Carolina: Cruising Past 70: An Unexpected Stay at El Cid's Brand New Ventus on Riviera Maya

Thursday, January 25, 2018

An Unexpected Stay at El Cid's Brand New Ventus on Riviera Maya

at the infinity pool of Ventus

During our stay at El Cid’s La Ceiba Resort Cozumel, we upgraded our timeshare ownership to all-inclusive stays at all resorts. This will make Mexico our second home during winter when it gets a bit cold in Phoenix, for about three months, inclusive of food and drinks. We have the choice of western Mexico in Mazatlan where the Vacation Club has three resorts (La Marina, El Morro, and La Granada) or in the east on the Yucatan Peninsula along the Riviera Maya, Mexico’s Carribean coastline, where the Club has two (La Marina and Ventus), near Cancun, aside from Cozumel.

Ultramar Ferry

We were gifted with the chance to sample the lifestyle we had just bought into through a complimentary short stay at Ventus which opened just a month ago. We left La Ceiba and boarded the Ultramar ferry at the terminal across the main Plaza in downtown San Miguel. The ferry is in our favorite colors blue and yellow. We were surprised that the ferry’s interior is so modern. The trip took thirty-five minutes but we lingered a while in Playa del Carmen, where the ferry terminal is located on the peninsula. It is a town of 150,000 just an hour from Cancun and the airport.

Portal Maya

Just like all the beaches of the Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen’s are also all white and palm-tree lined. Right on the plaza beside the terminal stands Portal Maya, the city’s iconic archway. It depicts a man and a woman joining hands at the top having been pushed up by wind and waves. The main columns include elements from Mexico's Mayan past and today's culture intermingling. Over 50 feet high and 50 feet wide, Portal Maya is made of bronze.  Just after this plaza is a chapel and shopping strip of great American brands, Tommy Hilfiger, Old Navy, etc. But, even if we wanted to, we couldn’t explore the town because we were lugging around two suitcases and a fully loaded backpack.

at the downtown plaza, Puerto Morelos

Quickly, we negotiated for a taxi to take us to Ventus for $30, down from $60. Actually, La Marina and Ventus sit side by side in the little town of Puerto Morelos, population 10,000, just twenty minutes from Cancun and the airport, on the Riviera Maya. From the main highway, the taxi took a right to the town and then, before reaching downtown, took another right to a winding road to the grand entrance of Ventus. It was a sight to behold. We were checked in via the Platinum Lounge, complete with a bar, a counter full of goodies, and a movie on the screen. Marcial, our personal butler, led us to our room. 

the studio

It may be just a studio but it is double the size of a standard hotel room, with a grand Jacuzzi in the middle, a full bath suite before it and a King-size bed after it. Beyond the bed is the living area where a Murphy bed can host another couple. Outside is a balcony that looks out to the network of pools and activity area that is at the center of all the white buildings designed so that each room has a view of the Caribbean Sea. After this area is the adults-only section with outdoor massage beds, an infinity pool, two giant hot tubs, and the exclusive beach with huts, gazebos, boats, and lookout points.

the view
the cold plunge at the spa in La Marina

This design is repeated at La Marina, older but with beautiful gardens all around, where we also spent many hours, especially since the Tennis Court was there on the top floor of the main building. But it is the Spa/Fitness Complex that enthralled us. Anyone would not mind spending hours at the gym which faced the beautiful ocean. It was just disappointing that there are separate sections for men and women in the Spa. Bill and I could not enjoy the indoor Jacuzzi, the cold plunge, the red-hot sauna, the steam room, and the massage chairs together. Yet, it really did feel so good to be so pampered in style.

The coup de gras is the food and drinks. This is what makes the all-inclusive lifestyle a hit among
many people and one we dreamed of having. There are six fine dining restaurants (La Marina Seafood Restaurant, L’ils de France, Trattoria de Gulio, Hacienda Accefiera, the Gourmet Alcatraz, and the Alhambra Main Restaurant where one had to make reservations and men have to wear long pants. More casual dining can be had at a multi-cuisine buffet food court called the Mercado de Dolores. There are many bars all around two of which featured bands at night. But the really expensive drinks are served at the Platinum Lounge.

at the Trattoria de Gulio

Yes, we dreamed of this lifestyle and now we have it in our second home for three months a year. Our first home is at Viewpoint which is resort living in itself with all the amenities. But I still have to cook and Bill has to serve drinks to himself. And we have to launder our clothes, clean the house, and tend to the garden. With the new lifestyle, we step it up a notch. We can have breakfast served in bed, any meal actually, even bottles of wine. In fact, a part of the Riviera Maya is reserved exclusively for Platinum Club members. Our dream is now a reality for Bill,73, and me, 69.

the La Marina Gardens