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Tuesday, January 06, 2015

CARIBBEAN SUN IN CANCUN, MEXICO'S TEMPTATION

Temptation-Cancun, Mexico One inauspicious way to begin a vacation in Cancun, Mexicos tropical climate is being dressed for New Yorks December weather and knowing that Rob's luggage, filled with light-weight clothes, is not with us; rather, thanks to a JetBlue glitch, Robs luggage is sitting in Montego Bay, Jamaica

 A second inauspicious way is spending so much time in the airport filling out lost luggage reports that by the time we get through Customs, our driver has left! 

BUT a dispatcher from a Marriott resort sees the reservation voucher in my hand, tells us our man is a friend, calls him on the phone, and he is back in a few minutes. What appears to be continuing disaster is put to rights. We have a pleasant ride to Temptation, our hotel, and when we arrive, we heave sighs of relief.  I unpack my luggage, and then we head to Margaritas Restaurant for a late lunch and, you guessed it, margaritas.  This is a true-life experience where the words, "I need a drink" applies. Robs luggage is expected the next afternoon.

We like Temptation Resort and Spa (see http://thirdagetraveler.blogspot.com/2010/01/temptation-in-cancun-great-respite-from.html), and we like Cancun. Even before we enter the lobby, the thematic red and white colors as well as the signature sight of an apple announces that we've entered a tempting world. We move quickly from the lobby to the VIP reception area. Temptation is an all-inclusive hotel as well as a timeshare, and as owners here, we are treated very nicely. As in many all-inclusives, we are banded at check-in.  White wrist bands for owners, red for hotel guests.  Instantly distinguishable and important.

Temptation-Cancun, Mexico
Temptation-Cancun, Mexico Our room, red and white, continues the theme.  On one wall is a metal sculpture, a lone, lazy tree branch whose end is dropping leaves and a single apple. On the dresser is a silver metallic sculpture of a man and a woman familiarly entwined. Tucked in the beds headboard alcove is another apple, and beneath the smoky glass of our night tables as well as behind the apple alcove glow soft seductive red lights. It's sleek, modern, romantic and charming. Our balcony has a spa as well as a privacy shade. It's all quite seductive. As owners here, we also receive sparkling white spa robes and slippers, a nice touch.

But Cancun, after all, is for the Caribbean sun which we cannot really enjoy on our first afternoon as we wait for Rob's luggage to arrive. On day 2 we are ready to make up for that. The resort is comprised of a series of red and white buildings, whose angular design affords as many ocean-view rooms as possible and also breaks up the resort into sections that belie its size and the number of visitors. The feel is intimate. 

Temptation-Cancun, Mexico
Nestled among the buildings are the three swimming pools that also serve as dividers of sorts as each attracts a different type of guest. There is a sports pool for lap swimming, water volleyball and basketball as well as a host of other organized or pick-up games. On its deck, one might play corn hole.  Or just laze in one of the sunbeds and be spectators. 

There is the "fun" pool, the biggest pool, with the swim-up bar where the music booms, the hotel staff runs games and contests, and is friendly, outgoing, and enthusiastic. 

There is the quiet pool, where only if the Caribbean breezes blow quite right does one faintly hears sounds from the "fun" pool. It has its own bar and swim-up bar.  At one end are several whirlpool spas. 

Just stop to pick up your bright red (for guests) or sparkling white (for owners) towels and head to the pool or beach section of your choice.  (Those white towels are your entry keys to some special benefits.)

Temptation-Cancun, MexicoRemember, we're on the Caribbean, and the long stretch of beach that is Temptations is also cleverly divided by different activity offerings, so no one gets that jammed Coney Island feeling. There are lounges, cabanas, hammocks, four-poster beach beds rimmed with billowing gauzy white fabric ready for occupants.  There's a special section for owners, both on the beach and on a separated deck above the fun" pool.  This section has a bar all its own and waiter service.    

The Caribbean Sea is beautifully multi-hued in shades of green and blue. Cool sand underfoot. Gradual slope into the water. Clear, clear, clear water. We watch small silvery fish dart back and forth in tiny, shiny schools. We cool off in the calm waters and watch, down the beach a bit, a woman taking her first sailboard lesson and a man working on his newly learned paddle board technique. Life here is enthusiastically relaxing.  That doesnt mean sitting all day.  Theres something going on to suit everyones taste.  We like the catamarans.  Theres always a nice breeze to make good sailing.

There are docks at several points along the beach where yachts are moored. Owners have access to a yacht for 10-person private 4 hour party at a reasonable cost. The group can be arranged for you, and we're seriously thinking about this for our next visit.

Temptation is an adult-only resort.  I do not mind the absence of children one iota.  We like the freedoms of adult-only.  The ages of the guests range from the early 30s to the 70s.  Everyone is friendly, and there are many Europeans here.  

Our favorite couple this time was a young couple from Wales.  He tempted his wife to come out on a jetski, calming her by saying it's not a fast ride. (?)  She came back after five minutes, green and wobbly!  Then he took off again!  Solo. We also met a man who comes about five times a year "just to get away."  He would be back in six weeks!  We also met a couple from Canada for whom this trip was their eighth visit and they are finally thinking of buying here.

Temptation-Cancun, Mexico

Temptation-Cancun, Mexico
in Bella Vista

As an all-inclusive resort, you've got to consider food, and at Temptation it is excellent and varied.  Choose room service or a marvelous breakfast buffet at El Embarcadero. Folks show up at this informal setting wearing just about anything imaginable.  

There is also a lunch buffet, but Rob and I prefer Margaritas and the idea of a leisurely meal. 

Dinner is another matter. If you choose informal, there is a dinner buffet or there is the relative informality of Margaritas.  If you prefer dining to eating, however, you need to put on those nice casual clothes, lose the sandals and add to the romantic ambiance of a candlelit meal where service is impeccable, nothing is rushed, and everything is delicious.  Here you have several restaurant choices. There is a lovely restaurant, Bella Vista, featuring seafood and Caribbean cuisine where Rob and I enjoyed our first night; there we will have the owners-only lobster dinner later in the week.  Il Placere is the Italian restaurant which I remember with gustatory fondness and where we need reservations (yes, even owners do). And there is the reservation-required Asian restaurant, The Village Wok, also serving excellent meals, wonderful ambiance, and a superb dining experience.

Temptation-Cancun, Mexico Temptation-Cancun, Mexico
 If by chance you experience some late night craving,  it is available at PatyOs, the evening place for drinks, music and entertainment, all in abundant and often loud quantities.   We actually enjoy sitting just outside PatyOs on some wonderfully comfortable chairs, people watching, and sipping our Fundador brandy, Spain's largest exported brandy dating back to 1874. Nice. We sometimes switch to Presidente, made from Mexican grapes, or to Don Pedro, another Spanish Brandy.  Variety is the spice of life. 

I believe Patty Os is open for snacking all night.

Activities. There is an entire travel agency in the main building.  This area of Mexico is a great jumping off point to see and do things youve read about in history books.  Visiting  Chichen Itza, the pre-Columbian Maya city,  is an extraordinary daytrip.  Its mind-blowing and full of mystery and magic as well as incredible architecture and history.  On this tour were stops at other sites along the way and explanations of plants and buildings.  Wonderful outing.  You might want to go snorkeling in a cenote.  Visit an Indian home.  Shop in the upscale mall in Cancun.  Visit World Heritage eco-archeological Xcaret Park where you can swim with the dolphins, snorkel, and get a taste of Mayan culture.  Its a fantastic place.  Attend a bullfight (which I found disgusting and will never, ever, do again anywhere).  (I blame that mistake on Ernest Hemingway!)

 In addition to offering any type of tour you might desire from companies represented right here in the hotel,  guests cruise the Caribbean on Temptation's party boat, go snorkeling, use jet skis, sail catamarans, or take a ferry leaving from the hotel  across the eight miles of water to Isla Mujeres, a delightful island as far away from Cancun in temperament as you can get. I cannot forget to mention the great Beauty Parlor where we've had, in the past, massages or Temptation's Cigar Bar. Wonderful  There is no way you can be bored!

A few words about staff. You will be hard pressed to find a more accommodating, friendly, and conscientious staff anywhere. They remember you, say hola when you pass anyplace at the resort and help make your stay memorable. Need help with your Spanish? They'll try to help you. I include everyone. Without exception.  This has been true each time weve come, so it is part of the hotel, and, weve found when we leave the hotel, the Mexican culture.

At Temptation, ownership definitely has its rewards. If you read online reviews of the resort, you might come across several complaining about the special treatment owners receive. It's true. That's part of the allure. We've owned for five years. But here is a warning.  I do not recommend buying here. You are buying in a foreign country, and if the company does not honor every aspect of your contact, you have little recourse.  We felt that a section of our contract was not being honored. We did discuss it down here (phone calls from home were not returned and emails went unanswered), and we did reach an unsatisfactory compromise. However, we would never buy anything from this company again because we cannot trust their word or even their written contact.  On the other hand, we will continue to come and enjoy ourselves. No use cutting off our noses to spite or faces. 


Temptation-Cancun, Mexico

So I recommend coming as a guest.  Yes, owners are special, but this resort treats all its guests well.

There are a few places on the property that look a touch tired, but maintenance is ongoing. We had a leak in the showerhead; it was fixed within a short period of time. There was hurricane damage throughout Cancun a few years ago, and there has also been a lot of re-building.  I've read some negative reviews, but that has never been our experience, and as they are so few and far between, I consider them anomalies. 

This is a big resort employing a great number of people.  Restaurant windows sparkle. Everything that should be white--the gauzy fabrics and beach beds--on buildings and borders are crisply dazzling white. The beach is raked. The chairs are arranged.  The towels are big and plush.  We have never been disappointed.

Temptation-Cancun, Mexico
The sport pool early in the morning
One thing about Temptation--you can relax and luxuriate in the sun, swim in the Caribbean, or you can knock yourself out and go home in need of a vacation. No matter how you work it, there's no reason ever to be bored even if you never leave the resort.


If things go as planned, we will head back sometime in 2015 for another good week.  We just hope our luggage decides to come with us!
Temptation-Cancun, Mexico
I love towel sculptures!!!!
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