Our second trip to LA was in Dec 2017. In 2016 we had a group of 10 and in 2017 we had a group of 6 and felt the love as returning guests. There was some debate initially if we were going to be at the same resort but that debate didn't last long as not one of us could truly choose another resort after our first LA experience.
Our check in was smooth and we arrived between 1pm-2:30pm, where we were greeted with cold hand towels and a fresh drink. Total check in time was less than 15 mins (we were offered a free hand massage but after hearing our room was ready we wanted to immediately head to the beach), with our room ready we went up to a lovely note from the manager and champagne and a fruit tray to enjoy while we got settled in. After changing, we went to the Sea Corner for lunch and overlooked the ocean and took in the breathless sight before us.
Most of our days consisted of the same schedule, wake up to watch the sunrise, lounge in the room til about 7:30-8:30 then go to breakfast and get down to the beach as soon as possible. We actually spent ZERO time at the pool this trip because we love the beach so much. In the am, the bar is not open nor has servers until a bit later in the morning but that gave us plenty for time to hydrate and as soon as the bar opened to go and get our first drinks of the day.
We did lunch at Sea Corner (multiple times), Azur (2x), Meat Grill (multiple times). After lunch was back to the beach and multiple trips into the ocean. Most of our days were red flag days last year but again, the lifeguards truly want to keep everyone safe so as long as we stayed within there directed area and didn't go out past our chest there was no issue and we were still able to just enjoy the water.
For dinners, we did Varrena (1x), Azur (1x), MB (multiple times), Hidden Garden and Siete (there was one night where there was rain and the resort moved Varrena back inside 1/2 our group got Varrena and the other 1/2 food from Siete). I also did the sushi station once, and they will literally make you anything that you want as long as they have the ingredients go it. MB is by far my favorite for dinner, I order 2 habanaro soups and multiple orders of the shrimp first course they have. We tried Hidden Garden and don't think we will go back to that one, it was a little bit to buggy for us and ended up with quite a few bug bites afterwards and my SO has a severe poultry and nut allergy and found the menu had a limited selection for him to choose from. The food that we ordered was good, but not really our cup of tea. I will note, that we did not talk to our server or the chef to see if there was a way to accommodate his allergy as we wanted to try the food for how it was meant to be prepared, though I'm sure if we had asked accommodations would have been made.
Our favorite bartender was Florentino, I am a little bit pickier with my drinks and he made me a "Florentino Special" and every time I came to the bar was quickly making another one for. The bartenders will deliver some pretty stellar concoctions if you tell them your likes and dislikes. For me, I like sweeter or sour drinks, no banana flavor. From there they made me little mini shot drinks until I found something that I loved.
I did a solo massage which again was phenomenal and would really encourage people to take advantage of the pre-treatment before hand. I even convinced my SO to do a couples massage with me towards the end of our trip and he loved it!!
The beach was always clean and no seaweed that I noticed during our time there. However, during the middle of our stay that week, we woke up to seashells lined up and down the beach for as far as I could see. We weren't overly bothered by this as the expectation is not that the resort clear out mother nature. As long as you look where you are stepping, mildly uncomfortable until you get further into the water, it really was a beautiful sight and we even collected some and brought them back home for a memento.
Our room was spectacular, we stayed on the top floor right in the middle of the resort with a breath taking view of the ocean. We spent the start and end of our day there relaxing and reflecting. The bed is beyond comfortable and our room was always cleaned with great detail. We got rice art one evening to celebrate my bday and I decided last minute I wanted to keep it and collected it in the coffee container until I could transfer it to a baggie and unfortunately it was cleaned away one day with housekeeping (that is shame on me for not expressing that I wanted to keep it). With being in the middle of the resort we were right off the elevators and only experienced a disruptive noise issue one night and it was less than 15 mins. Not ideal but def not an evening long issue.
- if you choose to tip, bring lots of smaller bills (we brought half of our tip money in ones, and the other half split between fives and tens) and we were really pleased with service again this year and tried to show that throughout the day as we tipped.
- bring lots of sunscreen (and bug spray if bugs like you)
- don't be afraid to speak up if you don't like something or want to experiment with a new drink as everyone wants you to have the best possible experience
- be firm with your answer for the timeshare, one of our group members agreed to do the breakfast presentation for the couples massage and felt really comfortable saying no at the end. We were not approached about it until the end of our stay and said no one time and were not asked again about it.
-room service is great and the longest wait time we had was 20 mins.
-if you are looking to breathe in fresh air and relax away from home with not a boisterous night life this resort is for you!
-be prepared to see people of all ages, we made friends with a 21 year old group and frequently sat by a couple in their 70s and had a great time talking with everyone we encountered.
Currently working on trying to plan our 3rd trip hopefully this year, but if you are reading this review and on the fence, I would say take a chance like we did as we haven't been disappointed yet!