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Category Archives: All Inclusive Resorts

Ryan and Denielle: After the I Do at The Royal Playa del Carmen

Ryan and Denielle tied the knot in paradise in April and we have the inside scoop!  Beach Bum Becky was instrumental in this amazing experience along with our partner, Real Resorts and their beautiful resort The Royal Playa del Carmen!

What some of the guests said:

The Royal Playa del Carmen was an absolutely beautiful resort. As we walked through the lobby and it overlooked the ocean I truly felt we were transported to paradise. The entire week was an amazing experience. The best part was watching our best friends get married in paradise. The wedding was absolutely beautiful. We wish nothing but the best for Denielle and Ryan and are truly grateful we were invited to share their special day with them in paradise! 

Kasey & Rob

Ryan and Denielle’s wedding was spectacular!   The resort was fabulous, as well.  The planning that Beach Bum Becky and Ryan and Denielle did was so well done!  There was a real “touch of class” throughout the ceremony and the resort. 

Everyone that attended appeared to be very happy, especially the wedding couple!  There was a lot of love that permeated throughout the group!  Ryan has married a beautiful young lady whose beauty is evident both inside and out!

I could not be prouder of my son and the girl that he married!  Her family is so nice and it is wonderful to have us all joined as one family now.  It was one of the best experiences of my life!

Rick Paynter
Father of the Groom

We want to thank this happy couple for the opportunity to share their Before and After the “I Do” wedding experience with us and wish them many years of joy!  We hope to send you two on many more Beach Bum Vacations!

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Please review the resort and overall wedding experience in as much detail as you wish:

Overall, our destination wedding was everything we could have hoped it would be and the resort was absolutely amazing.

The Royal Playa del Carmen is true paradise and I do not think that you can find better service anywhere. We’ve both been to several all-inclusives, and agree that The Royal Playa del Carmen was the best resort we’ve ever been to. The food & drink are plentiful, the service is the best you can get, there’s tons to do, and the rooms are fabulous. (One tip – spring for a swim up suite if you can! No “towel game” at the pool and we loved our suite! We would also order room service for lunch so we never had to leave the pool area!) Our favorite restaurant was Asiana for dinner, get the crepes at breakfast, and order room service – they’ll bring you anything you want! Venturing out to 5th Avenue is also a ton of fun – you cannot beat The Royal’s location!

My off-site wedding coordinator (Ana) and my on-site wedding coordinator (Lili) were both great – very detail oriented, organized, and friendly – exactly what you need in a wedding coordinator.

Our ceremony in the Oceanfront Gazebo was just breathtaking. The Royal’s staff set everything up for the ceremony and reception exactly how I wanted them, nothing was amiss! We loved having our own friend officiate the service so that we could write our own ceremony – for us, personal touches mean the most.

Our reception was more than we could have asked for!

Did anything drastically change from your original wedding plans once you arrived on property?  If so, what was it and why did it change?

The only drastic change was where our cocktail hour and reception was held. Due to impending rain clouds, we moved our cocktail hour and reception from the beach to a covered patio and a ballroom. The location of these events was not as important to me as the outdoor ceremony in the gazebo, so the change was really not a huge deal, and actually turned out to be a better option!

What was your favorite moment of your wedding trip?

Besides our ceremony, my favorite moment was our reception. The resort made the ballroom into what seemed like our own personal club, and all of our guests had a great time with amazing food, personalized service (the wait staff was awesome!), and fabulous music. Seeing everyone have a great time made everything worth it!

Did you go on any off-site excursions or sight-seeing trips?

We did not do any for our wedding in Mexico, although several of our guests did (ziplining, ATV, bicycle tours, visits to the ruins, etc.). Everyone enjoyed the off-site excursions.

We did offsite excursions once we relocated for our honeymoon at Couples Tower Isle in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. We enjoyed the Island Village shopping trip, Dunns River Falls, and the Catamaran Cruise.

What kind of feedback did you receive from guests?

Our guests absolutely fell in love with The Royal Playa del Carmen and the idea of destination weddings after they saw one for themselves. Many guests are already talking about return trips. 

If you used a resort photographer, what was your experience and feedback?

We used an off-site photographer (Juan Navarro Photography) for both our wedding and a Trash the Dress session the next day. Juan and his staff are true artists and absolutely amazing. Juan was able to provide me with advice about the weather when I was stressing about it on our wedding day, and he also made sure to get every single shot I wanted. His team is truly dedicated to their work!

What advice would you now give to another couple going through the destination wedding planning experience now that you have returned?

Read the online forums – there is a wealth of information there! I got so many great ideas from those forums.

Stay in constant communication with your Travel Agent. I was so thankful that I had daily access to Beach Bum Becky by email (or phone if I wanted). It made my Type-A OCD Planner personality happy, lol. She always answered questions promptly and always let me know I was important to her. I always tried to keep her informed of everything that I could; it’s great to have someone who is able to back you up on things and help organize the travelers.

Research! I was able to save a lot of money by using an outside florist, bringing my own chair sashes, and by doing a lot of planning. Also, research outside photographers and videographers and be aware of your resort’s vendor fees. I had vendor fees for both my photography team (Juan Navarro Photography) and my videography team (Cancun Wedding Video) but it was worth every penny to know that I was getting the service and style that I wanted to capture our wedding day moments.

Be organized and document everything! It helped when I had my meeting with our on-site coordinator before our wedding. I had notes of how I wanted everything, diagrams, and table seating charts. I brought a suitcase full of stuff and Lili & her team took it from there!

Don’t let the weather stress you out! I let the weather stress me out for the days leading up to my wedding, even though I already knew the resort had alternate options if bad weather did come. Enjoy yourself, your wedding will beautiful no matter what the weather – plus, rain on your wedding day is lucky and cloudy days make for better pictures!

If you are going to do out of town bags, give them out before you leave! We did a “travel document pickup” meeting where we gave everyone their travel documents and gave out the bags. That way, less for us to lug down, and the guests could figure out exactly what they wanted to bring with them on the trip.

Do the Trash the Dress photoshoot! It was a lot of fun (although very tiring), and they are such original pictures that you can’t get at a “regular” wedding.

Most of all, enjoy your day – it goes by SO fast!

The Felton’s Experience Sandals Emerald Bay

 

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Bill and Karen Felton just returned from their latest Beach Bum Vacation to Sandals Emerald Bay and have nothing but fabulous things to say about the resort, their experience, and their favorite Beach Bum! 🙂

“Upon arrival at Sandals Emerald Bay we were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by Jeremy Mutton, the General Manager of the resort. He personally drove just Karen and I to the resort. Wow! When we reached the resort grounds, the manager over the butlers was there to welcome us and whisk us away. Sandals Emerald Bay is as close to heaven as I could ever imagine! The water in the ocean is the brightest turquoise we have ever seen and the resort is amazing. We were upgraded to a Walkout Palm Bay Oceanview Luxury Suite that was gorgeous, we were conveniently located to everything! It was spectacular!

Becky, there is no question in our minds that the service we received is because of the things you and Beach Bum Vacation do for us. The friends we met fromMontreal and Texas all have your name and number now. They saw the special treatment we received and I am certain you will hear from them when they book their next vacation. Thank you for arranging our Beach Bum Vacations each year. As I have always said, you are the best!”

Bill & Karen Felton

 

Planning the Ultimate Family Vacation: Part 2

By: Beach Bum Lisa

In Planning the Ultimate Family Vacation: Part 1 we shared steps 1-4. Beach Bum Lisa breaks it down step by step and walks you through the rest of the journey.

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Step 5 – Evaluating Recommendations

Your Beach Bum will provide 3 top recommendations based on your wants and needs. You will want to look at your options based on their quality, value, inclusions, experiences they offer, and then of course, budget. Do not just look at the number, as you may not be comparing apples with apples. All- inclusive resorts are not created equal. Many resorts offer so many amenities: Sesame Street characters, surf simulators, water slides, game rooms, catamaran cruises, toys, teen clubs, kids clubs, monitors, 24 hour room service, changing tables, and more! It is so much fun to look through this information and think of the possibilities! I know when I chose the resort for my personal family vacation, we made sure to think about our kids’ ages AND what we, as parents, wanted. This is a vacation for the entire family, not just the kids.

Look for quality inclusions. The resort may offer an amenity, but is it good? Look for trusted brands such as: Fisher Price, Crayola, National Geographic, Sesame Street, Golf pros, Nike, Xbox, and the list goes on! For younger kids meeting the Sesame Street characters is an incredible experience. My kids are super pumped for our next vacation to Beaches Resorts, because Super Grover is going to be there!

If you have three children, be prepared that not all hotels will accommodate you in one room. I know this can be quite frustrating. However, trust your Beach Bum to recommend the best resort/room scenario for your family.  You may have to book at  least two rooms or you may have to get a higher room category. Note that even if you book two rooms, you can reconfigure your sleeping arrangements however you would like while are on property.  You’ve heard it before- size does matter. Take a close look at the room size. A common mistake families make is thinking they won’t spend any time in the room. YES YOU WILL! So unless you want to be living on top of each other, pay attention to size and what your Beach Bum recommends. The extra money is worth its weight in gold.

Budget-wise, all inclusive is the way to go. All inclusive resorts have so many activities and amenities included that make it the best value. My best advice is to spend your money where your priorities are. If you want to do a lot of activities; pick a resort that has a lot of inclusions and is located in an area where you can easily get off the resort and experience local culture, tours and excursions. If you know your kids will be spending their time at the beach; pick the hotel with the great beach and the other amenities will just be bonuses.

Step 6 –  Booking your vacation

Your Beach Bum will walk you through the stress-free process and send over a secure reservation link for you to submit. Your Beach Bum Travel Concierge will receive the information, put a reservation on hold, and then call or email you to get your approval on the itinerary/price before a deposit is charged. A low deposit is required upfront, making it easy to secure your vacation, and final payment is usually duel 45 days prior to departure! Beats paying everything up front!

Step 7 – Preparing for the trip

This is equally as exciting as planning, but can be stressful as well. Refer to Part 1 for ideas on ways to prepare for the trip with little ones. Plan when you are going to tell the kids if you haven’t already. This is like Christmas for you. I was so anxious to tell my kids; I could barely sleep the night before.

The best advice for preparing to travel is to plan with the same philosophy as any other trip: anything can happen. Flexibility is key. Moms probably know what I’m talking about.  Should you take pajamas for every night? Probably not, but you need more than one.  Should you take more than 1 swim suit? Yes, as one will inevitably end up destroyed somehow. Ladies, on a family vacation try not to bring a ton of shoes. These will weigh you down, and your kids will do that enough! 😉  Make sure to check airline websites for baggage fees. This is the place to check for most up-to-date information. Rolling clothes helps save space as opposed to folding them.  Younger kids often like to travel with their own bag.  I encourage you to let them do this as it is exciting to have your own bag. Make sure they know up front though that the bag is their responsibility.  Do you need a medicine cabinet in your suitcase? No, but some helps. What is your favorite tip when preparing for a family vacation? Leave a comment below and be entered to win a Cheeseburger in Paradise gift card. We will randomly select a winner on April 5th! 

Step 8: Traveling

Relax and enjoy! Let go of strict rules and normal inhibitions and just go with it! If you are going to the Caribbean and/or Mexico, this is the mecca for ultimate chill so take advantage! Beach Bum Lisa tip: I do recommend keeping routines for little ones though. If they normally take an afternoon nap, try to stick with it. But don’t force it to be at the same time and be prepared for them not to sleep. That quiet time still helps. Younger children do better with routine, especially on vacation when things are already different. Part 1 has some great tips to refer back on. Prepare your kids about what’s to come. Let your kids know that after you land at the airport, you will have to be transferred to the hotel. Otherwise they will expect the pool to be outside the airport. 🙂

This vacation is an opportunity to reconnect as a family. Don’t just go to the pool every day. Converse with each other and enjoy activities together. Create memories!  I can guarantee that teens will remember climbing a waterfall or swimming with dolphins but they may not remember lying out by the pool.  Don’t get me wrong, make time to get your Vitamin D on! Don’t be afraid to send your kids to the kids’ club. They have wonderful activities and staff for all ages: little ones on up to teens, and it will give parents a chance to be together. Take pictures. Have your kids take pictures. It’s so fun to look at the world through their eyes. We bought our kids digital cameras before we left. My son’s camera was full of pictures of the room and the view from the room. He still talks about sleeping in the bed that folded up (pull out sofa). I’m so excited for you! Family vacations are so much fun!  Now I’m ready for my own! We’re going to Beaches Turks & Caicos next, and I can’t wait!! Super Grover, here we come!

Now you’re fully prepared to plan your Beach Bum Vacation, and we’re here to guide you all the way to the beach! Get in contact with your favorite Beach Bum today!  Don’t forget to comment below for your chance to win! What is your favorite tip when preparing for a family vacation?

Fun Family Vacation: The Gookins in Jamaica, Mon!

Beach Bum Carey’s clients just returned from an amazing family getaway in sunny Negril! The Gookins reached out to Beach Bum Vacation after becoming certified SCUBA divers. Since they’re landlocked in the Midwest, they were very excited to head down to the Caribbean and into the open water to put their diving skills to the test!

After conducting their own research and consulting with Carey, the family decided the very best fit for their first diving experience was the tropical island of Jamaica, on the beautiful west coast. The Gookins stayed on Negril’s 7 Mile Beach at Beaches Sandy Bay, a perfect resort for a family vacation with great bang-for-your-buck. The main attraction to Beaches Resorts was the amazing inclusions — certified divers can enjoy SCUBA every day from state-of-the-art Newton dive boats at no additional cost. Since diving can be a very expensive hobby, with a dive costing around $100 per person or more, this definitely gave the family more for their money! Check out some of the family’s photos from their adventures under the sea, where they encountered ship wrecks, a variety of fish, wild dolphins, turtles and moray eels.

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When they weren’t diving, Brad, Cassandra, Donavin & Alex enjoyed the other watersports included at Beaches, like snorkeling, kayaking &  glass bottom boat rides. The family also visited nearby Beaches Negril to enjoy the resort’s awesome waterpark and delicious dining options!

Next year, the family is upping the ante, traveling to a world-renowned diving locale, Turks & Caicos! Again, they’ll get to enjoy diving in crystal clear Caribbean waters at no additional cost while staying at Beaches Turks & Caicos. Plus, as past guests of Beaches Resorts, they are now members of Sandals Select and get some great added perks! We can’t wait to hear all about their next Beach Bum Vacation! 🙂

 

Planning The Ultimate Family Vacation: Part 1

By: Beach Bum Lisa

Are you packed & ready to go? We hope so because it’s time to go on a little journey with the Beach Bums – today, we’re guiding your family all the way to the beach!

No matter what, a family vacation done right, will bring you closer together and create memories that will last a lifetime. Experiencing a destination through the eyes of your children is absolutely amazing. For younger children, all the little things like the hotel’s mini toiletries and beverage service on an airplane are so cool. For grade school kids, it is a combination of awe-inspiring moments and lots of energy! Be prepared to keep them busy! Teens are definitely the hardest to please, but they still bring a unique perspective to the table. You might have to try a little harder to impress them, but when they are “wowed,” the relationship that you share with each other is strengthened by having experienced that moment together. 

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Step 1 – Making the decision to go

This is harder than it sounds. But make the commitment to go no matter what. Things may come up, timing may not be right but pick the best week or long weekend and put it on your calendar.  By writing it down, you are making the commitment. This may seem silly but once you make the commitment to go it actually becomes a reality and the decision turns into where do we go? Stress-free tip: make one decision at a time to keep from getting overwhelmed.

Do you tell the kids at this point or should you wait? You have the choice to include the children in on the planning or not. If you have toddlers or young grade school children, Beach Bum Vacation recommends not including them on the initial planning. For pre-teens and teens it can be beneficial to include them on the planning at this point. Showing them that you value their opinion will go a long way. Letting them in on the family decision making process is a big responsibility.  Whatever you do, approach them in discussion mode without any distractions. By making it a real conversation, they realize the importance of it. By approaching them in this manner, your family bonding time has already begun – what a great way to connect with your kids!

Step 2 – Deciding what you’d like to experience

Set aside time for a family discussion to envision WHAT YOU WANT.  Stress-free tip: Note that I did not say where you want to go yet. Places may come up as you are having this initial discussion, because if what you want is a theme park with mouse ears, then obviously that narrows down places pretty quickly.  But the initial discussion should be what you want to do/what you like to do. All points of view should be taken into consideration here. If you have included your children, you must include them in the rest of the planning process as well. (Side note, by including older children there is less of a chance they will say they are bored. There is a greater chance that they will absolutely find the vacation thrilling because they helped make it happen.)  Write these thoughts down – the experience you envision having while on vacation, the activities each family member wants to do, etc. No budget thinking yet. Don’t worry, that will come. Even better than writing them down is typing them so your Beach Bum can see your initial thoughts. At the end of this discussion, highlight commonalities between each other. Mom wants to lay out. Dad and Ben want to surf in the ocean. Okay well there you go – you know you want to go somewhere tropical and warm.

Step 3 – Initial budget planning

After this discussion, parents should start thinking about budget.  The children do not have to be included in this discussion, but they should be told that this discussion is going on so they remember that it is not free. Kids tend to think that. Everything is all inclusive to them! 🙂 If you are going to fly somewhere, airfare is expensive.  If you want the Caribbean or Mexico, it will cost you approximately $400 – $1000 per person for flights.  This airfare greatly ranges for what city you are flying out of, what island and destination you are going to, but it’s good to keep this in the back of your mind so you know initially your base cost is going to be this much without even including your resort stay.

Step 4 – Contact your Beach Bum  

One of Beach Bum Vacation’s specialties is family vacations. We go on them, we experience them, we know the destinations and the resorts, and more importantly we also know the staff who work at the resorts, ensuring your vacation is as seamless as possible. Yes, this is the “hard” part about our job – our tropical travels. 🙂 But we actually take it much more seriously than one might think. Of course we have a great time while we’re there (that’s just what Beach Bums do), but we spend most of our time meeting with resort management, touring properties, and asking questions with our clients’ point of view in mind. This makes us a unique travel agency as we are not just looking at a brochure saying “Hmmm….this looks like a great place.”

Your Beach Bum will interview you and ask you the right questions to determine what you want out of your vacation. Share your initial thoughts with them. We want to know if you have any goals for this trip: to reconnect, to just spend time together that you don’t get at home, to celebrate a special occasion, etc.

Beach Bums are honest… sometimes brutally honest. We want you to know what you are getting and the pros & cons of each destination/resort. The last thing you want on your vacation are surprises of the unpleasant variety, and we do our best to not let that happen. We want you to know that not everywhere looks as great as it does in those Photoshopped or airbrushed photos online. If the beach is great, then we’ll tell you. If it’s not, then we’ll tell you that too. We do not match you up with a resort that we think is not worth it. No matter what your budget is, we’ll find the best match for you. We are extremely picky because our clients are our extended Beach Bum family, and we want to make sure they are treated well! After all, it is a reflection on us as well!  We want to ensure your hard-earned money and precious vacation time is well spent. It’s important to us to create a lifelong relationship with you; sending you on amazing Beach Bum Vacations year after year!

Planning a vacation takes time, but when you partner with a Beach Bum it is time spent efficiently and effectively. We are working behind the scenes for you; saving you hours upon hours of research and taking the guesswork out of planning your vacation. We vow to always lead you down the best path, taking all of your wants and wishes into consideration and pointing out the pros and cons to you. Our honesty is what you will get. Remember YOUR Beach Bum has been to the destinations – we are the experts.

Stay tuned for the next post in this series – steps 5 through 8! We’re guiding you all the way to the beach!

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