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Our Resort: The Accommodations & Food

by Courtney on February 27, 2012

Happy Monday! Welcome back to the work week, folks. How was everyone’s weekend? Anything good happening? Well, I actually had LOTS happening, so here’s what you may need to catch up on…

So, speaking of Mexico, I have had many of you asking since we first arrived last week about the resort that we stayed in. I decided not to disclose our location while we were away, but now since we’re back, I’d really like to fill you all in because this place was just incredible!

The name of the resort that we stayed at was the Valentin Imperial Maya.

From the resort’s website,

Just 25 minutes from Cancun’s International Airport, Valentin Imperial Maya sits on a half-mile-long stretch of white sand beach of Playa Del Secreto (The Secret Beach) in the Riviera Maya. This all-inclusive, adults-only magnificent resort not only gives you direct access to the beach, but also places you just minutes from the vibrant culture of Cancun and the world famous Mayan archaeological sites such as Tulúm, Cobá, and Chichen Itzá… all while keeping itself secluded from the clutter.

Our entire trip was booked through CheapCaribbean.com, and the entire booking process was not only easy, but it was pleasurable and extremely helpful. Everyone that we were in contact with was great, and we would receive emails every once in a while that would remind us of various things for our upcoming trip. When we first checked out the site, it looked a little shady, but don’t let the looks fool you!

So anyway…back to this resort. Let me first say that this place was phenomenal and all eight of us have decided that we would go back in a heartbeat. No doubt about it. I feel like I have SO MUCH to say about our trip, sand I quickly realized while typing this up that I’m going to have to break it down a bit to keep from making this post enormous.

So today, we’ll talk Accommodations & Restaurants.

As soon as each of us arrived, we were greeted with champagne (and fruity beverages, but those were from Sarah & Jeff). That was definitely a great way to kick start the trip!

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It only took us about five minutes to check in, and then we were escorted by our tour guide, “Antonio Banderas,” to our building and room.

Accommodations

The resort has a number of buildings and room categories, and the particular building that we were located in was fantastic; right next to everything. Our room was the most basic you can get, the Deluxe Junior Suite; but as you can see, there wasn’t all that much “basic” about it.

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The resort offered free internet, but it was not Wi-Fi, so we had to make sure that we had a ethernet cable with us. There was a turn down service two, if not three times a day, and our room was constantly being cleaned and tidied up.

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Oh yeah…and then there was that whole shower. I.want.it.

Restaurants/Meals

For breakfast, there were two options available: the Beachfront, which offered buffet breakfast, or the main buffet, which also served up many of the same things.

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Both buffets offered make-your-own crepes and omelets, so either way, you can’t lose.

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For lunch, the same restaurants that were open for breakfast are re-opened for lunch. The Beachfront becomes a sit-down restaurant with a menu, and the main buffet remains a buffet, offering quite a large variety of items.

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The main buffet is where the dessert buffet can be found. Smile

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For dinner, there are actually seven à la carte restaurants: Italian, French, Japanese, Indonesian, Mexican, Steak House, and Seafood.

On our first night there, Jay and I joined Sarah and Jeff at the Mexican restaurant, which was great. The food was delicious (this was when my guacamole addiction began), the margaritas were great, and the entertainment was super fun.

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On our second night once everyone had arrived, we went to the Seafood restaurant which was good, but nothing mind-blowing. That night after dinner, we spent some time down at the beachfront Tiki Bar, which was fun but VERY windy.

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Our third night had us at the Japanese restaurant, where we were lucky enough to score a reservation at a hibachi table.

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In order to get a hibachi table, we had to have a few of us wait in like for over an hour so we could be the first in line. Luckily, it was WELL worth it. Again, the food was spectacular, and the entertainment was even better.

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On our fourth night, this was when we headed to the Italian restaurant.

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I didn’t end up taking any photos of food that evening, but it was incredible. I had a vegetable risotto which was out of this world, and a tiramisu dessert that was one of THE best I’ve ever had.

On our fifth evening, some of the crew was out and about on various excursions, so Jay and I joined Brook and Andrea at the Indonesian restaurant. Again, no photos of food on this one, but I loved the unique menu, so I had to snag a photo of that.

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This particular evening began with a tequila tasting, where there were five different tequilas being offered to try at the restaurant. I was not so much a fan, but the boys definitely were, which is what jumpstarted this particular evening…

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Oh yes, that was a fun one. Smile

On our sixth and final evening, all eight of us went to our final dinner.

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The guys all cleaned up pretty nicely, didn’t they?

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Then again, us girls didn’t do half bad either.

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Funny story about my dress, actually. I bought it at Target months ago, almost returned it, but decided to save it since I couldn’t find my receipt. I’m glad I kept it!

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So our final dinner was spent at the French restaurant at the resort. This is the staircase that you’re presented with as soon as you walk in.

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And this is the rest of the restaurant. Amazing, right?

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One of the things I loved about ALL of the restaurants was that the portions were the perfect size; not too tiny, but small enough to give you the perfect taste of it while still giving you enough room to try out other things on the menu.

On this particular evening, I started off with a goat cheese and pear salad, topped with a raspberry balsamic vinaigrette. Delicious.

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Next, I ordered what may have been my absolute favorite food at the entire resort: the Onion Soup. This was their particular take on the classic French Onion soup, and the puff pastry that was so elegantly draped over that bowl was just phenomenal.

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Everything about this soup, from the broth, to the onions, to the bits of cheese inside, to the pastry shell, was just to die for. I *will* be recreating this…or, at least, attempt to recreate it, very soon.

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For my entrée, I ordered the grouper, which was stuffed with seafood and came with roasted vegetables in a fennel cream sauce. It was good, but nothing exciting.

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My dessert for the evening (because we all *always* got dessert) was a chocolate mousse that I actually really disliked. I don’t know what it was, but I just wasn’t feelin’ it. It was probably the first and only one that I didn’t really eat.

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Jay, however, ordered some sort of Flambé dessert, which was pretty cool to watch.

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It was also pretty tasty, too. Smile

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The resort also offers 24-hour room service, which Jay and I took advantage of once (which, not surprisingly, was after the tequila night you saw pictured above). There were more options available during the day than the “late night” menu, but put any pizza in front of me at 1:00am after a couple drinks…

and you know I’m gonna take advantage. Winking smile

*****

SO, there you have it! A rundown of all the accommodations and restaurants, which turned out to be WAY longer than I anticipated. So now…what do you want to hear about next?

  • The entertainment?
  • The resort amenities?
  • The pool?
  • The beach?
  • Our hilarious, spontaneous evening?

Oh gosh, so much to share!

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{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lee February 27, 2012 at 8:37 am

This is a great post. I am going to Mexico over Easter so hopefully my resort lives up to yours :) Looks like you guys had a great time. PS: I love your maxi dress!
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2 chelcie @ chelcie's food files February 27, 2012 at 8:38 am

that resort sounds like an awesome place! All of the food looks delicious!
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3 Hope @ With A Side Of Hope February 27, 2012 at 8:38 am

Your room looked really nice and I love the shower! All of the food and restaurants looked great! It makes me excited for my honeymoon, that we haven’t booked yet. Eek! Need to get on that. :)
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4 Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction February 27, 2012 at 8:49 am

Looks like a great place! I want to hear about your spontaneous evening!!!
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5 Sylvia @ Frolic Through Life February 27, 2012 at 8:49 am

The place looks great! The rooms are amazing, especially for being just their standard room. I love that about all inclusive vacations. If you paid to stay at a hotel like that in the States, you’d probably have to mortgage your house.
My boyfriend and I are looking to vacations for this summer, but we’re leaning towards the Dominican Republic and toward places that allow kids, although an adults only vacation does sound heavenly!
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6 Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health February 27, 2012 at 8:50 am

I want to hear about everything!!! That place looks so amazing! Do you think it would be a good place for a honeymoon? Chris and I are trying to figure out where to go for ours.
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7 Courtney February 27, 2012 at 1:34 pm

DEFINITELY!!!!!

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8 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries February 27, 2012 at 8:50 am

looks like a beautiful and awesome resort! my husband and i went to an all inclusive resort for our honeymoon, and i LOVED it! it was so nice to not have to worry about how much money we were spending on food and drinks. we’re definitely planning on a return visit someday.
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9 Khushboo February 27, 2012 at 9:02 am

More, more , more- the resort sounds fab. Not ordering dessert on holiday is almost absurd!
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10 Janeen February 27, 2012 at 9:02 am

I’d like to hear about entertainment or any excursions you and your friends might have taken away from the resort or that were offered by the resort. Would you be willing to share the price or at least a ballpark figure? Seriously considering this resort for our spring trip!

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11 Courtney February 27, 2012 at 1:33 pm

A couple of my friends went swimming with dolphins, which they loved, and a couple others went on a tour of the Mayan ruins. They all loved their excursions, but Jay and I just wanted to relax.
Cost-wise, the trip was around the $1500/per person mark, which included everything – flight, ground transfers from airport, room, and everything all-inclusive.

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12 Lauren February 27, 2012 at 9:02 am

I’ve never been to a resort but I have been on a few cruises and the food is ALWAYS a highlight. Nothing like 24 hour room service and pizza. :)
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13 Jana @ Newly Wife Healthy Life February 27, 2012 at 9:14 am

Wow that resort looks so great and i am in love with your room! I know you went to a sandals for your honeymoon, and I am curious to see how you think this all inclusive stacked up against that trip? Cost, food, service, ammenities? I went to the Royal Carribean Sandals for my honeymoon and really enjoyed it! Would love to go on another all inclusuve resort trip soon!
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14 Courtney February 27, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Cost-wise, the Valentin was MUCH cheaper than Sandals (probably 2/3 the price), and even though we absolutely loved Sandals, this resort had just as much to offer in terms of everything – food, amenities, and service.

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15 Andrea @ Andrea Out Loud! February 27, 2012 at 9:35 am

Love this!
I want to hear about all of it! Especially the beach ;)
You are making me anxious to get back down to Belize ASAP!!
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16 Emily February 27, 2012 at 9:37 am

I thought you were at the Valentin! My husband and I were just there in September! We loved it. Did you happen to catch the Michael Jackson show?? It was hilarious! Looking at your pictures makes me want to go back real bad.

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17 Courtney February 27, 2012 at 1:29 pm

No, we missed that one!! We did, however, catch the Circus show and OMG – amazing!!

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18 Heidi @BananaBuzzbomb February 27, 2012 at 9:57 am

Great review! Looks like you had a ton o’ fun. That shower looks to die for!!

I want to hear about your spontaneous evening. Sounds interesting!
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19 Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles February 27, 2012 at 10:05 am

This seems to have been so wonderful that it could have beena dream! I would have loved to do the tequila tasting! How interesting- and *fun*!
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20 Amanda February 27, 2012 at 10:12 am

Omg that’s where I went on my honeymoon!! It is an amazing resort.
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21 Miz February 27, 2012 at 10:27 am

OMGosh #nowords

ok one :-)
jealous.

two more :)
lived vicariously.
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22 Courtney February 27, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Hahaha, you always make me laugh, Miz. :)

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23 Nicole February 27, 2012 at 10:31 am

How fun!! Now you have me wanting to go away! Can’t wait to hear about the rest :)

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24 Carly February 27, 2012 at 10:41 am

looks like you had a fabulous time there!! and may i ask where your maxi dress is from? love it!

and would like to hear about everything, but if i had to order the priorities…. very curious about your spontaneous evening!!

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25 Courtney February 27, 2012 at 1:28 pm

The maxi dress with the red flowers on it is from Forever 21. The one with the white stripes is from Target!

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26 Caroline February 27, 2012 at 10:42 am

Thanks for sharing what resort you went to! I’d love to book a vacation soon, so it’s always great to have tips from people who’ve actually stayed there. I’d love to hear about the resort amenities and the beach! So jealous!
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27 Alyssa @ fit and fun in third February 27, 2012 at 10:51 am

Great review! I always love reading reviews of vacation spots and dreaming that I’ll be going there soon! One day…. :). Let’s hear about your spontaneous night!

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28 Erica @ For the Sake of Cake February 27, 2012 at 11:01 am

This place looks amazing. I’ve never been to Mexico before, but this post makes me want to book a trip! :-) I’d love to hear more about the hotel amenities!

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29 Nicole February 27, 2012 at 11:02 am

It looks like you had a good time. We stayed there last year. I am curious if you were able to sit on the beach at all? We stayed in March of last year and couldn’t go on the beach because of the wind. :(

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30 Courtney February 27, 2012 at 1:28 pm

We only went down to the beach a couple of times, but I know what you mean about the wind. We were at the Tiki Bar one night, and the wind was pretty wicked.

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31 Allison February 27, 2012 at 11:14 am

Looks like ya’ll had a blast! Did you notice your hair feeling funky while you were there? The first thing I did when we got home Saturday was take a shower! Must have been the water. Also, did your friends go see the Cenotes?
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32 Courtney February 27, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Hmmm, I didn’t notice my hair feeling too funky? Only thing I notice with my hair right now is the fact that it looks like I have wicked dandruff, thanks to my peeling hairline that got burned. Oof. :-P

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33 allison February 28, 2012 at 9:35 am

yes, my hair line has been peeling for dayyys! People keeping picking the skin out of my hair. super gross

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34 Carolyn February 27, 2012 at 11:14 am

Wow – this looks great. I find planning for vacations just super overwhelming and this looks so simple! Definitely share everything…
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35 Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers February 27, 2012 at 11:24 am

What great photo’s looks like you had a great time!
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36 Denise February 27, 2012 at 11:41 am

Loved reading your review!! We’ve been to the Valentin in 2009 for our 10th Anniversary, in 2011 for my 40th & now we are going back for our 3rd visit in May. We LOVE LOVE LOVE the Valentin!! Best place in the Riv Maya!

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37 Courtney February 27, 2012 at 1:26 pm

That’s awesome! I DEFINITELY plan on going back – our whole group absolutely loved it!

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38 CJ @ http://healthy-happy-whole.com February 27, 2012 at 12:02 pm

wow this place looks absolutely amazing! I love to travel so I am always looking for new places to go! thanks for such a thorough review. its nice to get an unbiased opinion! love all the photos :-)
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39 Dena @ 40 Fit in the Mitt February 27, 2012 at 12:36 pm

wow, what a beautiful place! So glad you had a great vacation:-)
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40 Kim @ The Family Practice February 27, 2012 at 1:51 pm

There was a living social for a 7 day trip to Mexico. Nick and I are thinking about doing it – let me tell you these pictures are really influencing me towards a big fat YES!!
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41 Shannon February 27, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Wowza! That place looks absolutely amazing! :) I never really wanted to go to Mexico (mostly because of the drug wars and political stuff like that) but that resort changed my mind. I really want to go there now! If it’s adults only, they probably won’t take teenagers, right? Grrrrr. :(

The food looks amazing- and was sort of surprised that a Mexican resort would have an Italian, Seafood, French, and Indoesnian restaurant. I figured that a country would just stick to their very own cuisine. Seeing that chocolate mousse picture was pretty hard on me- I gave up chocolate for Lent because I eat it like it’s nobody’s business. I’m actually doing pretty well so far- and had a little bit of trouble but I didn’t cave in and give up. Last year, I gave up ice cream and the amount of ice cream that I eat now is down to how much I ate before. Hopefully, this decrease in chocolate will come and I can start to eat more healthy. Yayyyyyy!

That hotel room is probably one of the prettiest I’ve ever seen (especially in a photo). You’re so very lucky! Hey- maybe I could go after graduation? ;) (Kind of doubt it though).
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42 Shannon February 27, 2012 at 6:17 pm

* I meant go with my family after I graduate. Probably should have added that so you didn’t read it and think something else!
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43 Kristen @ notsodomesticated February 27, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Wow, it all looks amazing!! I’m so incredibly jealous! Can’t wait to hear more!! :)
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44 Lisa February 27, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Looks like you guys had an amazing trip! Your hilarious, spontaneous evening sounds like a good story ;)

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45 michelle February 27, 2012 at 11:01 pm

I love you dress from Target (that you wore on the sixth night). Suuuuuper cute!
I would love to hear about the pools next :)

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46 Meredith @ DareYouTo February 27, 2012 at 11:20 pm

Ah, I just returned from vaca, too! I was in Aruba, though. Your Mexico trip looks like a blast. So gorgeous, luxurious, a real getaway! III want to hear about the spontaneous evening next, please :)
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47 Nicole February 28, 2012 at 12:04 am

Wow, beautiful pics. I am JEALOUS :). Just a heads up on Target returns (I work in their corporate office) 95% of the time the store can find the transaction by scanning the item and the credit card used to pay for it. The return policy is 90 days, so after that point all the data is archived. Good call on keeping the dress – I like the print!

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48 Rachel February 29, 2012 at 12:03 pm

When you say 2 swim-up bars, what do you mean exactly? I’ve only ever seen photo evidence of 1 swim-up bar in the main pool. Where is the 2nd one located?

Also, as far as the buffet for omelet and crepe stations–you state you can “make your own”. Did you mean “build” your own and they actually cook it for you? I’ve only ever seen “build” your own at resorts. I can’t imagine non-chefs trying to actually make their own from scratch or having to wait for people like that hehe (I actually lovve making omelets, personally, but I can’t imagine everyone being in charge of actually “making” their own here:)))

Thanks!!!
~Rachel

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49 Courtney February 29, 2012 at 2:14 pm

The 2nd swim up bar is on the opposite end of the pool, which we never really went to. It’s past the bridge that you may see in some of the photos.

And yes, the chefs cook the omelet in front of you – you get to “build” it by choosing the toppings located in front of the omelet station.

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50 Rachel February 29, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Thanks, Courney!! That’s VERY cool they have more than 1 swim-up bar:) The resort we went to in Jamaica in September also had 2. Do you have pics of the other one, by any chance? LOVE omelet stations at resorts! The first resort we went to in Jamaica 2 years ago, I had them put local stuff in it like crab and calalloo mmmmm…

Thanks again:)
~R

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51 Courtney February 29, 2012 at 8:52 pm

If you look at this picture: http://www.sweettoothsweetlife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/P2190019_thumb.jpg

It’s the other hut that’s in the background, on the opposite side of the bridge. :)

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52 Carissa August 22, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Ok so after reading this after our trip I agree totally with everything you said. I liked the Italian and Mexican places best…but the whole time I was on the hunt for the pizza you’re eating and NOT ONCE did I ever see pizza!!!! How sad is that!? Now I’m home and on a diet and sans pizza for a few weeks! haha! Love that resort!
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