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A few questions about VIM

Chicago, Illinois
4 posts
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A few questions about VIM

Greetings all!

I recently booked a week's stay at the VIM for my honeymoon! My wife-to-be has no idea where we are going on the honeymoon or that we are staying all inclusive. After perusing the reviews and this section of the forums I have learned much, but still have a few questions:

-Should I travel with cash (USD)? We plan on taking one excursion, which I have already booked, and I know that tipping is recommended while at the resort.

-How prevalent is tipping? Every drink? Every meal? Every bell boy? Every golf cart ride?

-How bad is the towel game? If it is played do most people adhere to the rules? Could I wake up, snag some spots, sleep more, have breakfast, then return to my nicely saved chairs? That to me seems unlikely.

-Is the spa worth it? I know that they provide a 10% discount for honeymooners.

-Is there any one activity/restaurant/bar that we absolutely need to do/visit during our visit? I wanna make sure we enjoy all the resort has to offer.

I am sure I will have more questions, but we will start with these.

Thank you all!

Greg

Collegeville...
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365 posts
87 reviews
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1. Re: A few questions about VIM

Greg, we are returning very soon for our 3rd visit. USD is widely accepted in that part of Mexico. I honestly can't think of one thing that it wouldn't be. That being said, I believe it was our first visit, The Warden and I decided we were going to do the "Spa Thing" and get massages. It was great, blah,blah,blah, we simply paid by putting on our room tab and it in turn was charged to the credit card on file. Well, if we simply would've paid cash or pesos at the time, it would've been much cheaper as the exchange rate changed by 2 peso/ $1 USD in the couple of days between the massage and check out.....lesson learned.

Speaking of massages, you'll find out that everyday there is some sort of special at the Spa and you are probably better served not booking ahead of time and jumping on the opportunity when you see something that you would like in the daily newsletter.

As far as tipping goes, We tip every round of drinks, every day maid service (morning and turn down) and every meal.....I don't think there is any "right" or "wrong" way per se. Once you see how hard they work, I think you'll be more than willing to be a little generous with the staff. If not.....no biggie...you won't be judged.

We've always enjoyed the Mexican restaurant, but are really looking forward to the Indonesian place this time as we've recently accquired a taste for that type of food.

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Mexico
Mexico
North America
Collegeville...
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365 posts
87 reviews
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2. Re: A few questions about VIM

Also, congrats on your upcoming wedding and I'm sure you'll enjoy your honeymoon !! Do yourself a favor, don't check the weather or let a random bad review worry you....you'll have enough on your plate prior to enjoying yourself in paradise !

Chicago, Illinois
4 posts
1 review
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3. Re: A few questions about VIM

Tom,

Thank you for your kind words good sir. And for the sage advice.

I have been to an all inclusive when I was younger and saw how hard the staff worked. The only reason I inquire is because at the time I wasn't the one in charge of the tipping. I let my parents worry about that!

I am definitely looking forward to the trip.

Denver, Colorado
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41 posts
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4. Re: A few questions about VIM

We Honeymooned at the VIM and had a great time. We used USD for everything. No cards. No conversions to Peso's. Just USD.

We are fairly regular tippers, but are not big drinkers so we're not at the bar often. We tip for just about everything. Couple bucks here and there. I like to get $2 bills to save space.

We walked South down the beach to the Iberostar and we did Para-sailing from their property. We also walked around their place and took a look at the pools and buffets and such. We didn't swim or eat anything. Just walked around and looked. The Iberostar was about a 35 minute walk down the beach.

The steak dinner at VIM was to die for. Maybe one of the best meals I've ever had in Mexico. We tipped the chef's at the meal specifically due to how good it was.

We made random friends with some of the stray cats. They really enjoyed left-overs from dinner.

We liked VIM. We still prefer the mega-resorts like Barcelo, but VIM was a nice quiet place for our Honeymoon.

Be sure to to tell the check-in staff that it's your honeymoon. The VIM prints a daily flyer that gets left in all the rooms advising meals and entertainment options. They will list you on the printout if they know it's your honeymoon. That was a nice treat and we still have that flyer with our names on it.

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Mexico
Mexico
North America
Flushing, New York...
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1,042 posts
43 reviews
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5. Re: A few questions about VIM

1- we tip with usd. Nothing written in stone but here is my thoughts

Drinks- $1, except before heading ot the room at night, when they fill up a talll glass of southern comfort to go--$3

Maids 2-3 dollars every day.

Breakfast and lunch buffet- $2 (they always remember my latte with a shot of espresso!

Golf cart shuttle driver $1.

There are other special employees that we tip accordingly.

We did exchange some dollars to pesos at reception because we use the colectivo to head to playa del carmen or Puerto Morelos.

We haven't used the Spa, but as someone else stated, they run specials every day, probably depending on number of bookings.

We always go in January and the towel game is in force at the main pool. We prefer the quiet lazy pool by buildings 6-8 that has its own great little bar.

We are beach people and havent had trouble finding a palapa with shade except one day. As for loungers, there are tons of them.

The fire show on the beach is a must. The japanese restaurant has a tepanyaki table (need reservation) and the chefs show is nice if you havent experienced it. Tables are for 8 or 10 people, so you meet others. The food is a little bland. The mexican hot soup is great, the lamb vindaloo at the indonesian is also delicious.

You can message me with any other questions that pop up. And enjoy the honeymoon!!

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Puerto Morelos
Puerto Morelos
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Neptune Beach...
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764 posts
6 reviews
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6. Re: A few questions about VIM

I visited the VIM when it had just opened.. they were still planting things.. I loved it.. Questions I have are :

as I recall it is close to 5th avenue. Is that correct? Husband likes to bar hop and shop..

AND what is in the mini bar? do they refresh daily with sodas, beer, wine? Also, do they have kayaks? other watersports? motorized? Can you swim safely most days? (I think we went when it was a bit cold in January) I live at the beach so I swim in the ocean but not if it is major washing machine.

Is it a hassle to get loungers? Do they have beach service?

Thanks.

ps we have also been to the Barcelo and are considering the adults only part but I think that is farther away from 5th ave.. ?? We will rent a car at the airport for the week..

Sandi

Neptune Beach...
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764 posts
6 reviews
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7. Re: A few questions about VIM

I visited the VIM when it had just opened.. they were still planting things.. I loved it.. Questions I have are :

as I recall it is close to 5th avenue. Is that correct? Husband likes to bar hop and shop..

AND what is in the mini bar? do they refresh daily with sodas, beer, wine? Also, do they have kayaks? other watersports? motorized? Can you swim safely most days? (I think we went when it was a bit cold in January) I live at the beach so I swim in the ocean but not if it is major washing machine.

Is it a hassle to get loungers? Do they have beach service?

Thanks.

ps we have also been to the Barcelo and are considering the adults only part but I think that is farther away from 5th ave.. ?? We will rent a car at the airport for the week..

Sandi

Neptune Beach...
Level Contributor
764 posts
6 reviews
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8. Re: A few questions about VIM

sorry about the double post.. TA has changed since I last was on.. oops

Calgary
Destination Expert
for Akumal, Riviera Maya, Cancun
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25,001 posts
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9. Re: A few questions about VIM

Greg:

- USD are widely accepted in the tourist areas with some notable exceptions, such as the ruins at Tulum. However, your money will go further if you use pesos. Tipping in either currency is perfectly acceptable (IME) but if tipping with USD, make sure the bills are in good condition and not defaced in any way. Do not tip in coins other than pesos as they are useless to the recipient;

- tipping - it's not cast in stone but here's what I do (in USD) which seems to be roughly in line with the majority:

- private transfer greeter guy at the airport = $1 - 3

- private transfer driver = $10 each way or more if he's especially nice/helpful

- bell boy = $1 per bag, usually rounded up to $5

- bartender - $1 - 2 every round or two. More if the rounds are large or comprised of frou-frou drinks that are more labour intensive;

- beach/pool wait service $1 or more EVERY round, sometimes more;

- buffet - $0 - $5, depending upon service provided;

- a la carte meals - $5 - $10 per couple or more, depending upon service provided;

- maid service $2 - $5 per day (every day, I don't wait until the end of my stay)

- fridge guy $1 - 3 per day

- towel game - prevalence and severity depend upon occupancy at the time. Doing what you describe (getting up, snagging a lounger and going back to bed) would be considered by most people to be out of line;

- spa services - I think they're overpriced (but then, I think that at all resorts) but my husband really enjoyed the free massage he got one year;

- activities - I really enjoyed the bike ride tour of the resort. It's fun and will give you a better idea of the layout of the resort;

- restaurants - my faves (in no particular order) are: L'Alsace (vichysoisse, steak/filet mignon, creme brulet), Italian (risotto, tiramisu), Tamansari (samosas, lamb vindaloo) and Ginger (sushi and sashimi).

Arubabound:

- the VIM is NOT close to 5th Avenue. It's about a 30 minute drive away. The resort offers a twice daily shuttle service to PdC most days of the week for US$18 per person but that means you'll be tied to their schedule. A better option would be to find another couple and share a taxi into PdC but make your own way back to the resort when you're done. That way, you can be on your own timetable and the cost difference will be negligible. FYI, on the days the shuttle doesn't run to PdC, it goes to Cancun or Tulum;

- minibar = beer, soda and water, refilled daily. If you have special requests, leave a note on or in the fridge;

- kayaks = yes, other stuff = small sail boat, motorized sports (e.g. sea-doo) but at an extra costl

- can you swim in the ocean most days? Well, that really depends upon the prevailing conditions at the time which are very hard to predict. I've seen the ocean at the VIM be everything from millpond smooth to 6 foot waves - and this just in a single 24 hour period! IME, you can swim most of the time but not always;

- beach lounger availability - loungers aplenty are available at the beach and the pool. It's shade that's at a premium and availability of that is going to depend upon occupancy at that time. If you come down to either the beach or the pool at 11:30am, don't expect to find any of the prime locations available;

- beach service = yes ..... but if you're at the far end of the beach, it can take a while;

- I'm not sure if the Barcelo Maya is further away from 5th Avenue or not. I *think* it is but I'm sure you can check Google maps and find that out.

- if you're even thinking about renting a car, you might want to consider reading this great thread by Bellasogno - tripadvisor.ca/ShowTopic-g3198845-i27741-k70…

FWIW, I don't think the cost of car rental in this part of the world is particularly cheap once you add on all the insurance that experienced renters recommend you buy. If you plan on using the car a lot for sightseeing etc., it may well be worth it but if the car is going to sit in the resort parking lot most of the time, then you might want to reconsider. Moreover, if you are planning on doing a lot of off-resort stuff, you might even want to rethink the whole AI thing altogether as it doesn't make much sense financially (IMHO) to pay for an AI if you're not there to enjoy the amenities (including food and drink) a significant portion of the time.

Hope this helps and happy travels to all!

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Tulum
Tulum
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Cancun
Cancun
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Chicago, Illinois
4 posts
1 review
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10. Re: A few questions about VIM

All,

Thank you all for your prompt and quite detailed responses. I like having as much information about a place before visiting. Especially since the wife-to-be has no idea where we are going. I had better have my ducks in a row!

I had a question regarding the dress code for the restaurants.

"Night Casual: Gentleman: Long pants, 3/4 pants, Bermudas, shirt with collar and long or short sleeves (it can be a polo shirt, a classic shirt, as long as it has a collar and sleeves), close shoes or elegant sandals. This dress code applies to dining at Taman Sari, La Hacienda, Restaurant Tierra and Restaurant Mar."

What the heck are elegant sandals? When they say bermudas do they mean a nice pair of shorts (ie not cargo shorts).

And then Night Elegance

"Gentlemen: Long pants only (includes elegant jeans, not torn nor ragged), shirt with collar and long or short sleeves (it can be a polo shirt, a classic shirt, as long as it has a collar and sleeves), elegant shoes. This dress code applies to dining at Il Olivo, L'Alsace and Ginger."

What are elegant shoes? Dress shoes or would boat shoes cut it?

If anyone has insight on the dress code please let me know. I really don't want to have to travel with a large wardrobe and more shoes than my wife-to-be!

Thanks all!

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