First time experience at an all-inclusive resort

Hi,
I’m back to share my experiences as a first time guest at an all-inclusive resort.

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We stayed 6 nights in Cancun in April at the Grand Oasis Pyramid, with the all-inclusive package purchased in January through CheapCaribbean.com. It included hotel and round-trip flight.

First, I’m not high maintenance when it comes to hotels. If it is safe, clean, comfortable… and cheap- it’s mine!  I don’t care about all the fancy things. Second, I’ve never been on a cruise either.

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Here are some of my biggest tips:

Read the reviews- from multiple websites. Read the descriptions from DIFFERENT websites OF THE SAME resort.  Sort by most recent. Read about other resorts to find differences between them and if the differences matter to you.

What does it actually include? Just breakfast? Unlimited food?  Check the number of restaurants offered…. and across different sites, compare to the hotel itself.  Some resorts have multiple levels of access to restaurants.  At our resort, we had access to ALL restaurants. There were 3 levels: Pyramid, Grand, and regular. Once I figured out that, we tried to go to as many Pyramid level restaurants as possible. They would be less busy and had the highest level of service/quality.  You could tell a little bit. More on that later. What beverages and drinks does it include? Any?

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Does your package include tax? Tip/Gratuity?  I don’t know if it’s standard for the packages to include gratuity, but once I saw it listed on one package, I knew I wanted to make sure that the package I booked included it. That meant that essentially you would not have to pay for anything once you got to the resort. We did read reviews about giving a few dollars if you frequented the same bar/bartender for better service and drinks… and also we had superb service service times and wanted to tip! Bring 1′s, 5′s, and 10′s for this!  And US dollars for Cancun.

 

I’ll be back later to talk more about Cancun and the resort we stayed at.

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Where do I begin?

I’ve got all kinds of ideas in my head for blog posts, but I never can seem to get them out.

Here’s a few thoughts, hopefully I’ll write more about each later!

I just got back from a fabulous vacation in Cancun. I took over 700 pictures! Here are a few of my favorites.
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Tony is bottling his 2nd batch of wine this afternoon. A few friends are coming over this afternoon to help.

I’m going to an event this afternoon at the Chestnut Hill Square area with some blogger friends.  I went to a fun event at Cambrideside Gallery a few weeks ago. We got our hair done there.
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I volunteered a few weeks ago with One Brick Boston at the House of Blues.
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I made another pot of french onion soup. I love love love this!
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I’ve been enjoying doing my nails with Jamberry! My friend Amy is a consultant
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I spent 1 Saturday afternoon exploring local gems, including a bakery,
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I took Tony out a few times for his birthday dinner.
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I’ve enjoyed being part of Tonya’s book club.
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After 6 months as a contractor/consultant, I transitioned to full-time. I brought in some plants.
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I got a waffle maker right after Christmas and have been making waffles. I also learned how to make eggs!
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I didn’t upload any pictures for March! Hmmm.. I’ll have to see what happened!

Later,
Erica

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Should, Will

I have been catching myself saying “I should …” or when talking to a friend “We should…”. I really want to do more. Start doing more, spending quality time on things I want to do and with the people I want to. Life is precious and I should purposely do more and sometimes, that requires planning and more accountability.

This is a good time. My 6 month contract is ending and I am converting to a full time employee- hooray for earned time off and healthcare. I am gearing up for my first real vacation in probably over 5 years. We’re going to Cancun for 6 nights at an all exclusive resort. I also won a vacation package so I’ll be planning that in the coming months. I’m starting to look for a house although it’s nearly impossible to find anything in my price range where I am looking. I am getting more serious about health and wellness. I want to blog more and do more things, so that I can blog more and continue the cycle.

I am starting now. I will more often.

I started going back through my photo album on my phone and will share a few things with you. Sorry for not writing a lot. Including pictures from my phone is most easier than typing.

But here you go!
I went to my first book club a few months ago. Tonya organized and hosted it. We read Wild by Cheryl Strayer. I liked it and meeting with others to talk about it. Tonya also had food, beverages and props from the book. The next meeting is next Sunday and I need to get cracking on reading the book. It’s called the Orphan Train.
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A few weeks ago, Tony and I went to a local university to see one of Tony’s good friends from college play at concert. His friend from Berklee who current lives in Nashville is touring with Jana Kramer.

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I had a “Me” night a few Fridays ago. Tony has been working late on Fridays. So instead of siting on the couch for 3 hours, one evening I drove myself (yea shocking) to Burlington, went to the dollar store (a favorite thing of mine to do), walked around the fabric and craft store, and around again- because I could and I wanted to. I felt so freeeeee! I also had dinner by myself, gasp!!!! :)

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A few Saturdays ago, I attended a fitness event at a rock climbing place. We didn’t rock climb (I was a little bummed) but I did a mini bootcamp, Pilates, and yoga sessions, and got to catch up with a blogger friend Danielle.

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Around St Patricks Day. I volunteered with One Brick Boston at the Cambridge5k event. I volunteered at the December race too. It was a lot of fun, I didn’t have to pay the $40 entry fee but I got some exercise, met other volunteers and partied with them afterward. I am doing another event with them next Friday.

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Thanks for sticking around! I WILL write more often!

What’s something that you want to do more of?

-Erica

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Kennedy’s on the Square (Harvard Square)

A few weeks ago, I went to Kennedy’s on the Square with Blog and Tweet Boston. Kennedy’s OTS is located at 15 Dunster St. in Cambridge, just around the corner from Harvard Square station, where the First Printer restaurant was. And right next to the Mike’s Pastry. Now you know, right?!!?

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I arrived first and enjoyed looking at some of the memorabilia on the walls. I also ordered a Moscow Mule. I love the combo of ginger, vodka, and lime juice.

Here is the main bar area with 2 televisions.
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Looking to the other side of the restaurant.
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We ordered a few appetizers to share, including the frito misto seafood platter with shrimp, scallops, and calamari. Sorry, this picture looks terrible but the calamari that I tried was great.
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We also shared the Meatballs
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My favorite was the hot wings, so much so that I didn’t get a picture before we devoured them. I wanted to order the Buffalo Chicken Wontons, but they were out of them. I kind of forgot about them after the wings came!

They had a great listing of cocktails picked out.

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Others arrived at the table next to us.
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Anna ordered the bbq pulled pork sandwich.
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Lobster Mac and Cheese
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Fish Tacos
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I ordered the Lobster Roll. I don’t normally order lobster rolls, so I thought I should go for it.  It was good, full of lobster, but I made a little bit of a mess eating it. The fries were another highlight of the night. They were crispy!
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We ordered a few desserts to share!

Here was the bread pudding. I didn’t get to try it.
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Conversations at the end of the table.
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The Nutella Creme Brulee was fantastic!
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Someone grabbed a bite of the flourless chocolate cake before we snapped a picture. I loved that it included vanilla ice cream and also a chocolate dipped strawberry!
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I loved the decor and also the old bank vault seating.
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More photos of JFK
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Check out Kennedy’s on the Square, in Harvard Square.

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I received this complimentary meal, but these are my opinions.

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Brunch at Beat Brasserie

Brunch at the Beat Brasserie! Sounds fun, right? It was!

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A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend brunch with the Boston Brunchers at Beat Brasserie (formerly Beat Hotel) on Super Bowl Sunday! I’ve been before for dinner, but I was excited to try their brunch menu.

Here’s the stage with the band. They have live music every night of the week (I’m pretty sure) and also on the weekend for brunch from 10am to 2pm.   We were in the first row of tables, and we were able to hold a conversation with everyone at the table without yelling.

A look before it got busy! When we left, I turned around and almost every table was full. So for brunch, get there before noon!
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We shared the large Bohemian Platter ($25). It was a selection of hummus, dips, salads, cheese, pickled vegetables, and olives.

Here’s a better look. We had a fun time looking through and figuring out what everything was.

It was almost noon…. so I ordered the electric side car.

The brunch menu included traditional brunch items and other lunch/dinner items such as their famous Azteca Bowls.

By far, my favorite item was the buffalo cauliflower bites. They were delicious!!

Sharing is caring! We had a few things left on the platter, so we passed it down to other brunchers in our party!

Leah’s Eggs Benedict with Salmon

Kerri’s dish (slightly hidden in the back), Janelle’s quiche (on the left) and Leah’s Eggs Benedict with Salmon. And the communal bacon!

Sam’s Eggs Shakshuka with Merguez Sausage.  This is also what Kerri ordered. What is that you ask?  I had to ask what it was too. It is a dish of poached eggs, with North African tomato sauce, peppers, and polenta.

I ordered the braised Short Rib Eggs Benedict ($15.50). The beef was tender and full of flavor.

I loved the decor. Their sister restaurant is the Beehive in the South End. It had a similar vibe. Pretty cool.

Here is the entry area. It was a beautiful sunny day, after getting snow the previous day!

The entrance from Brattle Street. It’s below the Gap.

This meal was provided free of charge, but these are my own opinions.

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