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Azul Beach Riviera Cancun formerly known as Azul Sensatori is an affordable all-inclusive option for vacationers looking for a family-friendly option in the Riviera Maya. While the resort has a lot of positives, there are certain aspects of the property that could use some improvement -- specifically its rooms need some serious updating, the antiquated towel card policy and a buffet that just misses the mark.
The Lobby Area
The lobby area is really the hub of resort as it not only provides the space for guests to check-in and check-out, but it’s also where you’ll find access to the Vassa Spa, the Mojito Lounge (which also serves as the property’s nightclub late night) and the outdoor plaza area in the lobby — which hosts a lot of the evening activity and entertainment. During rainy season, the lobby will also be where you’ll find the nighttime entertainment, including live musicians and bands.
At Azul Beach, the buildings are split into the family-friendly section, the adults-only section and the -premium section. While the property feels spacious and looks large on a map, it really is easy to get from one side to the other — something I personally appreciate because nothing is ever too far away. I found the rooms to be spacious and roomy, and the beds were comfortable and the bathrooms were spacious. The balconies were really large and nicely equipped with couches or lounge furniture, making it easy to enjoy the outdoor space in each room. But I felt the rooms were a little dated and in need of updated furniture and fixtures. For instance, the room service menu was no where to be found. And only after I called the concierge was I told that it could be seen on Channel 49. When I went to that channel, I had to wait for the menu to change for each meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner). Not only that, my television reception was really blurry and I’m not sure if that’s because the television was of poor quality or if the periodic rain was affecting the signal. In any case, I found it would be much easier if they just had a book with a room service menu, like many other properties. (Tip: take.photo of the menu on your TV so you don’t have to keep waiting for the menus to change).
The Food and A la Carte Restaurants
After checking in, I opted for room service because I had a long day of travel and just wanted to relax. Room service took about 40 minutes to arrive and I have to say I was impressed. I ordered a crunchy chicken burrito and it was delicious! Karisma resorts are always known for their gourmet all-inclusive offerings and the room service menu, while not too large, was always timely and the food was on point.
As a guests at this resort, the a la carte restaurants require reservations — you can make your reservations through the concierge stations located next to your respective building. It’s best to make reservations at the beginning of your stay to better accommodate your preferred dining schedule and requests.
During my stay I dined at Siena (the Italian restaurant), Zocalo (the Mexican restaurant), Pizza Pizza (the Pizzeria), the BBQ on the Beach, and Spoon World Cuisine (the buffet). While I found the buffet to be pretty lacking in main entree choices, all of the a la carte restaurants and food stations were excellent!
One of my favorite meals was at Siena, where all the appetizer were delicious and the beef filet was coked to perfection. The desserts were also really great — I throughly enjoyed my meal there! This is more of a dress up and dine eatery, so keep that in mind.
I also really enjoyed my experience at Zocalo, where the ambience is a bit more festive and casual but the food was delicious. The margaritas here are large and tasty and the menu is extensive. My friends and I shared an appetizer platter, which had hot wings and mini portions of quesadillas, burritos and chicken tacos. Everything was good! Our group also ordered the grilled Chilean Sea Bass and shrimp with rice (my dish and it was so good), the Chicken Tacos and salad, and the crispy shrimp tacos. We followed that up with churros, flan and tres leches cake — while the churros were a disappointment because they seemed to have been frozen and warm at best, the tres leches and flan were excellent.
Two of my other favorite quick lunchtime meals were at the pizzeria where you can customize your pizza for a quick bite and the Beach BBQ which by far has the best seat in the house, offering diners benches to eat on right on the sand. You can order typical BBQ items here like hot dogs, hamburgers, and different sides at the small buffet station. But at the grill station, they’ll usually offer an additional entree like seafood paella or chicken/steak fajitas. The fajitas were delicious especially when warmed corn tortillas. And of course there are bartenders there so you can add a cocktail or drink to your lunchtime experience right on the sand. The view here truly creates the perfect beach vacation vibes!
Now the one thing I didn’t find great at all was the buffet — no matter what time of day, I found options were limited especially when it came to entrees. The dessert stations were always full and plentiful but I just found that there were never enough entree offerings or meats (chicken, beef, pork or seafood). But if you’re looking for a quick meal, then the buffet is definitely a good option as its open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Another aspect of the food/drink offerings that I really didn’t care for was the Starbucks located in the middle of the resort. I love having access to a coffee or snack shop at a resort to satiate the need for a quick drink or snack, but Azul Beach didn’t have one. Instead, they offered a Starbucks that required guests to pay for drinks — when spending a good amount of money as a guest at a resort, it’s really disappointing to have to pay for anything extra especially for something as basic and standard as coffee. (So if you’re looking for a coffee fix, you’ll have to ask for it at one of the restaurants or find it in the buffet. Or make it in your room, warning: it doesn't taste great).
The Beautiful Grounds
This entire property is filled with lush trees and foliage, including my personal favorite — the hammock garden. It’s quite easy to get to any point here and the pool areas are large and spread throughout. As a guests you cannot enjoy the premium section pools unless you are staying in one of those rooms and adults are only allowed in the adults-only pool. But there are plenty of pool areas for families and children to enjoy. Smaller children can also enjoy the splash pad area behind the family building right next to the pizzeria. It’s great space for smaller kids to spend some time and ideal for families who want a quick bite as the pizza station is right next to it.
The beach here was protected by a barrier installed by the resort, which allows beachgoers to enjoy an extremely calm ocean and also very little sargassum on the beach. One afternoon when there was a little seaweed on the beach, I witnessed staff quickly cleaning it up with equipment, so they’re very on top of things when it comes to maintaining the beach.
I found service at the resort to be excellent — everyone is always quick to greet you with a friendly smile and we always had great dining experiences with the staff. The front desk staff was kind and helpful, and the entertainment staff were all really energetic and fun. Room service always came quickly and on time. Housekeeping was good but a bit inconsistent in that they always cleaned the rooms at different times of day. But overall service was really good.