Located ten minutes north of Playa del Carmen, Azul Fives Hotel By Karisma caters to large families or groups of friends traveling together. The resort offers 524 large suites with full kitchens, five pools (plus the small Azulitos Playhouse pool), 14 restaurants, nine bars, spa and gym facilities, and complimentary toy and baby amenity use. Sky Suites with rooftop decks offer double the square footage of living space with outdoor loungers, Jacuzzi tub, and BBQ area–perfect spaces for entertaining or family get-togethers. Since this is a family-oriented resort, partiers or singles would fare better in Playa del Carmen.
The resort’s décor is contemporary with an Asian flair–dark woods, neutral color tones, marble finishes, and various textures blend harmoniously and serenely making guests feel relaxed and rested. Resort grounds are beautifully landscaped and meticulously maintained with multiple paths offering a harmonious flow from one area to another. Inviting-looking pools meander between white, three-story guest room buildings in the older villa section making it easy to take a swim when the mood strikes or have a drink at either of the two poolside bars (pools are twenty feet or less from many guest rooms). Spider monkeys are typically seen by Villas 4 and 5.
Karisma spent $40 million on expansions and renovations for this resort which included the new Essence section with its four new villas (#15-#18), swim-up guest rooms, two new pools, and a poolside bar and grill, while the new Fives Plaza located near the lobby is now a popular meeting spot for socializing, drinks, and live entertainment. Fives Plaza includes two new bars, a coffee shop, three new a la carte restaurants, and is the home of the newly relocated fitness center. For guests’ convenience, there is a new path crossing the mangrove jungle and cenote area from the new Essence section all the way down to Villa #2. NOTE: Villa #17 in the Essence section is just being completed at the end of 2016 and should be open soon along with the Poolside Bar and Grill.
In addition to being recognized for their huge suites, Azul Fives Hotel is also known for its plethora of beautiful pools. Here is a brief description of each:
- Lizards Pool: Surrounded by Villas 4-8 and Villa 14, Lizards pool is perfect for smaller children since it has a large shallow section; loungers and some shade umbrellas are available. There is an adjacent Gourmet Corner which serves light bites including sandwiches, kebabs, and hamburgers. There is also a poolside bar.
- Palmas Pool: Surrounded by Villas 1-3 and Villa 12, Palmas pool’s depth suits adults and older children. There is an adjacent Gourmet Corner here as well. This pool has a swim-up bar, and offers loungers and some shade umbrellas.
- Beachfront Infinity Pool: Separated from guest rooms and many amenities, the infinity pool is the social spot of the resort during daytime hours. It offers a swim-up bar, close proximity to three restaurants, two built-in Jacuzzis (non-heated), and surrounding loungers and shade umbrellas.
- Azulitos Playhouse Pool: Located alongside the Azulitos Kid’s Club, the small shallow pool allows younger children to cool off during the day and play some water-related games. There are loungers on the surrounding deck area for parents since children under the age of four must be supervised by an adult.
- Essence Section Pools: There are two new pools in this addition along with loungers, Bali beds, and a poolside bar and grill.
In addition to its recent renovations and additions, Azul Fives Hotel also underwent a major beach renovation and pumped sand over the coral ridge which lies at ocean entry. Now guests can freely enter the water to swim or snorkel without having to worry about needing water shoes. Although not visually appealing, “sand whales” placed offshore provide significant protection from beach erosion. The wide, white sand beach has lots of loungers, swinging and stationary Bali beds, while mature palms and wooden lattice structures provide much needed shade. While at the beach, don’t forget about Karisma’s Beach Butler service–drinks, towels, tanning lotion, and service with a smile.
Since the resort caters to families, parents will be happy to know that Azul Fives has facilities for most children ages 4 to 12 years. Children’s indoor areas include Azulitos Playhouse, My Gym center with mats, balance beam and trampoline, and a dedicated teen space, while outdoor facilities include a rock climbing wall and splash park for young children. Karisma’s family-friendly resorts also offer complimentary use of cribs, changing tables, strollers, monitors, bottle warmers, and jars of baby food to help make vacations stress-free.
Since Azul Fives Hotel by Karisma is an all-inclusive optional resort, the all-inclusive package can be booked as the Gourmet Inclusive Package.
Type of Resort: Family-friendly
Pro: Large suites, family-of-five friendly, rooftop deck areas for entertaining
Con: No true ocean view guest rooms, limited top-shelf liquors included in the AI package
Best Suited For: Family reunions and group travel
No. of Rooms: 524
Room Amenities: King or two dbl beds, balcony/terrace, A/C, mini-bar, digital safe, flat screen TV, telephone, coffee maker, radio alarm clock with iPod dock, DVD player, ceiling fan, iron/ironing board, aromatherapy and pillow menus, robes, hair dryer, rainforest showerhead, Jacuzzi tub, dbl sinks, toiletries, 24-hr. room service, complimentary WiFi and international phone calls. Here is a brief rundown of guest room categories:
- One, Two, or Three Bedroom Jacuzzi Suite: King bed (dbl beds in suites with additional bedrooms), full kitchen, dining table and eight chairs, living room with sofa bed, half-bathroom, and above amenities. Garden and/or pool view.
- One, Two, or Three Bedroom Jacuzzi Sky Suite: King bed (dbl beds in suites with additional bedrooms), full kitchen, dining table and eight chairs, living room with sofa bed, half-bathroom, rooftop lounge with half-bathroom, table and six chairs, BBQ grill, Jacuzzi, loungers, day bed, and above amenities. Some of these rooms are located in the newer Essence section.
(Essence Suites–Located in the new section in Villas 15-18):
- One Bedroom Essence Suite: King bed, full kitchen, dining table and six chairs, living room with sofa bed, and above amenities.
- One Bedroom Essence Swim-Up Suite: Same amenities as the One Bedroom Essence Suite with easy access to the swim-up pool. NOTE: These suites no longer accept children.
(Connoisseur Collection): Azul Fives Hotel also offers an upgraded room category service for guests to enjoy called the Connoisseur Collection. Amenities include the following:
- pre-arrival arrangements for in-room liquor choices, mini-bar preferences, spa/restaurant/excursion reservations
- airport transfers
- assigned concierge/”Majordomo”
- in-suite check-in
- resort tour
- unpacking/packing done by the Majordomo
- personal cell phone for direct calls to the Majordomo
- in-room bottle of champagne, fruit basket, premium coffee and teas
- espresso machine
- personally monogrammed robes
- Smart TV
- guaranteed connecting rooms
- some in-room spa treatments are possible
- 15% off spa services, special events, and premium wines
Connoisseur room categories include the following:
- Two and Three Bedroom Sky Suite: King bed (dbl beds in additional bedrooms), full kitchen, dining table and eight chairs, half-bathroom, rooftop lounge with half-bathroom, table and six chairs, BBQ grill, Jacuzzi, loungers, day bed, above amenities and Connoisseur amenities.
- NOTE: All guest rooms do not have ocean views because they are set back from the beach.
Physically Challenged Rooms: Not available
Resort Amenities: Five pools (three with swim-up bar), in-pool Jacuzzis, small children’s pool, splash park, spa (child-friendly), beauty salon, fitness center, tennis courts, rock climbing wall, archery, air rifle shooting, non-motorized water sports, hammocks, Bali beds, beachfront massage, pool and beach wait service, Azulitos Playhouse (ages 4-12), My Gym (ages 4-12), teen club (ages 13-17), baby equipment use, Gerber baby food, playground, Starbucks kiosk, concierge, tour desk, gift shop, car rental, medical services, and ATM. NOTE: Motorized water sports can be arranged on the beach just north of the resort.
Restaurants/Bars: Here’s what’s open at each mealtime.
- Breakfast: Flavours, La Brasserie, and Poolside Grill (Poolside Grill should be open first part of 2017).
- Lunch: Oriola, Sea Olive, and Poolside Grill. Afternoon snacks can also be had at two beachfront eateries–Breeze Bar N’Burger and La Taqueria.
- Dinner: Flavours, Meso Tapas, Oka Sushi Bar, Sea Olive, La Brasserie, Arezzo, and Koh Thai. Arezzo and Koh Thai need reservations which can be made one day in advance.
Light bites and sandwiches can also be had at either of the meandering pools’ bar areas, or at the taco stand at Fives Plaza. Guests staying in Sky Suites can also make arrangements for a private chef to prepare dinner on their rooftop deck at an additional cost. There are three swim-up bars, two poolside bars, Nineteen Ten, The Gin Bar, and the Zky Bar. Kafeina is a new coffee shop over by the spa.
Entertainment: Nightly lounge music in the Zky Bar, a beachfront fire show, and live music and entertainment at Fives Plaza.