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We got dropped off at White Sands only to be given Black TRS wristbands and we took another shuttle to the TRS lobby as we received an awesome upgrade. It was our 14th trip and I knew we could utilize the TRS facilities, but I am telling you that being there is definitely a huge level up.
ROOM: We had room 6723 which is on the 2nd floor, ocean facing and we could see the ocean but filtered through palm trees. Beautiful, I was so happy. The wonderful butler, Marianne, came up to show us all the amenities in the room and to explain the butler services. The ambient light is so nice, the bed and pillows were SO comfortable. Thought the mirrored walls in the toilet room and shower were kind of weird, but at least they had doors. The big bowl sinks and beautiful tub were out in the open in the room. My husband thought that shaving was awkward with the bowls so deep and the shelf so low, but he was fine. I moved the magnification mirror and my makeup to the other end of the room where there was a chair and mirror, it worked perfect. Marianne said we could have up to 4 bottles of any alcohol we wanted, but could not take them home. I couldn't imagine drinking that much in our room in 1 week, so I only asked for a bottle of Baileys. Nice for coffee in the morning and on ice before bed. The balcony chairs were really deep, I put a pillow from the couch behind me and it was perfect. Also you get nuts and candy bars in the fridge as well as a beer and soda selection. My favorite is that I never would run out of bottled water.
Turn down service is really special. A nice treat delivered, different every evening. Towels replaced. The first night I had left a bottle of water almost empty on my nightstand, every night thereafter was a nice full bottle for me when I got back to the room :)
FACILITIES: The grounds keeping as usual was immaculate. The new infinity pool was gorgeous. 3 levels, so pretty, and a bar at each end. There was only a bathroom at one of them though and it was as fancy as a restaurant bathroom. The new automatic motion sensor lights need to be adjusted though. The walls are dark grey in the stalls and the door dark brown. Literally they turn off and plunge you into darkness after about 6 or 7 seconds. It took me awhile to figure out to wave my arms around to get the lights to turn back on. 6 seconds is NOT enough LOL. This pool is a great place to be when you want sun, because there really isn't a lot of shade options, especially if you don't get a bali bed first thing in the morning. There is even a guy pushing a cart to offer sunscreen if you need it. There are glass walls in front of the ocean which are nice because you can see the ocean, but provides a windblock too as well as being safe.
The cart service is vastly improved. Lots more of them and very responsive. I would walk down from my room, tell the butler where I wanted to go and boom, the cart was there.
My favorite spot to be as usual was the other end in TRS Section of the beach by La Jarra. Fernanda is there with her infectious laugh, big smile, and awesome service. There is always an option for sun or shade, whatever you prefer at the time.
The spa is beautiful. The workout facilities are excellent if you like machines or barbell work. There is a new hammock section by the infinity pool which people seemed to enjoy. AND the pool was heated this year. I was able to go right in and of course walk the curvey water path inside to get a nice aqua massage on my neck and shoulders in the sunshine.
The outside bar area in TRS, right outside the lobby is also the courtyard for the pre-show for Chic Cabaret. Erick the bartender is a true showman the way he flips bottles and rolls glasses down his arm and makes pretty designs on some of the cocktails.
Chic Cabaret is an experience - worthy of a Vegas show. The pre-show was fun in the courtyard with live music and performers around. The food and beverage delivery to the tables was like a well oiled machine, fast and efficient - delicious too! So many dancing and musical acts, many genres so something for everyone, wonderful facility.
FOOD: We didn't do the usual try everything variety we normally did. We ate once at Portofino, which was excellent as always, and Ribs & More and the new TRS Italian restaurant. We had Helios for dinner once, and as I think back, darn, wish I would have done that again. I would have to say that Helios ended up being our go to place for Breakfast and Lunch. We were initially disappointed that the outdoor seating area for a buffet lunch by the pool is gone by White Sands and we didn't feel like going down to Colonial to Grand Azul so we kept going back to Helios and learned to make new traditions now. The food quality level has gone way up, very classy, fancy dishes, excellent service.
We did go to a superbowl party. Wow, they outdid themselves, Grilled burgers and fall off the bone ribs, Sub sandwiches and pizza and so many desserts. I especially liked the chocolate cake footballs that you dip into peanut butter. They kept coming around offering chips and salsa and guacamole, but I couldn't eat any more.
PEOPLE: Met a couple of famous addicts. Jackie n Jake - we had some nice talks about the resorts while hanging in our respective bali beds a couple of mornings. Pierre Bourdages and his lovely wife Chantelle we ran into a few times. . at the bar haha. Fun times great memories. Staff - always Fernanda, I really missed her when she was on maternity leave the year before, my butlers Marianne & Jesus took SUCH good care of us. Bartenders Erick and Cristian were just amazing and so funny and friendly. Drivers, Israel, Alberto, Frank and Morphy, such super personalities, friendly, helpful talkative. They want to go above and beyond and you feel like family. I was so sad to go for yet another 51 weeks till I am back again.