Three in a row, Grand Residences wins Wine Spectator award

Great news for the wine lovers among you! Grand Residences has received Wine Spectator magazine’s 2019 Award of Excellence for El Faro Grill. This is the third year running and our congratulations go out to Manager Daniela Trava, Chef Rafael Borbolla and Sommelier Javier Moreno.

   The El Faro Grill wine list features 150 wines and according to the magazine listing on Restaurants.WineSpectator.com its particular strengths are Mexican and French wines. 

    The wine list includes wines from famous French, Spanish and Italian vineyards and from the Americas, from Mexico and the United States to Chile and Argentina. 

   If you want to try a Mexican wine, there are wines from leading producers such as Casa Madero and Santo Tomás and from smaller vineyards in Mexico that are winning acclaim.  Ask the Sommelier to recommend a bottle.


Salsa Night

Star-studded Mayan heavens, a Riviera Maya breeze and the tropical island beat, join us for Salsa Night on the pool deck on Thursdays. Dance the night away to music played by our Latin trio Salsa con V. From 6:30 p.m.

   For more musical evenings, there’s jazz on Tuesdays and Fridays at Heaven Grill and a Mexican duo to serenade you in Flor de Canela.


Dish of the month

Have you tried the Dish of the Month in Flor de Canela? Every month the Chef selects a different dish from all over Mexico to offer as a special. This month it is Pescado a la Talla, a tasty recipe from the Pacific coast of grilled fish in a guajillo chili marinade. Why not order it? And be sure to ask about the Dish of the Month on your next trip down. 

   Recipes previously showcased as Dish of the Month include the Tlayuda, a huge tostada from Oaxaca topped with steak, refried beans, Oaxaca cheese, lettuce, avocado and radishes; Queso Relleno, stuffed cheese from the Yucatan and 

Shrimp Huatape, a seafood, corn and herb broth from northern Veracruz and Tamaulipas.


Argentinian Grill

The meat lovers among you will want to try the Argentinian Grill, one of the tempting theme nights in store during the week. 

   Start off with freshly made empanadas or turnovers with a meat, mushroom, caprese or Mediterranean filling. For your main course order succulent Wagyu beef grilled to perfection or the catch of the day: a whole fish. There are salads, vegetables and sauces and of course lashings of chimichurri.

   Desserts include Alfajores, the traditional Argentinian cookies, fruit tart, and Suspiro Limeño, the Peruvian take on dulce de leche.

    After the Argentinian Grill you’ll be ready to try the other delicious theme nights during the week. Ask your Concierge for details.


Sweet delights, meet Pastry Chef Alicia

She was recruited by Secrets Maroma in the Riviera Maya and after her three-month trial period took advantage of the internal trainee program, choosing to work in Restaurants and learn her craft in the Bakery and Pastries section. After eight months as a Bakery Assistant, she was quickly promoted to Baker and a job as Pastry Chef soon followed. She learned how to work under pressure, studying new recipes, techniques and presentations as she prepared desserts, petit fours, ice creams, candies and pastries for all the restaurants and buffets, which ranged from French, Italian, Mexican to Asian.

Alicia says,” The Chef began to give me more responsibilities and appointed me as Supervisor. I was at the resort for six years before moving to Grand Residences. I have been here for four months as Head Baker and Pastry Chef and I love it.” She adds, “During my childhood in Palenque, I thought I might like to go into catering. My parents were bakers and I used to sell the warm bread in the neighborhood. I think a seed was planted back then and I am lucky enough to be pursuing my dreams.”

“This job is my greatest challenge so far and I am going to give it everything. I may not have all the theory yet, but I have the hands-on experience and organizational skills and I learn something new every day. I love French and Italian pastry making – I could say that they are my inspiration. I enjoy pairing classic recipes with tropical flavors and ingredients that Mexico has given the world, such as chocolate, chili and vanilla. I once created a glazed Caribbean dessert with all the flavors of a piña colada, rich in passion fruit, pineapple and coconut. It was a hit.”

The use of chocolate is a consummate art and Alicia was lucky enough to work with Alan Espinosa, a Mexican chef who is one of the world’s leading chocolatiers. She picked up techniques to strengthen the chocolate after crystallization and tempering to give it greater pliability for use in modeling figures. She explains, “I also love making special cakes, such as wedding, anniversary or birthday cakes. I channel my emotions and think about how happy I want to make the recipient and that inspires me, gives purpose to my research and spurs my creativity.”

Alicia is hard at work creating delectable desserts and cakes for you to try on your next visit. A new dessert menu will be launched this month in Flor de Canela. She is changing the room amenities – the cookies and chocolate petit fours left as delicious surprises in the suites, enhancing the presentation of the cakes and pastries served during afternoon tea and adding more flavors to the wedding cake collection. She has also changed all the desserts offered as part of the Seafood and International buffets. The International dessert table features sweets from France, Italy, Mexico and the Far East.

Her next project is to create a new dessert menu for El Faro Grill and the remaining theme nights.

In charge of a team of six in the bakery and dessert section, Alicia’s days are very busy and varied. She oversees the bakery inventory and purchasing, supply delivery and expiration dates. She keeps an eagle eye on kitchen hygiene, taste control and presentation in her section. She checks the dessert stations in the restaurants and ensures that they are kept constantly supplied with cakes and sweets. She compiles reports, registering which desserts are the most popular and which room amenities are requested the most. She develops new dessert menus with Executive Chef Borbolla. And then she finds the time to work on her own stunning creations!

She recommends that Grand Residences owners try the Corn Cake or Pastel de Elote. “We make it with tender young corn kernels so that it is really creamy and flavorful. And it is gluten-free,” she adds, “Another new one to try is our Chocolate Tart with a hint of guajillo chili pepper, there’s a Mexican artisanal chocolate cream with sesame nougat and we have an exquisite apple, mint and pomegranate dessert in the shape of a poblano chili as a tribute to our national dish, Chiles en Nogada. I invite you to try all our new desserts and cakes. Forget about your diet, you are on vacation! You’ll love the flavors, textures, presentation and the marriage of ingredients. We want every bite to be delightful, a memory to treasure.”

Alicia keeps up with the latest tendencies in the pâtisserie world and admires the creations of Chef Antonio Bachur and the Roca Brothers, saying, “Their desserts are incredible. Bachur makes everything from petit fours to gateaux and they are all spectacular.” She is quick to point out however, that it isn’t all about presentation; a dessert must taste as heavenly as it looks. Attention to flavor is all-important and she checks every stage of the dessert making process.

Finally, she hopes that during your vacation you will also try some of the traditional savory dishes that have earned Mexican cuisine its rightful place on the UNESCO World Heritage list, saying: “Try mole from Oaxaca or Puebla, chilies rellenos, antojitos or Mexican street food and even some of the many dishes we make using beans.”

Only 28 years old, Alicia is an engaging and creative spirit, happy to be part of a great team in Grand Residences and working to create a gourmet dining experience that exceeds your expectations.



Every picture tells a story

This month we showcase five unforgettable experiences to enjoy during a Mexican Caribbean summer. Swim in crystal-clear cenotes in the depths of Riviera Maya caves.  Visit the islands of Isla Mujeres and Holbox. Climb the Nohoch Mul pyramid and gaze out over the jungle in Coba. Go for a sunset cruise and swim with the gentle giants, the whale sharks. 

   Be sure to follow Grand Residences on Instagram @grandresidences to see more pictures from your home in paradise.

    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.


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. 

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


Mayan splendor: exploring southern Yucatan

If you plan to go exploring this summer, why not spend a couple of days in the Yucatan visiting the state capital Merida and then heading south in search of Mayan history. 

   In the Puuc Hills an hour’s drive south of the Yucatan capital, Uxmal is one of the loveliest ancient cities in the Maya World. During the Late Classic period of Maya history (AD 600-900), it was a regional capital, controlling the hills and a chain of smaller cities known as the Puuc Route: Kabah, Sayil, Xlapak and Labna. 



Puuc-style architecture and art

Apart from location, these archaeological sites share a unique architectural and artistic style called Puuc. In recognition of their outstanding beauty and exquisite stone carvings, UNESCO declared them a World Heritage area in 1996.

    Most Puuc-style buildings are long and low and feature columns, arches and courtyards. The lower half of the walls are smooth and give way to elaborate carved friezes featuring masks depicting Chaac, the rain god, on the upper section. As water was scarce in the area, Chaac was especially revered. At Uxmal and other sites the Maya built chultunes or reservoirs to store precious summer rainfall.



The Pyramid of the Magician soars above the trees, dominating the Uxmal skyline. It calls forth visions of powerful priests and lords ascending the steps to the rooftop temple to chant prayers and burn copal or incense in honor of the gods. Legend has it that the pyramid was built by a dwarf in a night, archaeologists have ascertained, however, that it has five different building phases. Mayan rulers would often erect new temples on top of those of their ancestors, thus concentrating sacred power and legitimizing their own rule.

   Owing its name to the Spanish conquistadors, the Cuadrangulo de las Monjas or Nuns’ Quadrangle is a courtyard surrounded by four palace-like buildings with magnificent friezes. Each façade is different: a mosaic of fretwork adorned with two-headed serpents, Chaac masks, owls, jaguars, warriors, and even thatched huts.

   An arch leads visitors out on the courtyard towards the Ball Court and a short climb leads them to the Palace of the Governor, one of the Maya World’s greatest treasures and testimony to the genius of long lost artists. A mosaic of geometric designs and masks adorns the façade and the play of light and shadow across the stone creates the illusion of a huge snake undulating across the surface. Snakes were associated with fertility and water, as were turtles, and the façade of the nearby House of the Turtles features sculptures of these creatures.

   The Great Pyramid lies on a mound next to the Palace of the Governor; the presence of macaws and parrots on the temple frieze led archaeologists to believe that it was associated with the sun god. 

   Other buildings at Uxmal include El Palomar (Dovecote), really a series of nine roof crests, the Cemetery, the House of the Old Woman and the Temple of the Birds between the Pyramid of the Magician and Las Monjas.  



Puuc Route

Thirty minutes south of Uxmal, Kabah is the second largest site in the Puuc hills and was one of its vassals. It is famous for the Codz Poop, or the Palace of the Masks, a name that does justice to its magnificent façade consisting of 250 masks depicting Chaac, the Mayan rain god.

   Seven kilometers south of Kabah is Sayil, which means “place of the ants” in Maya. The principal building on site is the three-tiered Palace, a long building containing 94 chambers, porticos, columns, Chaac masks and sculptures of the descending or diving god, also seen in Tulum on the Caribbean coast.

   The smallest of the Puuc Route sites, Xlapak is best known for the Palace, a tiny but richly carved building in a forest clearing.

   Ten kilometers to the east of Sayil, Labna is famous for its huge arch, which was the gateway between the ceremonial plaza and a courtyard surrounded by palaces in ancient times. The arch has an open work roof comb and its finely carved façade features Chaac masks, Mayan huts, nobles and geometric motifs.


Also in southern Yucatan

Southwest Yucatán offers much more than the Puuc Route. Using Mérida or Uxmal as their base, visitors can call in at Ticul, a pottery and shoe producing community or the bustling market town of Oxkutzcab, explore the caves at Loltún or Tecoh or the archaeological sites of Oxkintok and Chacmultun. There are old henequen haciendas to visit and historic villages along the Convent Route.

   The Convent Route is a string of 16th and 17th-century churches and convents in villages along Highway 18. The route starts at Acanceh, which also has a Mayan temple, and continues to Tecoh, Telchaquillo (take the short detour to visit Mayapán, the last ancient city of the Yucatecan Maya), Tekit, Mama, Teabo and Maní, site of a Franciscan convent with a small museum. 


Ask your Concierge

Your Concierge can help you plan trips to Merida and Uxmal.


Face to face with the whale sharks

A reminder that if you are here this summer and are looking for nature adventures, you have the chance to face to face with the world’s largest fish, the whale shark, in an unforgettable encounter with true gentle giants.

    These beautiful creatures gather to feast on plankton and fish roe in the Mexican Caribbean during the summer months. See them on eco trips to the zona de afuera or blue waters to the east of Isla Mujeres and Contoy or off the coast of Holbox and Cabo Catoche. 

   Pelicans and frigate birds fly overhead as you sail past Contoy. Pods of playful dolphins often swim alongside boats and you may also spot turtles and giant manta rays feeding. 

Eco tips

Sun products are not permitted in the whale shark feeding areas so wear a t-shirt when in the water. Follow the orders of your eco guide at all times. Swim alongside the whale sharks at a distance and do not touch them.

Ask your Concierge

Swimming with whale sharks is an unforgettable experience and if you are interested in the natural world, you won’t want to miss it. Ask your Concierge for information on whale shark trips, they are available until mid-September.


Puerto Morelos picks up a World Travel Award

Puerto Morelos district has picked up a World Travel Award as Mexico’s Leading Adventure Destination 2019 in the 26th annual World Travel Awards. 

   In the online poll to choose the winner, Puerto’s charms for the intrepid tourist outshone its competitors. Activities in the area include scuba diving on the Mesoamerican Reef, jungle canopy zip lining, snorkeling in cenotes and exploring caves, horse riding, ATVs circuits, cycling and bird watching, among others.


Three Mexican cities in World’s Best 2019

In the Travel + Leisure magazine’s annual reader poll to find the Worlds’ best travel destinations, hotels and travel services, three Mexican cities make the top five in the World’s Best City category. San Miguel de Allende came in at number two, the national capital Mexico City at number four and Oaxaca at number five.  

   All three cities are rich in history and traditions and are full of colonial churches, museums, markets and cultural centers. Mexico City has a vibrant dining, shopping and arts scene.



Cancun flight news

In good news for Canadian visitors, Air Canada is offering a new flight from Quebec City to Cancun for the winter season. It will be available from December 21 to April 11, 2020. Sunwing will also be adding a weekly flight from Waterloo International Airport in Ontario to Cancun starting December 18 to April 8, 2020.

(Source via Caribbean Journal)


Mexico dialing changes

Starting August 3, there are changes to telephone dialing in Mexico. You no longer have to use 01, 044 or 045 when making long distance calls or calling a mobile phone from a landline. If you are calling locally you now dial the area code, such as 998 for Cancun, and then the phone number. For example, if you are in Cancun and wish to call Royal Resorts instead of dialing seven numbers (881-0100), you now dial ten (998 881-0100).



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.  

Xplor Bravest Race, Xplor Park, September 22

Competitors face a new course this year with more than 40 obstacles and challenges. 

Fiesta del Cristo de Las Ampollas, September 27, Merida

The patron saint of Merida is honored with masses, pilgrimages, processions and traditional dances.

Restaurant Weeks, Merida, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, beginning of October

Fiesta de Santo Cristo Negro, Sitilpech, Izamal, October 18

A procession of local gremios or guilds carries the statue of Christ from the parish church of Sitilpech through the streets of Izamal to the sanctuary where it will remain for 27 days before being returned to the church. This traditional fiesta is celebrated with processions, masses, fireworks and a vaqueria.

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. Dia de Muertos is known as Hanal Pixan in the Yucatan.

Triathlon Xel Ha, November 16 – 17

This annual event draws triathletes from all over Mexico and overseas.

Mayakoba Golf Classic PGA tournament, November 11-17, 2019

A field of the world’s leading golfers competes for the OHL Classic trophy at El Camaleon Golf Club in Mayakoba.

Fiesta de la Inmaculada Concepcion, Izamal, December 8

Thousands of pilgrims join processions to honor the Virgin Mary. There are masses and the traditional fair or vaquería with dances, food stalls and more.