I decided kinda last minute to go to Cancun for the weekend last weekend. I was miserably pale and — although I’m not a beach person — I really just wanted to be by the water. Being a Starwood member, I could have gone to the Westin for free with all my points, but I was sucked in by this idea of an all-inclusive resort and the #1 place on TripAdvisor. So I booked Le Blanc in CANCUN of all places. (Cancun being terribly touristy.) Sadly, there are only two places in the Caribbean you can get to via a direct commercial flight from Chicago in August — Cancun and Puerto Rico. (There are plenty of charter flights from Chicago, but I’ve heard too many horror stories.)
My initial 24 hours at Le Blanc were like a comedy of errors. Firstly, everyone on TripAdvisor talks about the Le Blanc Cadillac Escalade that picks you up at the airport. I just assumed this is what I had, but ended up in one of those terrible airport vans that drops people off at umpteen different hotels before you get to yours. For the record…I don’t do airport vans.
Upon arrival at the hotel, a member of staff greeted me with a cool glass of coconut milk…a very nice touch. Only problem? He had two. And wanted to know where my husband was. Then, upon check-in, the woman at the desk couldn’t tell if I had paid or not. At one point, she handed me a receipt that said twice the amount that I owed. Umm…I think there’s been a mistake. So she had to undo everything and we basically agreed I would pay any balance when I left because she wasn’t sure if they had already charged my card or not. This shouldn’t happen at what’s supposed to be a five star resort.
I sit on the oddly short King Size bed and exhale. Trying to relax.
I order room service. Gazpacho and ceviche. A gentleman arrives with my tray. He wants to know where my husband is. My fiance? No friends with me? No one? Really?
Yes, I took myself on vacation. For 2.5 days.
The view from my room was of the lagoon and front pool. And the parking lot and major thoroughfare. At night, I drifted off to sleep to the sound of tourist buses traversing Cancun. When I wasn’t listening to the people on both sides of me knocking boots, that is. (And the wall. It’s the headboard knocking against the wall that drives me insane.)
And sadly for this here Web site, around 6 pm each evening, the complimentary wifi would drag to a complete stop as people returned to their iPads to download movies for the evening. (The resort has in-room DVD players, but didn’t seem to have the ability to rent movies directly from the television.) My dreams of catching up on writing umpteen blog posts? Foiled.
Did I mention this all cost me $575 a night? Sigh.
Things started looking up on Day 2. The pool on the Caribbean was truly lovely. And the service was much better than the pool out front, where I was ignored for an entire hour before finally giving up and going inside. (Note that Le Blanc was pretty empty…August in the Caribbean. So being ignored was pretty painful, considering they had only two other people to wait on out front besides for me.)
The spa helped the resort redeem itself. This is where Le Blanc truly shines. The sauna, steam room, and baths are very well-done. And the 80 minute massage I had was awesome. (And $150 of the $180 cost was included in the price of my stay. Le Blanc gives you resort credits to spend, depending on the length of your booking.)
The gym was also pretty fantastic. Although I think I was one of only three people who used it while I was there. I’m the only person I know who goes on vacation to have time for exercise, apparently.
The breakfast buffet was also good. No one could complain about the selection or availability of any of their favorite foods. That being said, the room service menu had an odd lack of Mexican items on it. To the point where on my second evening, I had to call down and ask them to bring me something — anything — Mexican because I couldn’t find anything on the menu. The chicken tacos they sent up were awesome. Perhaps one of the best things I’ve eaten all year.
I’m writing this as my stay at Le Blanc comes to a close. They haven’t replaced my towels during my stay, despite the fact I left them balled up in a wet knot on the floor on both Saturday and Sunday. And this morning, my butler told me he’d come find me at breakfast to confirm my ride back to the airport. He’s a nice man, but it was an hour and forty-five minutes later when he found me at the pool because I gave up waiting at breakfast after about 40 minutes. He wanted me to get out of the pool to sign my receipt. Call me truculent, but I told him he could find me later. I was too busy relaxing. Sigh.
Vacations shouldn’t be this hard.
The Verdict: Meh. I had a better time and was more well-cared for at the Four Seasons…in DAMASCUS. Yes, Syria.