Travel During COVID and Royalton Riviera Cancun
As the end of my week in Cancun has come to an end I have thoroughly enjoyed our week at the beach and being able to feel a small sense of normal again. While I fully understand we are currently living in a time that is far from normal, being able to travel again has allowed me one week to reset.
This is my first international trip since the start of the COVID Pandemic and I was very impressed by the protocols in place to keep everyone safe. I traveled by air in September for the first time domestically, this trip to Cancun my experience with air travel was the same as in September, you can read about what air travel on Delta is currently like here https://www.goodkarmavacations.com/post/back-to-flying-what-is-it-like in my blog post from September. Delta Airlines has now committed to blocking the middle seats on all of it planes through March 31, 2021, so we can be fairly confident this same experience will last at least through then.
When we arrived in Cancun getting through customs was a breeze with no lines and everyone continued to wear masks. Upon arriving in baggage claim, an area of the Cancun airport that is typically a bit of a crowded circus was rather very calm and empty. We were quickly able to obtain our bags and exit the airport for our private transportation I had pre-arraigned to the hotel.
The transportation service had a 17 passenger bus for the 5 of us, allowing for plenty of space to physically distance ourselves from the driver.
As we arrived at our resort, the Royalton Riviera Cancun, we were greeted by their staff who sanitized our luggage, took our temperatures, and provided us with sanitizer. This became a norm throughout our entire stay, every time you entered into a restaurant we were greeted by a staff member that would take our temperature and provide us with hand sanitizer. Sanitizing and hand washing stations were found frequently throughout the resort. All resorts in Mexico are currently running at maximum 50% capacity, making it very easy to keep distance from other guests. While at the resort guests are not required to wear masks, I found that some still chose to and some did not, however I never felt uncomfortable as due to the limited capacity I never had a need to come any where within 6 feet of someone outside of my own family. However, all staff are required to wear a mask at all times.
While COVID definitely is causing things to not be normal, only 4 of the 9 restaurants are open for dinner and reservations are now required (due to COVID) to eat at a restaurant, we really enjoyed our time here. We were booked in a Junior Suite Ocean View with Terrace and Jacuzzi Tub. At first I was not sure paying extra for Diamond club was worth it as due to COVID some Diamond Club amenities have been cut such as the Diamond Club restaurant is currently only open for lunch rather than breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the Diamond Club Lounge where guests are typically provided with premium liquors is currently closed, and Butler service is now limited to only certain levels of room categories rather than all Diamond Club rooms. While it still may not be worth it for some, for us the Diamond club pool access alone made it 100% worth the cost. The service at this pool far exceeded any expectations I could have had. Mauricio the pool attendant was fantastic, ensuring we had our pool side seats every morning when we came down, and often checked in on us. Julio and Joel, the bar servers, were amazing always making sure we have anything we needed. The Vibes entertainment staff were great with our kids. There are very few kids in the Diamond club pool area and they took the time to get to know our kids and make sure they were having fun. This service level is not something that will be found at the other pools at the resort.
The grounds at this resort are very nice with a walking path spanning the entire length of the resort between the pools and the ocean, palm trees lining the beach, and ten different pools to choose from. They have entertainment at the main pool every afternoon, live music and games. They have pool volleyball and beach volleyball games every day. The evening entertainment I will admit was a bit corny, but fine background entertainment while enjoying drinks after dinner.
The kids pool area is fantastic for grade school age children and under. It is huge with so much to do from a water playground to waterslides. My 8 year old loved it.
One downside of this resort is the location, the beach is plagued with a lot of seaweed, we will typically spend some time down at the beach when we are at a resort and didn't at all this trip because there was so much seaweed in the water. While the view from our room was still beautiful, the seaweed definitely made this more of a pool vacation than a beach vacation. So if you are someone that cares mostly about the pools and the beach and ocean swimming isn’t that important to you then this resort is a good choice, however this resort is not for those that the beach and ocean are of top priority when traveling. I will only send my clients that are beach lovers to other areas of Cancun that does not typically experience seaweed.
While our dinner options were limited to 4 restaurants because of COVID, we were still able to try almost every restaurant between lunch and dinner. We ate at Hunter (steakhouse), Taj (Indian), Zen (Japanese), Caribbean Grill (seafood), Graize (Italian), Score (sports bar), and Armadillo (Diamond a club restaurant, Tex Mex). All were fantastic.
Overall my impressions of this resort are positive. The service is fantastic, at least as a Diamond Club guest, I can not speak for non-Diamond Club, the views from the ocean view rooms are beautiful, and the food is excellent. I will definitely continue to personally vacation at Royalton properties and continue to recommend Royalton properties to my clients.
As for travel right now during COVID, for those that are not at higher risk of complications I believe it can be safe to travel as long as you do it responsibly and take precautions. You must still wear masks, wash and sanitize your hands, and keep your distance from others outside of your household. Just because you are on vacation doesn’t mean you can stop following protocols, continue to do what you are suppose to do and you too can travel.