My husband and I traveled to Cancun Feb 22-28, 2003 and stayed at the Crown Paradise Resort. We are Seasoned Caribbean travelers, but we took our 20 month daughter with us on this trip. We have to say this was a very family oriented resort that accommodates the needs of kids/adults of all ages. If you’re a couple traveling without kids, you can still have a great time, but we have stayed at better places but paid for that 5 star treatment as well. For our needs, it was fantastic!
We flew out of Buffalo via Fun Jet, and got a seat for our daughter b/c the charter was not fully booked (Thank God!). After a 3 ½ hour direct flight, arrived to find a HUGE line for customs. Got through in about an hour and arrived at the hotel for a quick (and early) check in. They allowed early check in b/c we had a little one and requested it before our trip with our Travel Agent. Do this if traveling with any kids!! Otherwise check in is 3pm.
Rooms: Pros: All rooms have an ocean view which was great. We tipped our maid and she decorated our room and bed with beautiful fresh flowers daily. Always left us tons of clean towels!!
Cons: The room was nice, but no ceiling fan as the brochure had promised. We really missed the mini-bar too –those only come with the VIP rooms. Had to request a crib 4 times before my husband went down and got some response. The crib was terrible! A 3 inch mattress at best that sunk in the middle. They tried to “build it up” a bit by adding layers of blankets but to no satisfaction. Our daughter unfortunately slept every night with us :o( Also, we had the room temperature as cold as it would go and still would have liked it a degree or two cooler.
Food: Overall the food was pretty good and offered a wide variety of selection: I would say they had foods that would easily please a kids palate. The main Dining Buffet – The buffet was great. Breakfast: included fresh fruit smoothie bar, omelettes, pancakes and waffles made in front of you and an authentic Mexican buffet. Lunch and dinner were the same things but included a pizza bar, sushi bar, oriental stir fry, pasta and Mexican fajita bar all made in front of you -and their specials of the day on the buffet. During the day, noon -5pm I believe, we dined at the Japanese poolside restaurant. Very, very good. Even if you don’t’ eat Japanese, you can have filet mignon or chicken kabobs, grilled veggies, fried shrimp, etc. Great Sushi!
The poolside grill was very good too. My daughter especially liked the endless supply of nachos and cheese, fries cheeseburgers.
Ala Carte restaurant reviews: The seafood restaurant was very good. Great selection including a tasty steak dish that my non-seafood eating husband enjoyed. The 50’s fine dining restaurant (adults only) had a french flair and although it was good, not totally satisfying to our tastes. The Mexican was by far our favorite!! The food was incredible, the margarita’s flowed frequently and the mariachi band duo topped off this authentic experience. The Italian restaurant was exceptional as well.
We didn’t have the pleasure of dining at the Steak house but we heard it was good and had a mechanical bull you can ride.
It is very difficult so get dinner reservations at the Ala Carte restaurants but we finally succeeded the 3rd night. The wine at all restaurants was Portuguese and well.. not that great. We drank it anyways!!
Facilities: Pools – The pools were all great but there was no jacuzzi as promised (Its now a kiddie pool) other than the one connected to the Adult pool in the adult section of the resort, so we didn’t get in there much with our 20 month old. We were waking up early every day with our little one and went down and put our towels in the primo lounge chair locations on the pool or beach. Recommended! Beach – The sand was perfect. The waves were great for body surfing. The beach is not very deep though, so get your towel on a chair and umbrella early (Before 8:00 am). Gym- The gym was shockingly nice. Much better than ones we’ve seen in the past. Six new treadmills, a big universal gym, Lots of Dumbbells and Straight bars, some other stomach exercise machines. The aerobics classes are here at 8am. Baby Club – (18 Months to 3 years) This was the only resort we saw that offered a club for the little ones. There were lots of things for them to play with and a good two children to one (Or one on one) staff member ratio that made us think your child is getting alot of attention. It seemed very safe as no adults were allowed in the baby area with their children to keep people from swiping your little ones. You can have them in there from 9am to 9pm as much as you wanted. Our daughter doesn’t like sand and was not crazy about the pool unless enticed into the water with toys and took some exception to staff members plopping her in the sand or the kiddie pool and did quite a bit of crying (Just as she would have done with us). Kids Club – (3 and up) Looked like tons of fun. Water slides, pools, play gym, Movies, kids basketball, Arts & Crafts all in a secure environment. Tennis Courts – Very nice and lit during the night. Basketball Courts – Very nice and lit during the night. Putt-Putt Course – It was playable but in a sad state of affairs. I think they are in the process of re-doing it. It needs it.
Human Chess Boards – Neat, but we didn’t play.
There were plenty of daily activities and a ton of people participated.