Riu Palace Peninsula Week—The Rooms

When I tell people that I work as a travel writer, their usual response is “wow, what a dream job.” 99% of the time, they’re right. Yesterday, I had one of those 1% days where it was dreadful. I awoke at 4:30 am to catch a 6:30 plane out of Boston’s Logan Airport, which was supposed to connect in Miami and reach my final destination of Cancun. Usually an easy morning of travel. We board the flight and are about to fly away when the pilot discovers an electrical problem. We head back to the gate where my flight is now delayed two hours…Then delayed another three hours…Then cancelled. I’m lucky that my wife is a travel agent who booked me on a 2:30 flight to Miami. All the other flights to Miami were already overbooked for the Holidays. 

I grab lunch and do some work, when I hear over the loud speaker that all passengers on the cancelled must go downstairs to baggage claim, grab their luggage, and rebook it again at the departure counter. The self-service counters at American Airlines are now a chaotic mess, with countless people waiting on line after using the computer to get their boarding passes. I wait and I wait once again on the long security line. The flight to Miami was a breeze. Unfortunately, when we arrived in Miami, there was no gate to pull into, so we’re delayed. By the time I get off the plane, I only have 20 minutes before my flight to Cancun leaves. As I depart, I hear “this is the final call for American Airlines, Flight 2139 to Cancun, Mexico.” With at least 20 pounds of computer equipment in my backpack, I sprint like a Marine to my gate, which feels like it’s a mile away (those elliptical machine workouts at the gym finally paying off). I’m covered in sweat when I reach the next flight, but remarkably the gate is still open. I beg the flight attendant for a glass of water and he looks at me like it’s a major inconvenience. I finally make it to Cancun, 8 hours later than I was supposed to arrive, only to find out that my luggage is still back in Miami.
Then I reach the stylish lobby of the new Riu Palace Peninsula, all lit up for the Holiday festivities, and I can finally breathe again. When I drop my trusty backpack off in the room, I was delighted to spot the king-sized bed, the sunken Jacuzzi tub, the pleasant blue and white décor. A fruit plate was waiting, along with all the rum, vodka, and cervezas I needed to take the edge off. The liquor was certainly appealing, but another reason I love an all-inclusive property is that the restaurants stay open late. So I went downstairs to have dinner, my first fish tacos, guacamole, and refried beans of the week. Ambled over to the theater to watch the scantily-clad dance troupe work their way around a couple Bob Fosse tunes. Then took the elevator to the 17th floor and that king-sized bed. I slept wonderfully and awoke to the morning sun lighting up the Cancun sands and the shimmering Atlantic waters. Ah yes, back to my dream job.