by Candyce H. Stapen
The blue sea beckons from beyond the wall of glass in the lobby, and a long horizontal fountain adds a background of trickling water. The reception area is a swirl of blue and green hues from the carpeting to the turquoise chairs. The resort is friendly. A staff member welcomes guests with cold face cloths, sparkling wine and juice or water for children.
At this large all-inclusive resort of about 550 rooms, there are two categories of guests. Preferred guests have a separate room for check-in. Non-preferred guests line-up at the lobby registration desk. When a busload or big tour group pulls in, then the line can move slowly. Depending on the time of day, the staff invites those waiting in a long line at check-in to enjoy the buffet and then come back later when the line has thinned.
Interestingly, wrist bands are not de rigeur. It’s a small thing, but it is nice not to wear one. Now Jade and Now Sapphire, another AMResorts’ Riviera Maya property, are beachfront, all-inclusive properties — the first Now properties in the company’s chain. In the Caribbean AMR’s other brands include Dreams Resorts — positioned for couples, singles and families.
How to differentiate between the Dreams and the Now properties since both are large all-inclusive resorts in the Riviera Maya? The answer is still open-ended, but it feels as if Now Resorts aim for a more fashionable experience, attempting to appeal to vacationers in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s — with or without children — more than to other groups. Of course, everyone is welcome.
Our Editor Loves
- Four swimming pools
- Explorer's Club for kids
- Family movies under the stars
- All Inclusive Rates
- Theme Park
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Free Wi-Fi
- Kids' Pool
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
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Accommodations at Now Jade are in nine buildings throughout the property. Rows of multi-story guest buildings line the pool areas and stretch along the sides of the property. Combined with the prevalence of connecting bridges, the property conjures more of an urban than an island feel. On a Caribbean getaway, we like to see a panorama of blue sky, blue water and white-sand beach -- more than is visible in one glance at Now Jade.
The accommodations are spacious and tastefully decorated with a mix of rattan chairs or benches and dark wood slatted headboards with turquoise fabric accents. Select units feature separate sitting areas adjacent to semi-private sleeping areas. Other units have the sitting area a step down from the beds. The latter configuration, while pretty, offers less privacy to parents. All rooms come with flat-screen televisions, bathrobes, daily restocked mini-bars and Jacuzzi tubs. Preferred suites have a larger than typical sitting areas and some have Jacuzzi tubs on the balcony.
We just returned from a week at Now Jade, it was our first time at this resort. We were so impressed right from the start, room was amazing we were in a Preferred Room looking over the preferred pool.
by David O
Stayed here mid September. Stayed in the Preferred Ocean Front room. View was perfect. Enjoyed the ocean sounds from our balcony. We had a one bedroom suite with a separate livingroom area. Two TVs. Large bathroom with large rain shower. Jacuzzi bathtub on the balcony. Rooms were very clean. Beds were comfortable. Had turndown service. Stayed mostly at the Preferred pool where it was quiet and infinity pool overlooking ocean. Bartender made great drinks and waiters were always hustling to get drinks and food out to guests. Especially Daniel. Bartenders in the preferred lounge were very friendly and made great drinks. Liked the sports lounge area with gigantic TV and fast waitresses. Buffet was good. Really enjoyed the Italian restaurant. The minestrone soup was great. Asian restaurant was good. Nice atmosphere. Mexican restaurant was great. Had breakfast twice at the French restaurant for preferred guests. The service at all restaurants including the buffet had excellent service. We have stayed at many places in Riviera Maya and this one was the best so far.
Beach and Pool
As at most Caribbean resorts, the beach and the pool are the big draws. Now Jade has an alluring soft, white sand beach, a series of three free-form pools adjacent to each other and a kids' pool. Alas, as at many big beach resorts, when the property is busy, there just doesn't seem to be enough chaise lounges. Guests show up before their morning coffee to plunk down towels to save lounge chairs in prime spots by the sea and the pool, especially since the main pool's design allows for fewer chairs than is typical. Preferred members have a separate quiet pool and a separate section of the beach.
While the beach is wide enough, rocks in the water make it difficult to swim in some spots. Don't give up. Walk along the beach until you find an area where the underwater ledge is relatively rock free. You and your kids can participate in staff organized water aerobics, volleyball and other group activities. Kayaks and Hobie catamarans are also available at no additional fee. For an extra charge, families can go on sport fishing, windsurfing and scuba diving trips. Most nightly beach shows appeal to all ages, such as the Mexican folkloric show with swirling dancers in colorful clothing and the Circus show with performers.
At the Explorer's Club, kids' ages 3 to 12 enjoy a range of activities from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Parents can ask for beepers in order to be notified quickly in case of an emergency. Children splash in the kiddie pool, do crafts, compete in sandcastle building contests and watch outdoor movies under the stars. As with most kids' clubs that group younger kids with older ones, Now Jade's program attracts kids' ages 5 and up.
The Riviera Maya is a great destination for families. Staying in Puerto Morelos puts you within a reasonable drive of many of the region's eco-adventures and interesting attractions. You can walk -- or take a cab -- to the local town, Puerto Morelos. Despite the blossoming of resorts along the shore, the town, in places, still has the heart of a Mexican fishing village. Often you can spot locals fishing from the town pier. The main street is lined with souvenir shops.
Now Jade offers a buffet, five specialty restaurants and a coffee shop. In general, the food is good. At Now Jade, the number of specialty restaurants at which you can dine is not tied to the number of nights you stay at the property. Guests can dine anywhere on the resort, and need only show up to the restaurant when hungry. Most of the specialty restaurants are open for dinner only. For families with young kids who tend to eat early, there will be few, if any, waits. For a popular 8 p.m. seating, you may need to put your name down, get a pager and enjoy a cocktail at a bar, until your table is ready.
Now Jade has the Carnival buffet, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Carnival's buffet has ample domestic and international options. For dinner, along with an array of salads and hot entrees, Carnival offers cooked-to-order grilled steaks. You pick your cut and choose whether you want your portion rare, medium or well-done. A scenic oceanfront view completes the dining experience.
Offering fresh Italian cuisine, the lasagna dish is well-liked by many guests. Due to its popularity, it may be a good idea to make reservations in advance at this restaurant.
Mercure serves French-inspired fare in an elegant atmosphere. Popular dishes include prime steaks and seafood delicacies. Hours are 6 to 11 p.m.
This is the spot to grab some delicious Mexican food. The restaurant's vibrant atmosphere and high-quality service are also appealing to families. Dinner starts at 6 p.m.
Castaways offers a casual atmosphere with seafood and snacks. Salads, fast food are also available. Hours are from noon to 5:30 p.m.
Dishing up Mediterranean gourmet fare, this restaurant is the only dining room reserved for adults at the resort.
Spice puts on a show of twirling knives and flipping and grilling entrees at Asian-inspired Teppanyaki tables. Dinner is served from 6 to 11 p.m.
Coco Cafe offers specialty coffees, tea and hot chocolate as well as pastries and cookies. Sandwiches are also available in the afternoon.
More food is available to Preferred Club members at the air-conditioned VIP lounge. Continental breakfast buffet is offered in the morning, hors d'oeuvres during the day, and desserts at night. Since the food at the resort is ample and the property offers 24-hour room service, most families don't need the extra food.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the resort.
Babysitting is available for an additional hourly fee. Request this service in advance.
The Art of Smart Timing
High season starts around mid-December and continues through mid-April. The low season runs from September to mid-December. Shoulder season is from mid-April through August.
Cancun International Airport is located about 30 minutes away from this resort.
Families will not have an issue walking around this resort.
For Mom and Dad
Preferred Club members have access to their own, adults-only pool.