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Meet the team

Meet your new Guest Relations Manager, Julio César Escandón. Julio takes over from Alberto Monzón who has left Grand Residences to pursue new career opportunities.

Many of you already know Julio. He has been with Grand Residences for two years now as one of the Butlers and his hospitality and outstanding service have earned him the most guest mentions on TripAdvisor this year. Julio’s friendliness, dedication and attention to detail will be an asset for this key post in our Resort Management team.

Julio will be on call to assist you and your guests during your stay at Grand Residences and will also be coordinating the Butler department.

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Turtle season 2018

How are the turtles doing this summer? It’s a slow season so far with 10 turtles coming ashore to lay eggs on the beach in front of the resort to date, and the eggs in two nests set to hatch in the next few days.

The number of nests at the three Royal Resorts in Cancun where turtles come ashore is also lower than 2017 and stands at 60 nests as of July 24. All are green turtle nests with the exception of six containing eggs laid by loggerhead turtles and one with hawksbill turtle eggs.

Turtle nesting is cyclical; a busy turtle season like 2017 is invariably followed by a slower year. This seems to be the case in the Mexican Caribbean so far this summer with the numbers of nesting turtles reported at different locations along the coast being lower than last year.

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What’s on the menu?

Chef Yann Cozic has been adding more delicious dishes to the El Faro lunch and dinner menus for your Grand Residences gourmet dining experience. So be sure to pay a visit during your stay, you’ll find something for everyone and all his recipes are incredibly tasty.

For lunch, appetizer choices include tuna sashimi, ceviche and Mediterranean burrata cheese to spinach, apple and goat cheese or niçoise salad and a classic Mexican trio of soups: lime, tortilla and corn and huitlacoche mushroom. Order a burger, a cochinita pibil or grilled beef baguette, serrano ham, mozzarella, pear and rocket tartine or avocado toast brioche.

Heartier lunch options range from grilled rib-eye and BBQ ribs to chicken stroganoff, seafood pasta, catch of the day, mussels mariniere and Chef Yann’s famous wok stir fries.

For dinner choose from starters such as a classic Mediterranean fritto misto of shrimp, squid and vegetables, beef carpaccio, shrimp salad or asparagus in orange mousseline sauce. Salads include caprese, goat cheese, beet and green apple and tuna tataki with mango. There’s clam chowder, French onion soup and a delicate Oriental cream of carrot and coconut, shrimp and scallops with a hint of ginger and lemongrass.

Main courses range from steak Diane, Rib-eye and New York, chicken supreme and duck breast in red wine sauce to tender, slow-cooked spring lamb. Seafood options include sautéed shrimp, grilled salmon and freshly caught grouper.

And there are more new dishes to sample at Flor de Canela as Chef Yann and his team take you on a culinary journey through Mexico. Discover the flavors of Michoacan, Oaxaca, Puebla, Veracruz and Yucatan at our signature Mexican restaurant and don’t miss Taco Tuesday.

Buen provecho, Bon appetit, enjoy!

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Kitchen excellence, top marks in Distintivo H inspections

For the second year running, the Grand Residences restaurant team has achieved a 100% score in the Distintivo H inspections of the kitchens and food storage facilities.

Distintivo H is a seal of approval awarded by the Mexican Tourism Board and the Ministry of Health for excellence in food preparation and kitchen hygiene.

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Summer fun

The Activity Center has a fun program of sports, games and classes lined up for adults and teens this summer. You can find details on TV by tuning into the Royal Channel; check the Activity Center notice boards or ask your Concierge.

Start the day at 8 a.m. with yoga, pilates or fine tune your game in the tennis clinic held three times a week. Practice your Spanish, learn new dance steps or take part in the stretching class at 9 a.m. Go for a walk along the beach or the bike trip (reservations required) at 10 a.m. and on Friday there is a table tennis tournament. At 11 a.m. on different days of the week you can join zumba, aqua fitness and bracelet making sessions, a salsa class and even a basic survival skills workshop on the beach.

For more pool fun at noon take part in the aqua fitness class or water polo and there’s a total body exercise class in the Activity Center on Thursday. Don’t miss poolside bingo at 1 p.m. and activities at 2 p.m. during the week range from towel origami, darts matches and a paper plane challenge to movie and music quizzes.

Head for the beach at 3 p.m. for a game of soccer or volleyball. You’ll have more fun in the Activity Center with DJ classes and karaoke and there’s pool volleyball and family bingo. Later in the afternoon you can play card games, table football and tennis and compete in a Just Dance tournament.

Sign up for a cooking or cocktail class, indulge your creative side with pottery painting and don’t miss movie night. It’s afternoon tea time on the lobby terrace at 4 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (reservations required) and we hope you’ll join us on Monday at 5 p.m. for the Manager’s Cocktail.

What about the children? There’s a non-stop program of activities for them too. With so many games, sports, arts and crafts to keep them busy and entertained in the Kids Club they’ll never want to leave.

Activities are subject to change without prior notice.

 

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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 3 night/4 day 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.

SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT GRAND RESIDENCES

If you would like to make a referral

Call +52(998) 881-0100 ext. 65846. or

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Every picture tells a story

Holbox

Five hundred miles of coast, endless white sands bathed by turquoise waters and rimmed by emerald green jungle. The beaches of Quintana Roo, the Mexican Caribbean, are some of the world’s favorites. They range from perfect palm-lined bays and tiny rocky coves to breezy beaches facing the open ocean. Holbox, Playa Norte, Playa Delfines, our own Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Akumal, Cozumel, Xcacel, Tulum, Majahual…this month’s photo gallery takes you on a beach-hopping safari along our spectacular shoreline. How many of these beaches have you visited? Why not send us pictures of your favorite beaches?

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, drop us a line. Send us your pictures to memories@royalresorts.com.  A selection of the photos we receive will be published in this newsletter.

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Amazing encounters with nature

This summer renew your bond with nature with an amazing encounter with some of the Yucatan’s wild creatures, seasonal visitors and year-round residents. Here are two unforgettable experiences to get you started.

 

Gentle giants

First up, it’s whale shark season and your chance to swim and snorkel side by side with the world’s largest fish. Lone ocean wanderers crossing the tropical seas in search of food, these gentle giants gather in the waters of the Mexican Caribbean from mid-May to mid-September to feast on the plankton that blooms in the summer heat.

Scientists believe that the whale shark feeding grounds off the coast of Holbox and Cabo Catoche and to the east of Contoy and Isla Mujeres attract what is the largest aggregation or gathering of whale sharks in the world. In addition to plankton, they have discovered that the sharks are partial to fish roe. The bonito or little tunny, a member of the tuna family, lays its eggs in area waters in the summer. Similar findings have been made in Belize where the whale sharks gather to eat snapper eggs in the springtime.

Guided eco trips are available to see the whale sharks and the thrill of watching these immense creatures filter feeding on the water surface is indescribable. You may be daunted at first by their immensity but as you swim alongside them with your guide, at a distance of at least five meters, you’ll see how peaceful they are.

More ocean giants, graceful manta rays, also gather to sup on the plankton and you may see them leaping from the water in flight. Dolphins and sea turtles can also be spotted during your boat ride to the whale shark feeding grounds.

 

Pretty in pink

Did you know that the Yucatan is home to the largest breeding colony of wild Caribbean flamingos in the world? More than 37,000 of these birds live in the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve on the Gulf coast. They fan out from the reserve feeding in the wetlands and lagoons along the shoreline, flying as far as Holbox, Cozumel and Sian Ka’an. There are also flamingo colonies in Celestun Biosphere Reserve and Los Petenes Reserve in Campeche.

Boat trips are available from the fishing village of Rio Lagartos. Local fishermen trained as eco guides take you through the mangroves, lagoons and the strange landscape of the salt flats to see the flamingos, and other birds such as herons, egrets, spoonbills, skimmers and pelicans that feed in the shallows. Besides flamingos, the reserve is home to 394 species of birds, in addition to crocodiles, jaguars, deer, peccary and other creatures.

When you see the ribbon of pink on the horizon or a flock of flamingos coming in to land you’ll be struck by the dazzling shade of their salmon plumage, much brighter than their Andean and African cousins. This is due to their diet of minute brine shrimp or artemia found only in the Yucatan wetlands.

If you want to go further afield, plan a trip to Celestun Biosphere Reserve on the west coast of the peninsula. The mangrove forest is even taller and denser here and your boat will take you past flamingos stepping out in single file through the water. Look through the trees and you’ll spot emerald green pygmy kingfishers, secretive tiger herons and hawks.

Biologists working in the Ria Lagartos Reserve announced earlier this year that they had counted a record 21,960 nests. In total, the population of flamingos in the Yucatan Peninsula is estimated at around 90,000 birds.

During the spring and summer, the flamingos are busy feeding their chicks. The best time to see them year-round is at sunrise and sunset.

Ask your Concierge for more nature trip recommendations.

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Seaweed landings

It is natural for seaweed to wash up on the beach from season to season, after storms and in the summer heat. However, this summer larger quantities of two species of seaweed known as Gulfweed or Sargassum (Sargassum natans and Sargassum fluitans) are coming ashore from time to time in the Riviera Maya, Cancun and other parts of the Mexican Caribbean. These landings occur periodically, the amount of seaweed varies and not all beaches are affected.

Similar landings are occurring in the Caribbean islands and along the Gulf coast of the United States.

The word Sargassum comes from the Portuguese word sargaço, which means “little grapes,” a reference to the air-filled bladders that enables it to float on the surface and move with the currents. Unlike other algae that are rooted in the seabed or attached to rocks or corals, pelagic or free floating sargassum grows and reproduces as it drifts through the water.

Pelagic Sargassum is historically associated with the Sargasso Sea in the North Atlantic Ocean where vast beds of it are a habitat for marine life such as microscopic plants, shrimp, crabs, sea horses, baby fish and turtles.

Sometimes ocean currents transport lines or patches of this seaweed to areas beyond the Sargasso Sea. However, biologists believe that the Sargassum affecting the Caribbean islands and the coast of Quintana Roo may have a different source, an area off the coast of northern Brazil, thousands of kilometers away. The causes of the seaweed proliferation or bloom have been attributed to rising sea temperatures due to global warming and excessive nutrients in the water flowing into the sea from the Amazon River and its many tributaries. The appearance of drifting mats of sargassum where they were previously very rare may also be linked to variations in currents and wind patterns.

Beach cleaning

A statewide campaign is underway to track the movement of patches of drifting sargassum and to collect and dispose of the seaweed when it comes ashore on public beaches in different parts of the Mexican Caribbean. The Mexican government has pledged additional funds for beach cleaning during the summer. Many hotels and resorts have their own cleaning programs and there are volunteer beach cleaning initiatives too.

In Puerto Morelos, the local authorities are now using a boat to collect the seaweed before it reaches the shallows while brigades dispose of patches that have already come ashore.

   At Grand Residences, a mechanized beach sweeper operates twice a day. If needed, the resort’s team of gardeners is on call to offer additional support.

   Seaweed washes up on the beach naturally and is an important habitat for marine life. The presence of seaweed does not mean that beaches are polluted.

Showering after swimming is recommended and swimsuits should be rinsed out after use. Seaweed will not sting you. However, microscopic creatures or insects may be trapped in the weed and can occasionally irritate the skin, hence the recommendation to rinse off after sea bathing.

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Merida’s history by night

Are you planning a visit to Merida, the historic state capital of the Yucatan? If you are, don’t miss the video mapping projections in the main square. First up is Casa de Montejo, the residence of the Montejo family, the founders of Merida, where A Meeting of Two Worlds: Dialogue of a Conquistador is screened on Wednesday evening at 8:30 p.m. This tells the story of the Conquest of the Yucatan by Francisco de Montejo “El Adelantado” and the fate of the Maya. The projection is narrated by a guide and is followed by a jarana folk dance performance.

The imposing San Ildefonso Cathedral is the backdrop for the next video mapping on Friday at 8:30 p.m. Sacred Stones tells the story of the founding of Merida amidst the ruins of a much earlier Maya city called T’ho and the construction of churches, convents and mansions during the Colonial period.

There is another video mapping projection at the Monumento a la Patria on Paseo Montejo. All three video mapping events are free of charge.

Also on Friday and Saturday evenings is Noche de Leyendas, a walking tour to watch street theater that makes the history of the colonial city come alive. The tour starts outside Peon Contreras Theater at 9 p.m. Tickets must be purchased two hours before the show begins.

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EVENTS IN CANCUN, RIVIERA MAYA & YUCATAN

Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Izamal, August 15, Izamal
Masses, processions, traditional dances and music in Izamal, a historic town in the Yucatan famous for its colonial convent and surrounding buildings all painted in bright yellow with a white trim. Izamal shares the distinction of being one of the Yucatan’s twin Pueblos Magicos or “Magical” Towns with Valladolid, a name given to smaller Mexican communities that are rich in history and traditions or are the site of natural wonders.

168th Anniversary of the Settlement of Isla Mujeres, August 17
Isla Mujeres celebrates its anniversary in August, 168 years since the first settlers in the modern era founded the village of Dolores. Isla Fest events include processions, dance performances, live music and more.

Mexican Independence, September 15 &16
Mexico celebrates the anniversary of its Independence from Spain with delicious food, music and colorful festivities the night of September 15 and processions on September 16.

Fiesta del Cristo de Las Ampollas, September 27, Merida
The patron saint of Merida is honored with masses, pilgrimages, processions and traditional dances.

10th Bird Festival, Cozumel, October 12- 14
Bird watching tours, conferences, environmental education workshops and the 2nd National Meeting of Coordinators of the CONABIO Urban Bird Program

6th Cancun International Festival of Music, Cancun, October 18 to 27
More than 300 musicians of 12 nationalities will take to the stage during the festival. Different musical genres and venues.

7th Festival of Maya Culture (FIC Maya), Merida, October 19 – 28
This year’s FIC Maya Festival showcases the Maya of today, the descendants of the ancient temple builders. Scattered across Quintana Roo, Yucatan, Campeche, Tabasco and Chiapas in southeast Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, parts of El Salvador and Honduras, they speak 31 different languages and keep faith with many ancient beliefs and customs. Learn about their traditions, farming, cuisine, their art, textiles, timeless rituals, music, dance and festivals. The program will feature seminars and round tables, concerts, film, theater, dance performances and more.

This year, the Mexican state of honor is Aguascalientes, also famous for its textiles and embroidery. The guest country is India, another nation rich in traditions that is home to ancient cultures dating back thousands of years.

Festival de Vida y Muerte, Xcaret Park, October 30 – November 2
Hosted by Xcaret Park, the Festival of Life and Death Traditions showcases one of Mexico’s richest and most colorful customs, the Day of the Dead or Día de Muertos, which takes place on November 1 and 2. At this time of year, Mexicans believe that the souls of the departed come back to the world of the living for a short time. They welcome their loved ones with altars laden with flowers, food, treasured possessions and other offerings, and with candlelit vigils, masses and serenades.

The Festival program features processions, altars, traditional cuisine, art exhibits, music, dance, theater, children’s events and a visit to the colorful Mexican cemetery. Each year, a different Mexican state is invited to participate in the Festival and showcase its Day of the Dead traditions and this year it is the turn of Zacatecas. Located in the northern uplands, Zacatecas is a state rich in history.

OHL Classic at Mayakoba, PGA golf in the Riviera Maya, November 5 -11, 2018
A field of players that includes some of the PGA’s leading young players and former champions gathers for the OHL Classic at El Camaleón Golf Club in Mayakoba.

10th Xel-Ha Triathlon, Xel-Ha, November 17-18
Over 2,000 triathletes are expected to compete in this year’s Xel-Ha Triathlon. The money raised from this event is donated to Flora, Fauna y Cultura de Mexico, A.C. to support conservation projects.

Riviera Maya Jazz Festival, Playa del Carmen, November 29 – December 1, 2018
Playa Mamitas in Playa del Carmen will be the venue for one of the year’s most popular events, the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival. The festival program has yet to be announced.

Visit the Royal Resorts blog at www.royalresorts.com for listings of more events during the year.