Desire Pearl, Mayan Riviera, Mexico 2017

A tale of two worlds.
Having traveled a good part of the world, and experienced some amazing service, this resort is second to none when it comes to attitude, effort, politeness and making a guest feel special. The food and drink is spectacular (especially if you take the time to listen to your server. Their suggestions and knowledge of each chef’s specials can guide you to mouth watering local treats!)

The hotel is small to medium allowing a very personal feel. The facilities are wonderful. Even the beach which can be stony in the general area is quite passable. You can walk quite a distance feeling safe and you can walk out into the ocean.

The animation staff tries to engage you but recognizes those who wish to remain in their own worlds. However, the serving staff is ever present and this is most appreciated in an all inclusive.

Here comes the other world….DO NOT get sucked into a time share presentation. Run away screaming or make a big scene but no matter what is offered, take a giant pass. If you make the mistake be prepared to face the wrath of the sales team unless you write a big cheque. They get very impolite bordering on nasty. I don’t want to dwell on this as it ruins a wonderful property. Just be forewarned and stay resolute!

Back to the happy aspects. The price is upper end but you can watch for deals. And the hotel is perfect for a 4-night getaway from home. Cancun is easy to get to and relatively inexpensive. You will return home talking about your next visit to Desire. It leaves that kind of impression.

El Dorado Royale. Something different in 5 star all inclusives

El Dorado Royale Review

By Sue McGarvie and Blaik Spratt, Clinical Relationship Therapists, Travel Journalists

On the surface the El Dorado Royale is just one of a number of five star all inclusives that frequent the coast from Cancun along the Mayan Riviera to Tulum on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. Albeit an enormous resort with over 630 rooms and 450 acres of land. The property includes horse and camel (yes camel) stables, its own desalination plant, and with ocean frontage so wide that you need a golf cart to get you to dinner. With over 1000 employees, the El Dorado Royale and the attached high-end El Dorado Casitas Royale is like a small city. Think of a land where everyone says “Hola” as you walk by. The resort emphasizes their specialized beach butler service, personal concierges, impeccable grounds, and wedding and spa services. You can find the same services at many other resorts but what stands out at the El Dorado Royale is the food.

The El Dorado is an adult only resort that emphasizes unbelievable, wildly varied, all-inclusive gourmet food. If you are a foodie who is tired of huge restaurant bills but don’t want to compromise on quality then the El Dorado is the holiday you need to explore. They have gourmet theatre where you can watch the chef prepare while you eat, or alternatively take day classes in gourmet cooking in the Mexican Fuentes restaurant. The food was fantastic. We are still talking about the duck/lamb combination dinner with the best chocolate lava cake (warm, melt-in-your-mouth, hmm) that has ever been devoured. It showed amazing restraint not to order a second dessert with its side of Baileys ice cream.

Over all the El Dorado is the “no surprises vacation”. You can bank on warm weather (when not during the rainy season), five star service and rooms with a Wow factor. Swim up plunge pool rooms, outdoor double (or quadruple) showers, indoor Jacuzzi’s, rose petals on the beds and overall abject luxury. You have the choice of 11 pools, 15 different bars (and over 50 different umbrella drinks), seven different restaurants, and three “gourmet corners” for emergency late night pizza and healthy choices. You could happily book your parents, honeymooners, even grandparents and know that there would be universality to the food, accommodations and service that you can bank on. Elegant, sophisticated, adult, and very high end are the words we would use to describe the El Dorado Royale.

But we wanted to look beyond the amazing food, weather, and property to find out what was truly special about the El Dorado. And we found it in the most unexpected place.

Mexico has been late in embracing environmental and “green” concerns. However in keeping with a new recyclable and organic emphasis at the El Dorado, the Mayan owner has embarked on an ambitious new greenhouse program. With acres of greenhouses using the latest technology, this new program is defining freshness for hotel foods, and offering up a model of organic farming. Yup, the El Dorado luxury winter palace for discriminating tourists is getting into farming vegetables in a big way. They currently produce over 1.5 tons of fresh vegetables a day. They supply all of their El Dorado and Azul chain of hotels, sell vegetables and herbs at a reduced cost to employees and are now able to sell more to other neighbouring hotels. Besides the awe inspiring volume of food produced in the automated greenhouses, what is cool is that the growing materials are crushed up coconut shells and beach sand. The agronomist on staff is using abundant and readily available natural products as a growth medium for the plants. They use natural tree saps as insecticide and their own bee colonies for pollination. Coupled with perfect temperatures, and loads of light it represents ideal growing conditions.

The staff has really bought into the concept of fresh, organic food as a way to differentiate the resort from a crowded marketplace. Our tour was conducted by an enthusiastic tennis pro turned junior agronomist and everyone from the bellmen to the wait staff knew how special the greenhouse program is to the resort. With plans to expand to fruit, berry and additional herbs, the greenhouse is one of the ways that the El Dorado chooses to be serious about food. The chef picks his produce every day for dinner, and works with the greenhouse staff to try different varieties for subtle flavours. The resort offers daily tours of the greenhouse for interested guests, and can include samples of home grown vegetables as take aways to add to the fresh fruit bowl found in all the rooms.

It is an organic success story at a resort that has embraced healthy living among all the decadence. And the care put into the all inclusive food that the El Dorado Royale serves is definitely a difference maker when selecting a holiday resort.

Desire/Temptations in Los Cabos. How to make friends naked.

How to make friends at a Nude Lifestyle resort
Desire Los Cabos
by Sue McGarvie, Clinical sex therapist
It’s not just that we’ve had 17 feet of snow this winter in my part of Canada, that has me wishing I could emigrate to Mexico. I have fallen in love with the lifestyle, and culture of our southern neighbors. The Mexico I experienced, was absolute paradise. Los Cabos Mexico, where I spent a week in March this year, is home to the most charming Latino waiters, almost perfect weather, the world’s yummiest coconut ice cream, and now arguably the best couples resort in the world. Move over Hedonism, the new Desire Resorts has got serious game.

{Insert photo 1. here}
Los Cabos Mexico, which bills itself as a place of guaranteed sunshine, (only six days of rain all of last year), is located on the tip of the Baja, where the sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean. It’s a thousand miles of desert, along Mexico’s west coast, Los Cabos has come into it’s own due to a spectacular coastline and the advent of desalination, and with bevy of fresh water out of the sea that has turned desolate scrub brush into an oasis. This is where the wealthy Californian’s come to vacation (typical real estate prices for a vacation property is over a US million). And at the Desire Resort, it is where the sexually adventurous come to explore the romantic and erotic side to their relationship.

Desire Los Cabos, is similar to Desire Cancun in many ways. An exclusive, couple-only, clothing optional, all inclusive hotel, with a boutique resort feel, with a maximum capacity of 150 rooms. Desire comes with complete privacy and serious security. It’s the honeymoon of decadence and sensuality that you may have always wanted. I find that like with any nude place, the minute you take your clothes off, your inhibitions go as well. That means fellow guests are open, and conversation and friendships start easily all over the resort. However unlike with a typical nude or clothing optional resort, (like the Caliente resorts where PDA’s –public displays of affection- can get you kicked out), there are places where you can be overtly sexual with your (or possibly someone else’s) partner. It is more centrally located than in Cancun, (in the zone tourista, as opposed to Cancun which is way, way off the beaten path). This means there is no nudity on the more public beach, (too bad, as the Desire Cancun beach beds are one of life’s great pleasures). It also means swimming in the ocean is out (the flags read FATAL due to the undertow), but provided you wore a bathing suit, the beach was a delight to walk. With no beach activities, it meant that everyone congregated in the rooftop hot tub, and heated, extra-large, central swimming pool. This central congregation meant it was easier to meet everyone staying in the resort on a first name basis. This also meant you had less of the “gilded cage” feel, as you could easily walk to shopping, restaurants and leave the resort if you needed a change of scenery. So if you are social, and a perfect holiday is having everyone know your name and making friends, the west coast Desire may be a better fit for you, than the isolated, and spread out Cancun Desire. Overall I thought the food was good, (I hugged Antonio, my evening grill chef who made something he specially concocted just for me every night), and I loved the live music played outside between dinner and dance club opening outside on the mezzanine.

{Insert photo 2 here}

They’ve set the lay out well, so that sexual interaction happens only on the secluded hot tub area, or in the playroom in the dance club. Which means that if you choose not to watch the sex going on, (although who’s kidding, everyone is curious to see if their pool buddies are doing anything more interesting than they do), you can completely avoid that section. So with sex only going on in very specific places, you can otherwise treat it like any other first class resort except that a good 60% of the guests are in various stages of undress.

This is the place where you can be nude (or not), overtly sexual with your partner (or not), and meet other couples for friendship or more. Or you can stay to yourself, and honeymoon in an erotic environment. As Sylvia the Guest Services manager said “The experience at Desire is strictly what you make of it”. So Desire can be called sensuously discreet. It’s there if you want it, but sex is done with ease and elegance. I would say that only about 25% of the guests (in my humble estimation) were in the “swinging” or lifestyle play. Some people were direct in their approach that they were looking for an exchange, but most were just having their partner only eroticism. What surprised me was how many “first-timers” there were, who had never even been to a nude beach before. There was a large group of people who booked off Expedia looking for a vacancy, and although seemed surprised at how sexually open the place was, very quickly dropped the laundry and joined in on the semi-clothed frolicking. When in Rome… seemed to be the philosophy, and the comfortable atmosphere relaxed even the most prudish. I watched a Catholic, grade 1 teacher go from cover-ups, to commando, to sex in public with her husband, over a three day period. Desire has a minimum age of 25 posted on their website, and the age ranged from mid to late 20’s, with the bulk of the guests between 30 and 50. Certainly a 60 year old plus couple wouldn’t be out of place, but most of the bodies were better than average, and a majority had been enhanced. The crowd was affluent, well-preserved, and well-groomed, (with more than their share of silicone and botox).

{insert photo 3 here}
The Los Cabos is less crowded than the always booked Cancun location (114 rooms), but my guess is that it will be as equally difficult to get a room over the next year as word gets out. During the high point of the regular travel season (March break, where every other resort was fully booked), Desire Los Cabos was at only 35% capacity. This isn’t a place you bring your kids, and around family holidays, the Desire resorts are slower. Times that are typically not “family holiday time”, you’ll find the parents have pawned off the kids and are engaging in the sensuous adult play that a trip to Desire offers. As an example, May, a warm month up north is 100% booked at Desire Los Cabos, when there are vacancies everywhere else.

A couple of things you may want to take note of when packing for Desire. With guaranteed sunshine, and predominate nudity, we went through far less clothes than anticipated. Although day time clothing needs can be put into a toiletry bag, most women dressed elegantly for cocktails, dinner and after dinner drinks, and for the
disco party, every night is theme night. So my suggestion is bring a big suite case full
of erotic costumes to be creatively silly. It is hot and sexually charged at the disco. Themes included Rodeo-cowboy, naughty school yard, pink, red, and black and white nights, jungle, along with emergency (fireman, nurse). Cancun had similar (but different themes), and it was an adult dress up, with a smile. You should also know that Desire has a camera verboten policy, so you won’t end up in someone else’s pictures naked. However, you may need to plan a day trip if you need pictures to take back to the kids because you can’t otherwise take photos.

Despite what a good job Desire is doing running its resort, it wasn’t perfect. The highlight was the staff and service. I can honestly say that I’ve never met a more gracious, more accommodating staff anywhere in the world. They learned your names from the get go, and made a point to make everyone feel special.

The food however, was a bit inconsistent at times. We had the best steak we’ve ever eaten on holidays, as well as the worst steak, only a day apart. I thought there could have been a more rounded out room service menu, and the pool lunch food was repetitive as the only option to eat. They had great bartenders however. I was very surprised as a therapist, (you would think even for strictly liability reasons), there wasn’t condoms in the playroom and hot tub areas. I also wished that the disco should open earlier for those of us who turn into a pumpkin after midnight.

{insert photo 4 here}

Most significantly, I also felt that there was a real thirst for information on what is the erotic lifestyle, and there was a need for clear, non-judgmental facts about what full swing, lifestyle play, group massage, bisexual swap meant to the new attendees. Having tourists books in each rooms were helpful, but those weren’t the questions it took five margherita’s, and a week of beating around the bush to ask. Everyone it seemed, was looking for information on “how do you spice up your relationship with group play without messing up what you have”, or just “how do you keep it hot after years together?” Desire seems to be marketing to the large middle group that one guest described as “Empty Nesters gone wild”, who are curious, open, but very tentative in trying out any kind of extra marital play. Not the serious swingers who are open to anything and everything, but more than the romance marketed by conventional couples resorts. With a few minor changes (better training of their activity staff, more ice breakers, and delicately written information packages), the Desire resorts will be the premiere location for sensuous couples world-wide. Book your holiday soon, because as they make the final adjustments, they will continue to be sold out year round.

Picture Credits:,