The family that collapsed at the Grand Residences Riviera Cancun Resort table next to me must have just arrived. First, they pulled off their traveling shoes and wiggled their toes in the sand. Then Mom and Dad ordered margaritas… and lunch almost as an afterthought. The two kids — a girl about age 7 and a boy around 5 — started to dig under the Heaven Beach Bar and Grill.
Within minutes, the little boy had excavated a series of long roads through the sand. He proceeded to take all the family’s shoes for an animated drive. Looking dreamy and satisfied, his sister sculpted a series of small mounds under the table. Ice cream cones? Fairy berms?
As the parents sipped their drinks and gazed out at the blue Caribbean, they began to lose their glassy eyed looks. Jump start to vacation… time was beginning to slow.
Relax and ease your way into a Grand Residences Riviera Cancun Resort vacation. The resort is laid back, yet polished and elegant enough for a multigenerational family reunion. It’s not too big and has only 144 suites, so it never feels crowded. The atmosphere is less three-ring-circus-inclusive and rather quieter. Read on to discover how Grand Residences Riviera Cancun appreciates guests’ need to unwind without too much noise and frenzy — families with children and grandchildren included.
My Kind of Big Rooms at Grand Residences Riviera Cancun
I’m always on the hunt for family accommodations with a living room, kitchen, and multiple en suite bedrooms. That’s to accommodate our reunions with kids, their spouses and now the grandchildren without any adult children whining over getting the smallest room. Or, heaven forbid, the bunkroom.
We’ve stayed in countless large rental homes, villas and condos so we have enough space to both socialize with — and get away from — each other.
When I walked into the foyer of the Grand Residence Cancun’s suites, I felt like shouting, “This is it!” At Grand Residences Riviera Cancun, two junior suites and one master suite have separate entrances within a foyer. Together, these suites offer accommodations for up to 11 on a family reunion.
Multi-Generational Accommodations at Grand Residences Riviera Cancun
Updated Spanish Colonial best describes the style of the residences. They’re not particularly beachy or Mexican folk art themed. However, floor-to-ceiling windows and terrace doors bring the beach and pools inside and dominate the views.
The dark wood paneling of that Spanish Colonial interior hides one murphy bed in junior suites and three murphy beds in the one-bedroom suites. That’s an all-time record for anywhere I’ve ever stayed. Luckily, they are easy to pull down and the rooms are plenty spacious to accommodate them. Cribs and baby gear are always available.
Two-room master suites are enormous with a full kitchen, living room, long dining room table, outdoor decks with eating areas and a hot tub. Spread out in the large king bedroom, bath and two walk-in closets. Relegate the kids to junior suites with a sitting area, kitchenette, king or two double beds and a terrace overlooking the pool or beach.
Bonus Points if You’re Feeling Flush for a Splurge Stay
Fourteen of the ground floor master suites have their own private swimming pool and they’re perfect for families with kids of all ages. On either side of the swimming pool are small lawns and petite wading pools, and there’s a hot tub and plenty of seating.
One to three-bedroom penthouses and an 8,800 square foot presidential suite all have their own private rooftop terraces, gardens, pools and patios, Jacuzzis, grills and plenty of places to stretch out or dine. Plus, kids under 12 stay for free. You can make one of these your reunion central.
Eat Well at Grand Residences Riviera Cancun
An “all-inclusive” resort means all meals included, so you never have to cook or clean. Although you can drop the inclusive part and cook for yourself, you shouldn’t. You should ensure a completely relaxing and pampered vacation. Fortunately, Grand Residence Cancun upholds its reputation as a 5-star luxury resort with top tier service and gourmet food.
A lavish breakfast buffet is a good place to start. Enjoy American, European and Mexican favorites like poblano pepper tamales and tropical fruits. Even the pickiest eaters find a vast set of appealing choices. You can also order room service breakfast, or any time of day, as it’s part of the package.
Fish tacos and burgers are highlights at the beachfront bar and grill and, of course, poolside cocktails – as many as you dare. Follow it up with a trip to the lobby espresso bar.
El Faro Grill offers an international menu with signature fresh seafood and steak dishes along with weekly themed menus like Italian and French nights. Flor de Canela Restaurant offers an authentic and elevated menu reflecting the dishes of Mexico. Three days a week, indulge in a fancy high tea with finger sandwiches and pastries .
The kids’ menu has all the big hits, plus more healthy fare such as grilled chicken with salad. For dessert, kids can try a child-sized Mexican milk cake or an Oreo stuffed with coconut ice cream. Children are welcome to order off of the adult menu, too.
When you want a special occasion dinner for everyone, you can hire one of the resort’s private chefs to prepare a dinner for your group for a reasonable extra charge.
Pools and Beach Highlight the Resort’s Relaxing Vibe
The resort’s four-to-five story buildings surround palm-, mangrove- and bougainvillea-shaded courtyards and a series of tiered infinity pools overlooking the beach. The top level, adults-only pool has a swim-up bar. Lap swimmers make a beeline for another separate, longer pool around the corner from the main action. It’s open to all ages who want a quieter place to exercise.
The expansive family pool has a wide shallow area for little ones that’s like a huge step the size of a school auditorium. Beyond that, look for a large, deeper pool that’s perfect for water games and splashing around. There’s also a family Jacuzzi off to the side and another one for adults.
The beach has its requisite white sand flanked by lounge chairs and umbrellas. A lifeguard watches out over swimmers, who have a buoy “fence” to keep them within the safety of the property and away from the protected reef offshore.
Kids will want to keep an eye on the poolside concierges at 2pm — that’s Popsicle Hour. Parents usually start with the 1pm Fruit Skewer Service for a healthy snack before the thrill of frozen treats.
Activities for Children Are a Standout at Grand Residences Riviera Cancun
The bright and spacious children’s club is open daily. Parents and kids ages 4-10 can peruse each day’s programs published on the resort’s activity sheets. iPads linked to the center’s webcam provide a bird’s-eye view of what your little ones are up to throughout the day.
When we were there, the kids were working on a giant hot air balloon pinata that we imagined they’d be breaking later that week. We noted sandcastle building competitions, pool and board games, treasure hunts and other crafts like ceramics painting on the schedule. Older kids have their own teen club where they can sign up for activities like beach soccer, water polo and movie time. Babysitters are easily hired through the resort.
All-Inclusive Activities for All Ages
Learn to make mole or mix a mezcal cocktail. Take yoga, pilates, or Salsa classes. Hit the activities desk for racquets and head to the resort’s two tennis courts. Borrow equipment for games, snorkeling or motorized sports. Ride bicycles the short distance into the small town of Puerto Morelos to do some souvenir shopping. Activities are scheduled throughout the week and range from vigorous soccer games on the beach and ping pong tournaments to more sedate bracelet making and language lessons.
A fully equipped and staffed gym was empty when we peeked in around noon one day. It seemed that everyone was lounging out by the pool or on the beach.
I indulged in a much needed Swedish massage at the small but attractive spa. My companions blissfully sampled the hot rock and Lomi Lomi treatments. If you don’t have time for a mani-pedi before you leave home you can get it here, along with facials and other luxuries like milk baths and body wraps.
Active and Cultural Yucatan Excursions Near Grand Residences Riviera Cancun
The resort is close to all kinds of interesting day trips, like Isla Mujeres, the sacred Mayan site at the UNESCO-designated Tulum, Xcaret eco-park and zipline tours. Take the family to swim with the dolphin experiences if you can tear yourselves away.
Offshore is the world’s second longest reef, protected since 1998 by the Puerto Morelos Reef National Park. You can easily spot the line of white froth where the surf breaks over the coral. Boats with guides out of Puerto Morelos can be hired to take you on a snorkeling trip. Pick up the free loaner equipment at the resort’s activities desk first. We ventured out with Lighthouse Tours for a very safe, guided expedition to observe all kinds of brightly colored fish and interesting coral formations.
Vacation Planning Details for a Grand Residences Riviera Cancun Escape
Grand Residence Riviera Cancun Resort is midway between Cancun and Cozumel. It’s on a quieter stretch of coast just south of the small town of Puerto Morelos. Count on a 30-minute drive from the Cancun airport depending on traffic. Resort transportation picks up all guests , so getting there couldn’t be simpler. If your rent a car, a safe parking lot is adjacent to the resort.
All-inclusive rates for a junior suite with a king bed start at $440 a night for two people. Master suites for two start at $585 a night. Rates go up slightly for peak season and for ocean front units. Children under 12 are free when staying with adults.
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