Eko Kids Club supervises ecologically minded kids activities throughout the day
Adults can use restaurants and amenities at El Dorado properties next door
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Loud and crowded with kids (a pro for some!)
Food is mediocre, portions are small, and restaurant menus are limited
Beach isn't the best for swimming
Nothing of interest within walking distance
Butler shared among a cluster of guest rooms
Generations Riviera Maya by Karisma is an all-inclusive luxury resort teeming with family-friendly activities. From the 144 large suites with separate bedroom and living room areas, to the Eko Kids Club, to the giant outdoor pool, to the “baby amenities” available, the hotel has thought of every last detail when it comes to the little ones. Though Generations bills itself as a gourmet all-inclusive, the food is fairly mediocre, portions are small, and restaurant menus are limited. Couples traveling alone might find this place overrun with kids, but parents can leave tots with the hotel’s designated nannies and spend some time next door at the adult-only El Dorado Royale property.
Take a few seconds to imagine a relaxing beach vacation. Picture a tranquil setting, where you can hear the waves break upon the shore. Have an image in mind? Now forget it: Generations RIviera Maya by Karisma is not that place. Upbeat music fills the air, water aerobics take up the center of the pool, a rowdy beach volleyball game is in full swing, and an endless amount of children run amok. To say Generations is family-friendly would be an understatement. Though couples and singles may find it a bit wild, for many families Generations offers the best of both worlds -- a fun beach vacation with enough entertainment for the kids, and just a bit of added romance for parents. In fact, many guests do take advantage of Generations’ affiliation with the adult-only El Dorado resorts next door. Parents can drop their kids at Eko Kids Club and head off to El Dorado for a sunset dinner. When they return, there will be plenty of cake pops and cupcakes waiting for them at the dessert table.
Everything at the hotel is massive. The lobby is set with floor-to-ceiling wood columns surrounded by huge white cushions. Large tear-drop fixtures hang from the ceiling. Grounds are landscaped with the prerequisite palm trees and ocean views.
About halfway between Cancun and Playa del Carmen, Generations Riviera Maya by Karisma is actually closer to the tiny town of Puerto Morelos than either of the two tourist hubs. There isn’t much to do or see in the immediate area surrounding the hotel, and most guests come to enjoy the property rather than the local culture. The hotel is about a 25-minute drive from Cancun Airport. Parking at Generations is free, or there's a shuttle from the hotel that's included in some packages.
Generations Riviera Maya by Karisma deems itself an “all-suite” all-inclusive, and when it comes to rooms, the hotel hits the nail on the head in every way. The smallest standard room (the Ocean Front Luxury Jacuzzi Suite) is a true suite, with 722 square feet of space, and a separate living room and bedroom area. Each room is about the same size and is divided by a sliding wall, allowing guests to choose the amount of privacy between each space. Living rooms are furnished with a sectional chaise sofa, a small coffee table, and a flat-screen TV and BlueRay player. The bedroom has either one king- or two queen-size beds, along with a small table and chair set, and another flat-screen TV. There is also a desk-like structure in the bedroom, but oddly, it doesn’t have a desk chair. Walls are classic hotel cream, with a marigold accent wall, and chocolate colored furniture. Another nice extra is minibars that are stocked with free drinks and snacks. Bathrooms are huge, and designed with families in mind. There are two sinks, plenty of storage space, separate showers and whirlpool tubs, and separate water closets. Several people can use the bathroom at once without invading each other’s’ privacy. Bathrooms are finished in gray stone and subway tiles, with pendant lighting and chrome fixtures.
Generations also has larger suites with full kitchen, living, and dining areas. Guests can combine multiple units to create multi-bedroom apartments. Anyone traveling with small children should definitely request their room to be outfitted with “baby amenities.” Before arrival, the hotel can furnish guest rooms with age-appropriate necessities like cribs, changing tables, and strollers. There are step stools for toddlers, bottle warmers for newborns, and baby monitors so parents can keep an ear out for the little ones while they relax on the balcony. The hotel even provides child-size robes and slippers, sweet little stuffed animals, and puzzles and games upon request.
Some rooms are Swim-Up or Infinity Suites because they have direct, private access from the guest room to a pool. Swim-Up Suites are on the ground floor, and guests can literally swim from their balcony into the hotel’s main pool (you’ll immediately win parent of the year with this one). The only pitfall to this option is its lack of privacy. Other hotel guests can easily swim past these rooms at any point during the day or night, so they may not always be the quietest. Infinity Suites, located on the upper floors, have direct, private access from the balcony into an upper-level infinity pool. These pools are smaller and quieter than the main pool, but lack the main pool’s services such as a swim-up bar or pool attendants.
The resort calls itself an “all-suite, all-butler” hotel, but those unfamiliar with typical resort butler service should banish any images of a tuxedo-clad gentleman who follows guests around with a silver platter. Instead, the butler is essentially a personal concierge shared by clusters of neighboring guest rooms, who is typically happy to accommodate guests’ requests -- from helping unpack suitcases to arranging off-site excursions to acquiring restaurant reservations.
Beachfront property with huge pool, multiple restaurants, and fun kids' club
The greatest feature at Generations has to be its massive pool. Spanning the entire length of the hotel, the pool is a mega-sized water wonderland for both adults and kids. The oasis of blue mosaic tile is home to swim-up bar, has multiple ledges for sun loungers, and sports its own volleyball net. Mere steps from the pool (yes, actually steps) is the hotel’s beach. It’s certainly the nicest stretch of sand in the area, but the water tends to be a bit rocky and the sandbag breakers are unsightly. The beach is equipped with plenty of lounge chairs, there’s a lifeguard on duty during the day, and there’s a small playground for kids to climb on.
There are several on-site restaurants, including the classic all-inclusive buffet, Mediterranean and Asian a la carte options, and a wine bar. The buffet -- which successfully resembles a neighborhood market, with its brick and wood finishes, picnic tables, and chalkboard signs -- is a lively spot with endless options. However, all of the other restaurants feel like the same, somewhat characterless room -- same layout, same decor, same tables and chairs, just with a different color scheme. The food is also somewhat disappointing for a “gourmet all-inclusive.” Most meals are average in quality and taste, but restaurant offerings are limited and portions are small.
The Eko Kids Club is exceptional. Kids ages four to 12 can attend supervised activities from morning until night. The room is painted in bright colors with creative murals adorning the walls. There’s a large ball pit, bean bag chairs, a Lego station, and tables for arts and crafts. Eko tries to teach kids about environmentally-friendly practices by way of organized games and art projects. Kids under the age of four can join the fun, but require parent supervision. Family evening entertainment includes movies by the pool and nightly performances of fire dancers and dance shows. There are also babysitters for hire if parents want take advantage of the adult-only restaurants and pools next door. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel.
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