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Rate & Comment on my top family Spring Break AI choices?

In cooperation with: Visit Mexico
Chanhassen...
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Rate & Comment on my top family Spring Break AI choices?

Priorities in order for water loving family of 2 young teens: Shore Snorkeling Beach, Awesome Playful Pool, Family Friendly, Smaller 3/4 Star Uncrowded Resort, Oceanfront room (nothing fancy), Food (not picky, we eat for convenience). We have only been to ABR.

Top candidates in order are:

1) El Cozemeleno: (Too hotelish, not resortish? Buffet food fine with us). Crowded pool area?

2) El Cid: (Great pool, super family friendly, not much for snorkeling?)

3) Barcelo Maya Colonial/Beach: (good snorkeling/pool but too mega big, no oceanfront room?)

4) Iberostar Beach/Maya: (Amazing pool. Lush, Gardenviews? Too mega big? No snorkeling?)

5) Catalonia Riviera Maya: ?? (Beach too busy with condo guests?)

6) Grand Palladium: (Great pool & salt water pool, Too mega spread out? Snorkeling?)

6) Sandos Caracol Eco? (Crowded Beach? Snorkeling?)

7) Royal Haciendes? (Crowded Beach? Snorkeling?)

8) Grand Bahia Principe Tulum? (Too far south?) Layout seems nice.

Any others?? Thoughts, ratings, comments? Thank you so much!! I would rate ABR:

Snorkeling: 10

Pool: 7 (Clean, uncrowded, just nothing special)

Family Friendly: 9

Size/Layout/Crowd: 9 (Loved that it was smaller and kids convenient to all areas)

Oceanfront view: 10

Room: 4 (hard beds, noisy AC, no furniture for clothing storage). Didn't care, there for location.

Price: 9 (Great value).

Service: 8 (As long as people aren't rude, we don't care about this either. We are too busy.)

Food: 7 (fine, we eat for convenience).

Vancouver
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for Akumal, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, Puerto Morelos
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1. Re: Rate & Comment on my top family Spring Break AI choices?

Some of these resorts are MEGA with few ocean front

Try Oasis Tulum

Otherwise Barcelo

Chicago, Il
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2. Re: Rate & Comment on my top family Spring Break AI choices?

How about going to Cozumel? The Occidental Grand Cozumel fits your bill. And you can get the whole family into scuba diving together!

Otherwise I think you found ABR. Your wish list describes this place perfectly. Catalonia Riv Maya in two Privilege rooms would also work. That's a total family resort. No worries about condo people using the beach. Catalonia has the most organized activities, nicest rooms (Priv category, NOT STANDARD!), best entertainment team, and option to ride free bikes into little marina/town or around the neighborhood.

Steer clear of the mega resorts: Barcelo, Iberostar, Palladium, Grand Bahia Principe. Those are not a fit for you. Maybe Marina El Cid and pay for the excellent snorkeling excursions from the town pier to the reef.

MD - USA
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for Puerto Morelos, Yucatan Peninsula
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3. Re: Rate & Comment on my top family Spring Break AI choices?

I have never been to ABR so I cant compare but I can comment on some others.

El Cid - Your assessment is good. No real snorkeling on the beach. Close to PM however and 5 minute boat ride gets you to great snorkeling for $25PP for 3 hours. Great family resort. Perfect size resort IMO. Was there in July.

IB Beach/Del Mar - Your assessment is pretty good. No beach snorkeling but better beach swimming than El Cid. Rooms size is not good and no views. Tons of pool space. Big resort but we walked it everywhere and did not use the carts. The shopping center is far away. If you get a room in the middle walks are not bad to anywhere but there. Crowded at main pool area. Was there about 5 years ago.

GP - This is probably what you want. It is huge which I know you see as a negative but it has everything you want. Nice beach, snorkel beach, snorkel salt water pool, fun family environment. This was my kids favorite before going to El Cid. Depending on where your room is you can walk everywhere and we did. Room location is key to that. We have been 3 times over the last 10 years. Very inexpensive to upgrade to 1 bedroom suite.

You could look at Aventura Cove Palace. It is being converted to Hard Rock. We were there two years ago. Manmade beach is a negative but the cove is great for snorkeling. The pools are great. They have family suites which is 2 jr suites connecting. It did not feel big. I missed the beach but the family loved it for the pool, activities, and food.

OCT - I mention this one because I did some beach snorkeling there. Otherwise I hated swimming from the beach. It was fine to look at. It also has most of what you are looking for and should be similar price wise to what you are looking at.

I have done detailed family reviews on all of these and others if you want more info. Click on my name, my contributions, and my reviews. We have been to others too but I left them off because they don't have beach snorkeling. I have also been to NJ, Riu Yuk, Riu Teq, Allegro Playa, Riu Palace LA, Riu Cancun, Royal Solaris and some others. Feel free to PM me if you have more questions about any of these.

Saskatchewan
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4. Re: Rate & Comment on my top family Spring Break AI choices?

When choosing a spring break destination be sure of what you want. I have been to both the Barceló (Colonial/Tropical x4) and the Palladium. The Barceló caters more and more every year to the spring break crowd. By that I mean if you and your teens are looking for a family oriented vacation at spring break do NOT go to the Barceló. If you are looking for a place to help your kids indulge in partying, sex, throwing up and peeing in public choose the Barceló. I wouldn't call myself a prude but I will not return to the Barceló during spring break. Last year was the worst - the set up party tents on the beach and totally catered to a drunken teenage crowd. It was crazy and sad to watch.

I took my two younger teens to the Palladium one spring break and it was much more controlled and innocent. Just my two cents...

Chanhassen...
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5. Re: Rate & Comment on my top family Spring Break AI choices?

Very helpful advice, thank you so much!! El Cid and Catalonia did stick out in my mind! Still thinking of El Coz too.

Does Cid have even decent snorkeling kidwise at all from shore?

Vancouver
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6. Re: Rate & Comment on my top family Spring Break AI choices?

Oasis (Grand) Tulum has great snorkeling, beach, small resort, ocean front rooms, but I guess these are not your important criteria as you 1st posted

Chanhassen...
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7. Re: Rate & Comment on my top family Spring Break AI choices?

Vancouver, I will check out Oasis Grand, thanks! Snorkeling still number one, I just keep thinking of how my kids would love that El Cid pool and wish I could put it at a better snorkeling resort:).

Edited: 1:39 am, November 01, 2013
Chanhassen...
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8. Re: Rate & Comment on my top family Spring Break AI choices?

Wow, this is all incredibly helpful information, thank you all! Through my husband's sales reward trips, we have been to many 5 star hotels and resorts but as a family, we can not afford them and truly feel a 3 star resort suits us just fine if the location is great and if their is a great deal for a 4 star, even better, but want to keep our hotel and air under 6K total.

To keep everything in perspective, our vacations are about what my kids see through their eyes, and it's the silly little things that make a vacation special and memorable, and I have to remember that. What my 11 year old daughter remembers best about ABR was the free ice cream she could get pool-side whenever she wanted and the monkey she got to pet in Tulum. Does she mention the awesome turtles we say snorkeling and the amazing cenotes...mmm...more about the free ice cream. And my son will say it's the same group of kids that met at the pool each night for water polo...hours and hours way past dark.

Does anyone feel El Coz would not be a good fit, it's still at the top. Anyone stay there? I like that we can fly right there and explore the island for different snorkeling. Then I have shuffled GP and Catalonia near the top but GP looks spendy? Tulum might be too far south. I wish I could put all the resorts together to make the perfect one! To be more specific and idealistic, the perfect resort would be:

1) Pool: Next to the ocean with lazy river, waterfalls, swim up bar (for kid smoothies), grotto. Not loud, not crowded, subtle kid-centered activities here or there. Snack shack with ice cream.

2) Beach: I love a cove. The perfect super aqua blue mix of rocks and sand, maybe some caverns and tunnels for great snorkeling. Maybe even some ledges to jump off of. If you could put a resort with a beach on top of Yal-Ku Lagoon, that's our piece of heaven:)

3) Grounds: Lush and natural. No concrete, marble, super-contemporary type place. My kids would LOVE animals roaming about, especially monkeys. Not spiders so much. Layout wide and not deep, with natural looking oceanfront buildings, not highrise. One bedroom room for space from kids. Centrally located and convenientt room to pool and beach.

4) Totally kid-oriented, no spring breakers, no chair games, no crowded beach, pool open late, no loud night activity, don't care about shopping-hate it actually, feeling of being away from it all. Don't care about watered down drinks or hard beds or kids clubs. Would love to be able to sit in my pool lounge chair and be able to see my kids walk from room to pool to beach to snack shack.

I know we all look for the perfect place, and that no resort is perfect, just trying to find the closest to it:). And since we were in Akumal, trying to stay further north just to be a little different. That's why the El Coz is appealing too...completely different area!

Thanks so much everyone! I welcome any more comments!

~Amy

Edited: 2:13 pm, November 01, 2013
Chicago, Il
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9. Re: Rate & Comment on my top family Spring Break AI choices?

You know the El Coz is on the island of Cozumel. Maybe check out the Cozumel forum for more experienced answers. Our bunch of trips to Cozumel were for scuba diving. El Coz is north of the town, but the best beaches, snorkeling, and diving is south of town. That's why I recommend Occidental Grand. And rent a car there so you can explore the island.

Otherwise, El Cid would totally be a hit with your kids. They have a separate sports pool to the side of the cliff jump, where they are always playing something (volleyball, water polo, basketball, etc). Rooms are very large with a very comfortable Murphy bed, so you could have 3 queen size beds in the room. Ask for a room with a private bathroom, not the new open floor plan with no privacy. Not sure why all the new resorts are going to this open bathroom to the sleeping area design. Again, rent a car & take them to XPLOR if you really want to score parent points.

Catalonia fits your bill, too, but I'd suggest two Privilege rooms or their Family Suite. The Privilege Suite only has a small sofa bed in the second room.

Chanhassen...
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10. Re: Rate & Comment on my top family Spring Break AI choices?

SeaBass,

Yep, Cozumel sounded very enticing as you can fly right in and so many fun things to do on the island! El Coz sounded good because of the great shore snorkeling right off the beach, no boat trip needed, a really great pool, everything is centrally located and all rooms are oceanfront steps away from pool and ocean. I just hate the look of kind of a "highrise", but most reviews are wonderful for it.

That El Cid pool looks amazing, my kids would LOVE that! Open bathroom? That's strange. My husband just wants that great snorkeling right from shore, not a boat triip, so maybe quite a few fun resorts have to fall off the list just for the lack of great shore snorkeling. I wonder if we could stop for a day pass there to play in the pool?

I heard a lot of the Privilege thing at Catalonia, is that an extra package at extra cost?

And I like the south side of Coz for it's more secluded and lush feeling but I heard the shore snorkeling isn't very good in front of the resorts and I was worried that rooms at Occidental were quite a walk from the beach and pool?

Xplor, Xel-Ha, Xcaret....ahhhh choices!!