Oh, Mexio. How I love you. Your warm breezes, your sunny beaches, your friendly people, your delicious tacos….and your all-inclusive resorts. This trip marked our 4th straight year to Riviera Maya (the area that includes Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and so on), and it still amazes me that places like this exist.
We spent a week at the Royalton Riviera Cancun, and I just….wow. I want to be back there so badly. The weather was perfect (though the ocean was a little too cold for me), the resort was breathtaking, and the trip was desperately needed. Coming home to the allergy-capital of the world in East Tennessee was pretty awful, frankly – I’m still trying to recover.
This is the first of two Royalton posts – I did a much better job taking pictures of food this year, so food and drinks are getting their own post. For now, here’s a tour and review of our new favorite resort.
I mentioned in my Sneak Peak that we had a hard time choosing a resort this year, and that we ultimately chose something totally different that what we were used to. Royalton Riviera Cancun is large – I wouldn’t call it massive after spending a week there – and a completely different feel. Where Valentin Imperial Maya and Catalonia Royal Tulum incorporate some of the more traditional Mayan architecture, Royalton Riviera Cancun is fairly modern. I can see how some people would call it cold or sterile, but we liked the modern look. (I reviewed VIM and CRT extensively, so head over to my Travels page for more info on those.)
The other big difference – and this one was a massive change for us – was that Royalton is a family-friendly resort. And since I know you’re wondering…having children at the resort was so not an issue. We saw one child misbehaving, and even that was fine because he was hitting his mother and not us. We had enough space to get away from kids if we needed, but honestly, they were pretty chill for the most part. And they had an awesome pool, so if you’ve got kiddos, this is definitely the place to take them. (Yes, I wanted to play, and no, I didn’t. Next time.)
There’s an adults-only section, called the Hideaway at Royalton Riviera Cancun, which is a different package. We booked Hideaway, and had access to the rest of the Royalton’s amenities. The only exception to that was the Diamond Club area, which is kinda like an extra-special package that includes butler service and a private pool. We didn’t have it, and didn’t miss it, though if given the opportunity to add it for less than a couple hundred bucks next time, we’d consider it.
We actually didn’t spend a ton of time in Hideaway, other than our swimup – the water in the Hideaway pool was FREEZING, and it was a lot more crowded. There’s definitely a lot more drinking in Hideaway (understandably), so it’s lots of fun, but also a little hard to relax and read a book. More on our swimup in a bit.
As for the rest of the resort, it’s fabulous – though I will admit, some of the maintenance issues are a little concerning, considering it’s about 2 years old. We saw broken furniture, crumbled pool tiles, faucets that didn’t work, etc. Nothing major, and it certainly didn’t affect our time there, but I hate the thought of the place falling apart in a few years. The service was consistently top-notch, some of the friendliest staff we’ve encountered anywhere, and you can tell they work hard. It may just be that the resort was built quickly, and with such a large number of people at any given time, it’s not surprising for things to break down. Regardless, it was clean, and not enough of a concern to keep me from going back in a heartbeat.
I’ll talk about the restaurants in my next post, but the food was outstanding. Entertainment was fine – there were shows every night, though we didn’t really go to them. The bars stayed open late, and there were plenty of things to do. We took a few small games and played Archer Love Letter one night in the lobby.
We split our time pretty evenly between our swimup, the main Royalton infinity pool (there are two, one in the main section and one in the kids area), and the beach. The infinity pool had the best view.
As for the swimup, I’m fairly certain I will never again NOT have one. It was heated and we had a decent view of the Hideaway pool so we could see the activities going on. It was attached to our room, so we didn’t have to drag all our stuff or worry about getting chairs, but it was also its own little section, so random people couldn’t just wander in.
We had an absolutely phenomenal server named Karina who climbed through bushes three or four times an hour to bring us drinks. We had friendly Canadian neighbors who are the reason I never want tequila again.
The beach was the quietest, and of the three resorts we’ve stayed at, my favorite by far. The chairs were comfy, the service was great, and you didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn for a decent spot (I’m looking at you, Valentin).
We didn’t leave the resort once, because that’s not our thing. This is our thing.
We booked a Luxury Junior Suite Swimup in Hideaway. We were in Building 3, Room 3114, which had a king bed and a killer view.
We loved our room, and though it was possibly smaller than other resorts we’ve been to, it was perfect for what we needed. The AC worked wonderfully – Jimmie’s biggest concern – and I’m pretty sure this was the first time I’ve been able to dry my hair in Mexico.
The bed was comfy, the sheets were always cool (seriously, how did they do that?!), and the shower had double rain shower heads. The only thing I didn’t like were the toiletries, so if you go, take your own stuff.
Stay tuned for the food post, because the food was incredible. I’m also planning another resort showdown post, though it’ll take me a little while to get that up most likely.
But in case you were wondering – yes, we’ll be back.