Living the Dream – a return to the resort vacation

Sunwing holidays are worry-free with change policy

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In December, my wife and I discussed what else we needed, a trip for the cultural experience or soaking in the Mexican sun for seven days.

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Wanted to live like a local, shoulder to shoulder in a market, maybe take a cooking class, learn a new language and go for a walk the streets to find the best bars in a small community? Or “fly and flop” at an all-inclusive where we could stick to the four Spanish words we knew, “A beer please.”

Both types of travel have their merits, but with COVID-19 being a concern, we decided to go with a package that provided a sense of peace of mind so that we could change our plans if something unexpected happened. With Sunwing, passengers can change their package dates, destination, resort or all three for free.

We had four criteria for the flop: a country with hassle-free access, reliable sunny weather, a hotel right on the beach and it had to cater to adults and children. And we didn’t want to be trying to find our own way there. Fortunately, Sunwing Experiences offers private transportation from the airport to resorts in their vacation packages to the Caribbean and Mexico. Which really made the holiday start earlier as the driver packed a cool box full of cervezas for us to enjoy on the way to the resort.

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Dreams Natura Resort and Spa on the Caribbean Sea in Cancun ticked all the boxes – and not just for us.

“This is the place you want to be if you want to forget the United States, your job, your daily route and your problems. Just come here…if you’re in trouble, leave it behind. There shouldn’t be any. Life is beautiful,” said Alin Maghiar, a vacationer from Long Island New York, as we drank Coronas on the beach.

An all-inclusive resort on a white-sand beach, Dreams Natura has it all: an infinity pool with a swim-up bar, cabanas, an open-air lounge with live entertainment in the evenings, a kids’ club and attentive poolside service. and on the beach.

Our Preferred Club suite was nearly 1,000 square feet. The king size bedroom could be closed off from the living room with a large sofa, large screen TV, table and minibar. The minibar was refilled for free every day. And much to my wife’s delight, the bathroom was huge, with a bathtub. When we pulled back the curtains in the living room, we were stunned; a private balcony with a spa bath and lounge chairs overlooking the Caribbean Sea.

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The Unlimited Luxury Package at Dreams includes lodging, gourmet meals, top brand drinks, 24-hour room service, sports facilities, water sports equipment and instruction, entertainment and gratuities.

After two years without a vacation, I forgot we ever had it this good.

“I always go for the new resorts. I love the Dreams brand, and this is newer, so we came here,” said Alin. “It’s not just about me, it’s a family oriented resort. So my son is having a great time and I’m having a great time. We both made new friends, the weather is perfect…everything is perfect here.”

We drank from our cervezas and watched the waves gently lapping against the sand. Our boys were down the beach playing soccer with a group of kids.

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An overview of the Dreams Natura resort in Cancun.
An overview of the Dreams Natura resort in Cancun. Photo by Dreams Natura Resort and Spa

I asked Alin what his favorite part of the holiday was: “Maybe going down the waterslides with my son – I loved it. The green ocean. If you want me to rate this place it’s a no-brainer 9 out of 10. I can see myself returning here.”

Myriam Jalbert, a Quebec City mortgage specialist, whose two sons were playing in the football game, lay on a chair next to us. “We wanted to have something with a lot of entertainment for our kids; water slides, the lazy river, the pools and not too far from the airport.

“Every day there is something new; the bubbles (foam nozzles) in the large pool, dinner outside one day. And the food is great. The French restaurant, The Bordeaux, was great – it’s a shame it’s adults only.”

We had gone to The Bordeaux as a group the night before and were thankful for a child free dinner. It gave us the opportunity for: conversations with adults, bottles of good wine and discussion about how to eat escargot. The kids had been happy to stay on flip flops and eat pizza on the patio outside the Italian restaurant.

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Other restaurant choices included, El Patio – Mexican Cuisine, a Pan-Asian cuisine complete with hibachi tables, two American grills, and Oceana a la carte seafood dishes. We tried to taste it all in the 7 days; from burgers to lamb chops, enchiladas to foie gras, veal parmigiana to sushi. Every evening the world was presented to us on a plate.

The words “day at leisure” were on my itinerary seven times, so I plopped down on a lounger on the beach and barely made it past the swim bar most days. My wife tried to get me to the spa but I wasn’t sure if I could get more relaxed.

For those who enjoy excursions, Sunwing Experiences offers a variety of day trips, including: day trips to the Mayan ruins of Talum, visits to Chichen Itza, Cozumel or Isla Mujeres, clubbing at Coco Bongo nightclub and water excursions to Xel-Ha or the Mayans jungle.

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As for our kids, when we didn’t see them playing football or enjoying the ocean, we barely noticed them. My son went to the water slides with new friends and my daughter was at the kids club.

We have our sun holiday and culture and cuisine – sometimes you can have it all. If only my wife had gotten the recipe for those Mexican enchiladas.

The writer traveled from December 10 to 17 as a guest of Sunwing and Dreams Natura. No one from Sunwing of Dreams vetted the article before publication.

If you go:

SunWing offers flights from Vancouver to Cancun six days a week until the end of April.

With the free Sunwing Change-your-plans offer, you can post your travel dates, destination or resort up to seven days before departure, free of charge new bookings from now until March 31, 2022 for travel before June 30, 2022. See www.sunwing.ca/en/change-your-plans-anytime for details.

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Canadians are not required to present a negative PCR test or quarantine upon arrival in Mexico. At Dreams Natura Resort and Spa, masks are required for access to restaurants and the buffet. They are not required outside.

Shared transfers airport to hotel is included in Sunwing Caribbean and Mexico package vacations. Customers can upgrade to private transfers for a fee.

Travel insurance options from $49 per person, plus emergency medical coverage for COVID-19 and quarantine costs for travel interruptions from $4 per person per day are offered at www.sunwing.ca/en/be-worry-free

A negative PCR test is required to fly back to Canada. Dreams Natura offers the test on site for a fee, with results usually returned within 24 hours.

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