Grand Mayan Resort – Riviera Maya

The Grand Mayan Resort lies along a stretch of beautiful white sand beach between Cancun and the picturesque fishing village of Playa del Carmen. Located in the heart of the Riviera Maya this exclusive resort provides a window into ancient Mayan history amidst tropical beauty and modern amenities.

The Grand Mayan Resort itself is built around a manmade lagoon situated behind a low dune beyond which the crystal blue Caribbean Sea beckons. You can spend the day relaxing on the beach or exploring the waters offshore on a Jet Ski, water skiing, or take in the pristine underwater views through a snorkel mask. If a day trip is in order then one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza, is the perfect way to spend the day.

If you want to do more than just relax on the beach then the Grand Mayan has plenty to offer. Cancun and its active nightlife and club scene are short ride away. Or spend the day shopping along Playa del Carmen’s two mile long walking mall known as the Avenida Quinta (Fifth Avenue). This nearby tourist destination offers a seemingly endless street of bars, restaurants, shops and hotels.

Grand Mayan Resort – Accommodations, Dining, Golf and Spa

The Grand Mayan Resort boasts three classes of rooms; the Grand Master Room, the Grand Suite and the Grand Master Suite. Let’s take a quick look at what each one offers.

The Grand Master Room encompasses six hundred and three square feet and features an LCD television, a bathroom with two sinks, a marble shower and separate bath tub. Each room has a balcony with tropical views and enough room to hold 2 adults and 2 children comfortably.

The Grand Suite is one thousand two hundred and ninety five square feet of luxurious living space. It has a separate bedroom and a living room with small attached kitchen and dining table. Each suite has balcony with a private plunge pool to cool off in after a day of fun in the sun. Both rooms feature an LCD TV with enough room for 6 people.

The Grand Master Suite is a true tropical palace. It boasts one thousand eight hundred and ninety eight square feet to truly relax in. This two bedroom palace features two separate bathrooms, a balcony with a plunge pool and all the features of the two smaller rooms. It will easily accommodate 2 adults and 6 children.

All three classes of rooms feature traditional Mexican décor and native woods. Art work from local artisans is featured throughout each room. The friendly staff will keep your room clean and stocked with all the necessities and at the end of the day their turn down service will see you sleeping luxurious comfort.

The restaurants at the Grand Mayan Resort offer a wide variety of choices depending on what guests are hungry for. If formal sit down dinners are your thing then Gong or Tramonto are the place for you. Gong features Asian cuisine made from the finest of ingredients while Tramonto offers the best of American and Italian cuisine.

For more casual meals Café Del Lago is the place to be. It offers an outdoor buffet style dining experience surrounded by a tropical lake and gardens. Frida’s grill is another buffet style dining experience offering authentic Mexican food and beverages. Both offer nightly entertainment as well.

For quick meals, snacks and beverages on the go there is the Balche Pool Bar, Brio Health Bar and Deli Jade.

After eating your fill and relaxing in your comfortable room it may be time to play a round or two of golf. The Grand Mayan Resort features the El Manglar golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus’s design company. This 18 hole course blends beautifully into the tropical jungle that surrounds it making for a truly unique golfing experience.

A day at the Grand Mayan Resorts Brio Spa & Fitness Center can be the perfect way to unwind and relax. Release all your tension with a relaxing massage, body treatment or facial. Get in an invigorating workout in the gym, take in a spinning or Pilate’s class, or stretch tired muscles in the yoga room. When your workout is over take a steam in the sauna or relax in the Jacuzzi. The Brio Spa & Fitness center has everything you need to make your time at the Grand Mayan Resort truly special.

Grand Mayan Resort – A Vacation in Paradise

This Riviera Maya Resort is the perfect vacation spot for families looking for beach side fun or couples looking for a romantic rendezvous. It offers something for everyone looking for a vacation along a beautiful stretch of white sand beach.

Options – Your Corporate Retreat in a Luxury Condominium Resort – Golf, Water, Spa

As a hotelier, this article will be a little different from most that I write. Today, I will be discussing the option of planning your corporate retreat in a luxury condominium resort.

Having spent over thirty years in hotels, I normally think of conventions and meetings being held in hotels or large convention halls for City Wide Conventions where housing is at the surrounding hotels.

However, I recently wrote about having a very small corporate retreat in a cabin, in the mountains. For extremely small groups, cabins works fine.

But, let us talk today about a corporate retreat for small to mid size groups, from ten to one hundred and discuss anther option. What I am talking about is a facility to not only conduct meetings, but to relax and enjoy.

Recently I had the opportunity to stay at the RiverStone Resort & Spa in the Mountains of East Tennessee. To quote them, “Are you more business than pleasure?” “Or are you more pleasure than business?” They are a luxury condominium resort in a majestic Smokey Mountain setting.

But, what makes them different from a regular convention facility?

First, and foremost are the one hundred twenty five luxury condominiums they offer instead of hotel rooms. Each one has spacious interiors and customized details. Offered are one bedroom to four bedroom units that all have a nine foot and/or volume ceilings. Each unit has granite counter tops in the kitchen area, a large flat screen TV in each living area and an outside balcony overlooking the river on one side or a premier golf course on the other.

What fascinated me was the ability to take your family along with you and have a common area to eat, watch TV and socialize. This works even better than a hotel suite, because you have a complete kitchen with a nice dining table. Granted, you can eat out if you want, but I always like the option of a few items from the refrigerator.

Second, it has a first class spa right in the facility. Enjoy it by yourself or have a “Couples” massage. Body treatments, natural nail services and facials are also available, to mention just a few.

Third, enjoy the water. RiverStone Resort & Spa has a large glassed in pool for those so inclined, but outdoors they offer a 300 foot heated lazy river. Just hop in one of their inner tubes, float around and relax. My wife and I spent almost an hour enjoying the lazy river relaxing and letting all of our cares float away. We will do this again.

Fourth, golf is available for the avid outdoorsman. With one of the premier public golf courses right next door, you have the option of playing by yourself or setting up a tournament. You may be lucky enough to get one of the balconies overlooking the 7th fairway of the Gatlinburg Golf Course where you can relax and watch them play several holes.

Fifth, unique places are nearby. Dollywood Theme Park is less than a mile and a half away, right on the same street. Pigeon Forge also offers endless shopping, craft shops and musical showcase theaters within walking distance.

Sixth, first class meeting facilities are available for up to 150 classroom style along with wonderful inside and outside areas for wedding receptions. One balcony overlooks the Pigeon Forge River and is a perfect setting for receptions, breaks and lunches. Additionally available is a spacious workout room with multiple equipment options, plus a game room for all that includes a pool table and an air hockey table.

Finally, perfect balance. “Simply, it’s all about achieving a perfect balance of relaxation and wellness, and creating the ultimate escape” as stated by the RiverStone Resort & Spa. To me, it is a facility to not only conduct meetings, but to relax and enjoy. Take your family along, relax in luxury condominiums, enjoy the lazy river, golf, shopping, musical theaters and maybe spend a few minutes in a business meeting. Can you think of better way to have a Corporate Retreat? So, think different and deviate from your norm. You will enjoy it!

Visiting The Ffort Klub At Raichak

I never knew The River Ganges is so wide and beautiful here till I visited this place which I had never heard of before. After my visit I quote: If you are looking for solitude this is the place for you. It is right on the banks of this river and hence the name: “Raichak on Ganges.” It houses 4 resorts, 5 restaurants, a spa and a huge activity zone, 6-7 swimming pools, all encapsulated in its 100 acre stretch. Built in Anglo-Indian style, the Ffort Holiday Klub is a Dutch fort converted into a five-star property. We went there in September 2012. A two-hour drive from Kolkata warned us of the bad traffic snarls. But once we entered the resort the ambience and the property ingredients of the entire complex felt serene and tranquil. It refreshed body, mind and soul. You need to just synchronize your pace with the flow of the Ganges which looks sublime in its moods of rain and sunshine.

And, now is the time to take you to our lovely holiday experience. The first shot from my camera was of the majestic uninhibited drive on a 1.5 km driveway with imposing tall trees on either side that led to The Suites. We are always in awe when we share our holiday experiences with friends. This couple wanted to have a feel of one such holiday with us, so this time we booked a holiday in the East. My husband and I arrived there a day before our check-in date. Next day the four of us set out to a 55 km journey from here. For the people living in Kolkata, it is a place where all the big conferences and fashion shows were held. They had heard about the place but they knew nothing beyond that, and hence they wondered how a week at one place would be like? Their trepidation was to the extent that they advised us if they did not like the place they would cut short their trip. (Wait, what they said in the end!) For a moment, their wavered thoughts clouded my mind though we were sure that a lovely holiday awaited us. With our car trunk full of bags we left around 2.30pm.

Day 1: A board with the resort’s name and an entry arrow to the resort brought the first glow on our faces. It was 4.45pm. I had the first welcome note when I heard a gurgling sound of running water just outside the corridor. What a therapeutic effect! As we entered apartment the furniture came alive and said a non-verbal hello. Soon we got settled and with our huge stock of ready-made snacks we all enjoyed a hot cup of coffee. The dinner at the restaurant was a huge satisfaction. The decor was warm and staff was friendly. After-mint was so tasty, that I had my palm full! It was a weekday so the guest number was thin.

Day 2: There was no hurry to leave the bed. However, you cannot sleep till late when you are in the East India. I woke up at 5.30am and headed for a walk. No sooner did I take a few steps away from my apartment, I heard the cooing of birds. I cooed in return. And, that was fun! It was a joyous sight to see the volume of the rejoinder rise with every successive mimic. I got myself familiar with surroundings. The resort is huge with lovely in-roads and greenery in plenty. We walked down a straight road and believe me the bungalows and apartments on either side were so inviting that I gave a hell of a time to my cervical spine turning left to right, and right to left. Wish I had a chameleon’s vision!

I cannot do without my laptop and internet connection. Even on a holiday I need it. Besides the daily picture upload, I do not allow my passion of journal writing part with me. Reliance mobile modem connectivity was not so efficient, so while in the apartment we just chatted, played cards and watched my friend paint. Post breakfast, we requested for a golf cart to take us around the vast spreading resort for it could not have been easy for our happy feet. The cart glided noiselessly through the property.

Nestled in the greenery and natural habitat, our first destination was Ganga Kutir. This resort left me in trance. The virgin natural beauty of the place just on the banks of the river, with dominating presence of mangrove vegetation. Armed myself with camera I got myself photographed sitting between its infinity pool and the river. I gazed at the river rolling by and silently murmured a nature poem. I also had fun watching two ducklings floating graciously on the pond. A cow shed was a rare treat for the urban eyes. I wanted to go close but the wet grass refused to take me there.

Ganga Sundarawasalais was another beauty packed pocket of cottages. An amazing assemblage of pool cottages where you just open your apartment door and take a plunge! Phew! Isn’t it worth being there? What an experience! O My! I just kept imagining a cool lap in that serene pool.

A yet another collection of theme based country homes in its premises were GangaAwas amidst green surroundings. Imagine a private pool with every apartment. Want to buy? You decide, while I count how many pools are there on the upper terrace. I counted three here and seven pools in the entire resort, all beautifully done. These upper terrace pools overlooked the Ganges and clearly defined the concept of infinity pools. All along the pools a vast area was laid out for dining. We stopped for lunch at one of its restaurants.

The beauty of this restaurant was such that you have to go there to believe me. Sitting in the restaurant I almost felt I was being part of The Ganges. There was a constant flow of slow-moving cargo ships and you have the waves joining in. Coupled with it were lush gardens and the happy smiles of the staff who served sumptuous food. It was ecstatic to find a blend of nature and artificial beauty. The chilled beer was another shot in the arm. The day rolled into a quiet evening. We rested for a while in our room, watched TV. The mock-tails and cocktails with sumptuous fish were like icing on the cake. I was as happy as a clam.

Day 3: The portable modem did not work well. So, they complied with my request and the service staff shifted us to another apartment. Since it was our second ‘home’ in the same resort there was a new vigor and cheerfulness. I organized my things. The 3rd day flew with wings. With playing cards and room service menu card by our side and chicken snacks to go over a glass of chilled beer, I felt like a ‘yummy mummy.’

Day 4: This place acts as a link between the metro city, Kolkata and Haldia which is a commercial town on the other side of the river. It is a major trade port for the metro intended mainly for bulk cargoes. The ferry point is 1.5 km from the resort. We took our car, parked it near the jetty point and got us into the launch. The resort’s Ferry boat was under maintenance so we took the one which was the life line of locals there. In 20 minutes with a breeze on our faces, we cruised at 30 mph and reached Haldia. We hired a cab for Rs. 1200/- that picked us from the jetty point, took us to 27 mph long drive up to the port and left us back in the evening at the same point. It was fun to witness the hide and seek of rain God. By the time we reached back we were dog tired and preferred skipping dinner and retired to a deep slumber.

Day 5: Even on the fifth day, there was still much left to explore. A collection of swimming pool area, the vast gym capsule, lounge area, and a fun zone coupled with the massive floor chess at the entrance was good fun. An orient restaurant on the pool side served sinful Chinese, and a souvenir shop with good visual merchandise had besides books, a rich assemblage of apparel, hand crafted curios, and wall paintings from Bengal and North East. Having played indoor games, we ended the day with another dinner. What one marvels in the beauty of this resort was its landscaped greenery against the backdrop of the river. Constructed on an old fort theme, it houses a well laid out museum. This entire structure has 130 year old narrow bricks which are typical of historic forts giving it the look of a beautiful 18th century fort. The spa bore a perfect image for my camera lens. Overhead bells at the gate and the wonder creation in a water bowl with floral motives bunched into an intricate pattern was something I admired. The creator definitely deserved an award for this. However, the services at the spa were a trifle pricey.

Day 6: We luxuriated for five days, it was the day devoted to the last-minute photo session around ‘The Suites.’ My camera was constantly in action since the scenic beauty was so vast that it wanted to click almost every ten steps of the area! I marveled the greenery of different foliage and stopped by to appreciate the various sculptures interspersed around the pocket gardens. This day we had also driven past Diamond Harbor. The Ganges is very wide here for the picnickers delight to watch river at its most serene with vastness. You could see as far as your eyes could go. However, the ice-cream on the road tasted like mud. As we drove further into interior villages, we saw a long stretch of ponds all along the two sides of narrow lanes which is a very familiar sight in suburbs. Greens seemed to have just bathed in the rain. We took glimpses of villagers getting ahead with their daily lives. While someone was weaving, another could be seen sifting wheat, and the third carrying a child on the waist. A four-wheeler was an alien to kids.

Day 7: It was time to say good-bye. We felt a sense of pleasant pain of parting with resort’s grandeur, the lush gardens and the charming hospitality. Even after a gap of four months these are still vivid in my mind. I stitched together my wonderful memories, and tried to paint the account on this canvas with a hope that just like our friends who await to holiday here with their American kids, you too would book a holiday here. And, if you still ask how I rated this resort, I would say you were joking.