Hotel Review: Secrets The Vine

The view from my room

It’s the middle of December now and for some reason I keep going back to the feeling I had as I walked into my room and admired a huge wonderfully furnished suite full of light with an amazing terrace overlooking both the ocean and the lagoon, wow what a treat!!

So finally I got enough inspiration to share my review of this great place on the Caribbean Sea, don’t you just love life at the beach?

From top to bottom, this hotel offers what I like to call the Perfect Adults Only Luxury Experience.

1. The Property- The elegant minimalistic vertical design allows the property to make the most out of its narrow beachfront, but OMG is it a gorgeous beach! Long white sands that end in that emblematic turquoise clear water that becomes bluer as it gets deeper, whenever I think of the beach of Cancun, that one image I get is translated exactly in the way the beach looks from the hotel.

2. F&B- The options are great, of course a lot of variety and a good quality from the Buffet at Breakfast to the specialty options for dinner, my favorites were the Mediterranean—Olio— I really liked the menu (truly mediterranean); the Asian restaurant — Dragon’s—- also has many options (japanese, chinese, korean); Sea Salt Grill for Lunch (excellent service) and Market Café (Buffet for Breakfast), the omelette chef here is a gem!! cheers to her!! In room Dining- Excellent, The Vine Café and the Bars very nice, you never have to struggle for a good meal or your favorite drink at anytime.

3. The rooms- I could easily stay in the room and never come out, they are super modern, luxurious, well equipped, comfortable and just dreamy, I was lucky enough to experience a Master Suite so there was nothing more I could ask for, it became home from the moment I stepped in and I enjoyed it to the fullest, with a huge terrace overlooking the ocean for an unforgettable sunrise on the beach and windows everywhere for a romantic view of the sunset over the lagoon, free wifi and smartTV (Yay!!), wooden furnishing, 2 bathrooms, 2 living rooms, dining room and entrance hall, it was just perfect!!

4. Activities- They offer a good variety from yoga, spinning, aquaaerobics to wine pairing daily, and the gym even though it is not too big it has a stunning ocean view that makes you want to stay and workout all day, the pool and beach are very comfortable and clean and they have good amounts of shade.

5. The people- What I love the most about AMResorts is their staff, I haven’t stayed in too many of them but it really feels very warm, and I can say I recognize it as an asset to that brand, memorable staff at the resort would be Laura at Concierge, she was just the sweetest and what I loved about her is she is authentically passionate about service, you can tell right away, she is genuine, caring, professional, patient, kind, eager to listen and to help, I could also tell she has great leadership so I hope she gets promoted soon!

Jesus at Sea Salt Grill, very sociable, fun and full of energy, a driven man with clear goals, hopefully he will also get very far. And although I didn’t meet him I saw the manager around everyday in the areas making sure everything was perfect everywhere so cheers to that!!

The only thing I felt I wanted and didn’t get was more time to stay there!! it is worth at least a 4 night stay to experience the variety of flavors and atmospheres and also I still need to visit the spa, hopefully next time.

Choose this resort for a romantic getaway to surprise your partner, you will not regret it.

Tulum from a different perspective

DSC08498

Revisiting Tulum after 12 years was an amazing experience, the first time I went there I was 15 years old and ready to explore the world, Tulum always called for me and I had to answer, I remember I took all of my savings went to the bus station and set out for adventure. My sister was 10 at the time and she was sad I would leave her so I took her with me. We didn’t even have a camera and I was just carrying a bag.

I remember she was kind of scared, we almost missed the bus and had barely enough money to pay for it. We ran for the bus station and catched the last call for it, in that time the bus went from Cancun all the way to the mayan town corridor and stopped in Tulum, we drove for more than a couple of hours, in those years the roads were very precarious in Cancun, there were no bridges or even nice pavement, it was a one lane road from Playa del Carmen on to the rest of the state.

Unlike in Cancun, the bus didn’t stop in a station, it just stopped in a bumper in the middle of the road and the driver shouted “Tulum” so we rushed to get off otherwise we would end up having to wait for the next town and with no way of coming back.

We got off and we were just there in the middle of the road, a couple of handcraft stores and a couple of restaurants. We walked to look for the sign indicating the ruins, we found it and our journey started, walking the dirt road unaware of what we would find.

That is one of the beauties of Tulum, it makes you walk up and starts to unveil it’s magic in front of you.

Nowadays as you get to the site there are a lot of restaurants and handcraft stores, bathrooms, and many services.

On this visit I brought my camera with me and tried to look at Tulum from a different perspective. Without the comfort of my zoom lens, I just took my 50mm attached and threw my camera in my beach bag.

As you go in, the place starts to appear as you move forward.

I loved seeing that some of its original fauna still lives there, a lot of Iguanas lay around in all sizes trying to blend with the soft grey stone.

DSC08380

As you keep walking you can feel this sacred place was dedicated to Venus and something just vibrates with mysticism. First temples and signs of gods begin to appear.

DSC08384

The architecture is very particular, lovely and amazingly well preserved, it stands there in front of you without losing it’s essence.

DSC08385

As you continue to walk you start climbing as the ground goes up, it’s an amazing moment because you can’t really see much, until you get to the highest part of the ground only to unveil the heart of this magical city

tulum4

The view is absolutely breathtaking, I remember the first time I saw it, I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t have a camera so I just stared at it trying ti keep that image in my mind, then I went down for a swim, and tried to blend with the place. I just wanted to stay there forever.

tulum1

The ancient mayan city was originally named Zamá (Dawn) probably because of its beachside location.

In ancient times it was a very important city for commerce and for religious ceremonies to honor Kukulkan the descending god.

Tulum was still an active city inhabited by mayans when the spaniards arrived to Yucatan and Quintana Roo, but due to the heavy epidemic diseases they brought, the city was abandoned shortly after.

Due it’s amazing landscapes it has been one of the most visited archeological sites in Mexico and because of this, the heirs of the mayan culture that still visited Tulum as a sacred ceremonial place in the XXth Century, have decreased their spiritual activities at the site.

Nonetheless, Tulum in itself both the site and the city have a very clear mystic quality that attracts people from all over the world.

DSC08416

This wonderful city protected by the high rocks of the coast and the marine reef was one of the most beautiful cities in mayan culture and a very important reference for sailors and traders in the sea, who took the Castle as a reference to avoid getting caught in the reef.

DSC08507

The castle also served as a lighthouse, because of the way it was built, the sun would come across a couple of windows protecting the light into the ocean and guiding mayan traders on their canoes.

They also had a hurricane warning system, on the top of a temple there’s a hollow rock they carved facing the ocean, when the wind speed would become hurricane like, the hollow rock acted like a whistle warning everyone.

Thanks to Ina and Pazit for sharing it with me and allowing me to visit Tulum again.

DSC08492

SUNSET: a colored gift

After a few moments of rain and a potential thunderstorm, nature gave us:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The unofficial wedding photographer

Tere, the Bride fixing the last details of her wedding while getting her hair done, minutes away from the ceremony, Akumal, Q.Roo, Mx, 2012
 
 

There are plenty of things to say about the world of weddings, from the location of the wedding in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Akumal, Tulum (there is always something nie about the place) to the culinary art, the decoration and design that creates the atmosphere, the music, the fashion…etc. Here is some of what I see in them particularly.

Weddings are a very important ocassion in the life of many, I have recently begun to attend some of them and I have to confess that it is a new thing for me; the wedding scene was not my scene at all.

I didn’t know much about them but the more chances I get to work in them, the more I like them. They have opened a new world of creative posibilites for me and I love that!

I love the fact that weddings are about what really makes us human, they are about the intangible things that separate us from the rest of the world. To me, they transcend the arrangements of a beautiful party and become about our capacity to truly love another person. You can see it with fathers giving away their daughters, mothers walking proudly in the arms of their sons, you can really witness how they transform walking down that aisle that turns them into men and women ready to form their own family, to fly with their own wings.

It is about the laughter of cousins, the warm embrace of friends, the adventure it represents for children, the music that vibrates in the air, the tears that join the ocean in the white sand beach, the jokes between siblings, the radiant glance of the couple, the flying best men and the spark of the maids of honor.

I love it and enjoy it so much that I want to share what it inspires me to do. That and my love for photography as well as my eager need to document what goes on around me gave birth to….”The Unofficial Wedding Photographer”

This is the first of a series of photos that I named after shooting the “backstage” or the “extra pictures” of a wedding. Normally couples hire a professional photographer to take their pictures and while they do a very good job, this is a different perspective, I focus more on the making of the moments, the details that go unnoticed, I turn my camera where nobody else is looking, holding on to those moments that reflect the true emotion and personality of family, friends and of course  the couple. But most of all, with my passion for journalism I find it exciting to document  the wedding 😀

This is the story of Jon and Tere, he is an “aussie” who fell for a mexican woman, they lived in world apart, miles and miles away from each other and they met because they had to.

“and then I met this mexican girl  he said while reading his vows that he knew when it all changed for him “and then I met this beautiful mexican girl and I learned what a beautiful person she is, and I knew she was the one” said Jon while reading his vows looking sincerely into Tere’s eyes, she was glancing back, trying not to cry. They married in Akumal, a very small and secluded beachside town near Tulum, Quintana Roo in beautiful Mexico. With the turqouise ocean in the background and white sand beaches at their feet, they held a wonderful wedding on a sunset in April, 2012.

Tere, the Beautiful Bride getting ready. Akumal, Q.Roo. Mx. 2012

Tere, the Bride during her make up session, smiling while her bridesmaids mention Jon , minutes away from joining her life with him, Akumal, Q.Roo. Mx, 2012

Tere and Jon, stealing another “you may kiss the bride” after the ceremony, Akumal, Q.Roo, Mx, 2012
A kiss that will last forever, Tere and Jon as husband and wife, Akumal, Q.Roo, Mx
 
The couple kissing while they are being filmed by Oscar Video, Akumal, Q.Roo, Mx
 
Tere staring at her husband and having fun while Jon poses for the photographer, Akumal, Q.Roo, Mx 
 
 The couple kissing with an impressive sunset and pink sky above, Akumal, Q.Roo, Mx
 
Tere walking towards his husband while shooting their video, Akumal, Q.Roo, Mx
 
The detail on the bride’s dress shining at sunset while the professional videographer shoots a scene on the background, Akumal, Q.Roo, Mx
 
The couple walking towards the reception after their photo shoot, Akumal, Q.Roo, Mx
 
Details on the bride’s veil and earrings, Akumal, Q.Roo, Mx
 
The Bride’s entrance, Akumal, Q.Roo, Mx
 
Jon, grasping for air trying to explain what Tere means to him, Akumal, QRoo, Mx
 
The best men and bridesmaids posing with the couple, Akumal, QRoo, Mx
 
The guys messing around for the picture, Akumal, QRoo, Mx
 
The Girls, getting ready for their picture, Akumal, QRoo, Mx
 
Moments before the ceremony, spreading the joy, Akumal. QRoo, Mx
 
The Girls giving away kisses for the camera, Akumal, QRoo, Mx
 
Elia Rodriguez, Tere’s bridesmaid, the joy of the party and the artistic soul, Akumal, QRoo, Mx
 
Floating on the sand, one of the bridesmaids runs to catch the first kiss picture, Akumal, QRoo, Mx
 
The beautiful ladies posing with the groom’s brother, Akumal, QRoo, Mx
 
The ladies helping each other secure their dresses and wings, Akumal, QRoo,Mx
 
The authentic smile and hapiness of a friend at her girl’s wedding, Akumal, QRoo,Mx
A wedding guest, lingering under the sun, Akumal, QRoo, Mx
 
A guest with an interesting message in his fashion choice,  a sparkling sight under the caribbean sun, Akumal, QRoo,Mx
 
The shining new tattoo on the bridesmaid back, she’s got wings of her own, Akumal, QRoo, Mx
 
Behind the scenes of the wedding video “Getting Ready”, Akumal, QRoo, Mx
 
The Fairy Bridesmaids, Akumal, QRoo, Mx
 
The Girls Fairy tale in opposite color, Akumal, QRoo. Mx
 
Fairy Bridesmaids in neon blue, Akumal, QRoo, Mx
 
The Bride getting her hair styled while the fairy bridesmaids pose for a picture at Jon and Tere’s wedding, Akumal, QRoo, Mx
 
 

by: Kristina Guerrero