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What’s new in the President’s Circle?

The latest benefit you and your family can enjoy as part of your President’s Circle membership is the Signature Marketplace, a groundbreaking new platform that gives you even more flexibility and more exciting ways to use your Elite Credits.

Visit the Signature Marketplace at www.rrsignatureclub.com/signaturemarketplace to look for flights, hotels and even vacation packages in different parts of the world. You can literally take care of your international travel needs here, whether it’s booking a flight or hotel for a business trip, planning a city break or a dream vacation. And if you are traveling to Grand Residences or Royal Resorts soon, you’ll also be able to use your Elite Credits to get more out of your stay such as romantic beach dinners, spa pampering and day trips.

In order to start shopping in the Signature Marketplace the first thing you need to do is convert your Elite Credits into Marketplace Credits by contacting marketplace@rrsignatureclub.com and filling out the appropriate form. Once your deposit is confirmed you are ready to use the Signature Marketplace.

   Log in to your President’s Circle account and click on the Signature Marketplace link to get started. Use the Accommodation, Air, Cars and Activities tabs to search for the travel services you are interested in. Be sure to check Current Promotions to see the special promotions available at Grand Residences and Royal Resorts.

When you are ready to book a hotel, flight or vacation package you can purchase it using the Marketplace Credits in your account. Your Credits work exactly like cash and if you don’t have enough to complete the transaction you can pay with your credit card or use a combination of both.

Visit www.rrsignatureclub.com/signaturemarketplace

 

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New President’s Circle Flexibility Benefit

The President’s Circle Flexibility program also offers you a new benefit. If you decide that you need more flexibility one year you can convert one of your weeks at Grand Residences into Elite Credits to plan a vacation in a different season, in a different size unit or for a longer or shorter duration, and take advantage of a new feature to give you even more choice. As a President’s Circle member and a Royal Resorts member at one of the other clubs you can now use your Elite Credits to reserve stays at Grand Residences and the other properties in the Royal Resorts collection.

 

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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, we will apply 2% of the purchase price of their Fraction towards your annual Club Service fees.

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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SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT GRAND RESIDENCES

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

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Even more Dining Options

A meal at Grand Residences is always a delight whether you start the day out right with a hearty breakfast; sit down to a leisurely lunch at Heaven Beach Bar with family and friends; unwind with traditional afternoon tea on the terrace or enjoy a romantic dinner by candlelight in El Faro Grill with dishes prepared by chef Yann Cozic. And now there are even more tempting dining options for you to try during the week in addition to a la carte menus and in-room choices.

On Sunday, join us for a beachfront BBQ Night and tuck into a tasty Italian buffet on Monday evening. Wednesday night is Mexican Night and lovers of a fine steak will enjoy Prime Rib Night on Friday.

For more dining details ask your Concierge.

 

 

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Mayan Sunrise Springtime Spa Special

The Spa has a new treatment this month to herald the arrival of spring. The Mayan Sunrise package features an ancient ritual, massage technique and healing herbs used in the Yucatan Peninsula since time immemorial. It will restore your balance and harmony with nature.

It takes place on the beach and begins with a purification ceremony with the fragrance of copal incense and the sounds of a conch shell horn. A 60-minute Mayan massage follows and the final step in the therapy is to sip a delicious natural detox drink.

Therapy times: 8:30 or 9 a.m., cost US$148, duration of 90 minutes (approx.). Offer valid March 1-31, 2015. Information and appointments at the Spa.

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Lights out for Earth Hour

On March 28 at 8:30 p.m., Grand Residences will participate in Earth Hour, the global campaign organized by WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature or World Wildlife Fund) to draw attention to the effects of climate change and the urgent need to protect the one thing that unites us all, the Planet.

Non-essential lights will be turned off around the resort at 8:30 p.m. for one hour and guests are invited to join in by dimming the lights in their suites and attending special Earth Hour events organized during the day.

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Meet Your Neighbors – Floriene Lieberman

From Kansas City, Floriene Lieberman has been a Royal Resorts member since the early 1980s. She and her late husband George first visited Cancun in 1982 as guests of friends who were staying at VCI, now The Royal Cancun. They enjoyed their vacation so much that they decided to become members at The Royal Mayan, which they bought preconstruction. Years later, they also bought preconstruction at The Royal Caribbean and then at The Royal Sands. Floriene says, “Our friends were so happy with The Royal Cancun and they said that the company had delivered on everything and that really gave us confidence. My husband was a land developer and knew about construction and he was very impressed with what he saw.”

When Floriene and her husband saw Grand Residences for the first time they fell in love with the property and decided to sell their five weeks to become owners. Floriene says, “Grand Residences is absolutely beautiful. We love Puerto Morelos, it reminds us of the Mexican Caribbean of old, as it used to be when we first visited in the early 1980s. It has a genuine flavor and is a peaceful, friendly community, it isn’t commercial as Cancun and Playa del Carmen have both become over the years.”

Floriene adds, “The amenities at Grand Residences are incredible and the residences themselves are beautiful. The ambiance is very elegant and the service is simply outstanding, in fact, the staff have become very dear friends. I would recommend it to anyone. I love the beach and I think that over the years my family and I must have taken every tour that exists! The colors of Mexico are breathtaking and I am a huge fan of the art. I still have a picture by local artist Renato Dorfman hanging in my house in Kansas City and one of the things I enjoy here is the turndown service and guessing which colorful little wooden animal or alebrije the evening gift will turn out to be.

“Grand Residences is a great spot to share with family, my daughter is here with me now and my granddaughter and her boyfriend are joining us. Over the years all my children and grandchildren have been to the Mexican Caribbean and they all love it.” On the topic of the staff, Floriene adds: “I have known some of the staff for years, for example, Jorge the Restaurant Manager. He started out at The Royal Caribbean and we followed him to The Royal Haciendas and now he is here. He used to make mango ceviche for me at The Royal Caribbean and he knows my tastes. Another special friend is Chak who I know from The Royal Sands. He came to see me this year on his day off and had breakfast with me. And of course Tyrone, Claudia, our Concierge, and Paola are all wonderful, caring and loving people. When my husband passed away last summer I asked my son to let them know and they all called me individually to give their sympathy, their voices full of emotion and breaking down in tears. That really touched me.

“My message to my fellow owners who haven’t visited their new home yet is that you will have the experience of a lifetime, you’ll be able to unwind in a beautiful ambiance and with loyal friends to look after you. You can really count on them. And to Royal Resorts members I would say come and spend a few hours here to see the beauty of the place and the warmth of the staff. You are missing a great opportunity.”

 

 

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Let’s Go Fishing

March heralds the start of the sport fishing season in the Mexican Caribbean and avid fishermen are preparing to go in search of the ‘big one,” a memory they will treasure for the rest of their lives.

Marlin and sailfish move through area waters following huge shoals of migrating sardines, anchovies and mackerel. Snapper; dorado, bonito and wahoo are also plentiful and knowledgeable 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, 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, around Contoy and Holbox islands and further south along the Costa Maya and accessible from the fishing villages of Mahahual and Xcalak.

The lagoons along the Quintana Roo coast offer a different challenge – they are rich in bonefish such as tarpon, permit and snook and attract fly fishermen from all over the world. There are fishing lodges in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and the Isla Blanca wetlands north of Cancun are also a good spot.

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

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

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Equinox at Chichen Itza, March 20-21

As the sun sets in the west and the shadows lengthen in the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza, a collective cry of wonder goes up from thousands of people who gather at the foot of the Pyramid of Kukulcan on March 20-21, the spring equinox. They are witnessing an amazing spectacle, the mysterious shadow of a serpent rippling across the stone, the symbol of an ancient god returning to earth.

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

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

Your Concierge can help you arrange a day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Chichen Itza for the Equinox, or at any other time of the year. This year, the Spring Equinox falls on March 20 but it is traditionally observed on March 21 at Chichen Itza as it coincides with an official national holiday. The light and shadow snake is visible the day before and after the equinox, cloud cover permitting.

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

If you would prefer to explore Chichen Itza at your own pace, why not rent a car and stop off in the colonial city of Valladolid on the way? This peaceful pueblo magico is steeped in history and tradition. Start with the spectacular Zaci Cenote, stroll through the main square to the Cathedral and take a guided tour of Casa de Los Venados, a 17th-century restored mansion that is a private home and a museum with a collection of more than 3,000 pieces of Mexican folk art. Admission is a $60 peso donation for charity. Then walk along Calzada de Los Frailes, the street leading to San Bernardino Church and Sisal Convent. You’ll pass more restored mansions, craft shops, a workshop where cacao is transformed into chocolate using traditional techniques, and a perfumery.

To the north of Valladolid, a side trip to the Mayapan artisanal distillery gives you a glimpse of the world of the blue agave, the plant that gives us tequila. Native to the state of Jalisco, the plant is flourishing in the fields surrounding the distillery.

When the plants are seven years old they are harvested for their root stem or piña, which is then roasted. The sugary liquid crushed from the cooked piña is fermented, distilled and stored in wooden barrels until ready to be bottled as blanco, reposado or añejado varieties of Mayapan.

Mayapan is not the only spirit produced in Valladolid, the town is also famous for Xtabentun, the fragrant anise-flavored liqueur of the Yucatan, which is made from honey and a native flower.

 

 

 

 

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Flight News

Delta has announced that it will begin weekly flights to Cancun from Baltimore and Pittsburgh on June 6 to cover the summer peak season. It already has a new flight from Cincinnati set to begin in March. Bronson Airlines will also cover the New Orleans and Cincinnati to Cancun routes this year.

To satisfy increasing demand Brazilian carrier Tam Airlines will begin daily flights from Sao Paulo to Cancun in June.

In European flight news, Evelop Airline (code sharing with Iberia) will begin flying from Lisbon and Madrid in March.

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Two more Parks for the Riviera Maya

Xperiencias Xcaret announced that a huge free flight aviary is due to open this summer at Xcaret. This spectacular addition to the park’s list of attractions will be home to more than 70 species of birds native to southeast Mexico, including macaws, parrots, toucans and great curassow.

The Xoximilco Park just south of Cancun Airport is also being expanded with a second phase and visitors will already see some new additions such as a traditional white chapel dedicated to Niñopa, Baby Jesus, and El Mercado, an area of craft shops.

Xenses, Xperiencias Xcaret’s new park in the Riviera Maya created to celebrate and captivate the senses is planned for the winter.

 

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New Ferry Service Cozumel –Playa del Carmen

To cover increased demand, another company is now offering a ferry service from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen. Barcos Caribe has two new catamarans with capacity for 398 and 336 passengers respectively and will make the crossing at regular intervals during the day. The first ferry to depart Cozumel bound for Playa is at 5 a.m. and the company will also cater to late night passengers returning to the island with departures starting at 11 p.m. from Playa del Carmen.

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Facelift for Fifth Avenue

Playa del Carmen’s iconic Fifth Avenue is getting a much-needed facelift. New benches, trash cans and bike parking spaces are being added and the landscaping will be improved with colorful displays of native plants and shrubs.

In other Playa news, the Quinta Alegria mall on Fifth Avenue will host a K’iwik or Mayan market at different times during the year. Artisans from Mayan villages in the Zona Maya area of central Quintana Roo will gather there to sell embroidered dresses, wood carvings, wicker baskets, gourd lamps and tropical fruit conserves.

 

 

 

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New Crocodile Park in Rio Lagartos

In tribute to its name “Lagartos” which means crocodile, the inhabitants of Rio Lagartos unveiled a new attraction for visitors to the Rio Lagartos Biosphere Reserve on the Gulf coast of the Yucatan, a community-run crocodile park.

In addition to boat trips along the estuary and through the lagoons to the salt flats to see the thousands of flamingos and other birds that make their home in the reserve, nature lovers will also be able to see the crocodiles that gave their name to the reserve. They’ll learn about their life cycle, breeding habits and their importance in ancient Mayan culture.

 

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Upcoming Events

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”4706″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Riviera Maya Film Festival

April 23-29

Movie screenings in Playa del Carmen, Cancun, Puerto Morelos and Tulum, short films, documentaries, spotlight on the actor events and more await cinema fans in the Mexican Caribbean this April. The program features Mexican and Latin American films, Hollywood premieres and world cinema and will be available at the end of March.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”5059″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][dt_fancy_separator separator_style=”line” separator_color=”default”][vc_column_text]Cancun International Fishing Tournament 2014

April 24-26

Fishing tournament fever comes to Cancun with the Capitan Armando Ferrat International event.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][dt_fancy_separator separator_style=”line” separator_color=”default”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”4965″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]47th Regatta del Sol al Sol, Isla Mujeres

April 23-May 1

Yachts set sail from St Petersburg, Florida on April 24 bound for Isla Mujeres. Their arrival marks a week of island festivities including the Amigos Race.

 

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][dt_fancy_separator separator_style=”line” separator_color=”default”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”4964″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Copa del Rey Polo Tournament, Puerto Morelos

April 23-26

Located in the jungle along the Ruta de los Cenotes, 11 kilometers from the coast, El Rey Polo & Country Club is a magnificent setting for a fast-paced sport that is growing in popularity in the Mexican Caribbean. If you would like to attend the Copa del Rey tournament, visit the club or arrange riding or polo lessons ask the Concierge for assistance.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][dt_fancy_separator separator_style=”line” separator_color=”default”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”4971″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Puerto Morelos Fishing Tournaments, May

May is a month of fierce competition for fishermen in Puerto Morelos as they compete in two international fishing tournaments. First up is the César Martin Rosado Fishing Tournament on May 1-3. Later in the month, the Don Andrés García Lavin Tournament brings together even more competitors from all over the Mexican Caribbean and abroad, May 8-10.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][dt_fancy_separator separator_style=”line” separator_color=”default”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”4933″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]International Theater Festival by the Sea (FITFAM 2015), Puerto Morelos

May 14-17

More details of this event will be published in future editions of this newsletter as they become available.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][dt_fancy_separator separator_style=”line” separator_color=”default”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”4932″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Sacred Mayan Crossing, Xcaret & Cozumel

May 21-23

Visitors to the Mexican Caribbean in May have the opportunity to witness the reenactment of an ancient Mayan pilgrimage to the sacred island of Cozumel to worship at the shrine of Ixchel, the goddess of the moon, fertility and childbirth. After months of arduous training, teams of trained oarsmen from Cancún, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and further afield set sail from Xcaret at dawn on May 22 in authentic wooden canoes on the Sacred Mayan Journey (Sagrada Travesía Maya). On May 23 the pilgrims make the return voyage to Xcaret.

 

 

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Grand Residences Tops on Trip Advisor

In just one year, Grand Residences has reaped an array of accolades and climbed steadily up the rankings in Trip Advisor, the world’s largest online travel community. By the summer of 2014 it was rated as the No. 1 hotel in the Riviera Maya as a result of the excellent reviews received from our guests, beating famous resorts in the area, and it is now the No. 1 hotel in the Yucatan Peninsula out of 876 hotels.

There’s more, your home away from home has started 2015 in style by reaching another Trip Advisor milestone. It features in the Trip Advisor Traveler’s Choice Top Hotels in Mexico 2015, coming in at No. 7. It is also ranked No. 8 in the Trip Advisor Traveler’s Choice Top Luxury Hotels in Mexico 2015 and has a mention in the Traveler’s Choice Top 25 Family Resorts in Mexico, all in all, a great way for your beautiful beachfront resort to celebrate its first anniversary and inspiration for your hosts to look for even more ways to exceed your expectations and make each vacation more incredible than the last.

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SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT GRAND RESIDENCES

If you would like to make a referral

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

CLICK HERE

 

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Valentine’s Day Dinner

Award-winning Chef Yann Cozic has created a sumptuous Valentine’s Day menu to celebrate love and romance.

The tempting starters include cream of carrot soup perfumed with lemon grass and served with shrimp, a tropical take on the classic moules mariniere, mussels in a ginger and coconut broth or scallop and salmon carpaccio. For your main course choose from a selection of duck with a crust of sweet spices, apple, saffron and dates, veal chop with asparagus and morel mushrooms. For an exquisite finale to a magnificent meal, there’s pear belle hèléne, raspberry and pistachio cream mille-feuille or passion fruit crème brûlée. The wine list includes the perfect wine pairings for your menu choices and champagne if you prefer.

Dine by candlelight in El Faro Grill or on the terrace listening to the waves and watching the moon trace a path of shimmering liquid silver across the sea. You’ll agree with the words of George Sand, “There is only one happiness in life; to love and be loved.”

 

Contact the Concierge ››

 

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Spa Pampering

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If you are staying at Grand Residences this February, ask about special Valentine’s Day promotions. And whatever the season, indulge with a soothing massage, a herbal facial or body wrap at the Spa and start your vacation in style.

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A Grand Wedding

Romance is definitely in the air at Grand Residences. The beautiful secluded beach and luxurious surroundings make the resort the perfect spot to pop the question, tie the knot or pledge your eternal love. From romantic dinners on the beach to engagement parties, intimate weddings, anniversary celebrations and vow renewals, the Events Coordinator and the rest of your Grand Residences family will make any special occasion unforgettable.
For information on wedding packages and other event services contact Grand Residences Special Events
 

 

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Call your Concierge

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Your Personal Concierge will help you with tour recommendations and reservations, area information, restaurant bookings, golf tee times and any thing else you need during your stay.

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Download your own Virtual Concierge App

Grand Residences is at the forefront of technological innovation in the hospitality industry and we would like to unveil our brand new Virtual Concierge App. Download it on arrival and check our sightseeing and dining recommendations. Read about area highlights and must-see archaeological sites and nature parks. Choose the golf courses you want to play this time, and of course, read all about the services and activities available to you at Grand Residences.

Download the Grand Residences Virtual Concierge App now from the App Store

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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, we will apply 2% of the purchase price of their Fraction towards your annual Club Service fees.

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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MEET YOUR NEIGHBORS | Karen and Doug Bayerlein

Hailing from Wisconsin, the Bayerleins have been Royal Resorts members for 23 years, originally at The Royal Caribbean, then The Royal Islander and finally at The Royal Sands. They then decided to purchase a year-round residence at Grand Residences with Doug’s brother Steve and his wife Barbara. When asked what made them decide to become Grand Residences owners, Karen says, “Our past history with Royal Resorts and the company’s credibility had a big part to play in our decision. We love the Cancun area, it is so accessible from the United States, there is so much to do here and the golf is fabulous, which makes my husband and brother-in-law very happy, as they are both avid golfers. There are many fine restaurants, which also suits us because we are choosy about our food and like good wines. And our kids have always loved it here.

“We had been thinking about buying a full-time condo in Cancun but we didn’t want to have to pay staff to look after it or foot the maintenance costs, so Grand Residences was the perfect solution. Investing in Grand Residences was also a business decision for us,” she adds, “We run a high-end treadmill company and we had been looking to expand our operation into Mexico. Our treadmills are in the fitness center at the resort and all the Royal Resorts gyms. Other local companies are interested in our brand; Royal Resorts is a standard that they all look up to.”
“I guess the thing that I remember most from my first visit to Grand Residences as owners in December 2013 was the view of the ocean through the front window, it was stunning.” Karen says, “I have been down since then with my daughter and friends to celebrate her twenty-first birthday in June and it poured every day. They still loved it though! We are planning to bring other members of the family down with us this year and we have also used our unit for vacations with friends, company staff and for rental purposes.”

“The ambiance at the resort is over the top,” Karen says, “It is by far the finest resort in the area, there’s no doubt about it. We love the location, the low-key, quiet and friendly ambiance of Puerto Morelos is close by, and then there’s cosmopolitan Cancun and crazy Playa del Carmen, both of which are just a short drive away.”

“When we are on vacation my husband and brother-in-law play golf and I like to relax and take time off from our hectic schedule,” Karen says, “All the Grand Residences services and staff are outstanding. I know that even more options are planned for the future such as a larger Spa, store and another restaurant and I will be excited to see the improvements to what are already very impressive services.”

“My message to Grand Residences owners who haven’t visited yet is that they need to hurry up and come down if they haven’t already experienced their luxury home,” Karen adds, “The staff are doing a wonderful job of making us feel at home. The resort is amazing but they raise the bar even more and make it truly outstanding.”

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City of Angels, Ek Balam

20-minute drive north of the colonial city of Valladolid in the neighboring state of Yucatan, lies Ek Balam, an ancient Mayan site that is currently being excavated by archaeologists. To date, 60 buildings have been restored and a wealth of artifacts, including 50 hieroglyphic inscriptions and a royal tomb with offerings of jade, pottery and copal incense have been unearthed.
Ek Balam, “black jaguar or star jaguar” in Maya was inhabited from 600 B.C. and reached its peak between A.D. 600-900. It is an enigma for archaeologists, its ceremonial heart is walled, probably for defensive purposes, and its buildings show a variety of architectural styles and artistic elements including hieroglyphic inscriptions and friezes. The city’s crowning glory is the façade on the upper level of the Acropolis, the principal building, which features stucco serpents, masks of the earth monster and the statues of richly attired nobles, including a seated figure thought to be one of the rulers. The huge building was built in several phases and is a warren of rooms and terraces.

Local people often refer to the statues at the top of the Acropolis as “los angeles,” the angels, because they appear to have wings. The “wings” are actually feather headdresses. Archaeologists have deciphered hieroglyphic inscriptions at the site and others in the area to discover that Ek Balam was ruled by a powerful dynasty and have identified the city’s founding father, Ukit Kan Le’k Tok who came to power in 770 A.D. it is though that the central statue may depict this mythical personage.
To reach the site from Cancún take Highway 180 to Valladolid and then Highway 295. The road to Ek Balam is clearly marked.
A painting of Ek Balam graces the living room of your residence and when you are ready to visit this beautiful site,
your Concierge can help organize trips or a car rental
so that you can explore on your own.

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A Good Book for the Beach

Have you already finished all the books you brought down with you for the beach and are tired of looking at your Kindle? Visit Alma Libre Bookstore in Puerto Morelos main square during the winter season to stock up on beach books.
Run by Rob and Joanne, a couple from Calgary, Canada, Alma Libre carries an extensive selection of second-hand and new books, maps and guidebooks on Mexico and the Maya World. You’ll find everything from thrillers, romance, sci-fi and fantasy to the classics and books on nature, cooking and even meditation.
Alma Libre is open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., November to the end of April.
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