the beach in mexico

Winter is my favourite time of year to travel somewhere sunny. When it is cold and miserable in the UK, there is nothing better than sitting on a beach and soaking up the vitamin D. Following unrest in some popular winter sun destinations such as Turkey and Egypt, Mexico has become an increasingly popular destination with British travellers. If you are looking for beautiful beaches and luxury hotels then the area around Cancun on the tip of the Yucatan peninsula is the place to go. The average temperature in Cancun in November is 28°C so its perfect for sitting by a pool and sipping on a cocktail.

During our recent trip to Mexico we stayed just south of Cancun on the Riviera Maya. After a lot of research we decided on the Azul Beach Resort Riviera Cancun which we booked through TUI. In Europe, this hotel is marketed as part of TUI’s premium Sensatori hotel collection. Want to know more? Here’s what we thought of our stay at the Azul Beach

Never been on a package holiday before? Check out our article on whether package holidays are worth it.


The pool in mexico
The stunning Bali beds

The hotel has a fantastic location. While you feel like you are lost in a remote, sea-front paradise, you are in fact only a short 25 minute transfer from Cancun airport. Before you realise it you have arrived at the hotel, your bags have been taken to your room and you have been given a glass of bubbly and a cold towel to refresh after your long journey. You don’t even have to queue at reception as a receptionist will come to find you to check in while you relax in the spacious lobby.

Azul Beach Resort Riviera Cancun is a large modern hotel located on the Riviera Maya just south of Cancun. The resort offers 6 swimming pools including a premium pool and an adults only pool as well as a number of swim-up rooms. While the adults only pool was good, our particular favourite was the main pool as this tended to be a bit quieter. The hotel also has a private beach that is exclusively for the use of hotel guests. Unfortunately while we were staying at the hotel there were some issues with sargassum seaweed which had been washed up on the beach which meant that the sea was not particularly inviting. However, this had very little impact on our holiday and we did think at the time that criticism of the hotel for this on TripAdvisor was massively exaggerated.

This hotel really does have something for everyone and there are a wide range of facilities on site to keep guests of all ages pleased. The facilities include a luxury spa, a Nickelodeon themed kids club and a gym. For those who like to keep busy there are also a number of organised activities throughout the day including water aerobics, yoga on the beach and salsa dance lessons. We particularly enjoyed the salsa dance lessons even though I am an absolutely terrible dancer. TUI also organises a wide range of excursions from the hotel including trips to Chichen Itza and Coco Bongo.

Thinking of going to Chichen Itza? Check out our review of the TUI Collection Chichen Itza Tour.

the Room

The Hotel room

We were sold on the Azul Beach Resort Riviera Cancun when we first saw our room. We had a large four-poster bed, a hot tub in the room and a balcony overlooking the adults only pool. The rooms are all decorated to a high standard and offer a mini bar that is included in the price of your stay and re-stocked daily with beer and soft drinks. In addition to our king-sized, four-poster bed, we also had a separate seating area with a flat screen TV. The bathroom was well designed with his and her sinks as well as a lovely rainfall shower. If you are looking to relax in luxury then this is definitely the hotel for you.

The Food

Sushi in the restaurant
The veggie BBQ food

Like our hotel in the Dominican Republic, Azul Beach Resort Riviera Cancun operates on a gourmet all-inclusive basis. This means that you can dine at each of the 7 restaurants on site as well as enjoying 24 hour room service. The choice of restaurants at this hotel is excellent. There is only one buffet restaurant and the rest have an a la carte menu. These included an excellent Italian restaurant, a Tapas restaurant offering a different tasting menu each night and a fine dining restaurant that was voted as one of the best restaurants in Latin America. You can eat at any of these restaurants as many times as you like during your stay with the exception of the fine dining restaurant, Le Chique, which can only be booked once.

If you are looking for a drink then, no matter the time of day, there is a wide selection of bars in the resort offering a selection of drinks and cocktails which are all included in the price of your stay. During the day, there are three swim up bars to choose from as well as a beach bar. Alternatively, waiters will work their way around the pools and the beach at regular intervals throughout the day. If you are a coffee drinker then there is also a Starbucks on site but this is not included within your all inclusive package. In the evening there are a number of bars to choose from including the Mojito Lounge which offers 18 different versions of the famous cocktail including my favourite, the Cinnamon Mojito. 

We had a brilliant stay at the Azul Beach Resort Riviera Cancun and would highly recommend this hotel if you are travelling to Cancun in the near future. Have you been to Mexico? Where did you stay? Let us know in the comments below.

Alex is a solicitor at an international law firm based in London. He has always loved travelling and loves to eat like a local. His favourite destination is Peru where he spent a month travelling in 2009 with World Challenge.

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