Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Good, the Bad, the Excellenté - Part 2

Accommodations at the Excellence Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico

A butler rolled our luggage through the resort, Nick and I following him down the sidewalk. My eyes wandered everywhere, though, taking in everything. Fountains and statuary surrounded the central plaza. Huge tropical palm fronds rose up against a building. The pool sparkled turquoise in the sunlight. I couldn’t stop smiling.

My smile grew even wider when we were escorted into our room. “Oohs” and “Aahs” escaped my lips repeatedly. I have never stayed in such a large and beautiful room before. The room that came with our package deal was a Junior Suite. I didn’t see any of the other room types to compare, but I didn’t need to – I was more than happy with our room.

In this case, pictures are definitely worth a thousand words. Unfortunately, my pictures don’t really do the room justice, so maybe they’re not worth quite that much. Oh well…

Here you see the HUGE tub. And it has jets!  I don’t think I’ve taken a bath at home in the last two years. On this vacation, I took a bath every day. It was very relaxing to come back to the room after a long day and soak in a hot bath. You can’t see it, but there’s a huge separate shower, too.

In the middle of the room was a canopy bed. The bed was actually the one thing we disliked about the room – comfortable, but not as cozy as our bed back home. The sheets weren’t that soft. Also, we question the stability of the frame – one morning, we saw staff removing the bed frame from a room piece by piece.…

Next to our king-size bed, they had placed comfy slippers for us. Matching bath robes were hanging in the closest. Each morning, I would slip into my robe and slippers and wander out onto our balcony. The balcony was huge, with a cushioned bench built into one wall. It overlooked one of the pools.

This is one of the more secluded pools, so we'd usually like to come hang out here later in the afternoon. To the left, you can see a couple lounge chairs - they are very comfortable with nice cushions. In the center, you can see one of the beds. It's basically an outdoor canopy bed that has a thatched roof and drapes on all sides - a great refuge if you're seeking shade.

We also had a sitting area, which was where we enjoyed our room service (more on that later).
As you can see, the Excellence has lovely guest rooms – clean and beautifully furnished. Considering I usually live out of my car or backpack while traveling, you can probably imagine my appreciation for this decadent experience.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Good, the Bad, the Excellenté - Part 1

Vacationing at the Excellence Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico
“Let’s order room service!” I happily suggest. It’s one of the many free (or already-paid-for, depending on how you look at it) services offered at the resort. Teetering on the edge of the bed, I reach out, grasping for the phone just beyond my fingertips. And then, I’m on the floor. In a haze, I clamber back onto the bed, laughing and tears streaming from my eyes. Alcohol is also free.

I woke up the next morning with a large bruise on my back and a headache. I blame it on our gracious waiter at dinner – he never let my wine glass go empty. Every time it began getting low, he was there to refill my glass with the Sauvignon Blanc from Chile. I discovered my first lesson while vacationing at a resort: pace yourself. I’m not a huge drinker, and I quickly realized I was never going to survive if I didn’t monitor my alcohol intake. Of course, they didn’t stop me from ordering a mimosa at breakfast.

Nick and I just returned from our five-night stay at the adults-only all-inclusive Excellence Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico. I was a little apprehensive about this trip. I’ve never taken a “relaxing” vacation before, and I was afraid I’d get bored and restless. Turns out, I can slip into do-nothing mode just fine.  I even found myself so worn out from lounging one morning that I took a nap after lunch.  That’s not to say that there’s nothing to do; the resort has planned activities throughout the day. We just chose not to partake, preferring to limit our activity to getting another mango colada or Cervesa from the bar.

I had an amazingly good time at the resort, and I’m excited to share much more about my vacation in the days to come. So stay tuned!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Escaping to Mexico

My last vacation involved a two and a half day canoe trip down thirty-three miles of the Buffalo National River in Arkansas. The trip before that was a road trip to all the national parks in California, and my bed was the driver's seat of my car (I drive a Honda Civic). On my next trip, I am going extreme...luxury. Yep, Nick and I have decided to take a vacation unlike any we've had before: we're staying at an adults-only, all-inclusive resort near Cancun, Mexico. Why are we doing this kind of trip instead? Well, I wanted to try something different. And I wanted to go somewhere warm. (All right, all right, I realize winter in central Texas isn't exactly cold, but I miss the hot summer sun!)  After some research, we chose to stay at the Excellence Resort in Riviera Maya (http://www.excellence-resorts.com/). Our friends had a wonderful experience at their Playa Mujeres location, and this resort received consistently good reviews on TripAdvisor. We think we got a pretty good package deal (airfare and five nights) at www.cheapcaribbean.com. So, I'm looking forward to lots of eating, drinking, and relaxing - and we leave tomorrow!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

I live (and work) so I can travel

Traveling has become a passion of mine. There isn't a time when I'm not planning my next vacation, sometimes even the next two or three. And when I'm not planning a vacation, I'm daydreaming about one, either one I've had or one I plan to take. Or, I'm reading about other people's travels (usually in books, but I'm beginning to discover all the blogs).

My traveling didn't really begin until after college. A best friend's sister moved across the country from us (who also happened to be a very good friend of mine), and we decided we'd drive to see her. I fell in love with road trips. I have visited 47 continental states (oh Ohio, how you escape me!). I have been to almost all of the National Parks. I have loved seeing so much of our country, and I feel completely lucky that we have such a variety of places accessible to us.

Only two years ago was I finally able to afford an overseas trip. Out of necessity, I went on my own. I fell in love with solo traveling, and now I do it by choice. So far, I have only been to two other countries (Italy and Spain), but I plan to visit many, many more.

The way I travel has changed over time, with each trip, as I learn and also as I grow. I have kept some type of journal while traveling ever since my first road trip - I enjoy reliving the experiences through words; they help me conjure up images I never took (or could take) with my camera.

So, why did I decide to start sharing with you? Well, I guess I decided I have something worth sharing. Maybe it's a new way of travel. Maybe it's suggestions of where to eat in a new city. Maybe it's something you would have forgotten to pack. So, hopefully, you find something here that you can take with you. :)

Happy Journey,