Travelers looking to leave their worries and wallets behind often turn to all-inclusive resorts. While the best all-inclusive resorts tend to focus on packages that include accommodations, food, drinks, and activities for couples and adults, Excellence Group takes all-inclusive to the next level by tailoring vacations to children.
Located on a pristine beach, Finest Playa Mujeres in Cancun, Mexico has created an all-inclusive vacation for children and teens that mirror all the amenities for adults — from dining options to spa services to activities. While many family-focused resorts offer child-friendly activities and palatial pools, few offer an adolescent version of each adult amenity.
The Daily Meal recently tapped into our inner child and experienced an all-inclusive getaway from a child’s point of view at Finest Playa Mujeres, the only all-inclusive luxury family friendly resort in Cancun.
Food & Drink
Kid’s menus at resorts typically feature copious amounts of chicken fingers, hamburgers, and peanut butter and jelly, but Finest Playa Mujeres goes above and beyond with menus that allow the littlest diners to sample local cuisines and expand their palates.
Finest Playa Mujeres boasts 12 restaurants and 16 bars — and even a food truck that serves hamburgers, hotdogs, and tacos. Seven restaurants offer globetrotting options for mini gourmands, including some gluten-free options. Of course, there are the ubiquitous hamburgers and ice cream on offer, but there are also plenty of choices for prepubescent palates like stuffed crêpes with shrimp and vegetables “au gratin” with cheddar cheese, shrimp burritos, and vanilla chiboust (a cream pastry) at Duke’s Lobster & Seafood, as well as antipasti platters with mortadella, salami, prosciutto, Provolone cheese; traditional beef lasagna with vegetables and mozzarella cheese; and creamy apricot with peppermint and almond biscuits at the Mediterranean-inspired Insieme Trattoria.
Brass Steakhouse offers appetizers like cheese empanadas with mesclun salad and Caesar salad with chicken “taquitos” and croutons, mains like grilled flank steak with mashed potatoes and grilled tuna filet with rice pilaf, and desserts like caramel pancakes with vanilla ice cream and chocolate almond cake. Lizo serves Mexican and Tex-Mex kid-friendly fare like Oaxaca cheese and ham quesadillas, beef escalope with French fries, traditional banana cake with almond compote, and almond cake with fig jam, sour ranch yogurt, and cinnamon.
There is even a children’s tapas menu at Tinto & Tapas that includes Spanish small plates like Manchego cheese “montadito” (a small bread roll), “coca” bread with tomato and virgin olive oil, chicken and ham croquettes, meatballs with tomato sauce, mini bocadillos such as pork loin “Pepito” with Manchego cheese, and caramelized Catalan custard crème. There’s a junior Japanese menu at Shoji (an Asian restaurant with Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese) that offers vegetable rainbow sushi; rice crepes filled with chicken and vegetables; grilled veal skewers “Yakitori” with bell peppers, onions, and teriyaki sauce; and rice pudding with mango and coconut.
For children, waiting for food to arrive can seem to take forever. The resort offers Imagine Lounge, a kids club where kids can play with toys and video games and participate in activities while waiting for food to arrive. And if your little diners don’t like their choices, you can simply order comfort food at no extra cost (this is, after all, one of the advantages of an all-inclusive resort!) or take them to Legends Bar for burgers, pizza, and ice cream.
While luxury spas are typically off-limits to children, ONE Spa has a separate area for children seeking spa time with or without their parents. Boys and girls can choose from three massages, including the Happy Essential Mini Massage, a 25-minute, $75 massage in which the therapist assists the child in creating a massage balm with essential oils like orange and lime before applying the balm to their back, head, arms, and legs; and the Make Me Sleep Mini Massage, a lavender massage in which parents can learn how to perform the massage during the 50-minute version of the treatment for $125.
The entire family can bond during the Family Bonding Ritual, an 80-minute experience that begins with a flower petal hand bath, and therapist-led massages in which the therapist guides the child on how to perform a soothing massage on mom or dad. The parents, in turn, learn how to provide their child with a massage.
For little princesses who wish to be pampered, they can choose from manicures, pedicures, facials, and glittery hairstyles — or opt for all four with the Caribbean Princess package, an 80-minute, $120 session that includes fruit scrubs and masks, manicures, pedicures, and hairstyling.
There is no shortage of activities for toddlers, tweens, and teens at Finest Playa Mujeres. The resort offers a separate area for children called Imagine Club, with three different indoor areas separated by age group: three to six (Baby Club), seven to 11 (Mini Club), and 12 to 15 (Maxi Club). The outdoor amenities also include separate pools: a baby/toddler pool with playground, a children’s pool with playground, and a swimming pool with slides for teens. There is a full-scale theater for performances, contests, and discos, as well as sports activities like kayaking, paddle boarding, water polo, a climbing wall, and a zip line. Children can also go jogging and cycling, take yoga classes, or play basketball and tennis.
Outside the Imagine Club, the hotel also offers family-friendly activities like cooking classes and, for an extra fee, excursions to the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and Tulum and the offshore Isla Mujeres.