Going Home Day Never Gets Easier


It was a beautiful day. There was breakfast and some beach time.

Okay, I’m not going to lie. Without my notes I honestly can’t remember much at all about this day.

I do know I checked out and I do know I had lunch, but only because I always have lunch.

I had a mimosa with Lander in the Lobby Bar before my transfer came. He didn’t have a mimosa. We had a nice chat.

My ride came. I sat in the van while they waited for someone else they had on their list. I told him this was supposed to be a private transfer, but he still waited.

Ride to the airport, check-in, security, all that went smoothly.

I asked at Duty-Free if they had Atlantico, but they did not. I can’t find it at home either. It is going to be a treat only in Mexico I guess.

I went to a restaurant and ordered some food that I was not really hungry for but by the time I get home it is a long time to go without eating.

I took my sad, going home picture.


I had some kind of cucumbery drink that was too sweet.

The flight was fine.

It was a nice trip. It’s always great to see Dave and Tessa and their crew. It’s always nice to spend time at the Grand.

I would be returning in just 6 weeks to celebrate Zung’s 71st birthday. We would be staying for 10 days, which was a first for the Grand. We had stayed 11 days in Mexico before, but not all at the Grand.

Life would be busy between now and then, so time would go fast and I would be back before I knew it.

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Not An Awesome Beach Day

I suspected today was not going to be awesome as soon as I looked out the window when I woke up.


Apparently whatever I had for breakfast was not picture-worthy.

But this Mimosa clearly was.


Dave and Tessa came by.


Aren’t they just adorable? Nicest people too!

For lunch I had the arrachera steak and French fries


The steak was yum. The French Fries were cold.

So Azael had them make me some more, that were hot.


The afternoon weather in a word, sucked. I spent some time at the spa in the hot tub and pool. Then I went back to the room, took a nap and then read in bed.

I decided to try out the Iberostar app and ordered some fruit and wine by room service. It arrived! The fruit was good. I had requested a glass of wine and they sent me a whole bottle. Unfortunately, it was warm.

For my last dinner, I dined alone at the Caribbean restaurant. I couldn’t remember the waiter’s name from the other night and I didn’t see him so I just sat where they put me.

My waiter was outstanding. The captain who took care of my wine service was also outstanding.

The app I ordered was outstanding.


It was cous cous with crunchy vegetables rolled in avocado with a tamarind sauce. It was creamy and crunchy all at the same time.

My entree was a fail.


It was shrimp risotto with fish on top. The fish was pretty bland. The risotto was delicious. But it was crunchy.

Risotto is not supposed to be crunchy.

Olivia came by and asked how things were and I gave her my feedback.

At her suggestion I got the watermelon dessert and was less than wowed. The watermelon was full of seeds and the sorbet was kind of icy.


Lander came by. He said he’d heard I was unhappy with the wine. The white wine thing at lunch was really not that big a deal, so at first I wasn’t even sure what he was talking about. I told him there had been some things this time that were a little bumpy. We made a date to chat before I left the next day.

I was ready to leave and Rafael was there to say hi and he said he’d heard that I was not happy about the wine. I thought all this attention on my lunch time wine was kind of funny.

I took a gold cart to the lobby bar and as I handed the driver a tip I looked at him and said, “I forgot to tip my waiter!”

I asked if he could take me back. He said, “Sure.”

As he turned around, Daniel was coming out to greet me and he looked rather confused as we drove away.

Back at the restaurant I tracked down my waiter and apologized for forgetting to leave his tip.

My driver took me back to the lobby bar. I explained to Daniel what that was all about.

The lobby bar was empty as it was Wednesday and everyone was at the Stars Under the Stars party by the pool. I had some rum and visited with Daniel until it was time to go meet the Browns and crew at the party.

Tonight was the fire show and it was spectacular. I took some pictures but this was the only one that turned out at all.


After the show I went back to the room.


I packed so if the weather was good I could enjoy the beach before I left tomorrow.

It had been a very enjoyable trip. Although there had been some bumps, it is always nice to see Daniel, Elizabeth, Azael and everyone else. It was especially nice to get to visit with the Browns.

Dave had not been feeling good for a few of the days. But he powers through anyway!




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Another beach day


From my pictures, of which there are not a plethora, it looks like I woke up and the day started out the way everyone hopes their vacation days in Mexico will start out…sunny and warm.



I’m sure I went to breakfast. But, alas, there were no pictures to prove it.

I did, clearly, and not unexpectedly, go to the beach and order another one of those big-ass Mimosas.


And then took a selfie.


I think today was the day I went to lunch and Azael was there and I asked him to just bring me every white wine they had. It was only one or two before I found one that I wanted to drink. It was not a Masia Ribot, but it was drinkable.

I like a light white wine. At home I like a Sauvignon Blanc. I tend not to be a Chardonnay fan.

I know there was a day when I went to sit with Tessa and Dave. There might have been two days. One day we talked out of the pool and another day we talked in the pool.

I got to meet Bruce and Cynthia Baudensteil. I have communicated with Bruce for years about the Grand, but this was the first time I got to meet him and his lovely wife, Cynthia.

Dinner was at the Caribbean restaurant with the Browns and their crew.

We had a great waiter. There was a very nice wine.


And the jerk chicken was cold. Like, really cold. Like, I have no idea why I didn’t send it back cold.


Of course we went to the Lobby Bar.

A new feature at the Lobby Bar are optional premium liquors. And when I say optional I mean that you pay extra. A lot of people were losing their minds over this. I’m not sure why. There have been optional wines ever since they opened and no one has ever said a word about it.

I was excited to get to try a rum that I was curious about. I was not, however, curious enough to pay $100 for an entire bottle to see what it was like. I was thrilled to get to pay $25 a glass to find out that while it was nice, it was not $100 a bottle nice.

It was a new bottle. I was the first one to be willing to pony up for it.


Daniel had to measure the exact amount.


Like I said, it was nice, but so was the new Atlantico rum they have. That is even better than the Havana Siete. Which wasn’t that good this time. I had Daniel pour me some at the bar, to check if there was something off with the bottle in my room. Nope, it was the same.

And, please, don’t make any kind of comment asking me if I think it could be tainted. Just. Don’t.

The Atlantico was my new favorite.

I went back to the room. But first, took this picture as I waited for my gold cart.


Stunning! Yes?

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I Love the Beach


I never get up early enough to take a sunrise picture so this will have to do.

I head off to breakfast. They have a tortilla station now and I get a beef tortilla. It is delicious. The chillaquilles have some competition.

The sauce I put on it was super spicy, and it looked so innocent.


I followed the script and after breakfast, I went to the beach.


I fed my soul and enjoyed the beautiful weather.


I had a Mimosa. Now that’s a Mimosa!


I was also mindful to keep hydrated.

How gorgeous is that water?


I am terrible about taking pictures when I am by myself.

This was all I took for today.

I went to lunch and I may or may not have lunched with the Browns and their crew.

I do remember that whoever I had lunch with, they no longer had my lunch wine, the Masia Ribot white. I tried another wine and it was not to my liking. I asked for another one and they brought two different bottles for me to try. Neither one had been opened yet.

Ok, now I am feeling like I am high maintenance.

I can’t possibly make them open two different bottles so I say the first bottle they open is fine.

Except it’s not. I try to drink it, but I just can’t.

Wilmer, one of the managers, walks by and I wave him down and apologize and say this wine is terrible. He brings me another one to try. It too is being opened just for me. I try it and I say it is fine.

It is really just ok, but I just can’t possibly have them open another one.

After lunch, I go to the beach again.

For dinner I go alone to Venecia, the Italian restaurant. I honestly cannot remember anything about it.

I know there was bar time afterwards, with the Browns and their crew.

I know, I know. My trip reports suck when I don’t keep notes.

I really thought I had notes, but I can’t find them.

I did forget something important from last night.

Gustavo came to say hello to me. He was the bartender in the music bar and making fancy cocktails in there. I planned to go in while I was here, but I never did. I thought I’d be able to go when I was here in June with Zung.

Don’t ever put things off.

Gustavo died shortly after this trip. He was a good man and he is missed by many.

Well, this is a very sad way to end today’s report. But this man deserves a moment of sadness.


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#26 – Trying to surprise Daniel

I feel like I have been neglecting Iberostarrocks.

I have been neglecting Iberostarrocks.

I have had a CRAZY busy summer.

I was sick for three weeks in June.

We traveled to Mexico for my 27th visit to the Grand for Zung’s 71st birthday. We figured it out and it’s his 20th visit.

We got home on July 4th and on July 8th we went to look at a house, “just for fun” and fell in love. Less than eight weeks later we had moved in.

Before all the craziness began, I made a short solo trip in May. I got to visit with Dave and Tessa Brown.

I unintentionally booked my trip to fly out MOTHER”S DAY! It wasn’t until after it was booked that I realized this. I’m not sure my family will ever let me live it down.


They went and celebrated at brunch without me.

I arrived before 5, on a rare Sunday when Daniel was working.


I had not told him I was coming because I wanted to try to surprise him with my arrival.

Unfortunately, I had mentioned that I was going to do that and someone who knew of my approximate dates told him that I was going to surprise him. How lame is that?

I waited and waited for him. He was late and then decidedly not surprised. But he did seem happy to see me.


The bellboy comes to take me to my room. He says we are going to Building 70.

Wait. What?

They always put me in 71. For as long as I can remember. Seriously. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t in 71.

He asks if I’d rather be in 71. I think for a minute. Although it feels high maintenance, I say yes.

What if I drank too much and tried to get into the wrong room and the wrong building?

Okay, I don’t drink THAT much, especially when I’m traveling solo. But it could happen. Best to not take any chances.

He has to go ask the front desk manager to find me a room in 70. I won’t go into the details. They had put me in 70 because they were just trying to give me a room on the third floor, but I said the second floor in 71 would be fine.

Once in my room, I had the bellboy take a picture of the CROTW. (Ceremonial Removal of the Watch, for any newbies).


I met and had dinner with Dave and Tessa and their crew. We started out with chocolate cake shots.


Wait! I just noticed that Dave Dawson didn’t do one. What’s up with that, Dave Dawson?

We had dinner at Toni’s.


Afterward, we went back to the lobby bar and Daniel made me a fancy looking cucumber mojito.


Which was followed by a cucumber martini.


Ken was there too.


It had been a long travel day.

I went back to my room and poured myself some Havana Siete. I took a sip and said, “What is this?” It did not taste good, or what H7 usually tastes like.

I finished it but doubted I would be drinking it neat again.

I went to sleep, dreaming of my beach day tomorrow.


Posted in Check-in/Upgrades, The Grand | 10 Comments