Our Stay at the Royalton Riviera Cancún Resort and Spa
There’s so much that we loved about our stay at the Royalton Riviera Cancún! You can read about our booking and arrival experience as well as our room in this post: Destination Review: Family Vacation at Royalton Riviera Cancún Resort and Spa. In this post, we’re going to focus on the property amenities, including the food.
The Beach and Pools
First, the beach: Unfortunately, Summer 2018 wasn’t a great time for Cancún beachgoers. Assuming you’re aware of the sargassum influx, then the seaweed problem is, at worst, mildly disappointing. Yes, the scent and sight of the seaweed can be seriously off-putting, but that’s nature! The sargassum situation made the complimentary non-motorized watersports options less than appealing, though we did manage to go out on a hobie cat. I’d love to go back to the Royalton Riviera Cancún during a time when sargassum isn’t a problem, because the property is absolutely gorgeous otherwise.
- Tip: To experience the Riviera Maya’s gorgeous turquoise waters and to avoid the seaweed (if it’s a problem at the resort when you visit), try these alternatives:
- Visit Xel-Há Park: Destination Review: Our Visit to Xel-Há in Quintana Roo, Mexico
- Take a dip in a cenote— hell, take a multi-cenote tour!
- Go on an excursion to Isla Mujeres or Isla Holbox. Both require a shuttle ferry ride, and this jaunt will absolutely eat up an entire day, but by all accounts, it will be well worth it.
The pools at the Royalton Riviera Cancun are simply awesome! There are four areas to explore: the pool by the splash pad and the kids’ waterslide section, the main “Signature” pool, the infinity pool, the Diamond Club pools, and the Hideaway pools.
As Diamond Club guests, we were able to try out all the pools except for those in the Hideaway section (the adults-only resort within a resort). Our favorite was the infinity pool. Despite its central location, we found the infinity pool to be the least populated and most relaxing place to float around and swim.
The kids enjoyed the splash pad and slides, but they preferred the “regular” pools and playing with their floats.
All-inclusive resorts get a bad rap for their food service, but Royalton Riviera Cancun smashes those stereotypes to bits. From room service, to pool-side snacks, to dinner at the steakhouse, we felt that the waitstaff was always attentive, and the food was always fresh, thoughtfully prepared, and delicious.
Our favorite restaurants were Gourmet Marche (the buffet), Hunter Steakhouse, and the Caribbean Grill. The Caffe Lounge coffee & ice cream shop and the food truck by the main pool also get a big thumbs up from us!
The children’s program at the Royalton Riviera Cancún Resort and Spa is split into two age groups: ages 4-12 and then 13-17. There’s the Clubhouse Kids Club, and then there’s the Hangout Teens Lounge. The staff is very strict about the age groups, requiring proof of birthdate (your child’s passport will do) upon registration.
I did not love how they lumped middle schoolers together with pre-schoolers— a 12 year old pre-teen taller than his mom is going to have vastly different interests than a 4 year old child. We asked if they could let our 12 and a half year old in with the teens because their activities were more his speed, especially considering he was only 6 months from the age cutoff, but the request was denied. Even with what I felt was a glaring lack of age-appropriate programming options for the 10 to 12 year old segment, our two younger kids (ages 4 and 9) enjoyed their time at the kid’s club.
The availability of the kid’s club often proved inconvenient, however, because they close for about an hour between the morning, afternoon, and evening sessions. If you’re going to be doing a lot of excursions or planned activities as a family, it’s highly likely you simply won’t be able to find the time to have your children attend the kid’s club at all.
During the day, the lively Vibe team hosts activities throughout the resort to get guests moving and having fun! One of our favorites were the family-friendly bubble foam parties that take place at each pool.
Every night, resort guests are treated to live music and themed entertainment! Our favorites were Mexican night, which also featured an open air mercado with local vendors selling their wares. While it’s not quite the experience of Mercado 23 or 5th Avenida, the vendors are wiling to bargain. Market night is a fine choice for authentic souvenirs without having to leave the resort. Note that the nightly entertainment is on a two week rotating schedule, and so the performances and theme nights you experience will vary based on when you arrive and how long you’re staying.
The Spa and Gym
Confession time: I’m not a spa person. (Though sometimes I sit and wonder what it might be like to be someone who is a mani-pedi spa-day type of gal.)
Our Diamond Club accommodations included a complimentary session to use the hydrotherapy facilities, but we weren’t able to fit it into our visit.
I didn’t use the gym, but the hubby did, and he was impressed by how clean, modern, and well-kept the facilities were. He noted that the gym staff were energetic and friendly, providing engaging instruction and motivation to gym-goers.
- You’ll be humming and singing the Royalton theme song long after you’ve arrived back home. Here, give that joint a listen.
- No, you don’t have to tip. Yes, you should tip. Like the US, tipping for service is expected in Mexico. Unless the treatment you received was so poor and disappointing as to warrant withholding of a tip, you should be expecting to tip the hardworking servers, bartenders, butlers, and housekeeping/maintenance staff who directly provide you with service.
- For any activity on the ocean (snorkeling, catamaran, kayaking, etc), be prepared to pay a small reef tax. This was roughly 30 pesos per person when we were there, and you receive a wristband as proof that you paid. If you plan on doing additional activities that require the payment of the reef tax, then be sure to keep your wristband on.
As a mom of three children, the quality of the children’s program and amenities are very important to me. The Royalton Riviera Cancun excels when it comes to food service and entertainment, but their children’s programming needs some work. Mainly, they could use more thoughtful execution around age-appropriateness and availability of their children’s and teen club activities.
Are you considering the Royalton Riviera Cancun for an upcoming trip? Check out our booking experience and room review here: Destination Review: Family Vacation at Royalton Riviera Cancún Resort and Spa
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