TRAVEL | Discovering The Ultimate 5* Luxury Beach Holiday At The TRS Yucatan in Mexico

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TRS Yucatan Luxury Hotel MexicoThe huge infinity pool overlooking the Caribbean sea at the TRS Yucatan

Following a glorious week spent in the Maldives last year, I was keen to get another beach holiday in this year. With just a few criteria on my list (adults only, beachfront location and reef accessible from the beach), I started looking at Kenwood Travel who I booked with last year, before I came across some great deals on the Blue Bay Travel website.

The thought of going to a bustling tourist hot spot like Cancun did little for me, but when I came across the adults-only luxury 5* TRS Yucatan Hotel further down the Yucatan peninsula that was offering a free upgrade to a Junior suite with a private pool and butler(!), I set to work, trying to convince myself that Mexico was for me.

After reading up on the location I was sold and snapped up the all-inclusive special offer, which happily came in well below my budget.

It’s all about the location

Located around 95km south from Cancun, the beautiful adults-only TRS Yucatan hotel sits on the coast, close to the island of Cozumel. As well as easy access to a house reef a 5 minute walk down the beach, the southern tip of the island of Cozumel is a designated marine nature reserve making it the perfect location in terms of both snorkeling and diving.

Beachfront location of the TRS Yucatan hotel

TRS Yucatan hotel Mexico beach locationThe main infinity pool, one of 3 pools at the TRS Yucatan

As Mexico’s largest Caribbean island, Cozumel has a world renowned reef which is part of the Mesoamerica Barrier Reef System, second in size only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

The southern part of Cozumel is protected and has Marine Park status, meaning to dive there a special permit is needed and after exchanging a few emails with at Aqua Excursions (operating from The Grand Palladium hotel, part of the same wider Palladium complex), I was advised that the Cozumel dive was the one to go for and that even a snorkeling trip to the local reef pretty much guaranteed the sighting to sea turtles, something my daughter was very keen to do.

The Journey

Flying direct to Cancun from Manchester airport was super convenient as I live only half an hour away from the airport. We opted to get the train to avoid both the expense of airport parking and the worry of having to drive home from the airport after no sleep on our return journey.

Mexico Thomas Cook AirlinesOn board the Thomas Cook Airlines flight to Cancun

The online check in for our Thomas Cook Airlines flight to Cancun opened the standard 24 hours before we were due to fly, but I was surprised to find that our seats had already been allocated and could not be changed. I’ve never flown  long-haul with a budget carrier before, and to be honest I’d definitely try to avoid doing it again in future.

Whilst the plane was clean and modern and left on time, it wasn’t what I’m used to. When I fly long-haul I usually fly with the likes of BA, Emirates or Etihad, so being presented with just 5 film choices was a bit of a surprise. I consoled myself with an in-flight Prosecco and was thankful I’d loaded up my tablet with films and audio books.

Flight to Cancun

The seats I thought were actually quite roomy, but exceptionally uncomfortable with almost no padding at all, leaving me with a numb bum and a very achey back. With nothing on the head-rest to support your head, even with my Trtle travel pillow I found it impossible to sleep, luckily though at 9.5 hours the flight was relatively short (as far as long-haul flights go that is!).

Upon arrival, we had to run the gauntlet of yelling salesmen that line the area before you can exit Cancun airport, selling everything from excursions to car hire and amusingly, Tequilla shots. The blast of hot humid air as we stepped out of the airport and followed the Blue Bay Travel rep to our transfer minibus was a huge relief.

Visiting Mexico in late September can be considered risky, with it being slap bang in the rainy season. I’d prepared myself that we might get cooler weather, rain and cloud cover so a clear blue sky and blazing sunshine greeting us was wonderful and provided my first realisation about Mexico – everything seems so much brighter and more vibrant there.

TRS Yucatan LobbyThe TRS Yucatan lobby

The Accommodation

It took less than 2 hours to get to the TRS Yucatan and we were ushered into the enormous hotel lobby, greeted by a smiling member of staff, and given a glass of bubbly something or other and a wet towel to freshen up.

There was a mix up with the room so we had to wait a short while for that to be sorted out, no great hardship, as we were shown in the direction of the lobby bar and happily sat outside sipping cocktails, and in less than 10 minutes we were told our room was ready.

The suite itself was large and airy and as I was traveling with my daughter, we’d opted for a room with two beds, and I was pleased to find 2 nice big doubles in the room, festooned with pillows and cushions.

The mini bar was fully stocked with soft drinks and beer (the fact we don’t drink beer was a bit of a shame!), and there were also 3 large bottles of complimentary spirits in the room; Tequilla, Whisky and Vodka.

TRS Yucatan Juniour SuiteThe interior of our suite at the TRS Yucatan

The suite was open plan with a sitting area at the far end with big sliding doors leading out onto our private terrace with a wonderful plunge pool. We were disappointed to have no real view to speak of as we were directly behind Helios restaurant on the beach front, but there was plenty of foliage and greenery to look at.

Private plunge pool at TRS Yucatan suitesOur private plunge pool was a big hit and we spent a lot of time in it!

The one thing we weren’t keen on was the bathroom configuration. There was a small toilet cubicle that was weirdly, fully mirrored and contained a phone (who orders room service whilst they are on the loo?!), next to another fully mirrored yet separate shower room, and the double sinks were actually located in the room. This isn’t a hotel to choose if you aren’t comfortable with constantly seeing yourself as there were mirrors everywhere!

Private plunge pool at TRS Yucatan suitesThe lovely secluded veranda outside our suite

The location

Whilst the hotel does have a sea front location, the beach isn’t directly accessible from the property due to rocks, instead a short 5 minute walk takes you to the Grand Palladium resort, a hotel in the same chain and part of the larger Palladium complex, where you’ll also find a shaded area full of large cabanas reserved especially for TRS Yucatan guests. This is also where the Aqua Excursions dive school can be found.

The Private beach at TRS YucatanThe private beach at TRS Yucatan

The complex is so large that there are golf carts permanently trundling around making it super easy to get around, but we preferred to walk between resorts, taking every opportunity to burn off the insane amount of calories we consumed because the food and cocktails were so amazing.

Wildlife

I was so blown away by the wildlife we saw during our stay that I’ve written an entire blog post packed full of pictures and telling you all about it.

Take a look at the article here: Wildlife Spotted at The TRS Yucatan, Maya Riviera, Mexico.

Iguana TRS YucatanIguanas were everywhere!

What we did

Whilst local culture is always important when I go away, typically tourist day trips don’t interest me. Standing at the foot of Chicehn Itza surrounded by hundreds of other people all jostling to get the same Instagram shot doesn’t really do it for me.

Flying long-haul for a short holiday means that it can be very difficult to fit everything in, so before leaving I made the decision that this trip would be all about much needed relaxation and exploring the marine life of the region.

Infinity pool at TRS YucatanOne of the many pools at the Palladium hotels complex

A 7 day holiday presents a bit of a challenge in terms of trying to balance getting out and about exploring with the desire for relaxation.

With the emphasis firmly on relaxation, I was keen not to over do things, so had decided before arriving to do a local snorkeling boat trip, a Cenote dive and a full day diving in the Marine reserve of Cozumel.

Upon arrival despite glorious hot sunshine, we quickly found that the beach had been plagued by an enormous seaweed bloom, which was also badly affecting the visibility under the water, which when I swam out, was zero – It was like snorkeling in a thick brown soup.

The beach too was covered, and despite tractors working all through the day every day, they did little to rid the beach of the blight. Unfortunate, as the weather that had caused the seaweed and churned up the sea also meant snorkeling at the local reef was simply not viable.

The Private beach at TRS Yucatan

In the sea Mexico TRS Yucatan beach

This forced a change in plans and at the dive school, located a short walk down the beach at the Grand Palladium hotel (one of the 4 hotels that form the huge Palladium complex) I chatted to the team there who advised that our plan to go to Cozumel was our best bet for good marine life. Having already planned to do this trip as well as booking a dive there, I also enquired about their PADI scuba diving course.

Diving in Cozumel

Despite diving yearly, due to only ever being able to go on holiday for a week, I still hadn’t found the time to get properly PADI qualified, but this time around my daughter talked me into it. She doesn’t dive, but was able to book a snorkel trip on the same dive boat I’d be on, which meant whilst I did my two final PADI dives, she was able to visit 3 snorkel spots.

Scuba diving padi training confined water diveMy first confined water dive, one of three dives I did in order to gain my PADI Scuba Diver qualification

In the Maldives last year I did my deepest dive yet at 13 metres, and I loved being able to go a little deeper on my final dives and reached 15 metres, and was utterly delighted to see a beautiful nurse shark, French angel fish, lots of lobsters and several Baraccuda.

Boarding the ferry to CozumelBoarding the ferry to Cozumel

My 3 dives were brilliant, and I was delighted to pass my final exam and finally walk away as a qualified scuba diver. Doing the course however took up the best part of 3 days, which meant our plans to do anything else went pretty much out of the window.

Final PADI dive in Cozumel, Mexico

Snorkeling in Cozumel

Spa Day

The spa at the TRS Yucatan was divine. There is a separate pool there that only spa visitors can use, and it’s a lovely lazy river style meandering pool with a healthy juice bar at the far side. Inside the main building there are various plunge pools and our massages were divine, leaving us feeling truly relaxed, however, the spa prices were extortionate.

I’m a regular spa visitor here in the UK and I’ve never seen prices quite that high before. A 30 minute massage for example was an eye-watering $120, that said, our complimentary massage was utterly fantastic and the spa is well worth a visit.

The Spa at the TRS YucatanThe Spa at the TRS Yucatan

Food & Drink

To say the food and drink was excellent would be an understatement. All-inclusive can often conjure up images of crowded buffets serving mediocre food to please the masses. Not so at the TRS Yucatan.

Helios beach bar and restaurant

On arrival our butler explained all about the food and drink options. Our suite was a few steps away from Helios, a gorgeous beach bar that was also our choice for breakfast most mornings, and breakfast was a true feast.

As well as waiter service and the ability to order off the menu, there was a huge breakfast buffet with live cooking stations with an excellent selection of juices, authentic Mexican dishes, fruit, pastries, cheese, meat, yogurt and lots more besides.

Breakfast at Helios TRS YucatanBreakfast at Helios

We also dined at Helios for lunch several times and the Fajitas were so delicious I could have happily eaten them every day, but with so many options to choose from, including lots of fresh fish, we tried something different every day.

Food at the TRS Yucatan

Desserts at Helios

For evening dining the options were even better, though it is recommended to book your choice of restaurant in advance, particularly the superb El Gaucho, where I had lobster. Speaking of which, unlimited lobster was even available on room service. Our second favourite dinner was at La Bohème the tapas restaurant which was utterly beautiful and the food and service was superb.

La Boheme restaurantThe interior of La Bohème restaurant

The only restaurant that disappointed us was Ribs & More, the American style restaurant at the Grand Palladium resort where the food and service was decidedly mediocre.

The food highlight had to be the 7 course tasting menu at Chic Cabaret & Restaurant. Consistently rated as ‘excellent’ on TripAdvisor. Whilst cheesy cabaret shows really aren’t my thing, the performers were very good and the food was excellent. As well as 7 courses of pure deliciousness, there were a variety of different shots with each course, including of course Tequila, of which we drank far too much!

Chic cabaret and restaurant

Chic cabaret and restaurantChic cabaret and restaurant

Whilst it was a real shame about the seaweed and being unable to snorkel on the house reef as a result, the holiday was superb throughout and it was impossible to really find fault with anything. The service was superb, the food and drink incredible, the location stunning and our suite and the hotel facilities were excellent.

TRS Yucatan holiday BlueBay TravelMe with my daughter

Holiday Highlights

  • Attentive and friendly butler service
  • Incredible food and drink
  • Extensive wildlife
  • Huge infinity pool overlooking the sea with waiter service
  • Friendly staff
  • Our beautiful suite with private plunge pool
  • Finally getting my PADI dive qualification
  • Day trip to the marine reserve in Cozumel

Private pool in our suite

Our trip to the Mexico

We flew to Mexico at the end of September direct from Manchester with Thomas Cook and stayed at the adults-only, beach front TRS Yucatan on the Yucatan peninsula.

Our week long trip was booked through Blue Bay Travel at a cost of £1,069.96pp, all-inclusive staying in a Royal Junior Suite with private pool and butler.

I booked the PADI Scuba Diver course and Cozumel Dives with Aqua Excursions at a cost of $380.

Shell Robshaw-Bryan
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