But, oh…they are soooo nice!
We decided to do some Christmas splurging. No crazy purchases for us (if you don’t count the emergency foreign computer purchase in Merida), but it was high-time to experience our first all-inclusive Mexican resort!
We found cheap deals for all-inclusive resorts on Bookit.com. While there were some resorts that let children stay for free, there were no kids clubs, and their resort simply looked like a fancy hotel on a beach with a pool. Not quite what we were after. Instead, we booked with Occidental Grand Xcaret, and we couldn’t have been happier!
We had to pay for the girls, but we got a price for about $50 per person, to total $200 per night with all meals included, a ton of pools to choose from, and most importantly a KID’S CLUB!!
Yes, a big splurge considering the cost of our prior hotels…but we were ready for luxury!
The hotel is very grand, and has a river running throughout it.
The rooms were high-quality, but not the biggest. To be expected, however!
We could choose to eat the buffet for every meal, which had different themes and menus each day. I was quite happy (access to fresh-cut produce is always good news to me!), but Jared quickly got bored.
So, we also went to the on-site Mexican Restaurant for a few nights, as well. They don’t cost extra–but we did leave tips.
The hotel also tried to get you to listen to timeshare pitches, but we just kindly and firmly told them “no”.
Clearly, the BEST part of this place (and there were many great things about it!) was the Kid’s Club. It has to be one of the best kids club at all-inclusive resorts in Mexico!
The kids could go there after breakfast, and stay until 5pm. After the first day I was a bit fearful they wouldn’t like it…but they were begging to stay! And of course, they begged to return the next day!
The kid’s club is essentially one decent-sized clubhouse with a small, shallow pool outside. They fed the kids lunch, played games with them, did crafts, and kept them happy all day!
They even had little potties…which Ethan was a fan of However, they only take kids 4 years and older, so Ethan was not invited. Maiya, who had turned 4 on the trip, was now welcome! Wahoo!
Yes, I took photos of the bathrooms.
Ella also entertained us with a puppet show she had been practicing!
At night they have activities for kids. We got to watch Rango in an open-auditorium (in Spanish), and after the movie they let the kids hit a piñata.
The host went nuts over the girls and their hair! And I’ll tell ‘ya what—our kids are REALLY good piñata hitters. They get more practice than most tourists’ kids!
While the kids were entertained during the day, we explored the property and took naps while Ethan took his nap. We also had to pay the big bucks to get internet in our room (don’t you hate how nice places nickel-and-dime you for things you get for FREE in cheap hotels?!), and we caught up on work. Lots of work. I will never travel during early December again–it’s a pain in the neck trying to respond to customers with lots of questions with a tight deadline. Hold me to that, will ya?!!
We found a patio with tons of hammocks to relax on…
(not that we relaxed for more than a minute…Ethan is waaaay too busy for that)!
And we walked around the property and down to their small, man-made beach in a small inlet.
The sand was quite nice, and I will admit you have to be thankful that they made this man-made beach. Many beaches in this area of Playa del Carmen are pretty rocky!
A little too busy for our style.
One evening just before dark, we enjoyed a short dip in the ocean. I can’t believe I’m admitting this…but that was the only time we hit that beach. In fact, we only even hit up the pools on the property once, too! It was pretty overcast and chilly while we stayed at the resort, so we never felt tempted to hang out pool-side (plus, having an active 18 month old puts a damper on poolside relaxation)!
While we could have stayed on the resort and been well-entertained by the activities, pools, and beach…we decided to venture out into Playa Del Carmen to see what it was all about.
We hit the main shopping strip. There were many aggressive vendors…something we’re not used to in Central Mexico.
And in case you want fish to eat the dead skin cells off your feet…there’s an option for that…
Natural exfoliation at its best…
If you’re looking for a kid-friendly all-inclusive resort in Playa del Carmen, I can’t give anything but rave-review for the Occidental Grand Xcaret. They also have theme parks that are associated with the hotel, and you can buy discounted tickets at the resort. The parks look AWESOME! However, we decided we had splurged enough, and we were also in a hurry to meet up with some friends…so we passed this time!
In general, I think all-inclusive resorts are kind of awesome. It is nice to not have to worry about where to buy your food, where you will stay the night, and if your kids will be entertained. However…the price is steep!
Sadly, I think most Americans and Canadians who visit Mexico ONLY step foot in all-inclusives and their neighboring tourist towns. This means they have a totally distorted perception of Mexico, and they never fully experience it! So…while I recommend a resort as an occasional splurge, please DO NOT return to your home country and tell people you’ve been to Mexico, when you’ve only visited a resort.
You haven’t seen Mexico. The beauty. The culture. The vitality.
You missed it!