Summer travel: Push the reset button at this beautiful Mexican resort.


By SARA VANDEN BERGE


The day after I turned 52, The Husband and I boarded a plane to Mexico with two of our best friends.


That was last week, and we are still working our way out of the sunshine-induced coma we came home with after four relaxing days in paradise.

Mexico has always been our go-to for a quick getaway, and this latest trip was particularly nice because it felt, well, normal.


For the first time in two years, we didn’t have to wear a mask at the airport or on the airplane. Ditto for the resort.

AND SPEAKING OF THAT RESORT…


The Husband booked our stay at the Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya, a 5-star all-inclusive resort that was nothing short of spectacular.


The resort includes seven specialty restaurants that offer Italian, French, Japanese, Asian and Mexican cuisine along with a steak house and seafood grill.


The swimming pool is one of the biggest in the Riviera Maya, and includes cabana-style swim up bars and all the natural beauty that fails to grow in the Texas heat.

Despite the fact that this is an adults-only resort, it’s far from boring. There’s lively music, pool games and hilarious competitions, exercise classes, bicycle tours, tequila classes and nightly entertainment.


For those who like a quieter scene, there’s a pool for that too.


If you’re thinking about taking a trip to the Valentin Imperial, here are a few dos and don’ts


And remember, taking a trip to Mexico means you are still required to get tested for COVID-19 before returning home.

DO: If you like an ocean view, book an Emerald Junior Suite. You can access the beach directly off your patio.


The view is exceptional and it’s the perfect place to have your morning coffee. (There’s even a hammock.)


DO: Bring nice clothes. To access the nice restaurants for dinner, you have to dress the part.


Most of the women wore dresses and the men are required to wear a collared shirt. And they are strict about enforcing the dress code.

DO: Try the churros! I know that sounds crazy, but there is a churro cart outside of the restaurants most nights that offers cream-filled churros that everyone went crazy over. They were seriously delicious and absolutely worth wrecking my diet for.


DO: Have pre or post-dinner cocktails in the Don Miguel. The upscale bar offers a variety of fun cocktails (one with cotton candy) and an amazing Italian coffee I can’t stop thinking about.

DON’T: Bring the kids. This is an adults-only resort so if it’s a family vacation you’re after, this resort is not for you.


DON’T: Be a cheapskate. The top-notch staff at the Valentin Imperial work hard to make your stay a memorable one. Tip them generously.


So where are you traveling to this summer?


Drop me a line after your next vacation along with a picture and your dos and don’ts and I will publish it on Beneath the Surface News.