I opened the drapes of my ground floor beach side room at the Gran Porto Real in Playa del Carmen to face quiet rolling waves, a clear blue sky, deck chairs positioned for the coming sun worshippers, and a sense of appreciation for the fact I am fortunate to be able to be here.

I pull open the sliding door and am greeted by a breeze that is still cool but with a tinge of warmth that tells me today is going to be another 23 to 27 degree Centigrade day.

I go to my laptop to catch the latest news and find out that the temperature in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and throughout the west really, is about 25-35 below with windchill for most of the coming week.

It is this stark contrast that motivates so many of us to escape the cold even in a frigid economy.

There is nothing like this to renew the spirit and rebuild the energy we need to fight the economic forces we may all be facing ahead.

And Playa del Carmen is a perfect place to come to I am discovering. It is my first trip here and I have been impressed from the first walk we took down 5th Avenue, the main shopping and walking street.

After we checked in we decided to wander around and since it was evening and not too hot we thought a few minutes to stretch our legs would be helpful. Fifth Avenue is only a block from the beach and is a tourist paradise.

The shops are a mixture of high and low end but without the screaming merchant hawkers that try to entice you into their stores in other places. Sure they do call you in but there is a politeness and a sanity to their invocations.

The restaurants too are a mix of the popular and the quality decor and service certain patrons want.

Thousands of people walk the street and its sidestreets but there is a certain orderlyness to it all.
Our hotel and the related Royal Playa Del Carmen next door where we have complete access to as well are exceptional and the road between them leads to the main beach. These are both Transat Vacations, and sister company Nolitours, properties and they are as good or better than any on the beach.

The Royal is a 5 Diamond rated hotel so must continue to work hard to keep that treasured designation. In a season where North American travel has been somewhat sidelined by those economic forces, the Royal is at 100% occupancy, which can only be a tribute to its attention to quality.

It is time to wander down to the breakfast buffet and then face a day of heat before going to the gym to try and mitigate the damage we have willingly inflicted upon ourselves at the a la carte restaurants we go to each evening in the two properties.

If you have had experiences in Playa Del Carmen please share them with our other readers.