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Mexico Fam Trip
In June this year I was very fortunate to be offered the chance of experiencing some of the finest hotels located along the Caribbean coast of Mexico. My journey started with a 9 hour flight on board Thomas Cook Airlines from Gatwick. Having never flied long haul with a charter airline before, I was a little sceptical about what to expect but as soon as I stepped on board I needn’t have worried.
Thomas Cook use brand new A330-200 aircraft on their long haul routes offering a configuration of 2-4- 2, your own seat back entertainment, a complimentary meal and a generous 31 inch seat pitch which is the same as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. In fact, Thomas Cook’s seats are wider than their competitors which did give that extra comfort on-board.
Our first journey took us from Cancun Airport to a little town called Playa del Secreto – ‘The Secret Beach’ which is located around 25 minutes north of Playa del Carmen on the Riviera Maya where we stayed 2 nights at the beautiful 5 star adult’s only Valentin Imperial Maya.
Valentin Imperial Maya
On arrival at the Valentin Imperial Maya, we were greeted with cold towels and taken to the hotel lobby to check in to our rooms with golf buggies. Like most hotels in Mexico, the Valentin is quite large with 524 rooms, 9 à la carte restaurants and 11 bars and also boasts one of the largest swimming pools in the Riviera Maya.
All rooms here are suites which were very spacious with a modern design and are located in blocks spread out throughout the complex in the stunning gardens with fantastic amenities. The turn down service at night had slippers by the bed; the Valentin Imperial Journal was placed on the bed, along with the TV remote and the weather forecast for the next day. The journal had all the entertainment for that evening, dress code, restaurant schedule and even specific guest birthdays/Anniversary’s/Honeymooners and a Welcome back section for returning guests.
After a swift freshen up we all met up for a delicious Mexican dinner which is part of the hotel’s all-inclusive programme, as is all the restaurants and bars located throughout the property including your in room mini bar which is restocked daily with water, soft drinks and beer. Non-motorised water sports are also included such as sailing, kayaking and snorkelling on the beautiful white sandy beach. The service at the Valentin Imperial Maya is the best I have ever experienced with the staff going above and beyond.
The next morning we all met for breakfast in the Mar & Tierra restaurant, on the beach. The food was amazing and the views were even better. We had breakfast here both mornings as it was that good. Buffet style, but plenty choice and set out fantastic.
Excellence Riviera Cancun
Our first stop of the day was the Excellence Riviera Cancun which is located in Puerto Morelos, half way between Playa del Carmen and Cancun. This hotel felt very Hacienda style, with a Mediterranean feel to the décor and this followed right into the restaurants and suites.
This hotel also offers all suites with the option of Junior Swim up Suites for that something extra special giving you direct access into the pool and a Jacuzzi bath tub inside the room and out on the terrace. Al rooms here offer you the inclusive mini bar with Premium brand liquors included.
The hotel offers 10 dining options, including Mexican, Italian, Asian, French, and Indian. There are no reservations required for either of these restaurants and they are all included in the all-inclusive package.
To conclude, the resort has a lovely laid back feel to it. Not too crowded and there would be no mad rush for space around one of the many pool areas or in any of the dining options. Rooms are furnished to a high standard that also shows on the outside and inside of the buildings. Buildings are not high rise, the gardens are kept beautifully and the beach is easily reached from all of the rooms/public areas.
NOW Sapphire Riviera Cancun
Just 5 minutes down the road, our next visit was the NOW Sapphire Riviera Cancun which is a family friendly 5 star hotel offering 496 suites, 6 restaurants, 4 swimming pools and a children’s and teen’s club. The NOW Sapphire has unlimited luxury all-inclusive as well as great entertainment to keep those little ones occupied.
Situated on another beautiful beach, the NOW Sapphire Riviera Cancun offers beautiful thatched roofs and Mayan style buildings, set amidst tropical gardens and offers something for everyone including a lovely spa to enhance your relaxation whilst away.
This large resort is easy to navigate around, with plenty of things going on around the pool areas and reception areas, for both Adults and Children. The pool area was very lively, with everyone getting involved in the activities. This is a great option for a lively family holiday but with luxury dining facilities.
El Dorado Maroma
Located on one of the best top 10 beaches in the world, my favourite hotel on the trip is the El Dorado Maroma. The rooms are decorated to the highest of standards, with double loungers on the balconies, swim up suites on the ground floor and amazing views from the roof top terraces, where they could also hold exclusive weddings.
With only 128 rooms (plus the new over water bungalows being built) this gives this adult- only resort, a romantic boutique feel which is hard to find in Mexico. We were very fortunate to be the first people to look at the first ‘Palafito’ (over the water suites) which were currently being built and due to open sometime this month (September 2016). For something completely new in the Caribbean, these are a fantastic alternative option to those destinations in the Indian Ocean. They all feature glass floors, outdoor shower areas, private pools and will all have access to the exclusive Grill that is also being built over the water, for lunch and dinner, for the guests of the Palafitos.
The 6 different restaurants are beautiful, with plenty of space and the tables were not too close together, allowing guests their privacy. We had exclusive lunch in a gazebo by the main pool area. The setting was beautiful and the gourmet food was exquisite.
This hotel has direct access to the Dophinarium next door as well as various water sports and other activities if you can take yourself away from the beautiful resort. The El Dorado Maroma is definitely the ideal place for a romantic, dreamy getaway with fine dining and premium services.
Hard Rock Hotel Cancun
Located in the centre of Cancun is the Hard Rock Hotel, a stylish and contemporary resort set along the brilliant white sands of Cancun. On arrival you will instantly be transported into the rock star vibe, from the guitar shaped driveway to the neon lit glass staircase in the lobby.
The rooms are all very modern and chic here and all feature twin hot tubs inside the rooms, even at lead in level. We were lucky to also view a Suite in the hotel, with an oversized balcony, complete with loungers; the balconies are surrounded with glass, so the sea views were spectacular.
Considering this is a bustling, lively resort, the pool and beach areas are very spacious. They have 6 dining experiences at the Hard Rock which are all included in the all-inclusive and no reservation is required. For the adults the nightly entertainment consists of themed parties,shows,concerts and live performances.
The little ones are also well taken care of here with a fantastic kids club offering a dance studio/beautician for the girls and computer games area for the boys inside and a water park for the kids outside. This is separate from the main building and you have to walk to it from the main entrance, giving it complete privacy from the other guests. Parents are not able to leave the resort whilst the kids are in the kids club.
To conclude, this resort is everything you imagined. Music playing in all public areas, activities going on and everyone has that feel good vibe for those young and lively groups or couples and also for families who want more than just a relaxing holiday.
Secrets the Vine Cancun
We didn’t have to travel too far to the next hotel, right next to the Hard Rock is the Secrets the Vine. This adults only, ultra-chic Hotel pleasantly surprised me as it was completely different to the Hard Rock with no loud music or hustle and bustle feel, this was a perfect choice for those wanting high end relaxing accommodation with the option to go out and
explore lively Cancun.
With a check in area on every floor, there were no crowds or queues when you arrived and every guest receives a special welcome from the concierge staff. The rooms were exquisite, the fresh décor and design to them were fantastic. Enjoy limitless gourmet dining and top shelf spirits as well as exciting live evening shows and specialty themed events. Unwind and relax in the luxurious Secrets Spa where you can pamper yourself with tranquil treatments.
The hotel feature 6 Al La Carte restaurants for the guests with no reservations required and unlimited premium brand alcoholic drinks also included in your mini bar in the room. To conclude, Secrets on the Vine have got the right balance of elegance, class and fun. The rooms are flawless, the resort is well spread out and the luxury is limitless.
Hyatt Ziva Cancun
After visiting the other hotels in Cancun, it was time to check into our new hotel for a night stay, the Hyatt Ziva Cancun. Opening in late 2015, this new beachfront propert provides a tranquil escape for the whole family. Each of the 547 rooms features its very own private walkout terrace. From morning to night, there is always something to do at the Hyatt Ziva.
Take a dip in one of the 3 swimming pools, indulge in a massage at the spa, enjoy a game of tennis or you can even swim with dolphins at the hotels very own dolphin encounter.
The hotel offers two sections to it, the main building and the Turquoise Suites in the new pillar building. All of the suites are very modern with amazing views and offer great little touches like amenity kits equipped with mosquito spray, vanity and dental kits.
The hotel is home to 12 restaurants and numerous bars including a sports bar with its very own brewery which we visited and sampled! We also got to experience their fantastic Teppanyaki restaurant which was a real treat with lovely food.
The pool and Beach areas are well kept throughout the hotel and although the resort is quite extensive, there was no crowded areas. Its position into downtown Cancun is great meaning you could walk to all main tourist areas within 10-15 minutes.
FINEST PLAYA MUJERES
Our next stop, 15 minutes drive north of Cancun is the beautiful up and coming resort of Playa Mujeres where we visited the popular family resort, Finest Playa Mujeres. This resort, which opened in spring 2015 warmly welcomes families with a finely appointed choice of accommodation, with the space and amenities to create a perfect stay.
The entrance to the hotel and the lobby communal areas are very modern and fresh and has an upmarket feel throughout. The all-suite rooms are all decorated to the highest of standards, from the lead in ‘Finest Club’ Suites right up to the Adult Only section of the ‘Excellence Club’ Suites. Some of the rooms also feature a private swim up area, in-room Jacuzzis or even a private swimming plunge pool.
With 9 different restaurants, including their very own Ice Cream parlour (tried and tested of course) the options are endless here. For families in particular, everything is thought about including a great concept at this hotel, called the ‘Imagine Lounges.’ This is next to each of the restaurants in the main building. It is for families to check their kids in, to let them play games consoles, draw and keep them generally entertained until their food has been ordered and arrived at the table. This hotel offers 24 hour all-inclusive service including unlimited international premium and domestic drinks, 24 hour room service and a pool and beach waiter service so you really can relax.
The ‘Imagine’ kid’s club area is fantastic. They have a separate buffet in this area that families can encourage the children to get their own food. The food trays are all lowered to their level and are healthy options, aimed more for kids. The Imagine Kids club was well equipped with an outside water play area, indoor play area and music is played throughout, like a mini disco for them.
Built right next to the Greg Norman Golf Course, its position is fantastic for sports enthusiasts. Non-motorised water sports are included such as sailing, windsurfing, sea kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkelling. There really is something for everyone at the
Finest Playa Mujeres.
The Beloved Playa Mujeres. This hotel is the definition of Luxury in a perfect Boutique Hotel. Offering personalised service and the finest amenities, this upscale resort serves as an oasis of relaxation for those looking for a tropical escape or a romantic getaway. Located on a secluded stretch of white sands, guests are treated to a selection of gourmet restaurants and bars, opulent spa services and access to the beachfront Playa Mujeres Golf Club.
Walking around the hotel, it seemed like it was empty, although the hotel was running near full capacity. As there are only 109 Suites in the hotel, I didn’t expect to see crowded areas, but apart from a few people in reception, there was hardly anyone even walking around. I wouldn’t want to leave the rooms either after we got to see inside them.
The décor running right throughout the hotel, from the reception, dining areas and in the rooms is very calming, crisp white and luxurious. They have 8 different categories out of the 109 rooms. The attention to detail of the rooms showed in all the categories we got to see.
Outside of every room, there is even a little light that shows red if anyone is in the room, so no-one is disturbed by maids etc.
They have 4 different fine dining options in this all-inclusive hotel offering buffet and a la carte options as well as unlimited international premium drinks plus guests can also choose to dine in their rooms. If they have a specific bottle of wine that they prefer then if the hotel knows in advance, they will have the wine brought in for them. The Beloved is perfect for those looking to get away from all the hustle and bustle of everyday life, in a prime location with amazing ocean views.
Secrets Playa Mujeres
Secrets Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa is an adult’s only, all-inclusive suite resort that offers stunning ocean views within a privileged gated community. The modern accommodation boasts the utmost in style and contemporary amenities.
The Secrets offer their gusts 6 al la carte, 2 grills and a buffet restaurant, so plenty dining options. We had lunch in the main buffet restaurant and the food was a very high standard, considering it was buffet style, it had plenty options and was presented well for guests.
There are many facilities at this hotel if you want them including a fitness centre, spa, tennis court and golf with daily complimentary green fees. Non-motorised water sports are also included.
In my view this luxury beachfront resort is perfect for those wanting to escape to a paradise setting where you can pamper yourself in their superb spa, swim, play golf or simply relax.
For something different you can even try the complimentary cooking and cocktail classes!
To conclude, I had a wonderful time on this trip and although I didn’t get to see much of Mexico itself, it gave me a good insight as to who would enjoy this holiday destination and who wouldn’t. I also learnt how good value for money this destination is as these incredible hotels offer luxury inclusive holidays at really good affordable prices in comparison to other destinations in the Caribbean.
If I was to choose my favourite out of all the hotels then it would have to be the stunning boutique El Dorado Maroma, with the Finest Playa Mujeres a close second.