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TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice 2019 honors for Grand Residences and Royal Resorts

We are pleased to announce that members of the TripAdvisor travel community have rated Grand Residences and Royal Resorts among the Top Hotels in Mexico again by including them in the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice 2019 listings.

For the fifth year running, Grand Residences has picked up several Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice 2019 accolades given to the best of the best in Mexico.

  • TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice 2019 Top 25 Hotels in Mexico
    Grand Residences Riviera Cancun is No. 20
  • TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice 2019 Top 25 Luxury Hotels in Mexico
    Grand Residences Riviera Cancun is No. 15
  • TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice 2019 Top 25 Hotels in Mexico for Families
    Grand Residences Riviera Cancun is No. 7

Royal Resorts also in the Top 25 Hotels in Mexico for Families

In addition to Grand Residences, The Royal Haciendas and The Royal Cancun are also listed in the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice 2019 Top 25 Hotels in Mexico for Families. The Royal Haciendas is rated No. 14 and The Royal Cancun No. 19.

You can help spread the word about Grand Residences and the staff that have made your day extra special by posting a review of your vacation experience on TripAdvisor. Visit www.tripadvisor.com or use the link in the online guest satisfaction survey you receive after your stay. Your feedback is very important to us.

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Meet your new Chef

Chef Rafael Borbolla has joined the Grand Residences team as the new Executive Chef.

Originally from Mexico City, Chef Borbolla studied Culinary Arts in the Colegio Superior de Hoteleria y de Turismo Cesar Ritz and at the Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Turismo, both in Mexico City. He also took specialist diploma courses in Mexican and Italian cuisine at the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana.

Chef Borbolla trained with the acclaimed French chef Olivier Lombard and collaborated in the opening of Le Cirque restaurant in Polanco before his love of the sea took him to Puerto Vallarta to work for Westin.

After four years, he moved to Los Cabos to join Royal Solaris and 18 months later to Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, before returning to Baja California Sur and Dreams Los Cabos.

His first job as Executive Chef was at Le Bistro, a gourmet restaurant in Puerto Vallarta and he then returned to Riviera Nayarit as Executive Sous Chef at the Grand Velas Resort where he was responsible for maintaining AAA Five Diamond and The Leading Hotels of the World® quality standards in the resort’s restaurants.

After many years on the Pacific coast, his sights turned to the Mexican Caribbean and he joined Secrets Maroma Beach as Executive Sous Chef before moving to Zoëtry Paraiso de la Bonita & Impression as Executive Chef.

Chef Borbolla also taught gastronomy at the Technological University in Bahia de Banderas, Nayarit and at the Instituto Franco-Mexicano de Artes Culinarias in Puerto Vallarta. He has participated in a number of Food Festivals in Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Maya, the 2012 World Economic Forum and the Tianguis Turistico Travel Fair co-hosted by Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit.

He describes the fresh seafood from the Pacific coast of Mexico and European preparation techniques as having a great influence on his cuisine.

We are sure that you will want to join us in welcoming Chef Borbolla to Grand Residences and look forward to sampling his dishes.

We will be catching up with Chef Borbolla in a future edition of this newsletter

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New dining option: Caribbean night at Flor de Canela

Your Executive Chef Rafael Borbolla and his team have a new dining treat for you to try on your next Grand Residences vacation: Caribbean Night at Flor de Canela on Friday.

The tempting buffet includes dishes prepared with the exotic fruits and flavors of the islands with a hint of fragrant spices, coconut, plantain and rum.

For starters, help yourself to salad drizzled with tamarind or passion fruit dressing or fresh seafood ceviche with pineapple or mango and tuna, salmon and sea bass tiradito.

Hot dishes range from green banana and coconut soup, pork in dark beer and Cajun beef fillet to jerk chicken, salmon in mango and star anise sauce with sautéed spinach. Side dishes include Madras rice with plantain, pineapple, raisins and almonds, candied sweet potato and fried plantains.

From the show kitchen, try the breaded chicken brochettes, grilled beef and bell pepper brochettes and pastor-style pork brochettes with pineapple and onion. And because we are in the Mexican Caribbean, there are several tasty taco combinations on offer. Choose between fried shrimp, coconut and curry, octopus marinated in ajillo sauce and tuna carnitas or order a tostada piled with grilled shrimp.

Garnishes include Mexican salsas, chipotle, habanero and avocado dressing, diced onion and coriander, jicama, red cabbage and grated carrot.

Sweet temptations include the flavors of coconut, piña colada mousse, chocolate chiboust cream and caramelized bananas in rum, passion fruit fantasy and Caribbean tapioca. And after your meal be sure to order a glass of our finest island rum with coffee.

See you on Fridays at Flor de Canela for Caribbean Night and don’t forget Taco Tuesday! Ask your Concierge for details of all the other theme nights during the week at all our restaurants.

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New from Room Service, order prime beef and fish to cook in your villa

We know that many of our owners are budding chefs and love to cook in their gourmet kitchens during their stay. We are excited to tell you about a new option available exclusively for owners. You can now call Room Service to order prime steaks and fresh seafood to cook yourself.

The meat and seafood comes from the same suppliers that we use for the restaurants and is top quality. Owners have a preferential rate and the items available are:

  • Angus Filet mignon 280g/10oz
  • Angus New York 280g/10oz
  • Angus Rib-Eye 280g/10oz
  • Sterling Silver arrachera skirt steak 280g/10oz
  • Shrimp U15 160g (order of 6)
  • Catch of the day
  • Lobster tail 200g/8oz
  • Chicken breast 180g

Call Room Service to place your order.

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Protecting the planet, Grand Residences joins Earth Hour

On Saturday March 30 at 8:30 p.m., Grand Residences will be participating in Earth Hour, the global campaign organized by WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature or World Wildlife Fund) to draw attention to the accelerating effects of climate change and biodiversity loss and the urgent need to join forces to protect our planet.

Guests are invited to join in the Earth Hour activities organized during the day. They will include arts and crafts, tree planting and the iguana nature walk to enjoy with your children. Finally at 8:30 p.m., non-essential lights will be turned off around the resort for one hour and we hope that guests will join us by dimming the lights in their suites.

In 2018, 188 countries took part in Earth Hour and the lights on close to 18,000 of the world’s most famous landmarks were dimmed. Millions of people came together to take action, making pledges to protect the environment, whether at home, in the workplace or in their communities.

 

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Meet your neighbors: Alberta Kosik

Originally from Chicago, Alberta Kosik has been a Royal Resorts member since the early 80s and first stayed at The Royal Mayan. She says, “I fell in love with it,” and she purchased her first unit. Memberships followed at The Royal Sands, The Royal Cancun and The Royal Haciendas and she now has a beachfront unit and an ocean-view unit with a plunge pool at Grand Residences where she vacations with her children and grandchildren.

Alberta says, “My favourite words are ‘Welcome Home’. People here really mean it when they say it. All the Royal Resorts are beautifully kept and beautifully clean, I am amazed at the standards, they are impeccable.

She adds, “I usually bring my family and there is something for everyone here. We enjoy the beach and pools; the resort is large enough to walk around, we go out when we want to and the kids enjoy the bike rides into town.

“My Concierge and Cathy Duda first told me about Grand Residences and I bought pre-construction, I couldn’t say no. It is wonderful. I originally purchased a beachfront unit and then I found out that an ocean view unit with a plunge pool and lawn was available so I exchanged some weeks of my beachfront unit and purchased it too. So now I have weeks 12, 13 and 14 in the beachfront unit and weeks 51, 52 and week 1 in the ocean view unit.

“I love the private pool and the little garden. I am a keen gardener and I enjoy watching the gardeners at work around the resort. It is so lush and beautiful here, and the fresh flowers in your bathroom and bedroom are such fine touches.

Alberta admits, “I have to say that I love the Nespresso machine so much that I bought one for home. There are so many memories that you take home with you of relaxation and enjoyment that it puts a smile on your face as you sip your coffee.

“People are wonderful here and so polite,” Alberta adds, “I went on the back of house tour once to see behind the scenes and I saw the laundry where people come in and change into their freshly laundered and ironed uniforms. It is a well oiled machine and people appreciate what you do for them and the staff.”

When asked what she likes best about Grand Residences, Alberta replied, “The fact that once you get here you want for nothing! It is paradise. Everything is taken care of; it is magnificent. We have brought friends down with us and the typical comments they make are: ‘this is the best place we have ever been to. ‘I’m speechless, it is just so beautiful.’

“This year, we have been snorkeling and the grandchildren signed up for the cooking classes. We enjoy the resort restaurants and think that they are wonderful. We love Mexican food so Flor de Canela is our favourite; it is outstanding. We love El Faro Grill for breakfast. Everything is perfection and all so well prepared.

“We love the location and the amenities here, and the beach of course. You keep it so clean. I spend a lot of time at the pools and particularly like the lap pool.

“The staff are the best,” Alberta muses. “They are all quality people at Grand Residences and Royal Resorts as a whole. They are very polite and we’ll sometimes see them off duty in the local supermarket and they’ll say hello. I love Mexico and the Mexicans are very courteous, and that’s something I have noticed back home in Chicago too.

“My favorite spots in Puerto Morelos?” Alberta says, “I love the pier and the way that the fishermen go fishing from there and later unload and clean their catch. They feed the pelicans and gulls that gather to wait for morsels. It is entertaining to watch them.

“I think that once you have stayed at Grand Residences everything else pales in comparison. This truly is a Hotel of the World, right up there with the best of the best. The size of the units, the handcrafted furniture, the drapes, the terrace, everything is so magnificent and so well put together.

“I tell everyone to go to Puerto Morelos and to stay at Grand Residences. I always say that when I die and go to heaven I will be terribly disappointed if it isn’t like Grand Residences!

Alberta had this to say about perceptions of Mexico, “There’s never a moment that I don’t feel safe. We are very well looked after at the resort and we have never seen anything amiss in the area. It is important to remember that bad things can happen anywhere you are in the world.

“My favourite staff? That would be Griselda, my Concierge, and Catherine Duda, both of whom are lovely. Alberta adds, “Rudi, a long-time member of the Royal Resorts sales team, is also a friend and always checks up on us. All the beach staff are phenomenal. They give us fresh towels even after it rains and are on hand during the day to hand out water, cooling spray and snacks. Everybody is wonderful here.”

Alberta’s secret to getting through the year back home after her vacation is simple. She says, “I start planning my next trip on the flight back home. I’ll soon be back for week 13 and 14 and I’m always looking forward to it.

She explains, “I love the flexibility of Points, if we need larger units to accommodate a bigger group we can arrange it. We have had 12 people here at Grand Residences and we once had a family gathering of 17 at The Royal Haciendas. And the improvements at Cancun Airport mean that getting to the resort is quicker than ever.

We would like to thank Alberta Kosik for talking to us and we wish her many more happy vacations at Grand Residences.

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Every picture tells a story

Travel back in time on your next vacation and visit some of the Maya treasures that pepper the Yucatan landscape. Here’s our March gallery showcasing some of the most spectacular ancient sites to whet your interest. Remember, your Concierge can help you arrange trips to Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Tulum, Coba, Ek Balam and many other archaeological sites.

If you have a picture of Grand Residences, Puerto Morelos or a special place in the Yucatan or a vacation story that you would like to share with us, we would love to hear from you. Send us your pictures to memories@royalresorts.com and we’ll publish a selection in this newsletter.

 

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Spread the Word about Grand Residences

If you enjoy telling your friends, relatives and associates about Grand Residences and showing them photos of your home in paradise, why not help spread the word by participating in the Grand Residences Referral Program?

We want your referrals to discover the Grand Residences luxury vacation experience for themselves and we are willing to offer them, on your behalf, a special stay in a luxurious Junior Suite at Grand Residences at a greatly discounted rate, so that they can do just that.

To take advantage of this special offer the only requirement is that during their stay, your referred guests must attend a personalized resort preview of our Private Residence Club. We will show them our new vision of luxury living and what it would be like to have a beautiful home in paradise. If your referrals choose to become owners, you will receive 2% of the net purchase price of their Fraction in Royal Resorts Rewards that you can apply towards your annual Club Service fees, use to pay your club bill on your next vacation or make a donation to Royal Resorts Foundation charitable causes.

Start thinking about the people you know and that you think would be interested in the Grand Residences lifestyle. We would love to hear from you and look forward to showing your friends your beautiful resort home.

If you would like to make a referral, click here or call +52 (998) 881-0100 ext. 65846.

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The place of the turtles, a day in Akumal

Did you know that there’s a beach hideaway in the Riviera Maya that is actually called “the place of the turtles” in Maya? That’s right, Akumal (ak means turtle and lumal place in Maya) is a picture-perfect bay protected by a chain of coral reefs where green turtles can often be spotted swimming. They also venture into the bay to graze on sea grass beds and come ashore at night during the summer to lay their eggs on area beaches.

Akumal is a perennial family favorite; its sheltered waters and gentle surf are perfect for children. Spend the day on the palm-lined beach building sand castles with them – Mayan pyramids, mermaids, fish, dolphins and turtles are all popular subjects – and swimming and snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters of the bay.

Don a snorkel mask and flippers and head out towards the reef. You don’t have to go very far before you start to see a variety of colorful fish such as sergeant majors, butterfly fish and French grunts and you may even spot one of the turtles. Watching one swim by in the distance is a truly amazing experience.

Take a break from the beach to shop for Mexican crafts, textiles and jewelry in the stores and galleries clustered under the palm trees a short walk from the bay. You’ll find plenty of sea turtles carved from wood, modeled out of clay or as metal wall hangings and there are evocative pictures of Akumal and its turtles by local painters.

If you are feeling hungry, fresh seafood, shrimp tacos, tasty salads, sandwiches, homemade cakes and ice cream are all on the menu.

A short drive along the coast road to the north of Akumal beach is Half Moon Bay, a rocky cove where the reef comes closer to the shore. The snorkeling is good here too and the views just as beautiful. There’s a quirky tropical beach bar with swings, hammocks, thatched lookout towers and tables and benches made of tree trunks. Order a beer or margarita and enjoy the view. The water is so clear that you can sometimes see turtles coming up for air and spotted eagle rays and parrotfish swimming in the shallows.

Follow the coast road further north to the shores of Yalku, a turquoise-colored caleta or inlet of crystal-clear waters constantly replenished by cenotes and underground rivers, hence the refreshingly cool temperature.

A variety of colorful reef fish feed and breed among the mangrove roots and submerged rocks in the lagoon. You’ll be surrounded by inquisitive sergeant majors as soon as you enter the water. Start swimming and you’ll spot blue tangs, damselfish, angelfish, porkfish, parrotfish and barracuda, among others.

A local cooperative manages Yalku and charges a fee for admission. Life jackets are available and there are restrooms and a little open-air cafe.

Ask your Concierge

Your Concierge can help you arrange a day trip to Akumal. There is a small admission charge per person to the bay to fund conservation projects, including turtle protection. And why not stop off in Playa del Carmen for an early dinner and more shopping on the way back? You could also take your children to Playa Aquarium to see more of the colorful marine creatures that they saw earlier in the day in Akumal.

 

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Chichen Itza Equinox and the return of the feathered serpent

As the sun sets in the west and the shadows lengthen in the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza, a collective gasp of amazement goes up from thousands of people who gather at the foot of the Pyramid of Kukulcan on the spring equinox in March. They are witnessing an incredible sight, the mysterious shadow of a serpent rippling across the stone, the symbol of an ancient deity returning to earth.

Also known as El Castillo, the Pyramid of Kukulcan is a feat of ancient engineering and a solar clock, aligned to catch the rays of the setting sun on the days of the spring and fall equinoxes in March and September. Triangles of light and shadow form along the side of the north staircase and the figure of a snake appears, merging with the head of a stone snake at the foot of the pyramid. The illusion is created of a gigantic serpent slithering down from the heavens and across the plaza in the direction of the Sacred Cenote.

The snake symbolizes Kukulcan (also known as Quetzalcoatl in central Mexico), the feathered serpent god, who returns to earth to give hope to his followers and heralds the time for spring planting and fall harvest for the Maya.

Your Concierge can help you arrange a day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Chichen Itza for the Equinox, or at any other time of the year.   The spring equinox officially falls on March 20 in 2019. The light and shadow snake is visible the day before and after the equinox, cloud cover permitting.

Chichen Itza is not the only Mayan ceremonial center in the Yucatán to have temples with solar, lunar or planetary alignments. The doorway of the Temple of the Seven Dolls at Dzibilchaltun (13 miles north of Mérida) makes a perfect frame for the rising sun on the day of the Equinox.

 

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Guide to great fishing spots in the Mexican Caribbean

Calling all fishermen out there, mark your calendars. March is the start of the sport fishing season in the Mexican Caribbean.

The fastest predators in the sea, reaching speeds of over 68 miles an hour, sailfish and marlin move through area waters in the spring and summer in pursuit of huge shoals of migrating sardines, anchovies and mackerel. Snapper, dorado, bonito and wahoo are also plentiful and your captain and crew will take you right to where the fish are running.

Puerto Morelos and the Cozumel Channel

You don’t have to go far from Grand Residences to cast your line as some of the area’s best fishing grounds are right offshore from Puerto Morelos and south along the Riviera Maya coast. Marked by a line of indigo-colored water, an ocean trench called the Cozumel Channel runs between the coast and the island of Cozumel and is used by migrating big game fish.

East of Isla Mujeres

Fishermen also set sail from Cancun and Isla Mujeres heading for the Yucatan Channel, another ocean trench between Mexico and Cuba, which reaches depths of nearly 9,200 feet. Marlin, sailfish, shoals of tuna, manta rays, pods of dolphins and migrating whales are often spotted here.

Other boats head for the Arrowsmith Bank east of Punta Cancun, an underwater plateau rich in marine life.

Holbox

Just off the north coast of Quintana Roo in the Gulf of Mexico, the island of Holbox is another good place for fishing enthusiasts. After a day at sea, local fishermen are happy to sit on the beach at the end of the day and share stories of their lifelong quest for the biggest fish.

Costa Maya

Further south along the Costa Maya, the fishing villages of Mahahual and Xcalak also attract sport fishermen.

Fly fishing

Hidden in the mangroves, the shallow lagoons that stretch along the Quintana Roo coast offer a different challenge – they are rich in bonefish such as tarpon, permit and snook and attract fly fishermen from all over the world. There are fishing lodges in the Boca Paila area and Punta Allen in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Holbox and the Isla Blanca wetlands around Laguna Chacmochchuc to the north of Cancun are also good spots.

Catch and release

Local marinas adhere to the catch and release policy to help conserve fish stocks and we urge you to join their campaign. The thrill of being out on the waves in pursuit of sleek marlin and sailfish should be enough and we hope that you will liberate any game fish you catch.

Planning your fishing trip

If you enjoy fishing and are planning a day out on the high seas or want to go bone fishing, the concierge will help you organize fishing trips and boat charters.

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Raising money for education, Fourth Royal Resorts Foundation Race in Cancun

A field of 748 runners and walkers of all ages took part in the Fourth Royal Resorts Foundation Race on Sunday, February 17 in Cancun Hotel Zone. They were running for a good cause, to raise money for education.

Royal Resorts Foundation joined forces for the 2019 race with Fundacion Lomas to raise money for scholarships enabling low-income students to study for a university degree.

   Race competitors included Royal Resorts employees, members and local runners who joined in to support the cause. They ran 3, 5 or 10 kilometers or did the 3-kilometer walk and there was a Fun Run for children.

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Xavage Adventure Park to open in May

A new attraction is coming to Cancun this May. The latest adventure park from Grupo Xcaret, Xavage offers visitors a day of thrills on land, water and in the air.

Built with an investment of more than 50 million dollars, this new park is located to the south of Cancun Airport in an area of old limestone quarries near Xoximilco. There are six different activities for park-goers to try, all named after different wild creatures and with varying degrees of difficulty, from soft to extreme adventures.

  • Barracuda – White water Rafting
  • Puma – Rock Crawler vehicle
  • Dragonfly – Fierce Jet Boat
  • Hawk – Zip line flight
  • Howler Monkey – Intense Rope Course
  • Crocodile – Ultimate Kayaking
  • Serpent: Tough Cubs adventure playground for children

Xavage is the seventh park by Grupo Xcaret and complements the activities offered in Xplor Park and the Xplor Fuego evening adventure. Open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m, Xavage also has shaded rest areas with hammocks, lockers and rest rooms, a restaurant and store.

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Cancun flight news

Quintana Roo state tourism officials announced that Cancun Airport will receive new flights from Turkey, Quebec and Russia this year. Additionally, Spanish airline Evelop is boosting the number of summer flights from Madrid to five a week on larger planes with 432 seats.

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New museums in Yucatan

Are you planning a trip to Merida or Valladolid on your next vacation? If so, here are two new museums you might want to visit.

First up in Merida is the Museum of Yucatecan Cuisine (Museo de la Gastronomía Yucateca). This restaurant and museum is a tasty introduction to the flavors of the Yucatan and the history of regional cuisine, from the days of the ancient Maya to the coming of the Spaniards and the Caribbean and Middle Eastern recipes introduced by later settlers.

The museum is set around a beautiful old courtyard and has exhibits of recipe ingredients, herbs, spices and recados, which are the spice mixes mixed with Seville orange juice and stock, and traditional kitchen utensils. There is also a replica of a Mayan village with its thatched homes, cooking hearth and a pib or baking pit used to cook the classic Yucatecan dish cochinita pibil, marinated, slow-roasted pork.

The museum is located on Calle 62 No. 466 x 55 & 57 in Merida. There is Jarana folk dancing on Thursdays and live music on Fridays.

The colonial town of Valladolid also has a new museum, which is a must if you are interested in Mexico’s rich indigenous culture. The Mexican Ethnic Clothing Museum (Museo de Ropa Etnica de Mexico) or MUREM showcases traditional clothing worn by Mexico’s indigenous groups in 12 different regions of the country.

There are over 60 traditional outfits from Yucatan, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Veracruz, Puebla, Hidalgo and other parts of central Mexico, Chihuahua, Nayarit, Durango and Jalisco on display and more than 14 of the country’s indigenous groups are represented.

Embroidered huipiles for daily use stand next to colorful, ribbon-bedecked ceremonial tunics, a jaguar fighter mask and costume and the famous china poblana dress with frills and a full skirt.

Some garments date from the pre-Hispanic period and haven’t changed much in a thousand years, reflecting ancient beliefs and symbols of the natural world. Other dresses have a European design, lace and frills and were introduced during the Colonial period.

MUREM is located on Calle 41 in Valladolid and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

 

 

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CANCUN, RIVIERA MAYA & YUCATAN EVENTS

Here’s our monthly listing of upcoming festivals and events in Cancun, Riviera Maya and Yucatan.

Carnival, March 1-6 (dates vary slightly according to location)

From Cozumel, Cancun and Playa del Carmen to Merida and Campeche, it’s Carnival season.

Cozumel                     February 27 – March 6
Cancun                       March 1 – 5
Isla Mujeres               March 1 – 5
Playa del Carmen      February 28 – March 5
Merida                        February 26 – March 6
Valladolid                  February 23 – March 6
Campeche                  February 25 – March 5

Spring Equinox at Chichen Itza, March 20

The famous light and shadow serpent of Kukulcan appears on El Castillo Pyramid at Chichen Itza and descends from the heavens at sunset on the day of the Spring Equinox (March 20-22). It is also visible the day before and after, cloud cover permitting.
On the day of the Equinox the rising sun also appears through the doorway of the Temple of the Dolls in the ancient city of Dzibilchaltun to the north of Merida.

Holbox Fishing Tournament, Holbox, April 12-13

Easter Week, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Merida, Valladolid and elsewhere in Mexico, April 15 – 21

Masses, processions and reenactments of the Crucifixion, masses, floral carpets in the streets and more on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday.

Anniversary of Cancun, Cancun April 20

Masses, processions, exhibitions and more in Downtown Cancun to celebrate the 49th anniversary of the founding of Cancun.

Copa Capitan Ferrat Fishing Tournament, Cancun, April 19 – 21

One of the most important fishing tournaments in the Mexican Caribbean.

Volando al Paraiso Hot Air Balloon Festival, Cancun, April 19-21

Pok Ta Pok Golf course in the Cancun Hotel Zone will be the site for this Hot Air Balloon Festival and there will also be kite flying, cuisine, music and more.

Fundadores 2019 International Riviera Maya Fishing Tournament, Playa del Carmen, April 26-28

This fishing tournament attracts fishermen from all over the state and the Caribbean. Competitors are asked to follow catch and release policy to help preserve fish stocks.

Challenge Cancun Triathlon, Cancun, April 28

1,500 top triathletes gather in Cancun for this international triathlon. The swimming course is in the bay between Cancun and Isla Mujeres; the bike race circuit is from Casa Blanca Sports Club in Bonampak Ave to The Royal Sands in the Hotel Zone (two laps) and the running event will take place on Bonampak Ave.

Don Andres Garcia Lavin Tournament, Puerto Morelos, May 3-5

Sport fishermen make their way to Puerto Morelos in early May for the town’s popular fishing tournament.
Other May tournaments take place on Isla Mujeres from May 17 to 19 and in Playa del Carmen from May 24 to 26

Travesía Sagrada Maya 2019, Xcaret and Cozumel, May 17-18

The Sacred Mayan Crossing is the reenactment of an ancient pilgrimage. Oarsmen set sail from the port of Pole (now Xcaret) in wooden canoes bound for the island of Cozumel where they will worship at the shrine of Ixchel, the Maya goddess of the moon and fertility.

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Grand Residences Advisory Council meeting report

The 2018 Grand Residences Advisory Council meeting report and financial statement is available online in the Owners Area of www.grandresidencesbyroyalresorts.com (owner log in required). Owners may also request a printed copy from the Manager’s Office on their next visit to the resort.

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New Government Environmental Fee for all Hotel Guests in Puerto Morelos

Are you traveling to Grand Residences soon? If so, we would like to share information about a new municipal tax that was introduced in Puerto Morelos on January 1, 2019. As part of its work to protect the environment, the Puerto Morelos Municipal Government has begun charging an Environmental Sanitation Fee to all hotel and resort guests in the district.
This new initiative applies to Grand Residences owners and guests. In accordance with Puerto Morelos Municipal Finance Law, the Environmental Sanitation Fee that will be charged to your account at check out is as follows:

Room: $24.18 pesos per night
Suite $24.18 pesos per night
Villa (2 or 3-bedroom) $48.36 pesos per night

This fee is not covered by the annual Club Service Fees for Grand Residences owners or by All-Inclusive or European Plan room rates.

What will the taxes be used for?
The proceeds from this new Green Fee will be used to contribute to environmental protection and sanitation initiatives in Puerto Morelos, such as:

• Beach cleaning
• Water treatment
• Waste collection
• Reduction of carbon emissions with LED lighting
• Reef conservation
• Coastal wetland management
• Reforestation and other programs geared towards making Puerto Morelos a sustainable destination

Why is an Environmental Tax needed?

The white sand beaches and coral reefs of the Mexican Caribbean are world-famous; its jungles and wetlands are home to rare species of birds and animals. Yet visitor numbers and population growth are outpacing public services and placing pressure on area ecosystems. More action is needed to improve water treatment and waste management for the health of the environment. The new Green Fees charged by the Puerto Morelos Municipal Government will be used for such programs.
In the Riviera Maya, the Solidaridad Municipal Government began charging an Environmental Sanitation Fee to all hotel guests in Playa del Carmen and the surrounding area in the fall of 2017. The Cancun and Isla Mujeres municipal governments have also announced a similar eco tax for hotel guests to be implemented this year.
Worldwide, popular tourist destinations ranging from Barcelona to the Maldives have implemented similar green taxes.

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Dining treats to try in 2019

Your Grand Residences chefs have plenty of tempting dishes and theme nights in store for you on your next vacation. We do hope that you will dine in with us and enjoy your resort restaurants with family and friends.

Start the day with a hearty breakfast at El Faro Grill and enjoy a long, leisurely beachfront lunch at Heaven Grill.

Spend an evening or two sampling the a la carte dinner menu at El Faro Grill, prime steaks and seafood and be sure to pencil in some of the theme buffets. They include a BBQ, Italian, Argentinian, French and Seafood Night.

Are you in the mood for Mexican fare? Flor de Canela is the spot to sample some of the sophisticated flavors that have earned Mexican cuisine a World Heritage listing. And don’t miss Taco Tuesday, our popular theme night celebrating taco culture.

Ask your Concierge for more great Grand Residences dining ideas.

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Royal Resorts donates a Grand Residences Riviera Cancun stay to Naples Winter Wine Festival auction to help children in need

Royal Resorts has donated a stay at the exclusive Grand Residences Riviera Cancun for the Naples Winter Wine Festival online charity auction this January to help Florida children in need.

The lucky winning bidders will soon be heading to Grand Residences Riviera Cancun for their luxury getaway to enjoy the resort’s spectacular, secluded beach and acclaimed hospitality.

By donating the stay for the festival’s online auction, Royal Resorts and Grand Residences Riviera Cancun are supporting the Naples Children & Education Foundation. This charity has helped improve the lives of 275,000 underprivileged and at-risk children with early learning, healthcare, better nutrition, mental health initiatives, dental care, an after school program and eye care. Since the festival started in 2001, more than US$176 million has been raised to fund its childcare programs. #ItsAllForTheKids #NaplesWineFest

 

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Stay in touch with us online during the year

Check in with Grand Residences during the year by joining our social media community. Join us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for photos, updates, videos and much more from your Mexican Caribbean home away from home.

 

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Every picture tells a story

Are the January blues getting to you as you drive to work in the rain and snow? Here are some photos of our Mexican Caribbean seascapes to get you in the mood for your next vacation. Cast your mind back to the shades of turquoise you love so much and to the rainbow-colored reef fish you see when you go snorkeling.

If you have a picture of Grand Residences, Puerto Morelos or a special place in the Yucatan or a vacation story that you would like to share with us, we would love to hear from you. Send your pictures to memories@royalresorts.com. A selection of the photos we receive will be published in this newsletter.

 

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Joining us in February, how about competing in the Fourth Royal Resorts Foundation Race 2019?

Are you a runner and due to travel to Grand Residences in February? If so, why not sign up for the Fourth Royal Resorts Foundation Race? It’s on Sunday February 17, 2019 (week 7) in Cancun and if you are on vacation around that time we hope that you’ll bring your friends and family to support a worthy cause. On this occasion we are supporting a scholarship program that helps low-income students to get a university education.

Take part in the 5 or 10-kilometer race or the three-kilometer walk and there’s a Fun Run for the kids too.

Race details

• The race takes place on February 17 at 7 a.m. Starting point: Captain’s Cove Restaurant to Westin Regina and back again.
• 3, 5 or 10 kilometers
•Age categories for men and women
Free (15-39 years) Master (40-49 years) Veteran (50 and over)
• Race Fee is $280 pesos per adult and $230 pesos per child and includes a souvenir t-shirt and finalist’s medal, race number, chip, water and an isotonic drink at the finish line
Prizes will be given to the first three places in each category in the 5 and 10 km races for men and women. The first three Royal Resorts employees to cross the finish in the 5 and 10 km races for men and women will also receive prizes.

Children’s Fun Run

Bring the kids! There is a race for them too!
• Children aged 4 to 7 years
500 meters
• Children aged 8 to 12 years
1 kilometer

This year’s cause

The Race goal this year is to raise $435,000 pesos for a program that provides college scholarships for low-income students so that they can get their university degree. This is the equivalent of 12 scholarships.
The Royal Resorts Foundation partner for this year’s race is Fundacion Lomas, a charity that seeks to make a college education in Mexico accessible for all and to address the shortfall in Quintana Roo where a 2014-15 study indicated that more than 70 percent of 18 to 23 year olds had not gone to university.
Education is essential for development and combating poverty and by helping address the educational imbalance with college grants, Fundacion Lomas and the Royal Resorts Foundation will be giving opportunities and the hope of a better future to young people.
To date, Fundacion Lomas has given 247 scholarships and its goal is to grant 35 scholarships a year to students at senior high, technical college and university level. Fifteen grants are available for college students who need to do work experience as part of their degree. Ten additional scholarships are part of the Cero Rezago Educativo (No child left behind) program to enable students to complete primary and secondary studies so that they can continue to middle and higher learning.

Register for the 2019 Race today

Email: contact@royalresortsfoundation.org
Invite your friends and family to take part!

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Royal Resorts joins Ciudad de la Alegria Kings Day children’s toy convoy

Royal Resorts volunteers joined the Ciudad de la Alegria community center’s Dia de Reyes convoy on January 6 to give a Kings Day surprise of toys, sandals and candy to hundreds of children in Mayan villages in Quintana Roo and Yucatan.

There were two routes and two convoys, one to communities in the Tulum-Coba area and the other following a route through northern Quintana Roo and Yucatan, which called at remote hamlets and villages in the Xcan-Tizimin area, accessible by single lane roads.

The children were greeted by the Three Kings and then lined up to receive toys, sandals and candies from the volunteers. There were piñatas to be broken, more candies to collect and some lucky children even took home bikes they won in a raffle.

Other volunteers distributed clothes and food and there were grocery boxes for elderly residents. One couple had even brought biscuits for the village dogs.

More than 2,900 toys and pairs of sandals were given out during the day. Many of the toys were donated by Royal Resorts members, guests and employees and we thank them for their help in spreading happiness to so many children.

Learn more about the Royal Resorts Foundation and its causes: study scholarships for children, the fight against cancer, physiotherapy for children, employee emergency relief in times of serious illness, support for community programs and conservation.

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Tips for places to visit in the Mexican Caribbean and the Yucatan

Looking for new adventures in the Mexican Caribbean and Yucatan for this year’s Grand Residences vacation? Here are five sightseeing ideas for you.

Beach Bliss

Of course the beach at Grand Residences is paradise but when the spirit of wanderlust takes hold, you can’t go wrong with a day of beach hopping in the Riviera Maya and beyond.
Head for Xpu-Ha and the perennial family favorite in the Riviera Maya, the palm-lined bay in Akumal. Visit Tulum or take a ferry to the islands of Cozumel and Isla Mujeres and relax under the palms on beaches like Isla’s Playa Norte.

 

Jungle Adventures

If you have never experienced the thrill of zip lining or rappel, perhaps 2019 is the year that you’ll decide to try some of the Riviera Maya’s jungle adventures. Fly through the forest canopy on zip lining circuits at adventure parks like Selvatica and Xplor. Swim and snorkel in cenotes and underground rivers, rappel down cenote walls and explore the caves of Rio Secreto and Aktun Chen.
If you prefer your jungle adventures to be on the ground, how about a bird watching trip in a nature reserve or horseback riding? Both are offered in the Puerto Morelos area.

 

Mighty Uxmal

May this be the year that you travel further afield in the Maya World to visit the beautiful ancient Mayan city of Uxmal in southern Yucatan. Like Chichen Itza, Uxmal and a chain of smaller archaeological sites nearby, collectively known as the Puuc Route, are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Uxmal is famous for the artistry of its stone carvings and for temples and palaces such as the Magician’s Pyramid, the Nuns’ Quadrangle, the Palace of the Governor, the Great Pyramid, the Temple of the Birds and the Dovecote. It is an hour’s drive south of Merida.
After your Uxmal visit, spend the day exploring the archaeological sites of Kabah, Sayil, Labna and Xlapak, then stop off for lunch in the colonial towns of Mani, Oxkutzcab or Ticul. There’s also a Chocolate Museum to visit at Hacienda Uxmal in Uxmal.

 

Holbox Hideaway

Located in the Gulf of Mexico, a short ferry ride from the port of Chiquila, the island of Holbox is a treasure. Tropical and relaxed, it is a place to slow down and reconnect with nature. Long walks on the beach, fishing and birding trips, glorious sunsets, fresh seafood and the chance to see the whale sharks, manta rays and sea turtles in the summer are its charms.

 

Bacalar, Lagoon of Seven Colors

Located in southern Quintana Roo, Bacalar, the Lagoon of Seven Colors, is definitely worth the drive. Seven colors, aquamarine, azure, turquoise and indigo, shimmer in the sun in this long lake set amidst the emerald green of the jungle and mangroves. There are boat trips and kayaks for hire in Bacalar village.
Built in 1729 to protect the village from marauding pirates, the colonial San Felipe Fort overlooking the lagoon is now the site of a Pirate Museum.

Ask your Concierge for more sightseeing ideas and for assistance in booking these and many more incredible travel adventures in the area.