Ok here is the lowdown on our beach vacays!
Let me start by saying the beach is my happy place. One hundred percent, the beach heals my soul. I can't even explain it. I feel the most relaxed, spiritual, and content when I'm at a beach. I have always loved Mexico beaches and resorts. There is nothing quite like them! Tooth and I have traveled to many beaches in our 13 years together and now we always gravitate to Mexico beaches over California, Hawaii, Florida, etc. Those beaches are also gorgeous, just different experiences at each place. There is something about being in another country, the culture, the heat, all of it... I'm obsessed. We also love Costa Rica and Dominican Republic! My number one FAVORITE beach experience of all time was Bora Bora on our honeymoon. The most stunning place I've ever seen. But Bora Bora is quite difficult to get to and so expensive. Not exactly the type of trip you take annually with kids. But if you're looking to celebrate a very specific anniversary, birthday or honeymoon, I recommend Bora Bora Four Seasons HANDS DOWN!
I first went to Mexico when I was a teenager and it was love at first visit. Tooth and I first went to Mexico together when I was pregnant with Ryder. We were headed to Cancun for a wedding and it was amazing. We had the best time and my love for Mexico and the beach was real. Several years later (2019 I believe) Tooth and I went back to Cancun - just the two of us. We had the best time! When we were on this trip we ended up joining the Vacation Club (aka AMResort Collection aka Preferred Club) associated with these sister resorts. I was so excited! The thought of being part of a club and taking a yearly trip to Mexico with the kids was the most exciting thought ever.
There were a lot of reasons we joined but as members of AMResorts, we get better room upgrades, better prices and the all inclusive experience with kids specifically is just the best. We agreed that we would likely be taking vacations to Mexico (or a beach) yearly with the kids anyway, so it made sense to join. Neither one of us grew up traveling a lot as young children and that is one thing we really want to experience with our family: travel.
After we joined the club, Tim popped his pectoral muscle. Do you guys remember this?! He was lifting and his pec literally POPPED and rolled up in his chest. The creepiest (and most painful) thing! He ended up getting surgery and he was going to be out of work for a few weeks. Somehow, I convinced him he should spend his time healing (and in a sling) sitting pool side in Mexico sipping pina coladas. We ended up taking an 11 day trip to Cancun with the kids. This was the best ever! It was a very long trip for us and it was truly the best. We all had a blast! This was the kids first time going to Mexico and they were equally excited about our family joining the Vacation Club.
Since joining the club, we have been to several spots and have loved each one. I will give a few deets about each spot below. If you're wanting more information about the resorts, click links to be taken to site. You can always get information about joining the Preferred Club as well. Which I recommend! The Preferred Club we joined is very hard to explain because it comes in two parts. One part: AMResort Collection. Second part: Lifestyle Collection. Which included hotels all over the world. Lifestyle is much harder to explain! Haha. So I will focus on the AMResorts through Unlimited Vacation Club here:
This is where our friends were married in 2013. This was the same resort we went back to after Tooth popped his pec (lol) with the kids. This resort is a little smaller than some others, which we liked. We're a big fan of swim up bars. Haha!
This is the resort we were at when we officially joined the Preferred Club. Secrets resorts are adults only. We loved this place and Tooth really wants to go back someday. There are just so many resorts we want to check out!
We went to this resort with two other families and had the BEST time! This resort has dolphins on property that you can feed or swim with. I can't wait to go back to this resort and do that with the kids someday! This is probably my favorite resort so far. This resort was the first one we went to with huge water slides. This location is a HIT! It is also a much larger property. Tooth and the guys went golfing while we stayed at this resort and they loved it. Just beautiful! I am a sucker for the Cancun beach.
This is on an Island called Isla Mujeres. You take a boat from the airport to the island. Tooth and I went to this location for our 9th anniversary. Zoetry is adults only and is the nicest/highest level of resort. Zoetry is known for being a smaller, quieter crowd. Dreams and Secrets are more lively. More music, people mingling, drinking, etc. Zoetry is slower, quieter pace. It was really relaxing! When we were there, hotel was still at 20% capacity due to Covid, so it was extra quiet for us! Haha. This wasn't our favorite spot. We loved it, but likely won't go back because the hotel wasn't as new as others we had been to. Still beautiful and clean. But apparently, we're hotel snobs! lol The decor here was more classic/rustic Mexican vibes.
Since joining the club, we realized we have a few friends who are members also! One of Tims friends really loves THIS Zoetry resort. In the future, we will definitely want to try out more Zoetry resorts.
While we were here, we rented a golf cart and toured the island a bit. It was SO much fun! Shopping, eating at some delish restaurants, and some amazing views! I highly recommend renting a golf cart for a day.
We had some friends recommend this spot and we loved it! If you follow me on insta, you may remember the zip lines, climbing wall and slides. This hotel is kid heaven! This resort is on the smaller side (Playa Mujeres is huge!) and we liked that because we felt comfortable letting Ryder run to and from the slides and the water park alone. He was never too far away. He also made a buddy and they had a BLAST running to a from the pools, slides, water park, and the Barefoot Grille (the outdoor lunch restaurant next to pool). We got to see Harry Potter on a huge screen under the stars one night. It was great. We will definitely go back to this location. Our trip to Natura was a quick one last time!
Dreams Macao Beach - Dominican Republic
This was our first time using the club in another country. We all absolutely LOVED this trip. We were celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary here. It was truly a special vacation together. We weren't planning to take kids on trip originally, but plans changed and we decided to all go. It was beautiful! Gorgeous mountain views from the beach. We went boogie boarding several times. And this was the beach we took our family photos on for our anniversary. We also had a table set up on the beach for a special dinner together. This was a private dinner I had planned. I contacted the hotel and told them my ideas. Sent photos, etc. It turned out so beautiful! One of those nights you wish you could relive. So, so special. The kids still talk about this trip and that beach dinner. They want to go back! And I hope we do someday. Truly gorgeous and holds a special memory for us now. The only con to this trip was the layover. (The kids are awesome travelers and the layover wasn't a big deal in the end! But it is one extra step.) This resort is on the larger size. It has some epic water slides which Ryder loved.
This was our 2022 Spring Break trip! This is one of the newer hotels in the Club. It is so pretty! This was a unique location because the Dreams and Secrets (adults only) are on the same property. We haven't seen this before and I don't believe there are many locations like this. Often, they will be near each other, walking distance. But this one was on the same property and shared restaurants, etc. So it was different. There are some restaurants that are adults only. Tooth and I said we would love to go back there someday with family. Kids can stay on the Dreams side with Grandma and we can stay on the adults side. HAHA - Suckers!! lol jk. But there are some huge perks to being on the Secrets side. You have access to ALL restaurants and ALL pools.
The beach here was rockier. Beautiful, but rockier than the kids were used to. We wore sandals to walk the beach and collect seashells. You can still walk the beach and there are a LOT of surfers at this location. We were shocked to see surfers out there all day long!
There are no large slides here. There is a kid waterpark though! The kids played there a couple times. But no massive waterslides like some other locations.
Zoetry - adults only. This is the nicest and quietest resort.
Breathless - adults only. These resorts are the biggest party. They are apparently known for having one topless pool at each spot. Haha
Secrets - adults only. Secrets resorts are more social and party-time than Zoetry.
Alua - adults only. I actually don't know anything about Alua resorts. Hyatt recently purchased the entire AMResort Collection. So there are some changes and additions. I believe this is new since Hyatt has taken over.
Dreams - family resort. This is our go-to with kids! You may see some Now Resorts online. I believe those will slowly be switched over and updated into Dreams Resorts.
Sunscape - family resort. I believe these are catered to younger kids. Lots of water parks, etc. We haven't been to a Sunscape resort yet.
I'm not certain this is the most up to date photo showing the countries and locations. They also have several locations in Spain! But this gives you an idea. There are a ton of options!
PHEW! That was a lot of information. I hope it wasn't too overwhelming. See THIS page to get more info on what each hotel/brand has to offer. And happy beach vacation planning! :)
**This is NOT sponsored.