Anatomy of a Dinner Party: a day in the life of a hospitalityaholic

Wish Upon The Stars at The Ritz-Carlton Cancun

Written by Patti on April 22nd, 2011

Good Morning Darlings!

I am so excited to share my trip to The Ritz-Carlton Cancun with you. Here is every single detail.

From my airplane seat, I excitedly view the turquoise waters of the Caribbean. We are finally in Mexico and touching down in paradise. Destination – The Ritz Carlton Cancun.

Driving up to the gated property, we are whisked quickly through check in by our friendly bellmen Miguel and Rigoberto to our oceanfront room. The gift of exotic fruit and flowers is only eclipsed by that view. With water so clear it is hard to believe it is real, we open the french doors to the outside and take a deep breath of the fresh sea air. Any stress from the real world immediately dissipates.

A luscious welcome from our host, Paulina.

Water so blue it's hard to believe it is real.

First order of business is lunch at Caribe Bar & Grill.  We dined oceanside on fresh guacamole with chips and salsa, alongside ceviche and washed down with a chili mango margarita on the rocks. Why such a light lunch? We are scheduled for a 3:00 p.m. cooking class in the culinary center.

After lunch, we meet up with our charming  host, PR Director, Paulina Feltrin, for a tour of the property. We learn the hotel houses 365 rooms – how about staying in a new room every day for a year? This was also the first international property for The Ritz-Carlton franchise, which opened 17 years ago.  The owner’s private art collection graces many spaces in the hotel.

A special feature of the beach is the release of the sea turtles each year from July through November. Each guardian gets his own hatchling to name and release into the Caribbean Sea. What a special event for you to share with your children.

Paulina then escorts us to our Culinary Class with Chef Rory Dunaway. Eric and I choose an apron and enter the glorious cooking center totally outfitted by Viking and overlooking the Caribbean. We are welcomed with a glass of French 75, a cocktail made with gin, lemon juice and champagne. Now sufficiently relaxed, we tackle a menu of supreme indulgence. Our French inspired menu consisted of:

Nicoise Salad
Provencal Herb Crusted Leg of Lamb
With Roasted Vegetables and Natural Jus
Chocolate Souffle with Hazelnut Anglaise

Chef Rory’s humor and patience made for a fabulous afternoon. We were joined by another couple and their granddaughter in the class. Spending the class chopping, stirring and learning new techniques was our idea of an idyllic day. The eating was scrumptious, too.

Welcome to the Culinary Center!

Cooking in a kitchen totally outfitted by Viking was a special treat.

Chef Rory starts the dishes for us.

Veggies ready for chopping.

I could get used to cooking with this view.

Ingredients for the souffle.

Learning how to tie the leg of lamb.

Chef Rory and Eric work on the souffle.

Salad Nicoise

The counter is set with beautiful Mexican tableware.

Plating the lamb with roasted vegetables.

Chef Rory adds the finishing touches.

Enjoying the fruits of our labor.

That wonderful souffle, with the addition of Chilean wine.

Made even better with the hazelnut anglaise.

Paulina and Chef Rory take time for photos.

We all were given a folder of recipes and a gift of Mexican chocolate to take home.

We knew dinner at the beach was in a few hours so we decided to enjoy a soak in the hot tub as the sun was setting. This gave us some time to unwind some more and digest that amazing meal we helped create with Chef Rory.

After toweling off and changing into dinner clothes, we made our way to Casitas, Cancun’s only beach front restaurant. It was something from a dream. A cozy open air cabana was dressed with gauzy curtains, lace tablecloths and a table that was lit from below. The enormous moon that hung in the sky added to the romance.

An evening of romance.

A beautifully set table.

We were doted on by Moises, the happiest person I have ever met and Modesto, who was new to The Ritz-Carlton.

Moises and Modesto

We were not as hungry as we should have been, but Moises told me he had treats in store for us and for us to just enjoy. How can you say no to that?

You can imagine our surprise when he came to the table with this.

An enormous seafood tower for us to share.

Laden with lobster, prawns, tuna tartar, oysters and crab…we were overwhelmed. And so we ate with gusto. Sipping on champagne, indulging in these treasures for the sea, I could not envision a more romantic evening. But there was more. Much more. There was a soulful saxophone player, too.

Eric and I, being serenaded on the beach. In the casita. Eating a seafood tower and sipping bubbly.

When you visit Cancun, you must treat yourself to an evening at Casitas. Seriously. This would be the perfect place to propose, celebrate an anniversary or just fall in love. Or fall in love all over again.

After dinner Moises had set up a double chaise for us to lounge on and enjoy the moon and the stars.  I could have just slept there that night.

Chaise for two.

As Eric and I marveled at the constellations, I noticed from the corner of my eye Moises walking up. A moment later I learned why. He had coyly handed Eric a long stemmed red rose to give to me. I am not kidding – The Ritz-Carlton thinks of everything.

As we lounged, I caught a glimpse of a shooting star. The first I had seen since our visit to The Ritz-Carlton, Reynolds Plantation. But really, what could I possibly wish for that I had not already gotten? I had everything I could wish for. And more.

But we decided to check out the game room. Primarily for the kids, we ducked in for a game of air hockey and a hilarious bounce on the inflated ship. There are also set ups for Wii, Playstation and XBox. Since it was late, we had the place to ourselves.

How many game rooms have chandeliers like this?

We finished up the night at The Lobby Lounge – everyone from children to grandma getting down to the live band playing dance hits. You haven’t lived until you have heard a Lady Gaga song sung  with a Spanish accent. Delightful manager Jorge insisted we try the ceviche from the Lobby sushi bar. Served in darling little spoons, it was most delicious.

Inside The Lobby Lounge

The live band was fantastic.

Jorge explains the ceviche.

Tasty samples for Eric and me.

And then it was time for bed. Even though we had been up very early, we hated for the day to end. But then we returned to our room and remembered…those beds….oh, those beds. And a darling gift of a silver turtle box from Paulina.

A gift of remembrance.

The next morning we awoke to a stunning sunrise and a view of the sea that looks like water from a painting. Impossibly blue and clear.  Eric slept in a bit and I met Paulina for breakfast. The buffet was all encompassing. There was even a Japanese breakfast station. We tucked into our plates and got to spend some real quality time getting to know one another. We both are movie buffs. Paulina had even once been a movie critic. These moments are my favorites. Everyone is a treasure waiting to be discovered. You just need to get to know them. And Paulina is one of the treasures of The Ritz-Carlton Cancun.

A spectacular sunrise.

Everything you can imagine at the breakfast buffet.

Even a harp player!

But my visit was not yet complete. There was still a facial scheduled for me at the spa with Ilyana. My facial was the Nano Technology Facial – state of the art utilizing a high definition nano signal with flowing electrons. It was the most soothing facial I have ever experienced and I was so surprised with how wonderful my skin looked afterwards.

Ilyana in my treatment room before the facial.

I could have stayed a week, if they had let me. But we had reservations in Isla Mujeres for the week. But that’s a story for another day.

You must travel to Cancun and stay at this magnificent property. This year I have been so fortunate to visit no less than five of The Ritz-Carlton Hotels and I hate to play favorites….but this one is so very special. It is not to be missed.

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to The Eagles – Peaceful Easy Feeling


5 Comments so far ↓

  1. Melanie says:

    Wow! How lovely! 🙂

  2. Kelly says:

    I’ve stayed at the property twice & totally agree. It’s my second favorite RC–sencond only to Grand Cayman! Thanks for a well-written trip down memory lane!

  3. Kelly says:

    I’ve stayed at the property twice & totally agree. It’s my second favorite RC–sencond only to Grand Cayman! Thanks for a well-written trip down memory lane!

  4. Krista says:

    Thank you for sharing. We are going for my 40th birthday. I can’t wait

  5. Thomas says:

    I used to work at the Ritz Carlton Cancun. Thats a great place, very good Restaurants with great Food and Service. I can just recommand this place. Have fun at the Ritz.