Late last year, some friends of ours had the great idea for a group of family friends to go on family spring break together. This family had been to an all-inclusive resort that they loved the year before. It was, in their opinion, the perfect spot for our 6-family group vacation. Remarkably, all of us were able to make it work, and were able to spend a glorious six nights at the Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort in the Riviera Maya, Mexico.
The resort really was the best spot for our group vacation, because it offered lots of amenities that our teens enjoyed. As an all-inclusive resort, it was also easy for everyone to eat meals, and we didn’t have to leave the property if we didn’t want to. We really enjoyed our vacation and definitely agree that it was an incredible spot for such a large group.
We booked through Apple Vacations, and it was definitely easy since we were able to include the hotel, transfers, and airfare in the vacation package.
Note: Please keep an eye on all state department warnings and news reports before booking and committing to your trip. We had full travel insurance in case we decided to cancel. This review is based on our experience at the time of our visit.
Review of the Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort
Location of Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort
Upon landing at Cancun International Airport, we went through customs and gathered our belongings. We left Boston early in the morning, and had a quick layover, so we arrived nice and early. Because we had already booked our transfers to the resort, we bypassed all of the transfer and tour sales desks and walked right outside the airport. I’d highly recommend doing this, because it can be confusing to find the best transfer option once you arrive. We were able to purchase it as part of our vacation package, which made things easy. Twenty of us all arrived on the same flight, so we had a private van to the resort.
Before we boarded the van, we used the restroom in the airport, and then picked up some drinks and snacks from the outdoor bar. We used the restroom because the drive to the resort was a little over an hour, and there was no bathroom in the van we had. Some transfers stop at multiple resorts, but we had a private transfer due to the number of of people we had with us.
The Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort is located south of Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula past Playa del Carmen. The town of Akumal is part of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. This region of Mexico is located right on the Caribbean Sea, and has gorgeous beaches. It’s in the Eastern Time zone, but they don’t change the clocks for daylight savings. During our trip, it was an hour behind Eastern Daylight Time.
Rooms at Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort
Upon arriving at the resort, we were immediately greeted with delicious frozen margaritas. The kids weren’t forgotten – they also received a non-alcoholic beverage. Check in was easy, and we each got our woven bracelets that would show the staff that we were registered guests.
Adults receive an aqua bracelet, while kids under 18 get black bracelets (there are also pink unofficial bracelets that members of the hotel’s Facebook group make, and off-white bracelets for members of the resort’s Fidelity club). We arrived before the official check-in time, so we headed to the lunch buffet to eat. Shortly after lunch, we were able to get our room assignment.
There are four different buildings at the resort, and our room was in building #3. Although I didn’t specifically request a room location, it ended up being the perfect location for us. It was not too far from the restaurants, pool, and beach, but was also nice and quiet. If you are looking to be more central, #2 is right by the pool. We enjoyed being able to get away from the action at night.
We had a junior suite, which included two very comfortable queen beds, a sofa, refrigerator (stocked daily with soda, water, and a few snacks) and coffee table. These rooms also include a furnished balcony or patio with a small hot tub. Every room has beautiful ocean views.
The room has a bathroom area with separate stall for the toilet, and a shower stall. This was a bit awkward for our family with a boy and girl, because we generally all had to change in the toilet stall. The rooms also have a safe, small hairdryer, robes, and slippers. Because the floors aren’t carpeted, I’d definitely recommend bringing along comfortable socks or wearing the slippers.
We loved the toiletries that are included in the rooms. They are scented with honey, and include soap, conditioning shampoo, body wash, and moisturizer. If you have easily tangled hair like my daughter and I, I recommend bringing along your own conditioner. The conditioning shampoo is nice, but we usually need something more conditioning, especially after a beach day. You may also want to bring along reef-safe sunscreen, especially if you are planning on doing an excursion and/or want to swim/snorkel in the sea.
We didn’t spend too much time in the room, because we were so busy doing other things. But it was definitely a nice size for our family and very comfortable. If you are looking for more space, there are also junior suite penthouses with two floors.
Amenities at Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort
A beautiful beach with a sea filled with turtles and fish. A fun pool surrounded by cabanas. A staff that’s friendly and completely dedicated to making sure you enjoy your vacation. These are just some of the things that you’ll enjoy during your vacation at the Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort.
Every morning, we started with a delicious breakfast at the buffet, and then headed to the pool. As the various families in our group were ready for the day, we met up at the pool area. The water was the perfect temperature, and a great depth for kids. It wasn’t over their heads, but it was deep enough that they could still have fun. Because I can’t have too much sun, I enjoyed spending time in the cabana during the hours of strongest sun.
Of course, the beautiful beach is the main amenity at the resort. There are also chairs located throughout the beach area. We usually set up by the pool, but would bring towels down to the beach when we wanted to swim. We brought along snorkels from home, and rented vents for daily snorkeling.
Because my kids really wanted to see turtles, my husband asked the staff for the best snorkel location, which ended up being a little to the left of the resort (if you are looking at the sea). On our last morning, they saw a beautiful sea turtle. I didn’t snorkel, but I did enjoy seeing fish right on the shore. The water temp was perfect – warm but refreshing.
You may have read about the seaweed situation in the Riviera Maya. The resort definitely did have some seaweed on the first few days that we were there, although the staff was very actively clearing it. It wasn’t a problem at all for us. By the last few days, the wind had shifted, and the seaweed pretty much went away. I imagine this situation must change daily. I feel for the staff who is left raking it away in the blazing sun.
Fitness aficionados will enjoy the various fitness amenities at the resort, including the workout room, the fitness studios, and the classes. Upon check in, we received a full daily schedule of classes, including spinning, pilates, and yoga. I decided to attend the pilates class, and really enjoyed it. Working out was a good way to counterbalance all of the delicious food and drinks I was eating. The resort also offers a full service spa with lots of treatments, including body treatments.
If you want to stay connected, the resort offers free WiFi. I was also able to enjoy free data and calling in Mexico through my AT&T phone plan.
Activities at Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort
We were with twelve kids who pretty much entertained themselves, but we still enjoyed the variety of activities that the resort offers. The resort staff is very energetic and obviously enjoys their work. Scheduled activities include daily water Zumba, beach volleyball, meditation, paddleboarding, educational turtle talks, and more. There’s also a kids’ club for kids 12 and under, although our kids were too old. Our welcome packet that we received at check-in included a schedule of daily resort activities.
Food at Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort
As an all-inclusive resort, there is ton of food and drinks available. The buffet, located right by the beach, offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We ate every breakfast there, and enjoyed the made-to-order eggs, huevos rancheros, fruit, cereal, tamales, and more. Lunch and dinner included Mexican specialties, as well as pasta, seafood, kids’ food, ice cream, steak, and many other options. During the buffet meals, the staff was available to bring coffee and other beverages to the table. We often found that families with children went to the buffet for many of their meals, because of the options available.
The resort also has several small specialty restaurants, including an upscale French restaurant (dress code applies), Peruvian fusion, Mexican, and a steakhouse. We absolutely loved the Peruvian restaurant, opting to dine their twice. The specialty restaurants are small, and are first-come, first-served. Arriving early, like before 6:30, is the best way to minimize your wait. While the restaurants don’t publish a kids’ menu, there is one available. It includes things like hamburgers, pasta, pizza, grilled chicken, and chicken nuggets. We enjoyed all of our meals in the specialty restaurants.
In addition to the buffet at lunch, there’s a beachfront sushi bar. That’s where you’d find me every afternoon. The made to order sushi is absolutely delicious. There are several options – just look at the case each day and decide what you want. My daughter loved going up and getting her own California rolls each morning.
If you are hungry during other hours, there is a small snack bar with a variety of items. Room service is also available. My son and I were exhausted one night, so we opted to stay in and get room service. It arrived quickly and was delicious.
The resort also offers a number of bars throughout the resort. I don’t drink beer, but most of our group enjoyed drinking icebergs, which is a glass of beer with a margarita on top. I liked trying the Xtabentún, which is a Mayan liqueur. If you enjoy drinking coffee in the morning, there are several options. The rooms have a coffee maker, or you can get specialty coffee drinks at the buffet and at several of the bars in the morning.
There is plenty of entertainment at the resort, including a one man band who performs during the day. We generally went to bed early, but there were loads of music and entertainment options in the evening. The resort also has a disco/snack bar that is located past the lobby. It’s a huge venue, and is open in the evenings. One of our afternoons was a total rain out, and they opened it up so the kids could enjoy playing pool.
Events at Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort
During our stay, we had the chance to enjoy several special events. On Saturday nights, they host a champagne and chocolate buffet. We loved having a glass of champagne along with some delicious chocolate dipped strawberries. Then, on our last day, they brought out paella and sangria to the pool area for everyone to enjoy.
If you are looking to get off property, there are loads of nearby activities, including the Tulum ruins, cenotes, water parks, and adventure activities like zip lining, and ATVing. These can be booked through the excursions desk right in the lobby. I definitely wanted to see the ruins in Tulum, so we made sure to book a morning trip.
Overall this was a fabulous family vacation location, especially for such a large group. We had such a wonderful time, and would definitely return. You can find their website here. There’s also an active Facebook community where you can find pictures and loads of information about the resort.