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Riu Republica – Punta Cana, DR

Riu Republica is self-described as…. “Located on a heavenly beach, the Hotel Riu Republica – Adults Only is your perfect option for enjoying an unforgettable holiday in Punta Cana. This adults-only hotel on the Arena Gorda beach has free WiFi, a varied gastronomic offer and the best 24-hour All-Inclusive service.”  So, how does it stack up?  Keep reading to find out.

Arrival – PUJ Airport

First, before you can get to Riu Republica, you have to get there from the airport.  The airport at Punta Cana doesn’t have walls or A/C so dress appropriately, because it’s hot.  Our trip through customs was no less than 2 full hours, though we’ve heard of some people getting through faster during odd times.  Our arrival was mid-day.  So, expect long wait times in lines.  There are reports of having to pay a $10 fee to enter the country and $20 to leave, but that was done away with this year and the fees are included in your flight going forward.

Transfer to Riu

Our first recommendation is to get a private transfer to the resort.  We opted for a shared shuttle and very much regretted it.  Riu Republica is the 2nd further resort from the airport, with the Hard Rock being the only one further, so you will be the last stop.  Our shuttle “tour” took just over an hour to get to the hotel.

Check-In

Checking in at Riu was fairly painless, minus a bit of a wait.  Again, the check-in area is an open building without walls, so dress appropriately.  Rooms are already determined before you get there, so there isn’t much of a chance of changing your room unless you’re willing to wait a bit longer.  The RIU is sectioned into two distinct areas, commonly referred to as the “old” section and the “new” section.  Don’t let this fool you as the difference in their age is less than a year.  The newer section is further from the water and where most of the partying takes place.  It’s also where the water slides are.  The older section is regarded as the quiet section and closer to the beach.

Continuing with the check-in, once you’re given your document indicating your room number and wifi information, you’re on your own.  You can find a bell boy to help with the bags, but the help ends there.  Finding your room is up to you, so make sure you get specific directions before leaving.  There are more than 1,300 rooms at this resort, and while the layout is simple, it’s easy to get lost finding your room.  We found our room to be in the old/party section facing outwards towards Hard Rock/swamps on the first floor.  My first thought was that we had one of the worst rooms possible, but that attitude changed over time, which I’ll explain why later.

The Room

There are only three room types at Riu Republica, the base room, which is either facing outwards or towards the center of the resort, the Ocean View, which is the same room but faces the beach (even though it’s still 100 yards away) and the Suite, which is truly the only room upgrade you can get.  For $36/day you can upgrade to an Ocean View, or $100/day for a suite.  The rooms are basic as best with the only notable feature being the liquor bar included.  With all the bars around though we never even used the liquor.  They will only refill these bottles every other day and they only fill them half way, so don’t count on them being your only source of liquor.

The rooms have all the basic necessities, including a hair dryer, safe, 20 or so hangers in the closet and even a ceiling fan.  The Shower has an opaque window that lets whoever is in the room somewhat make out who’s in the shower.  Note, the toilet paper is akin to a very thin card board.  If you have a sensitive bum, you may want to bring some of your own.  There is also only one power outlet in the room and two in the bathroom, so bring a splitter if you want to be able to charge up more than one item at a time.  The power is 110v, US adapter style.

TIP: In order for the electricity to work in the room, you have to put a room key in a special slot.  If you want it to work after you leave the room, you have to keep it in there.  Bring a spare card that you can leave behind and you can keep your devices charging while gone.

The Food

The food at the Riu Republica left a lot to be desired, at least for us, based on our previous experience.  Get ready for a lot of buffets.  There is a buffet in both sections of the hotel with the one in the older section being twice as large as the newer one.  The food is the same, so it doesn’t really matter which one you eat at.  This is your only option for breakfast and lunch and the hours are limited.  When we originally arrived at the hotel, lunch was just finishing up so we were unable to eat for another 3 hours at dinner time.  There are a couple other small options so let’s get into those.

Jerk Chicken Stand – By the beach is a small stand that you can get jerk chicken from.  It’s open most of the day, but they only really have chicken, burgers and hot dogs.  The chicken is really good though and they will wrap it up for you to take back to your room

TIP: Bring Tupperware with you to fill with extra food.  It will come in handy when the restaurants are closed.

The Sports Bar – This place is open 24/7 and has some limited food options.  They have a very of a hot dog that I don’t recommend.  They’re very rubbery and hard to eat.  They also have cold burgers and sandwiches that can be heated up.  The last item available here is chips and queso, though 4 out of 5 times we tried to get some, the queso was all over the place and there was actually none left.  This area was never clean or even close to it.

Room Service – Nope, there is none.  This is a huge disappointment and I don’t believe any hotel/resort should be allowed to claim that they’re 5 stars without offering room service.

Dinner – Dinner is served from 6:30 – 9:00, and you have your choice of 7 restaurants in addition to the buffets.  Get there early to eat without issues.  They don’t have that much seating and if they’re full, you’ll be put on a waiting list and given a pager.  Most of the time, wait times were around 30 minutes, minus the steak house which was much worse.  These are all optional, but worth trying if you want something other than the usual buffet.

  • Asian restaurant (buffet)
  • Italian restaurant (buffet)
  • Two “Kulinarium” restaurants (à la carte)
  • Indian restaurant (buffet)
  • Spanish restaurant (à la carte, buffet starters and dessert)
  • Steakhouse (à la carte) – Get here before 6:30 if you want a seat.  Otherwise, wait times can be up to 2 hours or you simply won’t get in.
  • Romantic open air dinner (reservations required, additional charge) – Dinner on the beach.  $150 USD.

The bars

All bars at the Riu Republica have the same options providing you with a basic white and red wine, standard liquors (no top shelf) and a bubbly white that they call champagne (only 7%).  One of the local favorites is Mamajuana, which is often referred to as the “baby maker”.  Be careful with this drink and take it easy, it is very potent.  Fortunately, you’re never too far from a bar with pool bars, a sports bar, lobby bar and even a hidden one on the north side of the beach.  This bar, Coco’s, was our favorite as there was never a wait here, and it was on the beach.  Most people never even know this bar exists and we heard from people over and over again that they didn’t realize it was there until their last day.

Another secret that most people don’t realize is that on the north side of the resort there is a small road that connects the “new” side of the resort with the beach.  During the day, there is a 10 person golf cart that goes back and forth saving you from a 10 minute walk.  Here’s where our room location came in very handy.  The stop for the transfer was right outside of our room and we utilized this multiple times a day.  We got to be where all the action was in the back half, but could get to the beach faster than even the closest rooms on the old side.  Even better, the stop by the beach stops at Coco’s bar!

Entertainment

Ok, so the entertainment is pretty tough.  If you want to party hard, spring break style, then there is plenty of entertainment for you including foam parties, twerking contests, sliding on the marble bar and the beach party.  The other side of the entertainment, mainly the shows that are put on are half as good as what you could expect from a cruise ship.  The show time for us was really a time to relax, catch up on rest and talk to friends.

The pools

There are a lot of pools at the Riu Republica.  3 of them have swim up bars and all the pools range from quiet to party central.  There is literally a pool for everyone, except kids of course.  No matter how you’re feeling you can find the right pool and enjoy it.  There never seems to be an issue finding chairs or people to meet either.

The Beach

Let’s be honest, this is why you want to go to Punta Cana.  The beach is beautiful, the sand white, the water clear blue.  Riu Republica takes great care of the beach in front of the resort and it shows.  The amount of beach isn’t quite a much as you’d hope for with a resort this size, but they make up for it by building a huge berm 100 feet back from the water.  You can be out in the full sun, under shade, or under palm trees, it’s your choice.

The second night we were there, seaweed washed up from the sea.  I had walked out early in the morning to find huge holes being dug by the workers every 20 feet or so.  They took all the seaweed, buried it and filled the holes before the crowds arrived.  I don’t see any way this beach will be washing away anytime soon as a result.  There are a lot of people crammed in to such a small area, but you can walk for a mile in either direction as the beach just goes on and on.  To the north there is only one other resort, then the beach is empty.  If you want to be alone, it’s no further than a 15 minute walk.

Other things to note

There is a gym and outdoor exercise area, though we didn’t partake.  The same goes for a spa, including massages on the beach, though Riu claims it is run by a third-party company and they can’t give much information about it.  We saw plenty of people in the gym, but the spa seemed oddly empty at all times.

The best part of Riu Republica were the people we met and friends we made.  You could be off to yourselves and never talk to another person, or you could go home with 50 new friends.  Making friends isn’t tough as everyone was very nice and finding like minded people is really easy.  Overall, we believe Riu Republica is a 3-3.5 star resort.  Reviews of this resort are all over the place and we can see why.  This could be exactly the place you’re looking for, or exactly the opposite.  Hopefully we’ve given you enough information to figure out that decision for yourself though.  If you wish to know more, feel free to contact us or leave a comment below.  More pictures and video are posted on our Instagram feed as well.

As always you can find more pictures over on our feed in Instagram.  Follow us to get all of our updates.

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Miami Beach – Ocean Surf Hotel

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It’s that time of year again.  The sun is shining, the water is warm and the beaches are crowded.  This winter seems to never want to end, so our only option is to head to a warmer place and enjoy the sun there.   Miami beach is a popular destination as it’s easy to get to, but can sometimes be costly to actually stay there.  Luckily there are other options such as the Ocean Surf Hotel on the northern side of Miami Beach.  This hotel has fairly poor reviews on most of the web, but they’ve been working hard to change that.  The hotel has recently undergone a complete renovation, updating all of their rooms.  This isn’t a mega resort and doesn’t even have a pool, but who really needs a pool when the beach is 100 feet away?

Versace, Versace..

If this hotel looks familiar, it is probably because you’ve watch the tv series “The Assassination of Gianni Versace”.  This show was shot partially in front of the hotel and on the beach there to recreate what happened as accurately as possible.  During our stay, people would occasionally stop in front of the hotel just to get pictures as a result.

The Penthouse

The rooms at Ocean Surf include your basic single/double room, 4 balcony rooms and one penthouse suite.  For the sake of our review, we will be reviewing this based on the Penthouse suite, as that’s where we stayed.  If available, I highly recommend the penthouse.  This room has been recently renovated as the pictures on their own website don’t reflect the changes.  Our attempt to check in early was denied because they were just finishing up the renovations, so we were either the first ones or one of the first ones to stay there after the changes.  This isn’t a 5 star suite that you may be thinking of, but it is very large, includes a mini fridge, table and chairs for eating, couch, king bed and plenty of space.  You have the entire 4th floor to yourself, which is pretty cool, and you have a nice balcony with a great view of the beach and surrounding areas.  You can actually watch the sun rise and set from the same balcony as there is nothing to block your view.  The lower balcony rooms will still have a great view of the sunrise, but not the sunset.

Getting around/Parking

Most of what you could ever need is within walking distance.  On the same block includes a couple convenience stores, CVS, Walgreen’s, a vegan bakery (a must), a boutique, and a few other places to eat.  If you do have a vehicle, you don’t have to worry about the crazy $35/day fee to park it as there are numerous parking spots on the street and in the parking lot next to the hotel that only cost $1/hour for ten hours/day.  So the most you could have to pay is $10/day.  Overnight, parking is free, so if you’re done during the day you may never have to pay to park.  We found that they weren’t too serious about ticketing for parking as we’d wake up an hour or so after paid parking started and wouldn’t pay until then.  You can use an app on your phone to manage your parking.

The Beach

All you have to do is cross the street.  In addition to that, the hotel will give you beach chairs and towels free of charge.  Everything you need to relax and enjoy the day are at your finger tips.  The beach in front of the hotel is similar to the rest of Miami Beach.  But, it isn’t nearly as crazy or packed as south beach.  This is more of a great place to go and relax.

Everything Else

There was little to complain about except that the hotel doesn’t have an ice machine (though you can get ice next door) and the rooms didn’t have a coffee maker.  There’s nothing worse then not having that first cup of coffee in the morning and we feel that including those in the rooms would be a great addition.

Miami isn’t the most affordable place to stay, especially on the beach.  So, if you’re looking for a place to stay with some history, that’s affordable and convenient, the Ocean Surf hotel is definitely worth a look.

As always you can find more pictures over on our feed in Instagram.  Follow us to get all of our updates.

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La Torretta Lake Resort and Spa

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Sometimes finding a great resort doesn’t mean having to leave the country. Amanda and I have taken a break a couple of times to skip on over to Lake Conroe to stay at La Torretta Lake Resort and Spa. While the overall stay is generally positive there are some things that you need to understand if you do choose to stay here.

Let’s start off with the good though. The rooms at La Torretta are well appointed with plenty of space and luxuries. If opting for a lake view suite, you’ll be put on the 7th floor or higher as the lower floors have their view blocked. They also have cabins for around the same price that offer a quieter and more private setting should you choose. We have stay in both and they both have their own benefits.

Parking at La Torretta is by valet or by driving around back to another lot and a decent walk back. Valet is $12 or $18 overnight, but you can park for free. Just realize that when you park yourself, you’ll have a 10 minute walk back to the hotel. Also, if staying in the cabins on the golf course, you will be making this walk often.

The spa is very luxurious, but pricey. We did a couples massage and enjoyed it, but there was nothing too special about it. Prices overall at the resort are on the high end because there isn’t much competition for them, but if you look around well, you can often find prices for a third of their normal rates proving just how much they mark it up.

The highlight of La Torretta is their pools. A kid pool, a lazy river, another pool with slides and yet another pool for everyone to enjoy. On top of that there is an area that is adult’s only with another pool and hot tub, supposedly. Here’s an area where you can expect to be disappointed. When we came to the pool there were no less than a dozen kids under the age of 10 playing and splashing in the adult pool. I asked an employee what was going on and she said they’d make them leave if we put in an official complaint. So, it was up to us to be the bad guy in order to use an amenity that we were excited about having. As you know we tend to stay at adults-only places and having an adult’s only pool means we can listen to music that may not be appropriate for kids, relax and enjoy the pool without kids running around, screaming and splashing us. As we sat there and stewed, I finally called the front desk and was assured that they would take care of the problems. Two hours passed before anything was done. To make matters worse, the waitresses never came around after that to take orders or serve us. We had to walk to the other side of the water park area just to order a drink.

Some other issues to be aware of include the fact that they have far too few elevators for their size. Expect to wait 5 minutes or more for an elevator. Also, the room keys weren’t working one night and they were having to send someone around to let people in their rooms.

La Torretta has been around a while and is showing it’s age unfortunately. Their lack of concern for their guests is disturbing and needs to be attended to before we can recommend staying there. It’s rare for us to be negative about somewhere to travel to, but our stay at La Torretta is not what we had expected or hoped for.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. And don’t forget to follow Otus on Instagram for more pictures and videos of our adventures.


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Pirate Adventures at the Texas Ren Fest

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We had the opportunity to visit the Renaissance Festival in Texas this last weekend.  This is the 43rd year they’ve been doing this and it is considered to be the largest one in the US.  Each weekend is a different theme and there is lots to do for everyone.  The theme for the weekend was Pirate Adventures, though we aren’t quite fully in character.  Amanda was a Snow Queen, wishing it was much cooler than the 90 degrees we had to endure.  I just didn’t want to wear a shirt, so I threw on a piece a leather and called it a day.

This is a must do event that spans 10 weekends in the fall about an hour northwest of Houston.  In addition to the faire, you can camp out for the weekend, but beware, the activities going on late at night are no place for kids to be.  If you do decide to bring kids, keep them in your camp area at night.  No matter what, you’ll meet the nicest people and forget that you live in the 21st century for at least a little while.  I’d say that about 50% of the people there are dressed up and the costumes are some of the most amazing ones we’ve ever seen.  People really get into this and go all out.

On the camp grounds there is also a large building used each Saturday night for an “After Dark” party.  This weekend the theme was Burlesque.  Entertainment inside included different types of dance, and burlesque shows.  There is also a room for karaoke and a VIP lounge for those who decide to pay a little extra for the included appetizers.  This was our first time going to After Dark and it was amazing.  First, it was a nice break from the weekend heat as the place was cooled down very nice.  But we met a lot of really nice people, were entertained and had an excuse to dress up again, always a plus for us!

If you ever get a chance, go check out the Faire.  You can find more information on their site at: https://www.texrenfest.com/ and as always you can find more pictures over on our feed in Instagram.  Follow us and get all our updates.

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Grand Oasis Sens

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Update (May, 2019). The Grand Oasis Sens has been sold off and will now be a family friendly resort. We will keep this review up for archive purposes, but much of it may no longer be true. We will not be visiting the new resort, as we are focused on only staying at kid-free places.

Cancun, Mexico… This place is starting to feel like home to Amanda and myself.  We’ve now been here three times and know the routine pretty well, so there’s very little acclimation time for us.  There is something to be said for a place if we are going to be repeat visitors.  When we travel, we prefer to avoid anywhere that has kids running around and we rarely go to the same place twice, let alone three times.  In Cancun, there are numerous “adults-only” resorts, but the Grand Oasis Sens checks off all of our requirements for a great stay and is affordable.  This is an all-inclusive resort, so outside of anything above and beyond, you can stay here without spending a peso.

The water in Cancun is among the clearest and most beautiful we’ve experienced to date.  It seems like every time we go back it gets even better somehow.  Cancun itself has so many activities suited for adults, between their clubs, water sports, cruises, etc you’ll never be without something to do, unless all you want it to relax at your resort.  We could sit by the ocean day after day and never have a reason to complain.

Notice: Before I get started, let me address the situation about safety in Cancun.  We have talked to numerous people who are scared to go there citing this or that related to violence in the news.  Cancun is not an inherently dangerous place.  The majority of violence in Mexico is gang related and isn’t affecting tourists.  As always, don’t do anything stupid or be in places you shouldn’t be and you won’t have an issue.  We have traveled all over the city and even outside of it and have never felt unsafe at all.  Fortunately, because the news is being blown our of proportion, there are more vacancies than normal in the area and resorts are doing everything they can to fill rooms.  So, enjoy the savings and have a safe and great trip.  Back to the review….

The Check-In

This is the one area that can be frustrating at Sens, especially if it’s your first time.  At times you wonder why they haven’t updated their systems to be a little bit more organized, and while frustrating if you don’t understand it, their system still works.  At the Grand Oasis Sens, they have three categories of room types, Grand, Grand Plus and Sian Ka’an.  You’ll be given an bracelet to wear during your stay that indicates your level of stay with the Sian Ka’an affording you an upgraded band.  Note though that you can upgrade your band without upgrading your room.  This usually cost around $26/day/person and for us was well worth it (we’ve done it all three times).  Some of the benefits that come with upgraded bands are top shelf liquor and champagne, access to a VIP lounge with snacks and drinks, access to the beach beds in the Sian Ka’an beach club, the use of their Smart Cars for free + insurance, and a free dinner at Benazuza, the top restaurant in all of Cancun (normally around $50/person) and free room service.  The Grand Oasis Sens promotes itself as the only LGBT friendly resort in Cancun, though to us it didn’t seem any different than any other resort, and if it did, it wouldn’t have mattered.

Prior to our check-in we’ve always had some questions ahead of time.  Contacting the resort was easiest to do by email and were surprise by the quick and thorough responses we got from Valentina Biegun.  She helped put any concerns we had ahead of time at ease.

The Rooms and View

The Sian Ka’an will guarantee an ocean view and a deck outfitted with a plunge pool.  The Grand and Grand Plus are similar sized rooms, but with the Plus category, you will be sure of an ocean view and possibly a porch.  In our three trips, we’ve always booked a Grand room, but have been lucky to be upgraded depending on availability.  Our first trip put us into an Ocean View room with deck.  Our second trip, a Lagoon View Room and our latest trip, an Ocean Front room with balcony.   We can’t complain about any of the rooms, though the Ocean Front room had an A/C unit that was having trouble keeping up with the Sun that beamed in the room most of the day.

The Beach & Pools

There are two main pools at the Grand Oasis Sens.  The main pool by the beach is a multi-level pool with multiple swimming areas.  In the main area there is a bar so you don’t even have to get out of the water to get a refill on your drinks.  The pool on the Lagoon side is normally the quiet pool, except when they have parties going on.  Next to that pool is also an area with half a dozen hot tubs, that most people never even realize exist.  The hottubs are often empty, needing to be filled like any normal bathtub.  Don’t worry if they are, just turn them on and let them fill up.  All pools are topless optional and you may end up seeing some women topless, but it’s actually pretty rare (this isn’t the Playboy mansion).  If this is something that will upset you, then this isn’t the place for you to go.  Then again, women often go topless just about anywhere in Cancun on the beach, so you may want to check out another location all together.

The beach at GOS is the amazingly beautiful white sand and blue water beach you can expect to see in Cancun.  As with most places there though, you may be bothered by all of the vendors that continue to try to sell you their “unique” (to them and a thousand other vendors) goods.  Here’s an area where it really pays to do the VIP upgrade at the resort.  On the south side of the beach is a roped off area with beach beds, mostly covered, but a few that aren’t.  These are only for VIP and must be reserved in advanced for the mornings.  After noon, any VIP person can use them.  Since it’s roped off, the vendors can’t come and bother you either.  On top of that, there’s also full service drinks and food after noon.  The food here can only be gotten here and is amazing.  If you are on the other part of the beach, you will have to get up and go for walk for a refill on your drinks.  This is yet another reason why we highly recommend the VIP upgrade.

Down in the Sian Kaan beach area, Bodereck and Lizette were always attentive and ready to take care of us.  Make sure you take good care of them.

Tip: While it’s not required to tip at this resort, we highly recommend you take care of the people who take care of you.  There is a noticeable difference in how well they take care of you when you’re generous to them.  It doesn’t take much, but your stay will be better overall if you do.

The Food

The food at the Grand Oasis Sens is hands down the best we’ve had at any resort.  This isn’t your standard all-inclusive buffet, though they do have one of those as well.  Their buffet is the main place you can go without worrying about a reservation, though we don’t recommend it.  By our third trip we didn’t even need to eat there once.  The other options fall into two categories.  First, they have three restaurants that require reservations in advance.  These include the Black Hole, Benazuza and Sakura Sunset.  In order to get a reservation, make sure you’re up early and at the reservation table before 8:00am in the lobby.  Depending on how booked the resort is, they’ll only let you get a reservation a day or a few days ahead of time.  Space is very limited at these restaurants, but you don’t want to miss eating at any of them.  The next level require reservations, but you can’t get them until the same day and just a couple hours before they open.  You have to show up at the restaurant ahead of time to get on the list.  They include, The Box, Schillibar and Makitaco.  These are all great places to eat as well.   For those who just want to wander in to any place, you’re left with Coba, the buffet, Moonlight Trattoria and Pizza and Muerdeme Mucho.  We’ve eaten at every place and multiple times, so here’s our take on them.

Black Hole:  This isn’t to be missed, but you have to be brave as well.  You’re asked to wear all black and when you go in it’s more of a show than just dinner.  They only have two sets of seating times with a limit of 16 people each time.  You’ll eat your meal in the dark with nothing more than a black light to illuminate the waiters white gloves.  Don’t be too scared though because the food isn’t always what you expect.

Benazuza: This place is constantly winning awards and is considered to be one of, if not the best, place to eat in Cancun.  You’ll experience a 20 course meal that is top notch.  Dress nice and enjoy, it’s definitely worth it.  If you have an upgraded band, you can eat here once/week for free.  Otherwise it will cost around $50/each.

Schillibar: Another great restaurant that’s considered a must eat at.  Located at the back pool area.  Make sure you get here early in the afternoon to get a reservation.

Makitaco: We loved eating here as well.  This is a smaller Mexican Japanese fusion restaurant.

Muerdeme Mucho: Straight up Mexican food and some of the best!

Moonlight Trattoria and Pizza: Italian food, pizza, and no reservations needed.  Great food and service as always.

Coba: Your standard all-inclusive buffet.  There isn’t much that stands out here, bu there isn’t much that is missing as well.  For those roll out of bed and need something quick to eat, this fits the bill perfectly.

Sakura Sunset: Great seafood in the best spot of Cancun for watching the sunset.  Make sure you get a reservation just prior to sunset to enjoy a truly amazing experience.

The Box: Another great place to eat.  Portions are small, but you get a few.  They’re also open late at night with snacks for when you’re finally done dancing away at the Kinky Club.

Coffee & Me: This is your own Starbucks in the hotel without the price.  If you’re a coffee drinker, you’ll get to know this place very well.  Located just behind the VIP bar on the way to the back pool.

Siankaan: The VIP bar.  There is usually a concierge here, who’ll you need to make reservations for the beach beds if you want one.  Full service bar with premium liquors and snacks are usually available as well.

The Kinky Club

Most nights of the week, the Kinky Club is the only thing open after 10pm.  If you like to stay up late and have fun, you’ll most likely find yourself here at least once.  On different nights they have different shows that are a lot of fun to watch.  After the show, the club turns into a normal night club with a DJ, dancing and drinks.

Pirates Ahoy!

One activity that’s completely free of charge that you shouldn’t miss is the Pirate Cruise.  Every Thursday night at 10:00pm they bring in a few buses and take everyone over to the Pirate Ship at one of their other resorts.  Room on the ship is limited, so make sure you get signed up on their list at the same concierge that does the dinner reservations.

Once aboard the ship, it will set sail out into the Lagoon (smooth water, so you won’t get sea sick) and a short show is followed by lots of music, dancing and free drinks.  We have done this twice now and both times were a ton of fun.  This was actually the easiest place to make friends and meet new people because there are so many people in such a small place.  On this night, the Kinky Club won’t be open as their entertainers will all be on the boat.

Everything Else

We have very little negative to say about the Grand Oasis Sens.  In addition to all of the amenities that are offered here, you can visit any of the other Oasis hotels in Cancun and Tulum including The PyramidGrand OasisOasis Cancun LiteGrand Oasis PalmSmart Cancun OasisOh! the Urban Oasis and Grand Oasis Tulum.  The resort will arrange a transfer for you between resorts.

Amanda and I actually took advantage of the free Smart Car at the resort and drove down to Tulum.  Along the way we stop by some of the Cenotes and have a detailed write up of that stop, here .  We also took some time at the Ruins of Tulum and when we were done, stopped by the Grand Oasis Tulum to relax and check out the resort.  Unfortunately, we only stayed there for a couple of hours, so we can’t give you a full review of the resort.  The Grand Oasis Tulum was a beautiful resort, with a beautiful beach, but didn’t seem to have the activity and life that Sens has.  The Sens is a great resort if you’re looking for some activity during your stay, while the Grand Oasis Tulum seems to be more oriented towards relaxation (oh, and they have kids there too).

Make sure you get a copy of the weekly activities as well.  They have pool parties almost daily, including a foam party that you don’t want to miss, night parties, and other entertainment.  There is always something fun and adventures to do at the Grand Oasis Sens.

As always, if you have any questions about the Grand Oasis Sens, drop us a line or leave a comment below.  We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have and even help you get booked for your stay there.  You can see more pictures and video of our stays here on our instagram feed.

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Yachtcations Review

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Time for a quick review because Amanda and I had a chance to experience an amazing time on the water this weekend and want to share this amazing company with you.  A bunch of friends pitched in to do a Yachtcations baby shower!  Yachtcations is a private yacht/catamaran that’s available to rent out for the day or even a customized adventure.  They’ll take you anywhere you want to go provided they can get you there by sea.

For us, this was a chance to get out on the water, one of our favorite things to do, see Kemah, TX from the water and spend time with good company.  Chris, the US Coast Guard licensed captain, and owner of Yachtcations welcomed us aboard and was every bit welcoming that you could hope for.  This trip couldn’t have gone any smoother.  All we had to do is show up and enjoy our time.

For those of you who are worried about getting sick at sea, this is a very large and stable boat.  The hulls of the boat also include a couple of room and bathrooms, so you aren’t exactly leaving behind the luxuries of home.  Overall, this was the most fun we’ve ever had at a baby shower and highly recommend using Yachtcations if you ever have a chance.