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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

TEMPTATION IN CANCUN--A GREAT RESPITE FROM WINTER

I love Cancun. Don't come here expecting to be seeped in Mexican history and culture; for that you travel as we did last year to places like Chichen Itza where you'll stare in wonder at the magnificence of the Mayan culture. Cancun, on the other hand, was created specifically to draw tourists, and it does so successfully. Come here for the vitality, friendliness, fun, sun, sand, and Caribbean Sea. Visit El Centro for its shopping, Corrida del Toros (once was enough for me), Mercado 28 and good Mexican restaurants, but remember that this city is a result of hotel building.

Last year Rob and I stayed two weeks outside The Hotel Zone, a fifteen mile strip along a gorgeous beachfront lined with hotels, clubs, shops, places to begin tours to other parts of Mexico. We stayed in a sister hotel to the Temptation Resort and Spa where we are this year. It was much quieter last year in the family-oriented Blue Bay Club. http://thirdagetraveler.blogspot.com/2009/03/mexico-and-time-in-cancun.html. We took day trips, snorkeled, sailed, and had our son and our friends join us in our suite. We enjoyed ourselves so much we bought another timeshare—from Premier by Original. Unlike the Blue Bay Club, Temptation is adults only. Twenty-one and over. There's a vivaciousness and tone geared to adults, and we find it a welcome change. Because we are only here for a week, our plans are different, and we are looking for the action and atmosphere of this resort.

Temptation Resort and Spa's décor is red and white, and we like the fresh feeling of it all.

Place these colors against a backdrop of green palms, three blue pools--a fun pool, a sports pool, and a quiet pool, and the sparkling aquas of the Caribbean, and we feel just fine. Our room is charming with a balcony overlooking, to the left the marina with its complement of incredible boats including the one we are entitled as owners to use during our stay, to the center the beach and sea, and to the right the big “fun” pool with swim-bar. Although the hotel is completely booked, it is run so smoothly that there is never a crowded feeling.

During the day there's action and music on shore and views of parasailors, windsurfers, hobycat sailors, and of many other water activities. The music at the fun pool is loud, happy, and spans decades and music styles. It begins early, but then it is New Age morning music. It changes throughout the day, and it's great. Early mornings bring glorious sunrises, and evenings bring the lights of Isla Mujeres out in the distance and lights of two dinner cruise galleons from farther down in the Hotel Zone.

As owners we are treated as royalty with our own VIP room and “butler,” Alberto who makes arrangements for us, particularly advance reservations in one of the four excellent specialty restaurants: Asian, Italian, Tex-Mex, and Seafood. Other perks we receive are free wifi, lovely bathrobes, “premier” menus at the restaurants in addition to the regular menu, higher quality liquor, Bacardi Anejo for example. At the beach there is a “Members Only” section where a separate bar and chaises are set up. This is not to suggest that regular hotel guests are treated badly. Indeed, looking around I see nothing but happy faces.

Escaping the frigid temperatures at home this January, we arrive to find our room's thermostat set to 65°. That's where we keep the temperature at home which my son describes as a “meat locker.” We raise the thermostat to 68°. Unlike last year when we did a lot of sightseeing, we intend this week to be a beach escape with snorkeling in a cenote as our only day trip. We already know we'll be back. From Temptation we can sail HobyCats to our hearts' delight, and that means every day possible.

Our routine is simple. After breakfast we walk along the jogging/walking path on the hotel zone or use the hotel's gym. The gym is nicely equipped, and its floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the sports pool. In addition to the usual accoutrements, there are bowls of fresh fruit. We spend the rest of the day at the beach. We keep the bartender/waiter busy preferring lunch here although we sometimes tear ourselves away for El Embarcadero for the luncheon buffet.

It is winter here, and the sun disappears behind the hotel sometime around 3 PM, so we have time to shower and change before heading to Paty O's to begin the evening activities.

We try each of the specialty restaurants, and each is superb. I cannot show you photos because they are beautifully but dimly lighted. The décor is lovely and in keeping with the food. Service is exceptional. What I especially appreciated is the high ceilings and the noise absorbing décor. I hate the bare walled, techno style with nothing on either wall or window to absorb sound. At Temptation, the ambient noise did not prevent soft conversation, something dearly missing from most restaurants today.

We are so relaxed we decide to forgo the cenotes this year and spend some more time in the spa becoming even more relaxed with massages! The concierge helps me find a tour where we can snorkel in three different ecosystems, and that sounds grand. If we come back here next year, I’ll keep that in mind, but we might head to Cabo where there is another Temptation. That’s mighty tempting.
One more thing: I'm a sucker for towel sculptures, and our chambermaid was an artist.


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