For those of you who are still loving the thrill of summer entertaining we highly recommend checking out Elle Daftarian’s latest project – SHEentertains. It’s a digital magazine filled with detailed entertaining tips from Daftarian’s very own company: Petite & Sweet. The launch issue features party tips from Canadian it-girl and mother of 3, Jessica Mulroney. Check out the digital mag here to find out how to entertain while being a guest at your own party!
Author: Senait Isaac – The Travel Link, Instagram: @thetravellink
I have been asked by many of you what I thought of the Occidental Grand Xcaret and as a woman that is known to tell it how it is, here goes nothing.
First, I would like to give many thanks to the Occidental Resorts and Air Canada Vacations for inviting me to be part of their FAM trip. For those of you that don’t know, FAM is short for “Familiarization.” It was an awesome learning experience for me, as a travel advisor, to learn more about the resort and in turn, recommend the resort to the right client. I mean it didn’t hurt that I was “working” in sunny Mexico either.
In all of my years in the travel industry, I have never been on a FAM trip and didn’t know what to expect. Typical first day of school jitters, where you start to ask yourself, “Will we all get a long? Will I fit in? Will I even like the other agents?” Fortunately, I totally lucked out! The ladies on this trip were so welcoming, had so much industry knowledge to share and a few of us even did our due diligence and completed a quality control inspection of the disco until 2am. I would classify this as the best “work” trip ever!
Now, for the review you all have been waiting for…drum roll please!
The Occidental Grand Xcaret was located 60 minutes from the airport and 5 minutes from Playa Del Carmen. The coolest thing about this resort is that it was built in an old Mayan town. When I walked around the resort I was surrounded by trees as tall as skyscrapers; it felt as if I was in a Costa Rican jungle. I saw monkeys, deer, iguanas and so much more. This was the most interesting eco-resort I have been too.
The staff was friendly, always said “hello” or checking if you were lost to offer you direction. They definitely went above and beyond to make sure our stay was comfortable.
This resort can accommodate wedding ceremonies in two different locations, in a gazebo or also in front of a Mayan ruin. If you were looking for an amazing unique backdrop, I would highly recommend the Mayan ruin. On one side you have a Mayan ruin and the other side there is the ocean. It took my breath away! When I find my prince charming I want a backdrop as stunning at this.
The wedding planner at this resort is amazing and works very hard with your local planner or yourselves to make sure each of her couples are happy. This resort also caters to weddings for same sex couples.
Another great reason to book your wedding here is that your reception can be held at the beach bar; which is located on the opposite side of the rooms so your group can party until 1am.
One of the greatest perks of staying at this resort is that, only five minutes from the main lobby, we had direct access to the Xcaret Eco-Archaeological Park. When staying at this resort you can book the Unlimited Xcaret Experience; which offers you unlimited access to the park so you can take your time sightseeing over a few days. I explored the caves through the underground river, saw beautiful dolphins and had a relaxing experience taking a raft through the paradise river. I spent a full day and only managed to discover less than half of the park.
I would highly recommend this resort to couples and families with children older than about 7. If you are seeking a quiet resort with lots of nature activities, this is the right resort for you. The Occidental Grand Xcaret and the Xcaret Eco-Archaeological Park is an eco tourist’s delight!
The Occidental is a large quiet resort that is surrounded by beautiful lush vegetation. The resort was at 95% occupancy, but felt like there was no one there. It was great that I didn’t have to elbow anyone to find a lounge chair by the beach or pool.
The main lobby had a huge pond filled with what must have been dozens of fish that you could feed and stunning, brightly colored parrots. The grounds were magnificent – lush trees and exotic free roaming wildlife. It was impossible to put the camera away, I found myself taking pictures every few minutes.
I stayed in the Deluxe Room with a balcony. I found the rooms to be spacious, clean and simple. The Deluxe room had the standard in-room amenities (safe, bathroom products and mini fridge). The upgrade to the Royal Club offers private VIP check-in and check-out, complimentary internet, room service, premium bath amenities, an exclusive a la carte restaurant and concierge services.
I know you’re supposed to disconnect on vacation, but since this was a work trip I definitely needed to test the Wi-Fi. There was amazing Wi-Fi strength through out the entire resort. I accessed it in the lobby, restaurants, bars, room, pools and even the beach.
When a deluxe room is booked a guest receives one-hour free Wi-Fi per day in the lobby. The only downside is that once you sign in you must commit to the full hour. You cannot sign in and out multiple times through out the day.
I chose to purchase the additional Wi-Fi package and it was the best value for money. I didn’t have to be stuck in the lobby for an hour to make sure I used all my allocated time. The cost is $8/hour, $50/day and $70/week. You can definitely sign in and out within that hour you purchased and your Wi-Fi will not time out. The resort offers a special rate for groups costing $35/week!
I hope you found this post to be informative and it helped you decide if this resort is right for you. For more information on restaurant reviews and details of the pools and beaches check out the full blog post here. If you have any questions about this resort or would like to see more pictures email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here we are nearly five months into 2015 and we are wondering if Marsala – the pantone colour of the year is still top of mind to couples planning their big day. With our events we are still seeing a lot of requests for crisp white designs and warm orange and champagne tones.
Here are our top picks for some Marsala options to incorporate into you 2015 wedding:
Goddess lip tint by Kjaer Weis
For the bride we recommend one of our personal favourite all natural and organic make up brands – Kjaer Weis. Opt for the ‘Goddess’ lip tint which will give you all day wear and a really rich colour that will translate to photos super well. You can find this locally at HUSK, you will love the client service there. Pair this look with a bouquet featuring deep crimson blooms to such as dahlias, spray roses, clematis, cotinus, viburnum berries, and pieris like the one shown here by Botany Floral Studio located at 626 College Street in Toronto. Absolutely gorgeous blooms!
Marsala Bridal Bouquet from Botany Floral Studio
Another option to work Marsala into your wedding design can be in the colour palettes used for the bridal party. Accents can be found in the groomsmen’s pocket squares and socks or alternatively you could opt for a gown Ritche Bridal like the one shown below for your bridesmaids.
Bridesmaid gown from Ritche Bridal
Finally, opt for a bold invitation like this one from Minted that grabs the attention of your guests’ right at the beginning of the wedding planning stages. It’s rich and immediately lets your guests know the style direction you are going in.
Marsala stationary from Minted
We hope you enjoyed our picks for how to incorporate Marsala into your wedding this season.