As told by Liz Bondelid, Apple Vacations E-Commerce Merchandising Coordinator
When March rolls around, it seems like it’s time for the brutal cold to start letting up. Philadelphia had other plans, with snow days and wind chills in the first week of March this year. Leaving my coat behind as I left for the airport, I wondered what it felt like to be warm again. By the end of the day, I had sand in my toes, saltwater in my hair, and a margarita in hand.
From beginning to end, I was blown away by everything I encountered at Dreams Puerto Aventuras – and no, I never mentioned to anyone that I work for Apple! If I have to narrow it down, let me give you a taste of my favorite things there.
The Staff — From the moment we arrived, everyone greeted us warmly, invited us to join in activities, and anticipated our every need. A storm was passing through when we arrived, and a staff member presented us with a list of rainy day activities. A member of the Entertainment Team took each of us by the hand to join him in Salsa dancing, and another staff member escorted us to the Seaside Grill for the best grouper I’ve ever had (more on that in a minute). Everyone from the hostess to the waiters made sure we were fully equipped with drinks, appetizers, and meals exactly to our liking. Waiters stopped for conversation as long as we were interested in chatting. On the beach, butlers were constantly at the ready to bring me my margarita, and always greeted us (my cousin and me) with a smile, saying, “Hola, Señoritas bonitas! It’s my favorite cousins!”
The Food — Let’s get back to that grouper at Seaside Grill. I did a stint in college selling fresh fish, and I can truly tell you this was the BEST grouper I ever tasted. That was my first meal, and the rest of the meals on this trip were as wonderful as the first. We were determined to eat at every restaurant during our three-night stay. A lofty goal, particularly with a vegetarian cousin, but we succeeded. While it may have been less fun for my herbivore counterpart, there were certainly options. The buffet at World Café always had vegetarian options, and Gohan, the sushi restaurant, had vegetarian sushi. Portofino, the gourmet Italian restaurant, had a risotto which she enjoyed (for me, filet mignon), and a lively staff. For excellent seafood and a glass of wine, we visited my favorite of the restaurants, Oceana, a sophisticated, dim-lit restaurant in the adults-only section of the resort.
The Beach — Turquoise water, white sugary sand, palm trees, and blue skies. Need I say any more? As if the natural beauty isn’t enough, beach butlers are attentive to your every need, and watersports are available from an equally delightful staff. Kids enjoyed the ocean trampoline, while adults float upon waves and lounge on beach chairs under thatched palapas. My cousin and I enjoyed sitting by the lagoon and on the swings at the Barracuda Bar, where we met many friends from around the world – and plan to stay in touch with.
The Pools — A zero-entry pool near the beach is open to children and families, and offers a swim-up bar. Adjacent to the pool, a warm Jacuzzi seats 30 people and welcomes children. An adults-only side of the resort offers a stunning pool with a swim-up bar and a bridge connecting to the restaurant Oceana. Being so eager to soak up all the warmth we could before our quick trip ended, we got our drinks from the swim-up bar and moved to the heated Jacuzzi. But don’t make my mistake of ordering a piña colada before going to the hot tub – it melted within minutes!
The Dolphins… and all other activities — Going into the trip, we knew we wanted to check out the on-site dolphinarium. When we arrived, we booked our appointment with our Apple Rep. And along with it, deciding we wanted some culture, booked an excursion to Tulum. The excursion was not only fun but informative (and came with some free time on the beach… what an experience!) Swimming with the dolphins was surreal. They pushed us across the pool on boogie boards, and let us kiss them and shake their fins. Throughout the day and evening, countless other activities were offered, from water aerobics to Mexican buffets on the beach to circus performances. And the incredible Entertainment Team always makes sure you’re in the know!
It didn’t take long after returning home to become nostalgic for the Dreams Puerto Aventuras, not only for the warm beaches, sunshine, and beautiful room, but for our favorite staff members, the friends we made on the beach, and the top-notch food and service at the restaurants.