Yes, all-inclusives do the trick for family getaways in Mexico, but we decided to go a bit off the beaten “AI” road to bring you a selection of properties that cater perfectly to clients with kids in tow.
cabo san lucas
From its beach access along the Sea of Cortez to a variety of restaurants, two pools, and accommodations for families that range from Superior Junior to Premier Suites, the Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Club Resort hits the mark with its family-friendly amenities.
“Multi-generational families are the majority of our guests…and we find these groups continually return to our property because of the special programs and activities specially prepared with families in mind, as well as the high level of service that caters to their needs,” says Tim Booth, general manager.
Kids with a sense of adventure might try the hotel’s Flyboard program, an extreme watersport that uses the power of a Wave Runner to thrust the person into the air; available for kids ages 12 and up through Cabo Adventures ($199 pp).
The hotel’s Cabo Kids Oasis offers spa treatments for children ages 4 to 12; themed spa parties like the Teen Jacuzzi Party or Ice Cream Social; and massages for mother and daughter, father and son ($160). At the Cabo Kids Vacation Station, tykes can play bingo and learn how to make chocolate-covered strawberries, while at the Cabo Kid Escuela (ages 5 to 18) kids can take a 1-hour Spanish class with a private tutor. Rates begin at $149 (plus tax).
Mexico’s No. 1 tourist destination is expecting an influx of new hotel rooms (like The Royalton Riviera Cancun with 1,000+), along with hotels undergoing grand, multimillion dollar refurbishments. But let’s keep it a little more low-key this time around. If your clients are looking for luxury and family fun in Mexico, The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun should be at the top of their hotel vacation list. It’s a Ritz property, so what more can we say? Actually, plenty, because this Ritz offers an engaging program for kids ages 4 to 12 called Ritz Kids.
Created through a partnership with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Future Society, the Ritz Kids program was designed under four key foundations: Water, Land, Environmental Responsibility, and Culture. And while the kids are learning about sharks, trying different foods, making art with trash, and understanding how to minimize their own environmental footprint, mom can sneak away for an outdoor massage at Kayanta Spa, while dad soaks up some rays poolside. For a full day at Ritz Kids, rates are $68 per child; $47 for half-day. The Stay More, Save More package, valid until Dec. 25, offers guests a $50 daily resort credit for a minimum 4-night stay. Package rates start at $174 per night. For a family of four, book the 435-sq.-ft. Ocean Front room (connecting guestrooms are available) with either a king or two double beds, marble bathrooms and oceanview balcony.
Mexico City is “one of the most fantastic cities in the world.” This statement isn’t from a Mexico Tourism Board press release, but stated by Recommend’s editor-in-chief, a repeat traveler to the bustling city who gave you a 3-day account of what your clients can see and do when in Mexico’s capital (read the story in the Feb. 2014 issue).
This metropolis is definitely a destination for clients looking for an authentic vacation away from Mexico’s coastal tourist hotspots. It’s where families can visit museums (there are 172 of them); dine where locals dine; gaze at interesting wares sold in the city’s bazaars; and stroll through colonial neighborhoods. Complementing a sophisticated journey through this fascinating city should be a stay in a boutique property, which well-heeled clients with kids who are used to more “elevated” surroundings would appreciate. A good choice is CONDESA df, a boutique property and member of Grupo Habita as well as Design Hotels.
Located in the bohemian neighborhood of Condesa, this 40-room boutique hotel opened its doors in January 2005 in a 1928 Parisian-style building, and offers two onsite restaurants, La Terraza and El Patio; a quaint space on the first floor that can be converted into a cinema for guests; bike rentals; and the hotel’s chocolate Labrador, Conde, which Rafael Micha, managing partner of Grupo Habita, says, “kids love to walk across the street at the neighboring Parque España.” For clients traveling with teens, the 237-sq.-ft. Balcony View room features two queen size beds; mom and dad can book the same room with a queen size bed, although not connecting. Rates start at $205 per night.
“Rosewood Mayakoba is the ideal resort to visit when traveling as a family because we offer a number of programs that encourage interaction between guests and the surrounding region,” says Graeme Davis, the resort’s regional v.p. and managing director.
The property’s Rose Buds children’s program offers everything from educational excursions such as biologist-led ecotours to interactive events like Mayan Family- and Pirate-themed nights, as well as family-focused activities like scavenger hunts, yoga, pizza-making classes, and Mayan storytelling. The hotel can also whip out a tablet just in case the kids need some entertainment during dinner, can accommodate families by baby-proofing a room, and offers special rates at the Greg Norman-designed El Camaleon golf course for guests under 16 if accompanied by an adult.
The Rosewood Mayakoba, located in Playa del Carmen, offers 130 suites with private plunge pools and garden showers; three onsite restaurants; a golf course; and Sense, A Rosewood Spa, which sits on a private island and was designed around a cenote. Book the Seven Wonders of the Yucatan family package, which offers guests seven different genuine experiences, from a whale shark expedition to visiting the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, a reef dive and a shaman blessing. Rates start at $2,669 pp based on four guests staying in a Lagoon Studio Suite.
Another choice along Mexico’s Pacific coast is the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita. “Whether your family is just beginning, all grown-up or somewhere in between, Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita is the ideal family vacation destination. We offer a wealth of amenities and activities tailored to children of all ages, including our complimentary Kids for All Seasons program, game room, arts & crafts, and meandering lazy river,” says John O’Sullivan, general manager.
For kids 5 to 12, the program includes a playroom and outdoor playground with a jungle gym; Mexican-style art making classes; hiking; shell collecting; and more. If five or more teens from the ages of 13 to 18 are on the property at one time, the resort opens its teen program with kayaking, a beach bonfire, a movie night, and other onsite activities.
Families can relax while floating along the resort’s lazy river that encircles the Oasis complex, a family-oriented building with 23 rooms and suites. Look into the Family package, offering 50 percent off a second room; complimentary meals for kids up to 14 from the kids’ menu; and a kids’ welcome amenity. Low season rates (May to September) start at $525; high season (October to April), $1,665.
CONDESA df: (866) 978-7020; condesadf.com
Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita: (866) 280-9490; fourseasons.com/puntamita
Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Club Resort: (800) HILTONS; hiltonloscabos.com
The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun: (800) 542-8680; ritzcarlton.com or travelagents.marriott.com/travelagents/signin.mi
Rosewood Mayakoba: rosewoodhotels.com