Trip report 12-26 September 2018: Pearl has subtly changed

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Trip report 12-26 September 2018: Pearl has subtly changed

Postby Jude1000 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:53 am

We've spent 14 nights at Desire Pearl every year since it opened - 100 nights in total. But our last trip felt different from all the rest - it seemed like Pearl has subtly changed. The food isn't what it used to be, senior management isn't listening to guests' very real concerns and some of that indefinable sexy vibe seems to have gone. Will we be back next year? Sadly, maybe not. Not unless there are some changes. Here are our thoughts on two weeks in September 2018.

All the staff were great. Though they hadn't seen us for a year they recognised us by name and rushed up to kiss us. Which was lovely.

Housekeeping was immaculate: our room was spotless. The grounds were always clean and tidy and both the pool and jacuzzi were, generally, pristine. The wifi was reliable and fast and we had no issues with the aircon. We had a master suite: these are large enough to party.

The entertainment staff: Vince, Roberto, Shirley, Chanel, Panther, Candice, Kia and of course Charlie all worked tirelessly to keep guests entertained during the day and in the evening. Kia's acrobatics and Panther's strip show were excellent, but the brought-in shows (with the exception of neon night which was superb) were not so good as before. And the "Desire Time" sexy pool games urgently need a rethink to encourage guest participation. Very few guests wanted to join in - most seemed more interested in the Trivia Quiz! Some of the bands in the lobby were good, and definitely better than the disco. But few guests danced to them; it's not obvious why.

The erotic vibe generally seemed more subdued than in previous years with few guests playing on the beds at night, almost nobody having fun in the sin room and hardly any body shots. About half the ladies dressed for the theme nights (some very sexily), but few of the men did. We dressed up every night - sexy theme nights are a big attraction for us.

However, Richard and Lauren's Art of Touch workshops were excellent: sophisticated, erotic and in no way intimidating. We've been to many and learned a little something every time. If you think you won't learn anything you'd be wrong. They would be a big factor in persuading us, if we decide to return to Pearl next year.

Breakfast and lunch in Aphrodite were enjoyable. The buffets had a wide choice: the Mexican cooked breakfasts were fine (newbies: there's no menu, just ask), as were the lunchtime BBQs. Servers Naomi and Pamela were especially welcoming. Dinner in Unik was very good. It is an intimate space, the service was unobtrusive and the food well prepared and presented. Lyoe, Marcos, Jesus, Emilio behind the bar and the chefs (whose names we didn't catch) were all great.

The bar service was all good; Emilio and Juan knew exactly what we wanted before we even spoke. And the top shelf brands (Tanqueray, Grey Goose, Jack Daniels, Makers Mark, don Pedro etc) are all still there.

But dinners at Aphrodite, and even more so at Pearl, were dull. Pearl typically has a six course menu, but the chefs here seemed to take the flavour out of everything - though the presentation was attractive. Making it look pretty is fine, but it also has to taste good. Better to have a smaller, less pretentious menu and get it right - which is what Unik achieves.

The beach is almost unusable, completely covered with seaweed, as is the entire Yucatan coastline and significant stretches of coast across the rest of the Caribbean. There is little Desire can do to combat this, but guests should be aware before booking. If being naked on the beach is your thing, this may be an issue for you. There is considerable beach erosion and walking the beach to Puerto Morelos is almost impossible.

The pier suffered major damage in a recent storm but is being repaired. There is a 20 feet gap in the pier deck, which also seems to be tilting. Repair work has started, but it's not a quick and easy job. We hope they will complete this work: Pearl's pier is a major attraction for many guests.

Our biggest concern was management's attitude to the mosquito problem. I covered myself from head to toe with 50% DEET, but like many other guests I was still badly bitten. I, and others, had over 20 bites in one night that swelled to bright red lumps each about an inch across. These bites were ugly and not what you want at an erotic, clothes optional resort: a big confidence knock and very miserable. And, of course, the lumps itched and kept me awake every night. A week after returning home they are still itching and clearly visible despite using antihistamines.

We spoke to Antonio Salas (Pearl Guest Service Manager) who dismissed our concerns about mosquitoes out of hand. He told us the entire resort had been sprayed twice daily: clearly untrue. It was partially sprayed twice in the 14 days we were at Pearl (but not sprayed round the jacuzzi), and the operative wore no breathing protection - so the spray was unlikely to have been effective. Frankly, for us, a big part of going to Pearl is to have sex on the beds round the jacuzzi. We can't now do this without fear of being badly bitten. Salas told us the resort is "in the jungle"; what did we expect? Well, the potential health problems from infected insect bites are serious: they should concern both Desire management and guests. We often stay in tropical resorts all round the world, in more environmentally sensitive areas than Pearl, where the property is properly sprayed every day, and we've never had a bug problem. Why can't Desire spray everywhere properly? Why can't the management at least appear to care? Do they want us to take our 14-night trips elsewhere?

Of course we met many old friends and made new ones on this trip. In all the bars in all the world we have never had so many fascinating conversations with so many interesting and exciting people as in the jacuzzi bar at Pearl. We've again had some of the most interesting conversations, and the best fun, in the jacuzzi and learned a lot about other people, their countries and way of life. Thank you to all our fellow guests for all the fun in this and in all previous years.
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Re: Trip report 12-26 September 2018: Pearl has subtly chang

Postby SouthCarolinaCpl » Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:32 pm

We sincerely hope they get the mosquitos under control before we arrive next month. Last year my wife got bitten and it caused an allergic reaction which resulted in a severely swollen face, a call to the doctor in the middle of the night, and two days of vacation spent in our room.
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Re: Trip report 12-26 September 2018: Pearl has subtly chang

Postby mikeinnj » Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:36 pm

I have to get around to writing up our report but will add a bit to this report.

We overlapped with these wonderful folks for a chunk of our trip and their trip. This was probably the quietest group we have seen at either resort. A ton of fun but quiet. I also thought it was the lowest occupancy we had seen ever except for the weekends (when it filled back up).

As for restaurants, I’ll disagree slightly. We thought Unik was the worst of the three restaurants and thought the food in Pearl had improved over last year. Aphrodite was good for all meals except for 1 terrible lunch.

Amazingly, I wasn’t bitten (which is highly unusual if there is even 1 bug around) but will tell you I saw Jude’s welts. Maybe we arrived just after they left or maybe we got lucky, but neither of us used any bug spray the entire trip.

More when I have more time.

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Re: Trip report 12-26 September 2018: Pearl has subtly chang

Postby Regina Lima » Fri Oct 05, 2018 9:30 am

We were there in that same period. The hotel was really quiet. We also were not bitten - lucky !, but we could see the stings in the other guests .. But apparently, the old management has returned and everything will return to how it was before .. that's what we want!
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Re: Trip report 12-26 September 2018: Pearl has subtly chang

Postby K&RinTX » Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:39 pm

Regina Lima wrote:But apparently, the old management has returned and everything will return to how it was before .. that's what we want!


We hope that's true. We've been to Pearl 7 or 8 times now but with any more decrements in service, food, crowd etc, we will be looking to go elsewhere. Clearly the management change was not good for the clientele.
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Re: Trip report 12-26 September 2018: Pearl has subtly chang

Postby Darin & Melissa » Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:54 pm

Just got home last night. Had a great group. Especially on the weekend. Mosquitoes were bad and swarmed jacuzzi around 6:30 one night. In previous tips I never left with more than one or two bites. I have well over 30 from this visit.

Old management has returned and things are back like we always enjoyed.

Also, on Thursday they got the beach volleyball poles/net back up and going.
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Re: Trip report 12-26 September 2018: Pearl has subtly chang

Postby red88vette » Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:29 pm

Enjoyed the trip report, luckily in 6 trips over the past 2 years we have had hardly any bites, a little breeze always helps keep them moving.
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Re: Trip report 12-26 September 2018: Pearl has subtly chang

Postby trubluz » Mon Oct 08, 2018 4:45 pm

Darin & Melissa wrote:Just got home last night. Had a great group. Especially on the weekend. Mosquitoes were bad and swarmed jacuzzi around 6:30 one night. In previous tips I never left with more than one or two bites. I have well over 30 from this visit.

Old management has returned and things are back like we always enjoyed.

Also, on Thursday they got the beach volleyball poles/net back up and going.


Hi Darin and Melissa,

Can you verify who of the old management returned?

Thanks,
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Re: Trip report 12-26 September 2018: Pearl has subtly chang

Postby mikeinnj » Mon Oct 08, 2018 6:45 pm

I’m impressed they got volleyball back up already. When there at the end of September, there was only 1 volleyball post left and too much beach gone to pt the second one back. The pier was being fixed. The fact that both items have been addressed so quickly is greatly reassuring.

As for management, I heard the prior manager for pearl ( that had been shifted to rim) returned to Pearl while we were there. The staff seemed very happy over this. I’m terrible at names so I’ll leave it at this
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Re: Trip report 12-26 September 2018: Pearl has subtly chang

Postby Darin & Melissa » Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:17 am

I am not great at names either, but I saw him daily walking the resort with various employees. That’s something I have seen him do on every trip except back in April when he was at RM.
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Re: Trip report 12-26 September 2018: Pearl has subtly chang

Postby trubluz » Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:59 am

Thank you!

Alessio was the original Pearl Manager that switched to RM last year and Alberto was at Cabo then RM and had been at Pearl the past year. So I'm assuming that Alessio is now back at Pearl and Alberto back to RM or another venture.

Hopefully now with Alessio back at Pearl the subtle changes will improve once again.
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Re: Trip report 12-26 September 2018: Pearl has subtly chang

Postby Darin & Melissa » Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:24 pm

While we were there last week, we had maintenance come in and spray our room for mosquitos also. They said they were spraying every room. I can testify that they did spray it because we had to leave due to the smell of the chemicals, but when we got back in the afternoon you couldn't smell anything. Most of Darin's bites were at the jacuzzi. We had one night that a swarm of mosquitos hit the jacuzzi. Thankfully, I was standing by Darin and they really like him, so I was good and did not have a single bite compared to his 30.

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Re: Trip report 12-26 September 2018: Pearl has subtly chang

Postby Jude1000 » Tue Oct 09, 2018 2:29 pm

It would be really helpful to know if they sprayed the vegetation also, twice a day as they claim, and especially if they are spraying round the jacuzzi behind the beds. That's where I got badly bitten, playing on the beds. Outdoor sex is great for us from the cold UK - but not if the mosquitoes play as well. Been home two weeks now and lumps from the bites are just starting to go down!
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Re: Trip report 12-26 September 2018: Pearl has subtly chang

Postby bb25 » Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:32 pm

They were spraying along walkways and could hear them spraying behind the beds each evening when it was getting dark.
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Re: Trip report 12-26 September 2018: Pearl has subtly chang

Postby Darin & Melissa » Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:24 am

Saw them out each evening around dusk with the big backpack blower. They were hitting all the vegetation. I would not expect them to come spray directly at the the jacuzzi when it is full of people.
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