Spring Break at Hotel Marina El Cid, Riviera Maya

Last year for spring break we took a big ol’ family vaca to the Riviera Maya.  10 of us:  Scott, me, our girls, my sis, her hubby and 2 boys (4, 5), and our parents. We chose El Cid because its an All Inclusive Family Resort.  South of Cancun but only 20 minutes from the airport – perfect location.

When we arrived there were no lines at the main desk (noon on a Sat).  Check in was quick and with a cool beverage we were on our way to our room.  Tip:  dump your bags and go have fun. The timeshare folks would love to give you a tour and help plan your week, but bypass that and relax.  If you want the tour and timeshare talk tell ’em to call you later, the margaritas are calling you.  Then on day two, make specialty dining reservations when you know the meal themes (each day is different), weather, and which excursions you will do (Tulum and Xel-Ha 45 minute commute).  For more on favorite Riviera Maya excursions check this out.

The resort grounds are decorated with tropical flowers, fountains, and winding walkways. The El Cid is a large resort but has an intimate feel — easy to navigate and never felt crowded. Lots of turtles, iguanas, and even small crocodillas!

Dining at the El Cid was consistently good.  At the Seafood spot the stuffed salmon and mussels were fantastic. At night the pool buffet becomes the Mexican restaurant. Not anything spectacular – but very good. I enjoyed the yellow mole sauce and tortilla soup.  But the Mediterranean was our group’s favorite. During the day it’s set up for timeshare sales. At night it has a huge antipasto bar that we all loved. Definitely had my favorite meal of the week  – tender beef wrapped around shrimp with a gorgonzola sauce.  Of the two buffets, we thought the main lobby area had a better selection, and espresso if you ask.  Never had a problem getting a table, wait staff was friendly and tried hard to please. Different gourmet plan each day and varied selection. Loved the chiliquelas each morning 😮

Cool Tip:  Its not on the Room Service menu, but you can order up chips, guac, and a bottle of wine. On our balcony we had apps of quesadillas with chips & guac 4 of 8 days (a lotta guac so ask for extra chips!).

And if you love all inclusive drinking:  mojitos, margaritas (get a sidecar shot of tequila), and cerveza were all good. We drink wine, and the same white and red were offered all week – it was ‘ok’.  Their signature drink is the Riviera Maya, a 5 color iced bev that my Mom said was tasty! If you have Platinum lounge access, a top shelf self serve bar and Espresso machine are available to you 24/7.

The Kids Club also didn’t disappoint, tons of fun activities and great staff.   We loved it.  My 9 year old refused to leave the club and come play with the family one day (slept until 11 the next). Its open from 9a – 9p, so kids can eat both lunch and dinner there (date night!).

The pool had a cool cliff jump and the kids must have jumped 100 times. There’s a water slide that goes FAST. The staff had games and activities running from about 10 – 4 daily.

Each night shows began around 9PM.  The Fire Show is the must see, and the kids loved them all. Several days the staff  put on a poolside Superhero Show for the kids that was a lot of fun.

If you’re bringing exercise gear, the gym had equipment and classes like Spin and Zumba. The fitness instructor was fun and even invited my sis and I to go to an offsite Zumba class with her one night, but we figured we’d probably be drinking margaritas by 7:00 😮

What about the beach? AWESOME! The offshore reef is the second largest barrier reef in the world, so about 10 feet out the bottom is rocky. If you want your feet on a sandy bottom, there’s an area by the rocks fronting the marina that is sand at least 100 feet out. Two large retaining walls frame the beach on either side, so it feels private.

We snorkeled off the beach and saw a starfish and a lobster.  But for the real show, you need a boat to reach the reef.  There are guided snorkel tours available onsite with Pronotours. On the beach you can check out kayaks and boogie boards. My husband and brother went out on the Wind Jammer with El Cid’s  ‘Sa-Sa’ and talked about how awesome it (and he) was the rest of the trip ;o)

All of the staff was friendly and attentive. Every request we made was met, everyone always had a smile and friendly greeting. My brother in law had a few complaints due to some construction during our stay, and they tried to address his issues quickly, even offering to discount his Platinum upgrade and throw in some comp massages.

Which brings me to Platinum Club.  Many resorts have premium room upgrades, at El Cid its the Platinum Club.  I’m a fan, and here are the benes that make platinum a plus: the lounge with 15 computers, a daily newspaper, evening aromatherapy sprayed in your room (our pick sandlewood), reserved palapa on beach, and priority reservations at the restaurants.  Butler service is nice, ours was prompt with our luggage both coming and going.  My family chose it when booking, my sister’s family upgraded upon arrival, and my parents just used ours —  sat with us in our palapas, enjoyed our daily paper, joined me in computer lounge, and ‘dropped’ our status at the bar when filling a cooler with drinks for our snorkel tour 😮

That being said, if you don’t choose to go Platinum, you will still have a fabulous time!! Its a great resort and you won’t go wrong either way.

If you are interested in visiting Marina El Cid, shoot me an email at  Cheers!

  • Agree with all the above! We flew in a few days before you guys and felw through immigration!!

    • Hi Katy, thanks for visiting and commenting. We appreciate it! 😉

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