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Location for 40th birthday celebration with friends

Location for 40th birthday celebration with friends

May 7th, 2015, 11:10 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 3
Location for 40th birthday celebration with friends

Hi everyone,

I am looking for an all-inclusive resort where I can celebrate my 40th birthday with my husband and friends. I’ve been reading these forums for weeks, trying to find the best place, but honestly I am having a hard time finding the right location!

Features that I am looking for:
• Adults only all-inclusive.
• Beach with soft sand and gentle waters.
• Ability to walk off the resort for activities, bars, etc.
• Good food and service at the resort.
• Swim-up bar.
• Good nightlife. My friends are drinkers and like to stay out late. We are not dance club people, we love rock music and enjoy seeing live bands and just hanging out at bars with people. A piano bar would also be great for us.

We can spend up to $500 per night per couple.

I originally wanted to do Negril because it has most of the elements I am looking for. The CSA resort looks great (I believe my group would be all couples). But I have read that CSA can be very quiet and has a more romantic vibe (let me know if this is not correct). I love the feel of Negril - 7 mile beach, low rise buildings, the lush terrain of Jamaica - but I am not seeing a suitable AI in Negril.

I know that Playa Del Carmen may be a good fit, but I’ve been there many times and was hoping to try someplace new. However, I would consider it if we are not able to find anywhere else.

I've been to Aruba and am not interested in returning, so please count that out.

Any other suggestions?
kateblud is offline  
May 7th, 2015, 05:10 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,077
I would say you described the Royal Playa del Carmen resort in Playa del Carmen. One of my absolute favorite adult only AI's.

I spent my 40th in Cancun. We did the bar hopping tour to some of the most popular night clubs and had a great time.

Negril, Jamaica is pretty laid back and the AI's in that area are really not that great. Instead look at the Iberostar adult only in Montego Bay if you really want Jamaica.

We been to several AI's and nothing else really fits your criteria. You might look at Cabo San Lucas. Not any of the AI's in the corridor though as it's too far from the local restaurants and bars and the ocean is not swimmable. We stayed at the Marina Fiesta AI. The beach was a 10 minute walk down the way. I say it would fit everything but the beach criteria. There may be an AI hotel closer to beach area.
KVR is offline  
May 8th, 2015, 09:51 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 3
Thanks for the reply, KVR. We are actually thinking about Cancun, as I think it could satisfy all of my requirements except the walking one.

Do you know of any resorts in Cancun that would be a bit livelier in the evenings but also have good food/service/beach? A few that I read about that sound promising:

Secrets the Vine
Hard Rock Cancun (or Riviera Maya)
Golden Parnassus

I understand Playa would be near perfect, but my parents live there half of the year and I visit them often, so that location would be a last resort!

I'll check out Cabo too.
kateblud is offline  
May 8th, 2015, 03:16 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 92,298
You're right about Negril. I love love LOVE Negril but it's not really about all-inclusives or adults only resorts. It's more rustic and laid back. Places like this:

I think Cancun gives more options if you have to have an All-Inclusive. Do know it looks kind of like Miami beach there, not really Mexican in flavor.

I'd recommend Puerto Vallarta because it has stellar nightlife and clubs, but they are downtown, people eat and drink out & about, not so much sticking only to your resort there.
suze is online now  
May 8th, 2015, 06:51 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,077
Cancun has a hotel zone that is shaped like a "7". The hotels at the top of the "7" have the better beach and the calmer water. We stayed at the Oasis Viva. It was not adult's only then, but it is now. We didn't have any issues walking in Cancun. The only thing is that most everything is a little more spread out than 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen. However, the bus system in Cancun is good. We actually walked from the Oasis Viva to one of the main tourist shops and from there we took the bus to La Isla Mall. When we did the bar hopping tour we meet at the first bar and then walked to the others. They last one was The City and then we walked from it back to the Oasis Viva at 2am. No issues.

Cancun has put in several hotels since we have been there. However, I have never read anything good about the Golden Parnassus. The Royal Cancun is the sister resort to the Royal Playa del Carmen. The only draw back is the beach there is not that great. I don't care for the RIU chain, especially the one in Jamaica, but the RIU Las Americas is next door to the Oasis Viva and would have the nightlife atmosphere you are looking for.

"Do know it looks kind of like Miami beach there, not really Mexican in flavor." This is simply not true. Suze has never even been to Cancun, so I don't know how she can make a statement like this to begin with. We've been to Cancun x2 and Miami x4. There is really no direct comparison of the two. Suze also has quite the aversion to AI's resorts, destinations and vacations. She only recommends PV because it's her favorite destination and not necessarily a destination that would truly fit your criteria. We have been to many AI's within Mexico and the Caribbean.

I wouldn't recommend Puerta Vallarta because the AI selection there is just so limited. The better known chain AI's that are comparable to Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Jamaica are located in Nuevo Vallarta, which is quite the distance from the main area of Puerto Vallarta. We stayed at the Los Arcos on their AI plan, which was only good for unlimited drinks as the food was not that great. The location was really great though. We ate a lot off property. However, we found the food in Cabo San Lucas so much better. Even though we did the AI there, their AI consisted of restaurants along the boardwalk at the Marina, which is open to anyone. In our experience, you get better tasting food when the restaurants also has to please paying customers. We also ate at some of the local restaurants. I would go back to Cabo strictly for their food. The one thing PV and Cabo have in common is their beaches, which are not great. The better beaches are on the Caribbean side of Mexico.

If you are interested I have all of our vacation photos posted. You might find a destination that appeals to you.


Just click 'all' to scroll all the way down.

I would just add, if you truly could live without it being an AI beach destination, I would suggest New Orleans if you haven't been there already. Definitely my second choice. Key West, FL is a good 3rd choice.
KVR is offline  
May 8th, 2015, 10:30 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 4,662
<> I totally agree with that. The hotel zone is one huge long road lined with mega hotels, a kind of mini USA, this is not necessarily a negative and I much preferred Cancun to PDC. For the type of vacation you want it would be perfect. My daughter recently stayed at Le Blanc and loved it. The only negative I would say is if you like to swim in the sea, it is too rough.
Odin is offline  
May 9th, 2015, 04:09 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,077
"The only negative I would say is if you like to swim in the sea, it is too rough."

The resorts located at the top of the "7" the ocean there is not too rough to swim in.
KVR is offline  
May 11th, 2015, 08:30 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 92,298

My Mexican co-worker who just got back from a vacation in Cancun with his family said this to me.
suze is online now  
May 12th, 2015, 12:01 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 92,298
KVR, I am hardly the first person to make this observation. I'm really surprised you disagree with it. Just take a look at any photo of the hotel/resort strip area of Cancun.
suze is online now  
May 18th, 2015, 01:42 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,077
Suze, again we are going to have to agree to disagree, which we do often. When you actually ever go to Cancun then we can re-discuss.

To the OP, we just returned from Puerto Rico, if you can give up the AI it fits all of your other criteria. I'll post a full trip report with a photo link in the next few days.
KVR is offline  
May 18th, 2015, 01:57 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 92,298
Anyone can go to Google and type in the words 'hotel strip Cancun' and see for themselves photos of what it looks like there.
suze is online now  
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