Checking In: Secrets the Vine Cancun
I've fallen asleep in a pool side cabana. I turn over to see my friend Annabelle has done the same. I check the time.. 1:00pm on the first day of our stay in Cancun. For the first time in my recent travels, there is no sense of urgency. Instead, that all-too-rare kind of tranquility. I've come here for all the reasons that traditionally come to mind. Picture perfect beaches with sand as white and powder soft as icing sugar and crystal clear water. And it's true. With postcard like views, this spot along the northeast coast of the Yucatán Peninsula has drawn people from across the globe for decades.
As two bloggers who are constantly scheduling shoots at new restaurants, shops and the like, we're not used to slowing down. This trip is different. The agenda is refreshingly loose. Now, I've been to Mexico a handful of times. As a child, my family travelled to tropical destinations once a year to escape our cold Canadian winter. Since then, I've considered myself more of a city person. But when Expedia suggested I spend a week at Secrets the Vine Cancun, I couldn't resist soaking in sun and spending some time simply unwinding.
Major airlines fly direct out of Toronto to Cancun. We book our flights with Air Canada Rouge. Low cost carriers like this make it easier to jet around on a budget.
The beautiful balmy climate hits us as soon as we walk out of the airport. The salty ocean breeze, the warm sunny rays. An Expedia Local Expert is waiting for us. We zip past tall palm trees, with the ocean twinkling in the distance as we drive to the resort.
WHERE TO STAY
Cancun's pristine coastline is lined with resorts appealing to everyone from families to spring breakers (even in July, a foam party breaks out at the resort next door), to those seeking some serene seclusion. We arrive at Secrets the Vine Cancun, a contemporary designed, adults-only resort. Greeted with cool face towels and a glass of champagne, I extend my thanks for the kind gesture, to which the resort staff reply, "It's a pleasure." And I realize at this moment why sun-seekers leave behind the daily city grind in favour of the dreamy oceanside oasis that is Cancun. We're in for a truly special stay.
Our suite is part of the 'Preferred Club', with access to a private infinity pool and lounge, concierge services and all the amenities you could ever ask for. It's the ultimate in luxury. The suites are stunning. Picture teak furnishings, beds with custom headboards, fine linens, a complimentary mini bar and a private balcony with an ocean view.
Several gourmet restaurants are on site. The seafood forward dishes at Olio were a favourite. Try the ceviche. We too loved the upscale Italian menu at Nebbiolo. Ask for Isaac. He was the kindest, sweetest waiter we had during our stay. And went out of his way to ensure we enjoyed our dinner. And more importantly dessert. To our surprise, he had the Chef prepare us a platter of mini creme brûlées. For breakfast stop by the Market Cafe for the most incredible buffet brunch experience before heading to the beach. And if you'd like to change it up one night, the concierge will set you up with complimentary dinner and drinks at one of their partnering resorts nearby.
The best part of the resort is without question the staff. They are incredibly welcoming, gracious and kind. They go above and beyond to ensure your experience is a memorable one. And we owe our experience all to them.
DURING YOUR STAY
From dawn to dusk, there is plenty to do at the resort -- from daily sommelier led wine tastings to dance lessons. We started each morning with a yoga session, followed by a dip in one of the three infinity pools. On our second day, a lovely woman named Maria hands us a hibiscus infused iced tea and takes us on a tour of the spa. We treat ourselves to an afternoon there, enjoying a wine therapy massage treatment followed by a stop in the eucalyptus infused steam room. It's an experience I highly recommend splurging on. But our favourite moments during our stay had to have been the cooking class with a Chef in the resort's commercial kitchen and the private champagne tasting we indulged in. Treat yourself. On top of all this, you can swipe through the tablet in your room to see the daily activities and nightly entertainment.
places to go
Set aside at least one of your days to head off the resort. There's so much to see beyond the city limits. From the centuries old history of the Mayan Ruins in Tulum, to Isla Mujeres, a small Caribbean island only 20 minutes away by ferry, there are definitely day trips worth taking. Expedia has plenty of excursion ideas and will help you narrow down the best ideas for your interests, from experiencing Chichen Itza, of the seven wonders of the world, to snorkelling in a cenote. We headed to Isla Mujures for the day. With one of the top beaches in the world, Playa Norte, it is truly a tropical paradise. The temple of Ixchel is located on the southern most tip of the island. As you find your way to the temple, you'll take in Punta Sur Sculpture Garden, bordered by breathtaking views over steep, naturally carved cliffs.
After five fabulous days, I find myself spending the last taking in the perfectly blue water Cancun is known for, admiring its picturesque coastline dotted with resorts and people. I find myself making plans to return soon to visit Tulum. That night at dinner, our waiter Isaac prompts me to take out my camera. On one side of the beach, a brief downpour starts. On the other a colourful sky, with a beautiful sunset. It's paradise.