Contributed by Courtney Horan, Author of the healthy living blog Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life.
Happy Monday! Welcome back to the work week, folks. How was everyone’s weekend? Anything good happening? Well, I actually had LOTS happening, so here’s what you may need to catch up on…
- A Fun and Busy Sunday
- Documenting a Very Special Moment (<—one of my FAVORITE posts ever!)
- Like Warm Banana Bread
- The Toughest Thing About Returning From Vacation
- Tangents: Mexico Style!
So, speaking of Mexico, I have had many of you asking since we first arrived last week about the resort that we stayed in. I decided not to disclose our location while we were away, but now since we’re back, I’d really like to fill you all in because this place was just incredible!
The name of the resort that we stayed at was the Valentin Imperial Maya.
From the resort’s website,
Just 25 minutes from Cancun’s International Airport, Valentin Imperial Maya sits on a half-mile-long stretch of white sand beach of Playa Del Secreto (The Secret Beach) in the Riviera Maya. This all-inclusive, adults-only magnificent resort not only gives you direct access to the beach, but also places you just minutes from the vibrant culture of Cancun and the world famous Mayan archaeological sites such as Tulúm, Cobá, and Chichen Itzá… all while keeping itself secluded from the clutter.
Our entire trip was booked through CheapCaribbean.com, and the entire booking process was not only easy, but it was pleasurable and extremely helpful. Everyone that we were in contact with was great, and we would receive emails every once in a while that would remind us of various things for our upcoming trip. When we first checked out the site, it looked a little shady, but don’t let the looks fool you!
So anyway…back to this resort. Let me first say that this place was phenomenal and all eight of us have decided that we would go back in a heartbeat. No doubt about it. I feel like I have SO MUCH to say about our trip, sand I quickly realized while typing this up that I’m going to have to break it down a bit to keep from making this post enormous.
So today, we’ll talk Accommodations & Restaurants.
As soon as each of us arrived, we were greeted with champagne (and fruity beverages, but those were from Sarah & Jeff). That was definitely a great way to kick start the trip!
It only took us about five minutes to check in, and then we were escorted by our tour guide, “Antonio Banderas,” to our building and room.
The resort has a number of buildings and room categories, and the particular building that we were located in was fantastic; right next to everything. Our room was the most basic you can get, the Deluxe Junior Suite; but as you can see, there wasn’t all that much “basic” about it.
The resort offered free internet, but it was not Wi-Fi, so we had to make sure that we had a ethernet cable with us. There was a turn down service two, if not three times a day, and our room was constantly being cleaned and tidied up.
Oh yeah…and then there was that whole shower. I.want.it.
For breakfast, there were two options available: the Beachfront, which offered buffet breakfast, or the main buffet, which also served up many of the same things.
Both buffets offered make-your-own crepes and omelets, so either way, you can’t lose.
For lunch, the same restaurants that were open for breakfast are re-opened for lunch. The Beachfront becomes a sit-down restaurant with a menu, and the main buffet remains a buffet, offering quite a large variety of items.
The main buffet is where the dessert buffet can be found.
For dinner, there are actually seven à la carte restaurants: Italian, French, Japanese, Indonesian, Mexican, Steak House, and Seafood.
On our first night there, Jay and I joined Sarah and Jeff at the Mexican restaurant, which was great. The food was delicious (this was when my guacamole addiction began), the margaritas were great, and the entertainment was super fun.
On our second night once everyone had arrived, we went to the Seafood restaurant which was good, but nothing mind-blowing. That night after dinner, we spent some time down at the beachfront Tiki Bar, which was fun but VERY windy.
Our third night had us at the Japanese restaurant, where we were lucky enough to score a reservation at a hibachi table.
In order to get a hibachi table, we had to have a few of us wait in like for over an hour so we could be the first in line. Luckily, it was WELL worth it. Again, the food was spectacular, and the entertainment was even better.
On our fourth night, this was when we headed to the Italian restaurant.
I didn’t end up taking any photos of food that evening, but it was incredible. I had a vegetable risotto which was out of this world, and a tiramisu dessert that was one of THE best I’ve ever had.
On our fifth evening, some of the crew was out and about on various excursions, so Jay and I joined Brook and Andrea at the Indonesian restaurant. Again, no photos of food on this one, but I loved the unique menu, so I had to snag a photo of that.
This particular evening began with a tequila tasting, where there were five different tequilas being offered to try at the restaurant. I was not so much a fan, but the boys definitely were, which is what jumpstarted this particular evening…
Oh yes, that was a fun one.
On our sixth and final evening, all eight of us went to our final dinner.
The guys all cleaned up pretty nicely, didn’t they?
Then again, us girls didn’t do half bad either.
Funny story about my dress, actually. I bought it at Target months ago, almost returned it, but decided to save it since I couldn’t find my receipt. I’m glad I kept it!
So our final dinner was spent at the French restaurant at the resort. This is the staircase that you’re presented with as soon as you walk in.
And this is the rest of the restaurant. Amazing, right?
One of the things I loved about ALL of the restaurants was that the portions were the perfect size; not too tiny, but small enough to give you the perfect taste of it while still giving you enough room to try out other things on the menu.
On this particular evening, I started off with a goat cheese and pear salad, topped with a raspberry balsamic vinaigrette. Delicious.
Next, I ordered what may have been my absolute favorite food at the entire resort: the Onion Soup. This was their particular take on the classic French Onion soup, and the puff pastry that was so elegantly draped over that bowl was just phenomenal.
Everything about this soup, from the broth, to the onions, to the bits of cheese inside, to the pastry shell, was just to die for. I *will* be recreating this…or, at least, attempt to recreate it, very soon.
For my entrée, I ordered the grouper, which was stuffed with seafood and came with roasted vegetables in a fennel cream sauce. It was good, but nothing exciting.
My dessert for the evening (because we all *always* got dessert) was a chocolate mousse that I actually really disliked. I don’t know what it was, but I just wasn’t feelin’ it. It was probably the first and only one that I didn’t really eat.
Jay, however, ordered some sort of Flambé dessert, which was pretty cool to watch.
It was also pretty tasty, too.
The resort also offers 24-hour room service, which Jay and I took advantage of once (which, not surprisingly, was after the tequila night you saw pictured above). There were more options available during the day than the “late night” menu, but put any pizza in front of me at 1:00am after a couple drinks…
and you know I’m gonna take advantage.*IF YOU LIKE THIS POST, PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG & SHARE W/ YOUR FRIENDS*