Family Travel: Ocean Riviera Paradise Review

Family Travel: Ocean Riviera Paradise Review

Last time I went to an all-inclusive I was bored by day four. Last time I went to an all-inclusive I didn’t have three kids. Fast forward five years and the thought of going to an all-inclusive sounded like the best thing since sliced bread. A week at the beach with no boots or jackets or car seats; it was my new definition of relaxation, as a busy mom. The hunt for the ideal resort seemed daunting until I landed on an Ocean Riviera Paradise review that had me quickly digging deeper into this Playa Del Carmen, Mexico all-inclusive.

Looking back on our vacation (a month ago already!), I’m now the one in the reviewer’s seat, ready to share all of the ins and outs of the Ocean Riviera Paradise resort to inspire you for your next getaway.

All-Inclusive Accommodations

Through a travel agent we booked a junior suite in the Daisy complex, which is the kid-friendly room block right by the children’s pool. This was a a point of concern for me as we would be cramming our family of five into two double beds and a pull out couch. Going on a beach vacation for the first time in a few years, I wanted everyone to sleep well and not have to worry about the kids waking each other (or us!) up in the mornings. When we arrived at the hotel courtesy of Air Transat Vacations, we asked the concierge about upgrade options.

To our delight, we were offered a room in the Privilege section of the resort. These rooms typically come with butler service, access to a private restaurant and top shelf alcohol. For about $400 USD total, we’d be able to stay in a larger room without these privileges. And by larger room, think double the size with one huge full bathroom and one half bathroom. Plus, our balcony would be twice the size with a jacuzzi. Oh, and the highly desirable door to seal mom and dad off from the kids. Sold!

Dining Options

Meal options at the Ocean Riviera Paradise are endless. The buffet is absolutely gorgeous with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and everything in between. Our favourite meal to eat here was definitely breakfast (donut tower, anyone?) The resort only features one restaurant that takes reservations – the Teppanyaki bar. I stood in line for over an hour to get a table for Hannah’s 10th birthday and was the last one in line to get a spot at 5:30pm.

Unfortunately the other restaurants do not take reservations so you have to stand in line for the more popular ones like the steakhouse and Italian restaurant. Luckily, they have buzzers so you can walk around while you wait. Other spots include the Route 66 diner with hot sauce options galore, a romantic restaurant, beach front seafood restaurant and requisite Mexican restaurant.

The resort also features 3 pool snack bars including a creperie. The Mike’s coffee shop features lattes, cappuccinos and other caffeinated beverages plus baked goods and sandwiches. Next door is the Gelateria. There is certainly no lack of food at this resort, especially with room service available as of 11am.

Family-Friendly Activities

Between the four pools and the beach we really didn’t need much else to do. The kids loved the water park at the Daisy pool and the wind at the beach pool made the intense heat that much more enjoyable. Unfortunately, the beach wasn’t exactly what I had pictured as it was quite short and rough. Every morning, the hotel staff worked tirelessly to dig up giant holes in the sand and bury the seaweed that has been plaguing the coast.

A 360 view of the beach, on a windier day

My kids didn’t frequent the Kids Club but we did attend a few night time activities as a family including a piƱata party and bull riding competition. Most of the kids who attended the club were in the 3-6 year age range. On the other hand, Alex (7) spent his afternoons in the Teen Club getting a dose of atypical video game time. Kids under 10 are able to stay unattended until 7pm and then it’s reserved for true teenagers. In our down time, my kids hung out on the swing on our balcony and plowed through some activities I had brought from home.

The Ocean Riviera Paradise Resort

The Ocean Riviera Paradise is a beautifully designed property. A multitude of colourful tiles, grandiose light fixtures and other details make it easy on the eyes (and the perfect backdrop for many photos). Every staff member that we encountered was extremely friendly. While the main lobby is a good walk to the beach, a shuttle transports guests from one end of the resort to the other, every 10 minutes or so.

The wildlife at the resort was an added bonus. Our animal sightings included monkeys, deer, iguanas and a slew of Coatis, Mexico’s version of the raccoon. There is even a designated lookout point within the resort to watch the animals in their natural habitat.

A few of the other family-friendly amenities at the resort include:

  • *Push cars at the Kids Club, available for use throughout the day
  • *A Henna tattoo station ($)
  • *Boat and snorkelling excursions ($)
  • *Buffets on the beach multiple times per week
  • *On-site photographers to capture the memories ($)

All in all, we had a fantastic vacation. My only two complaints in this Ocean Riviera Paradise review would be the beach and the inability to make reservations at more of the restaurants. But the amazing room upgrade and picture perfect weather certainly made up for these shortcomings.

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