Dinner at L’Etoile

Helen, Chris, Zung and I take a golf cart over to the Maya for dinner. That is, we get a ride by one of the bell boys in a golf cart. They chauffeur you around in the golf carts. They don’t give you one to drive around yourself.

We walk through the Maya lobby, which has really beautiful Mayan artwork and sculptures. If you’ve never walked through before, it is a must do. We walk through the snake bar, another must-see, to L’Etoile, the gourmet restaurant of the Maya. We are seated.

They give us water and ask if we want something to drink. We ask for the wine list.  They give it to Zung, and he chooses a wine we that we have to pay extra for. Zung notices that there are a lot of wines on the all-inclusive list at the Grand  that are extra here. AF628E93-122B-4353-B5B1-A7FC37D185B8837B92FB-58B3-44E6-B3FD-6FFB44B4BB1BWe order dinner. It is just ok. Not bad, but not amazing.


As always, a good dinner is more about good company than the food. That part was very good.


There is one last thing to do before we go back to the Grand. Although, for the life of me, I can’t remember why they did it.


Time to go back to Grand. We go to the front entrance and ask the bell boy to call the Grand for a golf cart. There are some other people waiting for rides, who are from the Maya. You can tell from their wrist bands. The golf cart for us arrives. We can tell from the bell boy who is driving it. When some of the Maya people start to get in, the driver points to us, and says, “I am here for them.” Awkward!

We get in and return to the Grand. We hang at bar for awhile.


Chocolate cake shots were had by all. Now, that’s a shot I can do!

Do you ever wonder why drinking a shot is referred to like that. You don’t say you want to drink a shot. You say you want to do a shot. Or you say to others, let’s do some shots. I wonder about those kinds of things. Actually, I don’t usually wonder. I Google it.

Steve and Janelle show up. The ladies have a shoe-off.


Not too much later, Helen and Chris leave.

Zung and I stay for awhile with Janelle and Steve, since it is their last night. They leave tomorrow. They come several times in a year though, so they will be back soon.

We get a little goofy.


We end up staying at the bar with them until late. I had a couple shots when we first arrived, but nothing after that.

It’s 1 o’clock! I love it when we can be real grown-ups and stay late at the bar, We finally back to room. It has been a good first full day of our vacation. I love the first couple of days of vacation, because there are so many more left.

Posted in Bars, Food/Menu Items, The Grand | 2 Comments

First Vacation Lunch

We go to La Brisa for lunch. I think that we ought to check out the new Beach Bar/Grill sometime this trip. It has opened since we were here in January. Spoiler alert! We never do check it out. We like to be inside, in the air conditioned comfort and the fabulous view. Zung likes his shrimp fajitas. I like my French Fries fresh, hot and crispy.


And I like it when Azael asks me to make sure they are the way that I like them. However, he is not there today. I ask for Angel’s section. He is my second favorite. Helen amid Chris join us. Helen and I have white wine. I have more than I had planned to. These waiters just keep filling your glass and all your vows of moderation go out with the tide.

I have lobster.


Helen has the grilled fish.


Zung has his favorite, shrimp fajitas. Chris has some Arrachera steak, but I didn’t get a picture of it.


We have some coconut ice cream. . Yum.


We go back to the beach to get a well deserved nap, after all that wine and food. Zung naps. I try to, but as toasted as I am from my wine fest at lunch, I do not fall asleep.

When we are goo and ready to leave the beach, we go up to room to get ready for dinner.


We go to the lobby bar to meet up with Helen and Chris. Steve and Janelle are there. We take some pictures, and we promise to meet later, after dinner, since this is their last night.

I posted previously that I gave Janelle her necklace on the beach, but actually I give it to her now.


Steve thinks that something is pretty funny.


Of course we have to take a picture of our sweet Daniel.


Helen and Chris arrive and we get golf cart over to Maya to have dinner at their gourmet restaurant,  L’Etoile. Our friends, Joe and David, highly recommended this restaurant, so we are branching out from the Grand restaurants.

We are ready for a new adventure!


Posted in Food/Menu Items, Restaurant, The Grand | 1 Comment

Day 1 – Rituals and Routines

We sleep until 8, which isn’t as late as it sounds because our bodies are probably still on mountain time,which would be 7, or would it be 6? The way Mexico bounces back and forth with their time change has totally confused me.

Zung takes some pictures, but it is really too late to even call it a Zungrise.


We walk to Bella Vista for breakfast. It’s so peaceful in the morning. The housekeeping staff is walking down the walkway. Any staff that you pass will usually acknowledge you. It may be a simple, “Hola!” Some of them will say “Buenos Dias.” It’s part of the charm of the Grand. You always feel like the employees are glad that you are there.

We see Azael as soon as we walk in. I give him a hug, and ask about his family. He remembers our usual drinks of coffee for Zung, English breakfast tea for me, and Mimosas. He also remembers that I like chillaquilles with no onion. How does he do it? Sometimes I can’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday.

He brings them and they are really good. You know what Zung had, unless your a newbie to this blog. He always has an omelette. Every single day, every single time we come.


We also have Mimosas. Zung is drinking his faster than me, unless maybe this is my second, which is very possible,


Helen and Chris come in and sit at the table next to us. Zung goes to get his omelette and chats with Olivia. I go in to say hello to her, and get some fruit. Olivia says that since it is Zung’s birthday, her boss wants to make him a cake for dinner one night. She asks when is a good night. Tonight we are going to the Maya for dinner. I decide when we have our last dinner at the Grand with Chris and Helen. She gets some information. I decide to keep it a secret from Zung.

There are some kitties out on the terrace. They look like older kittens.

Helen says she wished they had smoked salmon. I tell her to ask. I call Angel over, so she can ask . He’s the manager. He tells her they will get some for tomorrow. That’s what it’s like at the Grand. In case I forget to mention in in a later post, they followed through with this request and had it for her every day, the rest of the time that she was here.

After breakfast I have to go to the lobby to get a new bracelet. I wanted the tails cut and Zung thought I wanted him to cut it off and it was halfway cut before I stopped him. Don’t even ask why he would think I would want him to cut it off entirely. We still had practically the whole week of our vacation to go! Trying to get inside the brain of a man is a scary place to go.

I get my bracelet from the lobby, and go back to the room. I get ready for the beach and go to the chairs that Zung claimed for us before breakfast. Gabriel, our favorite beach waiter is there, but he won’t be on our side after the other waiter arrives. I order a mimosa (don’t count how many I have, it’s not polite).

Zung comes out shortly after I have settled in. We take my “first day of vacation” picture.


We take a, Zung is drinking a margarita before noon, picture.


I can’t find my wristlet. This is a tiny purse like thing where I keep my room key, lip balm and money for tips. It is smaller than some women’s wallets, so it really can’t be considered a purse and is completely in keeping with my “I don’t carry a purse when I’m on vacation in Mexico” rule.

I think that it’s in the room. I go up, but can’t find it there. I tell the butler and concierge.

A Star Friend comes to chat. He has only been there two months. Those guys really turn over a lot. Unlike the rest of the staff, many of who have been here forever, even being transferred from the other Iberostar hotels before the Grand opened.

Helen and Chris come and sit behind us. Helen and I are talking and Chris takes my iPad when I’m not looking, and I think I’m going crazy when I go to look for it and can’t find it. Everyone is a comedian.

Steve and Janelle come by with presents. Janelle has a pretty bracelet for me, and they have cufflinks for Zung’s birthday. They are really nice. I have a necklace for her.


We get hungry. That must mean it’s lunchtime. I go up to our room first. And I find my wristlet! It is laying on a pair of dark denim shorts, and it is dark blue, which is why I didn’t see it the first time I came and looked. I’m not going crazy! I may be losing my vision, but that’s another thing entirely.

On to our first lunch of the vacation!

Posted in Awesome Staff, Drinks, Food/Menu Items, Restaurant, The Grand | 2 Comments

It’s Not Vacation Until the CROW

It is a quick golf cart ride to Building 71. They always put us in this building. I can’t even remember when they have put us in the other ocean front building (Building 70). Victor and Trini greet us when we pull up. It’s always lovely to see Victor. Well, it’s lovely to see them all, but I think we’ve know Victor the longest. Our bell boy takes us up to our room, 7141. This has become “our” room. They almost always put us here. It is an ocean front corner suite and it is on the 3rd floor, next to the jungle. I always book the corner suite now. I really like that jacuzzi on the balcony.

The room is decorated with balloons. There are golf shirts for us, flowers, rose petals on the bed, a fruit basket, and a meat and cheese platter. I just nibble on this because we have dinner reservations in 45 min. There is a birthday cake. There is a present for Zung. It is a picture of us when we were here at New Year’s in a nice frame that is decorated with sea shells. Where did they get that picture? There is also a birthday card that has been signed by many of the staff. It is so nice for this milestone birthday to be acknowledge in such a personal way.




We go out on the balcony and I perform the CROW. For you newbies, that is the Ceremonial Removal Of the Watch. This marks the official start to our vacation. I don’t wear a watch when I’m in Mexico, because I don’t care what time it is. And if I do, I just ask Zung.


There is also the requested bottle of Havana Siete.


Zung showers and puts on the robe. That is his official start to vacation.

We dress for dinner. We go to TONI’S and meet our friends, Chris and Helen. They have been here since Sunday. They left Denver the day after the party. I have an immediate rock star moment when a gentleman comes up to me and asks if I write a blog. It’s always fun when people say hi to me. When they tell me how helpful this blog is to their vacation planning, or even that it was the reason they came to the Grand, well, it keeps me going with this blog. He tells me that this blog is the reason they came here. They need to put me on the marketing staff. Seriously!

Mayvany, one of the assistant general managers, comes by and says hello. I stand up and give her a hug. She tells me that Lander wants to meet us. we chat for a bit and then she leaves.  Shortly after, she brings Lander by, and introduces him to us. He’s so nice, and easy on the eyes. He is young. He says very nice things to me. I wish I had remembered to have Zung take some pictures of both of them.

We have a nice dinner.




There is dessert. Zung’s dessert is accompanied by singing waiters and a candle.


Overall, it was a very good first dinner of our vacation.

We see Steve and Janelle as we leave, and say hi. We tell them that we will see them at the bar. Ha! Such optimism

To the bar! We sit at a table because there is not room at the bar for the four of us. I have a cucumber martini. We don’t stay long. We are all tired.

I comment that I haven’t coughed much since we arrived. I have had a chronic cough for weeks. We have some rum in the room from our bottle of Havana Siete. However, Zung is so tired that he’s falling asleep.

I cough all night long.

Posted in Awesome Staff, Bars, Drinks, Food/Menu Items, Restaurant, The Grand | 1 Comment

70th Birthday Trip to the Grand

Zung knew he wanted to go to the Grand to celebrate his 70th birthday. Where else would we go to celebrate such a milestone birthday?

First we had an epic party. We did a buy out at our favorite casual restaurant,  Pizzeria Locale in Boulder. This place doesn’t have New York or Chicago style pizza. They have authentic Napoltana pizza, which is what you would get in Naples, Italy. We had been working on the party planning for several months. I rented a limo, hired a photographer and picked out a kick-ass dress. There were 50 people there, and countless glasses of wine poured. Speeches were made, diets were broken. Best. Party. Ever.

Sunday we all had hangovers. Why does that always happen? Mine lasted two days. Fortunately it was gone by Tuesday when we left for the Grand.

Our friends, Helen and Chris were going to be there for part of our week. They are from Oklahoma and came for the party and  left Sunday for the Grand. They are Grand virgins. What a treat they are in for!

I somehow managed to pack between finishing up our kitchen renovation and having Nicholas, his girlfriend, Tizzy, my brother-in-law, and my sister-in-law (they are not married to each other, as house guests. All that, plus planning for the party.

We left Tuesday. We arrived to the airport early enough for breakfast at Root Down. I order a blood orange mimosa (or two) from our very cheerful waitress. Zung has one too!


We boarded on time, then had to wait 1/2 hour for a family to arrive. Not sure why they waited. They finally arrived and one of them sat next to us in the window seat that we had been hoping would stay empty. We finally took off. Zung and I had drinks, which we were not charged for. Probably because of the wait to take off. I had a rum and coke and he had a beer. It was a mostly smooth ride, although there were a few bumps.

We arrive, walk down the hall and take the escalator down to immigration. There is a line that is backed right up  to the people coming off the escalator and I have to push people out of the way so I can get off the escalator. Then they open up a new line, so our immigration line was short. We have a short wait for bags and then customs goes quickly. I always  have trouble finding the dude with thesign with our name, for our ride. Eventually I do and we are on the road. In 25 minutes we finally, arrive at the Grand.

Hector and Jorge are the bellman who welcome us. We are taken us to the bar. Daniel is there. I throw my arms up and say, I’m back!5121CE02-4BCD-460F-9382-0DFD7BF01AAAEEC68019-EA70-405C-8E40-90F620D85686

They bring all the necessary forms over to the bar for us to fill out and ask if we want to pay now or when we check out. We pick that option because I am expecting there to be spa charges. Mariana comes over to welcome us. She says the new GM, Lander, can’t wait to meet us. It is so nice to see her.

Daniel makes us cucumber mojitos.


I exchange some money, and then we are in the golf cart and on our way to Building 71.

So far, it has been a good start to our vacation.But it is not officially vacation yet. Not until the Ceromonial Removal of the Watch, aka CROW.

Posted in Check-in/Upgrades, Drinks, Uncategorized | 2 Comments