Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hacienda San Jose

The adventures of Katy and Memo continued last weekend with a trip to Hacienda San Jose, one of five Starwood luxury hotels in Mexico. The idea for the trip came a few months ago when Jenny and I decided we needed to plan the annual birthday trip for our guys. As I’ve mentioned before, Billy and Alex have the same birthday. What a great excuse to celebrate! Just like last year, between crazy schedules and traveling, time got away from us, and here we are over a month past their July birthday and still celebrating. :) 

Upon arrival at the hacienda, you are transported into another time, a time of a working hacienda when the Yucatan was prosperous with “green gold.” The restored, brightly colored buildings with loggias and palm trees abound take your breath away. The grounds of this hacienda were truly impressive.

Greeted with a cold, lavender towel and a specialty drink, “Agua de San Jose,” we checked into our rooms and took a few minutes to get settled. Billy and I opted for the Junior Suite with a plunge pool while Alex and Jenny headed off to their romantic, remote Mayan Villa tucked away in the jungle. The Junior Suite was spacious and well located, close to the onsite restaurant and main pool. Our plunge pool surrounded by greenery had just enough privacy to relax as a couple under the stars or in the morning sun. We had the staff fill it for us complete with candles and flowers which was a nice touch. Our room also had a hammock both inside and outside on our terrace. After almost getting clotheslined a few times in our room, we had to take the inside one down for the evening. :p

The atmosphere of the onsite restaurant was great, set under one of the grand loggias with bright yellow and blue tones surrounding us. It was an open air restaurant but plenty cool with high ceilings and fans. I will say that I was glad that we only stayed for one night, as we ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner there. Everything we ordered was tasty, and the guys really enjoyed their steaks with parmesan risotto. After filling up on regional cuisine, we headed to the pool for a swim.

The pool is gorgeous, but I don’t have to tell you that. Check out the pictures! There were hammocks hanging in the shade if we needed to get out of the sun and a waiter bringing us both virgin and alcoholic beverages to our liking. We passed the evening listening to music and enjoying the beautiful weather. 

The only thing at the hacienda that would be considered as a negative in my book were the creepy crawlers! Jenny and Alex mentioned a few critters trying to join them on their babymoon which was surprising because we had not yet come across any. The sun set, and we saw our first cute little worm outside of our room, no big deal. However, upon returning from dinner I turned the flashlight on my phone on to help Billy unlock the door. As Billy stepped into our room, I screamed. Right at our entrance, up close and personal, was a real life tarantula in his black, hairy glory. Words left me as Billy asked what was wrong. I finally managed to say, “uhhh.. tarantula?!” Needless to say, my sleep that night was complete with nightmares of tarantulas getting me. Now, let me take the drama down a notch and say that this “little” guy was outside of our room, and we never did see any bugs in our room. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case with Jenny and Alex who found two tarantulas in their villa!

Jenny and Alex's visitor
On Sunday we took a stroll around the grounds to explore parts we hadn’t yet visited. We found a second, smaller pool and a nifty room with tree roots growing into it. We also visited the inside of the onsite chapel and saw some photos of the hacienda before it was restored. Overall, Hacienda San Jose exceeded expectations. The staff was very helpful throughout our stay and our bed extra cozy. There was also a spa at the hacienda, but we did not have a chance to check it out. I’d definitely recommend a visit to my expat friends looking for a relaxing weekend away. Hacienda San Jose is a beautiful hotel where history meets luxury.

Hasta Pronto :)

Friday, June 6, 2014

Duplantis Family Does Campeche

I was over the moon excited when my parents and brother planned a trip to come visit us in May. I couldn’t wait to show my brother around for the first time and have Mexico feel even more like home for a few days with my family in town. Not wanting to spend too much time in the car, we all decided a visit to nearby Campeche would be the best use of their time. 

We got to Campeche late on Friday night and stayed once again at our favorite, Socaire hotel. We woke up Saturday morning and headed out to explore the streets of Campeche. I was looking forward to showing them the beautiful cathedral and charming colorful buildings that line the streets. We had fun checking out local shops and posing with the statues along the pedestrian streets.

Once we finished with the city of Campeche, we stumbled upon a car rally set up in a nearby parking lot. I knew that we HAD to stop. Growing up in a car family, I’m constantly in awe at how much my dad and brother know about cars. It was probably their favorite part of the trip :P

When we decided to spend the weekend in Campeche, I was most excited about our plans to visit some of Campeche’s famous forts. Billy and I had not yet seen them, mainly because we could never find them :p. After a few photo ops with the sea front canons, we headed off with the first stop at the Fort of San José. 

The views from the Fort of San José were amazing. We had to drive up the steepest road and pass a giant statue of Benito Juarez before finding the entrance. Unfortunately, the museum of arms, located inside of the fort, was closed for remodeling. We walked around, and possibly on (shh!), the walls taking in the scenery.

The Fort of San Miguel was our next stop. This fort, located closer to the water, had remarkable old canons stationed along the wall. It was really amazing to see the actual fort in such a genius location and imagine it in its glory.

Now for the sentimental stuff...

Brother, it was really fun having you around to remind me that I’m still your little sister. I don’t think anyone will know me as well as you do and love me anyway :p. I enjoyed going to the fish market just me and you and driving you down the wrong way on a one-way street. :) I was just trying to keep you on your toes. My favorite part was the random guy asking to take a photo with you because you looked like “that guy from The Hangover.” Classic.

Special thanks to my parents for coming, yet again, to Mexico to visit us. We really love when you’re here and always wish you could have stayed longer. 

Dad, my cheeks hurt from all of your jokes. You're the funniest person I know. From rolling your eyes instead of your “r’s” to saying Bill Murray looked old because Brother’s shirt was wrinkled, you always make me laugh. Thank you for taking time off of work to come see your little girl. Mancha enjoyed it too.

Mom, I hope you enjoyed your last solo Mother’s Day. :) You always bring us all together and reminds us that our family is most important. I wouldn’t have survived the trip without your stash of peanut butter crackers. You’re always prepared and a truly remarkable mom. I have tough shoes to fill.

I enjoyed being the ‘baby’ for one last family vacation before Baby L takes over my role. Love y’all!
Ps. Wish you could have been here with us, Kris!