Thursday, 31 March 2016

Sunscape Dorado Pacifico Ixtapa

A resort hotel of ultimate pleasure and fabulous fun  

Review by Nancy Snipper

 When booking your vacation to Ixtapa, most of us go for the all-inclusive package, but let’s face it, wearing that silly colored wrist band makes you feel more like an inmate than cherished guest. Then there’s that inevitable line-up to get a beach towel and be given a number (don’t lose the number or you pay for the towel), and finally, the frenzy and fighting over lounge chairs at the beach. As for eating, you have to reserve a table hours in advance at the hotel’s restaurant and then line-up as the person checks your name while your stomach is growling. Sound familiar? Indeed, all these annoying glitches can turn what is supposed to be your care-free marvelous vacation into a mini nightmare.

So, here’s the great news. Sunscape Dorado Pacifico, a unique and remarkable hotel in Ixtapa, is operated by AM Resorts (they know all about bringing excellence to large hotels), so this slickly run innovative hotel has done away with all that childish nonsense.  Most importantly, the place is brimming with genuine hospitality, oodles of supremely fun activities, entertainment and innovative events. As one guest at the pool told me: “It’s impossible to get bored here.”
I was about to find this out.

Variety is the spice of Sunscape’s life
I spent an entire day enjoying the“Sunscape experience”, and it was sensational!
First of all, I was struck by the immense and airy spectacular white interior. The regally spacious lobbies make you feel sublimely special. It seems that no matter where you turn, you enter a world of sensual and stimulating vitality; it’s yours for the taking.
The hotel’s 285 rooms – all renovated four years ago face the ocean. 

They seem to float overead above the lobby area,as long green vines descend from floor to floor like a verdant cascade of nature. There are 11 floors, and one is devoted to four conference rooms. Marble floors add to the beauty of it all.

Time to relax, play and rejuvenate

Taking two towels, I was then escorted to the beach by charming employee Fernando who moved a lounge chair under one of the wonderful Brazilian wood covered aberca shelters that feature white drapes on each side for privacy and further shade. 

        My view was Palmar Bay beach with the   powerful waves of the Pacific Ocean

I also met Ramiro, the activity and entertainment Director who introduced me to the day’s events. They’re written up every day on the Sundial activity and entertainment page. For starters, there was morning yoga and a bicycle tour at 9:30; there were Spanish lessons and beach volleyball. I was still pondering my prize view. And then it got real hot.

At 12:00 I jumped into the pools (two sections to the swimming areas) to take an aqua gym class run by Himer. It was so much fun. Sure,  the kids were having fun in the other pool at the two water slides, but I was having just as much fun. What a wonderful way to get in shape. The water was a perfect temperature too. I then witnessed poolside a mini cooking class of tiritas – sliver thin raw pieces of dorado, onions coriander and lime. It was delicious. I put a bit of bottled spicy Buffalo sauce on my savory sample to make me feel like a real Mexican who knows her food. It was then I realized I was hungry.

Feasting on more fabulous fish at Bluewater Restaurant
If you fancy fish, step inside Sunscape’s Bluewater Restaurant. That’s what I did. The enormous palapa keeps you perfectly shaded in this wonderful open-air lunch area, and the stunning view to the sea is second to none. It sets the free-feeling atmosphere in this spacious restaurant.
The lunch menu features an impressive choice of fish creations along with eight remarkable appetizers: Peruvian Ceviche, ceviche toasts and tiritas (slices of fish, onion and avocado in a tasty marination of lemon and other herbs).  I opted for the Peruvian Ceviche that hit my palette like a piece of heavenly magic. It was spiced perfectly, and the green chili, parsley and orange enhanced the taste. I also took the chicken salad mixture that arrived at my table looking like a piece of culinary art. The presentation was as exceptional as the delicate taste: two big purple grape halves encircled the savoury chicken salad mound along with two placements of sliver-thin shredded carrots.The chicken sat on a soft swirl of pink tomato. Looking much like a moat, this notable number was layered; at its pinnacle and perched on a toothpick was an olive. 
I went for more fish for the main course. The tuna was terrifically tender, and I have never tasted such impeccably prepared rice. It was butter flavoured, and tiny flecks of mushroom and carrots added colour. A big green broiled zucchini, chayote and carrots accompanied the two tender, yet thick pieces of tuna.

My dessert included coconut ice cream – made right on the premises. It sat beside a demure fruit tart encapsulated with soft yellow custard. The pastry crust was also home-made. Sweet and satisfying, it had that subtle buttery flavour of French pastry. Sublime!

Chef Antelmo Limón: master of the culinary arts
When AM Resorts took over Sunscape Dorado Pacifico Ixtapa, they wisely installed one of their stellar chefs: Antelmo Limón.  He was head chef at two of their other hotels – Dreams Puerto Vallarta and Dreams Villa Magna, and Secrets Capri Riviera and Dreams Tulum in Riviera Maya.  With over 14 years of experience, Chef Antelmo oversees Sunscape’s four other sizeable restaurants. 


    Eating with seaside view

They are: Windows – for breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets (I had a wonderful Italian pasta dinner here where you choose from the five types of pasta, the fillers and the sauce you want, and then watch as it is cooked in front of you);Tamarindo – for Mexican food; Da Mario – an adults-only, formal-dress attire Italian restaurant; Bluewater International – an a la carte Restaurant open for lunch & Dinner, and Barefoot – a poolside yummy snack place for grilled hamburgers, hotdogs and more. 

By the way, the various outdoor bars offer tropical drinks, including the day’s special. I imbibed sweet ones made by Clemente who’s been mixing drinks at Sunscape for 32 years here! You’ll flip over the 15 names of these bebidas: Sex on the Beach, Bahama Mama, Dirty Banana, Miami Vice, and the list continues. 

For coffees, croissants and sweeter goodies, 24-hour Coco Café greets you as soon as you step inside the lobby. Everything is free. Buen provecho!

Tennis anyone?
I had made arrangements to play tennis at the entertainment and sports poolside kiosk, but I was not only without my racket, I also had no partner. First, Rodrigo, one of the young chaps at the kiosk was elected to play with me. After he missed returning my first ball, he admitted had never played tennis. But I thought him an awfully good sport to even try. So along came another guy from the entertainment kiosk, and he was better, but he told me I should be playing with the pro, Alexandro, who after 20 minutes happened to pass the tennis court area on his way to his English class (given free by the hotel). I insisted he play just a bit with me; that was the deal in the first place. I should have known better, for as soon as he got on the court, he began slicing the ball; I could barely return it. He certainly had a great strategy for cutting my game short.  What a hoot!
Kids Explorers Club
A gamut of activities keeps children busy from morning to night. There’s painting, theatre, all kinds of games, competitions, a climbing wall by the tennis courts and even a release event of turtles at the beach.  No adults allowed!

Pure Spa Pleasure
One of the most coveted features of Sunscape Dorado Pacifico is their luxurious spa. I found it a perfect way to end my day. As soon as you enter the Zen interior, all the exuberance from the day’s activities melts into body bliss. Attached to the premises is a full-scale hair and beauty salon – a much needed facility after spending endless hours in the sun. Of course, manicure and pedicures are offered.

I had a wonderful relaxing neck and back massage here. Itzel, my masseuse, applied special wine oil on my aging body. Her hands were remarkably strong and skilful. I felt a release of age-old knots and aching tension. 

The spa offers more than 30 different types of massage therapies and anti-aging treatments, including facials, wraps, cellulite, and exfoliations. Water lily, seaweed and aromatic salts are used here for body treatment, and there are products that smooth, tone and diminish sun damage. The line they use is by Pevonia. An array of products is also on sale to take home.

Sunscape Dorado Pacifico Ixtapa is extraordinary.
It is a world unto its own, and it’s one I did not want to leave. I shall return.

For information and reservations, visit:
Call 1-866-sunscape.

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