Monday, June 20, 2011

Hola, Riviera Maya!

June was destined to be Mexico month. I had already decided that I needed a break and was only doing one, one week trip. My inbox was flooded with invitations, but there was a definite pattern – more than half were for Mexico! There are a still quite a few places in that country that I’d like to get to so it was a difficult choice, until I found out that one had a focus on food, wine and tequila. The decision was made quickly after that and I welcomed the chance to visit Riviera Maya.

The day didn’t quite start the way I expected. I had an early morning flight and left the house at 4:00 am, only to be caught in a horrendous thunderstorm with lightening everywhere. I finally arrived at Bloomington Airport in time for my flight to Chicago, but the storm was heading there and the American Airlines rep told me there wouldn’t be any flights going out until the afternoon. Air Tran quickly accommodated me, albeit with a four hour layover in Atlanta. I did get to check out their business class and had mixed feelings. The lack of meals and entertainment (no movies, TV shows, etc.) wasn’t great, but I loved the option that they provided of Vitamin Water Zero (my favorite, Acai Berry) and Fuze (Mango, with or without vodka) and the multitude of snacks, many of which were healthy.

When I arrived in Cancun, I met up with my group and we got in the van for our trip to Riviera Maya. We were going to be staying together at the Grand Velas for four days, and then I was going off on my own for the next four to stay at Secrets Maroma. Grand Velas Riviera Maya is definitely grand, especially in the Grand Class section I was staying in. My suite was very big. The bathroom itself was the size of most hotel rooms, complete with Jacuzzi. The patio had some comfortable furniture, a small plunge pool and a view of the Caribbean Sea!

Since my flight was changed, I didn’t get to spend the day relaxing, but I did order tomato with goat cheese for a light, late lunch (24 hour rooms service is included here at no charge) and head into the Jacuzzi with a glass of wine. I also found my mini bar stocked with my very favorite candy bar, Peanut Butter Twix, a treat I never get at home. By the time I came out, I was rested and ready to join my fellow writers and our hosts from Riviera Maya Tourism.

We met in the Sky Bar for pre-dinner drinks. I enjoyed two of the hotel’s specialties: Habana Nights, Habana Rum, Midori, Guava and Coconut Cream; and Espresso Martini, Bailey’s, Frangelico, Kahlua and a splash of coffee. Both were very good, just sweet enough. Dinner was at one of the gourmet a la carte restaurants that the Five Diamond Gran Velas has, Cocina de Autor. The chef had received notes on all our allergies and preferences (and we had quite a few in this group) and had prepared individual menus for us.

Chef Xavier PĂ©rez Stone surprised us with some delicious Picas, cheese balls and wraps with bacon and apricot. My next course was a tasty Quail with sunflower seeds, followed by a wonderful Wild Mushroom Soup, just the way I like it, flavorful but not salty. It was swerved with a Mexican sparkling wine I would definitely order again, Asi Pinelli, sweet and full of fruit. The main course was
Veal Cooked for 36 Hours at 150 degrees. I can’t say I’ve ever had a dish described like that, but it was good, as was the Tapioca Soup, an interesting mix of pineapple, bread and coconut milk. The Chocolate Out of Place looked like a plate of dirt, but it did not taste that way, and was accompanied by an incredible Ginger Ice Cream. I finished with some coffee with Sambuca Negro (my first try and definitely not my last) before heading to my room. It was a long day and the next promised to be even longer in Riviera Maya, as we explored the town and restaurants of Playa del Carmen.


1 comment:

Oscar said...

The sky bar it seems a good place to chill out and hang out with delicious food

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