Girls’ Weekend at Now Sapphire Resort

The food, the drinks and the gossip were flowing freely this weekend!

My Brazilian amiga Nadia suggested we do a girls’ weekend at an All Inclusive resort in the Riviera Maya. Saturday afternoon, we drove down toward Puerto Morelos to the beautiful Now Sapphire resort. I actually used to intern at this hotel in the reception area 3 years ago, back when it belonged to another resort chain. (Yes, I interned at many, many resorts during my university days.) Visually, it has always been my favorite resort in the area, with an immense pool and wood walkways winding through soothing ponds. All this is combined with breezy palapa roofs and a combination of Mexican and Asian-inspired style. Gorgeous.

After a quick check-in, we were taken to our room via golf cart. The resort is divided into small, 3-story villas named after Mayan ruins. Our building was set right by the beach, with a jungle view room set on the 2nd floor. I was very impressed with the guestrooms! Each has a small sitting area and a large balcony, not to mention a great bathroom.

Nadia and I spent our evening bouncing from one restaurant to another, taking full advantage of the resort’s All Inclusive plan. We sampled sushi, caipirinhas, martinis, baba ganoush, spinach ravioli and I can’t even remember what else!

The Mediterranean restaurant

The oceanfront restaurant, my fave!

Memories Lobby Bar, with tons of dancing and socializing after dinner

Nadia admiring the bathroom artwork

We turned in at midnight and woke up early the next morning with the breakfast we had pre-ordered the night before. After a quick workout, we put on our swimsuits and headed out to do some damage at the breakfast buffet.

Nadia then went to check out the spa specials while I decided to hang out at the pool. There were no loungers available (experienced resort-goers will be familiar with the infamous Towel Game), but I saw a beautiful bali bed right next to the pool with nobody on it. “This is too good to be true,” I thought to myself. So I waited a few minutes, and nobody showed up. I slowly and cautiously arranged my things on the bali bed, looking around in case anyone came up to tell me it wasn’t allowed. Thrilled with my success, I made myself comfortable and snapped a few photos.

Living the life

After the most glamorous 15 minutes of my life, a young uniformed gentleman approached me with a clipboard.

“Excuse me, miss. What is your room number?”

“307.”

(long pause while he flips through a few pages)

“Is your last name Palmer?”

“No…” (Stay cool, Laura, stay cool!)

“I’m sorry, miss, but these bali beds are reserved for our Preferred Club guests. There’s actually quite a long waiting list to use them.”

“Well I’ve already made myself comfortable! You should really put up a sign or something,” I exclaimed in righteous indignation as I got my things together.

“The sign is right here on the post, miss.”

“Oh. Ummm… sorry then. Thanks.”

Fabulousness transformed into humilliation within 30 seconds. Could only happen to me.

Feeling unimportant and defeated at the prospect of finding a chair, I made my way to the beach and settled in under a palapa while I waited for Nadia.

That's better.

We ordered some bottled waters from the beach waiter, spent an hour or so talking about life, took some pictures and watched the boats go by. Now this is a vacation!

Nadia suggested we try our luck back at the pool. There were still no loungers available, as expected, but we set our stuff  by the pool’s jet tub and hopped right in. I loved the pool. Lots of activities were going on by the swim-up bar, but the pool was big enough that it was easy to find quiet areas for relaxation. Submerged loungers, one of my favorite things, were also in abundance.

We had programmed a late check-out for 1:30, so we eventually headed back to the room, packed up and changed into some dry clothes. Check-out was quick and easy, and we made our way to the Bluewater Grill for some more All Inclusive action in the form of ceviches and burgers.

The Now Sapphire was a great experience. I dare to say it was even better than most All Inclusives! Here’s why:

  • No bracelets
  • No waiting in line to make dinner reservations every morning (first come, first served)
  • 24-hour room service included
  • No worrying about towel cards… just walk up, get your beach towel, then bring it back when you’re done. Easy.

Gringation’s Tips:

  • Bring bugspray! Mosquitos weren’t a problem during daylight hours, but let’s just say that we weren’t the only ones feasting during our outdoor dinner at the beachfront grill.
  • Upgrade to the Preferred Club. Preferred guests have a private lounge, a beautiful separate pool, access to spa facilities and reservations for the poolside bali beds. (I only spent 15 minutes on the bali bed, but it was amazing!) This is one instance where I’d say the extra amenities are worth the higher pricetag.
  • Sit at the teppanyaki tables at Lemongrass restaurant. What a show!
  • Get to the pool early if you want to grab a lounger. Just don’t leave your stuff there for 4 hours without using it. Be cool, people. (Waking up at 5 am, putting your flip flops on a lounger, then going back to sleep until noon is not acceptable resort behavior.)

 

New Virtual Tour of Puerto Morelos

Yesterday I came across one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a long time, thanks to a Google+ post by blogging friend Kelly.

Cancun’s OVC (Office of Visitors and Conventions) has recently launched an amazing virtual tour of Puerto Morelos, one of my favorite spots. On the virtual tour, you can see aerial views of the town of Puerto Morelos and its amazing Caribbean waters, as well as some of the town’s most luxurious resorts and tours of several of the area’s famous cenotes along the Ruta de los Cenotes.

Cenote Kin Ha

Designed by Cameleon360, the tour includes aerial views, ground views and of course 360 views. In other words, it’s a heck of a lot of fun to play around with. You can even see my new favorite spot Cenote Verde Lucero from a crazy cool “Little Planet View”:

The tour covers about 20 kilometers (about 12 miles for my American readers), and each 360 shot requires 70-80 different images to create. I don’t know how they find the patience, but I’m glad they did!

Hotel Azul Beach

Rumor has it that soon Cancun will be undergoing the same project, showing the city’s shopping, restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, etc. From there, they hope to move on to Isla Mujeres, Isla Contoy and Holbox, and possibly even Chichen Itza. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to spend a morning of daydreaming at the office with virtual tours of the entire region!

At the moment, you can see this incredible Puerto Morelos virtual tour on cancun.travel or puertomorelos.com

Disclosure:  I am being compensated for my work in creating and managing content as a Community Manager for the Mexico Today Program.  All stories, opinions and passion for all things Mexico shared here are completely my own.


A Day at Now Riviera Cancun Resort

First of all, here’s a heads up to all the “lurkers” on my site… I see you! Make sure to leave a comment from time to time! I’d love to hear from you. Thanks for hanging out 🙂

Anyway, now on to today’s post. Yesterday was the best. day. ever. Well, maybe not the best, but it was up there.

My company had given some of us day passes to Now Riviera Cancun Resort in the Mayan Riviera. I got to take 1 person with me. Of course, I took the fiance. It was free all-inclusive. 🙂

We took the bus down to Puerto Morelos (about half an hour south of downtown Cancun, 15 minutes from the airport). From there, we caught a cab out to the resort. (There’s also a local bus to take you there, but we were too lazy to wait for it.)

We got there around 10:30 and enjoyed some breakfast, beach time, pool time, and a late lunch. Sadly, we had to leave around 6 pm. The day went by too durn fast. Here are some pics we took:

The main lobby

*sigh*

View from my table at breakfast. The buffet was AMAZING! fruit, sausage, kiwi-flavored cream cheese, bacon and fruit. yummm! Fiance was weirded out by the American-style breakfast sausage, but I made him try it and he enjoyed it. (To be fair, they are pretty disgusting looking.)

Beach view from my breakfast table

Next, we stepped down to the beach.

Well hello, toucan!

I had no idea he took this picture until later in the day. When I saw it, my heart melted. "Awww, he took a picture of us holding hands! He loves me! Dang, my legs look great!"

My fave pic of the day.

View from our pool loungers

View from a bridge going over the pool

Pool with swim-up bar

Next came a late lunch at the poolside snack restaurant, which had tons of great stuff on the menu. ceviches, fajitas, desserts, sandwiches, etc. Everything we got was fresh-tasting and very very good. I knew my calorie counting was working because they served me the tiniest Greek salad ever, and I considered it enough to fill me up (plus dessert, of course).

View from my chair at lunch 🙂

Jorge and I loooooved these lattice roofs over the restaurant terraces. Someday when we own a Caribbean dreamhome, we'll have one. You'll be invited to the terrace parties. 🙂

My dessert - Strawberry Martini with Chocolate Mousse (couldn't finish it... more proof that the calorie-counting is taking effect)

Jorge's dessert - cheesecake

After lunch, we went back to the pool so I could work on my tan. I laid out on one of those submerged loungers while looking out over the ocean. Jorge sat next to me. I didn't want to leave!!!

The two ladies on the lounge chair came with a huge group of friends, who had names such as "Frogger", "Double-D" and "Fancy". They have a friend who's married to a violent drunk and cheats on him with young guys. Another friend spent an entire night with diarrhea and puking. Yet another friend is addicted to Oxycontin. How do I know this? They were screaming about it for about an hour. They then proceeded to flirt with some poor guy from the hotel's entertainment team by yelling out very bad Spanish. Fun times.

Before we left, we stopped by for some drinks (water) at this bar.

My only complaint was that the drinks were all very disgusting (except the wine, the fruit juices and the water). Still, it may have just been a bad day because one of my coworkers was raving about the drinks when she went a few weeks ago. The food was excellent, though.

Overall, it was an amazing day, and we didn’t want to leave. Since the past few weekends had been very busy with wedding planning and my in-laws’ vow renewal, Jorge and I hadn’t spent any alone time together in quite awhile. (We don’t get to see eachother much on weekdays because I work 9-5 and he has school 4-10.) It was really just what we needed.