Since my initial attempt at describing my vacation devolved into discussing how I felt instead of what we did, I present for your viewing pleasure the second installment of Mexico 2013.
We stayed at the Occidental Grant Xcaret, and it is a beautiful resort. Built into the surrounding environment, the rooms are surrounded by jungle and we shared the space with several animals. Iguanas. were. EVERYWHERE. Consequently, I have a million and one pictures of iguanas wandering around the resort. There was also more than one occasion where I almost stepped on one while walking to the buffet or the beach.
Oh, and the beach. Love, love, love the beach. Again, because the hotel is built into the natural environment, there was a cliff and several rocks jutting out into the surf. A man-made cove was created to give the tourists something to congregate around, and there’s a small saltwater pool behind the beach restaurant. Very, very beautiful, and I love the integration of natural and man-made; it’s so unique.
The food was pretty great, though as it does on any vacation it starts to get repetitive. The gluten-free offerings were plentiful, and I had very little issue with cross-contamination. There was one instance where I’m pretty sure I got a dose of wheat, but I didn’t ask if the chips were flour or corn; I kinda walked into that one. The a la carte restaurants were delicious. There’s no other word. We went to the seafood restaurant on our second night there, and I was blown away by my seafood salad. However, sometimes the translations can leave something to be desired (but they’re good for a laugh).
The staff was friendly and polite. Language can be a bit of a barrier, but they try their damnedest to understand what you’re saying in English (and I got to practice my Spanish more too). Everywhere you’re walking, there’s someone from the resort ready to greet you with a friendly “hola, hola!”
We didn’t find any issue with timeshare hawkers, and the vendors that sold their goods inside the resort were respectful. I found I was harassed more when I went into Playa del Carmen, and that was when we were simply walking down the street.
The disco was heaps of fun, and the DJ was open to taking requests. One of my favourite memories of this trip was headbanging on the empty floor with Erin, dancing our asses off and enjoying the fact that we could ask for Disturbed in Mexico and be obliged.
I have very little to complain about when it comes to the resort. I spent a week in +32 paradise, and would return to the Grand Xcaret in a heartbeat!