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“Azul Fives: A Good Family Experience”

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Azul Beach Resort The Fives Playa Del Carmen
Ranked #59 of 213 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed April 5, 2011

I recently spent a week at the Azul Fives with my family (four kids ages 5-13). It was our first trip to Mexico and we had a very good experience with both the Azul Fives, and with the activities available in the Rivera Maya. Prior to the trip, I spent a lot of time on Trip Advisor and appreciated the reviews which were posted, so I want to add my perspective and hope it helps others plan their trips to the area.

The Hotel
The Azul Fives is one of the newest properties in the area, and the facilities were excellent. We stayed in a two room suite with a roof deck. The pictures on the web site do a good job of describing the accommodations - they are clean, modern, and very attractive. In addition, the restaurant locations were very well designed and beautifully appointed - the facilities are a great strength of the hotel.

The hotel is comprised of a number of identical three story buildings, with a long winding pool weaving between the buildings. As a result,guests have access to a pool right by their room, in addition to the larger pool located near the beach. This is very helpful for families with younger children who want to stay closer to their rooms and are looking for less activity than takes place at the beach. Some reviewers have commented on the pool temperature, but we found the pools to be just fine and spent many hours in the water. There are three "swim up bars" spread out across the winding pool near the buildings, and many guests seem to enjoy the access to the friendly staff ready to serve a cold beverage.

The buildings are set back from the beach, so there are no real ocean views from the rooms. The walk to the beach from the rooms varies by location, but is no more than 5 minutes from any of the buildings. At the beach, there is a larger "infinity edge" pool that looks out on the ocean and also includes a swim up bar. This area is more active and high energy, and hotel staff organizes activities like beach volleyball, soccer, and dancing. This was all done in a fun and lighthearted manner and did not take away from guests who just wanted to enjoy the sun.

The Staff
One of the highlights of the trip was the very pleasant and professional staff at the hotel. We were very impressed by the desire of the staff to help us enjoy our stay. This was our first trip to Mexico, and we came away thoroughly impressed with the friendliness of the many people we met both inside and outside the hotel - it is a real benefit to travel in this region. I can honestly say that our interactions with everyone we met at the Azul Fives was a pleasure and enhanced our trip.

The Restaurants
We particpated in the Gourmet All Inclusive program and thought the food was good, not great and there was some uneven service levels. There are three main restaurants, complemented by smaller "cafe" styles options near the guest rooms. Flavours is the main breakfast area, and the breakfast options were terrriifc - custom omelettes, fresh waffles, pancakes, fruit juices, and some mexican specialties all in a beautiful setting that felt like a high-end restaurant.. Our family was excited for breakfast every morning. Sea Olives is more of a Meditarranean style restaurant, and we only ate their one time. We found the food to be average and service was a little slow. We did enjoy Tsuki's, which offers Japanese/Asian food and was quite good. The restaurant is small so it fills up on busier nights. It is worth noting that every restaurant offers a kids menu, and the staff does their best to accommodate requests to help younger guests enjoy their meals. We always felt welcome as a family in all of the venues.

Special note regarding the smoothie bar - connected to the gym/spa is a place that makes fresh fruit smoothies which are fantastic. You can get drinks made with mixes at the bars, but this venue offers the real deal and they are terrific.

Kids Club/Azulitos
The property has a very nice kids club staffed by some terrific ladies who are friendly and energetic. Most families with young kids seemed to have their kids there for some portion of the day. Activities include Lego, video games (always an attraction), water games at one of the pools, and some crafts. The ladies in the center were always positive and happy to welcome another visitor, and our kids looked forward to spending some time there each day.

Spa/Gym
Very nice facility with a couple of treadmills, ellipticals, weights and stretching. Clean, modern, nice. Spa was expensive, but services were very good and they have options focused on kids.

Beachfront
As other reviews have cited, you cannot swim directly in front of the hotel because there are rocks/coral in the water. However, a walk of a few minutes up the beach gets you to a sandy bottom where you can play in the waves. The water is warm, clean, and beautiful. We spent some time in the water every day. Lots of beach chairs and cabanas for those who want to hang out closer to the water.

Attractions:
Playa Del Carmen - bustling town 15 minutes away worth a trip for shopping and dining
Tulum - must see Mayan ruins on the coast
XCaret - an "eco park" that is somewhat like "animal kingdom" and has a great show in the evening that is worth seeing
Akumal - terrific snorkeling in a protected bay
Dolphinaris - swim with dolphins - beautiful new facility and a great experience

Best of luck in planning your trip

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank Northstar007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 31, 2011

Our stay at Azul Fives was short. Only three days. But for three days I had not a care in the world.

Reception;
we were greeted by a very pleasant front lobby staff. She processed our arrival quickly, answered our questions and sent us on our way with Champaign on a golf cart to our room that included a tour of the facility. A very nice touch, it took the "were the hell is the food" out of our vocabularies.

The one issue with reception was our room was supposed to have been a two room suite, ( I was traveling with my sixteen year old daughter who needs hours of mirror time) the room we got was a one room with two double beds. I ask about this when we received our keys. I was told that is what the travel agency booked for us, and after comparing documents she was correct. So, the resort did exactly was what asked of them. Why do I tell you this? They said if the resort would not have been full, Azul would have placed us in the room we thought we had. ( A review of the travel company will be coming shortly.)

Our First Meal.

After dropping our bags off at the room, we took a short walk to the Palmas pool bar. We were met by Jose, who is your server at that bar. We became close to Jose throughout our stay. He made our trip fun from the word go. Every time he saw us he would shake my hand and ask how we were doing. Now if you go here give Jose a shout out.

The Room;

The room was clean and comfortable. Tile floors throughout. A large sliding glass door to the patio which was large too. The entry to the rooms are through a locked door into a small vestibule then you use your card again to enter your room. Ours was 811-2. I felt safe for me and my daughter at all times.

The Food;

The restaurants were all very good. The menu at the dining locations other than the buffet were the same everyday we were there. The Buffet changed every night. An example is, one night might be american night, the next seafood night so on and so forth.. But, it was all very well prepared, fresh, hot, tasty.

I spoke with Frenado the executive chef on afternoon as he was overseeing the evening meals. He explained the detail he expects from his staff, in the restaurants as well as the pool cafe's. His expectations are very high, and the quality of the food shows.

The Beach;
I had read a few reviews of the beach. It was a little rocky along the edges of the property. But for the most part it was nice a soft sand.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled with family
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Thank thigysflyn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 30, 2011

My fiancé and I were recently married at the Azul Fives by Karisma, accompanied by 40 of our close friends and family members. It was an absolute dream vacation.

We arrived around 2 pm and the friendly, attentive staff looked after our luggage while we were transported in golf carts to our private group check-in. It was quite a remarkable experience. We were provided warm towels to clean our hands, followed by a glass of champagne. The hotel staff gave us a group briefing about upcoming meetings and pertinent information to get us settled in. We were also offered complimentary massages at the check-in. This private group check-in was quick, easy and a wonderful way to begin our experience at the Azul Fives.

The food at the Azul Fives was one of the first things we discovered and it was delicious. The Tsuki restaurant, Japanese cuisine, was a hit among our group. We also really enjoyed the variety at the Sea Olive restaurant. Every day, the chefs prepared a delicious lunchtime barbeque buffet with burgers, hot dogs, Spanish rice, tortillas and guacamole, and salads.

We found the size of the resort perfect for vacationing with a large group. Everyone had privacy, yet the small size allowed for us to easily meet up during the day or in the evening. The grounds and facilities were immaculate. I was amazed by the friendliness of all hotel staff; they were always smiling and greeting you.

The wedding services at the Azul Fives were exceptional. We met with the wedding coordinators on Monday prior to our wedding on Thursday. Estefania and Brenda, the Azul Fives wedding coordinators, and Elena, of Lomas Travel, offered professional and friendly services. Estefania and Elena offered their expertise to customize and perfect the details of our wedding. Every detail was done to perfection.

Our wedding package included a group dinner. However, since we were purchasing the private barbeque buffet dinner on the beach for our group, we were able to use the group dinner the night before our wedding. The staff and wedding coordinators really personalized this dinner for us. We were thrilled with the set-up in Flavours restaurant. We had our own private room; each table setting had our group dinner menu printed specially with the bride and groom’s names and the date. It was a nice touch and definitely a keepsake. The dinner and service were outstanding.

I had a relaxing and memorable wedding day. Estefania and Brenda were available to assist me throughout the day. The ceremony on the beach was beautiful, just like a dream wedding. I cannot say enough about the beautiful beach reception set-up that was prepared by Elena, Estefania, Brenda and the hotel staff. Our guests raved about the barbeque buffet dinner. Again, the service was exceptional. We ended the day dancing on the beach under a full moon. It was the most perfect wedding day.

We also had a group brunch included in our wedding package, which was held at Flavours the day after our wedding. The chef had prepared a few special items in the buffet for the occasion. Again, it was delicious.

The Azul Fives was outstanding in all areas, food, facilities, accommodations, entertainment and service. We would love to return, perhaps for our anniversary.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank loberts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 29, 2011

I recently traveled to Mexico for my first time. I knew I chose the right hotel when I received a glass of champagne while I registered. The pools were clean, the rooms were spacious, and there was a great variety of food. I would recommend this hotel to everyone. Every staff member was friendly and helpful. The beach was beautiful. The only thing we would like to have seen were the menus of each restaurant. We enjoyed each of them anyway.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled with family
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Thank ljryder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 22, 2011

We were at the Fives from March 16-21 with our 15, 13 and 10 year old kids. It is a very pretty, immaculate resort with a nice infinity pool near the beach. It has a nice tennis court and offer golf cart rides to different parts of the resort (its not too big so we walked and never rode except when we arrived with our luggage.

We were not sure what to think initially as the admitting procedure was choppy and we did not get the family suite that we were told we would have; instead we had two separate hotel-style rooms next to eachother. We also were tired from getting up at 3 am to get there so NOT getting what we expected seemed worse than it probably was.
Our rooms were nice and clean but there is a damp smell that doesn't go away.

We vacationed at the Azul Sensatori las spring and really liked it because we were all inclusive and did not have to worry about tipping. This is NOT the way it is at the FIVES. The first day we were there, we ate at the Sea Olive. The waiter stopped us to ask for a tip after we finished our lunch. My husband said "we are on the all-inclusive plan and thought tipping was already included." The waiter said that it was still somewhat expected that we tip. Of course we did tip but checked up front to make sure we didn't misunderstand. The lady at the fron desk told us that we did not have to tip unless we received outstanding service and WANTED to tip. HMMMM....needless to say, the employees work so hard and we appreciated it but we ended up spending several hundred dollars more on tips than what we had planned. They also offer the a-la-carte plan (European) so you have to be sure to be ready to prove you are on the all-iclusive by bringing your ID card along. We didn't like this part because at other all inclusive resorts, we didn't have to bring our wallets, etc. along. Here we did have to bring ID and money and it was a pain at times!

The food was very good; we loved the pool side restaurant "the LIZARD". My 67 year old parents came with us, also and enjoyed the food, walking on the beach and the pool areas. We did not get into the entertainment too much but it seemed good. Most of the time we walked on the beach, etc.

The beach outside the hotel was very rocky but walk north a ways to the PRINCESS for inexpensive beach massages, good waves, a cool sand bar that you can go out quite a ways on, jet ski rentals, etc. We loved that area and snorkeled around a bit and saw a few fish. Our oldest daughter loved the volleyball on the beach and met some teen friends there.

The gourmet food was good but in all honesty, we loved the hamburgers, guacamole, and smoothies as well as anything. The line at the pool bar was often long but drinks were yummy. :0)

Overall it was a great trip. We would go again!

Stayed: March 2011, traveled with family
1  Thank admcd1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 22, 2011

After ten years of spending Spring Break in the Playa del Carmen area with our three children (now ages 16, 13, 8) - and most of them at the same all-inclusive resort in Playacar, it was very exciting to try the new Azul Fives resort. We stayed in a 2-bedroom suite and that was the perfect accommodation for my family - two teenage daughters in one room and my 8 year old son, along with my husband and me, in the giant suite overlooking the winding pools. There are no ocean view rooms but as it turned out, that wasn't a drawback because the grounds were beautiful. There was a lovely deck where we would sip wine and play games in the evenings before dinner. The house wine was decent, too (it came from a bottle!), especially compared to what we have experienced in the past. After fighting a growing trend of obnoxious high school seniors and college students the past few years, it was such a relief to find a relaxing resort where there was plenty of action for the entire family but it never felt crowded or rowdy. All of the service people were very friendly and helpful - and surprisingly quick to respond to our requests. I was very relieved to feel safe there with my family, too. The restaurants were very nice and had some great offerings, including a children's menu. The Asian restaurant Tsuki was our favorite. The breakfast buffet was great and even offered a bloody mary bar and mimosas.One additional restaurant would have been nice for variety. The two food-rlated recommendations I would make would be to have coffee accessible in the early mornings without going into the Flavours dining room. We ended up ordering room service every morning which was okay but some days we would have preferred to get it ourselves if it was easily available. The other would be to have ice cream available to the kids in the afternoon without having to sit down to order in one of the formal dining areas. We didn't get to much of the evening entertainment but my teenage daughters went to most of the shows - they were typical of what you's expect - a little cheesy but still kind of fun. They took place in the Zky club which had nice ambiance.There was a great kids club, Azulitos, where my son would go each day to play Wii or Xbox to get out of the son for a little bit. When he wasn't there, he'd play volleyball or soccer on the beach with the other children. You could also check out boogie boards or snorkeling gear. The pool staff was great. We always bring a bunch of $1 bills for tips because they work hard to keep your glasses full. The beach right in front is beautiful but a little rocky. But you can walk down the beach a few minutes where it is clear and sandy. We walked for miles each day up and down the shore. Azul Fives is perfect proximity to Playa del Carmen. We took a $12 cab ride (about 10 minutes) into town twice for souvenir shopping and dinner. There was a nice workout room for those that want to exercise. There is also a tennis court. As with any resort, particularly in Mexico, some things are a little quirky. They operate a little differently there. For example, we extended our trip an extra day and it took no less than 10 phone calls and a dozen people to figure out how to settle our billing and room keys. Our departure shuttle arrived an our early after clearly establishing our pick up time with the concierge. Little things, not deal breakers. Overall, it was a delightful experience and we will definitely plan to go back again!

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank Amy3333
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 21, 2011

We returned from a one week vacation (March 12 - March19) with our two young kids (5yr old and an 8yr old). The experience was good but not great. We were at the Azul Beach hotel two years ago and decided to try this new Karisma hotel. Here is what we found.
The Good --> The rooms were very spacious (we had a 1 bedroom suite). The food was excellent, however, the wait in some of the restaurants was too long.
The Not So Good --> The pools were cold, however, they did warm up slightly during the day. You can't swim in the ocean directly in front of the resort because it is too rocky, we had to walk about two minutes down the beach to a spot that was swimmable. We found we did not use any of the spa services as they were totally over priced.
Overall, the experience was good but definately NOT a five star!

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank BeachDestinations
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
KarismaHotelsResorts, Guest Relations Manager at Azul Beach Resort The Fives Playa Del Carmen, responded to this reviewResponded April 1, 2011

Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you for sharing your experiences of the Azul Fives Hotel. Your feedback is truly appreciated and I have shared your comments with the entire team.

We are glad that you enjoyed our spacious rooms and Gourmet Cuisine. The beach directly in front of the hotel is slightly rocky under foot due to the Coral Reef, which is the second largest in the world, thus providing for a lovely snorkeling experience.

I'd like you to know that it is prohibited to remove or damage the coral reef and so whilst we value your comment, unfortunately we are restricted in the action that can be taken.

Again, we do appreciate all feedback and value your comments. Thank you for sharing with us.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Azul Beach Resort The Fives Playa Del Carmen

Address: Predio El Limonar Fraccion 2 | Xcalacoco, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#26 Green Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#30 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#31 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#40 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#42 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#43 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#79 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: $207 - $1,494 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Azul Beach Resort The Fives Playa Del Carmen 4.5*
Number of rooms: 524
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located just 10 minutes from charming Playa del Carmen, Azul Fives Hotel is noted for enormous suites designed for families and friends with up to three bedrooms with rooftop decks. Activities and special experiences foster togetherness for families, couples and groups of friends. The 360-suite hotel offers the renowned Gourmet Inclusive® concept, as well as flexible meal plan options to suit all agendas. Private barbecues highlight family activities, and the Kid’s Club sponsored by Fisher-Price® caters to children. Rooftop Weddings inspire soon-to-be-married couples. The 24-hour room service and full-service concierge ensure memorable vacations. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Azul Fives By Karisma Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Azul Beach Resort The Fives Playa Del Carmen Riviera Maya, Mexico

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