We took the Royal bus down to the Sands - don’t go by the schedule that is posted - he seems to be running on his own schedule right now- probably due to lack of people, but we took it twice and only had to wait a few minutes both times.
We went to the breakfast buffet at the Sands - wow - so crowded compared to the Islander - yes, they do have a bigger selection - but nothing that I wanted to stand in line for - no lines for omelets or waffles at the Islander. The space is big and beautiful - again, their craftsmanship - especially with tile work is outstanding.
Their pool complex is a beauty, very large, with sparkling pools, more kids at the Sands than the Islander the day we were there.
I wanted to see, and get a picture of the beach, since we were unable to walk down there the day we tried, but the area was taped off with yellow tape and a guard was standing there. I asked him if I could go under the tape to go to the edge and take a picture - he called someone on the radio, and they said yes, and I went under. Wow - that was a shocking sight - what a drop from the top to the ground, they lost a lot of sand and there was no beach, but the ride to the Tri-Royals is short, and there is plenty of beach there. I know it is not the same as being outside your room, but in all honesty, it was still a hike back to our room from the beach at the Islander, and we were staying beach front, so I would not worry about taking the bus to the other beaches, and in retrospect, I wish we had gone to the VCI because I heard their beach is calm.
That night, I had made a reservation via email with Susan from Cancunmenus for Laguna Grille, I had heard so many positive things about it, and was really looking forward to that dinner, however that was not to be - I understand they will be open by December 15th and if I was going, that would be first on my list, I wish them the best of luck.
I had emailed Susan with all my dinner requests and she got back to me promptly with each confirmation - I was so happy to hear that they came through Wilma without too much damage.
We ended up at La Dolce Vita downtown, we took a cab ($13 each way).
This was a great restaurant - very lovely inside with soft hues of peach and good quality tableware and tablecloths and many plants and trees throughout the space.
One of the owners "Juan Casa" was there, a very nice gentleman in the true sense of the word. He spent time with us telling us of “George’s” plans for rebuilding, and how “George” was going to have things back better than ever, and that “George” had already opened the Fisheria and Savios would be open soon - I finally asked him - “who is George?” He seemed surprised that we did not know George Savio - guess everyone knows George!
Anyway, that one of our best meals, I had the spinach linguini with lobster medallions in a light alfredo sauce - just think melt in your mouth with the pasta cooked to perfect al dente, and the lobster pieces sweet and succulent and a Caesars salad. Pete had the seafood medley and a spinach salad and we both had this out of the world garlic cheese bread - you know the kind that is dripping in butter and cheese and garlic - I’m drooling right now just thinking about it.
Anyway, once again, there was way too much food, and they packed it up for our lunch the next day. After dinner they came around with the aperitif cart “compliments of the house” - I could not eat or drink one more thing, but DH had a Bailey’s, I didn’t want to hurt their feelings, but I was just too stuffed.
Wonderful food service and ambiance at a minimal price - highly highly recommend.
Thursday - Thanksgiving Day - the best day of the week - hot and sunny all day and no big waves, I could only sit out for a couple of minutes and then had to get in the water.
The Royals had special buffets and dinners on for Thanksgiving, but I wanted to go out, I really wanted to help the local economy as much as we could, so that night we went to La Palapa located inside/outside the Imperial Laguna Hotel - we took a cab - $10.00 each way.
This was our best meal bar none.
Strange set up - when the cab driver dropped us off - we couldn’t tell where to go - so he got out and went and scouted for us, and then came back and showed us the way - you walk through the hotel courtyard and then you enter this palapa roof open air restaurant that is situated right on the lagoon, small, only about 10 tables - when we walked in, the waiters started clapping! The décor is very simple, just a real casual beach restaurant, but oh the food.
Once again, we had fantastic service and food - I had the roast pork loin, and DH had a white fish - don’t know the name, but both were just melt in your mouth - they had this fabulous bread and instead of butter, they had a spread comprised of garlic, parsley and mayo - really really good!
They only take cash right now, and we knew that when we made the reservation, so we were prepared. If you get the chance, do try this place, it is worth it.
Friday - last day
Wow - the wind really picked up last night and the waves were just crashing.
All week, I had been watching this one rock on the beach to make sure it wasn’t just my imagination - but sure enough, slowly but surely, the sand was coming back and that rock was nearly covered.
The waves today were huge - too big for me to even think of going in - fast - just breaking one after the other close to shore. The sand had really built up and the berm in front of the water was quite high now, wonderful to see.
We just sat in our chairs and did a bit of reading, then we went up and got ready and caught the bus going the other way towards the Westin, more destruction down that way - same thing - windows out, and one place - they have orange lattice work in front, had stacks of mattresses sitting behind the wall, such a shame.
Friday night - last night, we went to Hacienda Sisal at the Sands. I understand this is used to be the Royal Bandstand but now it is a Mexican/Steak/Seafood restaurant, very very good. I guess they are open to the public because he didn’t want the Royal card up front, and told us we could pay with a credit card if we wanted - I saw signs around the resorts that said the buffets from Captains Cove were now being served at the Hacienda.
More great food and service - we NEVER had bad food or service at any of the restaurants, either in or out of the Royals, every place was top notch.
They had a wonderful instrumental guitar player - “Juan Duran” who played with a video of nature scenes/ seascapes on a big screen behind him - it was lovely and I wanted to buy two of his cd’s, but they wouldn’t take a credit card and I was nearly out of cash, so I had to pass them up. He is really good - I looked for him on the internet, but could find nothing - if anyone knows where I could buy his cd’s, I would appreciate the info.
We had a 3:30am wakeup call and our car from Besttransfers (excellent service at a good price) was to pick us up at 5:00am, so we just went back and packed, and sat out on the balcony for a while watching the crashing waves.
I booked this trip way back in July, the weekend Emily hit, I found a good deal on Expedia and they were offering a $75.00 coupon if you booked then, so I did.
Thankfully for me and Cancun, Emily just glanced Cancun. With each impending storm, I became a weather channel junkie - you know you have no life when you know the line-up on the weather channel!
We skated by Stan with nary a blow, and then took the big KO from Wilma - that was one of the worst weekends of my life, staying up half the night - reading TA at all times of the night and day and then sitting in shocked amazement at the stories and pictures coming out of Cancun.
Thanks to Dangers, Weatherdood, Arracdas (Alex), Jimincancun, Reinaruba, CancunGringa (who was way up north somewhere and working non stop to provide info), AQ700, Brant from Entertainment Plus, and Steve from Cancuncares, (and plenty of others who I’m sure I am forgetting) I was able to assemble plenty of information and became even more resolute that we were going, come hell or high water. THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU!
We just HAD to get down there and do something to support the economy.
Thanks to Royal Resort Owner (Mike) I found a place at the Islander through TUG and I am so happy and thankful we went. I just can’t say enough about our trip, or the experience of being in a history making location less than one month after the disaster, it is something I will NEVER forget.
To those of you sitting around wondering if you should go, quit wondering and start packing - you won’t regret it.
Luck to you,