DIY vs. Love to Travel

Thinking about booking your own beach vacation? Here’s 10 reasons why you should book with Love to Travel instead:

1. No Service Fee
From Consultation to Follow up – there’s never a charge with Love to Travel.

2. Price Match Plus
If you find a lower price for the same itinerary we can almost always match it, AND you still get all of the support and benefits of using us.

3. Storefront “Beach House” Location
We have a full Team of Beach Resort Specialists to support your trip. Meet with us in person or work with us via phone or email.

4. Save Time Searching the Internet
We tour over 100 resorts annually and will help you find the perfect destination and resort based on your preferences and budget.

5. Low Initial Deposit
Only a minimum deposit is required to book your trip and most balances are not due until 45 days before travel. You can even make payments for no additional charge.

6. Great Travel Protection Options
Our Travel Protection allows you to cancel for ANY reason and receive a full refund less the cost of the insurance.

7. Travel Concierge Experience Team
We have a Travel Concierge Experience Team that can recommend excursions and even reserve them in advance for you.

8. Your Preferences are Communicated to the Resort
Prior to your arrival at the resort we notify them of your preferences and any special occasions.

9. We Provide Printed Documents and Helpful Travel Information
You’ll receive a printed confirmation of your travel prior to departure which includes information about the resort, destination and travel tips specific to where you are headed.

10. 24/7 Support While You Travel
We are available to help 24/7 while you travel. If an issue comes up at the resort, we know the management teams and who to contact to quickly resolve issues.

We always follow up to make sure you had a great experience and ask if we can share your experience with others interested in the same destination and resort. Get started by filling out a Quote Request. We look forward to helping you plan an amazing vacation!

Destination Wedding Trip in Mexico

It’s hard to believe I’ve been back in the office for two days already! Mexico was everything I thought it would be and more. If you have any doubts about traveling in Mexico please talk to us. I felt very safe the entire time, and that white sand and turquoise water is way too beautiful to pass up! Plus the people there are SO nice and accommodating. I’m going to go through some “best of” and highlights from the week:

Best Margarita
Winner: Valentin Imperial Maya
Runner Up: Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe

Best Cocktail (other than a margarita)
Winner: Dreams Riviera Cancun
Runner Up: Grand Velas

Best Wine
Winner: Secrets the Vine
Runner Up: Iberostar Grand

Best Rooms Closest to the Beach
Winner: Grand Velas
Runner Up: Secrets Aura

Best Steak (Yes, we actually got steak for dinner multiple times. No, it wasn’t my choice. I’m from Kansas City!)
Winner: Dreams Riviera Cancun
Runner Up: Grand Palladium White Sands

Best Fish
Winner: Grand Velas
Runner Up: Secrets Silversands

Best Resort for Shopping
Winner: Playacar Palace
Runner Up: Secrets the Vine

Best Resort for Relaxing:
Winner: Grand Velas
Runner Up: Valentin Imperial Maya

Best Resort for Activities
Winner: Secrets Silversands
Runner Up: Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe

Best Destination Wedding Set Up:
Winner: Dreams Riviera Cancun
Runner Up: Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe

Any place I visited that you want to stay at?

Day Four

I’ve had no time to update so here it is finally – the last day! The destination of the day was Cozumel. The majority of the group was headed to the airport today since they arrived one day earlier, so there were only five of us. Although the other four had been to Mexico multiple times, nobody had taken the ferry to Cozumel so it was a first for all of us!

We were all a little worried about getting sea sick, but we were fine. It was actually kind of relaxing. I’m sure the dramamine we took beforehand helped =)

Waiting for the ferry

There are some tips and tricks when taking the ferry over that you should know about before traveling so if that’s a future trip you want to take be sure to book with us!

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It was a quick trip, but the experience was fun. We visited Secrets Aura – the only adults-only resort on the island – and Sunscape Sabor Cozumel. Here’s some of the highlights from Secrets Aura:

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Amazing swim-up suites! How fun would it be to come with a group of friends?!

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And that view.

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And you get to admire that view from this comfy thing. Take me back!

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A beautiful beach.

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This is their Solarium Suite – pretty nifty!

Cozumel is a great destination for scuba divers too so if you’re a diver make sure it’s on your list.

I’ll be back next week to sum up the trip. I know you’re anxious to find out which resort I visited has the best margarita. It’s the important things in life.

Is there anything else you’re dying to know? Ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer. See you back in the office on Monday!

Day Three

There’s no doubt in my mind what the resort of the day was yesterday: Dreams Riviera Cancun. They really went all out for us and truly showed us what destination weddings at their resort can be like!

The gazebo with the “Sweet Vintage Wedding” decor

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The deck is their top reception location. Not hard to see why!IMG_3295-300x225

Unfortunately we didn’t have the opportunity to take great pics of this last location, but it was larger than life and stunning. They performed a “real” wedding for us, and fireworks went off at the end on either side of the canopy. This is on the lobby stairs and had a “Great Gatsby” theme.

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The theme and “real” wedding continued as we celebrated the reception in one of their banquet halls. They served delicious and creative food.

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What do you think of the themes and set up at this resort?

Day Two

Hola! I haven’t even had the chance to tell you about all of the fun stuff yet! Here we go . .

Double fisting it at our first resort
Sounds bad – I know. Perks of landing early, going through customs quickly and arriving at the first resort an hour early. This is why I love all-inclusives and why you should too. Can’t make up your mind? You don’t even have too. Yes, I would love a margarita and macchiato at the same time, thank you. Fun fact: a macchiato is called a “cortado” here. I had no idea it wasn’t universal.

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Kisses fingertips and tosses away* The entire resort was a treat to visit, but the food was a highlight. Y.U.M.

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My first souvenir

The first night we had dinner at Secrets Silversands (which was also very good), and they were having vendor night. Usually a couple of nights a week the resorts will have outside vendors in to sell local goods. During a lull in dinner me and another travel agent went to check it out, and we both ended up getting a sugar skull. Cool!

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Chocolates in the room

Every night. Loooove it.

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Real quick let me go through some highlights from day two. The resorts we visited:

Barcelo Maya Palace

Oh, this resort was the highlight of the day! B-e-a-utiful. When you walk into the lobby you can see directly through to the ocean. This is a very well-maintained resort with detailed wedding planners who are very knowledgeable. They have so many great wedding locations! View more of the wedding locations. They really have no limits on what you can do for your wedding so customize like crazy and do-your-thang. They’re also Certified South Asian Wedding specialists so they know how to properly plan and execute Hindu, Sikh, Bangladesh weddings, et al. View more pictures of the resort here.

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Valentin Imperial Maya

Definitely a favorite! We didn’t get to see this resort until after nightfall though so it was a little difficult to get a good look at it since it was, well, dark. It has a great feel to it though and the vegetation and grounds were beautiful – even in the dark! The rooms were impressive and the wedding set-up we saw on the beach was gorgeous. We even had to take a windy path to get to the wedding area which only added to the appeal

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Grand Palladium White Sands

I was pleasantly surprised with this property! It’s still pretty big, but doesn’t necessarily have the big resort feel. They have a big, beautiful chapel that’s for Catholic weddings only and a beach gazebo right up near the break so it really is as close to the water as possible – makes for a great view. They have allergy-free menus and no reservations required at any of the restaurants. You can view more wedding pictures here.

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Day One

Wow, the first day flew by! We saw some amazing destination wedding set-ups, and it was so fun getting to see the resorts that we sell everyday.

Grand Velas Riviera Maya

This resort was the highlight of the day! It was like a commercial that you see on TV where everything looks pristine and perfect – but in real life. Unreal manicured lawns, bright floral colors against natural, woody decor; pristine pools and GORGEOUS beaches. This truly would be a dream destination venue. View more resort photos here, and more destination wedding photos here.

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Secrets Silversands

We didn’t get to see this resort during the day, but the wedding set up was still beautiful at night with light breezes and streaks of color setting the scene. This was also a favorite resort with a fun, relaxing vibe and a more contemporary look.

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Riu Palace Riviera Maya

I was very impressed with the wedding set up for this resort. Riu’s are moderately priced resorts and a budget-friendly option so I was pleasantly surprised to see such a great wedding venue.

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Playacar Palace

This is a more intimate resort that’s very popular for destination weddings. It’s very common to have to book up to a year in advance to secure a date. It’s easy to see why though with their modern decor accented with silver and natural, the smaller resort feel and sense of calm. Although it was raining during our visit and we didn’t get an up close look, the wedding set up was still breathtaking. It’s adorned with crystals and great for the minimalist bride.

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The Day Before

Fourteen resorts, five sundresses, four nights, three pairs of shoes, two nonstop flights, one Love to Travel agent. My name is Melissa, and Love to Travel’s owner, Kim Cook, set me loose! Follow me on here as I travel for my very first time to Cancun and Riviera Maya on a destination wedding familiarization (FAM) trip!

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A travel agent who hasn’t been to Mexico!? Hey, there’s a first time for everything, and what better way to learn about the area then from somebody who’s never been there. I’m fresh. Keen to learn. All of the good things a first timer is. You’ll get to read about my new, exciting, and probably sometimes awkward experiences traveling to this amazing vacation destination on my first ever FAM trip.

Did I bring the right clothes? Guess I’ll find out. But I have a portable phone charger with me so I guess that’s a step in the right direction. Oh, and sunscreen. Sunscreen is always a good idea.

The itinerary for the day:

  • Riu Palace Riviera Maya
  • Playacar Palace
  • Grand Velas Riviera Maya
  • Iberostar Lindo
  • Secrets Silversands

I’ll catch back up with you guys tonight. And of course I’ll let you know if I dressed appropriately because I know you’re dying to know.

Hasta la vista!

Jamaica | Tessa + Jonathan

Congratulations to Tessa and Jonathan who just got back from their destination wedding in Jamaica at Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa! We love planning destination weddings and we were thrilled when they contacted us to begin planning theirs

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After being referred to Love to Travel from another couple who had their wedding the year before at the same resort, they knew that they wanted a beach wedding and were ready to begin planning right away.

This is what they said about their experience:

“Jonathan and I had an absolutely amazing time at the breathtaking Sandals Negril, Jamaica! We had a weddingmoon and could not have asked for a better place to have it. The staff treated us like royalty and made sure everything was perfect and stress free our entire stay there. We brought close family and friends along for the first half of the trip to experience paradise and our wedding.

Sandals was the perfect resort to share with our family and friends. There was never a dull moment. The first night they had a beach party and called up me and my girlfriends to participate in limbo and other fun games – we had a blast! There was food galore, a band, and the decorations were beautiful. We enjoyed having neat activities every day/night such as snorkeling, a steel drum band, Jamaican dancers, a chocolate symphony, etc.

On our wedding day, everything went smoothly thanks to the more than helpful staff. The ceremony was just how we imagined and all of our guests said the whole experience was amazing. Our wedding and honeymoon photographers were funny, made us feel comfortable and knew what they were doing. We loved all of our pictures, not one was bad!

WE CANNOT WAIT TO GO BACK TO SANDALS NEGRIL, JAMAICA.

We would suggest using Love to Travel to book your weddingmoon! Kim Cook is very friendly and is always available to talk if you have any questions or concerns. She took care of important details and made sure our experience would be one to never forget!”

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Destination Weddings by Karisma

Day Two

El Dorado Royale and El Dorado Casitas Royale are right next door to each other and they’re both adults-only. Generations Riviera Maya is actually right next door to the Casitas but you already know that it’s a family resort. The set up actually makes it really great for weddings since everybody can stay in whichever resort they prefer, and the families with kiddos have a gorgeous resort right next to where everybody else is.

El Dorado Casitas are made for couples who are celebrating. They have bigger suites, higher ceilings and an outdoor “shower of love” (adorable). They also receive beach butler service and more in-room amenities. Royale is bigger and more active, and can accommodate friends traveling together with rooms that have double beds. The Royale does have exchange privileges between both for restaurants, however, only the couples staying at the Casitas can use the pool and other facilities at Royale (people staying at Royale cannot use the Casitas pools). Here’s my favorite from both:

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Love: The overall look of the resort. It’s exactly what I expected and looks very much like their marketing photos which is nice since that can sometimes be deceiving. Lots to do and lots to see, I was only there for a short time so I wish I got to see more!

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Favorite wedding: This one was hard, but I did really like the garden gazebo. It’s in a very private area with plenty of space for a big group and it was very pretty.

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El Dorado Casitas Royale

Love: The beach butler beds! They have so many lined up right in front of the beach, plenty for everybody who wanted to use them.

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Favorite wedding: The beach wedding gazebo. It’s more private than a lot of beach weddings and the set up around the palm trees gives a really tropical and relaxing vibe.

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These are two very popular resorts for good reason! If you’ve visited either one let us know in the comments below what your favorite part of each was. If you haven’t been make sure to fill out a Planner & Quote Request and we’d be happy to send you a quote for your available travel dates!

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Day One

I’m thrilled to say that our first date was what I imagined and more! Karisma does not disappoint. Since this is a destination wedding trip I’ll show my favorite wedding setup at each and also my favorite part of the resort itself. Although I will say that choosing just one favorite for each is not easy:

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Love: The family-feel. Azul Resorts are for everybody. In other words, everything is open to everybody. There’s no adults-only pool or restaurants, even the karaoke bar at night is open to 7-year-olds singing a capela if they so choose. The rooms are very spacious and the huge balconies/terraces with big sliding glass doors are easily taken advantage of by the families here.

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Favorite wedding: The beachfront gazebo. It’s new, it’s private, it’s unique, it’s beachfront. But after having the ceremony there I would have my reception at the sky wedding with its breathtaking views.

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El Dorado Maroma

Love: The beach. Big, spacious, calm, relaxing and powder-white sand. The resort has more activities than I expected being small and intimate, and the Presidential Beachfront Villa is almost big enough to get lost in. Oh, and their building the Caribbean’s first overwater bungalows! What’s not to love?

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Favorite wedding: The beach of course.

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El Dorado Seaside Suites

Love: The breezy, romantic feel. It’s very lush and the breeze feels oh-so-amazing. Easy to understand how it’s named one of the most romantic resorts in the world by Forbes.com.

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Favorite wedding: The white gazebo. Brides can wear heels, it overlooks the water, the beach is on either side.

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Generations Riviera Maya

Love: The luxury feel, especially within the restaurants. The restaurants are set in big tables for families. The whole concept of Generations is “all butler, all suites, all gourmet” and it really shows. The resort does have adults-only restaurant and bars, but the kid’s play areas are awesome so they would have way more fun doing their own thing anyway.

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Favorite wedding: They sky wedding. It’s truly stunning and lives up to their concept of being a luxury resort. My pictures do not do it justice.

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I’ll be posting full albums to Love to Travel’s Facebook page, and the wedding set-ups on Love Destination Wedding’s Facebook page as I can so make sure to like us on both pages if you don’t already.

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It’s another year, and another trip to Mexico! I’m excited about this trip because at Love to Travel, we absolutely love the Karisma Resort properties! These include the amazing adults-only El Dorado Resorts, family-friendly Azul Resorts, and all-suite, all-butler (and family-friendly) Generations Resorts. Their destination weddings look stunning (check out all of their wedding options here) and I get to see it in person!

It will be such a treat to finally visit these resorts because I feel like it’s our first date. Like we’ve been talking online, and I feel like I have a really good idea of their character and values, but are they really as beautiful as their profile picture? I get to find out.

So here’s the plan, over the next four days I get to visit:

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El Dorado Maroma

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El Dorado Maroma

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El Dorado Royale

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St. Lucia | Amanda + Tyler

Congratulations to Kansas City area locals, Amanda and Tyler, on their recent marriage and six-night honeymoon in St. Lucia! We had a blast helping them plan their honeymoon getaway.

We first met Amanda and Tyler when they came to one of our Honeymoon Happy Hours last winter. After looking at honeymoon resort options in Jamaica and St. Lucia, they chose the breathtaking island of St. Lucia and stayed at Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort.

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The best part about it all? Tyler surprised Amanda with a helicopter transfer from the airport to the resort! (Way to go, Tyler! Future grooms, take note.) Helicopter transfers are only available in St. Lucia and are just another great reason to choose the island for your next couples vacation.

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Thank you for letting us help you plan your honeymoon, Amanda and Tyler! Read Tyler’s review of their honeymoon below.

“The honeymoon was absolutely amazing! We both had such a great time and are so happy with our choice to go to St. Lucia and to the Grande. The helicopter ride was stunning. I would definitely recommend it! You get to see the whole island from above. So many couples asked us about the helicopter transfer and said they would definitely do it next time around. We really loved the resort. We spent most of our time on the beach. We also went zip lining in the rain forest and on a boat tour to the pitons and sulfur springs. We have no bad things to say about our time in St. Lucia and would definitely want to go back eventually. We wouldn’t stay anywhere else on the island other than the Grande.

Thank you so much for all of your help. You have been awesome! We will definitely be recommending others to use Love to Travel.

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View our very own resort photos of Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort. Have you visited St. Lucia? Tell us in the comments below what your best memory is.

Honeymoon Beach Party

You and your fiancée are invited!
Join us for a taste of the islands at Love to Travel’s Honeymoon Beach Party! Enjoy tropical drinks, a rum tasting and Caribbean appetizers while getting all of your initial honeymoon and destination wedding questions answered.

Bring your fiancée and join us 6p, Wednesday Aug. 24. Love to Travel’s honeymoon specialists will be available answer all of your travel questions. View romantic resorts we recommend, win door prizes and more!

Please RSVP Today!

When
Wednesday, Aug. 24, 6-8p

Where
Love to Travel’s Beach House
8665 W. 135th St.
Overland Park, KS 66223
Near the corner of 135th and Antioch behind Red Robin.

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Nonstop Air to Miami

There’s big things happening in Kansas City, and I’m not just talking about the Royals (#takethecrown!) I’m talking about a newly announced airline schedule that will lower your blood pressure, prevent wrinkles and save marriages. Okay, maybe not exactly, but it’s definitely bound to make your travels easier.

Just in time for the madness of spring break, American Airlines will begin nonstop service between Kansas City International Airport (MCI) and Miami (MIA) on March 5, 2015. The direct flight to fun and sun will depart everyday at 6a, and approximately three hours later you can turn back on your cell phones and get started on your vacation.

What this really means for us though is only one connecting flights to more exotic destinations like Grenada, Barbados, and other Caribbean destinations. This also opens up new flight schedules for destinations we already have one connection to like Jamaica.

So what’s in it for you? More schedule options, more nonstop flight options and more pain-free, hassle-free vacations. Contact us today to get a quote, and view our website, lovetotravel.com, to get more information on what we specialize in. What do you think of this new addition to the Kansas City Airport?

Birthday Milestone Celebrations

If you a) need an excuse for a vacation and b) have a big birthday coming up, then stop making excuses and get this show on the road.

Now is the perfect time to get started planning your big celebration because guess what? Your friends are looking for an excuse for a vacation but don’t have a big birthday coming up. So give them the excuse they’re looking for and get perks along the way.

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What are these perks you ask? I’ll tell you:

  • Early booking savings. Yes, it’s a thing. So book in advance for next year and you could save some moolah. The amount varies by resort, some have the savings, some don’t, but why not find out?
  • Group discounts. Also a thing. Book five or more rooms with us and get a promotion code attached to all of your bookings that could save you $25 to $250 dollars per booking.
  • Get money back. Depending on the resort you could get every 6th person free or every 10th room free. The resorts change their promotions often, but it’s possible that the resort you book could have a deal like this.
  • We handle all of the details and travel arrangements. People have a lot of questions about traveling and you don’t want to have to be the person who answers them. So don’t. Leave it to us.
  • Book on your own time and still get discounts. Everybody has their own schedule and budget so whenever your friends are ready to book they can still get the promo code to save them money.Disclaimer: prices will begin to increase as it gets closer to the date of travel so encourage them to get on it. See the next bullet for your leverage.
  • Make your own payment schedule. Deposits are normally under $500, and then the final balance isn’t due until 45 days prior to your departure date. You can also pay any amount any time you want between now and then. By the time your final payment is due you may not even have a balance to pay!

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Traveling for birthdays is fun! Especially when you’re not the one handling the details. Get started by filling out our Planner & Quote Request, or give us a call at 913-681-3688. If you’re not sure how booking with a travel agent works then learn more on our website. If you have a big birthday coming up then how are you planning on celebrating?

Secrets Playa Mujeres

Secrets Playa Mujeres Golf and Spa Resort in Playa Mujeres will open this Saturday.

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Today I had the opportunity to tour the soon to be open Secrets Playa Mujeres. Monica from the sales department was a great host and tour guide. We spent three hours viewing this beautiful new resort. There was still some construction going on as you will see in the pictures, but it’s on schedule to open this Saturday. If the service is comparable to the features of this resort, it will be an outstanding choice for your tropical getaway! View some highlights below and more pictures on our Facebook page here and here.

424 rooms with over 80 percent featuring a ocean view

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Adults only – all inclusive

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Nine dining options – no reservations needed

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Seven bars and lounges

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16,000 sq ft spa

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State of the art fitness center

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Wide variety of activities day and night

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There’s also destination wedding locations throughout the property and a Greg Norman Designed Golf Course. Be one of the first to spend a week or more at this beautiful new resort! Find out more information by filling out our Quote Request or giving us a call at 913-681-3688.

Tomorrow I’m headed off to Playa del Carmen and Cozumel to view the Palace Resorts . . . Stay tuned!

What good is a Monday without having something to look forward to? Well we’ve got just the thing – a gorgeous new resort opening north of Cancun called Secrets Playa Mujeres.

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With top-shelf spirits, nightly live entertainment, pool and beach wait service, this adults-only, all-inclusive resort will be just the motivation you need when winter feels never-ending. Because winter will feel that way and you should be prepared with a trip.

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It’s only a 35 minute transfer time from the airport, so you could relax at their oceanfront infinity pool, one of their six bars & lounges or any of their nine restaurants the same morning after flying out.

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If you’re into golf, adjacent to the resort is an 18-hole signature Greg Norman course, it’s also only 10 minutes away from downtown Cancun so shopping and local entertainment is nearby. Or you could just hang out at the beach all day. Pretty sure that’s what I would do.

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Give yourself something to look forward to this winter. We’d love to give you a quote to get started. Have you planned your winter getaway yet?