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A vacation on the Mexican Riviera

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Poolside view of the Azul Sensatori

DAY ONE: Another day in paradise…our first day in paradise, Mexico style.

Despite the first major snow of the season, our travel on Air Mexicana from New York to Cancun was uneventful. My daughter Reggie flew from San Francisco and my nephew Chris Yemma joined us from LA. Amazingly, everyone arrived on schedule.

My mission: seeing if a vacation with teens and young adults can be successful at an all-inclusive resort. When they were younger, I liked all-inclusives for the organized kids’ activities that gave parents a break and the fact that I didn’t have to pay $4 every time they wanted a soft drink. Now I’m still glad for the activities (Yoga on the beach, free boogie boards, beach volleyball) but I’m also glad that their drinks—the alcoholic kind—are included as well as their food, since they eat a lot more than mac and cheese and chicken fingers.

We’ve chosen a spanking new resort – the Azul Sensatori by Karisma (http://www.karismahotels.com), a 438-room resort on the “Bahia Pretempich” in Riviera Maya, about 20 minutes south of Cancun International Airport and roughly a half hour north of Playa del Carmen.

The place, despite some minor kinks of a new resort (door locks that won’t open, etc…) is beautiful with upscale furnishings, tile floors, canopy beds The kids like the Plasma TVs and iPod docking station and the swim up bars (there are at least three that we’ve counted). The pools are interconnected and some of the rooms are “swim up,” which means you can step right outside your room and into the lazy river pool.
I love the covered cozy casitas on the beach and around the pool — perfect for a nap, game of cards or just some cuddling with the kids. My kids were playing their new favorite game, the travel edition of Blokus (www.blokus.com) as the sun went down yesterday.

There are six different restaurants and eight bars. How to choose? Do we want interactive cooking stations at Spoon? Tapas at Tapaz, Mexican at Zocolo, seaside Caribbean food at Zavaz, or elaborate adults only dinner at Le Chique.

For our first lunch, just after we arrived, we opt for Zavaz, the Caribbean bistro overlooking the pool. The salad and ceviche, jerk chicken and fish and chips were very good — better than I had expected. We opted for dinner at Tapaz where the attentive staff served us every variety of Tapas — tiny servings of delicious vegetable soup, spoons of salad, chicken skewers, beef in wine sauce… the tiny portions went on and on, ending with chocolate truffles. Did I mention they kept pouring wine — included of course?

I see lots of multi generational families here and see how this place can work for all generations, from connecting suites to the organized kids’ and teens activities (Wii, internet, air hockey and Teens disco). There’s even a program in conjunction with Fisher-Price with the latest toys and a toy check out library. Moms can borrow a jogging stroller. There is a fitness area built for older kids in conjunction with My Gym. Something for everyone?

Most of the smaller kids I see so far are playing in the pools, building sand castles, and playing on the beachfront play structure. It helps that the beach is white sand, the water turquoise blue and the sun shining.
I like that there are different restaurants rather than a couple of large ones. I like that our rooms are oversized. I’ve got to go to the beach now!

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