I always get so excited when booking our Summer holiday, I love the Sun and exploring a new country! We have stayed at five Sensatori hotels now and on the whole have always been really happy and the rooms/service and food are always great. Last year we went to the one in Rhode’s which was my favourite so far. Instead of staying in Europe we wanted to go a bit further afield and explore somewhere new. I searched lots of destinations but we chose Mexico and luckily Oscar and Archie are great on flights, so the ten-hour flight time didn’t put us off. The only down side was you are advised to have Hepatitis A, Tetanus and Typhiod which cost around £380 for a family of four and you will need a booster in 6 months so they last for 10 years.
When picking a destination we always look at what there is to do locally as Greg goes mad sitting around a pool for two weeks. Also when flying across the World its nice to explore what different countries have to offer.
So we booked the 5* TUI Sensatori Resort Riviera Maya which is situated only 25 minutes from Cancun airport and after a long flight a short transfer was great. The TUI Dreamliner also made the flight even easier, huge seats, plenty of leg room (even enough for Archie to stand up and play) 100’s of films to watch, games to play, activity packs and headphones for the kids and the meals were great too. The boys liked how the cabin had lights that changed different colours which apparently helps your body react to the time difference better. We flew from London Gatwick and I pre booked the Premium security lane which is only £5 each. You go to the designated area and we were through security in literally five minutes.
We booked a Luxury Suite with Limited Sea View, Balcony and Whirlpool Bath on an all-inclusive package. Our room was huge with two double beds in it, a Whirlpool Bath looking over the balcony and pool, large open planned bathroom and plenty of wardrobe space. Your mini bar in your room is included in your all-inclusive package so gets replenished every day when your room is cleaned. In an ideal World we would have opted for a room with a separate sleeping space for the boys but as we booked only 8 weeks before departure there wasn’t any Family Suites left. Also at this particular hotel they won’t let you book a swim up room if you have a child under 12 in your room. In Rhode’s last year we had a swim up room and the boys really enjoyed having it and if available I would recommend one of these rooms.
The staff at the hotel were amazing! They are super friendly and very attentive but be prepared and have Peso’s at the ready to tip everyone! Around the pools, there are four lagoon-like swimming pool and a small pool and sprayground for children. The children’s pool had sweet little miniature sunbeds for the kids, which was a nice touch. The hotel is also on a beach and to be honest the stretch right outside the hotel had a lot of seaweed in the sea and workers cleared what was on the beach throughout the day. We hired a Kayak on the beach which is again included in your package, you just have to pay $4 per adult for the whole of your holiday for sea tax. There are no jet skis or water sports near the hotel which was a bit disappointing as Oscar and Greg love to go on a jet ski. We walked further along the beach, about 100 metres and there are rock pools and the sea is clear and fish swim all around you. The beaches are the whitest sand I have ever seen.
One of the boys favourite things about the hotel is that there are Iguanas every where. After breakfast every morning whilst their sun cream was drying in we went on a lizard walk and would feed them bananas.
There are six restaurants within the hotel; Spoons which is your usual buffet style restaurant. We had breakfast there each morning and some lunches and dinner there when we didn’t have reservations at the other restaurants. The range of food was great for us and Oscar and Archie and they have themed evenings too. Tapaz is a Spanish restaurant that offers lite bites and tapas style food. We didn’t get to eat in here but people that did that we spoke to really loved it. Siena the Italian restaurant was our favourite and we ate there twice, the food was absolutely amazing and decorated beautifully.
We went to the Zocolo Mexican restaurant which is great fun. Lot’s of singing, dancing, sombrero hats and traditional Mexican food. We had a great evening here.
The BBQ Grill was our favourite lunch spot, tables on the beach looking over the sea and gorgeous salads and barbecued food. This only runs from 11-3. You can also get a fresh coconut to drink out of here too, this is $5 dollars. You can also get lunch at Pizza Dude’s, we didn’t actually eat there as it didn’t have any air conditioning and we didn’t fancy it in the heat.
Zavaz the Caribbean restaurant was also lovely and had lots to choose from on the menu as well as a fresh salad bar. You can also have breakfast in this restaurant too.
Le Chique is an adult only restaurant. You can book this and send children to an evening movie and book the 14 course taster meal which is included in your stay. You can pay extra for 22 courses. Each course is weird and wonderful and very creative. We didn’t book this as the boys have never been to a kids club on holiday.
There are other bars around the hotel and three swim up ones. There is also a Starbucks which you have to pay for.
There is a kids club that runs each day in the TUI Sensatori Playhouse. Our friend used the kids club and said it wasn’t very good. They had booked this hotel as they had been before and the kids club and children’s evening entertainment was fantastic. They had the Nickelodeon licence complete with all of the characters for the kids to meet. The evening entertainment compared to the other Sensatori’s is shockingly bad and after watching one ‘clown’ show didn’t bother going back. There are no kids disco’s or entertainment each night for them like the other hotels other leaving them to sit in front of a movie. What they had for children was pretty poor. The one glimmer was their fortnightly Beach Party which was fun with games, a disco and smores.
On our pool days we headed to the family lagoon pool as it had a shallower bit for Archie as well as a deeper part for Oscar. Oscar and Archie made lots of friends and played in the pool with then all day. Like I said above the pool had a swim up bar as well as waitress service who brought us drinks and snacks throughout the day.
There is a spa on site that offer a range of massages and treatments and a lovely air conditioned gym that Greg used. A 50 minute massage was around $140.
Each part of the hotel had its own concierge block and anything I asked for was always done immediately. You also book your dinner reservations here too which was simple and we always got the time and booking we wanted. I also used their laundry service to have some of our clothes cleaned as we extended our trip and flew to America instead of going home so I needed a few bits freshened up. The clothes were back hanging in our wardrobes the next morning. It wasn’t the cheapest and cost about £50 for 10 items and a few pairs of kids socks.
On one evening Archie felt unwell and I needed a specific medication. I went to the concierge and asked them if they could get it for me. It was 10pm at night so I expected to have to wait until the morning but for $60 it was delivered to our room within the hour. Such amazing service!
Overall we really enjoyed our stay here 5* TUI Sensatori Resort Riviera Maya and had an amazing holiday. The rooms are not as well decorated as some of the other Sensatori’s but are room was huge. The food at every restaurant was amazing and customer service top notch.
Like I said before we didn’t want to travel 10 hours and not explore. I did a lot of research before we left and one thing I really wanted to do was swim with the Dolphin’s. With Archie being only four I had to look at which ones had age restrictions. One company that had a lot of great reviews online is Dolphin Discovery’s. Dolphin Discovery’s have locations in Italy, Argentina, America, The Caribbean and in Mexico and are rated the #1 Dolphin Company in the World. When I looked at their website it had a live chat option so I told the agent what package I wanted, location, date and time and it was all booked in ten minutes and they didn’t charge for Archie. For $250 we all swam with the Dolphins for 50 minutes, had lunch included, access to a beautiful beach club and were given all of our photos digitally and one each as a print. I paid $30 dollars on the day for a return transfer and $40 for all of Archie’s photos.
We had a really lovely experience and Oscar and Archie absolutely loved it. There are lockers on site to store your belongings whilst you are meeting the Dolphins, you will have to give a $5 deposit which you get back. I was really impressed with Dolphin Discovery’s and would definitely book with them again. Booking beforehand directly with Dolphin Discovery’s is absolutely worth it as another family that were there when we were had booked the same experience through an agent at their hotel and paid almost double what we did.
Through our Sensatori rep on site we booked a day trip to the Coba Ruins. It meant being picked up at 7am visiting the Coba Ruins in the Jungle, visiting a traditional Mayan Village having lunch then swimming in a cenote in the middle of the Jungle. It cost £322 for the four of us. When we arrived in the Jungle it is quite a walk to the main Coba Ruins but there are plenty of Tuc Tuc’s which cost $10 to go there and back and hold two people. Once we got to the ruins and saw it in the flesh it looks so unsafe to climb, especially for children. To be honest we couldn’t believe our rep had sold us this trip on the basis he knew the children are 4 and 9. I took the climb to the top and came back down on my bottom. We then looked around the rest of the ruins and learnt about their history.
The coach drove us to the traditional Mayan Village which was great to see. We then had a quick buffet style lunch and stopped at a gift shop with lots of Mayan souvenirs. We got into our swim wear and headed to the cenote.
We walked through the Jungle and when we got to the cenote I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. There are life jackets to use as it is quite deep and it actually made it easier to bob around. There are fishes swimming around you in the crystal clear waters. After being annoyed about the non child friendly Coba Ruins being at the cenote made me pleased we had come on this day trip.
We drove past Crococun Zoo on the way to Coba and it is literally 5km from our hotel. Our friends had also told us about the zoo before we left as they had visited it on their trip to Mexico in May. It costs about $80 for the four of us and you get given a bag of animal feed and your own personal guide. He took us around all of the animals and we got to hold and feed parrots, snakes, crocodiles, hairless Mexican dogs, Monkeys and so much more.
Oscar and Archie were brave and held and fed all the animals and we also walked through an enclosure where the adult crocodiles are. Talk about adrenaline rush!
Swimming With Turtles
We booked this excursion ‘Underwater World’ with our Sensatori rep. This trip is only a half day trip and leaves at 7.45am. We were picked up in a mini bus by our guide for the day Valentin who was amazing. Firstly we went to the famous Akumal Beach and we snorkelled along the Caribbean reef. We were so unlucky that we didn’t get to see any of the giant turtles as the sea was quite choppy but Oscar saw a stingray and we saw hundreds of beautiful fishes during our 40 minute swim. Archie enjoyed it too and had a special ring he was in attached to the guide so was happy bobbing along in the water, using his snorkel to see beneath him. Afterwards we showered off, had a snack and drove into the Jungle to a cenote in an open cave.
To be honest I had no intention of going in the cave but when I saw that it was open above us I decided to give it a go and was so pleased that I did. The cave was beautiful with Cat fish swimming all around. Inside the cave you could see the roots from the trees above hanging from the roof. The water was super chilly and I am glad I made the boys wear their slip free water shoes which made it easier for them to stand on the sharp rocks. I loved this trip and it cost £248 for the four of us for the half day trip but we got 50% back as we didn’t see a turtle.
We absolutely loved our holiday in Mexico and it is such a beautiful country with so much history. We can’t wait to take the boys back when they are bit older as there are so many fantastic excursions for families with older children. Mexico is one of the best countries I have ever been to and in terns if exploring, the best yet!