Trip Report(s): Aug 3-8 and 31-Sept 7. 2022

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Trip Report(s): Aug 3-8 and 31-Sept 7. 2022

Postby tj71903 » Sat Sep 17, 2022 7:29 am

We were fortunate enough to return to Pearl twice over the last month. The first trip was August 3rd though the 8th and the second was August 31st to September 7th for the annual Labor Day visit.

At this point we’ve gotten used to the logistics of a trip to Desire with everything from airlines to transportation being more routine than other destinations. That was the case with both of these trips though the new change of no longer needing the immigration form was a nice change. Both times we arrived in CUN on time and were through the customs hall in a reasonable amount of time (the late August trip we were through in less than 10 minutes). After that we waited a while in early August and less in late August for the bags to arrive before heading out to the transportation plaza where USA Transfers’ rep was there to check our name off. In early August we waited a short amount of time but the second trip they were waiting on us. Both times we were on the ground less than an hour from touchdown to sitting in the car driving to Pearl.

Regarding the drive, for the foreseeable future there will be road construction from the airport into Cancun. This creates a bottleneck going north (i.e. the return trip) but going out wasn’t anything noticeable. We were at the resort both times relatively quickly. The drivers were friendly and safe as always and got us to resort in the usual 30-35 minutes.

Check-in remains a breeze with the longest part of the process consisting of the wife walking around and saying hello to everyone from the lobby to the mansion lobby where Bruno and his team give us the documents to sign and fit us for our bands. On both trips we were in town by 12:30 and so after all of the signatures, etc we headed to the pool and ultimately the lunch buffet at Aphrodite’s (fish and chips). After that it’s to the room (91 in early August, a Mansion swim-up and then 98 for the return, the new Mansion ocean front).

On the back side of the trips USA suggests you add 45 minutes to an extra hour to your trip time from Pearl to the resort. Both times were never truly troubled more than 10-15 minutes and both times we left around 1:30 local time and the extra time basically gave us extra time to hit up either Margaritaville or Bubba Gump’s before hopping on the plane back to the states. Your mileage may vary based on your departure time and how the construction is progressing.

THE ROOMS

We’ve been in both before and they remain very nice. 98 has a nice view of the pier and is a mansion royal suite with a MASSIVE bed and two bathrooms. The swim-up is the standard mansion room at the pool. It’s got a bigger bathroom than the new royals but only one. We like 91 because you’re in the corner and can walk out in the morning and sit on the swing and check emails, work, etc. The only issue with 91 is when the mansion pool hosts a late night party or someone gets a bit loud out there.

My main draw to the mansion building itself is the newer HVAC systems and the shade that occurs in the afternoons (comparted to the main pool where shade is almost non-existent). It allows for an escape after lunch where you can still be in the water and enjoying yourself without having to sacrifice the ability to hide from the sun.

The new rooms are still being completed as Mexico – like the US – is still dealing with delays form the accumulation of delays within various supply chains. This ranges from furniture pieces to wallpaper, etc. In the case of 98, there are still open orders for lounge chairs on the balcony, a storage cabinet in the master bedroom (to allow you to store your clothes), and art and other wall hangings for the living room. Since the July stay in this room there were some additions including a new, larger TV hung in the living room and a coffee table as well. Premium alcohol still stocked in the room daily in the mini bar area and this is also the best place (under the bar) to store your suitcases if you aren’t living out of them (i.e. lack of storage still in master bedroom). We do like the new rooms in that they offer you seclusion from the rest of the resort and the views of the pier as good as there is at the resort (even with the seaweed).

THE FOOD

Generally our routine doesn’t vary. We do breakfast around 7:30 at Aphrodite and hit the buffet for grilled veggies, sausage, etc. I drink water, she goes for coffee and water. The staff at that time of day is always gracious and the dining room is generally 20-30 percent full, usually closer to 20 percent.

For a while we were foregoing lunch in favor of late afternoon snacks, but in July we found the new chef makes boneless chicken wings/poppers in a Mexican honey-BBQ sauce along with BLTs. So if we’re going to eat lunch, that’s our go-to. Sometimes we’ll do a quesadilla or pizza around the pool, but that’s been rare during the hottest times of the summer. Usually we just drink several liters of water and relax and wait for the post activity down time (around 4:30 until dinner) to get a snack in the room.

Dinners we haven’t been to Suki in a while mainly because of scheduling. We enjoy Pearl for both their French and Italian menus (varies by night) and our only real concern is how long the dinners can last if you don’t ask for a cap on it. We generally like to be in and out within 75-90 minutes maximum but usually under the 60 minute mark. In the later trip the manager at Pearl was so kind, springing a surprise birthday party for the wife with a sabrage champagne display and then a special dessert.

Other dinners we enjoyed during the trips were the chef’s table at the mansion, several large groups contained in that structure, and then we’ve started heading off property a few nights per trip. Our favorite off-site place is Yum Yum Wok in downtown Puerto Morales.

AROUND THE RESORT

Being creatures of habit we usually walk the grounds after breakfast. Generally it’s pretty quiet and so we can go around the entirety of the resort a few times without really running into anyone that isn’t on staff. The maintenance staff is always around tidying up the various natural areas, planting beds, and similar. Some mornings we’ll walk to the end of the pier or up and down the beach depending on the weather and the day. Yes, the seaweed remains an issue but each morning there are staff members out there shoveling, operating a front-end loader, and generally fighting the good fight against the ocean. For as much as you can see washing in on the horizon, they do as well as you can reasonably expect. It should be noted the resort is in negotiations (since it’s a public beach) with the neighbors to extend the barrier to make the enclosed beach a bit nicer.
After returning to the room we’ll usually be at our chairs around the pool by 10 or so and will spend time reading or, usually, catching up on work (got to work to play). On both trips it was interesting in that there was precious little participation amongst the guests for beach volleyball at 11. In early August I think we played three of the five days whereas the late August trip we didn’t get to play the entire week because nobody wanted to participate aside from one other couple. It was disappointing as it’s the first time that had occurred in more than two years of trips. The playmakers attempted to entice people to participate, but the makeup was just…not there. From there it was on to the in-pool activities which range from water basketball, water polo, water football, and various aerobics. We enjoyed the sports, but didn’t really care for the other stuff. Polo and basketball are a lot of fun. The football game(s) are OK, but as with most things at Desire the main ingredient is the makeup of the crowd and those who choose to engage. For the most part it was a lot of fun.

Following lunch – usually away from the pool – there was the afternoon games and then water volleyball which took us to the 4:30 time slot. This is when many guests went over to the hot tub, but not our scene. Far too crowded (you could probably walk from one end to the other and not touch the water given how many people were clustered in there) and hot (temperature) for us at that time of day. So we usually retreated to the Mansion pool to hang in the shade with a few other couples who had the same idea. Being able to spread out and have all the same amenities as the main tub is a good thing.
After a bit we’d head back to the room where the butler team had snacks waiting (they stock Dr. Pepper for me which gets them five stars in my book). Then we relax before heading to dinner around 7 or so. Out by 8:30 and then back so she can make herself presentable for the night time shows. At 9:30 we’re up in the lobby for the pre-show and then make it to the disco for the 10:30 entertainment. Following this it’s just a matter of destinations. Do we end up in the Mansion, the hot tub, hanging in the disco for a while, or the lobby for after midnight tacos? The answer was generally yes.

Regarding the pre-shows in the lobby the bands ranged from really good to “meh”. There is generally a good vibe and the dancing looks like fun (she dances, I hang off to the side). Given the number of visits under the belt I’ve seen all of the shows multiple times. Still, they remain impressive and certainly aren’t boring. The exception came in the late August trip on Monday night. This used to be my favorite show as the theme, music, and style of performance was different and very edgy. Unfortunately, on this trip something must have happened because instead of a show that was sexy and seductive, they pulled four male guests up on to the dancefloor and had them flop around in front of the female guest onlookers (staged around the dance floor) in what was deemed “Ladies’ Night”. It was somewhere south of terrible. If you want to do something like that around the pool during the other games, fine. But at night? Give me a break. It was definitely a mood killer and within 10 minutes of the “show” mercifully ending the disco was nearly empty. I get things happen, but if the show couldn’t go on (no show performers, illness, traffic, etc), I’d rather they just work with the DJs instead of putting on that kind of spectacle. Just a complete misfire.

Speaking of the DJs, there’s a new team leader there and they are branching out a bit with their songs and mixes. From July to both of these trips we noticed two new performers in the booth during the afternoons and evenings. Additionally, the resort has invested in some new show hardware (lights, lasers, smoke, etc) and it’s a nice enhancement. Makes for a fun environment.

MISCELLANEOUS ODDS AND ENDS

We generally do a massage toward the end of the trip. We’ve begun gravitating toward the hot stone and deep tissues and the preference remains Itza and Elodia. Both are able to be gentle or, when needed, they can both bend steel with their fingers. We haven’t done one of the fantasy/erotic massages in a while, primarily because by the time we schedule the treatments it’s either after a several week marathon at work and we arrive at the resort dead tired or it’s at the end of the trip and we’re trying to get a few more hours before re-entering the world. Regardless of the treatments we book, the spa remains a great escape for however long.

As noted, the pier has reopened and is being wired for more lighting. On the late August trip the resort facilitated a couple renewing their vows at the end of it. Very nice looking ceremony (we didn’t crash the party, just watched from our balcony which is directly in front of the pier).

On the first August trip we had a chance to catchup with the team at Provoke and see the product of the July video shoot. Very fun experience with them and the second video they’ve shot of the wife. Both the photos and video shoots are a lot of fun and are definitely worth the time. Whether you have books, prints, or just digitals or some combination thereof, the real value for me is the experience of the shoot. It’s a lot of fun.

In late August we had a chance to charter the resort’s boat out of the dock at Temptations with some friends and had a blast. Beautiful conditions and the boat was stocked with snacks, lunch, and plenty of drinks and cocktails. We left the resort at 7:30 and got back after lunch. Spent four hours or so motoring around the various waterways and went out to the island as well. No seaweed out there, just azure and turquoise water and white sand beaches.

I’ve noted it a few times but any time you go to Desire the experience will generally be colored by the crowd. We’ve learned how to make that a minor consideration in our evaluation of a trip by figuring out what we enjoy about the trips and what we don’t really care about. In early August the crowd wasn’t really our speed. The average demographic was probably late 50s and very much into attempting to prove they ‘still had it’ just as they did in Panama City in undergrad. Too often we observed poor behavior directed at the staff that was simply out of line or simply someone attempting to be the center of the world while being clearly impaired or otherwise simply forgetting their manners. You haven’t lived until you walk into a building and get pushed against a wall by a lady who could start at nose tackle for the Packers only to be smooched on the cheek and told “they party’s in our room”. No, madam. No it is not. Bottom line, we figure out that trip was going to be one of those where we focused on other means of entertainment that were perhaps more separated from the herd. A few weeks later, however, it was a 180-degree shift. The demographic appeared to be a decade plus down the sliding scale. We enjoyed catching up with a lot of familiar faces from prior trips and meeting new ones as well. It’s always interesting to me to note the kinds of people you meet at Desire. On this trip we met a number of really fascinating people from all walks of life.

And that plus the resort’s extraordinary staff will bring us back again soon (though we’re taking October off for a big trip out west).
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tj71903
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Re: Trip Report(s): Aug 3-8 and 31-Sept 7. 2022

Postby Mr&MrsS&L » Mon Sep 26, 2022 9:53 am

Thank you for doing these! We were there in early August too. You review for the week made us laugh for sure.
Cheers!

S & L
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Mr&MrsS&L
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