My Favorite North American Resorts

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Although I haven’t been to all the top-voted resorts in North America in order to write this, I have been to quite a few and the following are my favorites. They are the resorts that I would – and want to – go back to. My reviews are based on what I consider to be the three most important things about a resort: Food, Activities, and Cleanliness.

 

So first or all, WHY stay at a resort rather than a hotel?

Resorts are for those who don’t want to spend a lot of their vacation time traveling, and by traveling, I mean traveling by buses, trains, etc to get to certain destinations. Resorts are for those who want to relax during their short vacation (usually less than a week to 10 days) and yet still have many activities to keep themselves entertained. Luxury resorts also offer private transportation to local attractions so it’s more safe and convenient. The luxury resorts have many restaurants to choose from so you never have to travel far or google where to go for your next meal.

 

 

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1 ~Walt Disney Resorts (Orlando, Florida, USA)

Food: 5 stars

Activities: 5+ stars

Cleanliness: 5 stars

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I’ve been to Disney World for about 8 times, and I’ve stayed at 4 or 5 star hotels in Orlando during all my previous visits except for the most recent one, which was in January 2017. I booked the Grand Floridian. I booked the Disney resort a few months earlier because they get booked up super fast. After experiencing a Disney resort myself, I believe it is crucial for you to stay at a Disney resort when you visit Orlando, (unless you hate Disney) you can even stay for just one night for the experience and then go stay at another hotel. Why? Because Disney resorts are filled with magic! They have adorable things in every corner (I won’t tell you what’s there you will have to discover it yourselves) and the food is great and all Disney-themed. The most important of all, you can choose to have Character Dining for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So if you are traveling with kids, you will not want to miss Character Dining, that’s when you can enjoy delicious food while talking to your favorite princesses or other Disney characters. Transportation to the Disney parks is super easy because the monorail picks you up right from the resort. You can also see fireworks every night from your resort. In addition, don’t forget to order an in-room celebration to make your stay extra magical. There are also shows and water parks at the resort so you can’t get bored even if you chose to stay at the resort for the whole day (but honestly when you are in Orlando, there are just too many attractions and parks to visit that it will be hard to just stay at your resort). I’m still a kid on the inside so I absolutely LOVE everything about Disney.

 

2~ The Breakers (West Palm Beach, Florida, USA)

Food: 5+ stars

Activities: 5 stars

Cleanliness: 5 stars

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You know right away that this is going to be a luxurious resort when you see where it is located. The Breakers is voted one of the top most luxurious family resorts for a reason. It has the best food, (I’m a picky eater so when I say the food is good, you can pretty much rely on my opinion) many activities for everyone, and is very clean. You can take many great photos at the resort because it just has so many luxurious backdrops. Now taking great photos mean a lot to me when traveling or vacationing because they can truly capture the great moments so that when you get old and start to lose some of your memories, you will have the photos there to remind you of all the good times. The Breakers has an indoor play center and an outdoor playground for kids. It has a private beach with brown sand (the type of sand that won’t fly into your eyes when you play with it, unlike the white sand in Mexico), a beautiful golf course, and fabulous pools. If you do decide to go to the Breakers, you must take a bike and ride along the waterline, it’s absolutely breathtaking and you can also see the backyards of the wealthy.

3~ The Beloved (Playa Mujeres, Mexico)

Food: 5 stars

Activities: 5 stars

Cleanliness: 5 stars

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I’m sure when you google all the luxury resorts in Mexico you just can’t decide which one is the best one. I’d say The Beloved is the best when it comes to food and activities. Many Mexican resorts have amazing buffets, but if you want good fine dining food in addition to the buffet that you can have 24/7 at any Mexican resort, then you should definitely give The Beloved a try. The Beloved also has all kinds of water activities that you can book right at the resort. They also offer private transportation to the local attractions. When you book resort rooms, choose the villas that have a private ocean-view terrace with your own private pool on it.

4~ Fern Resort (Orillia, Ontario, Canada)

Food: 5 stars

Activities: 4+ stars

Cleanliness: 3 stars

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If you love nature and the simple life, then give Canadian resorts a try. Fern resort has a great buffet and a la carte menus. The on-site activities include riding bikes in the beautiful wooded trails, boating in the peaceful lake, playing tennis, golfing, story telling by campfire… I also love how they put swings right by the lake, it’s a beautiful idea. They also have shows and playgrounds for children. The rooms are not very luxurious but hey, you are here to embrace the nature!

And here are two five star resorts that are top rated on the internet but I didn’t find them as good:

5~ Iberostar Cancun (Cancun, Mexico)

Food: 3+ stars

Activities: 4+ stars

Cleanliness: 4 stars

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Since I’ve been to The Beloved, which I absolutely loved, I didn’t find Iberostar as impressive. Although it has a massive white sand beach and offers massages by the ocean (Mmmm), it just didn’t offer as many on-site water activities as The Beloved. In addition, it was very difficult to book their fine dining restaurants because they are all booked up. So we ate at the Buffet most of the time. The buffet is big and has a great variety of food but the quality of the food is so-so, the fruits didn’t taste fresh and it’s as if the chef didn’t spend time on any particular food, in my opinion, the best food there were nachos and pastas…The service was not that good either… But they did have great entertainment shows every night and sometimes even during the day, some employees dressed up as Frozen characters to entertain the kids. I loved their swim-out villas, where you can have your own private swimming pool that is facing the ocean. By the way, when you are in Mexico, it’s a great idea to hire a professional photographer to take some amazing beach side photos for you as I did at Iberostar.

6~The Beaches Turks and Caicos (Turks and Caicos, The Providentiales)

Food: 2 stars

Activities: 4+ stars

Cleanliness: 3 stars

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Now here’s a resort that made a great promotional video, I bet after you watched the video you will want to book this resort 100%. At least that was what I did. The food was not good at all.  I understand that transportation to an island is difficult and thus none of the food tasted fresh, but none of the food choices were nicely made neither. The service is EXTEMELY slow, as many reviewers also commented online. There were way too many mosquitoes on-site, even in the rooms while the fans are turned on, I guess this is reasonable since it is surrounded with trees. But the resort did have children clubs and fun playgrounds. The resort has 4 villages and I stayed in the newly renovated Key West but I think the best ones are the French and the Italian. I didn’t even get to see the Caribbean village. That was because I booked the resort for five nights but only stayed for one before flying home. The resort didn’t refund any of my money of course because it was “a choice” I made to leave early…By the way, if you do go to the Caribbeans, don’t do it in March, the best time to go would be from November to February. Mid March is when it starts to get too hot, and you can’t really enjoy the beach until after 5pm unless you want to get sun burned (even with sunscreen!)

And that’s it for all of my resort reviews! I hope you’ve had fun reading it and that it will give you some ideas about where you want to book your next resort vacation. Please feel free to comment below! Thank you so much for reading!

Love,

Icyna

April 2017

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