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Rookie looking for XMAS trip:

In cooperation with: Visit Mexico
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Iowa
posts: 745
reviews: 27
Rookie looking for XMAS trip:

This is a last minute trip.

I have the airfare and got a good price from US Airways (shocking given the timing).

Anyway, we are a family of 4. We are looking or something that isn't super busying knowing that we are going during the busiest week.

We don't have to stay in Cancun--we can go to Akumel or Playa.

We want to explore---take a few day trips. We want to stay active and have a nice pool when we are wore out after a fun day.

Where should we stay?????

Fort Worth, Texas
Destination Expert
for Riviera Maya, Yucatan Peninsula
posts: 3,365
reviews: 28
1. Re: Rookie looking for XMAS trip:

You may need to narrow down your needs/wants a bit. Do you want a family/kid friendly resort with lots of activities? So you want large resort or smaller? How far is the farthest away from the airport you will go?

Calgary
Destination Expert
for Akumal, Riviera Maya
posts: 17,224
reviews: 6
2. Re: Rookie looking for XMAS trip:

"We are looking or something that isn't super busying knowing that we are going during the busiest week."

Mmmmm, good luck with that. Christmas is going to be pretty crazy no matter where you stay.

First of all, since you want a "nice pool", you'll definitely want a place that HEATS its pools - which isn't as common as you'd think.

Secondly, do you want AI or non? If you plan on doing lots of excursions, it can be a lot more cost effective to go non-AI but you may have to forego some of the amenities (like multiple pools and kids clubs) that you'll find at AI resorts. If you do want non-AI, then you'll definitely want to be in town so you have easy access to restaurants etc. El Taj is a very nice, higher end condo development right in Playa del Carmen that gets rave reviews but I don't know if their pool is heated.

If you want AI, then there's the Barcelo Maya is a complex of five resorts in one. The higher up the chain you stay, the more access you have. Lots of pools and great snorkelling right off the beach. It's located in Puerto Aventuras, so not too far from lots of excursion-type places - e.g. Xplore, Tulum, Akumal. Again, I'm not sure that their pool is heated.

Both these recommendations are shots in the dark though. It would be better if you could provide us with more information as to what you're looking for - i.e. AI or non, kid friendly or adult only (I appreciate you're a family of 4 but how old are your kids?), is a good beach important to you and, the most vital subject of all, what's your budget?

Iowa
posts: 745
reviews: 27
3. Re: Rookie looking for XMAS trip:

Lisa, even without more info from me you have given me a lot to work with.

We are a family of 4. Both of my sons are college age. We like staying active. My youngest doesn't see the value in sitting by the pool unless he is exhausted from "playing". I think swimming/snorkeling off the beach is a must.

Normally, we aren't "resort" people. We stay in villas and never dress up. But, we would feel safer in a resort when we are outside of the US (rare).

Recently, we stayed at TradeWinds in St. Pete Beach Florida and loved it. It never felt crowded. I really don't want to stay anywhere that you can't find a lounge chair unless I save it with a towel before the crack of dawn.

We aren't looking for nightlife.

We would like AI.

I am torn between family friendly and adult only. The adult only resorts that I looked at talk about romance, etc. We aren't looking for that (this time). And, we don't want a family friendly resort where the kids overrun the place. We are in a transitional stage apparently.

Thank you for your help.

Edited: 11:10 am, November 29, 2012
Calgary
Destination Expert
for Akumal, Riviera Maya
posts: 17,224
reviews: 6
4. Re: Rookie looking for XMAS trip:

I know it's hard not to get freaked out by the media reports of all the trouble in Mexico but please, do some more research on this. You might want to start with reading your very own government's travel advisory - …state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_5815.html. You'll note that there's no advisory in effect for Quintana Roo (where Cancun and the Riviera Maya is located). Mexico is a huge country and feeling that you have to stay on a resort to be "safe" is like worrying about being in your own house because of gang violence in South Central LA.

OK, now I've got that off my chest, look at the Barcelo Maya. The Palace is the top-dog there and would be a good fit if it's within budget. If it's too spendy, then look at the other resorts on the same complex - Tropical, Colonial (mid range), Beach and Caribe (most budget friendly).

I believe the Grand Palladium has on site snorkelling too. Again, it's a multi resort complex. The Royal Suites Yucatan is the adult only section. The nice thing with the GP is no matter which part of the resort you stay in, you have access to the ENTIRE resort.

I'm not sure about heated pools at either though.

Fort Worth, Texas
Destination Expert
for Riviera Maya, Yucatan Peninsula
posts: 3,365
reviews: 28
5. Re: Rookie looking for XMAS trip:

Barcelo Palace has an excellent beach and amazing snorkeling so that is sure to keep the kids busy. But it has been getting bad reviews based on poor customer service to you may want to be wary of that.

I wonder if you should look out the Paradisus La Esmeralda?

Hopefully someone else will chime in and be helpful.

Iowa
posts: 745
reviews: 27
6. Re: Rookie looking for XMAS trip:

Llisa, I totally understand what you are saying about safety. Honestly, any time we are out of the states we prefer to stay in a resort--especially the first time we visit.

I have always felt that the problems in Mexico were based near the boarder. I knew that Cancun and Playa were not in the same category. I have been nervous about Mexico in the past and I am glad there isn't an advisory for the area we are going--I didn't know that. My 22 year old son set me straight and told me he loves Mexico and not to listen to the media.

Texas, thank you for the heads up. I will also check out Paradisus La Esmeralda.

Barcelo Palace looks amazing!! And there is availability.

Minnesota
posts: 1,624
reviews: 7
7. Re: Rookie looking for XMAS trip:

Llisa mentioned Grand Palladium -- I second that. There is something for everyone there. However, it is BIG -- but if you don't mind walking, or waiting for the tram, its not a problem. We liked the no reservations policy here. Also - stay at one - play at all. There is also at least one "all adult" pool and bar area -- and the natural salt water pool, and the area around it, is wonderful!

Haven't been to the Barcelo yet, so can't compare it with that.

Ocean City, New...
posts: 565
8. Re: Rookie looking for XMAS trip:

I think you should take a look at what's available for your dates, and then look at the prices for those hotels that still have rooms left. Many hotels are already sold out for Xmas week and prices are pretty high for those that aren't sold out. Once you know what hotels have rooms available and how each fits with your budget, it will be a lot easier to narrow the options down, make a decision on which one, ask questions here about each of them if necessary.

9. Re: Rookie looking for XMAS trip:

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