All-inclusive resort recs - Cancun area
We have never considered this kind of vacation in the past, but now that we have a kid, we need to press the 'easy' button. Looking specifically in Cancun area, since it seems that there's direct flights from SFO and we'll be going to visit family on the East Coast afterwards. I'm looking for recommendations of specific resorts to look at, and any tips on how to book or other considerations for first timers? I have backpacked all over the world, and even though this is supposed to be easy, I am not sure where to begin! Finally, if you have gone in the past, but would have safety concerns today, I'd be curious to know that as well.
Apr 19, 2023
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Hello! We did Club Med Cancun in 2014 when my son was 3. We went through Pleasant Holidays on a package and we were able to get a good deal back then.
They have a lot of things for kids - a kids club daycare with activities etc. , nice rooms and a beautiful beach. A kid pool and a bigger pool with a deep end.
Be aware they serve French food since Club Med is French - a bit of a bummer for us going to Mexico - but overall food was good.
We were able to get a taxi and go to Tulum ruins, Playa del Carmen and a cenote.
In the end, all inclusives weren’t our thing so we didn’t do it again, but - without other examples to compare - Club Med was a good one!
My husband and I have been to Le Blanc in Cancun 3-4 times. It’s amazing! However, right now I personally would not be comfortable going to Cancun given the violence that’s been happening there near the resort areas.
How old is your child? What’s your budget? Are you looking for a place where you are hoping to get a break from your kid a bit or looking to have a family together type vacation?
On the high end with lots of adult amenities, Grand Velas is incredible but I believe the child must be 5 years old for the kids club. We don’t use kids club because we want to do everything together as a family but Grand Velas kids club is amazing and the food is delicious!
Still in the luxury category but a bit more affordable is Hyatt Ziva which we find very family friendly and has decent food. They have shows and activities.
Club Med accepts younger kids in the kids club and have a lot of fun activities.
If your are looking for a more boutique feel, Karisma Azul is a nice one.
We like the convenience of booking through Expedia or booking.com but sometimes we book directly with the hotel. We always buy travel insurance.
We don’t leave the resort, so we don’t have any concerns for safety. We prearrange an airport transportation and go straight from the airport to the hotel.
Seaweed is a big problem, so you may not be able to swim in the ocean.
Last December we stayed at Moon Palace south of Cancun. It is three all-inclusive resorts in one. We stayed at the Grand resort (within Moon Palace). Due to an overbooking, we stayed in Sunrise (original resort at Moon Palace) for two days at the beginning. Sunrise was nice, but the rooms are smaller. The Grand is quite nice and is close to the kids water park, which you have to pay extra for if you aren't staying at the Grand. Our younger daughter was 11 at the time and would *ask* to be dropped off at the kids club (which is inside the water park, but separate so the kids don't have access to it while at the kids club) -- there was a climbing wall, putt putt, mini bumper cars, etc.
I found making reservations for the more upscale restaurants a hassle, and the food was good but not great. We enjoyed the spa (both girls got their hair cut, we got a couples massage, etc.), the many pools and did a couple excursions (I set up separately through Viator). They do sell 'fractional' ownerships. We decided to do the sales pitch (to get all of our points to be useable at the spa), but they are hard core sellers -- we didn't buy though. If you know someone who is a member, you get some perks (less expensive rate and resort points), but, if you don't know anyone, you can also make the reservations through hotels.com or another.
Everyone there was super friendly (other than the front desk staff who we had to deal with regarding the overbooking issue--this is probably only a problem during the holidays) and we felt safe as the resort is about 20 min from Cancun. The beach is nice but not amazing but tbh, other than walking along it a few nights, I was the only one who spent any time there because there were so many pools and other activities!
Funny enough, we just came back from our first trip to an all-inclusive in Cancun. We stayed at the Moon Palace Grand. I don't have any point of comparison between this resort and any other resort in Cancun, but our experience was wonderful and definitely exceeded expectations. (That said, my expectations were set by the circa-1970's TV ads for Sandals resorts). Anyway, we chose the Moon Palace Grand for the diversity of activities that appealed to our very active 13-year old daughter. They have a water park, several pools, a video game room, daily beach volleyball, etc. Separate from this, they have 20+ restaurants spread out over their 3 Moon Palace resorts, and lots of other activities that we all enjoyed. I booked through a travel agent, but apparently the best way to book is through a "member" - I would suggest finding a member via their Facebook page. The Moon Palace is HUGE and when we arrived it was the tail end of spring break for much of North America and the UK - the result was that it was uncomfortably crowded. However, it got progressively quieter and, thus, more enjoyable and relaxing for us, so if you can go in an off-peak time it will be a better experience. We would definitely go back - we appreciated the all-inclusive nature - paying upfront and then not worrying about the cost of anything. Once the reservations were made and we arrived it was very easy. It was also very nice to not have to pull my credit card out for every drink or snack. As for safety, no concerns at all. Coming from the Bay Area much of the world feels safer, including Cancun.
Avoid Club Med Cancun! We were in a similar situation, looking for an easily accessible all-inclusive vacation and the Club Med in Cancun looked great but the transition from the airport to the resort was bizarrely drawn-out and complicated, mosquitos were pretty bad at the lagoon, 2 of us had food poisoning — it may have been due to short staffing b/c of Covid (this was 11/21) but I would recommend finding someplace else….