By Bekah Wright
During its development, the Azul Sensatori Hotel had a goal for its future – family togetherness. Indeed, the resort’s devotion to families is evidenced not only by a section of family-specific accommodations, but numerous programs for guests of all ages. The result – full-fledged fun.
ACCOMMODATIONS & DINING
Celebrating its first anniversary this October, Azul Sensatori recently became a fixture on Mexico’s Riviera Maya for family getaways. The Gourmet Inclusive® property provides guests with perks like beach butlers, concierge services and gourmet cuisine. Special treatment abounds with soap and aromatherapy choices being proffered along with a glass of champagne when checking in. Kids, too, are taken into consideration every step of their stay starting with a VIP check-in complete with smoothies and amenities such as bathrobes and beach hats.
As for accommodations, rooms and suites are spacious and decked out in comfy, contemporary décor. Many are designed with families in mind, including those with swim-up access from a lazy river swimming pool to connecting suites for larger families. In lieu of a bathtub, giant, hydro jet Jacuzzis kick up bubbles. A mini-fridge is stocked with goodies like chocolate milk for taking in a DVD on the 32” plasma television. An iPod docking station makes it possible to listen to favorite tunes. Perhaps best of all are balconies and patios situated for staring out at dolphins playing at sea.
Other things kids can look forward to in their rooms – toys. Unique to the property is their “loan” program. Waiting in guest accommodations is everything from cribs and strollers to bottle warmers, monitors and bath toys. There’s also a Fisher-Price “Jugueteca” Toy Lending Library with rotating toys available that fit myriad interests like the Laugh & Learn™ Smart Bounce & Spin Pony™ and Spike the Ultra Dinosaur.
When mealtime strikes, there’s more than chicken fingers and mac n’ cheese on the menu. Azul Sensatori features six restaurants and eight lounges. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner are both Spoon and Zavaz restaurants. Spoon is airy and bright with an open kitchen serving buffet-style and a la carte, international cuisine. This, of course, calls for a globetrotting breakfast of Belgian waffles and Mexican chilaquiles.
Zavaz is situated at the foot of a swimming pool just across a walkway, making it appear almost an island unto itself. Apropos is fare with a tropical bent, though guests craving a burger will also be satisfied by the diverse menu. Dinner patrons at Zavaz will want to indulge in flavorful colada cocktails that cement memories of the region.
Accessed via a bridge that leads to a spot on the lazy river swimming pool is Zocala. The Mexican restaurant’s nautical décor will appeal to young patrons, as will buffet offerings that make for speedy service. A la carte is also available. Adult-only dinner service is on tap at Le Chique with Chef Jonatan Gomez’s eight-course Author’s Dinner. Almost as exciting as courses that combine ingredients like lobster, yogurt, peanut butter and watermelon is the groovy, yet cosmopolitan interior that would get a nod of approval from debonair sorts like Austin Powers.
All ages will enjoy dinner at Tapaz and Sienna restaurants. The lazy Susan at Tapaz spins flavorful, bite-sized portions of dishes that may be a bit sophisticated for some younger palates. Tuscan dishes are highlighted on Sienna’s menu. A plus for teens dining here – easy access to the Breeze Teen Club for late night revelry, including its weekly “White Carpet” event.
KID & FAMILY FUN
No complaints of “I’m bored” are heard at Azul Sensatori. Right away, guests can be spotted recreating in the resort’s two main pools. Toddlers have their own place for taking a dip—splashground, a pool for the pint-sized with water canons, elevated buckets that dump water and a water slide that all evoke squeals of laughter. In the area, too, is a 21-foot-tall rock-climbing wall available for use by guests of all ages.
The piece de la resistance for toddlers is Azulitos, a program developed by Fisher-Price for kids under five (children under four must be supervised by an adult). Shoes are deposited in the lobby as tykes stop by the reception desk that masquerades as an aquarium filled with tropical fish. Pure delight awaits just beyond the entrance in the Azulitos Kid’s Club Room. A central space is abuzz with basketballs being aimed at their targets, a balance beam being teetered on and parallel bars and slides that call for feats of derring-do.
Though this central area is the hub of activity, there are numerous rooms to explore as well. Wee ones will be entertained in the Fisher-Price Room where instructors read stories, lead sing-alongs and introduce kids to toys that create theme play. A doll room with a kitchen is the place for “brewing” high tea for Barbie and Ken. A games room tests mettle and skills with Wiis and other games. Impressive is the Azulitos Kid’s Club Theatre with stadium seating for prime viewing of puppet and “fashion” shows. Last, but not least, is a room with rows of “sailboat” beds for the weary to rest and re-energize.
Additionally, Azulitos leads structured outings on property such as story time under a palapa on the beach or a visit to the hotel’s Back to the Past Museum – the world’s largest trilobite exhibit with fossils dating back 500 million years. Also afoot—sandcastle building contests, face-painting and piñata parties
Parents are encouraged to accompany their offspring to activities. Popular with mothers is the Mom’s Morning jogging/yoga program where a jogging stroller is provided. Both parents and grandparents can join in programs like Ritmo de la Manana for ages six to 18 months where music is the focus, Mundos Maravillosos to unlock the imaginations of 18- to 36-month-olds and Planet Heroes Aventuras Azulares, or solar adventures, for children between three- and five-years-old.
Instructors of the My Gym® program rally the troops into a circle for games, songs and introductions. Though this fitness and tumbling-based activity program is geared for ages six to 13, the instructors do host interactive games for parents and children from ages six weeks to 13 years. Older kids can get adrenalin boosts with My Gym’s ropes course, magic carpet swing, trapeze and trampoline.
Looking to escape the younger set, 13- to 17-year-olds can check into the Breeze Teen Club. Beyond daily scheduled activities, games of billiards, air hockey and Wii are ongoing. At night, teens try their hand at deejay mixing sessions when the club transforms into a disco.
Though it may seem like all the “fun stuff” is geared towards kids, there’s plenty for adults to do at the hotel as well. Making this possible—babysitters available through the hotel. Active adults will want to engage in dance, yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, and water aerobics classes. Other challenges lure on the driving range and grass tennis courts.
Of course chatting over cocktails at a swim-up bar or napping on beach butler serviced bed to the sound of the surf may win out when it comes to scheduling itineraries. More pampering can be had at Vassa Spa with a Diamond Dust Scrub. For those parents feeling selfish, a specific area has been set aside with treatment rooms that allow for visibility between one another when five to 16-year-olds get treatments such as Strawberry Ice Cream Manicures and Chocolate Body Wraps while their parents de-stress in another room.
As a saxophonist plays poolside at sunset, couples may be inspired to indulge in Azul Sensatori’s one night of free childcare for a romantic, candlelit dinner. The perfect follow-up – tastings at the Mojito Lounge, then a performance of the Rhythm Show. Later, practicing moves learned from the show by moonlight brings togetherness, yet again, to the forefront of this family vacation.
To learn more about the Azul Sensatori Hotel and other Karisma properties with children’s programs visit www.karismahotels.com target=“blank” or phone 888-280-8810.
We found a fun, fabulous resort made with families in mind.