The Martini Bar at Excellence Playa Mujeres

The first thing that caught my eye on arriving at Excellence Playa Mujeres was the grand martini bar right in the main lobby. After I checked in, I stopped by to hear the bartender describe their many signature martinis. I decided on the espresso martini, a great pick-me-up after a day of traveling.

As perfect as the martinis are in the lobby, there are many more bars to explore throughout the resort each with their own flavor. X-Lounge, the beachside watering hole, has amazing fruity concoctions as does Blue, the poolside swim up bar. Catch some theatrics at Stars with live evening entertainment or go dancing at Alegria. There are plenty more to choose from – 10 in total! – so trust me, you won’t be going thirsty at during your stay at Excellence.

-Funjet Insider Laura

Top 3 Tips for Surviving Black Friday Mania

Dun dun…dun dun…do you hear that? Black Friday is coming. If the inevitable insanity is giving you anxiety, just take some deep breaths. We have some advice for weathering the oncoming storm.

Funjet’s Top 3 Tips for Surviving Black Friday

1. Don’t cave into the Thanksgiving night shopping. Stores are opening earlier and earlier, and these days it feels like there’s barely time for pie before it’s time to go get in line for the deals. No more! We happen to know that a lot of stores offer excellent online deals as well (hint: Funjet is one of them!). So you don’t have to sacrifice your family time to get a jump on your holiday shopping. We’d particularly like to recommend giving the gift of travel this year!

2. Make a game plan. A little advance planning can mean less mania on Black Friday. Funjet, like many stores, offers sneak previews of their Black Friday deals, so you can do all of your research in advance and be ready to buy quickly…and get back to that food coma. (Pro tip: Funjet also offers email alerts, so you can get an email notification when the deals are available on Black Friday! See how easy life can be?)

3. Practice deep breathing. If you do venture out into the world for Black Friday, just remain calm and remember – that blender is not worth your dignity. Also, smile at the other shoppers around you; a little good-will can go a long way!

Want to sign up for those handy email alerts? Do that here.
Get a sneak peek of Funjet’s Ultimate Rock Star Vacation Package, only available this Black Friday.

Your Boss Really Wants You to Take a Vacation

The end of the year is coming up – and that means you probably have a pile of unused paid vacation days left unused. But foregoing a vacation, even a short getaway, has more of an impact on your overall health and job performance than you might think. Studies have shown that taking vacations has a positive influence on your happiness, health and work, which is why your boss really wants you to take a vacation.5 Reasons Your Boss Wants You to Take a Vacation

Basmati Restaurant at Excellence Resorts

I have always loved Indian food. Spicy curries over fluffy, steamed basmati rice is my idea of heaven. Basmati is the newest addition to Excellence Resorts’ fine dining options, and has quickly become a favorite among guests who love exotic spices from faraway destinations.

If you’re unsure of what to order they offer plenty of sampler options for your curious appetite. My favorite was the chicken kabobs marinated with spiced yogurt. It was so tender and flavorful.

If you don’t have a favorite Indian dish already, you’ll find one here.

-Funjet Insider Laura

Pepitos Café at El Dorado Maroma

Each morning of my stay at El Dorado Maroma, by Karisma, I got to enjoy breakfast on the beach at Pepitos Café, complete with a tall glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice. The Gourmet Inclusive® experience at Pepitos means a lunch menu that changes daily. Paella made with fresh ocean fish, barbeque sauce made from scratch—is your mouth watering yet?

And all those fresh ingredients? Grown in Karisma’s 100,000 square foot greenhouse at El Dorado Royale, which I got to tour.

I’m always interested in hearing about traveler’s favorite Gourmet Inclusive® experience at El Dorado, Generations or Azul Hotel. If you have one, share it in the comments below.

-Funjet Insider Laura

Find out more about El Dorado Spa Resorts at funjet.com >>

How to Live Like a Rock Star with 5 of your Friends

Guys. Funjet Vacations is coming through for you in a major way. If you’ve ever dreamed of traveling in high style – literally like a celebrity – then read on. (And if you haven’t dreamed of that, well, stop lying to yourself and keep reading anyway.)

Funjet is offering what is perhaps the most outrageous Black Friday deal you’ve heard of – the Ultimate Rock Star Vacation Package at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana. And they’re not tossing around the word “ultimate” lightly; it’s pretty much going to be the most epic vacation of all time. You and five of your closest friends will get the royal treatment.

Start the experience with a private jet to take you down to Punta Cana. There, two luxurious vehicles will whisk you away to the resort, where you’ll be shown to the Rock Star Suite by your personal butler. Oh, and your butler will be on-call during your whole stay, so just let him know if you need anything.

During your five-night stay in style, you’ll have access to all kinds of VIP areas. You’ll have a private beach area and pool deck, a private table in the casino, VIP table at ORO nightclub with bottle service, a private dinner at the Simon Mansion restaurant and a private catamaran cruise.

Of course, no rock star vacation would be complete without music. And you’ll have plenty of it. You will get your own private in-suite party complete with a DJ, as well as a private in-room acoustic concert from a former American Idol or The Voice contestant. Plus, you can use the sweet Fender guitars at Hard Rock to have your own jam sessions. You’re rock royalty, after all.

After all of that, you’ll need some pampering, so you’ll have massages and spa treatments, and a professional golf lesson.

Of course, no celebrity has the time to post their own Instagram pics and Tweets; they’re way to busy having an awesome time. You’ll have a personal Social Media Concierge to post photos for you. And speaking of photos, this rock star-worthy vacation wouldn’t be complete without paparazzi who will make sure to capture those memories.

Funjet has thought of everything for this Ultimate Rock Star Vacation Package. And, being a Black Friday deal, they’re knocking $50,000 off the price of this experience – discounting it from $150,000 to $100,000. We’re pretty confident in saying that this is one ridiculously awesome vacation that you’ll never forget.

(And as insanely cool as this all sounds, don’t worry if you don’t have an extra $100,000 to spend on Black Friday. We have more Black Friday deals coming soon – and what makes them ridiculously awesome are the low prices!)

What part of this crazy-awesome Ultimate Rock Star Vacation Package would you most look forward to if you could bring 5 friends along?

Chez Isabelle at Excellence Resorts

Opening the menu at Excellence Resorts‘ romantic Chez Isabelle was love at first sight. It’s usually a problem for me when everything on the menu looks amazing but instead of agonizing over my decision like I usually would, I simply got down to business with a bottle of wine and my first hot appetizer, escargot in a puff pastry with walnuts and warm Roquefort cheese. Amazing.

The atmosphere at Chez Isabelle is perfect for a romantic dinner and the food is pure French brilliance. The walls at Chez Isabelle are covered in wine racks, so be sure to ask for a recommendation from the sommelier on a good dessert wine to pair with with the caramelized butter apple tart!

-Funjet Insider Laura

A Really Swingin’ Place at El Dorado

The whole point of a vacation is to relax and have fun (okay, those are two points, but you get the idea).  On my visit to El Dorado Royale, by Karisma, I found a place that serves tropical drinks with a little bit of whimsy.

Bar Las Guacamayas also often has live music, too, so you can swing along to the beat. Enjoy your adult beverage while feeling like a kid again! If you’re worried about spilling, they’ve got regular chairs as well (and since it’s all-inclusive, you can always just order another).

Do you know of other unique and fun bars I should be sure to check out? Let me know in the comments below.

-Funjet Insider Laura

Special Dietary Needs? Not a Problem at Excellence Resorts

If you have special dietary needs or restrictions, you might be hesitant to travel. Constantly searching for a restaurant that serves something you can eat (and enjoy), scouring menus full of items you don’t recognize. It can be stressful, and the last thing you want is for that to take away from your vacation experience.

More and more, when you travel to an all-inclusive resort, this is something you don’t have to worry about. With the same staff serving you each day, they’ll get to know you and your needs, meaning you won’t have to explain everything at every meal.

Excellence Resorts really does an excellent job (sorry for the pun, but it’s true!) at accommodating special diets. Both their buffet and a la carte restaurants offer a variety of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. And it really is a variety—different gluten-free bread options, an amazing juice bar and hearty salads like the grilled cactus salad at Agave. Agave and Basmati restaurants are especially good when it comes to healthy choices.

Back when I visited El Dorado Resorts by Karisma, I also made sure to ask them how they accommodate dietary restrictions. Don’t be afraid to contact the resort before you leave or talk to the staff when you arrive.  They want you to enjoy your experience, and come back again!

If you know of resorts that are particularly good with dealing with special dietary restrictions or special guest needs, please let us know in the comments below.

-Funjet Insider Laura

Dine and Dance on the Water at Xoximilco

At this beautiful setting located inside Cancun I sampled platters of traditional Mexican cuisine and danced for hours to the virtual parade of boats that would float alongside us to perform their music. It was an unforgettable experience.

I loved that we got to hear a variety of sounds from the marimba to other styles like mariachi, bolero, and the jarocho.  Eating and dancing on the peaceful waters of the canals was a blast. If you can find another experience quite like this, let me know, I’d love to try it!

-Funjet Insider Laura