PUERTO MORELOS: NOW SAPPHIRE RIVIERA CANCUN (formerly PARADISUS) April 2007 Kay & Family (baby 15mos) We just returned from 6 nights at the (former) Paradisus, with our 15-month-old son. Room: The rooms are nice, clean, and large. The beds are pretty hard but aren’t really isn’t that bad. Every room has a balcony with table and chairs. We got a garden view, which put us pretty far from the beach. Of course, you really don’t spend much time in the room anyway. The bathroom is big and quite nice. We requested a crib, it was old but fine, I would recommend bringing your own sheets though. Also, our little guy moves around when he sleeps and there is no crib bumper, so he would cry in the middle of the night. The TV in the room offers Internet chat and web browsing, which I used to keep up with clients. For our entire stay it only cost $15. If this is a necessity for you, I say open a Hotmail or Yahoo email account and use that during your trip. Otherwise, you’ll pay $10 an hour in the business center. There are no elevators, so if you have young kids, ask for a first floor room. (Email them in advance.) Restaurants: The food here is great. By far the best at any all-inclusive resort we’ve stayed at. The restaurants are good but service takes a while. Kids are NOT allowed in the French restaurant, so if you want to go, you’ll need to hire a babysitter. The cost through the hotel is a minimum $55. The other restaurants allow kids and are very good, but there aren’t many choices for young children. The good thing is, every restaurant is near the buffet, so you can run over there and make a plate for your youngsters while waiting for your food to arrive. The service is incredible in all the restaurants and the buffet. They will do anything to make you happy. Childcare: We selected this resort because it was the only one around that offered childcare for under 2 years old. I am a nervous mom, so I was very afraid that the nursery would be dirty or unsafe. It was AWESOME. They were always staffed well, the play area was safe (even the walls were padded), the toys were always clean and there were windows to check on the kids. There was a different room for sleeping, with pack-n-plays and twin beds for older kids. Parents are given a 2-way radio for communication and the staff does a good job of letting you know how your kids are doing. The staff also serves lunch (pizza, chicken nuggets…) and they do a good job of managing that as well. Outside the nursery is a small kids pool and a nice playground for everyone to use. Beach: The beach does have seaweed, but it is not a very big deal at all. It certainly didn’t stop our baby from loving the sand and the ocean. It is really very beautiful and calmer than in the hotel zone. Pools: The pools are great, one kid pool, one activity pool and a huge main pool. There are some Jacuzzis, but they weren’t working when we were there. The water is a little cold (even in the middle of April) but they do try to heat it. Activities: Because of the baby we were limited in excursions. We did take the free Cancun bus tour, which takes you to a few different shopping areas around Cancun. It was actually nice, even with the baby. Plus, the tour guide tells you a lot about Cancun and the history. We also took advantage of the free snorkeling tours that the resort offers. Just off the beach there is a huge reef, second largest in the world. The boat takes you to the reef area and you snorkel for about 40 minutes. It is AWESOME! You can go for free everyday if you want. They also offer diving, if you are certified, and your first dive is free as well. TIPPING: When you book your room, I believe it says tipping is included. However, the waiters, maids, and bellhops do not receive any tip money unless you tip them. For example, the waiters only make about $4 PER DAY. Please, please take some extra money for the staff. Just tipping a $ or two will make a big difference. You will get great service, whether you tip or not, but they deserve it. We brought $100 for tipping and I wish we brought more. We tipped the nursery $5 a day, $2 at the buffet and $3 at the sit-down restaurants, and $2 for the maid. We also tipped the tour guides and the bellhops. I feel that this is VERY important. LASTLY: On the day we were supposed to return, our airline was overbooked. They asked us to stay another night and put us up in the Omni in the Hotel Zone. The food was not nearly as good and the buffet was tiny… and they charge $75 for 2 adults to eat the buffet for dinner. A lot of the hotels in the hotel zone are older and more expensive. The beach is a little nicer, but the undertow is BAD and usually there is a “red” flag. No swimming! When you are laying on the beach, people constantly pass by trying to sell things. I am SO glad we spent our time away from the hotel zone – (the former) Paradisus is newer, cleaner, bigger, less expensive, and much better.