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Looking for a AOAI for November - Suggestions?

South Park...
Level Contributor
26 posts
29 reviews
Looking for a AOAI for November - Suggestions?

BF & I (both 40's) are looking for a fantastic AO/AI resort. We went to Sanctuary Cap Cana in the DR last year and had a great time but are looking for someplace new to try. We met a couple there that highly recommended RPDC but I'm not liking the look of the size of the facility or the crowded nature of the beach. We were considering Jamaica but BF isn't too keen on it especially given the pushy beach vendors. We were also considering Aruba but I'm not big on the hotel like feel to the places there. PDC seems like it may be a good fit as we are looking for a resort with a more boutique (but still fun) vibe (with villas right on beach if possible). Some of our key requirements are:

- great beach for walking (clean, sandy and beautiful) - the most important aspect!

- swim up bar

- fun but not over the top vibe

- laid back atmosphere (not super formal)

- great food

- ocean front room

- water activities & tours available

- safe environment

So do you have any recommendations that would be a good fit for us?

2 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
1,077 posts
17 reviews
1. Re: Looking for a AOAI for November - Suggestions?

Last year I made myself a spreadsheet/chart with most of the AOAIs for the area. Happy to share it, would cut down on a little of your legwork. Message me with an email address if you would like a copy.

As for the two you mention, well, we've been to both Excellence Riviera Cancun (Puerto morelos) and the Valentin (about mins further south.). Both are fabulous. ERC, ocean view rooms available, but you're going to pay extra for it. Valentin, emerald category are ocean front, but not necessarily ocean view. Lot's of foliage between you and the beach and an upper floor is your best chance for a view. We prefer the swimups though. Not sitting in our rooms during the day, and at night, you can't see the ocean anyway.

Both are true AOAI, not towel cards, no dinner reservations required, no limits on ala cartes, no TIMESHARE/Vacation clubs ( a peeve of mine), no wrist bands...Both also have dress codes for dinner, so be aware.

Lots of daytime action at pool, beach and elsewhere, and evening activities also. Not sure about the ERC but the Valentin (VIM) doesn't have a disco type nightclub. At the VIM for evenings, there's the Don Miguels/Piano bar, sports bar , the plaza hosts Imperial band, Dj, other groups. Shows also performed weekly. Twice weekly theme buffet has a Caribbean and a Mexican theme, with a dinner show that goes with it.

ERC is great but is more "formal" (snooty) than I cared for. Valentin has the more jungle feel about the place, better beach and swimming area. I prefer it over the two mainly because of the grounds, staff and the relaxed (still elegant) feel and are returning this Sept. Couple of great FB groups for this resort if you want to get even more input. Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya Travel group or Fans of Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya. Closed groups, ask for a join.

For Jamaica, Excellence just opened a brand spanking new resort, Oyster bay. And I mean JUST this week. It appears to be away from other resorts, so the beach vendors may be absent or few.

South Park...
Level Contributor
26 posts
29 reviews
2. Re: Looking for a AOAI for November - Suggestions?

Thanks! I actually just ended up booking the ERC. After looking at so many it seemed like the only one that really called out to me and felt like what I was looking for. I really wanted a swim up so I went with the ECOV room (don't even know if that is a legit abbreviation but you probably know what I mean!) BF isn't going to be too happy with the pants for dinner thing in most restaurants but he will survive!

Thanks again for all the info!

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