My five-year-old daughter is a nervous kid, especially with new experiences. So when we were about to board the plane to Mexico (her first plane trip), I was nervous, too. But she marched right onto the plane and then demanded a window seat. She was ready to get to the beach, and so was I.
Within a few hours, we were at Azul Beach Hotel, which is a family resort, but you’d barely know it – and that’s a good thing. It has the standard (and beautiful) amenities of any down-south destination: five pools, six restaurants, four bars, elaborate palapas on a gorgeous beach. But beyond that, there is the Nickelodeon Experience for families to enjoy, and that really makes the trip.
Spongebob Squarepants, Dora the Explorer and The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles can be found walking around the pools, or you might bump into them in the lobby. But aside from random run-ins with the costumed characters, they are actually quite tucked away. This means no crazy creatures running around and getting in your face all day. Instead, you can catch them at scheduled performances in the Nickelodeon Playhouse, far from your relaxing nap on the beach or your quiet lunch overlooking the ocean.
The Azulitos Playhouse by Nickelodeon is full of toys and games and has a jam-packed schedule. Every hour or so, a new activity begins – crafts, activities, mommy and me groups, sing-alongs, face painting, or interactions and photo ops with the characters. Parents can stay with their kids or drop them off for a well-supervised visit.
One morning we indulged in the character breakfast, which included a meet and greet with all the characters and a delicious breakfast in a private room (for a small extra fee). That night, we attended the Nick Orange Carpet event, where the kiddo was able to pose with her favourite character – cue Dora – and watch a performance. Plus, there was a dance party. My daughter did the Cha Cha Slide with Boots, while I busted a move with Raphael.
All The Amenities You Need
But aside from those interactions, the kids’ menus and crayons available at the restaurants, and the occasional “sliming” at the pool (yep, you can pay to get green ooze dumped over your head), you would have no idea that this is a “kid” resort. The beach and pools are quiet and peaceful, the restaurants are upscale and offer delicious options, and the décor and ambience don’t scream “Nickelodeon”.
The swim-out suites let you literally jump into the pool off your patio. And don’t worry: the patio is equipped with a child-proof gate, so you can feel safe to let your kids chill on the patio without fear of them falling in the water. Cribs, playpens, bottle warmers or any other baby gear are all available, so no need to lug so much stuff on the plane.
The only problem after the trip? A kid that is constantly asking, “Can we go to Mexico again?”
Amy Bielby is the managing editor of ParentsCanada. For more info, visit KarismaHotels.com.
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, Nov/Dec 2016.