Mexico Resorts 2017 revisited

14 Resorts in 3-days!
In April 2017 I took an AmResorts “Fam Trip” a travel agent tour of several all-inclusive resorts in– Cancun, Cozumel, and Mayan Riviera, Mexico. I love these tours– a great way to see, eat, sleep, photograph, and meet the managers of some beautiful resorts. Here I will share some of the new and fun things going on at the resorts.
Seen one resort and you think you’ve seen them all? I don’t think so!

Dreams Playa Mujeres

 

Walkway to the beach Dreams Playa Mujeres

 

Dreams Playa Mujeres Beach

 

Cozumel Sunscape Sabor– Divers heading out

 

Cozumel Sunscape Sabor– Dining beach side

 

Room at Breathless Riviera Cancun. A glass shower in the center of the room (with some curtains of course)

 

Dreams Sands Cancun, a family resort with a loaded activities board/screen

 

Dreams Sands Cancun, a white sand and clear blue water beach

 

Dreams Tulum Spa

 

Dreams Tulum pool next to the beach

 

Dreams Riviera Cancun Hookah Nights…. what?

 

Now Sapphire Resort, setting up for a beach side wedding

 

Secrets Akumal, adult only resort, a porch swing bar

 

Secrets the Vine Cancun, a wine themed resort

 

Secrets the Vine Cancun… exercise with a view

 

Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun, over the water bungalows

 

Secrets Silversands, friendly staff

 

Secrets Maroma Beach, lunch in the water?

 

Secrets Maroma, how about ping pong in the water?

 

Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun, dining room Portofino

 

Secrets Capri, beach side dining

 

Choosing an All-Inclusive Resort

I now can say that I have stayed at, visited, and toured several all-inclusive resorts. My last trip when I stayed at a great all-inclusive on the Mayan Riviera was fantastic, and it may have even nudged its way up in rank over a cruise. In my opinion, this is the best vacation choice when needing some downtime and relaxation.

El Dorado Royale Resort
El Dorado Royale Resort, Mexico

I have learned that all-inclusive resorts are not all the same. Although their structure is basically beach, swimming pools, food and bars, they really can be very different. Just like cruise ships, they have been evolving and updating too. Some can feel very garden and jungle-like with birds and iguanas, while others have a young South Beach Miami/Las Vegas ambiance. I’m also noticing more resorts focusing on health and wellness featuring smoothie bars, California lite cuisine, quality fitness centers, and outdoor training circuits.

Jewell Paradise Cove Jamaica
Jewell Paradise Cove Jamaica

Some questions to ask yourself and to relay to your travel planner when choosing a resort –

  • Swimmable beach or swimming pool, what’s more important?
  • Beach shade (from cabanas or palm trees)–nice for sleeping, reading, or keeping kids out the direct sun?
  • Room location? Ocean-front or garden view each have benefits. Ocean-front is great, but remember direct sun can make it hot in your room and on your balcony, plus you better have good dark curtains/shades for keeping out the morning sun. Garden view is obviously cooler (temperature-wise) and you have birds and flowering bushes for a setting. Some people prefer a location downstairs near the pool, usually if you have kids going in and out, and need to lug baby supplies.
  • Large or small resort? In a small resort the staff knows your name, and restaurants and pools are near. Large resort– the choice in activities, bars and restaurants is abundant. Also, if you like to go for morning or after-dinner walks, it’s like taking a stroll along the paths of a small village.
Lunch at Generations Resort Mexico
Lunch at Generations Riviera Maya

Restaurants

The a la cart restaurants that I have encountered in most resorts have been superb. Most resorts have some specialty restaurants that require a reservation. These can be steakhouses, Mediterranean, and Japanese with sushi. One resort I know of has an open-air thatched-roof lobster house where you can have lobster prepared every way possible. One evening we tried out what was called “culinary theater”. We dined slowly on a four-course meal while watching the chef on stage being projected on big screen monitors as he prepared each dish.

Excursions off-premises
If you think you’ll want to participate in some activities outside of the resort, again resort location is key. Some resorts can be 2-3 hours from zip-lines, ATV rentals, and waterfall hikes. For instance, in Mexico, Riviera Maya around Playa del Carmen will be the better location than Cancun for being near the adventure parks, and cenote swim and snorkel areas. The same is true for Jamaica–the Ocho Rios area is where the bulk of jungle adventure tours are as opposed to the Negril side of the island.

IMG_6734
Adventuras Mayas cave snorkeling

Here is a list of some of the unique offerings and amenities I have seen in some of the all-inclusive resorts I’ve toured —

  • Heated bathroom floors
  • Jarred baby food offered at the buffet
  • Room scent and pillow menu
  • Adult au naturel beach areas
  • Beachside outdoor movies
  • Family rooms with minibar to include juice boxes and milk
  • Specialty coffee shops
  • Free shuttles into town