By Marcia Levin
Riviera Maya, on the northeast coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, right on the beautiful bright blue Caribbean Sea, is home to a trio of Karisma Resorts. These are pretty wonderful all-suite oceanfront properties with that proverbial something for everyone – and with absolutely amazing natural beauty wherever you look.
Guests fly in to the well-planned Cancun International Airport, about half an hour away from the resorts. The hotels are located 15 minutes north of Playa del Carmen and 25 minutes from the Playacar golf Club.
Karisma operates resorts popular with couples, families, singles and groups.
All three resorts tempt active travelers with options for deep-sea fishing, snorkeling, diving, kayaking and horseback riding.
Nighttime offerings range from live shows to dancing and the ever-popular karaoke.
I stayed at Generations Riviera Maya, the family-friendly choice. El Dorado Casitas and a spa resort, El Dorado Royale, are geared to couples, and guests must be 18 or older. Guests 16 and older can utilize the spa facility at N’aay Spa with its full treatment menu. (My massage was one of the best I’ve ever had.)
Generations Riviera Maya features a Gourmet Inclusive concept with many personal touches. There are a total of four oceanfront restaurants, two lounges including a swim-up bar. Butler service for each suite is another lovely, personal and elegant touch.
The buffet breakfast is one of the best I’ve ever seen. It offers traditional eggs and bacon and wondrous Mexican and Caribbean specialties. Fresh fruits and juices, cheeses, amazing breads, sweets, pancakes, waffles and more are provided in a gracious environment with gracious servers to match.
The other dining rooms offer a potpourri of fine-dining options and 24-hour room service is available.
My suite, at Generations, also offered the swim-up infinity pool in front of the terrace, a wildly amazing amenity not found too often in Caribbean all-inclusives. That balcony/terrace, patio – call it what you will – is an ideal place to sip your coffee in the morning (or something stronger at night) while gazing at the Mexican Caribbean. The Infinity pool works well for doing laps. The pool is but a few steps down from the terrace.
More strenuous is available in the fitness center.
The resorts feature the opportunity for inter-resort dining adventures. Rooms are all well designed with a sitting area (complete with separate television set) that converts into a second bedroom and a terrace. The first four floors at Generations feature those remarkable infinity pool terraces and are set right on the sea. These suites at Generations Riviera Maya make an ideal site for multi-generational holidays.
Top-of-the-line children’s programs – separated into three age groups: young ‘uns, tweens and teens – offer the most modern and innovative activities available.
Consider the Eko Kids Club, which offers Little Eko Cheft, a daily cooking class for fledgling foodies, while babies enjoy Baby Beach Lounges complete with shade and toys.
Love is in the Air
Destination weddings are popular throughout the Caribbean, and Riviera Maya is no exception. Facilities are lovely and varied, and include indoor and outdoor settings.
The resort boasts the largest and tallest Sky Wedding site, overlooking nothing but the sea and sky. Gazebo weddings, a seaside chapel and beachside locations also tempt bridal couples with many wedding packages that also include a complimentary honeymoon/anniversary package with a private candlelit dinner on the beach, couples massage lesson and more.
The spa provides many bridal services, a bride’s room for hair, nails and makeup, and total privacy.
A variety of bridal packages are available.
Signs on the adult properties enforce the 18-year age limit at the two resorts:
El Dorado Casitas and El Dorado Royale. Guards further enforce the prohibition.
The Greening of the Resorts
The Rainforest Alliance and Sustainable Agriculture Network gave the huge greenhouse – the only greenhouse in Riviera Maya – a 93 percent score.
The 76,000-square-foot greenhouse, located on the grounds of El Dorado Royale, had its first harvest in 2009. The greenhouse nets 12 tons of crops a month, producing hydroponics’ veggies and herbs used by all Karisma chefs. Employees buy produce grown on-site at cost.
Karisma also operates family-friendly resorts under the Azul label in Riviera May, Mexico and Negril, Jamaica.
Note: My only concern is if you are planning a multi-generational holiday, and someone in your party has mobility problems, while there are elevators to the suites, there are also many stairs to climb on site leading to restaurants and other facilities.
If you go:
Tel: (866) 527-4762