Lunch FAIL!

We walk to La Brisa for lunch. The hostess seats us and tells us that the buffet is American. She has menus, but she doesn’t offer them to us. That is fine, we pretty much have it memorized by now. A waiter comes by and takes our drink order and brings them to us quickly, but just as quickly, he leaves. I have my traditional lunch drink of Sauvignon Blanc and Zung has his traditional drink of Victoria beer. We aren’t in any hurry so we just enjoy our drinks and wait for our waiter to come back and take our food order.

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We wait, and wait, and wait. Our waiter passes, but doesn’t stop. Finally,  we flag him down and say we would like to order. He tells us that most of the food is at the buffet, “Except for fajitas and some other things.” Well, actually, we do want to order shrimp fajitas for Zung, and I’d like grilled lobster and french fries. I always add that I want the fries fresh, hot and crispy.

Then we wait, and wait and wait some more. It has been at least a half an hour since we were seated. And I am getting more and more aggravated. A new waiter comes by, Angel, and asks if we need anything. Well, actually, could you check on our food that we ordered because it’s taking a really long time. He leaves, and them comes back and says it will be five minutes more. That’s better than “some” minutes, which is an answer we have gotten for other things and has gotten to be kind of a joke between us.  I’m pretty sure he can tell from my expression that I am not happy.

Angel brings our food in about the promised five minutes. It was not worth the wait. The lobster is lukewarm and tough. The fries are lukewarm and limp. I eat a few bites and then push it away.

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Zung’s shrimp fajitas were somewhat better.

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Even our flower was sad.

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I go up to the buffet to look for desserts, hoping for some coconut ice cream. There is none and none of the desserts appeal to me. I come back to the table and when Angel comes by I ask if he can find some coconut ice cream for us. He does and we end a pretty disappointing lunch on a good note. Angel has been very attentive. If the food had been better I would have let the whole issue of the poor service and it taking forever slide by. It had been terrible though. The combination was unacceptable and one of the worst experiences we have had at the Grand.

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We go back to the beach. We nap, we read, we order drinks that are appropriate for sipping by the sea.

We return to the room to get ready for dinner. There is a very cute towel sculpture waiting for us.

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We shower and dress. The funny thing about this picture is that my bracelet is so shiny and looks so blingy, but it was a Victoria Secret freebie.

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We go to the Lobby Bar for pre-dinner drinks. Ian and Janette are there, so we chat with them. My favorite bartender makes my favorite drink.

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George and Sheila come by a say hello.

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I look over towards the lobby and see Raphael walking over. He looks very serious. He comes up to me and says there was a misunderstanding with the rate we were charged for our room. That is a long story that I won’t go into here, but he was offering us an upgrade. We could either have a honeymoon villa, which he saidhad had some improvements, or a corner suite. I had never seen a honeymoon villa, or a corner suite. I knew that I didn’t want to give up my ocean view though.  I had asked for a corner suite a couple of times on previous visits, but they weren’t available.

The big draw of the corner suite is that it has a large jacuzzi on the balcony. However, it doesn’t have a swing, and I really enjoy the swing. I didn’t think we would use the jacuzzi very often, so I almost considered telling Raphael that we were good with the room we had. That felt like it would have come off as unappreciative of him trying to make up for the rate misunderstanding, so I tell him we will take the corner suite. He tells us we can move tomorrow after the people in it have checked out.

I have mixed feelings about moving. We will have to pack everything up, and I am not sure we will use that jacuzzi.

SPOILER ALERT! We loved the jacuzzi and used it every single day. It became a highlight of the day to sit out there with the incredible view, sitting in the bubbling water with rum and Cokes. Pictures to come in a future post!

I thank Raphael, and then tell him  I want to share some feedback with him, and I tell him about our experience at lunch. He apologizes and assures me that he will talk to the manager of La Brisa.

We leave for dinner at the Mexican restaurant, which is in La Brisa. Word travels fast. Our experience was stellar.

Posted in Check-in/Upgrades, Food/Menu Items, Restaurant, The Grand | 4 Comments

Rockstar Moment with Sheila and George

I have finally retrieved some of my notes, with the help of a very determined genius at the Apple Genius Bar. It’s not all my notes, but I am confident I can retrieve them now at least. It’s too bad I didn’t have them when I wrote my previous posts, they contained some funny things. I am just ecstatic that I have made some progress in retrieving them.

Morning brings a sunny day and the first Zungrise shot of the vacation.

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Even so, it is a little cool walking to breakfast at Bella Vista.

We order our drinks, which is coffee for Zung and hot black tea with milk and sugar for me. It is full strength caffeine, which I will pay for later, but is one of my guilty pleasures on vacation. Somehow, it aways tastes better at the Grand.

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I also order a Mimosa and the waiter asks if we want two and to  my surprise, Zung says yes. It surprises me because he will spend the morning working. This has been true of our last several vacations and I am getting used to it.

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I keep it simple with an egg over medium and a croissant.

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Zung keeps it traditional with an omelette, tater tots and a sugar donut. He throws in some bacon for good measure.

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I love bacon so I go back and get some. It is another one of my guilty pleasures.

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A couple stops by our table to introduce themselves. It is my first rockstar moment of the trip. They are Sheila and George. She reads my blog, but I have seen her regularly on Trip Advisor. We will see them again several times on the trip. They are a lovely couple. She tells me at one point that she was really happy to have met me because it was on her bucket list. That was a bit humbling because I’m not sure I belong on anyone’s bucket list. Or maybe she just has a really long list.

We go back to the room and I put on my new bikini. Zung takes two pictures of it and I can’t believe how different the color came out in them. I think our camera was confused. I don’t think it was quite this orange, but it was a red that did lean close to orange.

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It definitely wasn’t this red.

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I leave Zung to his work and I settle myself in at the beach. There is no chair saving. Or none that I can identify. I have a Mimosa, or two. Who counts when they are on vacation? I have a Mudslide.

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I take a walk down to the Maya. After awhile, and a few drinks, Zung comes down and joins me. We hang out on the beach for a bit and then decide to go have some lunch.

I am SO happy to have my toes in the sand again, but we are ready to hit a bump in our vacation bliss.

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Drinks, and Dinner at Toni’s With Friends

As our golf cart pulled up to the lobby entrance, I could see Suzanne and Janette walking from the front desk to the lobby bar and I knew they were asking if we’d checked in. We were all supposed to meet at 6 o’clock and it was 6:20. We tipped our driver and headed inside. There were introductions and then we all sat down and Zung and I ordered some drinks. Daniel was not working because it was Sunday, which is his day off.

Eder came over to say hi and told us that Kenneth, a regular on the Facebook Grand board as well as Trip Advisor, was at the bar. I went over and introduced myself and asked him if he wanted to join us. He declined. It was nice to put a face with a name.

The six of us talked and drank until our dinner reservations and then we all walked to Toni’s.

My dinner was good, although we did not take any pictures of it. I had a rib-eye. I know that Suzanne had the filet and she said hers was tasteless. The service was slow, but I think that is because we were talking and they didn’t want to interrupt us. We drank wine and talked and just had a really good time.

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We stopped to talk to the Star Friends who were hanging out at the bottom of the stairs.

They were decorating with lights all over for Christmas. I was hoping they would turn them on while we were there but they only had the outdoor lights on one night. I think they were waiting until everything was done before turning them on. Bummer.

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Suzanne and I.

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I took this picture to send to our friend Lori. This is when we were back in the lobby bar.

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We had a really lovely time and both spouses, Ian (Janette’s husband) and John (Suzanne’s) were lots of fun.

When we went back to our room where there was a bubble bath waiting for us.

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There was also a bottle of Havana Siete and some limes that we had requested earlier. I enjoyed both the bubble bath and the rum.

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They had turned down our room.

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Something that was new this trip was they had scented sticks and you could choose your theme. This replaced the scented oil they would light at turn down.

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As usual, when you turn on the jets in the tub it looks like a massacre by bubbles.

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It was good to be at our second home!

I am going to confess, it is really hard to remember the details of what happened on this trip without my notes. I have been desperately trying to recover them, so far, to no avail. If anyone out there knows how (they are GONE from my gmail account, but I was doing hard drive back ups, I just figure out how to find and retrieve them from that), let me know! In the mean time, I will do the best I can.

Posted in Restaurant, The Grand | 2 Comments

Check-in with Charly

I can’t tell you a thing about our flight other than what we drank. And for that, I’ll let the picture do the talking.

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I thought it was pretty funny that they gave me the True Lime to go with it. I keep thinking they will get some better rum. At least some dark rum. Note to self: write to Frontier and tell them they need better rum. I could also bring my own. They sell those little bottles at the liquor store. New note to self: buy little bottles of decent rum for next flight to Mexico. Or…I could get a little funnel and transfer some Havana Club into some used little bottles. Now you’re taking! Newest note to self: see if I have any little bottles I can drain and use. I think I am spending way too much time thinking about this.

It was an uneventful flight. We landed. We went through immigration, which must have been quick because there is a picture of me waiting for our bags. You either wait at immigration or you wait at baggage. Console yourself with that fact if you find yourself in a long immigration line.

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We have used Cancun Valet for most of our trips for our transportation to and from the airport and hotel. They provide great service and I have no complaints about them. However, I have some friends who have used Canada Transfers and they are significantly cheaper. Sooooo, I booked with them this time. I felt like I was being a little unfaithful, but the amount due helped me get over it.

We were met as soon as we exited the airport. They had cool wash cloths for us and bottles of water. They offered to stop for any other drinks we wanted, but we just wanted to get to the hotel. It was the usual 25 minute trip. We pulled in, were greeted by the bell boys who took our luggage and we were sent to the front desk where we checked in and were given welcome drinks, a sparkling rosé.

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It is only a partial check-in. Generally if you book ocean front, they check you in, in your room and you skip the front desk thing. However, we book directly through the hotel and we have to give them a credit card and then we go to the room and get our wristbands and fill out the paperwork.

I exchanged some money. The bellboys loaded our luggage onto a golf cart and we went to Building 70.

I am in my happy place.

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We pass Charly, the best butler ever, on our way to our room. We are told he will be right back and up to check us in.

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They always have a lovely spread of food waiting for us. A basket of fruit, cheese and meats and a nice bottle of red wine. We rarely eat much of the fruit, but love the meat and cheese. We are always hungry when we arrive as it has been awhile since breakfast. We scarf some down.

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The flowers are beautiful.

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The welcome back t-shirts are white.

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The robes are fluffy.

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And the watch is ceremoniously removed.

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Charly has arrived, completed our check-in and we have spent time catching up with him and finding out how his family is. His wife is good and his baby is doing great! Sadly, he is being moved to another building after tonight. Darn! We always get to see him on our trips, but it is so lovely to get to see his wonderful smiling face every day.

We unpack. We get dressed for dinner. Somehow the time has passed quickly and we are hustling to meet my friends, Suzanne and Janette and their spouses, in the lobby.

Golf cart please!

Posted in Awesome Staff, Check-in/Upgrades, The Grand | Leave a comment

Pre-Holiday Mexico Trip

I checked the name of this blog, and it’s Iberostarrocks. I hope you enjoyed my trip report of my girlfriend’s trip to San Francisco with my daughter, Susie. We sure enjoyed the trip. However, I think it is time to get back to an Iberostar trip report. Zung and I went to the Grand in December. We met lots of people, and it was a really great trip. Every trip I take copious, detailed notes to help me with my trip reports. Those notes help me remember who I met, who I talked with when, what I ate and drank.

You know something bad happened to those notes, don’t you. You can see a bad thing coming. I decided to clean out old emails in January. Somehow, I deleted everything from mid-January and back a couple of years. I thought I could retrieve everything, but apparently that was a temporary condition and they are gone, gone gone. I will do my best, and pictures will help, but I am sure there are many details I will forget.

Let’s all have a moment of silence for the untimely passing of those notes.

Well, let’s get to it! Let’s see how good, or bad, my memory is.

We decided to go the week after Thanksgiving. About five years ago we took a trip to the Playa area (Royal Hideaway), the week after Thanksgiving. We had a really good time and I don’t remember anything bad about going that particular week. Not so much this time. The trip was awesome, but the weeks between getting back and Christmas were kind of a nightmare. We all survived, but at times I was not so sure we would.

I have a couple of friends who were going to be there at the same time. We are in an online conversation with some other people, two of whom I met when we were at the Grand in June – Heidi and Ricky. I had a great time with them and was really looking forward to meeting Janette and Suzanne and their husbands. Zung was going to have to work in the mornings, but I was getting used to that.

As with every trip, I plan what I am going to wear and what jewelry, and of course, which shoes to wear with each outfit. These were the lucky picks. They always get into arguments about who should go with me. I try to be fair, but I’ll admit, I have my favorites.

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We arrived at the airport and checked in. My suitcase easily made the weight limit. We got through security in time for a nice pre-flight breakfast. We usually eat at Chef Jimmy’s, but we decided to mix it up a little bit this time and went to the Denver Chop House, which is also on Terminal A.

I kept with my tradition of having a Mimosa. Or two. The way they serve their Mimosas require you to have two. Two BIG Mimosas. Now, that’s my kind of Mimosa!

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Zung had his traditional coffee.

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I had eggs with a spinach sauce. It was ok, but wasn’t amazing.

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Zung had an omelette. Zung always has an omelette. He is thrilled with the recent news that eggs are now good for you.

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We board. We are happy! We are going to Mexico!

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Posted in Drinks, Food/Menu Items, Restaurant, Shoes, The Grand | 6 Comments