by Carrie Calzaretta
As you step up into the lobby of Azul Beach Hotel, the clear blue water of the Caribbean is framed by rows of candles, white flowing fabric, and the scent of aromatherapy that makes you feel as though you’ve walked into a spa, not a hotel. That is, until you notice all the kids roaming around. This hotel isn’t just kid-friendly; it really was designed with families in mind, particularly young families. With two other Azul properties in the Riviera Maya including Azul Sensatori and Azul Fives Hotel, Azul Beach is very charming and cozy, where you’re assured friendly and personal service. If you’re so inclined, you can easily get to know the other families staying with you, most of whom will have children.
The hotel is located in the quiet town of Puerto Morelos, about 20 minutes from Cancun International Airport, and about a half hour from Playa Del Carmen. The architecture is simple and modern, with white two-story buildings facing the sea, and the decor is similarly chic and understated.
Azul Beach is an all-inclusive hotel, though you’d never know it judging by the food. It’s what they call a “Gourmet Inclusive” which means there are added amenities and dining options that you wouldn’t expect to find at an all-inclusive resort, like a la carte menus in all of the restaurants, an all-lobster menu, an amazing fish fry on the beach, and 24-hour room service, all included. Another unique feature of Azul Beach is its size. While it offers the amenities you’d expect to find at a large resort, it’s an intimate place, with only 90 rooms. The hotel completed a renovation in 2011, which put it at 149 rooms; but even then, it’s small.
The renovation saw the addition of several elegant new suites, including honeymoon suites, wedding suites, family suites and junior suites, some of which have swim-up access. They also renovated restaurants, a new spa and gym and created a brand-new home for the kids’ club.
Our Editor Loves
- New modern suites
- Intimate size and gorgeous location
- In-room baby gear
- All Inclusive Rates
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Kids' Pool
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Azul grew from a 98-room hotel to a 148-room hotel, with the addition of several new suite categories. Rooms and suites are in contemporary two-story buildings; and one of our favorite things about the hotel is that they are all very close to the waterfront, and most at least a partial water view. Parents will love that it's literally just a few steps from room to beach. Since you can borrow a baby monitor, you could even sit on the beach or by the pool while your baby naps in the room.
You can ask for your room to be outfitted with baby gear at no charge, including a changing table, Pack 'N Play, baby monitor, bottle warmer, stroller, and the most adorable child-sized bathrobes. Adjoining rooms are available.
There are no elevators here, so families with lots of gear may do best on the first floor.
Basic and Deluxe
Basic and Deluxe rooms are cozy but nicely appointed with air conditioning, satellite flat-screen televisions, a shower but no bathtub, stocked mini-bar, coffee maker, hair dryer, DVD player, and a balcony or veranda.
There are a variety of suites to choose from at Azul Beach, several of which include a "swim-up" option where guests have direct pool access from the suite's terrace. The suites feature flat-screen TVs and an iPod docking station. The bathroom is gorgeous, modern, and enormous, with double sinks, beautiful tiling, a rainforest shower, and Jacuzzi tub.
Junior Suites are available with either one king or two queen beds. They have a separate bedroom and sitting area, as well as a 32-inch flat screen TV with DVD player, iPod docking station, stocked minibar and oversized terrace. Marble bathrooms have double sinks, a Jacuzzi tub, rainforest showerhead and bathrobes. Swim-up Junior Suites are also available.
Family Suites, which can easily accommodate a family of five, feature a separate bedroom with a king bed and a large separate living room area. A sleeper sofa in the living room area can accommodate up to three children under the age of 12. Swim-up Family Suites are also available.
Eduardo Oliver (AKA the waiter with a flat head) what a brilliant bar waiter. Always with a smile on his face and your drinks balanced securely on his head. Fabulous !! And the drinks just keep coming too ????
I was at the Azul Beach Resort in Riviera Maya for 5 days and 4 nights. OMG! The service I received was simply magnificent! My butlers, Karen, Diego, and especially Janet were consummate professionals; always communicating with me to ensure that I had everything I need. From scheduling my golf outing to making reservations at the all the restaurants for dinner for the entire week. My room was outstanding! Super clean with aroma therapy each and every night. They give you a choice of pillows (ranging from soft to hard) at check-in along with the different types of aroma you wish to have in your room. The food at the restaurants was world class! The location was perfect - 20 minutes from the airport. I cannot say enough about my butler Janet, she was simply amazing. By far the best experience I have had on a vacation in my life! I am a member of Exotic Travelers and this is the second resort I have visited in Cancun, Mexico. I loved the signs around the resort directing you to various places of interest. They had a members dinner for members only and it was awesome. Mariachi bank, singer, entertainment for the kids, and exquisite food that was simply delicious. This place knows how to treat their guest. From sun up to sun down the staff, butlers, waiters, bell boys, receptionist, even maintenance works were very friendly - always speaking with a smile and ready to answer any questions you might have. I will DEFINITELY be returning to Azul Beach Resort next Summer, this time with members of my family. I want them to experience the world class service, unmatched eating experience, and the beauty of this resort. I HIGHLY recommend this resort and especially if you have kids - very, very kid friendly with all the accommodations that you would need for infants to young children. This resort is one of the most amazing places I've ever been to in my entire life. Again, I enjoyed my stay so much that I am already planning another trip back to Azul Beach Resort next Summer. There are not enough stars on a review to adequately rate this resort, its staff, the service, accommodations, location, food, beach, pools, spa, fitness room - SIMPLY OUTSTANDING!
There are five pools, which although not huge are all family-friendly. The main pool has lounge chairs, a Ping-Pong table, a swim-up bar and poolside waiters. There is an exclusive kids only pool and a lazy river that winds throughout the resort.
There are plenty of activities for families here, starting with the beach, which is about as kid-friendly as you can get. The water is clear and warm, with soft white sand. Any sea grass that accumulates with the rise and fall of the tide is quickly combed away, so the beach is clean, clean, clean. There are buoys marking safe swimming areas, and you can borrow snorkeling gear, boogie boards and kayaks. While you can snorkel right off the beach, there are boats that leave daily and travel about five minutes out to a huge reef (at cost) where the snorkeling is much better. For us the best part of the beach experience at Azul are the beds, which are catered to by butlers and reserved for you (free) each day if you wish. The beds have retractable drapes so small children can nap comfortably on the bed while mom and dad sunbathe or swim, practically within arm's reach.
There's always a game of beach volleyball going on, so be prepared to get asked to play. For an additional fee, you can rent SCUBA equipment, go deep-sea fishing, or book tours to nearby attractions like Xcaret, Playa Del Carmen and Tulum. Wave runners and parasails are also available for rent. Other free activities include Spanish and Mayan lessons, cooking classes, dancing lessons, and Yoga.
Azul Beach has a brand-spanking new kids' club. Located in a quiet corner of the property, the Azulitos Playhouse has supervised activities for kids 4 to 12 years old, as well as mommy-and-me activities for children under 4. The space is bright and friendly, with rainbow tiles, a built-in fish tank, colorful beanbags and floor to ceiling built-ins filled with toys. There is a room filled with Fisher Price toys for the little ones, a LEGO corner where older kids can build (with a door that locks so younger ones can't destroy their work) and a My Gym where kids can take gymnastics classes (for an additional cost). Older kids will appreciate the Wii and Xbox games. Daily activities include mini-yoga, arts and crafts, and pinata making. The kids' club is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and again from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. There is no separate teen club, nor any organized activities for teens at Azul Beach.
New as of 2015, all Azul properties will offer families the Nickelodeon Experience. Kids will enjoy special check-ins just for them, as well as Nickelodeon concierges, a Nick toy lending library, special Nickelodeon-themed amenities and character experiences.
It's not often that we'd describe the dining experience at an all-inclusive hotel as "great" but this one really is worthy of praise. As a "Gourmet Inclusive" hotel, you will find a la carte menus in all of Azul's restaurants, an all-lobster menu, and 24-hour room service -- all included. There are five restaurants at Azul Beach and each of them pleasantly surprised us.
This restaurant offers seating indoors or out on a thatched terrace and has great views of the beach. It's open and airy and teeming with young kids. At dinner there are five separate menus, including the main menu, an all lobster menu, as well as Mexican, South Beach and vegetarian menus. Blue is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast includes a buffet with made-to-order omelets, waffles, bagels, fruit and other options, as well as an a la carte menu (which we recommend) with more interesting options like an egg white, spinach and goat cheese omelet.
Our favorite restaurant, both for the food and the atmosphere, is dark and cozy at night, with cushioned seating on the floor (or at regular tables), back-lit Asian panels and candlelight. It's very Zen. Tainan serves Asian-inspired fare including sushi, sashimi, spring rolls and Chinese fondue. It's open for dinner. Sometimes when the hotel is not at full capacity, they will alternate opening Tainan and Chil, so each is open every other night.
Reopened after renovations with a new menu, a large open kitchen and a bigger outdoor patio with spectacular views, is just steps off the beach (we literally jumped off the side of the patio to catch our snorkel boat after finishing our lunch). You can get fresh ceviches, sandwiches and Mexican and Caribbean-inspired dishes. The fish tacos were excellent. Chil is open for lunch (noon to 5 p.m.) and has a kids' menu.
This bistro serves an a la carte menu for dinner from 5:30 to 10 p.m. It has a casual vibe and an impressive kids menu
This upscale Italian restaurant is open for dinner form 5:30 to 10 p.m.
If you'd like to eat on the beach, you can request a picnic lunch, which will be packed up in a basket and delivered for you at no charge. In addition, three times a week Azul grills up themed meals on the beach for lunch, including an amazing fish fry, and burgers and chicken. Or, for an additional fee, you can reserve a family dinner on the beach. You can choose your meal from the Chil Restaurant menu, or custom design your menu with the chef and waiters will serve your table on the beach.
Crepes, ice cream and SpongeBob! What more could a kid want?! Scoop is open from 10 a.m to 5 p.m.
There is 24-hour room service and the menu has simple but yummy items (nachos, bagel with lox, soups and sandwiches) and as well as a separate kids' menu.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Azul Beach has loads of perks for families traveling with young children. It is not uncommon to see staff from the hotel wheeling around baby strollers or holding a sleeping child in any of the restaurants while mom and dad are eating. These are the little touches that make a stay at Azul Beach so unique. Staff will set your room up with a Pack 'N Play, monitor, stroller, changing table, bottle warmer, baby bathtub, and even baby food. Kids are met in the lobby upon arrival with a fruit smoothie (champagne for mom and dad) and they get a in a vacation book to personalize. Wagons are also available; we saw many parents racing their kids up and down the beach. In addition, restaurants are stocked with Fisher Price toys for your child to borrow while dining.
Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the resort.
If you have a child under 4, you have the option of hiring a babysitter to stay at the kids' club, and sitters can take part in activities with your child at Azulitos. Babysitters are employees of the hotel and charge a set hourly rate and can be utilized throughout the day to watch the kids in the room, as well.
Family Movie Nights
Another cool activity they offer is a family movie night -- choose from a selection of family DVDs, which will be delivered to your room with popcorn and drinks.
In the evening you can book a dinner on the beach, with your own private table (lit up with really cool blue lights) right on the beach, served by beach waiters.
There is a fitness center with elliptical, cross-training and free weight equipment, and trainers who offer classes in Yoga.
Kids Stay Free
Kids under 3 stay free at Azul Beach, and those 3 to 12 years old stay at half price when sharing a room with their parents.
Note: Azul Beach is a multi-niche hotel, meaning it caters to more than one niche, specifically families and weddings. So you will likely see many weddings and newlyweds while staying at the hotel; but the ceremonies take place in a corner of the beach and don't interfere with families hanging out. Azul limits weddings to one per day.
The Art of Smart Timing
The average temperature in Puerto Morelos is 80 around degrees. February to May has the most comfortable weather; there is little rain, and the water is warm. Spring Break gets very crowded, so if you're planning to visit then, be sure to book well in advance. From June to August the weather becomes very hot during the day, and it stays warm well into the evening. It's also the rainy season. Hurricane season starts June 1 and ends November 30. While it gets hot in summer, Azul's beachfront location means cool breezes, and the sea just steps away provides quick relief from the heat. November through January are generally the chilliest months, but even then the daytime temperatures are very comfortable, usually in the 70s. Evenings tend to get chilly quickly, though, and the water isn't as warm.
One of the things that is so appealing about Azul Beach for families is that it's easy to get to from the airport. It's about a 20-minute taxi ride south from Cancun International Airport, and taxis are readily available. Downtown Cancun is about 25 minutes, and Playa Del Carmen is about 30.
Once you arrive at Azul Beach hotel, you won't be in a location where you'll want to do any walking around, unless it's on the beach. Taxis or organized tours are the best way to get around if you want to visit Xcaret, Cancun, Playa Del Carmen or the Mayan ruins.
For Mom and Dad
A variety of spa treatments are available including massages, as well as facials, body scrubs, manicure, and pedicure. All treatments are also available in your room, which offers more privacy, less ambiance. Kids ages 5 to 17 are also welcome in the spa. There is an entire Spa Kids Menu for them to enjoy.