Crown Paradise Club Resort
We have just returned from an outstanding family holiday in the Crown Paradise Club Resort in Cancun. It is the perfect hotel for a wonderful all-inclusive family holiday and our kids (8 and 10) said it was their favourite holiday ever!
Here is what my 10 year old son had to say:
This year at Easter-Time, I went on holiday to Cancun, Mexico. At 5:00 am, 24th of March, we went to Dublin Airport. Our flight to London Gatwick (LGW), was at 8:45 a.m.
When we arrived in LGW, we braced ourselves for a trip 11hrs long on a Boeing 747-400. We arrived in Cancun at approximately 6:00 p.m, and checked-in. At my first sight of the reception area alone, I knew this was going to be a luxurious holiday!
An area with plants and a pond was in front of the bar. Once we got to the room, two double beds with a locker in the middle were there. We dropped our stuff in the room and went down to eat our first Mexican meal on holidays at the steak house, Wayne’s Boots. It was a beautiful meal; a Bucking Bronco was even there to provide entertainment! Then we went to bed after a very long day!
The next morning we woke at about 9am. We went down to our first breakfast there. A massive selection was available: cereal, eggs, omelettes, a fry, smoothies, yoghurts, pastries, fruits, meats, porridge, pancakes, French toast and a gluten-free area as well.
Then we took time to explore the complex. A wide range of bars, restaurants and so much entertainment! As I stepped outside, I felt the hot, intense sun on my face while being cooled down by the cool breeze. Crazy golf was there. 18 sections of it are waiting to be tried. It really is a way to entertain yourself! Then as we walked on further, a large number of pools were there.
When you got in, you didn’t have to wait for it to warm up. Thanks to the sun, it is a great temperature. You can see the breakfast hut, the snack hut and a bar when you are in the pool. Kids have a range of cocktails to choose from. From the “Iron Man Special” to the “Smurf Power Punch”. From “Barbie Fantasy” to the “Hulk Green Conga” kids will be spoiled rotten!!
Then we looked up at the massive resort – it is truly a giant! Then as we walked further, the beach came into sight. The sea was light blue, indicating warmth and healthiness. The sand was surprisingly not hot, but warm. To the left we could see two huge waterslides. I hope you enjoyed my report on Cancun because I really enjoyed my holiday there!
And here is my account of the holiday:
We flew from Dublin to Cancun via London Gatwick. The flight from Gatwick to Cancun takes 11 hours which sounds long, but the time flew by (har har!) in a happy haze of eating, napping and using the in-fight entertainment system. We flew with Virgin Atlantic on a 747-400 and the crew were lovely – very friendly and down to earth. I find it works better to fly to Cancun via the UK than via the USA, as that way you don’t need to complete pre-clearance for the United States meaning you don’t need an ESTA and you don't need to be at the airport as early.
Irish passport holders don’t need a visa for holidaying in Mexico, but on board the flight you fill out an immigration card which is then stamped on arrival in Cancun. The top portion of it is retained by immigration and the bottom portion of it is torn away and given back to you. Keep it safe as you have to present this portion when departing from Mexico.
Though the airport was busy, the immigration process only took about 15 minutes (including queueing time) and we were out of the airport with our luggage in tow within an hour of landing.
We had prebooked a private airport transfer and our transfer representative was waiting for us outside of the arrivals building with a sign bearing our surname. It was a welcome sight as we had been on the go for a long time at that stage and were pretty tired. The transfer from the airport to the hotel took about 15 minutes and we arrived at the hotel in time to unpack and have dinner.
The hotel we stayed in was the Crown Paradise Club resort. It is in Cancun in the hotel zone (Zona Hotelera), a narrow strip of land connected to the mainland by bridges to the north and south of the strip. On one side of the hotel zone is a lagoon and on the other is the Caribbean sea and beach. The main thoroughfare that runs through the hotel zone is the Boulevard Kukulcan.
Addresses in the hotel zone are denoted by the (approximate) number of kilometres you are from Cancun city centre.
Crown Paradise is at kilometre 18.5. See this excellent map here. There is no tourist tax / resort fee payable at the hotel.
GMT - 5 hours.
There are 617 rooms in the hotel. We had a room on the 6th floor (of 7 floors) of building 1. It was a standard sea view room and was refurbished and had a breath-taking view out over the Caribbean Sea – just gorgeous!
All rooms are stated to have a balcony and sea view, but some rooms don’t have what we would consider a full sea view, particularly those on the lower floors. Our room had two double beds but different room types have different bedding configurations, e.g. some rooms have a king size bed, others have also bunk beds etc.
The room was a good size, with good storage. The bathroom was small but had a bath and an over-bath shower (not all rooms have a bath).
The mini bar was restocked daily with water, beer, juice and soft drinks and was included as part of our all-inclusive package. Wi-Fi was free and worked very well in our room and the in-room safe was free to use.
The room was cleaned daily and housekeeping put rose petals on our bed on the night of our anniversary and made animal shapes from the facecloths, much to the delight of the boys!
While the hotel is very family-focused, there are some adult-only rooms called Crown Club rooms. There are honeymoon suites too which have a separate bedroom and living area and a jacuzzi on the private balcony. If you are in an adult-only room, you can use the adults-only lounge and pool and you get a lagoon cruise included during your stay and other little perks.
The hotel has a number of excellent eateries on-site and all were included in the all-inclusive package:
Breakfast is served between 7-11am in La Palapa, the buffet restaurant, and there was a huge variety of hot and cold food to be had, among which was delicious freshly-prepared to order fruit smoothies and omelettes. I have never seen so many breakfast items in my life! If you can dream it up, it was probably there!
Lunch can be had in one of three places:
La Palapa, buffet restaurant, 12:30-4pm
Fujiyama, oriental buffet restaurant, 12-4pm
Tutuch, snack bar, 11am-6pm
There are five speciality a la carte restaurants on site. You need to ring the day before to make a reservation and they are pretty strict about this. All are open from 5:30-10pm, (6pm-10pm in Sans Soucis):
Wayne’s Boots – a Wild West themed steakhouse complete with bucking bronco!
Sans Soucis – an adult-only French restaurant with a formal dress code.
Los Gallos – Mexican restaurant. Was open for breakfast some mornings too.
Fisherman’s Restaurant – sea food restaurant (also serves gorgeous fillet steak!).
La Piazza – Italian restaurant.
The food was good everywhere, but we mostly ate dinner in the buffet restaurant as there was such variety and it was our favourite. It opens for dinner from 6-10pm and there is a section with a different theme each night and a small kids section too, but there was plenty of choice for kids even without this.
The service was excellent everywhere – the staff really make this holiday extra-special!
If you are hungry outside of these times, you can order room service (available 24 hours, pay a $5 service fee). Alternatively you can eat at either the Tutuch snack bar (12pm-6pm) or the Midway Stop snack bar (10pm-7am). Both served burgers, chips, hotdogs, sandwiches, quesadillas and nachos.
There are six bars (some are indoors, some are outdoors), four of which you can bring the kids to. The other two are for adults only (Club Caribe Bar and Bar Trafalgar). There’s also a nightclub which we didn’t get to sample! All soft drinks and alcoholic drinks are included in your all-inclusive package. Adults had a choice of lagers, wines and spirits and kids were well catered for too with mocktails, most of which resulted in blue teeth and wide grins!
Speaking of kids, as you can see from my son’s account above, there was so much going on to keep them happy and happy kids means a happy mammy and daddy!
Baby Paradise: for 18 months olds to 3 years (inside area, outside area, sleeping area, games, toys, storytime, crafts etc.).
Kids Paradise: for 4-12 years (pirate ship waterpark with 9 slides with lifeguard on duty, arts and crafts, treasure hunts, soccer tournaments, mini discos, moving, games, dancing etc.). At registration, you can choose to sign your child in and out yourself, or to let them come and go freely themselves. It felt very secure and was extremely professionally run by lovely staff.
Club Jetix: pool/snooker tables, ping pong, table football, air hockey, Wii, PS4, video games tournaments on the big screen, board games, a cinema (with 3 showings daily - complete with popcorn - at 6pm, 8pm and 10pm). There didn’t seem to be an age restriction in Club Jetix but kids had to be signed in and out of each activity which kept the waiting times for each item to a minimum.
The lady who was in charge here, Violeta, was extremely nice and helpful. The boys spent A LOT of time in here and it was a busy place, but she was always smiling and so patient! It is a great place to escape the heat for a while and is right beside one of the bars which is nice for parents who were waiting around.
At check-in the hotel gives you a towel card for each member of your party. You take this card to the “toallera” hut beside the main pool and in exchange they give you a beach towel. When you return the towel, they return the card to you. Lost towel cards will set you back $40, so be careful with it! As is the case pretty much everywhere, people get up early to put their towels out on the sun loungers.
We didn’t want to spend all day in the sun, so we didn’t do this, but even so, we always got a couple of sun loungers at some point during the day. They were quite plentiful.
Pools: in addition to the pirate ship pool at Kids Paradise, there are 5 other pools. One pool had 4 large waterslides (height restrictions apply), one was partially indoors, one was for adults only (with swim-up bar) and one was an infinity pool. Pool toys and inflatables were allowed in the pools.
Zip Line (4-12 years)
Theatre with nightly shows (we went to the Michael Jackson show and it was really good!)
Floodlit tennis court
Large multi-sport court
There are a few convenience and souvenir shops on site and on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, craft stalls set up in the lobby.
Spa and beauty salon: various treatments on offer (I didn’t try this out)
Hospitality suite (for guests who arrive early or who depart late – facilities include showers)
Laundry service (there is a per item charge for this)
About a 5 minute walk from the main gate of the hotel are the Mayan ruins of El Rey which are also home to a colony of iguanas (the proper term for this is a “slaughter of iguanas” so we left them alone…). The iguanas fascinated the kids.
The public bus will stop outside the hotel if you flag it down and brings you to downtown Cancun (going right) or cross the road and it will bring you further down the Zona Hotelera (going left). We took a trip into Cancun city one day which took about 25 minutes. The fare is 12 pesos per person, you won't get change unless you ask and you probably won't get a ticket either.
Sit down quickly after getting on or hold on, the drivers don’t wait until you are seated! If you don’t want to use the bus, taxis are very cheap.
En route to the city centre, we visited La Isla shopping centre. All of the buses stop there. We did some shopping and then went to the cinema. The film was in English with Spanish subtitles but not all of them in English are so check locally. We didn’t do much in Cancun city itself, perhaps we got off in the wrong area, but it wasn’t that appealing. We went to Mercado (market) 28 very briefly - it’s a huge, labyrinthine place.
We felt quite harassed by the shopkeepers/stallholders vying for our attention so we didn’t stay long. We didn’t see many other tourists there even though a lot of what’s for sale is geared towards the tourist market.
After that we went into Walmart for some souvenir shopping and to stock up on some more suncream and that was the extent of our excursions for the whole 11 days!
There are lots of excursions in the local area but to be honest we were so happy at the hotel, we didn’t bother with any of them. It is so unlike us to not explore a bit – but that’s just how good the hotel was!
The hotel is right on Playa Delfines beach. You simply walk down some steps and you are on the beautiful white sands. This beach can have some big waves so it is good for watersports. The water is shallow for a little way out and there's some seaweed but not too much. The hotel has sunbeds and cabanas on the beach, both of which are free of charge to use.
Further up and beach (to your left with your back to the hotel, or one stop on the bus heading right) you will see the big Cancun sign which is a popular spot for photos.
The sun is very intense in Cancun, much more so than in Europe probably because it is closer to the equator. There was a lovely breeze for the entire duration of our stay which made it very comfortable. However it gave us a false sense of security and even at about 30C and using Factor 50, thanks to our pale Irish complexions we all burned to varying degrees at some point during our stay there.
Invest in some rash vests which will offer extra protection from the harsh rays. If you don’t get them before you go, Walmart had some for sale, and had good prices on suncream and beach toys too.
Dollars or Pesos and Tipping:
The Mexican Peso is the official unit of currency, but US Dollars are accepted everywhere. It seemed to be customary to tip modestly but often and it appeared that most people tipped either 20 pesos or one US Dollar to each server. Apart from around €25-30 per day in tips, we spent very little during our holiday because we mostly based ourselves in the hotel, but what we did buy, we found it was better value to pay for it in pesos. Even though American dollars are widely accepted, and we brought some with us, we didn’t use them at all.
Crown Paradise Club might not be the most luxurious resort in Cancun but it’s surely the most family friendly. Thanks to its wonderful facilities and the exceptional staff who work so hard to look after their guests, we would give it 5 stars and is a place we would happily return to again for another gorgeous relaxing holiday in a place with excellent food and where we know the kids, and overselves, will be so happy!
Written by Samantha Gavigan