As I mentioned yesterday, we went on a very strange family vacation to Mexico. There are actually two stories to be told here, so I'm breaking this into two posts.
(A note: this ENTIRE post could easily be filed under first world problems. We are so very fortunate to be able to take trips like this, and I am sharing this story because it amuses me, not because I am scarred in any way from my luxury vacation-gone-bad.)
This was our third visit to Puerto Vallarta. On our previous two visits, we stayed at the Sol Melia, which is just a fabulous all-inclusive hotel. It's not the fanciest place ever, but it is clean, and the rooms are spacious. The pool is enormous, and there is always something going on. The kids club has lots of different activities (art, water volleyball, face painting, talent shows, sand castles) and they have terrific entertainment every night under a large palapa. Silly me assumed that any four or five star all-inclusive hotel in that area would be the same way. So, when I started researching this year's spring break trip and there was a five star Marriott available just down the road from the Melia at a significantly lower price, we decided to make the switch. Ay yi yi - not a good call.
We arrived at the hotel and soon realized that most of the guests were NOT all-inclusive. This created a slew of annoyances, most of which are too boring to detail here, but the biggest issue was that it meant that all of the restaurants were empty. I mean, think about it. If you were staying at a pricey hotel and paying for all of your food and drink, would you choose to dine there? I think not. It is WAY more enticing to hop into a taxi and head into the downtown area for amazing and affordable food. We ended up doing that a few times ourselves (even though our meals were paid for), but for most of our meals, we were kind of stuck at the hotel. And thus we ended up eating dinner in restaurants that were virtually empty almost every night. So awkward.
There were other aggravations as well. The kids club offered no activities beyond video games and movies. The fitness classes were taught by staff members with no training. The pool was packed with people who weren't even staying at the hotel so it was a total zoo (people walking around with six packs of beer in walmart bags, styrofoam coolers everywhere, etc.). There was no entertainment in the evening. Again, we are so fortunate to be able to take vacations like this, but when you pay for a 5 star hotel, you expect a 5 star experience.
So, I did what any other blogger in my situation would do. I took to Twitter. Oy, that was a HUGE mistake. As soon as Marriot corporate got wind of our displeasure, we were bombarded. Managers started calling our room just to check on us and see what they could do. The head of recreation took over the fitness classes and came to get me every day for the water aerobics (so awkward). I had complained that we were disappointed by the sad, Americanized kids menu at every restaurant (hot dog, chicken fingers, etc.). This led to Max receiving a plate of tuna tartare (his favorite) at every dinner (hand delivered from the one restaurant that served it on the other side of the resort). I can now kind of sympathize with celebrities who try to live a low-key life. It's impossible! Everywhere we went, we were greeted with, "The Wileys! How are you? Do you need anything?"
So... that's part one of our strange story. Part two is even stranger. Stay tuned. :-)