In the beginning, there was a lonely quesadilla, a pack of crayons and a sad little pool. Then one day, a child complained loudly enough until someone listened. The contributions of this anonymous hero, we like to imagine, have paved the way for hotels and parents to pay attention and ensure that tots and teens have plenty to do while on vacation.
Elevating children’s experiences is a priority at many hotels and resorts as that crowd grows increasingly sophisticated, but there’s no denying the importance of the bare basics. Roy Oftedal, director of Balboa Vacations, San Diego’s largest travel agency, says that given little ones’ finicky ways, children’s menus are one of the details to consider for a stress-free family vacation in Mexico. “A lot of times the kids won’t eat what the adults eat,” he explains. Of course, exciting activities are a must. “When the kids are happy, then the mom is happy and then the dad is happy,” he explains. “So the resorts that I look at…have more options and tend to cater more to children.”
Finally, says Oftedal, “Will there be other kids around? Because that’s important. [Families] want to go where other families are.” The most popular picks, he adds, “…have a kids’ camp with a staff that takes care of them and have events planned all day long, so after breakfast the kids get to go enjoy themselves and the parents relax by the pool, and they usually meet again for dinner.”
Those resorts that seek to satisfy children and teens are well aware that the satisfaction of younger guests are of utmost importance—and that the more they offer, the more time and money they’ll spend onsite. So what’s hot these days in Mexico for the younger crowd? A chance to ride the waves, “om” their way to inner peace and get eco down South.
In November, Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort in Cancun is set to unveil the FlowRider Double, a wave simulator with two lanes of endless waves where guests can bodyboard or stand up on flowboards to surf. This will be the first hotel in Mexico to have this attraction, which costs $75 pp, per hour. However, guests who stay five nights or more get Palace’s great $1,500 Resort Credit, which can be used toward time in the FlowRider Double, plus spa treatments, golf time, room upgrades, excursions and more.
The wave simulator is the latest in Palace’s crowd-pleasing perks, which have also included recent concerts by Enrique Iglesias and Jon Secada, plus a limited engagement of Cirque Dreams’ “Jungle Fantasy,” a Broadway hit that combines acrobatics, music and theater. “It is our pleasure—and our desire—to offer families everything they would envision as a dream vacation,” says Sandor Winkler, COO of Palace Resorts.
Those amenities continue to grow and add more value to Palace Resorts’ all-inclusive package, which now includes the Connection Zone—a new, enhanced kids’ club available at Moon Palace, Beach Palace, Cozumel Palace and Playacar Palace that adds amenities and activities to its already well-established kids’ program. Designed for children ages 4 through 12, Connection Zone includes a specialized kids’ menu that they can enjoy with their peers at the club itself, plus Nextel Direct Walkie Talkies for parents so they can reach them whenever they want. In addition, youngsters have a ton of new options for days of fun: tennis or Spanish lessons, piñata or cookie making, movie and masquerade nights and more. They also have access to interactive and board games, plus eco-friendly activities like tree planting and beach cleanup.
Connection Zone is part of the brand’s Family Connections concept, which has an additional premium component. Both Moon Palace and Beach Palace now offer the Family Connections Luxury Suite with Nanny Service room category, which consists of two guaranteed connecting rooms that fit up to six guests and three hours per day of private childcare services with certified, bilingual professionals for up to two children ages 2 to 17. This room category also comes with an Xbox, welcome kits and bathroom amenities for kids, cookies during turndown service and chocolate milk in the mini-bar. And this being Palace and all, clients will get the usual nightly entertainment, unlimited WiFi and long distance calls, 24-hour room service and more.
Rates for the Moon Palace start at $204 pp, per night and $205 pp, per night at the Beach Palace. Rates for the Family Connections Luxury Suite with Nanny Service for both properties start at $900 per night for two adults and four kids.