The sister properties of the Park Royal Golden Cancun and the Grand Park Royal Luxury Resort, also in Cancun, offer families a vacation full of beach fun in a style personalized for your tribe’s vibe. Both properties, located two miles apart, open to the crystal-blue ocean, are framed by the fine white sand for which Cancun is famous, and are family-friendly, but that’s where their resemblance ends.
The Park Royal Golden Cancun is the more casual, easy-going of the two sisters. Her 288 luxury rooms are on the spacious side. The two towers of those rooms are connected by jungle-lined, concrete paths. Our deluxe room had a living area separated from the bedroom with a balcony view of Laguna Bojorquez. There was also a cozy sectional sofa perfect for lounging and two bathrooms, which showed she really understood traveling with kids. She’s also not afraid to get her hair wet as she plays with your children all over her water park. From beginner, bitty slides and stationary ocean animals to dark, windy chutes and water guns, her liquid oasis has enough to keep any child begging for more. When it’s time for parents to have some downtime, the colorful kid’s club, next door to the water park, has a staff of happy and willing assistants to take over with crafts, such as piñata-making and beach games. Parents could use their free time to wander over to the adults-only pool, complete with bar and lounge chairs, or just relax with a book, enjoying thoughts they can actually think.
And while the Grand Park Royal is a bit more fancy, you’ll still feel right at home in one of its 311 luxury rooms and suites, spread across the vast property. The first person you’ll meet, if you opt to stay in one of the villas, is your butler. He will assure you none of your needs are too small, to please call upon him, or his stand-in, if you’re too comfortable and don’t want to leave your personal plunge pool to walk to one of the six on-site restaurants to grab a bite. If you desire something the hotel doesn’t provide, he will make sure you get it. He’ll check in on you in your reserved, canopied Bali Bed, just outside your dark-wood paneled, oceanfront room, to make sure you’re not too parched or in need of a snack. Meanwhile, your kids can swim with you in the warm, clear water or swing on the indoor treehouse in the kid’s club with her doting staff watching over. Her staff might even take them to El Jardin, the snack restaurant by the pool, to make their own pizzas while you take a yoga class in the spa. Later, when it’s time to experience the spa, her masseuse offers a kid’s massage and after I treated my 9-year-old son to his first ever, he said he had never felt anything so wonderful.
The Park Royal Golden Cancun has a poolside DJ, playing energetic music and enticing guests to play bingo or other high-energy games while the Grand Park Royal’s activity leader is more like a camp counselor, challenging you out of your comfort zone. Games like water polo at the Grand Park Royal consisted of teams stacked with adults and kids who sometimes had to be carried to the ball. His team appointed my son to be the one able to score goals for them, a position he took seriously.
Nightlife at each property can be a family outing, a romantic retreat or a girl’s night out. The Park Royal opened a skybar on the 10th floor of its main building called Ekinox, which has nearly unobstructed city views encompassing the harbor and ocean. Ekinox is a great place to get the freshest air with skyscraper beach views. A backdrop of live music accompanied group conversations. The Grand Park Royal has her version of Ekinox perched on the roof of her Italian restaurant, El Mirador, overlooking Laguna Nichupte. It’s not as high but still refreshing.
One option families can take for a fun dining experience is the “family dinner” served in Park Royal’s El Pescador, with tables that look over the ocean through a glass partition. Servers decked out our table in traditional Mexican decorations, complete with a sombrero perched on a chair and a colorful, Mexican blanket that served as our table cloth. Savory seafood tostadas started off our night followed by a plate of succulent varieties of meat with side dishes served in clay bowls. General manager Rodrigo came to our table to make sure everything was to our satisfaction. Buffet meals are available at La Veranda with plenty of options in the cafeteria-style eatery with poolside and ocean views. And of course, the regular pizza, nachos and burgers could be eaten poolside.
A family dinner at the Grand Park Royal, however, can be a fiery experience if you have it at El Oriental where teppanyaki is a dining option for families before 9:30 p.m. Our talented chef not only filled our bellies with life-fueling food but also put on a lively show, carving rice into words then conjuring it into an erupting volcano. My son loved it even though he was already exhausted from all the previous fun. Another elegant option is the Italian restaurant, El Mirador. The service staff at every restaurant was fabulous and this was no exception. Even though the choices were a bit complex for my usually courageous eater, our waiter offered an off-menu plain version of a pasta dish that suited him fine. Then the dessert buffet made up for everything.
Between the two sisters is a Mayan museum, Museo Maya de Cancun, that has archeological ruins and collections displayed inside and out. The small museum retells the story of the Mayan people and offers explanations about the disbursement of this prolific civilization. Between the fun and relaxation, it’s nice to get a glimpse into the lives of the people that inhabit or once lived in the areas we visit.
Despite their differing traits, the sisters come from the same great family that strives to help the communities around their hotels through the Royal Holiday Foundation. The Royal Holiday Foundation created programs for kids who live with their moms in jails, kids who have disabilities and adults who also have handicaps to give them a break from their lives and take them on beach vacations. They also work with Mexico’s environmental department to rescue turtles and preserve the natural environment that makes their locations so special. These sisters and their relatives around the world are not only beautiful on the outside but on the inside as well.
Most museums tend to be boring for children — they have to be quiet, they may not be interested in the exhibits and they can’t touch anything. At the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia, kids are encouraged to run around, play and have fun while learning. The beloved museum will safely reopen in 2021 for kids and families to run, play and touch exhibits as they used to, and now is a great time to plan a visit next year.
We’ve seen our fair share (and then some) of drama, trials and tribulations this year, so any reason to celebrate or plan a trip is an exciting opportunity. For the chocolate lovers and sweet aficionados in your crew, Zürich should be on your list this year or next — for many reasons, but specifically for the Lindt Home of Chocolate.
You could say Osaka is a shapeshifter among cities. Japan’s third-largest city, running at a somewhat slower pace than Tokyo, is a patchwork of big business districts, pretty residential areas and beautiful parks. By night, several of its neighborhoods take on an alluring theme park ambiance. The most obvious is Dōtonbori, an upscale retail oasis that, after sunset, becomes a neon-lit maze of restaurants, bars, comedy clubs, arcades, department stores and massive souvenir emporiums.
While urban wine country might sound like an oxymoron, it’s actually a reality at the stunning City Vineyard in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood. The water-side venue is the perfect host for your next event — whatever that may be, from 20 to 200 guests and from cocktail party to plated dinner.
If you are a lover of thrill rides and rollercoasters, you better start thinking about a future trip to test out some new ones in Orlando, Florida’s, theme parks. Throughout the next year, some theme parks are expecting a number of thrilling additions and experiences for willing guests. From two long-anticipated coasters slated to open next year in Walt Disney World to a yet-to-be-announced Jurassic Park roller coaster set to open in Universal Orlando, thrill-seekers and coaster fanatics will be in awe.