Beach massages and more

What could better than starting a day in paradise with a beach massage or as the perfect finale, winding down after a day of beach fun and before you go to dinner? Let the sound of the waves, the soft breeze and the incredible vistas lull you into a perfect state of relaxation.

Choose your favorite massage from the Spa collection, they range from the classic Relaxing Massage to Aromatherapy, Hot Stones and Lomi-Lomi massages.

And remember that you can also arrange to have a massage or Spa treatment in your residence if you prefer. Just imagine taking in the view on the terrace and feeling the stress and aches of daily life melt away.

Your Concierge can help you arrange a massage or Spa treatment.

Afternoon Tea anyone?

We hope you will join us during your next visit to enjoy a delicious Grand Residences tradition, afternoon tea on the Lobby Bar and Café terrace.

Sit down to a selection of the world’s finest teas and an array of sandwiches with tasty fillings. Spread butter and jam on warm scones straight from the oven and choose from a tempting selection of  cakes, tartlets and desserts that would grace the window of a Parisian patisserie.

This is an experience to savor with family and friends or alone, just you with a good book and the view from the terrace.

Contact your Concierge to make your reservation.

Cool cocktails

If you like to order a mojito on vacation, ask the Grand Residences bartenders to prepare the classic recipe or to take it up a notch by adding fruit. Here’s one mojito recipe to enjoy at home or on your next visit to the Mexican Caribbean.

Passion fruit Mojito

  • 45ml lime juice
  • 45ml passion fruit juice
  • 2g fresh mint
  • 2 sachets of sugar
  • 45ml Antillano white rum
  • 59.5ml sparkling water
  • Passion fruit foam
  • Ice
  • Lime slice to garnish

Place ice in a glass and pour over passion fruit juice, add bruised mint leaves and sugar. Add the rum and lime juice and top with passion fruit foam. Garnish with a slice of lime.

Grand Recipes

This month we are sharing a true classic, a signature breakfast dish that is a real favorite at Grand Residences. We hope that you’ll soon be here to enjoy it with us.

Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon

Serves 2

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 English muffins
  • 6oz smoked salmon
  • Hash browns

For the Hollandaise sauce

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 6oz butter
  • 2 teaspoons of vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice

Provençal Tomato

  • 1 tomato
  • 4oz parsley
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2oz breadcrumbs
  • 1 shallot
  • 20ml olive oil (0.7 fluid oz)

Method

Make the hollandaise sauce first. Put the lemon juice and vinegar in a small bowl, add the egg yolks and beat with a whisk until smooth and frothy. Place the bowl over a pot of boiling water and beat until the mixture thickens. Gradually add butter, beating constantly until thickened; If the mixture appears to be splitting, remove from the heat for a few minutes. Season and keep warm.

To poach the eggs, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add the vinegar. Turn the heat down when the water is simmering. Stir the water, then slide in the eggs one by one. Cook each for about 4 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon.

Lightly toast and spread the muffins, then put a couple of salmon slices on each half. Top each with an egg, pour on some hollandaise sauce, and garnish with chopped parsley.

Cut the tomato in half crosswise. Scoop out the seeds from the tomatoes. Sprinkle the tomato halves with half the salt and pepper.

In a medium bowl, combine the garlic, shallot, parsley, breadcrumbs, and the remaining salt and pepper. Stir to mix. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil into the breadcrumb mixture while stirring to coat.

Pour the breadcrumb mixture over the tomatoes. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and bake for 15-18 minutes or until the crumbs are golden brown and the tomato is slightly softened but still has its shape.

Bon appetit!

Turtle Season in Puerto Morelos

Our summer visitors, the sea turtles, are already coming ashore at night to lay their eggs on the beaches of Puerto Morelos and elsewhere in the Mexican Caribbean. Here at Grand Residences, our security guards will be watching out for them all summer long.

Four species of sea turtle nest on the beaches of the Mexican Caribbean: the green turtle (tortuga blanca), the loggerhead (caguama), the hawksbill (tortuga carey) and occasionally the leatherback (tortuga laud), the world’s largest species.

Biologists working for the Puerto Morelos Municipal Government patrol the beaches and take care of the nests in coordination with the resorts along the shoreline, including Grand Residences.  Our security team alerts them whenever they spot a turtle or a nest.

Once a nesting turtle has finished laying her eggs the biologists move them to a protected enclosure where they will be safe from the tides, predatory birds and animals and the passage of human feet.

Forty-five to 60 days later, the tiny baby turtles will chip their way out of the eggshell. Once dusk has fallen, they are released to race across the sand towards the sea.

How can you help?

Support the statewide turtle conservation campaign by following these rules during the summer:

  • Alert the security staff if you see a turtle on the beach
  • Be very quiet and keep still
  • Watch from a distance of 10 meters
  • Do not attempt to touch the turtle or crowd her
  • Do not shine a torch or use the light on your mobile phone
  • Please, no flash photography
  • No smoking
  • Follow the instructions given by security staff at all times
  • Help us to keep our beaches and sea clean. Discarded straws, plastic bags, beer packaging, fishing lines and other garbage on the beach and floating in the water are lethal to turtles and other marine life. When you go for a walk along the shoreline take a beach cleaning bag with you
  • When snorkeling or diving watch turtles from a distance, do not swim towards them and do not attempt to touch them
  • Wear a t-shirt when snorkeling as protection from the sun instead of applying sun block. Sun products pollute the water and are harmful to marine life
  • Turtles are protected by Mexican law and it is illegal to disturb, persecute and hunt them and consume their meat or eggs.

 

Mexican environmental agency regulations keep human contact with the turtle hatchlings to a minimum and the participation of hotel guests in turtle releases is no longer permitted.

Caribbean sailing

Do you fancy a day at sea on your next visit, sailing through sparkling turquoise, azure and indigo waters on board a catamaran or yacht?  If so, there are plenty of exciting options to choose from in the Mexican Caribbean for an unforgettable sailing adventure.

Sailing and snorkeling in Puerto Morelos

For starters, cast off from the marina for a morning of snorkeling in Puerto Morelos National Marine Park. It only takes a few minutes by boat to get out to the reef and as soon as you jump into the crystal-clear waters, you’ll see the wonders of the coral kingdom.

Part of the Mesoamerican Reef, the world’s second longest coral reef system, the Puerto Morelos reef is rich in biodiversity. Keep a look out for schools of pork fish and French grunts, regal angelfish, parrot fish and tiny butterfly fish. Turtles are often spotted near the reef and you may even see rays emerging from the sand.

Across the bay to Isla Mujeres

Next stop, charter a luxury yacht and set sail from Cancun to Isla Mujeres. As you cross the bay relax and admire the view of endless turquoise waters. You can stop for a spot of snorkeling on the way and after exploring Isla and spending time on the beach at Playa Norte, sit down for a delicious seafood lunch at one of the restaurants along the waterfront. The sunsets are incredible from a vantage point on Isla.

Contoy calls

Go in search of nature and plan a trip to Contoy, the palm-fringed desert island of Caribbean legend and lore that is an important bird sanctuary. Over 150 species make their home on the island year-round or are migratory visitors in the winter. They include colonies of frigate birds and cormorants, terns, ibis, roseate spoonbills, herons and egrets.

Contoy is a two-and-a-half-hour boat trip north of Cancun and the views of turquoise and blue water on the way are worth it before you even reach this beautiful island. Spend the day watching the birds, relaxing on the beach or snorkeling and swimming with rays and other fish in the sheltered bay.

Eco cruises are available to Contoy during the week, ask your Concierge for information.

Coasting along the Riviera Maya

Follow the maritime routes of the ancient Maya along the Riviera Maya shoreline on a catamaran or yacht cruise. You’ll see beaches and palm-lined bays that you didn’t even know existed, hidden inlets and even tiny temples and lookout points on rocky promontories that were used by long-lost mariners.

Sunset cruises

Watching the sun go down over the mainland and the sky turn rose, gold, violet and red and then to the deepest blue as the first stars appear is an amazing moment and it’s even better when you catch a glimpse of the Caribbean moon rising. There are sunset catamaran and yacht trips departing from Puerto Morelos, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Aventuras, Akumal and Cozumel.

Gone fishing!

Charter a yacht for a morning of fishing, seasoned local fishermen will take you right to where the fish are running.

Puerto Morelos is one of the most popular spots in the Mexican Caribbean for sport fishing and is just a short boat ride away from the rich fishing grounds along the deep ocean trench between the Riviera Maya coast and the island of Cozumel known as the Cozumel Channel.

Other good fishing grounds in the area lie to the east of Isla Mujeres, along the Arrowsmith Bank, Punta Allen and around Contoy and Holbox islands. Further south along the Costa Maya, the fishing villages of Mahahual and Xcalak also attract sport fishermen.

Your Concierge can help

For information on cruises and yacht charters, eco trips and fishing excursions ask your Concierge.

Amazing summer adventures: Whale shark encounter

A huge shadow on the water, domino speckles on blue-grey skin and immense jaws open to filter water and plankton, the pez domino or whale sharks are here. The gentle giants of the sea begin to appear in the Mexican Caribbean in May. Reports start to come in from the biologists that monitor them, fishermen talk of sightings and whale shark watchers prepare for their own amazing natural encounter with the largest fish in the sea.

What draws whale sharks here? The answer is food. Whale sharks migrate thousands of miles through the oceans, moving between feeding grounds during the year. From mid-May to mid-September, they gather in large numbers in the Mexican Caribbean to feed on the plankton that blooms in the sizzling summer temperatures. Marine biologists working in the area have also discovered that they are partial to the eggs of a fish called the bonito or little tunny.

The whale shark feeding grounds lie to the east of Contoy and Isla Mujeres and in the Gulf of Mexico near Holbox and Cabo Catoche and are part of a marine biosphere reserve. There may be hundreds of whale sharks skimming the ocean surface to filter feed on the plankton in what scientists believe is the largest gathering in the world.

Guided small group eco trips are available during the summer to the areas where whale sharks gather. You’ll watch them feeding on plankton around your boat and accompanied by an expert guide you can swim alongside them, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

On the boat journey out to the whale shark area, there’s the added thrill of spotting wild dolphins and sea turtles. Huge manta rays also gather to eat plankton alongside the whale sharks and sometimes breach the water surface in spectacular flight.

Ask your Concierge to help you book this incredible ocean-going adventure.

The Travel Gallery

Yalku

Follow the coast road north from Akumal to the shores of Yalku, a caleta or inlet of turquoise, crystal-clear waters constantly replenished by cenotes and underground rivers. The lagoon is a haven for colorful reef fish and is perfect for snorkeling. Local tip: go early before it gets too crowded.

Punta Laguna

A short drive from Cobá archaeological site, this jungle-rimmed lagoon is worth a stop. The forest is rich in wildlife, including families of spider monkeys that forage in the treetops for zapote fruit, their favorite food. Villagers offer guided tours along nature trails, pointing out native birds, animals and plants.

Zaci Cenote

If you are Valladolid-bound, don’t miss the town’s Zaci Cenote. With its rocky walls festooned with jungle creepers and blue waters, where swallows dip to feed on insects, this deep sinkhole has an air of mystery. The wind in the trees whispers tales of the ancient Maya and long-lost lovers. Continue on the Valladolid cenote trail with visits to Dzitnup, Samula, Hubiku, among others.

Campeche

If you are planning a Merida getaway and have been to Uxmal and Chichen Itza, how about a trip to the colonial port of Campeche. It is only an hour and a half from Merida by car and well worth a visit. See the colonial forts built to protect the port against pirate attacks, visit the Regional Museum, which displays the jade masks and other ancient treasures unearthed at Calakmul archaeological site and try the local seafood.

Your Concierge can help

Your Concierge can help you arrange trips to these spots and to all the natural and historical wonders in the Mexican Caribbean and Yucatan.

 

New State Tax for International Visitors now in effect in the Mexican Caribbean

On April 1, 2021, the Quintana Roo State Government introduced a new Visitor Tax or Tourism Use Fee for all international visitors to the Mexican Caribbean over the age of 15 of $224 pesos (approximately US$10 per person, depending on the exchange rate).

Visitors may pay the fee before traveling to Cancun, Puerto Morelos, the Riviera Maya or other destinations in the Mexican Caribbean, upon arrival in the state or during their stay. To facilitate online payments, the State Government Tax Office launched the VISITAX website. When accessing this website, visitors complete a form with the following information:

  • Number of people traveling
  • Name, age and passport number of each individual in the group
  • Departure date
  • Payment information

Families and groups will be able to pay for all members in one transaction providing that each person’s information is included on the VISITAX form. Separate receipts will be provided for each person. www.visitax.gob.mx/sitio/

As an alternative to using the VISITAX website, visitors can also pay the tax in airport terminals.

International travelers departing the state of Quintana Roo need to show a receipt of payment for the fee at airport checkpoints prior to boarding their flight.

 

Royal Care Standard

NEW STATE TAX FOR INTERNATIONAL VISITORS COMES INTO EFFECT IN THE MEXICAN CARIBBEAN ON APRIL 1, 2021

NEW STATE TAX FOR INTERNATIONAL VISITORS COMES INTO EFFECT IN THE MEXICAN CARIBBEAN ON APRIL 1, 2021

We would like to share information from the Quintana Roo State Government about a new Visitor Tax or Tourism Use Fee which comes into effect on April 1, 2021. The fee will be charged to all international visitors to the Mexican Caribbean over the age of 15 and is approximately US$10 per person, depending on the exchange rate.

Visitors will be able to pay the fee before traveling to Cancun, Puerto Morelos, the Riviera Maya or other destinations in the Mexican Caribbean, upon arrival in the state or during their stay.  To facilitate online payments, the State Government Tax Office has developed the VISITAX system. When accessing this secure website, visitors will complete a form with the following information:

–       Number of people traveling

–       Name, age and passport number of each individual in the group

–       Departure date

–       Payment information

 

Families and groups will be able to pay for all members in one transaction providing that each person’s information is included on the VISITAX form. Separate receipts will be provided for each person.

As an alternative to using the VISITAX website, visitors will also be able to pay the tax in cash in airport terminals.

International travelers departing the state of Quintana Roo need to show a receipt of payment for the fee at airport checkpoints prior to boarding their flight.

Further updates will be published when we receive more information from the Quintana Roo State Government about this new visitor fee.

 

Grand Residences is No. 1 in the Puerto Morelos area in Tripadvisor

Grand Residences has climbed back to the No. 1 position on Tripadvisor among hotels and resorts in the Puerto Morelos area, beating resorts with 600 rooms. The beautiful setting, attentive service, the warm hospitality offered by every Grand Residences host and The Leading Hotels of the World® standards receive glowing reviews.

This follows a Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best 2020 award and a listing in the Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Top 25 Hotels in Mexico for Families.

Guests love the Grand Residences luxury vacation experience, dining, amenities and activities and the attention to detail they see from the staff.

Meet the Grand Residences team: Julio César Escandón, Guest Relations Manager

Many of you will already have met Julio César Escandón, our Guest Relations Manager. Friendly, caring and very professional, he is passionate about service, and dedicated to offering you a luxury hotel experience.

Originally from Mexico City, Julio César grew up in Cancun and attended the Universidad Tecnológico. He has a Technical degree in Tourism, Travel and Hotels and an honors degree in Tourism Management and Development from this university. He has been with Grand Residences for almost five years now.

After graduation from college, he worked for Dolphinaris and then as a Butler in Excellence Playa Mujeres and Karisma El Dorado Royal Casitas in the Riviera Maya, both Four Diamond Resorts. Julio joined Grand Residences in 2016 when General Manager Carlo Bicaci created Butler Services. He says, “Mr. Bicaci insisted that the hotel needed a Butler department to give personalized service. He has had a long and distinguished career in luxury hotel management, and I was able to learn a lot from him during his time at the resort.”

In 2018, Resort Manager Daniela Trava appointed Julio César as Guest Relations Manager after Alberto Monzón left the company. He explains what his job entails. “I am in charge of Reception and the Bellboy and Butler departments and I am in close contact with the Concierges coordinating all services with them for a seamless guest experience.

“My job is to anticipate the needs of every owner, member and guest and ensure that the service they receive is of the highest standard and that it exceeds their expectations.” Julio adds, “I attend to any issue that may arise during their stay personally, following up with different departments. As a team we want our guests’ vacation experience to be unforgettable, something that they will treasure.

“With the Concierges, I follow up on requests we receive from owners and members prior to their arrival. In some cases, they ask for bathroom railings for the shower, high chairs or cribs, a favorite bottle of wine, or for the belongings they have in storage to be placed in their Residence. Others ask for sun loungers to be moved to their favorite position on the beach or pool deck. Depending on the request, I see what can be arranged.

“When we host weddings at the resort, it is my responsibility to assign a butler to the bride and groom to take care of their needs and pamper them so that their special day at Grand Residences is magical.

“I do the rounds of the resort several times a day, checking that everything is running smoothly in the pool and resort areas and that our owners, members and guests have everything they need. I’m in constant contact with different departments to review response times, the check-in and checkout process, and I work closely with Housekeeping, Restaurants, the Weddings and Event Manager and the Activity Manager. The support that I get from everyone in the Grand Residences team is tremendous.

“We have returned to the No. 1 spot in the Puerto Morelos area on Tripadvisor, which is immensely satisfying and a sign that we are making progress.” He explains, “I am also the Service Champion for the resort and part of my job portfolio is to look for additional ways in which we can enhance the vacation experience that we offer owners, members and guests in different areas of the resort, from the units to dining and activities. I also work closely with Daniela Trava to ensure that we are complying with all The Leading Hotels of the World standards. As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, LHW rolled out new health and safety standards that all its affiliates must implement. These are in addition to our own stringent Royal Care Standard protocols.

“I want our owners and members to know that we will always take care of them and their families and that their health and wellbeing is our top priority.” Julio César adds. “As part of the Grand Residences Royal Care Standard, we have added extra steps in our unit cleaning procedures. It now takes staff three hours to clean each Residence instead of two and they are using new EPA-approved products to sanitize all surfaces.

“I review all comment cards, guest satisfaction surveys and online reviews and follow up on guest suggestions and any complaints we may receive, striving to make amends with exceptional service.

“Our owners and members come first in everything we do and for me each one of them is a VIP. We are always looking for ways to pamper them. We listen to them and we act upon the feedback they give us to improve our service. As an example of this, I had to talk to a guest and caution him for behavior that did not live up to our peaceful family ambiance. Owners congratulated me for the action I took to enforce the resort rules.

“Last October, when Hurricane Delta advanced towards the Mexican Caribbean coast and a mandatory government evacuation order for Puerto Morelos meant that we had to move all owners and guests to The Royal Haciendas. Daniela Trava sent me to the resort to stay with them during the storm. The team I headed up continued to look after the needs of our guests and keep up our resort standards as far as possible under challenging circumstances. We received several letters from owners and a member of the Advisory Council who was staying at the resort at the time thanking us for our care.”

Julio César explains, “I like new challenges and I love my job and the chance it gives me to learn and grow professionally. I’m very service-oriented and I’m also a teacher, I love to share what I have learned with other members of my team. My goal is to eventually become a General Manager one day and I’m already taking courses in the Room Management Division to gain more experience.”

Finally, as a local, we asked Julio César about the places and vacation activities he would recommend to owners, members and guests and this was his reply. “Spend time exploring Puerto Morelos, it is a peaceful place with good restaurants if you want to go out of the resort one evening. Try the local seafood in beachfront eateries on Javier Rojo Gomez and local cuisine such as cochinita pibil and lechon or roast suckling pig. For sightseeing, in addition to Tulum and Xcaret, I recommend Akumal and the Ruta de Cenotes. My favorite cenote park is Kin-Ha, the cenote is beautiful, there are jungle trails, a zip lining circuit and the food is good.”

Friendly and caring, Julio César pays attention to every detail, going above and beyond to make the vacation experience incredible for all our owners, members and guests.

A Week of Grand Dining, Try our Tempting Theme Nights

At Grand Residences we want every meal to be an unforgettable dining experience and in addition to the a la carte menus for El Faro, Flor de Canela and Heaven there are tempting theme nights with live music for you to enjoy during the week.

Here is the current line up of theme nights and live music. As one of our Royal Care Standard health and safety measures, all theme nights have special a la carte menus instead of buffets at this time.

Monday Italian Night

Dine on a selection of antipasti, pastas, traditional dishes, pizzas and tempting desserts in El Faro.

Wednesday Argentinian Grill

Dine under the stars on prime grilled beef with lashings of chimichurri at Heaven Beach Bar.

 

Thursday Seafood Night

An evening in El Faro enjoying the catch of the day, shrimp, Caribbean lobster and other fruits de mer from the Pacific coast of Mexico prepared to traditional Mexican recipes, or with a Mediterranean or Asian twist.

 

Friday French Night

A selection of classic French dishes to savor with a fine wine in El Faro. Ask your Sommelier Javier Moreno for recommendations. Live music with Jeriko.

 

Sunday BBQ

This is a Grand Residences family favorite, tasty burgers, ribs, steaks and more cooked to perfection on the grill at Heaven Beach Bar. Don’t miss it!

Live music

Tuesday: Live Mexican music by a Jarocho band from Veracruz, dinner, Flor de Canela
Wednesday: Live Mexican music by Cielito Lindo, dinner, Flor de Canela
Thursday: Salsa music by V Trio, Heaven Bar
Friday: Jeriko Duo, El Faro
Jazz Night with The Two, Lobby Bar
Saturday: Live guitar on the pool deck, lunch time
Sunday: Live harp music for breakfast and saxophone at lunch time

Ask your Concierge for more details.

Sign up for a Chef’s Cooking Class

Last year, during lockdown, many of us sought solace in the kitchen, discovering a talent we didn’t know we had and that soon became a passion. If you would like to continue learning new culinary skills or simply try your hand at a new activity, sign up for a cooking class during your stay. Watch how to prepare classic Mexican dishes, become a pasta expert and get plenty of insider tips from Executive Chef Hector Rentería.

He will show you how to make the perfect guacamole, ceviche or a spicy salsa made in a volcanic stone mortar and pestle called a molcajete; Mexican and Mediterranean seafood dishes, beef dishes, delicious pasta sauces, desserts and much more.

Do you have a pet peeve about your cooking technique? Perhaps your bread dough won’t rise or you want to be able to prepare a pizza with true panache, throwing it up in the air and catching it with confidence? Ask Chef Hector for his advice and recommendations if you don’t know which sauce to serve with fish or chicken or are looking for a showstopper dessert to prepare for your family.

Sign up for the Wednesday cooking class with your Concierge. This is a fun activity to enjoy with children and grandchildren or with friends.

 

Recipes from the Grand Residences Kitchen

Prized for their fresh flavor and mild spicy factor, Poblano chilies are the basis for Mexico’s classic Independence Night recipe, Chilies en Nogada. You’ll also see them on local menus as the tasty chiles rellenos filled with ground beef, melted cheese or seafood and in a dish called rajas con crema, which consists of chili slices cooked in a creamy cheese sauce. Chef Rentería uses them here in a silky smooth soup with another traditional favorite on the side, esquites. Esquites or corn kernels are cooked with epazote and served with lime juice, mayonnaise, chili powder and crumbled cotija cheese.

 

Crema Poblana con Esquite

Serves 14 people

1 onion
2 liters of chicken stock
5 cloves of garlic
¾ liter of heavy cream
5 Poblano chilies
1 leek
50 ml corn oil
1 potato

For the Esquites

250g mayonnaise
2 limes
100g powdered chili
50g Cotija cheese
1 bunch of epazote
1kg raw sweet corn kernels
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Slice the onion, garlic, leek and potato.
Sear the poblano chilies over the gas flame and leave in a plastic bag for a few minutes to sweat so that you can easily remove the skins and the seeds. It is a good idea to wear gloves when handling chilies. Slice the chilies into thin strips.
Fry the onion and add the garlic, potato, leeks and chili slices. Fry for 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and simmer until it reduces by half, then add the cream. Continue cooking over a low heat until it reduces by half again and then blend and season.
Cook the sweet corn kernels with the epazote in water, drain and add mayonnaise, cheese and lime juice, sprinkle with chile if desired (you do not have to use the amount indicated in the recipe). Serve in a bowl to accompany the soup.

Is there a Grand Residences recipe you would like to see here? If so, we would love to hear from you.

 

Cool Cocktails

Here are two refreshing cocktails from the Grand Residences bar staff for you to prepare. We hope that they will put you in the mood for your next visit.

Springtime Mojito

2 lime wedges
2 orange wedges
10 mint leaves
1½ oz white rum
1 oz strawberry mix
1 oz lime juice
4 oz mineral water

Preparation
Pour the rum, lime juice, strawberry and mineral water in a glass on the rocks. Add the mint leaves and lime and orange wedges.

Yucunaí Cocktail

11/2 oz Tequila
1 oz pomegranate liqueur
2 oz cranberry juice
1 dash of agave honey
Orange slices
Tajin chili powder

Preparation
Macerate 1 tablespoon of fresh pomegranate (only the seeds) in a shaker until the juice is extracted. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix. Serve on the rocks with a slice or orange, Tajin chile and pomegranate.

Do you have a favorite Grand Residences cocktail? We would love to hear from you.

 

Springtime activities

Are you staying with us this month? Check the Activity program to see what we have lined up for you. Join in the yoga sessions, play tennis, learn Spanish and practice your Latin dance steps on the pool deck.

There’s plenty of fun in store for the little ones too at the Kids Club, with games, arts and crafts and beach and pool fun just for them. They’ll love the piñata party too!

Special family activities this month are planned for Earth Hour 2021. Stay posted for more details.

Spring Wellness at the Spa

It’s time for some Spa pampering after months of stress and winter chill. The Grand Residences Spa has a new collection of treatments for you to try this month or on your next visit. Grand Residences Essentials are 90-minute treatments created exclusively for you by leading Spa skincare company Natura Bissé.

The Grand Residences Essentials treatment comprises a relaxing massage with a dry oil preparation that blends essential essences that have healing properties. The oil has a prolonged effect and is shower-free, meaning that it does not have to be washed off at the end of the session. It is hypoallergenic and the gentle, nut-free formula uses only natural colorants and preservatives, making it suitable for sensitive skin.

The massage is followed by a deliciously smooth and fragrant facial selected for your skin type.

There are four Grand Residences Essentials to choose from:

D-Stress
Relaxing
Calming
Purifying

Vitality
Decongests
Anti-inflammatory
Energizing

Comfort
Antioxidant
Cleansing
Nourishing

Firmness
Firming
Tones
Revitalizes

Your Concierge can help you make a Spa appointment.

Travel Back in Time

Take a journey in history on your next trip to the Mexican Caribbean by exploring some of the ancient Maya cities that pepper the Yucatan landscape. See temples where priests once performed rituals to honor the gods, observatories where astronomers scanned the night skies looking for portents in the stars and ancient palaces inhabited by mighty rulers. All are wonders of art and architecture, rich in stucco carvings and built to endure the centuries. Here are some of our favorites.

In the state of Yucatan

Chichen Itza

Yucatan’s most famous archaeological site, Chichen Itza is a vacation must. Once a powerful city state, controlling much of the Yucatan Peninsula, it was a vast metropolis and is known to stretch for 20 square kilometers. Only three percent of this historic landscape is open to the public: the area comprising the Great Plaza, the Observatory and Las Monjas. Archaeologists are excavating and restoring many more temples in the surrounding forest.

The Great Plaza is the site of the Pyramid of Kukulcan (famous for the light and shadow spectacle that creates the the figure of a serpent on the day of the spring and fall Equinox in March and September), the Temple of the Warriors, Temple of a Thousand Columns, Tzompantli, Temple of the Jaguars and the Ball court, the largest discovered to date in Mesoamerica. From this sacred square it is a short walk to the Sacred Cenote, the Ossuary, the Observatory and Las Monjas. These majestic temples have earned Chichen Itza a place on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Uxmal

An hour’s drive south of Mérida, Uxmal is one of the loveliest ancient cities in the Maya World. During the Late Classic period (A.D. 600-900), it was a regional capital, controlling southwest Yucatán and a chain of smaller cities referred to as the Puuc Route: Kabah, Sayil, Xlapak and Labná.

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

Highlights at Uxmal are the Magician’s Pyramid, the Nuns’ Quadrangle, a gracious courtyard surrounded by four palaces with magnificent friezes, and the impressive Palace of the Governor which crowns a mound and platform overlooking the site. Other buildings of note are the Temple of the Birds, the Great Pyramid, The House of the Turtles and El Palomar.

 

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 Pop, 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.

 

Ek Balam

A 20-minute drive to the north of Valladolid is the ancient city of Ek Balam, which means “black jaguar or star jaguar” in Maya. The city flourished between A.D. 250-1200 and its crowning glory is the façade on the upper level of the Acropolis, the principal building, which features the magnificent stucco figure of an ancient lord thought to be the first ruler of the city. The figure’s ornate feathered headdress resembles wings and has led many people to refer to him as “el angel” or the angel.

 

In the state of Quintana Roo

Tulum

Tulum

Crowning a cliff overlooking the Caribbean, Tulum is one of the Maya World’s most spectacular sites. “Tulum” means “wall” in Maya, a reference to the sturdy stone barrier that protects it on three sides, the fourth being the sea, but in ancient times the city was known as Zama or Dawn.

An inscription on a stela or standing stone found at the site reveals that Tulum was inhabited as far back as A.D. 564 although it reached its peak during the Post-Classic period (1250–1521) as a port on the sea and land trade routes. The principal building is a temple known as El Castillo; other important groupings are the Temple of the Descending God, Temple of the Frescos and the House of the Columns.

 

Coba

From Tulum on the Riviera Maya coast, head inland to the ancient city of Coba (25 miles/41 km from the coast), one of the Maya World’s largest archaeological sites.

Coba means “waters ruffled by the wind” in Maya and the pyramids and temples at this jungle site are clustered around four shallow lakes. The city reached its peak during the Mayan Classic period, A.D. 250-900, when it was an important trade center. Archaeologists believe that it may have had links with Tikal in Guatemala. The most recent discovery at the site is the identification of the ancient dynasty that dominated Coba and the names of 14 rulers through the study of hieroglyphic inscriptions carved on stelae and wall tablets.

The principal buildings or groups at Coba are Nohoch Mul, at 42 meters, the tallest pyramid in the northern Yucatán, the Cobá group, La Iglesia (another pyramid), Las Pinturas, the Ball Court, Xaibe and the Macanxoc group which has nine circular altars and eight stelae.

Cobá is also famous for the sacbes or Mayan roads that radiate from the heart of the city. The longest sacbe in the Maya World links the city with the site of Yaxuná, near Chichén Itzá and is 101 km long.

 

Kohunlich

The most famous archaeological site in southern Quintana Roo, 60 kilometers to the west of Chetumal via Highway 186, Kohunlich was first reported in 1912 by Raymond Merwin. The name “Kohunlich” is derived from the English words “cohune,” a native palm tree, and “ridge.”

Excavation work has revealed that the city was founded around 200 B.C. and reached its peak during the Classic period of Mayan history (A.D. 200 – 1000). Building work appears to have ceased around 1200.

Kohunlich is famous for the huge stucco masks that flank the staircase of the Temple of the Masks. Archaeologists believe that they depict the city’s rulers who chose to identify themselves with the sun god, Kinich Ahau, to legitimize their rule. Other important groups of buildings are the Acropolis, the Courtyard of the Stelae, the Palace of the King, Merwin Plaza and the elite residential areas known as the 27 Steps Complex and Pixa’an.

 

Dzibanche

Located in the jungle 81 kilometers northwest of Chetumal via Highway 186, Dzibanche is an ancient city that is still revealing its secrets. Discovered in 1927 by Thomas Gann, Dzibanche means “writing on wood” in Maya, a reference to the calendar inscriptions found on the carved lintel of zapote wood above the doorway to Temple VI.

Experts believe that Dzibanche was the largest and most important city in southern Quintana Roo in ancient times and may have been involved in a power struggle with other city-states in the region such as Calakmul in Campeche. The city reached its peak between A.D. 300 and 1200.

The most important groups of buildings are the Temple of the Lintels; the Gann Plaza, which is flanked by the Temples of the Cormorants, Captives and Toucans; Xibalba Plaza, the site of the Temple of the Owl and the North and South Palaces.

An outlying district of the city, Kinichna (“House of the Sun” in Maya) is located about two kilometers north of Dzibanche and is dominated by a temple called the Acropolis

 

In the state of Campeche

Calakmul

Deep in the jungle of the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve in southern Campeche, close to the Guatemalan border, the ancient city of Calakmul was a major Maya power in the Classic period of Maya history. Its rulers had a bitter rivalry with the city of Tikal and were at war with it for almost a century. The study of hieroglyphic inscriptions carved on Calakmul’s many stelae or standing stones has revealed events including battles, victories, alliances and successions.

Climb the twin pyramids for panoramic views of the forest with the Danta Pyramid at the Guatemalan site of El Mirador visible in the distance. The huge site of Calakmul is also famous for the jade masks found in the tombs of ancient rulers buried deep in temples and palaces.

Calakmul is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the surrounding jungle is a haven for wildlife, including spider and howler monkeys, deer, jaguar and puma, ocellated turkey, toucans and the rare king vulture. Due to its remote location, guided tours are the best way to explore Calakmul.

 

In the state of Chiapas

Palenque

Nestled in the forest-shrouded foothills of the northern mountains of Chiapas, the white citadel of Palenque is one of the most beautiful ancient cities in the Maya World.

A major power during the Classic period of Maya history, it reached its peak during the reign of its most famous ruler Pakal (AD 615-683) and his heir Chan B’ahlum. Carved wall panels, bas-reliefs, masks and memorial tablets have provided archaeologists with a wealth of information about their deeds, the city’s history and the Maya universe.

In 1952, archaeologists working at the site announced a major discovery, the tomb of Pakal deep in the heart of the Temple of Inscriptions. The carved lid of the sarcophagus can still be viewed today in the burial chamber. In 1994, another amazing find made the headlines, the tomb of a woman with a burial mask and a hoard of jade covered in cinnabar dust in Temple XIII, next to the Temple of Inscriptions. The Red Queen as she is known is thought to be Tz’ak-b’u Ajaw, the wife of Pakal.

Other important buildings in Palenque include the Palace with its distinctive tower and a courtyard with tablets depicting captive rulers, the Temple of the Cross, Temple of the Foliated Cross, Temple of the Sun, Temple of the Skull and Temple of the Count.

Jungle paths take visitors through the archaeological site and the trees echo with the cries of howler monkeys and the squawks of parrots.

Flights are available to Palenque and to Villahermosa from Cancun. The nearby village of Palenque is a good base for exploring the area and sites of interest such as Agua Azul and Misol Ha waterfalls and the archaeological sites of Yaxchilan and Bonampak in the Lacandon Jungle.

The Travel Gallery

Here are more of the natural wonders and historic monuments in store for you in the Mexican Caribbean and the Yucatan.

 

Rio Secreto

Explore the Mayan underworld. Deep in the limestone rock lies a labyrinth of caves and cenotes that the ancient Maya believed were doorways to the realm of the gods. In the jungle, just south of Playa del Carmen, Rio Secreto is one such place.

Take a guided tour of this beautiful cave system with its still clear pools that mirror the columns, stalactites and stalagmites that have formed over millions of years.

 

 

Cenote Kin-Ha

One of the most popular cenote parks on the Cenote Route near Puerto Morelos, Kin-Ha actually comprises 12 jungle sinkholes, the most spectacular of which are Kin-Ha and Blanca Flor. There is a zip lining circuit, and other activities available in the park are horse riding and ATV drives.

 

Paamul

This pretty bay between Playa del Carmen and Puerto Aventuras in the Riviera Maya is a good spot for snorkeling. There are coral formations in the shallow waters and an offshore reef teeming with colorful fish and other marine life.

 

Mayapan

Located 30 miles south of Merida, Mayapan was the last capital of the Maya in the Yucatan. Founded around A.D. 1250 during the post-Classic period of Mayan civilization, it was abandoned in 1450. Several of Mayapan’s most important buildings show similarities to those at Chichen Itza, leading archaeologists to speculate that it was settled by Maya from Chichen, which was abandoned around 1250.

Your Concierge can help you arrange unforgettable excursions throughout the world of wonders that is the Yucatan Peninsula.

Beach Reads

Here is our beach book recommendation for March. Why not write to us and let us know what’s on your bookshelf or Kindle right now?

The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey
The Costa Book of the Year 2020 is a tale woven from Caribbean legend and lore by Trinidadian author Monique Roffey.

Centuries ago, a beautiful maiden called Aycayia was cursed by women of her tribe jealous of her beauty and fearful that she would bewitch their husbands. The spell they cast transformed her into a mermaid and she was doomed to swim the Caribbean alone through the ages until she hears a young fisherman called David singing to himself as he waited for a catch off the coast of the island called Black Cove. The year is 1976.

She appears before him several times and he blames himself when she gets too close to another fishing boat and is caught and reeled in by two American fishermen, father and son. The father is determined to sell her to a museum and she is strung up like a billfish and left to die.

In the dead of night David decides to rescue her. She is too badly wounded to release back into the ocean so he hides her. Over time, an extraordinary change takes place as she becomes a woman again.

This is a haunting love story set against a backdrop of island life, of families, friendship, reunions and of loss. Aycayia, David and local landowner Miss Arcadia Rain tell their stories and the narrative is compelling.

If you run out of books there is a bookstore right on the main square in Puerto Morelos. Alma Libre stocks new and secondhand books and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Preparing for your flight home: use Mexico Vuela Seguro App to do your health questionnaire

At the end of your stay, before your flight back home you must complete a mandatory health questionnaire. This was previously a printed form, however the Mexican civil aviation authorities have launched a new bilingual App called Mexico Vuela Seguro for passengers to use.

Simply scan the QR code displayed at the Front Desk with your mobile phone or tablet to access the App, register with your email and a password and complete the health questionnaire online. It is quick and easy to use.

Please complete the questionnaire within 12 hours of your flight and before you travel to the airport.
Printed forms are no longer available. You must use the App to complete the questionnaire.

If you have any questions ask your Concierge or at the Front Desk.

COVID-19 tests now available at Grand Residences

As another measure to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the United States and other countries are requiring a negative COVID-19 test for all inbound travelers.

To help guests traveling to the United States comply with the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention order, Grand Residences, through a certified independent laboratory, is now making convenient onsite COVID-19 antigen testing available at no cost. This policy is valid until July 17, 2021.

The PCR test required by Canada, United Kingdom, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Colombia is also available (fees apply).

See our COVID-19 Travel Update for more details and a FAQ section.

Advisory Council Meeting Report 2020 online

The 2020 Advisory Council meeting report and financial statement is published in the Owners Area of grandresidencesbyroyalresorts.com (member log in required) 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 2020 and those planned for 2021, the resort’s 2020 financial performance, and the resort budget for 2021. The Club Service Fees remain unchanged for 2021.