Mr. Insider’s Insights Into Mexico City

Welcome back to another edition of Backroom Banter.  In recent posts, I have written about my visit to Mexico City to attend F.I.T.A., the International Tourism Fair of the Americas.  It was my privilege on that trip to meet Carlos Mackinlay (aka Mr. Insider), the Minister of Tourism for Mexico City.  He was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.

English: Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of th...

English: Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of the Fine Arts), downtown Mexico City. Español: Palacio de Bellas Artes, downtown Mexico City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Q.  What are some of the greatest challenges your tourism department faces in increasing traffic to Mexico City from the United States?

A. The challenges can be summarized in one word:  promotion, promotion and more promotion. Long ago Mexico City stepped away from promotion and public relations campaigns to major destinations sending tourists to this great nation and, specifically, Mexico City.

A destination that is not promoted properly  is susceptible to disappear in the minds of travelers. Therefore we have taken on the task of launching a major public relations campaign which fortunately is proving to be very successful.

Q.  What are three or four things most Americans don’t know about Mexico City but would find intriguing if they did know?

A.  First it is important for American tourists to renew their confidence in Mexico City and to consider it again as a premier destination. Our neighbors to the north should know that our city is safe and that they can be confident that their visit to Mexico City provides all the conditions for a pleasant stay.

Paseo de la Reforma Mexico City

Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City

Perhaps the second thing that must be considered is that the last Government Administration of the city has completely remodeled traditional tourist areas, the historic center, the Paseo de la Reforma, the southern area of the city and many other important sites.

Many people might be surprised to learn that Mexico City is the only city with four world heritage sites, six archaeological sites, 1400 colonial buildings, 7000 classified monuments and the incredible number of 174 museums. Some have called it the “cultural capitol of the world”.

Finally, we are about to launch a most ambitious program of tourism aimed especially to the American public, that is, the upcoming platform of medical tourism. The city will provide American visitors the possibility to have highly specialized surgeries performed in the best private hospitals in our city at a cost substantially lower than they might find in their own country.

Q.  What impact do you expect the new AeroMexico flights from Dallas / Fort Worth to Mexico City will have on traffic?

A.  It is obvious that the new flights from Dallas to Mexico City will offer greater access to Mexico for American tourists.  Dallas / Fort Worth is a huge hub as well as a region that is home to many Mexican Americans.   Also, iy is a very convenient gateway for those living in cities without direct flights to Mexico.

Aeromexico  Aeromexico

Q.  Recently you held a series of road shows with travel agents in several key US markets.  Does this indicate a new initiative on the part of your department?

A.  It does.  We are absolutely convinced that the traditional ways of promoting tourism such as road shows have a big impact on our strategic partners, the U.S. travel agent community. These travel agents have a fundamental responsibility towards their customers: to provide vibrant, interesting and safe travel destinations as well as excellent levels of service. We know that they are committed to their customers.  We trust them as our ambassadors in the U.S. and, in turn, we want them to grow to trust us to deliver a quality destination.

Q.  Finally, what would you like to see travel agents do to better promote Mexico City as a destination?

A.  Travel agents in the United States and the Ministry of Tourism of Mexico City must mutually strengthen our relationships. We have made available to them our web site www.mexicocityexperience.com as a way to keep updated about the city and its events.  As strategic partners, we encourage travel agents to be very proactive in offering Mexico City as a viable destination and we are quite happy to give them the tools to do so.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Carlos, thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your unique insights on Mexico City.  My own recent visit only reinforced Mexico City’s status as a world class destination.

Let me know, dear reader, if you would like to know more.

A Walkabout at the Westin Kierland

Last post I acknowledged the remarkable reward trips we in the travel industry are privileged to experience.  I failed to mention, at the risk of spiking the ball, that our business meetings aren’t exactly shabby either.  Now if this strikes you as rubbing salt in the wounds, to mix metaphors, go back and read the last post about the “other side of the coin” (warning:  metaphor pile-up!).  I am pretty sure a quick, side-by-side comparison of our respective bank accounts will have you suddenly feeling much better about your life.

My most recent meeting was a Travel Leader’s FAB (franchise advisory board) meeting at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona.  I know what you must be thinking.  “YOU were elected by your peers to serve on an advisory board?”  I know, I was every bit as shocked as you are.  Apparently none of my constituents have stumbled across this blog and honestly, I would just as soon keep it that way.  Why disabuse them of their harmless illusions regarding my sound judgment and sterling character?

When I arrived at the resort, I had a little free time so I embarked on what the Aussies call a “walkabout”.  Granted that term may be a bit of a stretch since I am neither an AustralianWestin Kierland Resort & Spa Aborigine nor did I spend six months tracing the paths of my ancestors.  In point of fact, I got tired after half an hour and plopped down in the Dreamweaver’s Canyon Courtyard,  sipped a Negra Modelo and gazed at all the swells strolling by.  It doesn’t take me long to get the lay of the land, especially when my favorite beer is beckoning.

Why don’t we reenact my little stroll to give you a bit of a feel for this magnificent resort?  Once I had gone to my room and stowed my gear (something I feel compelled to do in the first ten minutes upon arriving at any hotel . . . can you say OC?), I walked out a side door and this is the very first view that greeted me.  The similarities with my landscaped back yard were startling.  Or maybe it was the dissimilarities.  Westin Kierland Resort & Spa Sandpainter's CourtyardI would return to this very table below at Nellie Cashman’s Monday Club Cafe a little later in the evening for a delicious repast.  The resort has numerous charms but dining al fresco as the sun sets behind a bagpiper in traditional Scottish dress piping his haunting melodies is toward the top of my list.

Dining at the Westin Kierland Resort & SpaBagpipes at sundown at the Westin Kierland Resort

Even the golf is unique.  Read this sentence from their website, “Only at Kierland Golf Club can a golfer – novice to experienced – enjoy innovative amenities and experiences like Segway transportation, Fore-MAX golf training, climate-controlled golfing and Scottish-themed Golf.”  As an avid golfer, I can say without the slightest fear of contraception, that is not a sentence that would apply to 99.99% of the golf courses anywhere in the world.

After a tough day of climate-controlled golf, what better way to cool off then tubing down the winding 900-foot lazy river.  How is that for a nice segway . . . I mean segue?  There is also a 110-foot water slide and even Aguamiel, a quiet retreat for adults.  But without a Westin Kierland Resort FlowRiderdoubt, the feature causing the greatest waves (pun intended) is the FlowRider.

My only regret was that I arrived on a Monday afternoon and left on Wednesday afternoon which didn’t permit me to enjoy all the amenities as I would have liked.   If you happen to have the responsibility in your work life for planning meetings or incentive trips, I strongly recommend this resort as a suitable site.  Based on my brief experience, you will not be disappointed.

Have you ever stayed at the Westin Kierland and how did you find it?  No wisecracks about using Garmin or TomTom, please.  That would be way too easy!

Sandals Sans Sandals

By writing posts about the sort of trip I am about to describe,  I am not unaware that I run the risk of reinforcing the reader’s most inflated notions of the opulent not to mention indolent lifestyle led by humble travel entrepreneurs like myself.  This is owing to the fact that in the travel industry some of our key suppliers express their appreciation for our efforts with reward trips to appealing destinations.  This reality is made abundantly clear on my Fool Disclosure page.

In our industry, you had better be prepared to endure frequent comments along the lines of “Wow, it must really be rough being you.” and other equally witty remarks.  They are usually offered in a jocular vein with a nonetheless discernible tinge of jealousy.  I will be the first to admit that we in the travel business often travel like kings but our ugly, dark little secret is we are too often compensated more like kitchen help.  When quizzed about the travel business, my usual retort is “If you want to travel as if you had a lot of money, it’s great.  If you want to actually earn a lot of money, not so much.”  But enough self-indulgent whining.  Truth is, if the trade-off were not acceptable, none of us would not be doing this for a living.  And hey, when I am working as a greeter at Wal-Mart at age ninety-four, I will have incredible memories!

A few weeks back I was invited by Funjet Vacations to participate in a five day, four night stay at the Sandals Grand Riviera Beach and Villa Golf Resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.  One nice thing about going to a sun and fun resort, it makes packing relatively simple.  On the whole, I was pleased with the selection of clothing items I brought alongSandals with one exception.  Apparently, if you are going to go to Sandals, male or female, you must bring a pair of nice sandals.   I am pretty sure that I was the only dweeb in the entire resort who did not get the memo.

I consider myself a reasonably natty dresser but I am obviously way behind the trend in male sandals.  Note to self:  Before your next reward trip (coming up in December), scrape together a few shekels and invest in a pair of nice leather sandals.  For you fashion aficionados out there, here is a note for you.  If I am so far behind the trend that male sandals are actually now on the way out, please keep that bit of knowledge to yourself.  Once I pony up for a pair, I will be wearing them until the leather looks like Keith Richards’ face under strobe lights.

For those of you who tune in to this blog hoping to actually get a little travel insight now and again and not just my fascinating personal peccadilloes, here is my impression of the resort.

Sandals Grand Riviera Beach & Villa Golf ResortTheir website describes it as a “sprawling paradise” and that is pretty accurate.  The resort consists of a series of villas spread over an entire verdant hillside but the “sprawling” part presents no obstacle thanks to the ubiquitous jitneys always flitting around.

If you are a golfer, you can play as many rounds as you like without green fees at Sandals Golf and Country Sandals Golf And Country ClubClub about half-an-hour away.  (There are caddy and cart fees).  Shuttles run regularly to the course.  The property has had a recent $60 million dollar upgrade and is in beautiful condition.  The Ochi Beach Club with its babbling brooks, fragrant gardens and a great stretch of beach offers the perfect way to spend your day.

I can promise you that you will never be bored.  Take a look at the activities page here for a truly amazing selection of options.  If you want to really pamper yourself, book a private cabana where your whims will be catered to by your cabana concierge!  Then further indulge yourself at the Red Lane Spa.

A final word: if you prefer smaller, quieter and more upscale, check out the Sandals Royal Plantation just down the road.  I had a great private dinner there sitting at the same table frequented by Winston Churchill.

A Few Flights of Fancy at F.I.T.A.

Here is a quick sampling of a few things that tickled my fancy at F.I.T.A.   See previous post to learn all about this annual event in Mexico City.

Your humble servant receiving his golden (that’s garland, with an upgrade) wreath.

Service with a special flair!

Mexican Cook Off

Standing in the reserved press corp section for the ribbon cutting like a real journalist!

I haven’t forgotten that I promised to tell you not only about Distrito Capital, the hotel that hosted me so admirably during the conference, but the three other hotels GroupoHabita operates in Mexico City.   Coming very soon!

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The F.I.T.A.

Apologies to Stephen Sondheim for  my shameless ripoff of the title of his famous musical, “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum”.  Stephen, I want you to feel totally justified in naming your next musical after of one of my blog posts.  Turn about is fair play, after all.  I am thinking “A Round-About Way To A Nervous Breakdown”, for example, should make a great little farce.

F.I.T.A. is the International Tourism Fair of the Americas.  This event is only three years old and is held in the Santa Fe region of Mexico City at the Expo Bancomer.  I know, you are waiting breathlessly for the “funny thing happened” part.  Well, I was sitting in my office a few weeks back, molesting no one and only irritating a small handful, when I received an email invitation to this event as a “prominent travel company”.  While still basking in my apparent prominence, I get a second invitation within minutes to attend the same event as an esteemed member of the Fourth Estate.  Wow, prominent and esteemed all within ten minutes.

I confess that I was a bit taken aback since I thought the Fourth Estate was the smallest of DonaldMeet the Press Fedora Trump’s several summer homes.   When it was explained that they wanted me to come as part of the press corp, I immediately rushed out and bought the appropriate hat although, judging from the looks I got, this particular accoutrement has not yet caught on in Mexico City.

As I mentioned above, this is only the third year for this event and the purpose over time is to create a major international travel show like those held in Berlin and New York.  In addition to the expected exhibitors from Mexico, there were also booths representing Russia, Japan, India and several other countries.  The Expo Bancomer is a very nice, quite modern facility.  The main improvement they could make, at least in the opinion of this “prominent entrepreneur / eminent journalist'”, would be to enhance the signal strength of the wi-fi.  The exhibit hall where we spent most of our time was downstairs and to say the signal was spotty is more than a little generous. I spent several hours looking for that mystical spot.

Expo Bancomer Santa Fe

There were 600 exhibitors in attendance as well as over 4000 travel buyers and press.  The first two days are intended for those in the travel trade with the weekend reserved for consumers who might wish to obtain information on various destinations.  I attended several press conferences where unfortunately, at least for this uncivilized American monoglot, the translation from Spanish to English was as spotty as the wi-fi.  It is somewhat to be expected since the majority of the participants are Spanish-speakers but if they truly want to grow the event to international proportions, more deference needs to be shown to the monolingual.

In spite of these opportunities for improvement, it was an excellent event. Personally, I F.I.T.A.  Mexico Citymade a couple of beneficial business contacts that I think will pay dividends going forward.  At the end of the day, networking and relationship building is largely what these events are all about.  Even in, or maybe especially in, our digital age, there is a pressing need for face to face, personal interaction.  And if that happens to occur at a cocktail party over a cheeky little Cabernet, so much the better.

Come back soon or, better yet, subscribe below to receive email notifications of new posts and I will tell you not only about Distrito Capital, the hotel that hosted me so admirably during the conference, but the three other hotels GroupoHabita operates in Mexico City.  Who knows, you might even get to meet the Minister of Tourism for Mexico City.

More John Heald: Carnival’s Wayfaring Wag (2)

You will recall last post I promised . . . or was it threatened . . that John and I would be back with more stimulating questions and scintillating answers.  Since I would rather ride bareback on a porcupine in my skivvies than mislead my esteemed readers, here we both are in all our fulgent glory.  John’s glory , at least, is fulgent.  I fear mine, if I ever had any, is starting to fray around the edges.

If you haven’t yet checked out John’s blog, you really need to stop by.  The great thing John Heald Carnival Cruise Senior Cruise Directorabout John’s role with Carnival is that his interaction with all manner of guests provides pretty much a non-stop stream of amusing and sometimes head-scratching anecdotes.  One of his recent posts “We won . . . You Didn’t ….NAR NAR NA NAR NAR”  is a prime example.  Some guests are simply a little obtuse.  Then there are this pair.

John, welcome back to Backroom Banter.

Q.  Is it true that Carnival is hosting a “Bloggers Cruise” next January and can you think of a great travel agency to recommend to book it?   Let me know if you need a hint!

A.  Yes indeed, this is Bloggers Cruise 6 and will be held on the Carnival Breeze on January 19. We will visit great ports like Antigua and St. Thomas plus there will be private shows, events and prizes for all as we get together to enjoy our love of Carnival cruising and fun. I hope many can join me.  Last bloggers cruise I was joined by 450 guests and there is one agency that guests should book with if they want to join us and that of course is Travel Leaders / Main Street Travel.  They are the best and they also give free lollipops and a photo of me in the above mentioned underpants. I really hope to see you there.

Q.  What are some of the dumbest questions you have been asked on your blog or otherwise, not counting these little gems of course.   

A.  The list of these questions is endless and ranges from “How will I know which photos are mine? to “Can you recommend a good brothel in Rome?” The rest will appear in my book.

Q.  If someone wants to cruise with you, how would they go about that?  Or conversely, if someone wants to be sure not to cruise with you (a huge mistake, we would both agree), is that an option?

A.  Well I publish the cruise director schedule on-line on my blog. We are the only cruise line to do this I think and it is interesting to see how many guests want to know who their cruise director will be. I hope people will come and see me on the Carnival Breeze for Bloggers Cruise 6 and then next year I will be on Carnival Legend as we do some of my favourite cruising around the Baltic, British Islands and Norwegian fjords. Check with a good TA and they will tell you more …………… I have one particular travel agent in mind.

Q.  John, you have been an incredibly good sport.  For this last question, I want a straightforward answer (assuming either one of us is constitutionally capable of that).   What should consumers know about the Carnival Magic when choosing their next vacation?

A.  Carnival Magic is one of my favourite ships and was from the moment I helped deliver her last year. This is for many reasons and includes the vibrant décor, the brilliant spaces,Carnival Cruise Lines Magic including the RedFrog Pub (one of my favourites) and the shows, food and the ports. The crew is magnificent and these reasons are why she has been constantly rated in the top three ships in the fleet. If you have not sailed her you have missed out, she truly is Magic. Thanks so much for allowing me some time here with you, mate, and my best to you and all your clients and if there is anything I can do for them or you please let me know. Cheers!

John, thanks so much for a fantastic interview.  A special thanks is due for your kind words about our travel agency.  I must say you delivered those particular lines precisely the way I wrote them!  (Just a little blog humor, dear reader.)   I hope you have enjoyed this first installment of Backroom Banter.  I have several other fascinating luminaries clamoring to be next . . . if you can call arm-twisting acquiescence clamoring.

Take our little poll below!

John Heald: Carnival’s Wayfaring Wag (1)

A wag, according to dictionary.com is a person given to droll, roguish or mischievous humor; a wit.  What better way to inaugurate the first installment of Backroom BanterInterview than to introduce you to someone, if you haven’t stumbled across him already, whose occasionally ribald and frequently irreverent sense of humor has caused me more than one audible chuckle in inappropriate settings?  I strongly suggest you never read his blog in a library, during your sentencing hearing or in a church pew!

His name is John Heald and this brief self-introduction from the “Meet John” page on his wildly popular blog www.JohnHealdsBlog.com should suffice to acquaint you with the gravitas and solemnity which permeates his entire blog.

He writes, “I started this blog when a lady called Stephanie said “Oh John, please write a blog, it will only be for a week and won’t take up much of your time.” That was back in 1492 and here I am still writing in the same pair of underpants. I am Carnival’s Senior Cruise Director and Brand Ambassador, and I am here to share my life with you in all its boring and sometimes toilet-based glory.”

If you think my “Fool Disclosure” page is a little weird (and that does seem to be the general consensus among my readers), you should check out John’s “Disclaimer Thingy”.   John’s 15,000,000 views and counting make my page views look like a rounding error.   When you consider he began blogging, by his own admission, in 1492 and my humble blog is still swaddled in a preemie blanket, it is probably juvenile of me to be gripped by this insane blog envy I’m feeling.   I ask you, dear reader, would it be too much to ask for John to loan me, say, half-a-million page views until I get on my feet?   He would never miss them.  Heck, that’s just a couple of good weeks for John.

But enough about my own fragile psyche.  Let’s catch up with John and see what he the heck he is up to these days.

Q.  John, tell us a little about your upbringing.   Have you managed to squelch that ugly rumor knocking about (no pun intended) that you are the illegitimate love child of John Cleese and Margaret Thatcher?

A.  I was a cesarean baby which is why every time I get out of the car I go through the sun roof. OK, after that stupid joke I should say that I have been very lucky. I worked as a commodities broker and for Lloyd’s of London in England. Then In 1987 and much to the distress of my parents I answered a magazine (remember magazines?) article for cruise ship staff and began working for Carnival Cruise Lines as a bar waiter. I did not know the difference between a Pina Colada and a Slippery Nipple so the beards gave me a microphone instead and told me to be a social host. From there I became a cruise director in 1991 and senior cruise director in 2004. I was recently given the title of Brand Ambassador, as well. I am one lucky sod! I was a huge Thatcher supporter and Cleese is my idol so that is actually a compliment.

Q.  What was your first job with Carnival and in which century was that exactly?

A. I flew from Heathrow to Miami in 1987 to take up the position of bar waiter on the cruiseJohn Heald of Carnival Cruise Lines' Facebook Page ship Holiday. When I landed I had to find my own way to a hotel which was called the Colonial Hotel. It made a Turkish prison look like the Ritz. I was there three nights waiting for the ship to arrive in Miami and it took every bit of my will power not to leave. But that Saturday the MS Holiday arrived and on I went. My training as a bar waiter was intense. The bar manager gave me a tray, a pair of white gloves for formal night and said “go and serve drinks.” That was it. How things have changed today and I am proud to think that I am still probably the worst bar waiter Carnival ever had.

Q.  Would you describe a typical day in the life of John Heald?  Reader alert:  If references to a grown man working in his underwear are apt to make you queasy, skip to the next question.

A.  It sounds like a cliché but there really isn’t a typical day. With 4,000 different guests on board the Carnival Breeze each cruise there are new challenges each day. However I do mix my day between managing 70 staff, 4,000 guests, writing a blog, answering an average of 50 Facebook questions a day and most importantly being on stage and out with the guests which is still my favourite thing to do by far. One of the reasons I keep going is that no day is really the same and you never know what is round the corner……..and yes…..I blog best when I am dressed only in my XXL Marks And Spencers underpants.

To Be Continued . . .

As a shameless ploy to lure you back to this highbrow discussion, I am postponing the rest of my Q&A for John until my next post.  Now don’t go all mopey on me!   I promise John and I will be back before you can say “Honestly, there’s no rush!”

Cancun: A Bundle (or Unbundle) of Fun

Let’s suppose, just for the sake of knocking out another killer blog post, you are a bit of a Mexico travel newbie and you are thinking about going to Cancun and/or the Riviera Maya.Riviera Maya Map  Whoa . . . let’s stop right there because we are barely past the first sentence and we have already encountered the first potential toe stub.  You know for a fact you have heard of Cancun and you are pretty sure you have heard of Riviera Maya . . or was it the Mayan Riviera . . . or perhaps Playacar . . . or maybe Playa del Carmen?

Fortunately for you, I can resolve this little mystery, if not in a heartbeat, for sure in a short burst of atrial fibrillation.

Cancun – Properly speaking, this is the resort town on the north-east coast of the Yucatán peninsula in the state of Quintana Roo.  Don’t even try to pronounce the state.  You will only sprain your tongue!

Riviera Maya or Mayan Riviera –  this is the tourist district that has grown up south of Cancun along Highway 307 which parallels the Caribbean coastline of that state we have agreed we not to pronounce.   It used to be called the Cancun – Tulum corridor but someone decided that sounded too much like a dingy hallway in a cheap hotel.

Playacar and Playa del Carmen – Playacar was the original development south of Cancun built around what was then a tiny fishing village called Playa del Carmen.

Assuming you are more interested in a nice vacation than a history/geography lesson, here is pretty much all you need to know.  Both Cancun and “everything south” (feel free to use whichever of the aforementioned terms rolls most easily off your tongue) are served by the same airport and essentially are one giant destination, not that you will get their respective tourist boards to admit it!

In this particular blog I am not going to address the question of which destination might

Cancun Beach

Cancun Beach (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

better suit your particular fancy.  I will leave that for another post.  Instead, I will answer the question that is hinted at in the title:  to bundle or nor to bundle?

Let’s assume you are astute enough to know you should avail yourself of the services of an experienced travel agent.  If you are not yet convinced,  surely you will be after you read yet another stimulating blog post coming soon about that very subject!  I am like Jimmy Durante sans the patrician nose, “I got a million of ‘em.”

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. As I count them, there are three possibilities.  Keep in mind I flunked logic so I could have overlooked something here.

Possibility One:  Fully Bundled

Travel agencies (retailers) work through middle-men (wholesalers) called tour companies whose role it is to assemble all the components of a great vacation into one irresistible package.  These elements usually consist of an airline ticket (scheduled or charter), a hotel package (European, American or All-inclusive plans), a transfer (airport/hotel/airport) and perhaps some activities, tours or excursions.

Possibility Two:  Partly Bundled

Let’s suppose you have amassed more frequent flier miles than a middle-eastern diplomat.  Or maybe you work for an airline and plan to use your airline passes so you don’t need any help with airfare.  Conversely, you could be invited to stay in some patsy’s over-priced, under-utilized time share condominium and you don’t need hotel accommodations but do need an airline ticket and transfers.

Possibility Three:  Unbundled

For this scenario, let’s assume you suffer from stage four masochism and you delight in making things a lot harder than they have to be just for the sheer delight of it.  You decide you are going to get on the net and research every component separately.  Two days and several stiff drinks later, you emerge from your home office with that glassy-eyed, glazed look that only comes from information overload coupled with the paralysis of analysis.

We tolerant travel counselors are not here to pass judgment on any of these approaches (OK, maybe a smidge on the last one).  What we would like you to know is that we can render invaluable service whether you need a lot of help from us or just a little.

Here, let me prove it.  For our final scenario, let’s assume you win two free tickets to Cancun in a golf tournament hole-in-one contest.  Next, you win a seven night stay in a five-star, all-inclusive resort as a contestant on “Dancing With The Stars”.  Finally, your next door neighbor, to whom you recently donated a kidney, just happens to operate a fleet of limos in . . . “Who would have ever guessed?” . . . Cancun, Mexico or all places.

Cancun Sunset Dinner Cruise

Sunset Dinner Cruise

But what are you going to do when you get there?  What tours will you take, in which activities will you partake, which excursions will you book?   Not to worry.  We can even help with even that one small, yet critical, piece of the puzzle.  Click here to peruse a couple of dozen exciting activity options and once you have made your selection, you can just book it online.  See how easy that was?

I intend to devote an entire upcoming post to all the exciting things there are to see and do in this one-of-a-kind destination!  Why don’t you take a second and subscribe at the bottom of this post and be assured of not missing a thing?

Rosewood San Miguel: A Jewel Perfectly Set

A heartfelt confession always makes a good beginning.  Here is mine. My knowledge of gemstones and fine jewelry ranks right up there with my familiarity with the finer points of cold fusion, which is to say, it’s within a gnat’s breath of being nonexistent.    But even someone as gauche and unsophisticated as your humble blogger knows this much:  choosing the proper setting for a stone is crucial to the design of all fine jewelry.  This observation brings me to the third precious stone in the incomparable Rosewood Mexico tiara.  (If you are a new arrival to this space, it might bore you, oops, I meant to say behoove you to take a moment and read the two previous posts.  Otherwise, the poll at the end might prove a bit challenging!)

To ask which resort among the three is preeminent is a little like asking, “Which is moreRosewood San Miguel de Allend important, breathing in or breathing out?”.   A rather tough choice I think we all agree.  All three properties are magnificent and project their own matchless radiance.  Were I forced to choose among them under threat of having to spend eternity in a dingy one-star hotel with neither a spa nor room service (I suddenly feel a cold shiver running down my spine), I suppose I would have to choose the Rosewood in San Miguel de Allende.  The reason relates to my opening paragraph, i.e., the setting.

For those not familiar with San Miguel de Allende, a veritable mecca for the mentally fatigued, you have no idea what you are missing.  To fully grasp just how impoverished  your life has been . . . a life which you had hitherto naively assumed was rich and meaningful . . . ,  I am afraid you will just have to keep reading this blog.   The reason being, in the not too distant future I intend to draw upon my highly underrated and, as yet, cruelly unrewarded writing prowess to paint a Monet-esque picture of  this magical place.   I know, your heart is all a pitter.  Patience, dear reader. Coming soon.

Meanwhile,  you must content yourself with a description of the resort itself.  Naturally, you are going to want to spend a great deal of your time exploring this “enchanting artists’ village nestled in the mountains north of Mexico City”.  All the more so, I’m sure, after you read my upcoming post.

1826 Restaurant in the Rosewood Resort in San Miguel de Allende

1826 Restaurant

Yet it would be a huge mistake not to carve out significant time during your stay to absorb the atmosphere of the resort’s many charming venues.   The “fine” in fine dining begins with the ambiance when you enter a restaurant.  The 1826 Restaurant is bathed in old world elegance.  The name of both the restaurant and the bar across the hall commemorates the year the town adopted the name of San Miguel de Allende in honor of Ignacio de Allende, the hero of Mexican independence.  The restaurant features an open artisan kitchen and offers the choice of dining indoors or al fresco on the patio amid the vibrant gardens. Another incredible dining option is the Luna Rooftop Tapas Bar.   As a regular reader, you have likely noticed my palpable love of both lowbrow Rosewood San Miguel's Luna Rooftop Tapas Barhumor and tortured puns and therefore might be bracing yourself for me to make a crude play on the bar’s name.  I shall surprise both you and me by letting the opportunity pass without comment.   Goodness, I suddenly feel abnormally mature.

The climate of San Miguel is very temperate year round which lends itself to spending countless hours on the Luna Rooftop.  You will find it the ideal setting for gazing out across the sprawling village below and thinking fondly about your smug brother-in-law back home, the one who warned you against  going to Mexico, grilling bratwurst in his backyard surrounded by his little screeching, sawed-off savages while navigating nasty love notes delivered indiscriminately around the yard by the family dog.

Ah, life is good at the Rosewood!

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