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DansDeals Forum => Trip Reports => Topic started by: stooges44 on August 03, 2018, 12:43:20 PM

Title: Stooges44 Mini Cancun TR
Post by: stooges44 on August 03, 2018, 12:43:20 PM
Here's a mini TR. Mods can feel free to create a thread out of this if they see fit.

We flew jetblue which we love, so the flight was great. When we arrived in cun and went through immigration even though we had a green light when we pushed the button we were still pulled aside and our cream cheese bagels were confiscated so we lost our lunch for that day  :(   

We stayed at the JW Marriott and since the only rooms available were "upgraded" rooms, a " Premium Ocean view" we had to pay for the upgrade as well. Since I am gold I had assumed I would receive the upgrade comped but they refused via email and in person so if any veterans out there have any advice on if/how I can get the points I paid for upgrade back that would be great!

The hotel itself is awesome, the staff is incredibly nice and the pools are magnificent. There are at least 6 pools and 2 jacuzzis and one pool is adult only. The hotel is big with tons of seating area to lounge (I'm used to city hotels that are squashed and very small). They have a mini store with souvenirs and random odds and ends that you would find in a 7-11 or gas station mart including kosher snacks, it's expensive but at least I got 10% off as gold.

The hotel is far far from town, which we liked because it's quiet but it's a 10 minute drive from the restaurant. Which brings me to...

The restaurants, the red heifer was amazing! It really was simply amazing food! Like others have said half the menu they don't have and out of the 4 nights we were there we went to the red heifer for 3 of them and each time they had a different selection. One night was "no chicken", one night was "no meat and no chicken except the thigh", and the next night we got there early enough that they had 6 pieces on chicken left. So the first night we got burgers:
(https://i.gyazo.com/24d6d5b8553c4463898499b143c144fe.png)
They were excellent, granted we were starving but they really were great.

The next night we got soups and sides:
The TRILOGIA DE ROLLITOS PRIMAVERA (SPRING ROLL TRILOGY)
(https://i.gyazo.com/7e66249b13cca8276f030f8f2e7c83c5.png)
and the SAQUITO DE CARNE DE RES (BEEF SACHET)
(https://i.gyazo.com/3f4778ff620efecda3f0d5992674442d.png)

Both were simply delicious! We didn't get any steaks even when they did have them simply bec of the insane price (that's just us though, they weren't outrageously priced but too much for us  ;D)

So all in all the red heifer was a huge hit with us, they have an army of waiters although it was not at all crowded each time we were there and the staff is very, very nice.

We also tried dag dag and that... was a very, very different experience. DISCLAIMER: I have nothing against the wonderful owners of dag dag at all but I feel like people should know this so they don't trek out there if they don't want to. Dag dag is not a "restaurant" by any stretch, it's like a house where the owner - who is also the cook - lives on top with his wife and they open from 2 - 4:30 and then again from 7 - 11 I think. The actual seating area looks like a bunk house with wooden tables and wooden benches (see pic below). The whole atmosphere feels very unclean and like yuk and the only reason we didn't turn around and leave is because we couldn't find the place and called him at least 4 times for directions so we felt obligated to stay. We ordered a pizza which was like a personal pie with hair thin crust. He had completely run out of any drinks so he told us on the phone that we should go to a local shop and buy some if we wanted, since we were so frazzled already we just wanted to find the place and didn't bring a drink with us. But, while we were there he got the delivery of drinks except he had no cash to pay so I kid you not he went to each us (there were 2 other groups of people aside from us at the time) and wanted to borrow so he can pay them. 
(https://i.gyazo.com/6e844cf962a1d7ae6d2c9b9fff8981de.png)

Dag dag was an experience I wont be forgetting anytime soon and again they are lovely people but maybe because I'm a new yorker I was expecting something different. The walls are full of pics of people that were there so they clearly do get business and he said that at nights it's packed because no one really knows how to cook a fish like him, he's been catching and cooking since he was a kid..

One night we ordered from chabad which like others have said here was also awesome. It was still warm when we got it and it was delicious. The only downside is that the latest they deliver is 5:30 which is a bit early for dinner but oh well, the whole process was a pleasure. As I have seen here many times I tried to get the hotel to heat it up for us later but they just looked at me strange when I asked.

Activities: We had intended on doing "nothing" as that is our ideal getaway. We don't like coming home more exhausted then when we left. But one day we did go out because we saw this enormous ferris wheel that looked interesting and it reminded me of the london eye. We got there at about 12 only to find out that it opens at 2  :( so we just walked around the shops there since it's in La Isla Mall which is an outdoor mall. They have a haagen dazs and starbucks but we had no clue if it was kosher so we stayed away. When the La Gran Rueda Cancun (http://"https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g150807-d13938241-r572663484-La_Gran_Rueda_Cancun-Cancun_Yucatan_Peninsula.html") finally opened we saw that it pales in comparison to the london eye but it was still cool and only $15 a person:
(https://i.gyazo.com/f16ff9db46c934c324fe96e3c5a56e8b.png)
(https://i.gyazo.com/b0987dcee07653c5d682b28bd9e4de05.png)

We didn't rent a car and I'm happy I didn't because I don't think I would've been able to drive there, buses and cabs were constantly zooming all over the place I was quite scared at times. We used USA Transfers (which I got from the wiki) for round trip transportation from the airport to the hotel and that was fine and also very nice staff. The first night we took a cab to the red heifer and when I saw there was no meter I knew we were in trouble because that meant the guy makes up the price on the spot. So the next day we tried the bus and it was great, it's 12 pesos a person which is less then $1!

Finally, I would add this, when you are walking around town you will get stopped literally every 5 feet by someone asking if you want to go on a tour or do any "activities". I'm not exaggerating, in the span on 10 minutes you will be harassed at least 4 times by 4 different people it's soooo annoying and they are everywhere!

Hope this helps someone  :D

Title: Re: Stooges44 Mini Cancun TR
Post by: Yaalili on August 03, 2018, 01:24:19 PM
Nice TR.
Title: Re: Stooges44 Mini Cancun TR
Post by: Dan on August 03, 2018, 01:29:22 PM

The restaurants, the red heifer was amazing! It really was simply amazing food! Like others have said half the menu they don't have and out of the 4 nights we were there we went to the red heifer for 3 of them and each time they had a different selection. One night was "no chicken", one night was "no meat and no chicken except the thigh", and the next night we got there early enough that they had 6 pieces on chicken left.

R"H must be the most bipolar and polarizing restaurant on Earth:

https://www.dansdeals.com/advertisement/cancun-summer-sale-save-kosher-vacation-packages/#comment-1369224
Title: Re: Stooges44 Mini Cancun TR
Post by: stooges44 on August 03, 2018, 01:47:40 PM
R"H must be the most bipolar and polarizing restaurant on Earth:

https://www.dansdeals.com/advertisement/cancun-summer-sale-save-kosher-vacation-packages/#comment-1369224

Wow!
Title: Re: Stooges44 Mini Cancun TR
Post by: mochjas on August 03, 2018, 01:49:40 PM
It seems to me not from personal experience rather from reading everyone's reviews that those who went in with high expectations were disappointed. For example the guy from DDMS who probably paid an arm and a leg and had a horrible experience.

However those who just went for the restaurant and avoided the steaks (which seem to be another weak point of theirs) seemed to like the place.
Title: Re: Stooges44 Mini Cancun TR
Post by: Dan on August 03, 2018, 01:51:50 PM
It seems to me not from personal experience rather from reading everyone's reviews that those who went in with high expectations were disappointed. For example the guy from DDMS who probably paid an arm and a leg and had a horrible experience.

However those who just went for the restaurant and avoided the steaks (which seem to be another weak point of theirs) seemed to like the place.
Wasn't the case for me and for others. Maybe it's just wildly inconsistent, I dunno.
https://www.dansdeals.com/points-travel/trip-notes/winter-break-2015-trip-notes-part-2-cancun-and-the-riviera-maya/
Title: Re: Stooges44 Mini Cancun TR
Post by: stooges44 on August 03, 2018, 01:53:45 PM
Wasn't the case for me and for others. Maybe it's just wildly inconsistent, I dunno.
https://www.dansdeals.com/points-travel/trip-notes/winter-break-2015-trip-notes-part-2-cancun-and-the-riviera-maya/

For the record, they have totally redone the place based on your pics and it actually is quite fancy now, the ambiance is fabulous.
Title: Re: Stooges44 Mini Cancun TR
Post by: Wizmanison on August 03, 2018, 01:54:41 PM
For the record, they have totally redone the place based on your pics and it actually is quite fancy now, the ambiance is fabulous.
Yeah but even with the renovation, IME, the food still sucked.
Title: Re: Stooges44 Mini Cancun TR
Post by: mochjas on August 03, 2018, 01:55:14 PM

We stayed at the JW Marriott and since the only rooms available were "upgraded" rooms, a " Premium Ocean view" we had to pay for the upgrade as well. Since I am gold I had assumed I would receive the upgrade comped but they refused via email and in person so if any veterans out there have any advice on if/how I can get the points I paid for upgrade back that would be great!



The way free upgrades work are if you pay for a standard room and at check in (usually, sometimes before) they have something better available that they know they won't sell they will give it to you complimentary.

However if at the time of booking you held an upgraded room and agreed to pay the upgraded price for it (and prohibited them from selling that room) they will not just refund you the extra money that you agreed to pay beforehand.

What they might do is give you a better room then you held complimentary due to your status.

Either way Marriott is very stingy with upgrades to platinum's, let alone golds so no surprise that you weren't further upgraded.

This is one of the reason us SPG loyalists are steamed about the merger
Title: Re: Stooges44 Mini Cancun TR
Post by: stooges44 on August 03, 2018, 01:56:00 PM
Yeah but even with the renovation, IME, the food still sucked.

I guess I'm happy I'm part of the group that enjoyed it then.
Title: Re: Stooges44 Mini Cancun TR
Post by: Dan on August 03, 2018, 01:59:10 PM
Yeah but even with the renovation, IME, the food still sucked.
R"H must be the most bipolar and polarizing restaurant on Earth

I've had people come up to me and tell me how right I was and how wrong I was. Nothing like that anywhere else where some people say it's a 2 and others say it's a 9.
Title: Re: Stooges44 Mini Cancun TR
Post by: stooges44 on August 03, 2018, 03:30:01 PM
Here's a mini TR. Mods can feel free to create a thread out of this if they see fit.

The restaurants, the red heifer was amazing! It really was simply amazing food! Like others have said half the menu they don't have and out of the 4 nights we were there we went to the red heifer for 3 of them and each time they had a different selection. One night was "no chicken", one night was "no meat and no chicken except the thigh", and the next night we got there early enough that they had 6 pieces on chicken left. So the first night we got burgers:

Hope this helps someone  :D

I forgot one very important detail: they don't take amex and it's the only card I have with no forex
Title: Re: Stooges44 Mini Cancun TR
Post by: moko on August 03, 2018, 05:00:00 PM
The way free upgrades work are if you pay for a standard room and at check in (usually, sometimes before) they have something better available that they know they won't sell they will give it to you complimentary.

However if at the time of booking you held an upgraded room and agreed to pay the upgraded price for it (and prohibited them from selling that room) they will not just refund you the extra money that you agreed to pay beforehand.

What they might do is give you a better room then you held complimentary due to your status.

Either way Marriott is very stingy with upgrades to platinum's, let alone golds so no surprise that you weren't further upgraded.

This is one of the reason us SPG loyalists are steamed about the merger
I find upgrades to be very property dependant. Anecdotally, I have had far more success as a gold with Marriott than SPG. My past several stays with Marriott & IHG have all been upgraded (both revenue and rewards) while I have only been upgraded once in the past 2 years by SPG properties. All of my stays are cat 5s and under and most we're RI, TS, SS, CS, & Courtyard. SPG were Westin, Sheraton, & Element.
Next week I have a  TownePlace Suites booked. Online only 1 bedroom suites were available. I called the property and explained I was using points but I needed a two bedroom. They said book, call us right back and we'll change it. They changed it so fast that I never even received confirmation for the original booking. The first email confirmation already had the 2 bedroom. So, I believe it's very property dependant. Also, I think if there is an option to upgrade with points they are less likely to upgrade for free. In this case there was no upgrade option with points.
Title: Re: Stooges44 Mini Cancun TR
Post by: mochjas on August 03, 2018, 05:23:33 PM
I find upgrades to be very property dependant. Anecdotally, I have had far more success as a gold with Marriott than SPG. My past several stays with Marriott & IHG have all been upgraded (both revenue and rewards) while I have only been upgraded once in the past 2 years by SPG properties. All of my stays are cat 5s and under and most we're RI, TS, SS, CS, & Courtyard. SPG were Westin, Sheraton, & Element.
Next week I have a  TownePlace Suites booked. Online only 1 bedroom suites were available. I called the property and explained I was using points but I needed a two bedroom. They said book, call us right back and we'll change it. They changed it so fast that I never even received confirmation for the original booking. The first email confirmation already had the 2 bedroom. So, I believe it's very property dependant. Also, I think if there is an option to upgrade with points they are less likely to upgrade for free. In this case there was no upgrade option with points.
Definitely property dependent but SPG had a much smaller footprint and cared about their elites and valued them. Marriott has tons of elites and for the most part doesn't go out of their way to satisfy them. There are obviously exceptions
Title: Re: Stooges44 Mini Cancun TR
Post by: ludmila on August 03, 2018, 11:55:43 PM
Thanks for the TR.
Title: Re: Stooges44 Mini Cancun TR
Post by: @Yehuda on August 05, 2018, 06:58:10 AM
Nice TR. Thanks for taking the time. FYI, Starbucks and Haagen Dazs follow the same rules as in USA regarding kosher status. They are in the wiki map too.  Glad you had a good time!