When my girlfriend Audrey invited me as her guest after winning a radio contest for an all-inclusive all-expenses-paid trip for two to the lavish El Dorado Royale resort on Mexico’s Mayan Riviera, I felt like I’d won the jackpot.
Published in GirlsGetaway.com in October 2017
Condé Nast Traveller has named it one of the top 100 hotels in the world — a designation it’s earned thanks to its mile-long smooth-as-silk sandy beach, extensive gourmet offerings, beautifully manicured grounds, impeccable service (the staff-to-guest ratio during our visit was almost 1:1), and thoughtful touches such as hammocks slung on the spacious balconies outside your room.
What’s more, this is a resort truly committed to green initiatives, ranging from a sea turtle conservation program to construction of the world’s longest artificial reef designed to protect marine life. All this meant we could feel even better about settling into the lap of luxury, or, more specifically, settling into the beachside Bali king-size beds — complete with neck pillows and canopied thatched roofs — where we spent several hours reading each afternoon, occasionally looking up from our novels to gaze beyond our pedicured toes into the deep blue Caribbean framed by waving emerald palms.
El Dorado Royale, a 30-minute drive from the Cancun International Airport, is heavily populated by couples — lots of newlyweds (there were six weddings the week we were there) and long-marrieds celebrating significant anniversaries. But the guests included gal pals like us seeking sunshine and downtime, where the biggest decision was which of the 15 restaurants to dine at that evening and just how early in the day it was appropriate to dog paddle up to the swim-up bar for our first cocktail (we agreed 12 noon was perfectly respectable).
If you travel here with a girlfriend, make sure it’s one from your inner circle as there’s nothing but a glass wall separating the spacious suites from the in-room Jacuzzi tubs — so privacy is somewhat limited. Luckily that isn’t an issue for Audrey and me — we’ve known each other almost 15 years, ever since our daughters went to kindergarten together. What’s a little nudity between friends next to the naked worry of raising teenage daughters?