Morning brought the new task of finding breakfast. We headed off to Bella Vista, the buffet in the main building. Bella Vista had a buffet and an ala carte menu. We decided just to do the buffet that first day. Zung got an omelet. That is his go-to vacation breakfast. He got one every single day. The omelet station was all he needed to be happy with the buffet. Me, not so much. My normal, “at home” breakfast was generally cereal or oatmeal. I probably would have been happier at the buffet if I had kept it simple. They had regular breakfast sausage, and, (to me) exotic sausages. There was a huge selection of hot dishes, potato cakes, pancakes, french toast, pastries. There was also different kinds of eggs and bacon. Lots of bacon. But the bacon was too undercooked for me. I’m a crunchy bacon kind of gal. There was a beautiful and delicious selection of fresh fruit. The mango was exquisite. The raspberries were served on a thin slice of orange. That made it pretty, but not so practical to get it onto your plate. Sometimes the raspberries were moldy, too. There was a large selection of fresh juices, breads, cereals, cheese and cold meats. No one would leave this buffet hungry unless they were impossible to please.
I tried one of the egg dishes and some of the regular sausages.
As far a breakfast buffets go, the point goes to the Grand. However, at RH, we usually ate at the ala carte restaurant, Ventanna’s, which has a lovely selection and outstanding service and it’s small and intimate. For breakfast overall I gave the point to RH.
This trip was before we had met Alex, our wonderful breakfast and lunch waiter from our last several trips. The service at Bella Vista this first trip was inconsistent. When they first opened, an order for coffee or tea brought a fresh, clean cup every time you wanted a refill. Sometimes they did a good job of keeping Zung’s coffee filled and other times we had to hunt the waiter down. Both at breakfast and lunch there were times when several people would take our drink order and if, the second or third time we were asked we said we had already told someone, we ended up with nothing.
My lack of Spanish caused some comical, confusing conversations that first morning. I asked for hot tea and it sounded like the waiter said “iced tea?”. I said, no, hot tea and he said, yes, iced tea. This went back and forth a few times until I just crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. He did bring me hot tea. Then I asked if they had Splenda and he pointed to the blue packets of sweetener and said, “Yes”. I said, “No. Splenda. In the yellow packet.” He pointed at the blue packet and said, “Yes!” This went back and forth a few times until I gave up. I never saw Splenda anywhere. They have it now. But I don’t use it anymore.
They had quite a few offerings at the buffets, that it was not obvious what it was. They would have a sign listing a half a dozen different dishes, but it wasn’t always obvious what was what, even with a name.
Suitably stuffed from an abundant breakfast buffet, we headed back to our room. There was the ritual slathering on of sunscreen to be performed.
After my run in with the glass door last night, my comedian of a husband would announce, “Door coming up” every time we approached a door. He did that for years after that unfortunate incident. Just in case I forgot.
The room view was great!
As we were getting ready for the day at the beach, our butler stopped by to see if we needed anything. We requested down pillows. He asked if there was anything else. I wasn’t quite sure what to ask a butler for. I’d never had one before. I told him just the pillows and reassured him that we were happy with everything so far.
We left our room and went to the towel hut and got four towels. We could take as many as we wanted. It’s great not to have towel cards and be limited to one towel.
We went out to the beach, which is our preferred place to spend the day. The pool was large and beautiful and there was a swim up bar. But this first day, I wanted to get all zen with the ocean and sand.
It was only 9:30, but a waitress came by for a drink order. At RH they don’t start coming around until 11, although you can go up to the bar before that. Point for the Grand.
We ordered Miami Vices.
She was back within the hour, so I thought the drink service was going to be great. Sadly, it was not. It was one of the most disappointing things about the Grand. (It has gotten soooooo much better). We didn’t see her again for hours. And it no short hike to the bar, which was at the pool. We tipped for every round of drinks we were brought, so we couldn’t write it off to being ignored for not tipping.
But at this point we weren’t disappointed yet. We were drinking Miami Vices on a beautiful Mexican beach before 10 am.