We are trying to decide between these two resorts for a a family vacation our kids are 6 and 10. Please provide feedback
I've never been to the Melia but have been vacationing at the Occidental Cozumel for the past 10 years so I will try to give you some information that may be useful in making your decision.
The beach at the Occidental is very nice and sandy with easy access into the water. It does drop off a bit (but not drastically) fairly close to shore which might be a concern to you. You can walk along the beach in both directions for a long while which the kids might enjoy - looking for shells etc.
There is a kids club that your children might have fun getting involved with. They do lots of fun things with the kids like crafts and games.
The pool has a shallow area suitable for very young children, but they also play pool volleyball and water polo in the main pool. There is also a Ping-Pong table right there as well, plus a giant chess set and horseshoes.
It is a fairly quiet dive resort with minimal evening entertainment, but they do have some activities for kids in the main square before the main show of the evening.
We've met several families with young children and they all loved it there.
You should also know that is about as far south of town as you can get, meaning a pricey taxi ride to town if you want to go there.
I hope someone can now give you information on the Melia to help you choose.
There is a great walking beach at the Melia too. And while the snorkeling is not good there it is very good next door at the El Cozumeleno.
There is a Kids Club and there always seems to be lots of stuff going on for kids and families. All this happens at the Family Pool near the main restaurant. The adults have they own pool complete with swim-up bar....no kids allowed.
The Melia is about a $7 cab ride to town.
Definitely Occidental/Barceló. We were at Coral Princess last NY eve and my brother stayed with his 9 & 7 yr kids at Melia. Water was murky brown all the time. Elevator was always "broken" so they had to walk up many flights of stairs in the heat which wasn't pleasant.
Occidental has a decent kids club where they adventure around the property, not just stay inside the kids club all the time. And it's a smaller resort so you'll be able to find each other in minutes. Getting lost is impossible...unless alcohol is involved...ha! My kids learned to swim & snorkel here, so lots of good memories. Went twice with them. Once regular room, once Royal room. Royal had private restaurant which was good, right next to the rooms. No need to walk back to the main buffet/restaurants if we didn't want to. Rooms in either area are spacious for family of four. Morning/days are quiet as many guests are diving until about 1pm. You're minutes by boat to the best southern dive sites. Free hobie cats if you sail to take the kids for a ride. If you don't sail, they'll teach you.