Looking for a kid-friendly all-inclusive resort in Mexico? How about the Hard Rock Hotel in Riviera Maya? Keep reading for my review of this fantastic family resort!
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I’ve never been to Mexico until this year.
Being a traveler from the U.S., that’s kind of crazy that I’ve never been. For a lot of Americans, it’s the only country they’ve been to outside of the U.S.
My mom lives in Hawaii, so we usually spend our “tropical vacations” there. So Mexico hadn’t really been on my radar.
But, when KIDZ BOP invited me to check out their new KIDZ BOP Experience at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya in Mexico, it gave me the perfect excuse to go!
Hard Rock Hotel in Riviera Maya Mexico
Before I really get into the details, I wanted to explain a bit about how the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya is laid out.
Basically, there are two areas:
This is the adult-only section of the resort.
Although, kids are welcome at all of the restaurants and we played in one of the pools with several other little kids. It didn’t feel like we were breaking any rules, but I know it’s supposed to be geared just for adults.
They have a bar right in the lobby.
This is the family-friendly section of the resort.
You’ll be able to tell because it’s packed with kids! The other half of the restaurants are here, as well as a bunch of pools, a splash pad, a kids pool, a kid-friendly beach area, and the new KIDZ BOP Experience.
They have a coffee shop in the lobby.
There are two distinct lobbies (one on each side) and this is where you’ll find shops and more restaurants.
While there is a bit of signage to show which side is which, the resort feels like one big resort. There are paths that meander through both sides and you’ll be able to use amenities on either side.
WHERE IS THE HARD ROCK HOTEL RIVIERA MAYA?
Riviera Maya is about an hour (or up to 80 minutes) south of Cancun Airport. You basically go down the highway and the resort will be on your left.
It’s tucked away from the highway and you’ll go through a security gate before entering the grounds.
Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for monkeys! They hang out in the trees in front of the resort!
WHAT’S AN ALL-INCLUSIVE?
I admit, this was the first time I’ve stayed in an all-inclusive resort and I had some questions before we arrived.
How does the food situation work? Is everything covered or will I still need my wallet? What about tipping?
Basically, an all-inclusive resort is where you pay a set fee that includes your room, food, and gratuity.
When you are done eating at a restaurant, you just get up and leave (which felt so weird to me!) And you can grab free drinks and ice cream and don’t worry about money.
The only things you need to pay for are things at the store. We ended up buying a pool inflatable and a few souvenir items.
Spa treatments also cost money.
Otherwise, I never needed my wallet.
WHAT ARE THE ROOMS LIKE AT THE HARD ROCK HOTEL RIVIERA MAYA?
There are a few different room styles for all family sizes. They range from basic hotel rooms, to 2 bedroom suites, to a full lounge with a personal assistant.
We had the Deluxe Platinum Double room, which was perfect for my son and myself. As far as hotel rooms go, this one felt really spacious and there were obvious places for suitcases and other items.
We each got our own bed, plus there was a table and chairs, a huge soaking tub in the main room, a mini fridge, lots of closet space, a full bathroom and more.
They even have louvered shutters in between the bathroom and the main room which made it easy to talk to each other or get privacy.
What made it awesome is that they replenished the mini fridge every day and you could request particular items. We loaded our fridge up with juice boxes and extra water bottles.
What made it epic is that each room has a hammock set up on the balcony! It’s the first place we’ve ever stayed with a hammock and the novelty never wore off for us!
You can also ask the front desk to send up a kid size robe or a Fender guitar, if you like. And there’s a full pillow menu.
HARD ROCK HOTEL IN RIVIERA MAYA RESTAURANTS
A huge part of staying at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico is that you can enjoy free dining at the restaurants!
I want to note that all the restaurants (in both the Hacienda and Heaven sides) offered the same kids menu.
If you know you want to eat at particular restaurants or you are visiting during a popular time, be sure to make your dining reservations in advance!
Since we were only there for 4 days, we couldn’t possibly try all the restaurants. And we did take advantage of the in-room dining for a few meals (it’s one of our favorite perks!)
But, here’s the rundown of the restaurants we did try and the other Hard Rock Riviera Maya restaurants:
I’m listing this first because this is where you get your COFFEE! And it’s really, really good! They have a bunch of different kinds of milk, including dairy-free.
They have a continental breakfast and lots of grab and go breakfast and lunch items. It’s super easy to grab food and then go stake out a lounge chair by the pool.
And in the afternoons, they serve ice cream!
We ate breakfast here every day and it saved us a lot of time.
This is where we ate dinner the first night. It’s a steak house with lots of yummy side dishes and the desserts sounded fantastic.
We were a bit rushed (because my son was falling asleep at the table) but the food was pretty tasty!
This was our favorite restaurant experience! It’s a teppanyaki restaurant (like Benihana) where the chef comes and theatrically cooks the food in front of you.
My 5 year old was mesmerized!
If you don’t do the teppanyaki, there are regular tables set up and you can order a variety of Asian dishes, from sushi to stir fry.
Le Petit Cochon
Another notable meal was at the French restaurant. I was able to get beef tartare (they also had a vegetarian version made with beets!) and a delicious risotto.
But, the standout was dessert.
You have to order the chocolate souffle! They do a big presentation at your table where they light it on fire and your kids will think it’s the coolest thing ever!
This is where we had a rooftop welcome party and the location is fantastic!
We didn’t have a chance to try any of the food, but they specialize in authentic Rodizio service (Brazilian steakhouse where they walk around and cut off pieces of meat for you.)
They also have an Italian restaurant with a la carte items. I feel like almost everyone loves Italian food, so you’ll probably want to make a reservation here.
This is a Latin American restaurant with traditional flavors.
If you are fans of buffet dinners, you’ll probably spend a lot of time at The Market. They do a breakfast buffet every morning with fresh and exotic foods.
In the evenings, they offer themed dinner buffets.
Since most people love pizza, this is also a restaurant you’ll probably want to visit. They create crispy brick oven pizza, salads, soups, and a la carte pasta dishes.
I’m embarrassed to say that we didn’t really eat Mexican food during our trip to Mexico.
If we had one more night, I would have made a reservation here because they specialize in regional Mexican cuisine.
Plus, they had a super cute statue outside their restaurant!
While it’s not really a restaurant, I wanted to make note that you can get great snacks, top-shelf drinks, and service by the Heaven pool.
Same goes for the pools near Hacienda. They also offer a lunch buffet, which is convenient.
THINGS TO DO AT THE HARD ROCK HOTEL IN RIVIERA MAYA?
If you are looking for an all-inclusive resort in Mexico where there’s always something to do, this is it! Be sure to grab a schedule when you check in so you’ll know where the fun stuff is.
Here are a few of the stand outs:
There is a zero-entry kids pool with a play structure, a splash pad, and a family pool that has a swim up bar.
Food and drinks are served throughout the day with their poolside service.
There’s also a private beach perfect for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking or building sand castles!
The pool areas have lots of lounge chairs and even some with umbrellas and cabana areas.
Rockaway Bay Water Park
We didn’t head here until our last full day and I totally regret not coming sooner! This is a water park that really has something for every age.
It’s open 10am-6pm and they have 9 slides geared for children/teens, 8 slides for younger kids, and 6 high-speed slides for teens and adults.
My 5 year old met the height requirement to go down one of the “big” slides and he literally closed the place down there!
There’s also a snack bar there where you can stock up on yummy frozen drinks to stay cool!
And best of all, it’s included in your stay!
As I mentioned before, the reason we came to the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya was to check out the new KIDZ BOP Experience.
It’s located on the Hacienda side and they have specific drop off times so your child can get the full KIDZ BOP Experience.
Kids will get to sing, dance, dress up in fun clothes, and basically transform into KIDZ BOP stars.
This special kids program is included in your stay.
You can read all about the new KIDZ BOP Experience here.
Of course, another perk of all-inclusive resorts is taking advantage of their kids club.
Kids ages 4-12 are invited to get dropped off at the Hard Rock Riviera Maya kids club for lots of fun activities like magic shows, discos, games, face painting, castle making and more.
If your kids like playing with other kids, this is extra fun for them. My son loves making new friends on vacation.
It’s open daily from 8am-9pm and they will feed your kids if you drop them during meal time.
If your family is in to indoor play spaces or extreme sports, you might want to check out Woodward.
They have an indoor concrete skate park, trampolines, foam pits, ParkBoard and ParkSki indoor snowboard and ski equipment, a Ninja Obstacle Course and more.
It’s geared for kids ages 7 years old and up, but they also offer micro sessions for kids ages 3-6 years old.
This is an additional fee, unless you book it as part of your Hard Rock Resort package.
IS THE HARD ROCK IN RIVIERA MAYA KID-FRIENDLY?
Not only is it okay to bring your kids, they go above and beyond to make sure your entire family is set up!
They can bring you cribs, rollaway beds, extra juice boxes, and basically anything you need to make your hotel room comfortable!
And for an additional cost, you can get a baby package that includes diapers, wipes, bottle sterilizers, etc.
How to Get to Hard Rock Hotel in Riviera Maya
The easiest way to get to Riviera Maya is to fly to Cancun Airport.
From there, you’ll want to take a shuttle to get to your resort. As soon as you exit the Cancun Airport, there will be tons of tour operators that will try to get you to use their services.
That’s totally up to you.
If you want something pre-arranged, you can book the Hard Rock Riviera Maya shuttle for an additional cost.
When’s the Best Time to Go to Cancun?
Peak season is December to April. That’s where you’ll get almost-perfect weather and score cheap flights and room rates.
November is a great month for families with children, as long as you don’t have to worry about school. The weather is great and the prices are pretty good.
The summer rainy season is July through October, so you might have to deal with a bit of rain. Or you might not. And crowds are usually pretty low.
We went in the middle of August and it was in the 90s and super humid. It rained overnight a couple of times, but it was plenty sunny every day and we got some pretty nice tans!
My son and I like to be warm and there was A/C in all the buildings.
How Do I Book my Stay at the Hard Rock Hotel in Riviera Maya?
Ok, have you decided that the Hard Rock Hotel in Riviera Maya is where you’d like to go for your next family vacation?
Check the prices for your travel dates here.
Thanks to Kidz Bop for hosting our trip to the Hard Rock Hotel in Riviera Maya. All opinions are my own. This resort is amazing!