The thought of a beachfront all-inclusive resort may bring to mind a raucous, booze-laden tourist trap. However, Oyster reporters visited more than 200 resorts along the Riviera Maya to compile this list of truly standout places to stay that also happen to have all-inclusive rates or plans.
This stunning, all-suite luxury property in Puerto Morelos has 103 incredibly spacious rooms with huge balconies or patios. Though many have full kitchens, there is only one on-site restaurant, El Faro, which serves international and Mexican cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner -- but the menu can get repetitive, especially for those on the all-inclusive plan. There are three beautiful pools, including one for children and one for adults that has a swim-up bar. The beach is superior to many in the area, with soft white sand, calm waters, and a lack of seaweed. The hotel offers free parking and Wi-Fi, and has an excellent on-site gym, but the tiny spa is a bit of a letdown.
The Grand Velas -- set on over 80 acres of mangroves that meet a postcard-perfect beach of white sand and turquoise waters -- is one of Riviera Maya’s most sophisticated properties. It features 491 top-notch suites spread out in three different buildings (two family-friendly, one adults-only), all with their own stunning pool complexes, gyms, and restaurants. The property is so huge guests will need to take a three-minute shuttle ride from the farthest building to the beach, but the hotel’s spotless service, outstanding food, luxurious spa, and wonderful amenities make it a great pick for discerning (and well-heeled) travelers.
The 310-room, luxury Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso is a Las Vegas-style, adult-only resort on the Riviera Maya. The resort is part of the five-hotel Iberostar complex, and guests at this hotel may use the amenities at all five properties, some of which are family-friendly. The high-end experience starts with champagne upon arrival, and continues with premium liquor, fine dining, a full-service spa, and several pools, including one dedicated to tranquil relaxation. The opulent decor incorporates marble and mosaic floors, glass chandeliers, modern artwork, and artisan-crafted furnishings. The lush, landscaped grounds complete the picture. Rooms are large and upscale, with jetted tubs, glass shower stalls, and personalized minibars.
El Dorado Casitas Royale, the intimate, more upscale section of El Dorado Royale is an adults-only, all-inclusive property about midway between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. While amenities are the same on both sides of the resort, El Dorado Casitas Royale is quieter and feels more secluded than the rest of the property. Rooms are large and luxurious, with wood-beamed ceilings, huge bathrooms with outdoor showers, and two-person hot tubs. Some rooms have private swim-up terraces, or balconies with infinity-edge plunge pools. Most guests choose to spend their days at one of the hotel’s several pools (some have a swim-up bar) because the beach is small and rocky, and not so suitable for swimming. The on-site restaurants serve an array of cuisine types, but the food is mediocre at best.
The luxurious Heaven at the Hard Rock is the adult-only side of the larger all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel complex. There are 577 rock-themed rooms, all with jetted tubs and balconies (some with ocean views). Features include four restaurants (plus six more at the sister resort next door), the Rock Spa, and the Body Rock Fitness Center, a nightclub with live DJs, and a man-made lagoon beach. Restaurant reservations are not required, a major upside, but guests do have to wear wristbands.
Located on the Riviera Maya, south of Cancun, the 412-room Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun is a romantic, adults-only all-inclusive resort, set on a private white-sand beach lined with sunbeds, cabanas, and palapas. In addition to the buffet, a wide range of high-quality dining options are available, including Japanese teppanyaki, French cuisine, a wine cellar with over 200 different vintages, and, for an extra charge, romantic dinners for two on the beach. A stunning destination-style spa offers couples' treatments in private outdoor cabanas on the beach. Rooms are large and tasteful, with four-poster canopy beds, separate sitting areas, and private balconies; ground floor rooms are swim-up suites. The hotel is especially popular for honeymoons and destination weddings, though numerous additional fees can make a stay here pricey.
This adult-only resort lives up to the Excellence name, offering the standard amenities of the luxury chain: multiple attractive pools, numerous dining options, dozens of activities, and a solid spa with beachside treatment huts. The abundance of marble and columns throughout the property might be a bit too ostentatious for some, but it's definitely impressive -- as are the rooms. The rooms feature hot tubs and open bathrooms, which shouldn't be a problem for most visitors choosing an adults-only resort. All have terraces or balconies, and a gorgeous stretch of beach is right outside the door.
This adult-only, luxury property with 507 rooms appeals to both 20- and 30-something couples. A particular draw of this resort is its proximity to the nightlife of downtown Playa del Carmen, especially bustling 5th Avenue, with the party-oriented will appreciate. But the gorgeous stretch of beach and the sophisticated rooms with two-person jetted tubs means romantic-minded couples will be pleased here as well. The range of features is, unsurprisingly, extensive, including seven restaurants and seven bars, an Olympic-sized pool, a wedding center, a spa, and daily entertainment.
El Dorado Maroma, is an adult-only all-inclusive about 40 minutes south of Cancun. The resort is smaller and quieter than many nearby all-inclusives, but it’s chock-full of amenities. There are six on-site restaurants, numerous bars, multiple pools, a spa with beachfront massage services, and a modern fitness center. There is a wide range of room options at El Dorado Maroma, including suites with swim-up terraces. However, the beach -- which is little more than a marina with sand -- is disappointing. Food and drinks throughout the hotel are fairly mediocre, but most restaurants feel character-less and slightly unappealing.
This luxurious, 433-room all-inclusive resort is an adult-only escape with a fairly remote location a half-hour drive south of Cancun's bustling Hotel Zone. There's a classy, jet-set vibe, and spring break shenanigans are prohibited, as are children under 18. Extensive features include a white-sand beach (that's smaller than those at competing properties),eight pools, nine restaurants, and abundant bars -- plus nightly entertainment to keep things lively. There is a full-service spa as well as a nicely outfitted fitness center, not to mention regular yoga and water aerobics classes. Rooms are spacious, spotless, and modern, all with amazing whirlpool tubs and balconies or patios. Really fantastic free Wi-Fi is offered throughout (reception can even be found on the beach).
The luxurious Palace Resorts’ Playacar Palace is located directly on the beach in the Playacar resort community, next to the Cozumel Island ferry and a short walk to Quinta Avida in downtown Playa del Carmen. Most of the 208 stylishly decorated rooms have balconies offering stunning views of the Caribbean Sea. All come with bathrobes and slippers, a whirlpool, free Wi-Fi, and in-room wine and a liquor dispenser filled with quality brands. The property itself is beautifully grand, yet has a nice intimate feel to it -- especially with the staff that is known for treating guests like family. In addition to beach fun, there’s also an abundance of other on-site activities: table tennis, aqua aerobics, access to a neighboring 18-hole golf course, water polo, karaoke, and live shows nightly. Three restaurants offer international cuisine in both casual and elegant settings -- though for an all-inclusive, the selection can feel limiting. For further amenities and dining options, the resort provides free transportation to other Palace properties and resorts in the hotel zone.
The Royal Hideaway is a member of exclusive hospitality consortium Leading Hotels of the World, and as such is one of the most luxurious properties in the area. It features upscale rooms with high-end amenities, a full-service spa with great treatments, several pools, and the best food around. The beautiful grounds, overall sophisticated vibe, adults-only policy, and beautiful beachfront location a short drive from shopping on Playa’s Fifth Avenue make it one of the most attractive options for couples in Playacar.
Paradisus Playa Del Carmen La Perla is one of the best adults-only, all-inclusive luxury resorts in Maya Riviera. This chic property is located directly on the Caribbean, but the patch of white sand is narrow and it's a bit far from downtown Playa Del Carmen. No kids allowed means the gorgeous swimming pools remain calm and serene; there's a swim-up bar and waiter service, but guests tend to be seeking peace and quiet rather than a rowdy party scene. Even the most affordable rooms have marble floors and free minibars stocked daily. An upgrade means access to a semi-private swim-up pool and/or butler service. A huge variety of all-inclusive restaurants and bars get high marks for quality and service. The spa is romantic, with a water ritual, sexy day beds, and an expansive treatment menu.
The 540-room Valentine Imperial Maya is an adult-only, all-inclusive luxury resort set in an exclusive area of the Riviera Maya known as Playa Secreto. The draws here are the long white-sand beach, massive main pool with two swim-up bars, lazy river (select rooms have swim-out access), quality food, lively entertainment, beautiful grounds, and full-service spa and fitness center. Rooms have traditional, earth-tone decor, and all have outdoor space -- some have ocean views, though they can be obstructed by vegetation on lower floors. There are 11 bars where top-shelf liquor is included, and seven a la carte restaurants where reservations are not required (though Privilege Package guests can make reservations to avoid a wait).
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.
With only 90 suites, the Zoetry Paraiso offers a romantic, wellness-centric boutique experience in the Mayan Riviera. The unique layouts of the suites offers different experiences to guests, including Terrace Suites with small bath-side indoor gardens, and Plunge Pool Suites with small personal outdoor pools. Even though warm, Mediterranean style is a bit different in each room type, all are spacious with comfortable furnishings and Bulgari toiletries. The pool area and beach are relaxed with double-wide lounge chairs (perfect for couples), and the on-site dining keeps the resort's wellness theme alive with delicious, healthy meals. Included amenities not standard at most all-inclusive resorts, such as a "welcome" bottle of tequila, daily bottle of champagne, a one-hour Catamaran sunset sail, three-times-daily maid service, and private chauffeured airport transfers, make this resort a standout among Puerto Morelos' finest properties (though expect the price to reflect that).
The 130-room Royal Suites Yucatan is the smallest, quietest, and most luxurious resort in the five-resort Grand Palladium Riviera Maya complex, and the only one for adults only. Located along the beautiful Akumal coastline between Tulum and Cancun, this upscale resort gives guests an all-inclusive experience with more food an drink options than you can count on both hands, all-day and night activities, soft sand and coral rock beaches, wildlife, a huge hydrotherapy-based spa with gym (access for a fee), and relaxing nature-filled grounds. While Royal Suites guests get full access to the features at the sister resorts, the reverse is not true. The rooms have much more contemporary decor than what is found at the sister properties, and the lagoon-facing Mayan Suites here are among the nicest accommodations in the entire complex. Just note that the property is sprawling and it's a trek to the beach, though shuttle service is available.
The 420-suite Luxury Bahia Principe Sian Kaan is the most exclusive offering within the Mayan Riviera's Bahia Principe resort complex. This adult-only all-inclusive has three restaurants, a snack bar, and four bars, plus a private off-site beach area with beach bar and water sports. An ideal resort for couples, all rooms have top-shelf minibars, 24-hour room service, and luxe amenities -- and are located in semi-private spots within lush garden grounds. Some have private decks with hot tubs.
Hotel Riu Palace Mexico is an upscale 434-room resort set along the beach in Playa del Carmen’s upmarket Playacar area. A 2012 renovation brought most of the interiors up to date with plenty of glitzy touches while the hotel's ground are some of the most pristine you'll see. Facilities are excellent, including ample eating and drinking options, plenty of pools and sports, and daily entertainment, while kids are also well-catered for. Rooms aren't perfect -- some are prone to damp and others have poor views -- though jetted tubs and liquor dispensers as standard are high points. All in all, it's a strong contender in a crowded market, drawing families and couples who prefer relaxing over partying. This is the nicest Riu in the area.
El Dorado Royale, a sprawling 450-acre oceanfront property, is an adult-only resort with a dizzying array of amenities. With 13 gorgeous pools, seven restaurant options, a handful of bars, an incredible spa, and activities like yoga, snorkeling, and kayaking, guests will never be bored, or hungry, during their stay. Rooms have nice features like fully stocked mini-bars and large balconies, but don’t feel as luxurious as they could be for the price and four-and-a-half pearl rating. With unsightly sand bags and a rocky ocean floor, the beach is not the prettiest, nor is it the best for swimming. Like many other all-inclusives, the food is mediocre, and quality varies between restaurants. Guests looking for something a bit more intimate with better rooms should check out El Dorado Casitas Royale, which is located on the same property as El Dorado Royale, and shares its restaurants and amenities.