Dreams Riviera Cancun Grand Opening with Pictures

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! Those of you who haven’t had a chance to see the pictures, grab a fresh cup of coffee and take a peek. We’re just back from the brand-new, built-from-the-ground-up Dreams Riviera Cancun, and we’ve got over a hundred photos posted online – the ones you won’t see in the airbrushed brochures.

If we can describe Dreams Riviera Cancun in one word, it would be welcoming. From the moment one walks into the spacious lobby, the only thoughts are “I’m home.” Huge open-air lobby area, all themed in an Indonesian style (dark woods, wicker furniture, wide fans across the ceiling) with one of the most open and warm lobby bars we’ve seen, Dreams Riviera Cancun welcomes everyone with a touch of class and friendliness.

Dreams Riviera Cancun opened October 1st, and we’d be hard-pressed to notice that. The resort, the staff, the activities, the rooms, the overall feel are of a resort that’s been operating for years. None of the early learning curve mistakes (pouring wine in the water glass, empty minibars, power outages, etc.) are anywhere to be seen, and maybe most impressive was the foliage – palm trees, flowers, lawn, and more all seem to have been there for far longer than five weeks.

For families with children under 12, Dreams Riviera Cancun may be the perfect resort. It’s small and intimate, with everything almost within shouting distance, and very close to the airport (it’s been a long flight – why extend it with an hour in a bus?) Dreams Riviera Cancun is laid out in two mirror image J-shaped buildings facing the ocean, with the main pools and two restaurants in the middle, and a tree-lined walkway through the center leading to the lobby and four remaining restaurants. No worries about letting the kids run free, as everything is right there.

Dreams Riviera Cancun’s pools are separated into three main sections, yet all still in one place. The main Infinity Pool contains the swim up bar and is geared towards adults, the Theater Pool is where the volleyball and water polo happens (as well as the nightly shows, with stepped seating around the pool and deck where the performances take place – very unique!), and the shallow Kids Pool with in-water ping-pong tables and space for the little ones to play. Tons of pool seating, including over a dozen cushioned and covered pool beds, all served by waiters and waitresses throughout the day.

Dining is a Dreams Riviera Cancun specialty – six restaurants (Mexican, Italian, Oriental with teppanyaki and tatami tables, adults-only French, oceanside Grill and Seafood, and International buffet) never require reservations. Add to this the Barefoot Grill (burgers, hot dogs, chicken) next to the pool, CoCo Kafe coffee bar with lattes and hot chocolate, and 24 hour room service for all guests, and you’ll never want for food. Oh, and by the way – twice a week Dreams Riviera Cancun puts together a tequila tasting poolside to learn about the history of tequila, the best types to sip and mix, and how to not get ripped off when buying!

Rooms at Dreams Riviera Cancun have a very unique layout, almost octagonal. The beds (two double beds or one king bed) are in the very middle of the room, facing the sliding glass door (great oceanviews while laying in bed) with a shuttered wall behind partially separating the bathroom (Jacuzzi tub and separate shower, double sinks). There are not junior suites as many new resorts offer, so fitting a family of four in with older (>12) children may be tough, but again perfect for those with younger children. However, Dreams Riviera Cancun offers many connecting rooms that can be booked ahead of time (not just requested) for larger families. Fully stocked minibar with soda, water, juices and beers; flat screen television with DVD player, plus balcony (Preferred Club has Jacuzzi) complete the rooms.

As always with Dreams Resorts, a very comprehensive Explorers Club for kids from 3-12, with activities throughout the day (9AM to 10PM, fully supervised!) such as rock climbing, beach soccer, ocean trampoline and ‘iceberg’ climbing float, movie night, and of course top of the line XBox 360 video games. Remember that adults-only restaurant? Let the kids enjoy their dinner and movie in the Explorers Club, while mom and dad enjoy the escargot, foie gras, filet mignon, and a French merlot with creme brulee at Bordeaux. No really…those are on the menu, all-inclusive. This is a Dreams resort after all!

Dreams Riviera Cancun is currently running a sale with up to 40% off regular rates plus a $200 Resort Credit. For more information, brand new photos, and a price quote, visit our Dreams Riviera Cancun page.

Paradisus Riviera Cancun Review

An oldie but a goodie – the Paradisus Riviera Cancun has been one of our best upscale family resorts in Mexico for years. A very tropical and secluded, very Mexican style all suites resort, it sits less than 20 minutes from the airport on a long stretch of beach with plenty of activities for families, as well as the Royal Service option for adults.

The suites are scattered throughout the secluded Paradisus Riviera Cancun in 14 Mayan-style bungalows, each with 30-35 suites (no elevators – hey, even the advanced Mayans had to climb steps!) Each suite has a fully stocked minibar, television, and either one king bed or two double beds. Three things we noticed really set the Paradisus Riviera Cancun apart from many other resorts – authentic dining, impressive kids club, and the Royal Service section.

Six a la carte restaurants at Paradisus Riviera Cancun, and they’re working on expanding options as we speak. Reservations are required, but guests can make reservations three days in advance, and the reservations desk is open throughout the day (unlike some other resorts, who only have a small window that reservations can be made). The Oriental restaurant is run by a Japanese manager, the French is headed by a chef right from France whose daily highlight is creating special dishes off the cuff for dinner, and so on. If you can’t find food you like at Paradisus Riviera Cancun, perhaps a vacation wasn’t for you!

When one thinks of Kids Clubs, what usually comes to mind is the age range of 4 to 12 years old. Not so here – ready for this? Paradisus Riviera Cancun has fully supervised programs for infants as young as 45 days. Yes, under seven weeks old! Paradisus Riviera Cancun has trained staff throughout the day, offer walkie talkies for parents, and a nap room with cribs and small beds with video surveillance. Not that most parents would leave a seven week old child there the whole day, but to have the ability to put the child down for a supervised (and included) nap while they partake of a wine tasting is an amazing feature.

And when talking about amazing features, you have to include Paradisus Riviera Cancun’s adults-only Royal Service section. A newly-redone an expanded Royal Service Lounge greets guests for private check in, and offers gourmet bites and top-shelf liquors throughout the day in air-conditioned comfort with concierge service and flat screen television, books, games, and more. From there guests are taken to the Royal Service section, which has its own pool with Bali-style beds and butler service (each day a pool bed can be reserved in the guests’ names for their exclusive use, even with a sign hung on it) and private beach area with additional butler service. Anything a Royal Service client needs during their stay, the RS butlers take care of it.

Paradisus Riviera Cancun is currently running an Early Booking Bonus for 2010, plus Kids Stay Free on selected dates. For more information, brand new photos, and a price quote, visit our Paradisus Riviera Cancun page.

Ocean Coral & Turquesa Review

Great value…remember that phrase from one of our mailers last month? Can’t get much greater of a value than Ocean Coral Turquesa in the Riviera Maya. An all-junior suite property less than 20 minutes from the airport, arranged parallel to the white sand beach giving most rooms (with the exception of ground floor) an oceanview, fully stocked minibars in each room, the ability to fit a family of five in one room, free wifi in the lobby, and much more.

Ocean Coral & Turquesa is arranged in four U shaped buildings, each one with its own pool – the one nearest the main lobbies (they have two check ins, one for suite guests and one for Privilege Club guests, more on that later) has the swim up pool bar, which of course makes it the most “outgoing.” Just up from that is the Kids Club section geared towards families with younger children. On the other end is a quieter pool with relaxing music, and at the farthest U is the Privilege Club section with its added amenities and services.

Ocean Coral & Turquesa’s Privilege Club is a great add-on for not much more – Privilege Club guests have a private check in and check out, access to the Privilege Club lounge with top shelf liquors and concierge service, a lobster dinner once a week in the oceanside restaurant, in-room Internet access included, and a private section of the beach set aside just for them, featuring beach butlers who bring everything from towels and books to ice buckets full of cold drinks.

Plenty of dining options at Ocean Coral & Turquesa, and none require reservations (isn’t this how they should all be?) Dine where you want, when you want – no worries about rushing home from your Chichen Itza excursion that’s running late to make the 7PM Oriental reservation you had. Stay that extra hour in the pool, catch those last rays of sun on the beach, and decide last minute what cuisine you’re in the mood for – Mexican, Tex-Mex, American (in the very cool sports-themed restaurant), Japanese, Seafood, or Italian. Even though reservations are not needed, there may be a wait, so they will provide pagers to let you know when the table is ready, so have a drink and relax. Ocean Coral & Turquesa Privilege Club guests can get guaranteed times to dine, another great perk.

Long stretch of white sand beach at Ocean Coral & Turquesa – it’s not the crystal clear blue water from brochures, but for the most part it’s calm and relaxing, and the sand is white and cool. Lots of space and seating along the beach, and all guests have beach waiter service for drinks – even in a ‘great value’ resort!

Ocean Coral & Turquesa is currently running a Winter Sale with reduced rates for travel through April 30th. For more information, brand new photos, and a price quote, visit our Ocean Coral Turquesa page.

Club Med Cancun Yucatan Review

If you haven’t seen or heard what Club Med is today, you may have an outdated idea…odd bracelets with beads you remove to pay for drinks, doors without locks, and singles looking for a fun time. Today’s Club Med is MUCH different, as they’ve fully embraced the all-inclusive concept of the 90’s and 00’s, and have shifted much more towards the family market, and Club Med Cancun Yucatan is the flagship of the new concept.

Club Med Cancun Yucatan was one of the first hotels to be built in Cancun, and for that reason chose THE prime location. It’s set at the furthest south part, well away from the hustle and bustle of the Hotel Zone, and on the point of the “7” shape of Cancun’s island (did you know Cancun is actually an island?) This location not only sets it apart from other mass-market hotels, but also provides Club Med Cancun Yucatan an ideal location for watersports. Club Med has designed this resort to incorporate the Mexican and Mayan cultures, with bright colors and authentic artifacts and artwork from throughout the region. Rooms are colorful and comfortable, all with flat screen televisions, vanity desk with pop-up mirror (so that getting the hair ready for dinner doesn’t interfere with teeth brushing!), and stocked minibar. Internet access is available for an extra fee.

Perhaps Club Med Cancun Yucatan’s best features are the GO’s, or the resort staff. Guests come from all around the world, with a large percentage of Europeans, but the GO’s are fluent in several languages, and are among the most friendly and outgoing you’ll ever meet – including joining you for meals at your table to strike up a conversation.

Club Med Cancun Yucatan features two oceanside a la carte restaurants, a Mexican and Mediterranean, plus a large main buffet restaurant with distinctly themed dining areas, and an impressive number of food stations such as grill, fresh Mexican foods, salads, vegetables and fruits, and a huge dessert station – just what you need on a beach vacation! No worries, they offer plenty of amazing activities and sports to work off that white chocolate bread (and if you’ve never had Club Med’s white chocolate bread, you haven’t lived yet). Three amazing main activities set this resort apart:

• Absolutely top notch waterski/wakeboarding program at Club Med Cancun Yucatan, maybe the best in the business. Top of the line equipment (Moomba & Mastercraft boats, Connelly & Hyperlite skis & boards, O’Neill life vests, etc.) and excellent, patient instructors. Huge semi-private lagoon right on property to use, either for beginners (with lots of space to be dragged around on your face!) or experienced (slalom buoy course). Depending on the number of guests, one can ski/board from 9:30 through noon, and again from 2:30 through 5PM – no limit on the number of runs, just take turns! The staff provides fantastic instruction, even for children as young as 12. Not only did they teach our young boys how to ski and wakeboard in one day, but even somehow got me up and out of the water, and now I’m a wakeboard junkie!
• As with other Club Meds,
Club Med Cancun Yucatan features an onsite trapeze program with experienced instructors, for young to young at heart – everything from basic swinging to release moves, and if you work hard at it, they’ll invite you to join the weekly trapeze show in front of the entire resort!
Onsite snorkeling may be one of the best and most below-the-radar activities here. The second-largest reef in the world (the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, second only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef) starts right at the southern tip of Cancun, and is essentially just offshore from
Club Med Cancun Yucatan. Grab a snorkel mask and explore right offshore, in the same area where the dozens of hotels up and down the Cancun Hotel Zone charge extra to send people by boat!

To finish it off, Club Med Cancun Yucatan has remodeled and upgraded their top level rooms in the oceanfront Jade Building. The resort road was moved to accommodate the oceanfront location and all new Jade pool, with a newly redone lobby with concierge service. The brand spanking new (opened in October) Jade Pool is right on the ocean with Bali-style beds, with a butler who delivers drinks, pillows and cushions, and takes care of the guests throughout the day.

Club Med Cancun Yucatan is currently running an Early Booking Sale with 15% off 2010 rates. For more information, brand new photos, and a price quote, visit our Club Med Cancun Yucatan page.