Playa del Carmen Family Hotels

Updated: February 9, 2018

Family Vacation in Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen Family Hotels – Tips and Recommendations

  • Booking.com – The best website for finding family hotels in Playa del Carmen.
  • I highly recommend staying in the downtown area of Playa del Carmen – lots of great food and a fun safe vibe. If you stay at one of the resorts north or south of PDC you lose the atmosphere but gain larger pools and more kid-friendly amenities.
  • The best all-inclusive in Playa del Carmen is the Grand Velas Riviera Maya (but not in the downtown area).

The Best Hotels for Families in Playa del Carmen Area

1. Grand Velas Riviera Maya – Luxury

All-inclusive resort with three pools, kids and teens clubs, incredible restaurants, and a spa. Their kids club is open until 11:00 p.m. with activities and crafts all day; the teens’ club is open until midnight, with a dancefloor, karaoke, and video games. Rooms and suites all include whirlpool tubs and private terraces, some with plunge pools.. Located at the edge of an unspoiled beach with soft sand and gentle waves just south of the Mayakoba resort complex.

2. Hotel Esencia – Luxury

Elegant boutique hotel on a gentle beach with two pools, generous suite options, a Maya-inspired spa. Suites and villas for up to nine can include soaking tubs, plunge pools, or full-sized pools. Babysitting and family activities are offered onsite. Restaurants feature fresh, local, seasonal ingredients in a range of cuisines. Located in South Riviera Maya (Xpu Ha), halfway between Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

3. Banyan Tree Mayakoba – Luxury

All-villa boutique, where each boasts its own private pool, an outdoor whirlpool tub, and a terrace. The resort has two shared pools, a Thai spa, an active kids club, and boat service to the beach. The food here suits all tastes, with strong Mexican and Thai influences plus great options for picky eaters. Set in the exclusive Mayakoba resort and golf complex on a sun-drenched beach in a mangrove jungle.

4. Rosewood Mayakoba – Luxury

Five-star resort with three pools and a wide range of accommodations. Suites and villas all include a plunge pool, outdoor shower, and butler service. Unique kids experiences feature tree planting, eco adventures, botanical tours, and movies under the stars. Located next to the golf course in the Mayakoba resort complex on a soft beach with gentle waters.

5. Fairmont Mayakoba – Luxury

Beachfront resort with five pools, great kids’ amenities, and amazing food. Rooms and suites all include soaking tubs and private terraces; oceanfront and beachfront rooms feature butler service. Most suites are one bedroom units, but connecting options are available for families needing extra space. Residences have up to four bedrooms with full kitchens. The kids club offers cooking classes and crafts, while their adventure camp keeps tweens active with kayaking and beach sports.

6. Paradisus La Esmeralda – Luxury

All-inclusive resort on a gorgeous beach with a coral reef, three pools, a baby club (ages 1-4), and a kids club (ages 5-12). Suites range from junior up to two-bedroom connecting units; the Family Concierge upgrade adds a private terrace with a Jacuzzi, kids’ minibar items, a gaming console, a private restaurant, and club lounge access. This resort is only fifteen minutes’ drive or twenty-five minutes’ walk to downtown Playa del Carmen.

7. The Fives Beach Hotel & Residence – Luxury

All-inclusive resort with six pools, a lazy river, and twenty restaurants and bars. Spacious suites all have full kitchens, some with jacuzzis, rooftop terraces, or swim up access. Baby amenities include cribs, pack ‘n plays and strollers, plus Gerber foods in all restaurants. For kids they offer a playhouse, a pool, and gym center, while the teens’ club has video games, a climbing wall, and daily activities. Located on a stunning beach at north end of Playa del Carmen, just fifteen minutes’ drive from downtown.

8. Playacar Palace – Luxury

All-inclusive, downtown resort with expansive rooms and suites, exceptional restaurants, and a huge pool overlooking the sugary sand beach near the Cozumel ferry. Family amenities include a kids club for ages four to twelve and free bicycle tours. Guests have signing privileges at all Palace properties, with free transfer to the water park at The Grand at Moon Palace. Their stellar resort credit program can be used toward dolphin encounters, excursions, and more.

9. Grand Palladium Riviera Maya – Luxury

Beachfront resort with nine pools, a host of restaurants, and a spa. This resort is made up of four hotels, with White Sand being the best for families, being closest to the water park and kids clubs (one each for babies, kids, and teens). Upgraded suites can add whirlpool tubs, private pools, or connecting rooms. Located in South Riviera Maya, near Akumal.

10. Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen Resort – Mid-range/Luxury

Downtown Playa del Carmen beach resort (steps from a wide range of restaurants, shops, and bars) with two pools, a kids club, and a teens arcade. Their large rooms include balconies; suites add soaking tubs; options include swim ups or private plunge pools. Babysitting and kids club access are available for a fee, while the teens arcade is open for all. Upgrade to Club Level to add daily breakfast, snacks, an open bar, and evening apps (totally worth it since it’s not an all-inclusive!)

11. Mahekal Beach Resort – Mid-range/Luxury

Bohemian-style, beachfront resort with four pools, superior restaurants, and a variety of accommodations, including fun treehouse rooms or penthouse suites. Some suites add private plunge pools, outdoor showers, full kitchens, and butler service. Be advised that their nature-centric vibe means no TVs in most rooms. Located on the active main beach in downtown Playa.

12. Thompson Playa del Carmen – Mid-range/Luxury

Stylish, pet-friendly boutique with a rooftop infinity pool. Rooms and suites all feature jetted tubs, many with private terraces and Jacuzzis. Its restaurant Catch is a gourmet hotspot, featuring local ingredients and craft cocktails. Though not beachfront, guests have signing privileges and beach access at their sister property Thompson Beach House, two blocks away.

13. Omni Puerto Aventuras Beach Resort – Mid-range

Cozy, boutique hotel with all junior suites and two pools on a kid-friendly beach with kayaks. Rooms all include a private terrace with a hammock and whirlpool. The beach is as calm as a pool, with a coral reef for snorkeling and barriers to block the waves. Located in South Riviera Maya, right next door to a marina and Dolphin Discovery aquatic center.

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12 Questions and Comments

  1. Good Resort for two 10 Year Old Kids near PDC or Cancun

    Hi Dave,

    Any thoughts on Occidental at Xcaret? How close is the resort to PDC downtown area? Debating staying there or at Moon Palace in Cancun. Noticed many reviews on Crown Paradise Club, also. Thoughts? Traveling with two 10 year-olds.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      The Occidential is a fine all-inclusive resort, though it doesn’t have the five-star feel that its marketing promises. The photos online make it look more chic than it is in real life. That said, the pools are great, the beach is stunning, and they even have ancient Maya ruins overlooking the ocean on the property. The kids’ club may be a little baby-ish for ten-year-olds. The resort has a Playa del Carmen address, but sits inside a mega adventure park complex, night next door to Xcaret, Xplor, Xenses, and more, just south of the Playacar area, which is itself south of downtown. It is definitely not close enough to walk to town, but by car it only takes fifteen minutes, so it’s still very accessible.

      Of the three resorts you’ve narrowed your search down to, Moon Palace is the best resort with the most amenities and services for older kids, with a club activities, game rooms, bowling, amazing pools, a water park at their sister property next door, and tons more onsite. The only thing lacking at Moon Palace is the beach area; it’s swimmable but the water is not as clear as in other hotels in the Riviera Maya. Crown Paradise is also excellent, but the kids’ amenities are more suited to younger kids.

      Bu if you prefer the Playa del Carmen area over Cancun, want to be near the adventure parks, and want a stellar beach, look into Hotel Xcaret Mexico. This is a brand new all-inclusive resort in the same area as the Occidental, but with stunningly beautiful pools, a pristine beach, as well as unlimited access to all of the Xcaret branded adventure parks onsite, plus entry and transportation to their off-site parks, including Xel-Ha.

  2. Playa del Carmen Resort for Family of 5

    Hi Dave,

    Wonderful insights! Taking my family with 3 kids (8,6,4 yo) looking into all inclusive RVM Paradisus La Esmeralda. How do the beach and kid activities compare with other cheaper options around? Looking for best bang for buck and comfort for the adults as well.

    Thx

    Kamran

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      Paradisus La Esmeralda is one of the top resorts for families in Playa, especially for kids around the same ages as yours, but they are known more for their amazing kids club and pools than for their beach. The beach staff is outstanding and offers an exceptional level of service. The beach is white and sandy on the shore, perfect for activities like volleyball, but there are some rocky places in the water, so wearing water shoes is a good idea. Visibility is also low here, so even though there is a coral reef fronting the beach, it’s not ideal for snorkeling. But a short walk from the beach will lead to a cenote, where kids can see plenty of colorful fish and find cool seashells.

      The quality of beach swimming is the only negative thing about the resort. The kids club (ages 5-12) and daycare (infant to 4 years old) are awesome, with plenty of age-appropriate activities going on all day, like treasure hunts, drawing, piñata making, and games on the beach and in the pool. The daycare and kids club each have their own pool areas. They also have Mini Life Enriching Experiences, such as nature walks through the mangrove jungle, pizza making, and cookie baking. Access to the kids’ club and daycare are part of the all-inclusive rate. They offer babysitting services for a fee. There is also the option of upgrading to the Family Concierge level, which offers access to a private area of the beach, an exclusive heated pool, and upgraded services and amenities. There’s an adults-only areas offered at the adjoining Paradisus La Perla, including an adults-only pool, salsa dancing lessons, tequila tastings, a full-service spa, and more.

      Mahekal is another excellent option for families, offering a range of spacious suites, some with private plunge pools and full kitchens. The beach is narrower than La Esmeralda’s and there are some rocky sections, but most of the beach is sandy and swimmable. For kids, they offer babysitting services, but there is no kids club. There are four amazing pools onsite and art activities for all ages, though. They also offer free wifi in all rooms, but no TVs in most rooms; if you’re bringing a tablet along, this shouldn’t be problem. This is not an all-inclusive, but they do have meal plans available; you would only be paying for alcohol that way.

      Barceló Maya Grand is another good all-inclusive, with lots of activities for kids and adults alike and a great beach area. Their kids’ club for ages 4-12 is part of the all-inclusive rate, and they have tons of great family amenities, including a water park, mini-golf, bowling, and more. However, all of these things have an extra charge per person. For example, the mini-golf is free in the daytime, but it’s $10 per person to play at night, because they charge for turning the lights on. So although the room rates are lower than the Paradisus, if you plan on taking advantage of many of their amenities, it may end up costing more.

      The Paradisus will give the most bang for the buck for family travel compared to cheaper all-inclusive or Euro plans in the area. However, there are some great family all-inclusives up north in Cancun, but the overall vibe is very different than in Playa!

  3. RIU Palace near PDC

    We are planning a vacation in October or November. Heard the RIU palace in Riviera Maya is a great place for family. And advice? Thanks

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      The RIU Palace Riviera Maya is an excellent family hotel! It fronts a stretch of shallow, calm ocean on a great beach and has a fantastic pool, lots of dining options, daily activities, and nightly shows. Rooms are all spacious and very clean, though the décor is a little dated. The hotel sits just outside of downtown, about 20 minutes walking or a quick taxi to the city’s nightlife, shopping, and the ferry to Cozumel. Rent a car for a day or two if you plan on visiting Tulum or Cancún, but otherwise taxis are easy and affordable for short trips.

      For a little upgrade in décor and dining, Playacar Palace is an amazing resort for an all-inclusive, family-friendly experience closer to town. For more a more expansive selection of activities and facilities, consider Barceló Maya Palace, which includes a water park, 11 pools, and its own mall, on a quiet, mile-long stretch of beach.

  4. Beach Hotel in PDC for Family of 5

    Hi I’m visiting in April with a family of 5, having trouble finding a beach hotel near downtown, most cap their rooms at 4 people. (It’s myself, spouse, and 3 children, ages 9-12-14). Would definitely prefer a place on the beach, but walking distance to downtown PDC. Any suggestions are appreciated.

    Tim Schatz

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      Hotel Pelicano Inn is right on the beach and steps from lots of restaurants in downtown Playa del Carmen. Family suites comfortably sleep a family of 5. Good 3-star hotel.

  5. Hotel for Scuba Diving, Ferry, and Beach

    Traveling with teenagers to PDC in August. Going to do some diving so want to be walking distance to ferry and scuba shops. Also want to be within walking distance to explore shopping and dining. Beach is a must and if surrounding beach bars/dining available its a plus. Any recommendations?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      Anah Suites is a short walk from ferry and beach and has large suites for families.

  6. Tulum vs Playa del Carmen for Famiies

    How would you compare the beaches at Tulum and Playa del Carmen? We have 2 kids (ages 5 and 9) and looking to stay a week in either Tulum or PDC. What would you recommend?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Hotel & Travel Expert

      Tulum has a nicer beach and is more mellow. If you’re looking to play at the beach and walk to a nearby beach restaurant then Tulum. Playa del Carmen has more to do in terms of shopping and enjoying the local community and hotels in PDC are much more likely to have a pool. Tulum has better food, the Tulum ruins, and many cenotes nearby. PCD is closer (by about an hour) to the Cancun airport. Both are great and worth a visit to see which you prefer (then keep coming back).

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