10 Reasons to Love the Royalton Riviera Cancun, Mexico

royalton riviera cancun mexico review

It's the Perfect Jumping off Point

The Royalton Riviera Cancun is a perfect home base for adventuring around both Quintana Roo and the Yucatan. Whether you are looking to visit secret cenotes near Tulum or the Mayan Ruins, the Royalton Riviera Cancun is located in the perfect place for day trips outside the hotel.

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Excursions such as secret cenotes (swimming holes) are offered with excursions by the hotel’s tour operator Nexus. It is also easy (and affordable) to rent a car and adventure on your own and visit the surrounding areas. A perfect day trip is Chichen Itza (one of the 7 New Wonders of the World), it’s only about 2 hours from the hotel.

chichen itza trusted travel girl

Royalton Fit

One of the benefits of staying at the Royalton Rivera Cancun is the Royalton Fit program. When I travel, my exercise routine normally consists of easy to travel with exercise bands or is essentially non-existent. It was a welcomed change to not only have a two story gym, but to also have a wide array of classes.

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My favorite class was the brand new Boga board workout because it was outside and relaxing by engaging the senses and being outdoors. Boga is essentially a paddle board yoga class on special made boards with a built in yoga mat. 

Evening Events

As someone who has been to an ample number of countries and done just about everything, it can be difficult to keep me entertained. Imagine my surprise when the evening events kept me smiling and laughing for hours. From the Michael Jackson impersonation show to the silent disco, each evening was filled with laugher and of course, margaritas. 

Adults Only Areas

The Royalton Riviera Cancun offers an adults-only option to your stay, called Hideaway. Hideaway offers an elevated experiences in a designated portion of the property where only adults are allowed to stay. Although the rest of the property is family-friendly, I find great pleasure in place where I can get away from children and enjoy a peaceful beach.

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The Spa

When it comes to spa treatments I am a picky client– especially with massages. I have been spoiled by some incredible massages all over the world, but the Royalton Rivera Cancun offered one of the best in-resort massages I have ever received.

Upon checking into the spa, guests are offered to choose from a selection of aromatherapy oils for their massage, I chose eucalyptus. I opted for the deep tissue massage offered at the spa, and I was impressed how quickly I was able to relax. My massage therapist was intuitive and had strong hands, and worked on all of my aches and pains from traveling and all of the Royalton Fit workout classes I took at the gym.

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Diamond Club

The Diamond Club is a VIP experience with it's own check-in area, butler, and even a premium bottle of liquor for your room. When you book the Diamond experience, you receive a personal butler to take care of you during your stay. The butler can pack and unpack your clothes, iron, assist with dinner reservations, and even prepare your in-room jacuzzi! 

Other Diamond Club benefits include:

  • Preferred room locations
  • Preferential reservations in à la carte restaurants
  • Exclusive Diamond Club™ beach area with waiter service
  • Distinctive wrist bracelet
  • Personalized check-in and check-out
  • Hors d‘oeuvres and snacks including decadent desserts in the Diamond Club™ Lounge
  • Upgraded room service menu
  • Selection of pillows from The Royal Spa pillow menu
  • Discounts on spa treatments and beauty services
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The Pillow Menu

A good night’s sleep is important for anything in life, but crucial for exploring a new destination or enjoying a vacation. The Pillow Menu (a part of the Diamond & Hideaway package) ensures that each guest will have their unique needs met in many ways– including a menu to choose a pillow.

I have stayed in some swanky places, with multiple pillow options, but never have i seen a property with a pillow menu! If you don’t like the softness or firmness of the pillows on your bed, simply request a pillow menu and pick out the perfect pillow for you.

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Multitude of Restaurants

Some say the key to happiness is not having to make too many choice. I tend to disagree. I love choices, most especially when it concerns what goes on my plate. I loved experiencing a different restaurant and cuisine every night at the property. 

This leads me to the next reason to love the Royalton Riviera Cancun….

The Culinary Experience

I had the pleasure of enjoying the Culinary Experience during my stay at the Royalton Riviera Cancun. This private chef's table offers an 8 course meal prepared in an open kitchen. The small courses were divine and perfectly timed, and the plating of each course was perfection. 

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Although the “Culinary Experience” is an added price, the value is extraordinary. For $80 per person, it's an experience worth booking. The adults-only dining experience takes place only once per evening, so be sure to book before or at the beginning of your stay!

Trusted Travel Tip: Although the minimum booking is 8, if you inform the staff that you are a smaller party, they will reach out to other couples to join the experience with you! Table seats up to twelve.

Location

Located away from the majority of the hotels in Cancun, the Royalton Riviera Cancun is in an area on it's own. Without other properties surrounding the Royalton, the beaches are very private, as there are no vendors walking up and down the beach harassing you to purchase their items. The overall sense is far more relaxing and serene. 

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Overall, my experience at the Royalton Riviera Cancun changed my mindset about what an all-inclusive experience can be. From my first steps on the property, to the moment I waived goodbye, I can say each moment epitomized what a vacation is all about! 

What Would Bourdain Do?

Shocked and devastated by the loss of Anthony Bourdain.

It’s a difficult day for the travel industry and the world. Anthony Bourdain epitomized what it is to be a real traveler. To meet with locals, to immerse one's self in a culture, to live life boldly, and without fear.

Tony was a true adventurer, and he took the travel world by storm.

By leaving Travel Channel, Bourdain was able to make the shows he wanted. Just like a secret recipe, Bourdain took a combination of food, travel, and politics and sprinkled it with the essence of Bourdain to make one of the most beloved shows. His eagerness to tell a good story was only matched by his talent to do so.

Whenever anyone asks about what I do or what my final goal is with Trusted Travel Girl, the answer is always the same. “I want a travel show and I want to be the female Anthony Bourdain”.

Whenever I am hesitant to be bold in my travels, I have always asked myself “What would Bourdain do?”— and the experiences I have after I challenge myself with that question are always more enriched, more authentic, and more important. Beneath the blog posts and the pretty Instagram posts, there is someone who constantly searches for a way to get off the beaten path of tourism and just hang with the locals. But, that information isn’t always presented to my audience, I lack the knowledge of how to always bring the magnitude of those simple moments to you the way Bourdain always has. I will do better.

When I met him, he generously gave me so much of his time as he echoed my feelings for more women in this industry.

It’s a sad day for travelers and travel industry professionals who loved Tony. But it’s also our duty to keep sharing the world the way he would want us to. Let’s all do better.

And I challenge you, next time you have a choice to make on your travels, to be a tourist, or experience something like a local, or next time you are too scared to make a bold choice, ask yourself... What Would Bourdain Do?

what would bourdain do

“I wanted adventures. I wanted to go up the Nung river to the heart of darkness in Cambodia. I wanted to ride out into a desert on camelback, sand and dunes in every direction, eat whole roasted lamb with my fingers. I wanted to kick snow off my boots in a Mafiya nightclub in Russia. I wanted to play with automatic weapons in Phnom Penh, recapture the past in a small oyster village in France, step into a seedy neon-lit pulqueria in rural Mexico. I wanted to run roadblocks in the middle of the night, blowing past angry militia with a handful of hurled Marlboro packs, experience fear, excitement, wonder. I wanted kicks – the kind of melodramatic thrills and chills I’d yearned for since childhood, the kind of adventure I’d found as a little boy in the pages of my Tintin comic books. I wanted to see the world – and I wanted the world to be just like the movies” –Anthony Bourdain

RIP Tony.

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The Ultimate Oregon Road Trip

jucy van review oregon roadtrip

Oregon Is The Perfect State For A Road Trip

From the rugged coastlines of California to the lush landscapes of Hawaii, the US has a vast array of stunning states. As unassuming as it is, Oregon may be one of the most beautiful destinations out of the fifty. With all of it’s natural beauty, Oregon is the perfect place for a summer road trip.

Benefits of Renting a JUCY Van

Growing up at the foothills of the Adirondack mountains, I have done my fair share of hiking and camping. Although sleeping in the wilderness can be fun, investing in camping gear can be expensive! Gathering all of your gear before each trip can be time consuming and stressful. This is just one of the reasons I fell in love with JUCY’s camping vans.

Quick overview of JUCY Camping Van.

JUCY makes camping easy by renting vans that are essentially a home away from home. The vans come fully equip with all necessary camping items including the kitchen sink–– literally! There is also cutlery, a frying pan, a refrigerator, two gas stoves, all bedding and towels, a GPS, and plenty of outlets to charge all your electronics through the night! JUCY has thought of absolutely everything!

What to See:

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Klamath Falls

I picked up my JUCY rental van in Oakland, California and drove up to Oregon from there. After passing snow covered Mount Shasta, we reached Oregon. The first stop on my list was Running Y Ranch in Klamath Falls for an extraordinary dinner and a good nights sleep.

Running Y Ranch is Home to an 18-hole Arnold Palmer golf course, a spa, and even has on-site horseback riding. One of the most exquisite experiences at the property is having dinner in their greenhouse as the sun sets over the ranch (pictured above). Running Y Ranch is the perfect place to treat yourself before or after a camping road trip! 

Crater Lake

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America’s deepest lake, Crater Lake, is a bucket list destination for any nature lover, photographer, or instagrammer. Although it was 80 degrees in Portland at the time of my visit, Crater Lake was still freezing. The extra long winters make the area chilly, but the snow capped rim is even more stunning as the white snow contrasts with the deep royal blue colors of the lake.

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Trusted Travel Tips:

1) FILL UP YOUR TANK! Before heading to Crater Lake, you will want to fill up your tank. There is no gas for miles around and this is not the place to run out of gas, most especially in the winter months.

2) If visiting in winter or spring, the north entrance may be closed so plan accordingly. On my first trip I had planned to make it for sunset and then keep driving towards California but by the time I was able to reach the south entrance and get into the park I had missed sunset and everything was dark!

Bend & Smith Rock

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Although Crater Lake may be the most well known destination in Oregon, Bend had been the area I had been wanting to visit the most.

Bend is quite the contrast from the rest of Oregon. The weather is dry, and the landscape resembles the deserts of Arizona more than the nearby Columbia River Gorge. Skiers from all over flock to Mt Bachelor over Mt Hood, due to the dry conditions which create a lighter, more desirable snow on the mountains.

jucy camper van oregon roadtrip

The most notable place to visit in Bend is Smith Rock State Park. Smith Rock is a rock-climbers heaven, and some of the most well known climbers and enthusiasts come to Bend to climb at Smith Rock. The deep river canyons and towering rock formations make for the perfect place to experience sunrise. 

Bend is also known for it's incredible local brews. One of the most well-known brewery's in Bend is 10 Barrel Brewing Co. I stopped in for a sour IPA on my bike tour with The Bend Tour Company. I loved the overview and history the guides were able to provide and stopping for a craft beer at 10 Barrel was the perfect ending to the tour.

Trusted Travel Tip: Most IPA's in Oregon have a very high alcohol percentage compared to a regular beer. Be mindful of how much alcohol you are consuming in each glass. I learned this the hard way on a previous visit when two beers felt more like four! As the guy at the ski shop told me the following day "Those IPA's will get ya", so look out!

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Columbia River Gorge

Rowena Crest Viewpoint Sunset Trusted Travel Girl

The Columbia River Gorge has some of the most breathtaking hikes and waterfalls. (Some of my favorites are Eagle Creek and Triple Falls)! If you don't have time for a hike but want to see a waterfall, check out Multnomah Falls. This 611 foot waterfall is quite the tourist attraction, so be prepared for crowds. If you can arrive in the early morning you may be able to avoid them!

Save time to visit Rowena Crest at sunset. Rowena Crest is a stunning viewpoint located in the Columbia River Gorge. The pristine waters of the Columbia River and the horseshoe shaped road are absolutely stunning as the sun slips passed the horizon. Rowena Crest is also an iconic instagram spot in Oregon.

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Mount Hood

 

Mount Hood is strikingly beautiful. Although it’s not erupting, Mount Hood is an active volcano— that even produces steam and volcanic gassed near the top. It’s so enormous that it is visible from Portland (2 hours away)! Whether you plan to hike it, ski it, or just just take a drive to see it, you will undoubtably be in awe of its beauty and size!

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Trusted Travel Tip: The best viewpoint is Trillium Lake (pictured above). Although a rather easy drive in, during the winter you have to hike in 2 miles as the road shuts from the snow.

Portland

portland oregon sign made in oregon

Portland loves to keep it weird and you will notice all kinds of obscurities around the city- just for the sake of irony. This outdoorsy-turned-hipster-town is home to some of the best restaurants in the country, and an unbelievable beer scene.

One of the best ways to experience the city is via bicycle. On my most recent visit, I took a bike tour with Cycle Portland Bike Tours. Our guide took us on a customized Foodie Field Trip. While we were briefed on the history of Portland, we were treated to some of the city's tastiest eats– including food carts, ice cream and a local brewery!

Trusted Travel Tip: The famed Voodoo Doughnuts seems to be at the top of everyone’s to-do list, but skip it. It’s overrated and there is always a long line. Instead, head to one of the Blue Star locations and prepare to have your mind blown.  Doughnuts never tasted so good!

Other Notable Spots:

  • Imperial
  • Tasty & Alder
  • Sisters Coffee Company
  • Salt & Straw
  • Powell Books Store
  • Pittock Mansion (Perfect for sunrise)

Accommodation Suggestions:

  • The Vintage
  • The Nines

Road Trip Tips: 

  • Bring CD’s or an auxiliary cord and come up with a road trip playlist. As you drive you will lose radio stations often, or be without any decent ones for long periods of time. Bring your own jams to keep your sanity. 
  • Pack snacks. Part of the fun of a road trip is snacking and driving. Also the JUCY vans have a fridge and even a stove, which means your drinks will stay cold and you can even buy breakfast items like bacon and eggs! That hardly sounds like “roughing it”— my type of camping. 
  • Carry cash for tolls! 
  • Plan ahead, but allow time to get lost and explore. The best part of a road trip is discovering places that many tourists miss, and stopping in small towns along the way!
  • Use cruise control. You may avoid getting a ticket if you set the speed ahead of time. 

This post was written in partnership with JUCY & Travel Oregon. As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own.

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Go Beyond Your Boundaries in Breckenridge with Breck Guides

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Travelers Return to Breckenridge Again and Again

Breckenridge keeps travelers and skiers, like me, coming year after year– but why? What is it about certain places that make a traveler return again and again? Perhaps it’s because it’s so easy to feel like a local, perhaps it’s the magic of the mountain.

After multiples visits to the same mountain, what could possibly be left to discover? The answer may surprise you, there is a lot to discover in Breckenridge. 

Whether it’s your first visit, or your fiftieth, Breckenridge keeps travelers coming back again and again.

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Going Beyond with Breck Guides

As as skier, I long for the days when I can push myself beyond my own limits and explore new terrain. This is why I chose to try out Breck's new program Breck Guides, Go Beyond.

Breck Guides is a new program set up to customize an individual experience for the skiers. Breck Guides is not a ski school or ski lesson on becoming a better skier, but rather a way to educate, enlighten and enrich the Breckenridge experience. Considering I have skied the mountain on multiple occasions, I found this to be the perfect way to get off-the-beaten-path and experience Breck like–and with, a local!

The Breck Guides experience is custom tailored to the individual skier's abilities and interests. For most skiers, one of the most exciting draws to the program is the First Tracks benefit. First Tracks means you will get up the mountain before the first chair (First Chair refers to the first chair taking groups up the mountain when the resort officially opens to the public). This allows Breck Guides' skiers to be the only one's on the mountain (with the exception of ski patrol, of course)!

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Meeting with Ski Patrol

With 5 peaks to discover, Breckenridge is the perfect mountain to link up with an expert like my guide Jenn Losch and find all of the best spots on the mountain. 

Jenn (one of Breckenridge's most well-known skiers) and I and met up at Peak 8. We got ourselves up to the top of the Colorado SuperChair approximately 30 minutes before the first chair.

After a few warm-up runs, Jenn and I joined Ski Patrol for the morning meeting. As we watched the meeting take place, I realized how many skilled professionals it truly takes to make a large ski resort function. I quickly made a mental note to appreciate the hard work they all do every time my skis hit snow.

During the patrol meeting, Jenn and I got the inside scoop on what would be open and when. We took a few more runs before heading over and scoring the first chair on the Imperial lift, just as it was opening. The Imperial Express is the highest chairlift in North America, standing at a whopping 12,840 feet above sea level. 

The Imperial lift takes skiers to some of the best terrain on the mountain, including Whale's Tail. The bowl is always one of the most exhilarating runs, and only the most skilled skiers on the mountain are in this area. This means, there isn't many other skiers around!

Two of my other favorite parts of the mountain lacking crowds are the bowls off Peak 6 (the newest peak at Breckenridge) and The Windows, which is more tree-lined. 

Learning From The Pro

Another part of the Go Beyond course is to learn backcountry skills, such as the types of snowpack to gain an education on avalanches– all while staying in the safe and controlled confines of the resort. Since I am already AIARE Level 1 certified (the first course in avalanche training– which you can read about here), Jenn used this as an opportunity to customize the program for me even further– which is what makes the Breck Guides programs so immersive.

I don't just love to ski–I am happier on my skis than anywhere else. However, I'm always disappointed in myself for not being as fast, fluid, or aggressive as I was ten years ago. Furthermore, prior to this trip I had an appendectomy less than 3 weeks earlier. While I was supposed to be heli-skiing in the Swiss Alps, I was having my appendix out in a Swiss hospital, instead. This is where Jenn tailored the program for me. She knew I was ready to hit the slopes hard, but put a focus on the day to be kind to myself. Each chairlift ride up was like talking to a best friend, but was also an opportunity to gain a wealth of knowledge about skiing, the mountain, and coming off of an injury.

Although I've skied Breck countless times over, I was able to discover new areas of the mountain that are often missed by tourists.  I left the mountain that day feeling like a local– having discovered new areas to ski, and hanging with my new local friend for the day!

Go Beyond is just one of three Breck Guides courses you can take at the resort. The three programs (Explore, Elevate, and Go Beyond) can teach you anything from snow science, scouting a line in the Lake Chutes, to finding the best snow stashes on the mountain.

Depending on the program you can book full or half-day's, and have anywhere from 1 to 6 people in your ski party. 

 The Windows

The Windows

Women Breaking Boundaries

Another Breck program that was taking place at the same time I was visiting was the Women's Camp. The women's camp is 3 full days of skiing with the same instructor. Lunch and Apres Ski events are included in the program and all levels are welcome, (skiers are divided up by ability).

I joined in on some of the Apres Ski events to learn more about the program, and found women of all ages taking part. 

Where to Stay

 View from One Skill Hill Place

View from One Skill Hill Place

One Ski Hill Place is one of the premier accommodations in Breckenridge. One Ski Hill Place is an elegant luxury lodge located at the base of Peak 8. The amenities and the attentive staff at One Ski Hill Place will completely spoil you.

Not only does the property offer true ski-in, ski-out access (you literally ski up to the door), they also offer a ski-valet service. You will never need to lift a ski at One Ski Hill, making it easy to relax and enjoy. If your skis need a tune, the ski valet will send them out at the end of the day and have them ready again for the first chair the following morning.

As a full-time traveler, I have learned the devil is always in the details. The staff remembers everyone’s name, and the ski valet was sure to remember each individual's needs. For me, a highly trained staff is almost better than the impressive amenities.

The property boasts a beautiful pool, hot tubs, a movie theater and a bowling alley. The gondola to town is just steps away, and the property will provide a complementary shuttle service to pick you up and drop you off anywhere in town.

By far, a dedicated skiers favorite service offered would be the First Tracks Program. First Tracks allows guests staying in official resort properties to have the opportunity to get out on the mountain an entire hour before the general public (similar to my experience described above with Breck Guides). First Tracks takes place each Friday morning from mid December through March– so be sure to book your stay with that benefit in mind!

Where to Take in the Views

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If you are looking for a panoramic view of Breckenridge Ski Resort and the surrounding area, than Boreas Pass is the perfect spot. Generally, to get views this incredible and untouched, you need to hike– but not here!

After a quick drive up, the walk to the area with the view is extremely easy. Even with just two days at altitude and my appendix removed less than 3 weeks prior, there was nothing to it! In the summer, the rest of the road actually opens up allowing you to drive over the continental divide!

The best part– this is a spot that only the locals tend to know about, so you will most likely have the views all to yourself!

READ NEXT: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BRECKENRIDGE