I began planning the centerpiece of my wife Namita’s 40th birthday celebration months ago. We discussed maybe even a year earlier of getting a number of folks together, flying somewhere warm without children, and relaxing. As the months ticked inexorably closer to Dec 2016, most people couldn’t make it. The good news is we had narrowed down the vacation destination to either Cancun or the Riviera Maya. Luckily, our resident “Always down to party!” friends Teo and Sophia were looking for a vacation.
The kids would stay over with their grandparents for the extended weekend (Wed night – Tues morning.) The four of us were leaving Thursday early morning at 3 am. We stayed up to finish packing (as usual) and we were on time to leave. We drove to Queens, dropped off the car at off-airport parking, did the whole get to the airport / check-in / security thing, and then waited around at the concourse. There were a lot of people at JFK even at 4:30 am.
No issues with our United flight, and we arrived on time. Namita slept and I watched movies on my iPad. We fought past all the pushy folks selling ‘adventures’ and excursions, and found Lomas Travel. After waiting about 10-15 minutes, our Lincoln MKX limo showed up. I knew our agent Travel Tom was up to something, but wow. We enjoyed a very comfortable 45 minute ride to the El Dorado Royale / Casitas in the Riviera Maya.
We took a large golf cart over to the Casitas section and checked in at our own personal Casitas lounge. We had an excellent lunch at the Asian fusion restaurant Kampai then went to check out our fabulous rooms. I surprised Namita with an upgrade to the Casitas section, and Travel Tom surprised Teo and Sofia with a free upgrade to Casitas as well!
We relaxed for a bit, then I went to check out the resort with Teo & Sofia. Namita needed a few more winks of rest, but she joined us later. The resort was expansive – very stretched out with many pools, canals, etc. We were a little surprised to find the swim-up pools and bars closed promptly at 5 pm in order to get ready for dinner. We did hang out at one of the beachside bars to drink.
In the late evening, we had reservations at Fuentes, what they call a culinary dining experience. They have a rotating set of chefs come in to design a series of appetizers and entrees and desserts. They also make the meal in front of everyone, and have it on camera for everyone to see.