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Weather: Of course this is something that is out of the resort’s control, but let’s face it – that’s why we go there and just HOPE for the best. We arrived in a steady downpour in the evening. Not the best to introduce my friend to my ‘home away from home’ experience, but it is what is. That being said, I found out that we were lucky, that there were many days of rain before we got there, and that system did break overnight. So, the 4 days we were there I consider us pretty darn lucky. There was one short storm. A mix of overcast and sunshine. Enough sunshine that we both came home with color on our pale skin with only 4 days outside. I should have used more sunscreen on my last day – but I was expecting rain on our last day and didn’t put it on and ended up with mostly sunshine!
Transportation: I used AGI again. Love them. Waiting for us out in the rain with the sign even though we were delayed in immigration about an hour because I think 5 planes came in about the same time and it was completely packed. It took 15 minutes to find a line to get into! Social distancing – not so much at all! Anyway, so grateful to see my name on a sign. He guided us to a spot to wait under cover while he radioed for our van. They could not stop at the 7/11 as my husband I liked to do because of covid safety concerns. He had 2 cold Sol beers for me onboard though for the trip The trip back we were in a nice car, which makes more sense than a van for 2 people, pretty uneventful, they were there early – I was sad to be leaving.
Grounds: Oh my, 2 hurricanes along with shorter staff. The pools were spectacular, the beach was in great shape. One thing about the beach that was different, is that there are so many beautiful seashells of all shapes and sizes. A bit more of a barefoot beach walkers challenge. – but OH the beachcombers paradise that I have never seen in 15 years. Still lots of trees and down and palm tree debris. The 2 normally busy outside buffets are of course closed. The ceiling fan blades are all broke off on those patios – pretty sad. Between white sands and Colonial all the palapas – 2 rows are still standing – but no chairs! It was pretty weird to see the palapas like little soldiers in a row with no lounge chairs. But once you got closer to Kantenah chairs are out, cause that is still the best swimming area and La Jarra bar is open. There is a big vacant spot where one bali bed should be ☹
Accommodations: Well, my goodness. Probably thanks to covid and low occupancy, but I had the room with the best view in my 15 years, I won’t tell you the number because I will hope to get this for the next rest of my life Bahaha. This comment is for many years repeat customers. I did not get a flower arrangement or fruit basket, which I’ve had for golly maybe 10 years. BUT I don’t care, the resort is open, and struggling to support their employees – No Big Deal. We still got our 2 bottles of liquor of our request (can you say Baileys in my coffee???). The scent thing option was changed to a charged thing, but again – no big deal. I still don’t like the mirrors inside the toilet area . . but it is what it is. It’s good for a laugh.
Restaurants / Food: As everyone knows, not all restaurants are open every day. TRS Capricho was closed the whole time I was there. The buffet, La Dahlia was only open for Breakfast and Lunch. New things, masks of course till you get to your table. When you check in, there are 2 mats to step on one, to wipe your shoes and it is damp, anti-bacterial I’m guessing, then another mat to dry them. La Dahlia, you have to ask for a plate – the chef’s will serve you the main dishes. There are plated items like salad things and desserts that you get yourself. The food and desserts at La Dahlia, top notch, very good buffet. That being said I only ate there once – because TRS Helios on the ocean. Here are my personal food / restaurant experiences, realize everyone’s will be different. HELIOS – again every breakfast and lunch. I ordered off the menu for breakfast twice, Excellent omelet and Eggs Benedict. Never ordered off the menu for lunch. If you go buffet, you cannot take the little plates and make your own dish in the restaurant anymore. Only YOU can touch the little (4 x 2 inch) plates and stack them on your plate and take them to your table to plate your own food. Kind of funny to build a salad with SO MANY little dishes haha. The smoked salmon at breakfast is a new obsession. The fruit is kind of funny, 4 perfect bite size triangles artfully arranged standing up on the little plate. I imagine it cuts down on waste. Desserts are amazing – save room. We also had this restaurant for our first dinner. I had lobster stew and coconut shrimp. She had surf and turf. Both were delicious and it was a fabulous meal, considering we got to the restaurant after 12 hours of travel and checking in and were hungry and cranky Haha.
El Gaucho (TRS) – never was there before. The salads were amazing, we both had ribeye and were a little disappointed. They were thinner than expected and so more well done as we ordered medium rare. Her steak at Helios was MUCH better, perfect really. I guess I expected more from actual steak house? Again – one meal could be a one off.
Portofino – always one of my favorite restaurants for years. One thing I forgot to mention – NO MENU’s! You have to download the app and I highly suggest thinking about what you want to order in your room before you go, cause sometimes wifi gets a little dicey. In fact it crashed (as wifi does for us all) that evening in White Sands. We knew what we wanted so it was fine. The poor servers were relegated to reciting the soups – taking the order, reciting the salads, taking the order, well you get it. Also looking at your phone at the table, even at a menu seems weird. Big difference at Portofinos – no Salad bar! – of course, covid. But they did a nice job with salads. My friend had the caprese which she loved. This is the first time we took the advise of another addict and ordered 3 entrees and shared the 3rd. It was fabulous.
La Boheme (TRS) French. The French onion soup. Get it, you won’t be disappointed. Chateabriand was the real winner of our 3 entrées.
Tentazione (TRS) Italian. Our last meal. Swordfish, Shrimp risotto and gnocchi. Everything there was amazing.
Beverages, I forgot to mention. I am not a wine snob by any description, and I loved both the house white and red.
Bars & Entertainment: Weird not seeing crowds at every bar, but it is what it is. You go get your beverage and sit somewhere else. New bartender Roberto was such a sweetie teaching me my new Spanish word of the year and then quizzing me on it when he would see me again. I saw Christian – he’s amazing. There were enough people for it not to be weird in the evenings, but not too many as to feel nervous about social distancing. There was excellent entertainment. Not at the big stages, but in the White Sands lobby or the TRS lobby in front of the Chic Cabaret building. I think it was a small group of the Chic performers – excellent costumes, dancing and suberb singing. I couldn’t be more pleased with entertainment in this weird travel world. They did an amazing over the top job.
People: What can I say, they are the heart and soul of this place. I will never remember all the folks who helped make my trip special, but special call outs to drivers Daniel and Alberto. . I could see your smiles beneath your masks. NOTE: Tip your cart drivers, they work hard and appreciate so much a dollar or so when called for a ride. Our butlers, Luis and Jessica – wow. They told us every day what restaurants were available that day or the next and made the reservations. They took care of us in many ways – especially those first couple days.
That being said – If Jessica or Luis are reading this or Victor, who filled in for Jessica on her day off. Please update me on my key fob I left in my safe! Yes – I’m a bonehead and left my black key in my black safe and both of us missed it. My friend emailed our butlers and Victor responded with a picture of my key fob and we told him the address and to charge to the card on record, and haven’t heard anything as of this point 5 days later ! Help!