A toy-lending library, kids’ personal video-players in on-site restaurants, Gerber baby food included in the room rate, suites designed for families of five, and guaranteed connecting rooms are only a handful of the incredible family-friendly amenities offered at Azul Sensatori by Karisma, an all-inclusive, oceanfront resort near Puerto Morelos, Mexico. With the carpet rolled out for kids at Azul Sensatori, I confidently call it the best all-inclusive resort for kids in the Riviera Maya.
My family and I were hosted for two nights at Azul Sensatori this spring. It’s a mid-sized resort, as far as all-inclusives in Mexico go: 438 rooms.Â The resort is divided into four sections: Adults-Only (with its own pool; which happened to be the most raucous), Family, Luxury and Premium. The Premium suites, where we stayed, have a private pool with access to pool butlers, who come around to lounge chairs with sunscreen, water, fruit and sandwiches through the day. But if you’re traveling with young children, I’d stay in the family section, right next to the phenomenal kids’ club (more on that later) and kids’ pool area with slide and splashing water features.
The resort is brand new — it just opened in November 2008. We found the grounds incredibly clean, beautifully decorated and easy to navigate. Azul Sensatori is is part of the “Gourmet Inclusive,” brand, a term that applies not only to the top-notch service and amenities you’ll enjoy here, but also, naturally, to the food. Is it five-star dining? Maybe not. But the food is among the best I’ve eaten at Mexican all-inclusives, and I’ve stayed at 10 different properties.
Each restaurant at Azul Sensatori offers a la carte dining (the word “buffet” is not used on property; they are called “interactive dining stations.”). The self-serve stations are great for families who need food quickly for hungry kids; but if you choose, you could spend an entire week here and only order off of menus — a far cry from many large resorts where buffets are the norm, not the exception.
Large Suites: The rooms are gorgeous, with flat-screen TVs, half-canopy beds and in-suite Jacuzzi tubs. Family suites include a private queen-size bed area, plus a double sofa bed and a single sofa bed for that third child. Want to accommodate Grandma, too? Book guaranteed connecting rooms.
Fisher-Price Partnership: The Azul Sensatori teamed up with Fisher-Price to provide a toy-lending library. Borrow items like the Laugh & Learn Musical Table or even Kid-Tough Digital Cameras for 24 hours; then return them and check out something new! Fisher-Price highchairs and other baby gear are also available for complimentary use in your room; you’ll also find Fisher-Price highchairs and personal DVD players (with loaded animated movies) at the restaurants.
Kids’ Club: This is the best resort kids’ club facility I’ve ever seen. It’s huge and circular shaped, with My Gym equipment in the center area; scheduled, teacher-led My Gym classes cost extra, but the kids have opportunities play on the slide, trampoline, etc. when they are enrolled in the complimentary Kids’ Club. Off of the main space are smaller themed rooms for imaginative play, napping, table games and arts and crafts. Activities are scheduled throughout the day; drop your kids for an hour or from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and then again from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. (perfect opportunity for an adults-only meal).
Teen Space: Tweens and teens have their own dance club with non-alcoholic drinks, board games and comfy seating. An arcade with fee-based games is adjacent.
Still more kid amenities: A playground on the beach; kids’ menu at each on-site restaurant offering items like quesadillas, cheeseburgers, grilled chicken or chicken nuggets, as well as kid-sized desserts; a kids’ wading pool with water slide, nets for “water polo” and a water-spray area; kid-sized tennis raquets to borrow; boogie boards, snorkeling gear, kayaks and sand toys for complimentary use; stepstools in the bathrooms; child-size robes; fruit smoothies at check-in.
Perhaps one drawback of the Azul Sensatori is its beach area. The sandy area is great for building sandcastles (with the plethora of sand toys, shovesl and buckets available for families to borrow), but the ocean is rocky and not ideal for swimming. But if you want to enjoy the water with your kids, you can walk down the beach to a more sandy area and gentle waves.
I’m a huge fan of the Azul Sensatori — for families with toddlers, preschoolers, school-age kids and teens. Its sister property, Azul Beach, just down the beach, is also amazing for families. Azul Beach doesn’t have quite as many bells and whistles, since it is a smaller property — just 97 rooms — but equal in top-notch service, family-friendly perks and excellent food. If anyone has questions for me or wants to learn more about my firsthand experiences at Azul Sensatori or Azul Beach, feel free to email me at ColoradoGal@thevacationgals.com. I’d love to share my experiences at either of these properties that I consider tops among all other family-friendly resorts on the Riviera Maya.