Royalton Riviera Cancun Review - A Family Vacation Haven
Updated: Aug 20
The magnificent Royalton Riviera Cancun is an all-inclusive Cancun family vacation haven located in Puerto Morelos, nestled a touch south of Cancun, Mexico. Housing 840 chic suites, 11 exclusive bars, a rejuvenating spa, 10 gourmet restaurants, and the entertaining Splash Safari – it's the go-to for families with small children. Additionally, it belongs to the Autograph Collection under the prestigious Marriott Group, which is an advantage for travelers looking to leverage point-based bookings and upgrades.
Above all, family vacations are precious times, cementing lifelong memories and building traditions. With this review we're here to share our experience to help you decide if this location is the one for your next family vacation.
Location and First Impressions
The resort is a swift 25-minute drive from the airport. But beware of the current construction near the airport – morning departures can sidestep this hurdle. The hotel is located about 5 minutes off the main highway, just a short drive through the mangroves. Our private taxi ride was comfortable, culminating in the beautiful view of the Caribbean waters as we stepped into the breezy, expansive lobby. Check-in was seamless, with a helpful bracelet doubling as our room key – quite a nifty feature!
There are multiple check-in areas, so be sure to let the bell staff know if you booked through Marriott and if you opted to upgrade to the Diamond level for your stay so they can point you in the right direction.
I always recommend packing a few basics in a carry on to get you through until your room is ready: swim suits, a travel size sunscreen and sunglasses mean you can hit the pool while you wait for your room.
The Royalton Riviera Cancun offers a wide variety of rooms, from standard to the lavish Diamond Club. Family Suites offer the benefit having a bit of separation between the king bed and the sofa bed. Our first stay was in the Luxury Presidential One Bedroom Suite, which was near the Splash Safari pool. The balcony provided a great location for us to relax while our little one snoozed in the evening. We could hear the evening entertainment, but it just provided a nice ambiance. Our subsequent visit was in a swim-up room; while fantastic in concept, the colder October waters rendered it a too cold to use. Additionally, the seating area next to the swim up area was small - barely enough room for two lounge chairs. This is probably an option better suited to adults than kids.
The Diamond Club provides exclusive perks, but it truly caters to your priorities. If you do decide to upgrade, you'll have access to the best rooms, an exclusive Diamond Club pool and beach area, priority check-in, priority reservations at restaurants, butler service and more. Since our kid only wanted to spend time in the kids pool, the reserved areas weren't a benefit to us. But the priority check-in and reservations were a big help, particularly on a short trip where you don't want to waste time waiting.
Kids at Play - Amenities and Activities
Splash Safari is a gem, perfect for kids up to age 4 with a few nearby slides for kids up to age 8 to 10. The main area is shallow water and small slides, with one activity area with a few larger slides and plenty of water. It is designed for little ones in mind and allows adults to stand close by the bigger slides to help if needed. Complemented by a nearby snack bar and a refreshing drinks bar, it's an absolute winner. There are plenty of loungers and sun beds around the pool to serve as a resting place for afternoon naps.
Throughout the resort you'll find various places to spend your time. There's ping pong tables and giant chess near the main pool. Volleyball courts on the beach. Giant Jenga sets.
The resort also houses a main pool with engaging activities, a beautiful beach, and dedicated clubs for kids (ages 4 - 12) and teens (13 - 17). The diverse offerings from water sports to foam parties ensure there's never a dull moment.
If your preference is the beach, there are plenty of places to relax either in the sun or the shade. However, note that sargassum - seaweed - can be an issue at times throughout the year. The resort has crews cleaning the beach consistently, but it is a battle against mother nature.
Dining – A Delight for All Ages
The resort's buffet is vast and versatile, while theme restaurants offer curated experiences. The buffet features a variety of cuisines at each meal making it possible for everyone to find something. There's even a special kids section featuring stand-by options like chicken nuggets, french fries and macaroni and cheese. The fresh fruit selection was also a hit with our little traveler. Special shoutout to Hunter (steakhouse) and Agave (traditional Mexican) – and according to our junior critic, Grazi (Italian) dishes out the best pizza!
Each restaurant was more than willing to accommodate request for our son, even off menu. our server at Agave even went to the buffet to get a plate of fruit for him. If you've ever taken a picky eater to a restaurant, you know just how much that gesture means.
Recharge & Relax – Parent's Time
Parents, rejoice! The resort offers babysitting, a fitness center, spa, and the adults-only Hideaway section, ensuring you get your well-deserved relaxation.
If you're craving local experiences, consider excursions to Tulum, Chichen Itza, or the multi-faceted Xcarat park. Always opt for trusted tour providers for a safe experience.
Tulum is a bit further south and offers a chance to walk through ancient ruins and get amazing views of the Caribbean. There's shops and dining options up front before heading to the ruins, but be prepared to haggle and watch out for the monkeys!
Chichen Itza is an excursion best suited for slightly older children as it takes about 4 hours to reach and involved a lot of walking. Once you're there it is an incredible experience and allows for some amazing photos. Remember to pack plenty of sunscreen and consider an umbrella to create some shade.
If your interested in a more personal pyramid experience, check out Coba. Many tours will offer this as a stop on their itinerary and the experience of climbing an ancient pyramid is one that will last a life time. It is a steep climb but the views at the top are breathtaking. Wear shoes with plenty of grip, mainly for the journey back down.
Health and Safety Protocols
While Cancun remains predominantly safe, adhering to the resort's guidelines, like drinking bottled water, is advisable. An on-site medical facility ensures peace of mind.
Pros and Cons for Families
Just Right Resort Size: The smaller resort size is like the Goldilocks of family destinations – not too big, not too small, just right! Perfect for those tiny legs that don’t want to walk a marathon on vacation.
Feast-O-Rama: From a foodie tot to a picky eater, the variety at the restaurants is sure to tickle those tiny taste buds. Don’t forget that buffet – it's every little adventurer's dream!
Splash Safari Extravaganza: A separate haven just for the little tykes! Splash, play and have a blast away from the bigger waters.
Dreamy Nap Spots: After a day of adventures, those cozy rooms and comfy beds are perfect for the sweetest dreams.
Fly and Arrive in a Jiffy: Nobody likes long car rides after a flight. Luckily, this resort is just around the corner from the airport.
Teenage Challenge: Older kids might wish for a few more thrills and water slides.
Seaweed Alert: Sometimes, the beach plays hide and seek beneath the sargassum.
Reservation Roulette: Trying to snag a reservation at theme restaurants with little ones can be like playing musical chairs. Fingers crossed you get a spot at the time you need!
Jumped into this resort for the Splash Safari? We did too! And it's safe to say, it was a SPLASHING success. While perfect for the younger adventurers, it's a paradise for the whole family. We've stamped our passport here more than once, and we're already eyeing our next visit.
Bubble Up Your Thoughts
Hey Adventurous Families! Have you dipped your toes into this resort? 🌊 Drop your tales and tips in the comments. Questions? Fire away! We're all ears (and maybe a little sunscreen).
For more splash-tastic fun, don't miss our review of the Royalton Splash in Cancun. Dive in and discover another treasure!