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For dinner the boys were going to order room service and Zung and I were going to Basmati. Basmati is the Indian restaurant and it gets rave reviews in the reviews. I’m not really an Indian food fan, too much gloppy, glumpy stuff for me. But people really did say it was exceptional and I was ready for some exceptional. It had to be better than the Lobster House.
I put on one of my dresses. I’d gotten this dress for our anniversary dinner and although it is clearly too short for a woman of my age, I loved the top half of it so much I made an exception. But every time I wear it I think to myself, it is too short. I put on my blue and black Manolo Blahniks (which make me think of the infamous trip to Vegas with my friend, Erika, when I bought them. Let’s just say it involved Chippendale’s and too much alcohol – enough said).
The theatre is behind me in that picture. Basmati is behind the theatre, next to Agave, the Mexican restaurant. We opened the door and looked in. The hostess came up and yelled at us to close the door or else the mosquitos would come in. Then she slapped at herself (for emphasis?). We closed the door. We asked for a table for two.
At each restaurant they ask for your room number and then check the list to make sure you are on it with the right number of people (?I guess). Then they write it down on another piece of paper. At the Grand you have to make reservations for dinner and they check you on the reservation list. For breakfast and lunch they just seat you. Perhaps this is the difference when they don’t make you wear a wrist brand. I’m not sure. For me personally, while I prefer not to wear a wristband, I also prefer to just be seated without all the checking and writing. A minor point to be sure, but since this is supposed to be a comparison of the two resorts, the minor issues can add up for some people.
We were seated and I hesitated before we sat down because it was stiflingly hot in the restaurant. We decided to go ahead and stay, but it was not a pleasant environment at all. It was extra humid because of all the rain. I read someone else’s review of ERC who had been there at the same time as us and she said they told her the air conditioning was not working properly and hadn’t been for some time.
The service was very good. Again, they had two people working the table. We were asked if we wanted something to drink. I just could not bear another glass of the included wine like we’d had the night before. It had been a stressful day for a variety of reasons and I wanted a decent glass (or two) of wine. I opened the book with the wines available for an additional charge. This would mean an entire bottle. We asked if we could take the bottle back to our room if we didn’t finish it and they assured us we could.
We’ve stayed at a variety of hotels in the Riviera Maya and never felt the need to drink anything other than the included wines. We like nice wine, but only on special occasions do we splurge. When we buy wine for home we generally spend between $10-20. That’s how I knew how badly we were ripped off for the bottle of wine we ordered.
We got a bottle of Rosemount Pinot Noir. It was $50. At home it would cost probably $15. That’s more than a 300% markup. It was outrageous and we knew it was outrageous. We were that desperate for a decent bottle of wine. The Grand has a list of included wines in red, white and sparkling. They also have wines available for an additional charge, but the included wines have almost always been decent enough (and some quite good) that we never felt like we needed to buy any wine.
A gentleman came over who introduced himself as the Sommelier and brought us the wine (after explaining that there would be an additional charge for it and then asking if we were going to charge it to our room or pay for it there). He told us the wine cellar was at Chez Isabelle and told us we could come look at it some time if we wanted to. He was very nice and personable. We ended up drinking the entire bottle of wine (alcohol effects you less at sea level if you live at altitude).
Our waiter went over the menu with us. They have different dishes and two tasting menus. We decided on one of the tasting menus, the Tiranga menu. It included Nan, Samosa, Daal Basmati (lentil dish), Miloni Suji (assorted veggies in a sauce), Murg Tikka (chicken kebabs), Lamb Rogan Josh (lamb cooked in a sauce) and white rice. There were three sauces on the side as well. The chicken was quite good. I love lamb, but it was tough. Zung doesn’t like lamb, but he liked everything else. It was a decent meal, despite the oppressive heat. I can’t rave about the food, but like I said before, I’m not a huge Indian food fan, so it would be hard for me to be really wowed by the food.
We had dessert, signed for the wine, and then left. We went to the Martini Bar. Joel was there and made us two cucumber mojitos. The bar was full so we sat in one of the chairs at one of the seating areas around the bar. They are wide chairs and since it was so crowded, we decided we could fit into one chair. It was cozy and we were seated right by the door that leads out to the theatre.
We sat there for probably an hour just watching the people come and go. We commented on the clothes and the women’s shoes. The women, by and large, really dressed well. There was a diverse clientele. There were lots of younger couples, some Zung’s and my age. In general, a younger clientele than the Grand. There was a couple down the hall from us and the only word I can use to describe him is “gangsta”. Like I said, it was a diverse clientele.
When the vacation was over, we looked back on that hour of people watching as one of the most entertaining of the trip. What can I say? I like a good fashion show.
We went back to the room, where we had gotten turn down service. They did not restock the towels. They did leave some chocolates, a daily newsletter, a little paper with the weather forecast (clouds and rain were predicted) and a little piece of paper with the spa special. Which was a little redundant because both of those things were on the newsletter.
I was hoping the rain would get it out of it’s system, because Susie was arriving tomorrow and she only had two full days here, so I really hoped the weather would get it’s act together for her.