The family-oriented Hotel Marina El Cid Spa and Beach Resort is located less than a mile south of the fishing village of Puerto Morelos in the Riviera Maya. This resort is best known for its 22,000 sq. foot pool complete with built-in waterslides for children and adults as well as its infamous cliff-jumping platform. Man-made boulders of various heights have perfect spots from which to jump into a separate deeper section of the main pool–perfect for both kids and grown-up kids. The main cliff jump is approximately 10-12 feet high while the water depth is over 10 feet deep, so individuals need to be comfortable swimming in deeper water. Also, don’t be fooled by the waterslide which adults often use–it looks harmless but in actuality it’s quite fast with many reported bruises occurring!
Hotel Marina El Cid is one of the very few all-inclusive resorts in this part of the world to have an adjacent marina making it easy for families to book sport fishing, snorkeling, or other day excursions from there. Puerto Morelos National Reef Park is a popular destination for snorkelers. Since the reef is fairly close to the resort, however, there is no parasailing or Jet Ski rental available here. The resort offers kayaks, boogie boards, and paddle boarding, but hobie cats require a staff member at the helm (too many guest-related accidents). Bring your own snorkeling gear since the resort doesn’t have any loaner sets.
Three oceanfront guest room buildings were added in 2014 (#21, #22, and #23) along with a new Italian a la carte restaurant, updated Kid’s Club, heated oceanfront infinity pool (no swim-up bar here, though), and new beach lounge and bar which includes a separate area for upgraded Platinum Club guests. Guest room options offer no less than 11 choices ranging from Jr. Suites with Murphy beds and in-room Jacuzzis to three-bedroom suites with balcony Jacuzzis. Décor varies somewhat based on room category; however, all rooms have dark wood furniture, marble bathrooms, tan, olive, and white accessories, mini-bars, in-room safes, and balconies with garden, pool, or ocean view.
Despite all the resort’s positives, beach lovers may be disappointed since sea grass can be quite a problem here, as is common to many northern Riviera Maya beach resorts. Water shoes are also recommended since small rocks are prevalent offshore. On a more positive note, the beach offers plenty of loungers and shade palapas, has a hammock section, Bali beds/cabanas, a beach bar on each end of the resort, and offshore snorkeling is possible.
Type of Resort: Family-friendly
Pro: In-pool cliff jumping and waterslides, lots of room categories to choose from, new heated infinity pool
Con: Ocean swimming, WiFi $
Best Suited For: Families with kids ages seven and older who know how to swim
No. of Rooms: 350
Room Amenities: King bed, two dbl or full beds (some suites also include a Murphy bed), A/C, balcony/terrace, mini-bar, in-room safe, TV, small sofa, telephone, coffee maker, iron/ironing board, pillow menu, hair dryer, shower, toiletries, and 24-hr. room service. WiFi is an additional cost. Here is a rundown of guest room categories:
- Luxury Double Suite: Two dbl beds with garden or pool view. Option of upgrading to Platinum Club (see below for list of amenities).
- Luxury King Suite: King bed with garden or pool view. Option of upgrading to Platinum Club (see below for list of amenities).
- Jr. Suite Double: Two dbl beds and a queen-size Murphy bed.
- Jr. Suite King: King bed and a queen-size Murphy bed.
- Jr. Suite Jacuzzi: King bed, queen-size Murphy bed, and in-room Jacuzzi.
- Jr. Suite Platinum: King bed, queen-size Murphy bed, large shower, with Platinum Club amenities (see below for list of amenities).
- Family Suite: Two full beds, queen-size Murphy bed, and large shower with garden, pool, or ocean view.
- Studio Suite with Jacuzzi: King bed, queen-size Murphy bed, large shower, in-room and/or balcony Jacuzzi with garden, pool, or ocean view.
- One Bedroom Suite: King bed, queen-size Murphy bed, living room/dining room area with kitchenette, two bathrooms with large shower areas, and two balconies.
- One Bedroom Suite Platinum: King bed, queen-size Murphy bed, living room/dining room area with kitchenette, two TV’s, two bathrooms with large shower areas, two balconies, and Platinum Club amenities (see below for list of amenities).
- Two-Bedroom Suite: King bed in one bedroom and two dbls in the other, living room/dining room area with kitchenette, breakfast bar, large refrigerator, three TV’s, two full bathrooms with large shower areas plus an additional half bathroom, two balconies, and balcony Jacuzzi with ocean view or oceanfront view. Option of upgrading to Platinum Club (see below for list of amenities).
- Three-Bedroom Suite: Two bedrooms with a king bed in each and two dbls in the third, a separate living room with sofas and coffee table, a dining room area which seats eight, a kitchenette with large refrigerator, four TV’s, three bathrooms with large shower areas, several balconies, and balcony Jacuzzi with ocean view or oceanfront view. Option of upgrading to Platinum Club (see below for list of amenities).
(Platinum Club Amenities)
- private check-in/out
- late check-out subject to availability
- guaranteed ocean view or oceanfront accommodations
- optional butler service
- access to a separate lounge area complete with premium liquor, snacks, sushi bar, fruit, complimentary internet access and use of computers, reading material, DVD library
- reserved beach area with Bali beds/cabanas
- reserved oceanfront lounge area (by the new infinity pool)
- guaranteed a la carte restaurant reservations
- extra comfort beds and linens
- aromatherapy menu
- welcome fruit and wine basket
- robe and slippers
- nightly turndown with hors d’oeuvres and petit fours
- in-room umbrellas
- beach bag
- daily newspaper delivery
Physically Challenged Rooms: Available
Resort Amenities: Main pool with waterslides and cliff jumping (swim-up bar), new beachfront pool (no swim-up bar), adults-only large beachfront Jacuzzi, spa, steam room, beauty salon, fitness center, tennis courts on the roof of the main building (bring your own tennis balls–lost ones will cost you), bicycle excursion to nearby fishing village of Puerto Morelos, non-motorized water sports, adjacent Marina for snorkeling/fishing excursions, dive shop/mini-supermarket/seafood restaurant also located at the Marina, giant chess set, hammock section, Bali beds/cabanas, Kid’s Club (ages 4-12), limited teen activities, concierge, tour desk, gift shop, car rental, and ATM.
Restaurants/Bars: There are five restaurants including a buffet (Alhambra), three a la cartes including Mediterranean (El Alcazar), Mexican (Hacienda Arrecife), seafood (La Marina located next to the actual Marina), and the new Italian restaurant (La Trattoria di Gulio). A la cartes require reservations for dinner. There are six bars including a swim-up bar, south end beach bar, north end new beachfront bar, lobby bar, pool bar, and a bar in the adults-only Jacuzzi area.
Entertainment: Nightly shows are geared towards families and are performed by the main pool.