Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Playa Mujeres, Mexico

This one has been a long time coming, when we went on this vacation I had no intentions of writing a blog and at this point had no idea that only a few months later we would be moving abroad. 

Our vacation to Playa Mujeres was literally THE ULTIMATE in luxury, relaxation and opulence. It has been a blessing and a curse to us as it was so wonderful that no vacation from here on can ever compare to it. Booking hotels anywhere else now just leaves us wishing for and dreaming of our resort in Mexico. 

This is the story of our beachfront honeymoon in The Excellence Resort in Playa Mujeres, Mexico (May 26, 2014). 

I will be honest, at the time of booking I was so wound up with all things wedding that I handed this entire task over to my boo to plan. He literally blew me away when he started sharing photos of his choice but even those could not even begin to portray the vacation we were about to experience. 

One more plug this time for www.honeymooninc.com because although it sounds completely cheesy, they hooked us up with every last detail of our trip to have everything run smoothly. 

So here we are, waking up afterthought wedding day, jump on a plane, fly just two hours south and we were there. Getting out we were instructed to find a man in a Hawaiian shirt--- walking out of the airport EVERYONE is in a Hawaiian shirt, luckily we found ours pretty easily and hopped into a van to go directly to the resort. 

The luxury begins FROM THE MOMENT you step one foot out of the van and onto the resort grand entrance. 
Before you even do, a man comes to help you out and offers a cool, moist cloth to cool down with. As that is happening your bags are already being unloaded from the car and carried in for you.

 Then the moment you step inside you are greeted with an ice cold glass of champagne and a stunning view down the grand staircase.  

Used to walking into hotels and standing around at a desk ten minutes trying to check in? Yeah, that doesn't happen here, instead there is already a person waiting to walk you down to the private lounge where you can sit and eat from a whole assortment of sandwiches and snacks and be served any drink you like while you relax and check in. 
As you can see, we fully enjoyed his bit, Zach even got his first Mexican margarita going. 
Not only are you checking in but you schedule your (included) spa day and private dinner on the beach. Seriously. 

After this, we scurried up to our room (to which of course hey had already delivered our bags) and were surprised with a banner proclaiming our anniversary. Such a personal and sweet touch! 

Not to mention the beauty that lay within!

Balcony view

(Notice how wide open all of these lounge chairs are-- when does that EVER HAPPEN?!) 
We even had a full out jacuzzi IN OUR ROOM! Along with this box where when you order room service (which by the way is 24 hours a day and of course all included) they drop your food in the box from the outside then you get in through a door on the inside so you literally have complete privacy in your room. 

Now we stayed for seven nights and eight days so I won't walk you through each one because literally I would wind of writing a novel, and it would be one big love story between Zach and I and this resort lol

For each meal, we nearly went to a different restaurant. There are somewhere around 13 restaurants and 9 bars (all fully stocked and all inclusive) from swim up bars in the pool to high end restaurants like the lobster house. 

Our first night we went for sushi and it was so funny because we got the menu and decided to have fun and get an appetizer, so you know we decided to get her on one to split. The funny part was when the waitress took our order and thought we were crazy for only trying one and encouraged up to try at least two but to really go for any that sounded interesting to us. From that night on we ordered literally everything and anything we wanted. For me that meant two desserts and for Zach that meant two main dishes some nights lol. 

There was even an amazing hibachi restaurant which was even more fun because you go as a set of three couples and get to make friends while you enjoy the food and show. 

I think Zach's favorite was still the breakfast though, something about waking up and getting a big delicious breakfast (and mimosa of course) while letting the realization that it is all real life sink in made for an amazing moment literally everyday. 

Speaking of mimosas this place had alcoholic drinks ON LOCK. From signature specialties daily to the "mini bar" in our room which was actually a fully stocked  (full sized) top shelf liquor (all in included of course) we certainly were livin la vita loca. 

Going to the beach or pool was also elevated. When you would go to layout, first your towels would all be freshly laid out for you and I don't mean just one, they would like live seven on each chair in a perfect manner for ultimate relation. It was awesome! Then they would bring you drink and snack menus to order from and deliver it all to you right there on the beach. EVEN MORE they would constantly bring out trays of drinks for you to try and after not long at all your side table ends up looking a bit like this. 

Not a bad way to spend your day. 

This is all not to mention the activities planned throughout the day from live bands to beach volleyball tournaments. 

Then each night there is a big live show! These shows all depends on when you are there but we literally enjoyed going to one every single night. (Not to mention the constant service of drinks and snacks throw out the show!) 

Here are some snippets from our sunset dinner in the beach. 

And our spa day (which included a full couples massage then an aqua massage which was super fun) 

We did take one exclusion to the city to experience a "traditional" market where we found some mat little keepsakes. I am all about getting suvineers as long as they actually serve a purpose when you get back home so I loved that we found this great blanket (perfect for concerts) and a hand painted ceramic serving set. Love it! 

Along the way, we also managed to meet some prett incredible people who we are actually still in touch with, a year later! 

It was an INCREDIBLE vacation and was everything we had dreamt and more. Here's to you my boo for once again, KILLING IT with your planning skills. I think I need to step down and just let you choose where we go from here on lol 

Shokran & Gig Em,


P.S. This post was written while flying on the Emirates Airbus A-380, the largest plane in the world! And of course I have written a blog about it but I have to just reiterate that THIS THING IS AMAZING. 

First Year Anniversary: W Hotel

The title says it all!
Unfortunately I am terribly behind with this post as our anniversary was actually May 25! Whoops! Only two months behind, no biggie right? This anniversary is only the marker for the biggest and most wonderful year of my life so far. ;)

Zach and I, likely because our relationship started as broke freshman in college, has never been much about gifts or fancy outings. In college, a special date for us meant going to Cheddars, getting $4.50 margaritas and splitting an appetizer. Talk about a cheap date!! Nothing much has changed for us though now that we are in the real world making real money. We enjoy most going out together for a shawarma or a cup of coffee- the whole 5 star restaurant on every corner has never much suited us.

So this year, although it was our biggest anniversary yet, was not a treated like anything another than the norm. We agreed on no gifts and just wanted to spend a nice evening together reflecting back on the year.

You can imagine my surprise when Zach got home and with a big smile on his face and instructed me to put on a nice dress, we had a bottle of wine and a reserved table waiting for us next door at the W Hotel. I was COMPLETELY and UTTERLY caught off guard as we NEVER do this kind of thing. After a small debate that I quickly lost about if he was sure, on Tuesday night, May 25, 2015 I slipped out of my sweats, into a dress and we headed out to forget the budget completely and let ourselves INDULGE in what turned out to be an altogether unforgettable night.

Zach started by leading me to the third floor of the W Hotel, to a huge set of double doors with a guard outside. Once inside what turned out to be the Wahm Lounge, we were greeted by a live DJ and a dimly lit room filled with lounge areas and colorful accent lighting. We slid over to the bar (remember now that alcohol is prohibited and can only be bought in certain locations) where Zach prompted me to "pick whatever I like" which with no hesitation, I did.

We gravitated to the back of the room where sliding glass doors led to a huge, wrap around deck. From here we could see the city lights up close and personal while enjoying our drinks and marveling at the awe that we actually lived in such a place.

By the time we finished, our dinner reservations were just about to hit to we scurried out and went one flight down to the infamous Spice Market, a South-East Asian restaurant with dishes inspired by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and created by executive chef, Hyung Gyu Kim. It was absolutely beautiful and bustling with people so when the waitress led us to our private table for two by a huge window, it felt like a literal dream or a scene from a romantic movie.

Then, the wine came along with menus filled with dishes crafted by master chefs. We were on the top of the world and started chatting with our (somewhat) waiter, Jozef, (who end up being the restaurant manager) about the selection. After quite a discussion, (with menus that where every item makes your mouth water, selection doesn't some easily) we settled on "Fine de Clair" oysters with a Thai chili sorbet  and Shrimp Dumplings with a crab sauce as appetizers.

They came out and were DELECTABLE. Then another dish came out, then another!! The manager who we had quickly become friends with completely treated us our filled our palettes with combinations of flavors that exploded.

Next came our main course.
I ordered Teriaki Salmon Sashimi and Zach got the Say Glazed Short Ribs.

Finally it was time for my favorite, dessert. Before we could even order, this came out.

So sweet and thoughtful, not to mention DELICIOUS.

AND THIS!! All on the house to celebrate our monumental (yeah right!) milestone.

Each was more delicious than the last and the treatment that we got made us feel like absolute royalty.

This manager though, I tell you what. We tried to tip him (on top of) tipping our actual waiter and he completely and totally refused. He insisted that we give it to the waiter instead and explained that his job was not something he does for the money but simply because of his love of food and the people.
Can I just say wow?

I have met a few people like him in my life, that work because they truly love it and make each day at work a unique and meaningful experience. They truly LIVE each moment of the day and don't let a second slip away. Here's to you Mr. W Hotel Spice Market Manager, Jozef Pesta!

Seriously a cool dude, check him out here.

Okay where was I? Oh yes!
Finally, once we had finished, the staff loaded us into wheelbarrows and rolled us out....kidding! But seriously they might as well have, we each ate our weight in food and were in a full-on food-coma by the time we left!

It was a perfect night to compliment an even more perfect year.

During this year together we have started our careers, made life long friendships, laughed, cried, fought, made up, traveled across the globe and most importantly learned what it means and what it takes to build a Christ centered marriage. We are altogether imperfect but are completely and endlessly saved by the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is HIS holy union, we are just living in it!