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Grand Residences six years old in December

Your home away from home celebrated its sixth birthday in December and your Grand Residences hosts wish you all the best for 2020. They are looking forward to seeing you this year and creating more unforgettable luxury vacation experiences for you, your family and friends.

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2019 Advisory Council Meeting Report

The 2019 Advisory Council meeting report and financial statement will be published in the Owners Area of grandresidencesbyroyalresorts.com (member log in required) this month and printed copies will be available on request from the Manager’s office at the resort.
The meeting report includes information on operations projects completed in 2019 and those planned for 2020, the resort’s 2019 financial performance, and the resort budget and Club Service Fees for 2020 that were approved by the Advisory Council.

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Grand dining in 2020

This year, treat yourself to some tempting dining moments at Grand Residences. El Faro, Flor de Canela and Heaven Bar all have delicious new dishes on the menu for you to try. They include Chef Rafael Borbolla’s seafood dishes inspired by the bounty of the Pacific and paired with Caribbean, Mediterranean and Asian produce, herbs and spices.
Don’t miss the theme night buffets as a mouthwatering alternative to the a la carte menus. They are a celebration of the world’s most popular cuisines. From Taco Tuesday in Flor de Canela to Italian, Caribbean and International Night to the traditional Sunday evening BBQ, there is something for everyone. Ask your Concierge for the current schedule.
Enjoy dinner in Flor de Canela and discover vibrant flavors from all over Mexico. Ask your waiter about the Dish of the Month showcasing traditional recipes from different states.
There are vegetarian and vegan dishes and gluten-free pasta and the chef will prepare something different for guests with food allergies or special dietary needs.
Choose a new wine from the award-winning El Faro wine list to go with your meal. The Sommelier will recommend pairings for the dishes you have ordered and ask him about the selection of Mexican wines.
The Room Service menu is the perfect option for a relaxing movie night. And remember that if you like cooking you can prepare steaks and fresh seafood in your gourmet kitchen by ordering from the exclusive Protein Menu for Owners available through Room Service.
For fantastic tips and cooking secrets, sign up for a cooking class with Chef Borbolla during your stay. Learn how to prepare traditional Mexican recipes, classic guacamole, the perfect pasta and other dishes.
If you are celebrating a birthday or anniversary during your stay arrange a something special: a romantic candlelit Chef’s dinner on your terrace or the beach.
From fresh lobster and prime steaks to pastas and heavenly desserts, we hope that we have tempted your taste buds for a year of Grand dining.

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Meet your Kids Club friends

Meet Teresa, one of your Kids Club friends. Originally from the state of San Luis Potosi, she studied childcare and a course in gym instruction before moving to the Mexican Caribbean to learn English and find work.
Her first job was in the Activity team at Royal Sunset but she soon transferred to the Kids Club. She worked in the Mayan Palace Kids Club for five years before starting a family. She opened her own gym but a health problem five years later led to her selling the business and returning to the hotel industry.
After a short spell at Vidanta, she joined Grand Residences and has been here for a year and a half.
She explains that the most popular Kids Club activities are face painting and the spa day, the water balloon battle, treasure hunt, pirate’s day, feeding the iguanas and t-shirt painting. “This summer we started to do theme days, for example a day with the chef making and decorating cookies and having a picnic,” adding. “Then there’s environment day with activities like recycling art, plants and a nature walk. Children have sporting fun with the mini Olympics, or dress up like buccaneers on Pirate’s day, Fiesta day is the piñata party and on Mexican day we do the girls’ hair in plaits with flowers, make bracelets and teach the children Mexican folk dances.
“Many of our art sessions involve recycled materials,” Teresa says, “for example, newspaper for papier mâché, plastics and aluminum foil and we are always looking for activities in which we can spread the environmental message. Friday is Fiesta Day and we have a party for the children who had birthdays during the week. There’s a cake, special decoration, piñata, candies, popcorn and a gift and we all sing Las Mañanitas and Happy birthday. We also have a weekly movie and pizza night and themed activities during the year, for example for Easter, Children’s Day, 4th of July, Mexican Independence, Halloween and Dia de Muertos and Christmas of course.
“I would like our owners and guests to know that we give a big welcome to their children and grandchildren. They are really going to enjoy themselves. They can relax in the knowledge that the little ones are having just as much fun as they are. In fact, they don’t want to leave the Kids Club at the end of their stay.
“We want the children to feel at home and it’s our job to create exceptional vacation moments for them. They start to tell us about themselves and their lives, making friends. Some children visit us two or three times during the year and they run in and give us a big hug and send us letters and drawings when they leave. It is immensely satisfying to know that we make them happy.
“Our goals are to keep innovating, adding new activities and games. We are also looking for a course to design activities for children with autism.
Teresa loves working at Grand Residences and enjoys the friendly work environment and the team spirit. She says, “It’s a great responsibility looking after children, I enjoy working with them, talking to them. You enter their world, their imagination, creativity and way of looking at things. I love it.”
She adds: “Here in the Kids Club we try and give the children a taste of Mexico, a look at our traditions. We play lottery with them and they learn Spanish words. We make dream catchers, piñatas and paper flowers and then we do the girls’ hair in traditional plaits and braids. We want them to take home a piece of Mexico and learn about a different culture too.”

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Protecting the planet

At Grand Residences, we are doing what we can to reduce our environmental footprint and working towards a plastic-free planet. For example, we use biodegradable food containers instead of polystyrene and straws made from avocado seeds and bamboo. We only bring straws with drinks if guests expressly ask for one. And we are now serving reusable jugs of purified water on the pool deck, the lobby and in other areas around the resort to reduce our consumption of single use plastic bottles of water.
Our latest eco project is a guest towel campaign. We have placed signs in the bathrooms asking owners and guests to leave the towels hanging up if they would like to use them again and to put them on the floor if they would like new ones. We invite you to join us in protecting the planet. By not changing the towels on a daily basis we save water, electricity and reduce our use of laundry products and the chemicals they contain.
When you go on a beach walk why not help us by taking a biodegradable bag with you to pick up trash? It’s a start for making our world a cleaner place. If you return your bag with trash, we’ll give you a coupon for a free drink.
Another way you can help us protect the environment is not to apply sun cream or oil if you are going to swim or snorkel in the sea or in the cenotes. Wear a t-shirt instead. Sun products contain chemicals that are harmful to corals and marine life.

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Caring for the community

In 2019, Grand Residences joined seven other hotels in giving a Puerto Morelos school a much-needed facelift. Staff painted buildings, classrooms, desks and chairs and made other improvements so that pupils and teachers can have a cleaner, brighter study environment.
The school they visited is the Primaria General Adolfo López Mateos on Rafael E. Melgar, opposite El Merkadito.
Grand Residences volunteers also join local beach and street cleaning campaigns. One week they clean the beach, the following week they take to the streets to pick up trash and trim grass and shrubs.

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Get your daily views of paradise, check the webcam

Our webcam is now live for daily views of paradise and of your home away from home. Go to the Grand Residences by Royal Resorts website and click the webcam image to see our beautiful beach and pools and check the weather in Puerto Morelos.
We hope that a daily webcam visit will bring back happy memories and put you in the Mexican Caribbean vacation vibe as the countdown begins to your next Grand Residences trip!
You can also check the Grand Residences webcam on the Royal Resorts website http://services.royalresorts.com/webcam/Camaragr.jpg

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Every picture tells a story

Start the year with a look at some of the places you love so much in the Mexican Caribbean and Yucatan. From beaches, coral reefs and cenotes to nature reserves, Mayan temples and the smiling faces of the Mexican people, here’s our January gallery.
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.

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

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A family day out

Enjoy an unforgettable family day out on your 2020 vacation. Here is a look at some of the options that await you in the Riviera Maya, the Cancun area and beyond.

 

Swim time
After days on the beach and in the Grand Residences pools it’s time to do some exploring and there’s one thing in the Mexican Caribbean that is popular with the whole family, snorkeling. If your children can swim they’ll soon be ready to put on a mask and flippers and go exploring. Shallow water reefs in the Cancun-Isla Mujeres area, Puerto Morelos and Akumal are great snorkeling spots offering sightings of angel fish, trunk fish, pork fish, sergeant majors and sea turtles.
Or take them to Xel-Ha Park for the day. This chain of turquoise inlets, lagoons and cenotes is a snorkeling paradise offering face to face encounters with a variety of colorful reef fish. And there are plenty of other fun activities on offer like zip lining, giant inner tubes for floating across the lagoon, leaping off a cliff into a cenote, nature walks and more. Families can also swim with dolphins, manatees and stingrays for an additional fee.
For a panoramic view of the park’s inlets and cenotes and the Riviera Maya coast, climb Xel-Ha’s latest attraction, a lookout tower that is also a huge water slide that your children will love.
On the outskirts of Cancun Hotel Zone, Ventura Park has also fun pools, water slides and rides that will keep your children happy all day.

A day at the park
Spending the day at the Riviera Maya’s parks is a top family vacation activity and one that everyone will enjoy.
Heading the list is world-famous Xcaret Park just south of Playa del Carmen.
Spending the day here is as much about fun in the water as it is about you and your children discovering the country’s rich traditions and wildlife.
Relax on the beach, take the children for a swim in one of the park’s underground rivers (life jackets mandatory) and go snorkeling. You can see more marine life on a visit to the aquarium or the turtle nursery. Manatees swim in the lagoons and there are dolphins too (additional fees for dolphin swims and encounters).
The huge walk-through jungle aviary is home to 90 species of birds from southeast Mexico, from hummingbirds to parrots, macaws and toucans. The park also has a butterfly pavilion and regional wildlife enclosures where you can watch spider monkeys, coatimundis, deer and jaguars.
The Children’s World area of Xcaret offers pools, water slides and cenotes for children under the age of 12 to swim in. As the little ones have fun in the water, their parents can relax in a shaded rest area.
Be sure to pace your children with an afternoon nap and treats like gelato so that they are ready to stay on for the unforgettable evening gala performance that showcases Mexican history, music, dance and song. It takes you from the days of ancient Mayan rulers and the ancient ball game, the coming of the Spaniards to the sights and sounds of a Mexican fiesta, complete with a mariachi band. Your children will soon be shouting “Viva Mexico” with the rest.
Younger children will enjoy Crococun, a small park located just to the north of Puerto Morelos. They’ll see crocodiles, spider monkeys, parrots and toucans and can stroke white-tailed deer and other tame creatures.
For a fun morning out, Xenses Park might appeal to older children. It is a world full of illusions and what you see is what you don’t. There are two circuits with 17 different attractions that take park goers into a fantastic realm where nothing is what it seems.
After a visit to Xenses, head to Playa del Carmen for lunch and more optical illusions at the 3D Museum of Wonders where you can literally walk into 3D drawings on the walls, floors and ceiling. Not tired yet? Take the children to L’Aquarium, Playa del Carmen’s huge new aquarium.

Jungle thrills
How about a day of jungle adventures? This is a fun choice for older children who will soon find their adventurous Indiana Jones spirit. They can fly through the jungle canopy on thrilling zip line circuits at Xplor Park, Selvatica or Aktun Chen, all in the Riviera Maya. South of Cancun, the new Xavage Park has an adventure playground for children with rope bridges, tunnels and zip lines. Other tours are a whole day of adventures: zip lining, abseiling down a cliff, kayaking, snorkeling in a cenote or sinkhole, biking and nature walks and ATV drives.
Taking the family to Xenotes Oasis Maya gives you the chance to explore the jungle and spend the day at four different cenotes on the Ruta de los Cenotes inland from Puerto Morelos.
If all the members of the family like horseback riding, there are several ranches offering rides through the jungle to a cenote where you can cool off with a swim.
If you want your children to learn about nature, how about a trip to Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve? A trip from Muyil to the south of Tulum combines a visit to the archaeological site of Muyil with a fun boat ride across the lagoon into the mangroves where you’ll float-swim through a canal. There’s even time for the beach and of course you’ll see plenty of wildlife along the way. Other Sian Ka’an options include visits to Mayan communities where you’ll have the chance to meet local people and learn about their lives and traditions.

Discovering the world of the Maya
A day trip to the Yucatan’s famous archaeological sites is always an option if you have older children, and can combine it with time on the beach, cenote visits and promises of gelato. Tulum and Coba in the Riviera Maya are good sites to start with before heading to Chichen Itza, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Always plan early trips to the archaeological sites so that you can beat the midday heat. If you do decide to go to Chichen Itza, the colonial town of Valladolid is a good stopping off point for a break and lunch and there are cenotes en route to Chichen where you can cool off.

Plan your family adventure
Your Concierge can help you plan a family adventure and book snorkeling trips and tickets to area parks.

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Puerto Morelos municipal district celebrates its 4th anniversary

On January 6, the municipal district of Puerto Morelos celebrated its fourth anniversary. Although the story of this fishing town actually began 105 years ago when it exported chicle and tropical hardwoods, it only became an independent community in 2016. Home to 30,000 people, it welcomed one million visitors in 2019.

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Puerto Morelos 2019 turtle season 2019

Biologists, conservationists and hotel security staff watched over 2,606 turtle nests in the Puerto Morelos area during the 2019 nesting season and released more than 106,000 hatchlings.
In Cancun, 11,654 nests were protected in 51 corrals (including three at Royal Resorts) and 1,150,474 baby turtles were released.
In Cozumel, 5,423 nests were protected and 337,497 baby turtles released at nesting sites on the island’s beaches.
The Quintana Roo Sea Turtle Protection Committee published the final tally of nests and hatchlings for the 2019 season, a total of 57,155 nests protected and 3,809,438 baby turtles released on different beaches along the Mexican Caribbean shoreline:
• Green turtle 51,790 nests and 3,468,001 hatchlings
• Loggerhead turtle 4,133 nests and 259,573 hatchlings
• Hawksbill turtle 1,231 nests and 81,864 hatchlings
• Leatherback turtle 1 nest
[Sources: Galu, Comité Estatal Quintana Roo para la Protección de la Tortuga Marina]

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Cancun flight news

Here’s the latest Cancun flight news for January 2020. Starting February 16, Vacation Express will be offering a new flight from Kansas City to Cancun on Sundays. The flight will operate until April 5 and will move to Saturday on May 23 until August 1, 2020.
For Canadian travelers to Cancun, Sunwing is offering a new weekly flight from Hamilton and Air Canada has increased its Vancouver service from four to seven flights a week and has a weekly flight from Quebec City.
Starting March 10, Frontier Airlines will offer a new daily flight from Newark.
Viva Aerobus is now offering charter flights to Havana three times a week.
On March 7, Southwest Airlines will inaugurate a new Houston-Cozumel route with two flights day (new route subject to government approval).
[Source: Sipse, Riviera Maya News, Caribbean Journal]

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Riviera Maya beaches are looking beautiful

The beaches of Cancun, Riviera Maya and elsewhere in the Mexican Caribbean are looking beautiful. They are free of sargassum and have been for months. You can check on the Royal Resorts beaches every day by clicking on the webcams for the Cancun resorts, The Royal Haciendas and Grand Residences.
The authorities are planning for the spring and summer in the event that patches of sargassum approach the Mexican Caribbean shoreline. One of the six sargassum-collecting boats known as sargaceras commissioned by the Mexican Navy has already arrived in Cancun and will be deployed if needed.

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Mayan discoveries

Archaeologists working for the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have made several major discoveries at three of the Yucatan’s archaeological sites: Chichen Itza, Uxmal and Kuluba.
At Uxmal, archaeologists discovered a hidden passageway under the Palacio del Gobernador dating from AD 670 to 770 and built in the Early Puuc architectural style. Together with the remains of arches and three stairways, this secret tunnel changes the history of the building and the site and may have been used to conceal ancient rulers in times of strife.
During recent excavations at Chichen Itza and using Lidar sensing technology, archaeologists discovered five clusters of buildings in the forest between Las Monjas and Templo del Serie Inicial in the area known as Chichen Viejo. Four of the groups appear to be residential areas but the fifth is a small pyramid 5 meters high
They also found and restored a stone table in the Casa de los Caracoles depicting bound captives surrounded by warriors.
Additional restoration in the Temple of the Warriors revealed a rare pyrite disc that was part of an offering dating from the Early Post-Classic period (AD 850 to 1200).
This follows news of Chichen Itza discoveries earlier in 2019 when the Gran Acuifero Maya exploration team led by Mexican archaeologist Guillermo de Anda was exploring a cave system near the ancient city. As they explored Balamku, the Cave of the Jaguar God, they found seven chambers filled with offerings of pottery, including incense burners in the form of the central Mexican rain god Tlaloc.
The final discovery of 2019 was at the archaeological site of Kuluba in the district of Tizimin, eastern Yucatan. This site is not open to the public yet as archaeologists are still exploring and restoring the buildings that emerge as they clear the undergrowth. During their work in the C Group of buildings, they discovered a palace to the east of the plaza that is 55 meters long and 6 meters high. From the artifacts recovered in the building, it appears to have had two phases of occupation: during the Late Classic period AD 600-900 and the Terminal Classic period AD 850-1050.
Archaeologists think that Kuluba may have been conquered by Chichen Itza in the Terminal Classic period.
[Source: INAH]

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CANCUN, RIVIERA MAYA & YUCATAN EVENTS

Here’s our regular round up of festivals and events in Cancun, Riviera Maya and Yucatan in the next few months.

Anniversary of the Founding of Merida, January 5-6

On the evening of January 5 and on January 6, inhabitants of Merida, state capital of Yucatan celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the city in 1542 by Spanish conquistador Francisco de Montejo, 478 years in 2020. Observed with serenades to their beloved city by local guitar trios, a procession and mass, it marks the start of the month-long City Festival, a gala event featuring concerts, dance performances, art exhibits and more.

Merida Fest, January 5 – 26

Merida is called the cultural capital of the Yucatan and the Merida Fest in January is one of its most important events. The program features 130 events celebrating music, dance and art in 30 different venues with the participation of 650 artists.

Feria de la Candelaria, Valladolid, January 22 – February 2

This traditional fair is dedicated to the patron saint of Valladolid, the Virgen de la Candelaria. Events include an agricultural fair, processions, concerts and dances.

Cozumel Carnival, February 19 – 26

More than 146 years of tradition come to the fore in February as islanders celebrate the Cozumel Carnival.

Equinox, Chichen Itza & Dzibilchaltun, March 19-21

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 19-21). It is also visible the day before and after, cloud cover permitting.
Elsewhere in the Yucatan, at dawn on the day of the Equinox the rising sun appears through the doorway of the Temple of the Dolls in the ancient city of Dzibilchaltun to the north of Merida.
The spring equinox officially falls on March 19 in 2020 but the largest gathering at Chichen Itza takes place on March 21, a national holiday in Mexico.

50th anniversary of Cancun, April 20

Cancun is gearing up to celebrate its 50th birthday on April 20 and City Hall is planning a series of events – including sporting events and music festivals – over the next few months. More details coming soon.