NOVEMBER 2007 TRIP REPORT Because I'm a great wife and a wonderful planner, we are off to Playa and Cancun again! We've been dreaming of this since our last trip in May ... This is our 22nd trip to the Yucatan. The cast of characters ... Sheila, Mike, Norb and me. The four of us can't wait to spend Thanksgiving in Playa! For this trip I picked the Iberostar Quetzal. In all of our many, many trips we have never stayed at an Iberostar. The reason I chose the Quetzal, as opposed to the other Iberostars, is the Quetzal is the closest to Playa del Carmen, and it's not a huge mega resort. The IQ (let's just abbreviate, and call it the IQ from now on, so I don't get tired of typing) has 350 rooms. The resort is called the Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal. It is really one resort, U shaped, and each half is the same, except one side is called the Tucan and one side is called the Quetzal. You are free to use both sides of the resort. We were flying on USA3000, leaving Pittsburgh at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving day. With very little sleep, we have some coffee, then load up the car. We leave our house at 3:10 and head to the Park 'N Fly. Sheila and Mike are already there waiting for us, so we all climb aboard the shuttle, and head to the airport. No one is in line, so we get checked in quickly. There was no one in line at security either ... who else is dumb enough to travel at 4 a.m.??? Off to McDonald's, because nothing else is open at this ungodly hour. We board and take off on time, settle into our seats and try to sleep. About an hour later a terrible stench fills the cabin, we all start gagging and coughing ... :bawl: WHAT IS THAT HORRID SMELL???? :shock: Oh wait ... we've landed in Cincinnati to pick up some stinkin' Bengal fans ... yuck! :tongueout: ... :tongueout: ... :tongueout: Okay, let's go already ... on to CANCUN! We chose sleep over the movie, Harry Potter. Landed at the new Terminal 3, it's very nice! There's a line at immigration, but it moves pretty quickly. We grab our luggage, and for the first time in 22 trips we get the dreaded red light! They do a quick search of our bags, and we're off to find our transportation. And, here he is, waiting and smiling, as usual ... (Brant's transport was great!) We have a relaxing ride with Carlos down Highway 307, and soon we are pulling up to the IQ lobby. We were given a wlecome drink and our bracelets, but our rooms weren't ready, so ... we leave our luggage in the storage room, and go off to explore. We find the main buffet ... Guacamole, salsa and chips, chicken, and a few tacos later, we head to the lobby bar for drinks. Before I go any further I'll tell you that we found the food at the IQ to be mediocre. I was so glad we were only staying 4 nights. Sheila and I checked out the Harrison's Jewelry store and the gift shop, while Norb and Mike relaxed at the bar. I found a bracelet at Harrison's that I really liked, so I asked my husband if I could have $595.00 USD, but he reminded me that I've already used up my $67.00 jewelry budget for 2007. :evil: At this point I seriously thought of divorcing him, but I wouldn't give him the pleasure! :evil: We went to make dinner reservations, and we were disappointed to find out that you can only eat in ONE specialty restaurant for a four night stay. We picked the Mexican restaurant for Saturday night. In my head I'm starting to compare the IQ to the Royal PDC and Secrets Capri. The voices in my head kept telling me NOT to make comparisons, because THERE IS NO COMPARISON! The IQ is a much older resort, and it costs a considerable amount LESS than the Royal and Secrets. The IQ could never compete in food, service or amenities. A few White Russians and margaritas at the lobby bar and our room was ready. I had requested a first floor, non-smoking room, and that's what we got, room 2603 ... Sheila and Mike were in the next building, on the second floor. The grounds are well manicured and very clean ... The nicest thing about the IQ is the natural jungle environment. Since it's an older resort the foliage is just beautiful. With the trees and plants and animals you really feel like you're in the jungle. We saw monkeys in the trees, flamingos, huge turtles, lots of iguanas, and one morning I opened the drapes and found 5 peacocks sitting on our balcony railing! The four of us agreed that the grounds of the IQ were just amazing. I had asked at check-in if the hotel was serving a turkey dinner, and the clerk said yes. After a nap and showers we met Sheila and Mike in the Lobby Bar for a drink. We went to the main buffet for dinner. We ordered wine. Happy Thanksgiving, Sheila and Mike! ... (They're smiling because we haven't eaten yet) We were so disappointed in the buffet. Oh, there was a turkey, but no mashed potatoes, no sweet potatoes, no cranberry sauce and no pumpkin pie! What a travesty! Last year we were at the Omni where they offered a Thanksgiving dinner, and the year before that we were at Secrets Capri where we had a Thanksgiving dinner. This year ... no! :cry: I thought of blaming Norb, and then divorcing him, but I'd never give him the pleasure! :evil: The turkey was awful, it was very dry and tasteless. We all went back to the buffet to find something else to eat ... it was a challenge. I found some peel and eat shrimp, but they were warm! They were just sitting on the buffet, not on ice. just sitting in a bowl ... it was scary! This experience has turned us against all-inclusives. Unless we are staying at a top notch resort, we will not be going all-inclusive again. A lot of people just like to pile their plates high, and they're just happy that there's a LOT of food ... the quality of the food is not a concern. But we would rather have one plate of good food, than a buffet full of yuck. Oh well, we're here, and we just have to make the best of it. The show tonight was the Mexican Show. Sheila and Mike were tired from our long travel day, so they said goodnight. I'm pretty sure Mike wanted to go back to the room and order a pizza from room service ... he ate a lot of room service pizza in 4 days. Norb and I went to the theater and watched the show ... It was very enjoyable ... So colorful ... There is waitress service in the theater, so we had a drink or two. Then we realized how tired we were, so we headed to our room and said goodnight. TOMORROW ... Pool, Beach, Sunshine, and PLAYA!!!