• Image about Michael

My husband, Michael, and I were on our way to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. This was a first for both of us, and we were excited to experience a different part of Mexico.

As I frequently do, I fell asleep shortly after takeoff. Michael, however, never sleeps, and I am often interrupted during the flight. This flight was no exception. I was somewhere in the middle of my tranquil vacation thoughts when I was jolted from my sleep as Michael jumped up from his aisle seat across from me. I soon focused in on the woman sitting next to him, who had spilled her Dr Pepper and vodka on her lap. After a bit of shuffling, a few visits from the flight attendant and a seat-bottom change, we heard the captain’s soothing voice over the intercom. He announced we’d soon be landing at the Cancún International Airport.

We made our way outside to meet our driver, who escorted us to a black Cadillac Escalade. He offered us ice-cold bottles of water to quench our thirst during our 45-minute drive to the El Taj Oceanfront & Beachside Condo Hotel in beautiful Playa del Carmen. As we entered Playa, the roadways narrowed dramatically but still retained the lush vegetation that we had witnessed while landing.

From the moment we stepped out of the Escalade, we could smell the ocean and feel the warmth surrounding us. The hotel was remarkable, with its Bali-inspired decor from the moment we walked in to the details integrated throughout the property. We checked in to our three-bedroom condo with a wraparound balcony, Jacuzzi tub and a perfect view of the ocean. Each bedroom was equipped with a full bathroom, a ceiling fan and a flat-screen TV. The kitchen was very functional, down to the blender, bottle opener and kitchenware. I sat down in the living area and gazed out the window, thinking, “I could get used to this.”

After we settled in, Michael and I headed to La Azotea, an open-air restaurant located on the rooftop of the Hotel El Punto. The view of the Caribbean Sea and Cozumel was refreshing as the metal birdcage lights that hung from the wooden ceiling swayed gently in the breeze. We began our meal sipping on cucumber margaritas and snacking on tiradito azotea — sealed tuna served on a potato chip, topped with watercress, coriander and chipotle dressing. The tuna melted in my mouth as I waited for the restaurant’s famous brick-oven pizzas to be served. After our wonderful meal, we headed back to our hotel and relaxed in the Jacuzzi.