Friday, October 30, 2015

El Dorado Royale - Adults Only All-Inclusive Resort

El Dorado Royale is an all-inclusive adults-only luxury resort located about 35 minutes south of the Cancun airport. It shares a beach a with the adults only El Dorado Casitas and Generations Riviera Maya - a family resort. It’s part of the Karisma brand. 

What You Need to Know
Bring Bug Spray - the landscaping is lush and natural and so are the mosquitos.
The resort is large. Golf carts serve as shuttles to transport you around the resort.  Shuttles follow a set route with pick up times or you can call the concierge to request a pick up at your room. 
Reserve a Swim Up Suite - These are fantastic suites with waterways that extend from your room to the main pool and swim up bar. For added luxury, reserve a casita with an infinity pool and swim up. You’ll have a small private plunge pool and access to the waterway that leads to the pool.
The vibe is fun and elegant. People tend to dress up in the evenings and the restaurants have dress codes.
Wifi is available through the Karisma App or you can upgrade to faster service for a fee.

The Beach
The beach has an “artificial reef” - this is really blocks of concrete just off shore to break the waves.  Some people may describe them as ugly. 

The beach has some seaweed.  Cabanas are available on the beach first come, first service. Umbrellas with lounge chairs are also available. Bar service and light snacks are available.

Three pools are available at the El Dorado Royale plus a smaller pool in the Premium section.  The quiet pool is located behind Tucanes bar. Lounge chairs, umbrellas, and cabanas are available on a first come, first serve basis. Bar service and light snacks are available.
Don’t Miss: The Salt Water Pool right in the ocean.  

Restaurants do not require reservations at most of the restaurants unless you are visiting restaurants in the Casitas or at Generations.  The food is gourmet and restaurants feature Mediterranean, Pacific Rim, Caribbean, Italian, Mexican,  and American cuisine. Don’t worry - there’s pizza.
The restaurants have a dress code:
Breakfast and Lunch
Short, t-shirts, and flip flops are permitted, but sun dresses, elegant sandals, and skirts are recommended for the ladies. Long pants, formal shorts, polo shirts, sleeved t-shirts, sandals or tennis shoes are recommended for the men.
For the ladies, dresses, skirts, long pants, shoes, capri pants and elegant sandals.
For the men, long pants, collared shirts, casual shoes or dress sandals, and formal Bermuda shorts.
Food allergies - I met with the Executive Chef on the property during my visit. The property has a strong program for food allergies. You will meet with the Executive Chef or Sous Chef upon arrival to discuss your options.  When you go to a restaurant and give your room number, a notice will pop up indicating your allergy so the Captain the Chef are aware and can make sure your meals are safe.
Room Services is available 24 hours

Don’t Miss:  A meal in the Culinary Theater. 
Activities and Night Life
The resort hosts events each day including tequila tastings, rifle shooting, pool volleyball, and yoga.
Each night the resort offers a show in the main theater. The Martini Bar in the lobby offers special theme nights. I participated in the Chocolate night with special chocolate cocktails, desserts and appetizers. 

Three of the bars are open until 2:00 am.
Don't Miss: The Tour of the Green House

The steam rooms and saunas are available for guests to use. The hydrotherapy pools have an additional charge. When I visiting in October 2015, the price was about US$25. The Spa offers a wide range of treatments including couples massages in 2 story cabanas on the beach.
This resort has an exclusive floor dedicated to brides in the Casitas Spa. A hair salon can do hair and makeup for up to 10 people at the same time plus a private bridal suite where the bride can have a massage, facial or do her hair and makeup. 

Overall, this a great, large property for couples or family and friends groups. The rooms have the option for double beds which is nice for girls’ or guys’ weekends. People who would enjoy the property like to dress up a little for dinner, enjoy gourmet food, and don’t require a pristine, white sand beach. I strongly recommend you reserve a swim up suite. Once you get there, I really think you would regret just getting a regular junior suite. 

I love planning all-inclusive vacations. Click here to request my Top 10 Considerations when choosing an all-inclusive resort for free.  

Friday, October 23, 2015

Daily Update: Hurricane Patricia, Disney Infinity, Chef Bayless and Why You Need to Ask ?s about your transfer to the resort.

Hurricane Patricia - A tropical storm warning has been issued for Puerto Vallarta as Hurricane Patricia strengthened to to a Category 5 hurricane late last night. It's anticipated to make landfall late Friday evening. 

Disney Infinity comes to life - Disney cruises are bringing the video game to life.  Disney Dream's updated Oceaneer's Club debuts next week. Kids will have the chance to be an Infinity character as they stand on a life-sized Disney Infinity base and complete in special challenges via a giant video screen.

Chef Rick Bayless is heading to Disney Springs to open Frontera Fresca. No date is announced but you can be sure I'll be keeping up to date. I am personally excited for this since Frontera is one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago. 

As we continue our series on how to choose an All-Inclusive Resort:

Consideration #3:  - How far is the resort from the airport?

Depending how long your trip is, you may want a resort within 30 minutes of the airport. If you are staying for 7 nights, you may not mind an hour’s drive.

The other consideration is the geography along the drive. Are you prone to motion sickness?  The drive from the main St Lucia airport to many of the beachfront all-inclusive resorts winds up and down. This has upset many a honeymooner's stomach. It's not the best way to start a vacation. 

To get a full list of all Ten Considerations when choosing an All-Inclusive Resort - click here.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Daily Update: Cruise to Cuba, Michelin Star Tours, Universal Studios Concert Schedule and How to Choose an All-Inclusive Resort

Latest Updates: 

Fathom Travel will send cruises into Cuba on educational, environmental or economical missions. On board, cruisers will have language, history and culture classes. On shore, you'll help teach English at a school, work in a chocolate factory or build clay water filtration systems.  Cruises launch in May 2016. Only

On the other end of the spectrum, Insight Vacations has announced a new group of luxury tours that included Michelin Star Dining and Exclusive VIP Experiences. For instance, their French itinerary includes dinner at the famous Le Dauphin and a meet and greet with the choreographer at one of best cabarets. 

 For you Florida amusement park lovers: Universal Studios has announced King Kong's Skull Island will be ready in Summer 2016. A little sooner, Universal Studios will be hosting 25th anniversary concerts in November: 

November 14th - Jason Derulo 

November 21st - Colbie Caillat 

November 22nd - Flo Rida 

November 27th - Carly Rae Jepsen 

November 28th - Daughtry  

 What to Consider When Choosing an All-Inclusive Resort

As part of this week's series on choosing an all-inclusive resort:

 Consideration #2 when choosing an all-inclusive resort: Time of Year – When are you traveling? 

Weather - The rainy seasons change slightly depending on the islands. In general, hurricane season runs June through November with the heaviest rains in August and September. Other times it can be blazing  hot. If you are sensitive to heat and sun, it's important to check that the resort has shade options 

Religious holiday or festivals - Check to make sure all your “must do” activities are available. For instance, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic severely limit water sports around Easter. 

Lobster - If you love Caribbean lobster, be sure to check when it's in season or you'll be disappointed when it's not on the menu. Lobster season is closed April 1st - June 30th in Jamaica each year.

I want to hear from you - How big of a factor is weather when you decide when to travel? Are you willing to tolerate some rain to better accommodate your schedule?


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Daily Update: New Dining with Minnie Mouse and Hard Rock expands Kids' Club

Today's Updates:

Disney World has announced they will continue the Minnie Mouse character dining for dinner at Hollywood and Vine in Hollywood Studios. This dinner will have a seasonal theme. You will be able to reserve dining packages for January - March 20th starting October 27th.

Hard Rock All-Inclusive Resorts announced that the Little Big Club is expanding to the Hard Rock Punta Cana. This terrific kids' program features Bob the Builder, Angelina Ballerina, and Barney.

Travel Series: Top Considerations when Choosing an All-Inclusive Resort 

This week, we are exploring what you need to consider when choosing an all-inclusive resort. The first consideration is WHERE? 

Mexico, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic have the all-inclusive resorts. Two important considerations when choosing a location are:

1. Flights - Depending on the length of your trip, you may want to make sure a nonstop flight is available to maximize the amount of time you have at the resort. 

2. Activities - Each country offers different activities.  Climb a waterfall in Ochos Rios, Jamaica. Snorkel with whale sharks off the coast of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Zip line in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. 

To download a full list of all Top Ten Considerations - Click here.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Disney World: How to set up the beds at the Art of Animation Family Suites

I think the Art of Animation family suites are fantastic accommodations.  Here's a look inside how to set up the sofa bed and Murphy bed.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Disney World My Disney Experience: Plan and Share

If you are coordinating dining and Fast Passes across more than one account, it's important to link the My Disney Experience accounts. This ensures you can coordinate your Fast Passes. Here's a photo tutorial on how to do it in the Android App: 

After your open the App, Click in Mickey to see all your options. Then Click on Family & Friends: 

Inside Family & Friends, you will have the option to Add a New Friend:  

Next Click "Enter a Guest's Name":
 Then you will enter the information including first name, last name, birth date (if you know it) and if they are 18+ or their age if they are under 18. 

Scroll down a little more and you will see "Invite to Plan and Share". It's very important that invite the person to plan and share. This is how you will link your accounts. If you don't click this, then you have just created an imaginary account named after your friend. Your friend won't be able to see your account and you won't be able to plan Fast Passes together. 
 Then you enter in the email address that the person uses for their My Disney Experience account: 

Click Send Invitation and you are on your way to linking your accounts. Your friend will then need to accept your invitation.