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The rain is heavy as we drive towards Playa del Carmen, but Daniel thinks it is going to clear, so we head to the beach club. I realize that it is the same place where Zung and I did our vow renewal seven years ago.
We park and walk to the restaurant. We are seated. It is so obvious that Daniel is hurting from his hangover. I think this is what is called natural consequences. I’ve had my share of hangovers, so I am a tad bit sympathetic. I give him some Nux Vomica (great homeopathic remedy for hangovers), but it doesn’t work.
I have a rum and coke. Zung has a margharita, which he says is really bad.
Daniel and Zung get soup, with chili oil. I think Daniel is trying to sweat the hangover out. Zung says it is really hot.
I get a beef quesadilla and we get some ceviche. Daniel drinks lots of water and by the end of lunch he is feeling better.
Daniel keeps saying the weather is going to clear, pointing to the slightest sliver of blue sky as proof. It does not. We take some pictures.
We concede defeat and head back to the car.
The nest stop is the Valentin Imperial Maya.
There are hugs and kisses good-bye with Daniel.
And then begins our stay at the Valentin Imperial Maya.
Some background info on our history with VIM. When this resort first opened we considered going here because the price point was lower than the Grand. But from what my travel agent (not the awesome Tami Pruitt with TripSurfer Vacations), it would be a step down from the Grand. At that time, we decided not to chance it, and stuck with the Grand. I had various friends who stayed here over the years, some who thought it was a good value for the money, some who let me know, in no uncertain terms that I would be disappointed. I was now 22 trips to the Grand in, with three strays to other resorts, regretting all of them.
However, my good friend, Helen, was celebrating her 50th birthday here, which means she got to pick the resort where that would happen. And so, here we are. While we had great times with good friends, it does not turn out well in terms of showing us that there are other awesome resorts out there.
We arrived. We were given cool cloth when we arrive. And here the comparisons begin. When Zung is finished with his, he hands it to the guy who gave it to us, who points to a hamper for Zung to put it in. At the Grand, they take it back on the silver platter they gave it to you on. Of course, at the Grand there is only the number that you need for your party on that platter. Here, you just take it from the stack they present you with. This is called cutting corners. He doesn’t help get the luggage out of the car.
We go inside and see the gang, Helen (50th birthday girl), and her hubs, Chris, who is celebrating his brithday as well, Ricky and Mary. They are hanging at the Lobby Bar, on this rainy afternoon. We go over and say hello. They want to know what we want to drink, so we give our orders. We go to check-in, which is at a desk. This is a nice touch. I never fail to wonder why the Grand decided to do the traditional lobby check-in counter.
One point for VIM.
They bring us a pathetic glass of sparkling wine. It is 1/3 full of bubbles, and that includes the cherry. Seriously?
Next, our check-in dude tries to upsell us to the Privilege Club for $466. He tells us that this is discounted and one night is free.The Privilege Club gives us a better room and access to things that are exclusive to only Privilege Club people, like sections of the beach (we’ll get to that later). This rate is absurd, compared to what we have paid for our entire 3 night stay. I give him a firm NO. He doesn’t argue or persist. He just goes on to tell us that the only rooms they have, have two double beds instead of the king we had requested. I tell him that I am not happy, and he tells me that there is nothing they can do. I am thinking there would have been a kind bed if we had upgrade ($$$) to the Prestige Club.
Chris and Ricky bring us the drinks we had requested when we arrived, which are better than the pathetic glass of sparkling wine they cheaped out on when we were seated.
I am pissed of already, and we haven’t even gotten to our room.