Happy Wednesday friends! I’m back at work this week after a three week vacation and still dreaming about lying on the beach in Mexico. Today I wanted to share my review of our recent trip to the Mayan Riviera, Mexico and the resort we stayed at the Azul Beach Resort The Fives.
Unfortunately the start of our vacay was rocky as we found out my little one had strep throat the day before leaving. She then passed it on to my other daughter and we had to see doctor’s while we were there. It’s funny because as the parent’s this added stress too our trip but it didn’t even phase our girls as they are still talking about how much fun they had and how they want to go back. This was only our second trip as a family so it was most definitley a reality check of what can happen when you go away with children.
Anywho all went well in the end and we have some wonderful memories. Now as for the resort it had beautiful grounds and a lovely beach but there were some down falls so here is my detailed review as I want to cover all the areas for any families who may be interested in going.
1. Family friendly resort:
This resort is quite popular for young families and you can see the resort puts effort into this area. All of the a la carte restaurants have kids menus so there were always several options for them to choose from. There were many pools all around the resort with shallow areas and they also have a kids club. We did not use the kids club but heard rave reviews from other parents around the resort. All the staff were great with my girls, making them feel welcome and going out of there way to greet them. The resort had nightly entertainment and our girls really enjoyed the shows such as the fire show, dance show, and ancient Mayan show.
2. Well-maintained resort with beautiful grounds and good layout:
The resort is beautiful, modern and clean. There are about 18 villa’s and it is quite a large resort so they do have shuttles to pick you up and escort you to the beach and restaurant area. There is a “jungle” area with monkeys and this was quite a highlight for our girls. It is a lush resort with so much greenery and gardens which is nice when you go for a stroll or want to take pictures. The way the resort is layed out is that they have long pools all around the villas so no matter where you are situated there was a pool just steps away from your villa.
Other than the main pool by the beach the rest of the pools were quiet and we enjoyed stepping out of our room and walking right into the pool for a relaxing swim after a day at the beach. They had swim up bars too so as the girls swam and played we were able to enjoy a yummy cocktail.
3. Lovely beach:
The beach area was really pretty, with clear turquoise water and soft white sand. The Mayan Riviera is known for seaweed so they have blocked off the beach with large boulders in the water which helped with the seaweed. We also had a blast climbing the boulders and sitting on them just enjoying looking out at the beautiful ocean.
4. Overall good food:
Overall the food was good, it was great in some restaurants and the breakfast buffet at the main buffet Flavours and also the Brasserie were delicious with a variety of options for the whole family. We also really enjoyed the Thai restaurant Koh Thai, the food was excellent and we had great service. The French restaurant Brasserie was also one of our faves. We celebrated my birthday there and the manager went out of his way to sneak my girls away so my whole family walked in with all the waiters singing happy birthday.
We did not end up trying the sushi restaurant or the tapas (the tapas was closed all week while we were there). We also loved the restaurant on the beach called Oriola, we ate there almost every lunch and not only was there a stunning view of the beach the food was great. They always started you off with authentic nachos and fresh guacamole and salsa (of course I always had a pina colada with it, yum!). Please see below for my areas of disappointment with the food.
5. The central “square” area:
The central area was a great place to hang out at night as they usually had live music and seats set up by the little water fountains where you could just chill out and enjoy a drink. They also had a jewelry shop, souvenir shop, smoothie place and a Starbucks. My girls loved to listen to the musicians and danced away in the middle of the square as if no one was watching (this was so precious and one of the things I enjoyed most).
1. Large resort which impacts on level of service:
If you read my review (find it here) from our vacation last year in Mexico you might remember our resort was small and that was one of the things I really liked about it. I’m not a fan of “mega” resorts as I have been to a couple and not had great experiences. Now although I would not consider The Fives a mega resort it was still too large for my liking. We were in Villa 7 which was in a great location as it was quite close to the beach and also close to the central square. However if you were in the further villas the walk to the beach is too far and with young children this would not be any fun. They do have the shuttles coming around but we found that they did not come often enough so even when we were tired after the beach we just ended up walking as we did not want to wait.
The service also sometimes lacked and you can tell some staff were over worked. Also, they seemed short staffed in some restaurants and around the resort at times.
2. Food in some restaurants:
Overall the food was good but there were some disappointments especially as this resort boasts about their “gourmet all-inclusive” and many reviews on TripAdvisor had raved about the food. Firstly the dinner selection at the main buffet Flavours was poor with almost nothing for our girls to eat so we ended up going to the restaurants after attempting to eat there twice for dinner. Also there were two restaurants we were not impressed with and that was the Italian restaurant Arezzo and the contemporary Mexican Mestizo. The food at Arezzo was not good nor authentic Italian. Mestizo had poor service and the food was mediocre at best.
This resort to trying very hard to offer a “gourmet” or posh cuisine experience but they fall short in this area. Not a huge deal breaker but something to be aware of especially if you come from a large city with an abundance of amazing restaurants.
3. Cabanas only for Prestige Club members:
We loved having our own cabanas at the last resort, however, at The Fives they were only for the Prestige club members so this was definitely a fail. You could put your name on a “waitlist” but this was not guaranteed nor do you want to wait around for one.
4. Some things were not included:
For an all-inclusive there were several things I noticed that were not included which is deceiving. For example one night they had a Wine festival and the central square was beautifully decorated and had adorable carts set up all around the square with various treats, drinks, and food. My girls wanted a sweet treat and when they approached the cart we were told it was only for the locals attending the event. This was quite odd when it is in the middle of the central square of the resort. Also one day they had drinks in coconut shells on the beach but you had to pay for this and another day they were preparing a local Mexican dish (ceviche) on the beach but again you had to pay.
Our experience was impacted by dealing with some illness on the trip but either way we enjoyed ourselves and made the best of it. Our villa was in a great location and having a central square with several amenities was a bonus. The jungle area is also a brilliant idea and we really enjoyed our lunches on the beach at Oriola. Therefore if you are looking for a good family friendly resort that will not break the bank this is an option to consider. I would recommend this resort as the price is reasonable compared to other high end resorts, however, I would probably not go back. This more has to do with the fact that we love to travel and try new places so for us to want return to a resort it would have to be nearly perfect and The Fives was not, if you are considering going you can read more reviews on TripAdvisor too.
Thanks for stopping by and reading!
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