Postcards from the Mayan Riviera Chapter 4: The many definitions of family-friendly

by DaniGirl on August 22, 2012 · 0 comments

in Away we go, Reviews, promotions and giveaways

As I mentioned, Karisma Hotels operates a chain of hotels on the Mayan Riviera, including the three Azul hotels we toured. It was interesting to me how each of the three Azul hotels had completely different energy levels and vibes, right from the moment you walk into the lobby.

Azul Beach Hotel is the smallest of the three, offering a quieter and more mellow environment. I think this would be the best choice for families with wee children (say, ages five and under) and families without children. There were quite a few families with small children when we were there, and it was clear that there was plenty of kid-speed activities just for them. There’s a kids’ club with daily programming at the Azulitos play house:

The Azulitos Play House has equipment and special programs created for children from four to 12 years old. There is a play space designed by Fisher-Price® with all the latest educational toys to enhance early childhood development. Kids sing, listen to stories, and work on talking and sharing skills in playgroups.

Highlights for older children include video games and a full schedule of challenge games and activities. There is mini-yoga, handcrafts, face painting and movie time. Kids love all the beach activities, which include a treasure hunt, sandcastle building and balloon wars.

There’s a small playground on the beach, and three swimming pools, in addition to the suites with swim-up pools. Every day as we hustled from one activity to the next, I looked longingly at the craft station set up on the beach (they were painting ceramic figures) and I thought about how much my boys would have loved that particular activity. I’m pretty sure their heads may have exploded when they saw the dedicated Lego room, and the mini-trampoline, and the swing chairs, and the video game stations. And then, of course, white sand beach with rolling waves.

Azul Beach Hotel-3

And everywhere, there is evidence of Karisma’s partnership with Fisher-Price, from a toy-lending library to Fisher-Price booster seats scattered throughout the restaurant. Each of the restaurants has a kids’ menu, but of course kids are welcome to choose from the regular menu, too.It truly seems that children are welcome here, and just an inconvenience or afterthought.

Here’s the the #FisherPriceMoms Canadian team (well, the half of us that could make the trip) together with Eddie and Sonya Lee. (I must admit, these overly-life-sized Little (not so much) People may have freaked Lucas right out, but many of the kids at the resort seemed fine with them.)

Fisher-Price Canada team in Mexico

Azul Sensatori, the much larger hotel just down the road, has a totally different energy.

Azul Sensatori Hotel features never-before-seen suites that have a heated Jacuzzi for two in the lazy river off the terrace. There are also guaranteed family connecting suites, adults-only and premium sections, and honeymoon suites with wrap-around balconies.

This Gourmet Inclusive®, 438-suite hotel is just 20 minutes from the airport in Cancun. Special experiences foster togetherness for families, couples and groups of friends.

Available baby amenities include strollers, baby bath tubs, changing tables, baby monitors, cribs, play pens or pack n’plays, baby step stool, baby bath robes, bottle warmers & sterilizers. Azul Sensatori caters to kids and teenagers, with the Azulitos Playhouse and Extreme Breeze Teens Club. The exclusive Family & Friends Vacation Planner coordinates family reunions.

And the baby bath robes? Are adorable! Azul Sensatori has plenty of amenities for the littlest travelers, but also features a teen club with activities like DJ mixing lessons (this has Simon written all over it!) and a rock-climbing wall that Tristan would love. Here’s the play area at one of the pools:

Azul Sensatori kids play area

I don’t think I told you about my (ahem) suite at Azul Beach House yet. Third after chasing the sunrise on the beach every morning and the food, my favourite thing about Azul Beach House was the bathroom in my suite. It was easily the size of my kitchen at home (which, I admit, doesn’t say much about the size of my kitchen!) It had a stand-alone jacuzzi tub and a separate shower enclosure with both a shower wand and one of those rainfall shower heads in the ceiling. (And it only took me getting zapped in the ear once by cold water from the shower wand to learn to make sure it’s aimed down before turning on the water!) It was simply too large to capture decently in a single photo, so here’s a panorama of the bathroom:

Bathroom pano - Azul Beach Hotel

You know what I really loved, though? There was one of those iPhone charger clock radios in the bedroom, and it was attached to speakers in the bathroom. I plugged in my iPhone one day to charge it and was playing some music to cover up the sound of the silence (I’m really not used to silence anymore!) and was delighted to hear the music being piped into the bathroom speakers. Again, little touches like that really impressed me.

And speaking of water, my fears about water quality in Mexico were unfounded. My vow to use no ice cubes melted (ahem) in the first day of 45C humidity, and with all the food I ate there was no way I could avoid the fresh fruits and vegetables they tell you to avoid when traveling in Mexico. And I had no problems whatsoever.

This post has been all over the place, hasn’t it? I have at least one, maybe two more posts left in this series, but I want to make sure I can cram in as much of the awesome as possible!

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