only hotels have some wonderful set ups and many of our top family friendly hotels have child waterparks, waterslides and more.  Call me and we can find the right pool for you.

by on February 13, 2013 |
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Located close to Cancun. Isla Mujeres is an easy destination to reach but will quickly make you feel like you’re worlds away. Without all the hustle and bustle of Cancun, what once was a small fishing village, Isla Mujeres still hold its Mexican charm and warmth with an inviting atmosphere. Isls Mujeres (Island of Women) is located close to one of the many coral reefs. The area is popular for its snorkeling and scuba diving. The small town has excellent shopping, great restaurants and fantastic beaches. I was able to visit Isla Mujeres while staying in Playa.

Our group booked an excursion (Royal Garrafon) which included swimming with dolphins, snorkeling above the great mayan reef, zip lining over the Caribbean, shopping in town and most important all meals and drinks. The majority of the transportation consist of golf-carts, scooters/mopeds, small motorcycles and a few cars and trucks. Isla Mujeres is a lot more laid back than Cancun, but there are still a lot of options. Our most popular resort there is the Excellence Playa Mujeres which is a luxury 5 Star Adult Only all inclusive resort. From small, laid back bars to clubs that go late into the night you can find what you want.

by on February 11, 2013 |
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Are Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Huatulco and Ixtapa some of your favorite beach destinations?  You’re in luck, you can save even more on the Pacific coast this year!  Save up to $25 per couple on any and all resorts in these 4 destinations.  Book a Secrets, Dreams or Now resort and double your savings with up to $50 per couple off!

Call today with promocode:  PACIFIC

You’re only a phone call away from stunning beaches and sapphire waters, rugged mountains and old world charm!

Some of our Favorite Pacific Coast resorts:

Not Valid for departures in the next 30 days. Not valid on land only reservations Not valid on Square Deals, Super Savers or Coupon offers. Four night minimum stay required. Advertised savings based on adult double occupancy and varies based on the type of airfare booked. Changes made to reservations after originally booked may result in a loss of the original promo code discount

by on February 8, 2013 |
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The Sandos Caracol Eco-Resort and Spa  all inclusive has it all in the Riviera Maya. From a 18 hole Nick Price golf course to a water park with 17 slides for the kids this resort has something for everyone. It sits on 100 acres of Mayan jungle only 3 miles from the town of Playa Del Carmen where visitors can experience shopping and dining.

The resort itself is very lush and tropical and has tons of activities from snorkeling through the rivers running through the property to bike trails for a scenic ride in a jungle atmosphere. This resort offers plenty of dining and entertainment options to fit any taste, it has 10 restaurants to choose from and 8 different bars including a popular piano bar. There are over 600 rooms for families and over 300 rooms just for adults and staying in the adult section has its perks, you receive private check in, one exclusive restaurant, and a private section of beach. So if your looking for a resort where you can have not only a great time but a great experience look no further than the Sandos Caracol All Inclusive Eco Resort in the Riviera Maya.

The Sandos Hotels & Resorts chain was born in Spain in the 1990′s and is widely know for their innovative environmental programs, quality facilities, and their consistent commitment to improving and maintaining their services and properties. The three pillars of Sandos’ business strategy and mission are differentiation, environmental sustainability and innovation.

by on February 6, 2013 |
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We receive many calls throughout the year with the same question; “When is the cheapest time of the year to travel?” Answering that question can be somewhat difficult simply because prices can literally change every day but, in this blog you will be able to see an idea of average prices for the first 10 months of the year on a person price range for some of our most popular All Inclusive Resorts.

As you will see in this graph, the most expensive time of the year to travel (other than Christmas and New Years which is not listed in this graph since those prices are not yet available) would be the months of February, then March, then April and then back up a little in June. Why would those dates be the most expensive? In February, many of us are tired of being stuck in the cold for the past few months and we simply want to get out of town to a wonderful warm sunny beach as well as many travelers try to take vacation over Presidents Day to try and avoid using an extra vacation day from work or school. Thus, the third week of February fills fast and can become very expensive if booking last minute.

For the months of March and April, prices are higher each year simply because of the popularity of Spring Break Travel. Whether you are a teacher planning a romantic getaway with your spouse and you want to travel when your students are out of school or maybe you are a parent wanting to take you kids on vacation during the same time frame and not wanting them to miss school, your best bet each year is to try and book early for these popular travel dates. Easter break tends to be the most popular week of Spring Break Travel.

The rates for All Inclusive travel tend to come down between April 15th and the end of May while prices start to jump back up to Spring Break like rates on the 2nd or 3rd week of June through early August. Rates tend to start dropping like a rollercoaster ride at the end of August through the middle to first part of November. So, to answer the question “When is the cheapest time to travel?” all you have to do is think about the popularity of the travel season and then consider if you can travel when others don’t. Again dates such as mid April to late May and then late August through the first week of November are the least expensive months to travel on average.

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