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.

Weekend adventure in Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres.

ISLA MONUMENTO

A little island only 5 miles long and half a mile wide in the far east corner of Mexico. It is the island where the territory ends and nothing is left between her and the rest of the world.

Originally one of the mayan territories that conform the state of Quintana Roo, Isla Mujeres was located in the province of Ekab and it was a ceremonial center dedicated to Ixchel, goddess of the moon, fertility and abundance.

IXCHEL

In 1517 the spanish expedition of Francisco de Córdoba, arrived into the island where they found nothing except for the ceremonial center and the female keepers of the sanctuary, because of this, the spaniards named the island “Isla Mujeres” (Island of Women), and it is the name that it has beared ever since.

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Spending the weekend on the island made me remember the delights of living away in a little corner of the planet where you don’t need a car to move around or even a cell phone to stay in touch with family, friends and…everyone.

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I love the particular charm that makes Isla Mujeres different from the rest of the touristic sites in Quintana Roo, all things there are very local, more authentic and have a history behind them.

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Waking up to watch the sunrise knowing that you are standing where firm land ends for miles ahead and watching that amazing and loving spectacle that nature has been performing for centuries before us. I wonder how mayans greeted the new day in that exact same place thousands of years before.

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As you walk by downtown there is a mixture of old original cabins built by the fishermen, they are wooden small and colorful cabins in the middle of streets, next to restaurants or hotels.

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On the inner side of the island you get amazing clear waters, turquoise oceans with a special tone, a unique glare and you can see the other side of the island and Cancun skyline.

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As soon as night begins to fall you are able to walk the streets filled with artwork, coffee shops and restaurants.

There is a great variety for dining from small cabins to very elegant and modern restaurants, all types of cuisine, but the best part is that everywhere you go, you are family, from hosts, to waiters, to cooks and owners welcome you and treat you like an old friend.

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Walking around so freely, made me want to stay there and never come back, it’s definitely the perfect place for people looking for a quiet, low profile, relaxed and very authentic experience of Mexico and the Caribbean culture.

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The most memorable time that I visited “Isla” as we call it, must have been 11 years ago, we went there on a sailboat, as we arrived I couldn’t believe the colors I was admiring in the ocean it’s different from the ocean in Cancun and in other parts of Quintana Roo, when we docked we swam, we ate and we headed back when the sun was coming down, sailing into cancun at nightfall, being out there in the ocean watching all the stars.

I am so blessed to live in this beautiful state and to know all of it!

If anybody plans to visit, contact me and I’ll make sure to give you the best advice on places to discover. Life is great! We are alive, and breathing 😀

X’nipec Salsa- Mayan Salsa Recipe

Living in the Yucatan Peninsula area of Mexico, we have the blessing and the opportunity to coexist with the surviving mayan culture.

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X’nipec (Shnee Pek) means “wet dog’s nose” in mayan and it receives it’s name after that moisty nose dogs have,  the effect the sauce has when you eat it causes  your nose to produce secretions (you feel the spicy effect.)

Anyone who has been to the Yucatan Peninsula and has eaten traditional food, might have seen it, it is a very typical dressing for modern Yucatan-Quintana Roo cuisine.

I decided to prepare my own version of X’nipec taking into account my particular approach on eating-food-cooking in general.

Sharing the recipe and hoping that people all over the world get to try this very simple yet powerful source of well-being.

Ingredients:

1/2 Purple Onion (typicall to the mayan mexican region) in case you can’t find it you can use white onion.

1 Habanero Pepper (typically grown in the Yucatan Peninsula) you might get it at the supermarket, since it’s an export from mexico. *There are different colors of habanero pepper, no matter which one you find, it has the same properties.

1 Spoon Fresh Coriander

1 Sour Orange

1 Pinch of Salt

1 Pinch of Oregano

1 Pinch of black pepper

2 Tbsp Vinegar

This recipe is for a small bowl and a mild spicy flavor, if you can handle it more spicy you can duplicate the habanero pepper portions.

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In this case, I used purple onion, a regular orange (not sour because I couldn’t find it) and I added oregano and black pepper to the recipe.

PREPARATION (5 minutes):

Rule number one of every preparation- wash your hands and work with clean utensils (as basic as it is, some people are not used to this rule).

Wash all of your ingredients, cut the orange in half, chop the onion in fine cubes, wash and clean the coriander and chop it, finally chop the habanero*.

*Habanero is a very spicy pepper, make sure you take proper measures to deal with it, use gloves if you need to, and make sure to wash your hands and utensils thoroughly after handling the pepper, never touch your eyes or face after handling the pepper.

For my body type, I don’t enhance strong spicy flavors, so I took away the seeds from the pepper and used only one pepper to make it mild.

After chopping your ingredients, incorporate them in a bowl.

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Add the salt (I used sea salt), the vinegar, oregano and pepper (optional) and finally add the freshly squeezed orange juice.

At this point you’ll be able to smell the typical flavor and tone of x’nipec.

Let it marinate at room temperature at least for one hour before serving, I personally like to leave it overnight.

THE BENEFITS OF X’NIPEC

“Food is medicine and medicine is food” That is one of the principles of ayurveda and I believe it to be true. Feeding our body is much more than tasting something or satisfying the feeling of hunger.

X’nipec is an amazing medicine because it stimulates our digestion, circulation and benefits many of our organs with its ingredients.

Onion: It’s the main element of our recipe and it’s almost raw, onion stimulates our papillae, it helps us to fortify our muscles (in the metabolic-celular level) and it cleans our reproductive system.

Coriander: Diuretic and cleansing, it helps us balance all of our body elements (earth, wind, fire and water).

Pepper: The spicy flavor stimulates the tongue, it makes the eyes, nose and mouth produce secretions, accelerates digestion, gives way to appetite and attacks un-evacuated food residue in our intestines (toxic).

Salt: Activates salivation, helps digestion and body purification.

Orange: Sweet/Acid flavor, it helps build all of our tissue and body functions, the sweet flavor is associated with the sensation of joy. Acid flavor helps to hydrate the body and stimulates the cardiac function.

THE PRE-HISPANIC PERSPECTIVE:

Since it is a recipe of pre-hispanic tradition it also has a wisdom to it. Traditional pre-hispanic herbal medicine recognizes that peppers stimulate appetite, increase the production of urine and menstruation and they fortify the stomach. The intake of peppers should be moderate and balanced, because the excess of it causes intestinal and stomach damage.

TYPE OF NOURISHMENT

I also love this recipe because it’s natural and fits every diet choice. It is raw, vegan, traditional, mystic and healing.

Hope you enjoy it!