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Best Resort in Cancun for Families

Club Med is turning the spring-break mecca into a family-friendly hot spot

If the name "Club Med" conjures up images of suntan-oiled singles frolicking among the palm trees, then you're stuck in the '80s. These days, visitors to Club Med resorts around the world are 70 percent families, 20 percent couples and only 10 percent singles. And with the opening of its new Aguamarina family suites at Club Med Cancun Yucatan, the resort giant is beginning to turn this spring-break mecca into the best resort in Cancun for families. My mission: Make my first visit to Club Med and see how it matches up with the resort I daydreamed about 30 years ago.

Cozumel's Best Family-Friendly Resort | Jamaica's Best All-Inclusive Resort for Families

Club Med Cancun | Best Family-Friendly All-Inclusive Resort in Cancun Mexico | Aerial

Just north of the Yucatan peninsula, Club Med Cancun has 436 total rooms up for grabs. Does that mean it'll just be me and 435 other singles exchanging sly smiles and winks under our '80s-era Ray-Bans? Not quite, as I found out — though the sunglasses are still a good idea in Mexico.

Club Med

Club Med Cancun | Best Family-Friendly All-Inclusive Resort in Cancun Mexico | Aguamarina Family Rooms at Club Med Cancun

Still having trouble picturing Club Med as a family resort? Here's proof: Each of the 60 new Aguamarina suites for families has a view of the ocean, separate bedrooms for adults and children, and terraces or balconies. The suites are on the far end of the property from the resort's main lobby, so guests are driven to their suites on eight-seat golf carts, which are constantly circling the property like a finely tuned taxi service.

Club Med

Club Med Cancun | Best Family-Friendly All-Inclusive Resort in Cancun Mexico | Aguamarina Bed Rooms at Club Med

The "adult" bedroom in an Aguamarina family suite includes a king-size bed, flat-screen television, mini-refrigerators and a couch for lounging. Missing from my '80s image of Club Med: white shag carpeting, a velour painting of dolphins mating and a heart-shaped bed. Turns out the 2014 version is more practical.

Club Med

Club Med Cancun | Best Family-Friendly All-Inclusive Resort in Cancun Mexico | Kids Rooms at Club Med

OK, this photo of dueling twin beds brings back memories of the '80s, specifically my college dorm room — only with towel animals, which I categorically deny ever having made. Young guests at Club Med Cancan Yucatan get their own bedroom in the family suites, including a TV set and separate bathroom to call their own.

Steve Spears

Club Med Cancun | Best Family-Friendly All-Inclusive Resort in Cancun Mexico | Petit Club Med Cancun

Did you know Club Med starred in its own made-for-TV movie back in 1986? Titled simply_ Club Med_, the flick starred Linda Hamilton (from The Terminator), future HBO talk show host Bill Maher and comedian Sinbad. One thing that was missing from the movie's plot? A mini club for tots. That's because Cancun's Petit Club Med, which caters to 2- and 3-year-olds, didn't open until summer 2014 (though Club Med itself has offered children's programs since 1967). Among the services offered are 24-hour babysitter service and a pool geared to starting swimmers. (Sinbad appearances are likely an additional charge.)

Club Med

Club Med Cancun | Best Family-Friendly All-Inclusive Resort in Cancun Mexico | Golf Course

Golf? Now we're talking! I'll grab my woods and irons, cue up the Caddyshack soundtrack and head to the ... miniature golf court. This course, which is actually part of the children's new playground area, sits right next to the Aguamarina family suites, where that classic '80s golfing comedy is most likely not on Pay-per-view. That's OK. I didn't play golf in the '80s ... or now. I'll just work on my short game. Tennis, beach soccer, beach volleyball and kayaks are all just steps away for when I'm ready to break a real sweat.

Club Med

Club Med Cancun | Best Family-Friendly All-Inclusive Resort in Cancun Mexico | Tennis Courts

My penchant for wearing tight short shorts finally pays off. Check out these tennis courts. They're everywhere at Club Med Cancun Yucatan. Finally, my vintage image of Club Med (and my very dated sense of style) pays off. Tennis is still as popular here as it was when John McEnroe tore up the grass courts of Wimbledon. Only at Club Med, you don't have to bring your racket along. Equipment is provided, and pros are waiting to give you tips — just in case it's been a while since you chased a yellow ball around the court.

Club Med

Club Med Cancun | Best Family-Friendly All-Inclusive Resort in Cancun Mexico | Trapeze at Club Med

The resort features a "Flying Trapeze School" and circus activites for guests. No lion taming, but you can soar high in the sky (with the help and careful guidance of instructors) and learn to juggle like a clown. I'm pretty sure Bill Maher never did this during the movie_ Club Med_. And I'm pretty glad I left this challenge to the younger, lighter and more flexible guests during my visit. Still, it's a blast to watch, and the kids can't get enough.

Club Med

Club Med Cancun | Best Family-Friendly All-Inclusive Resort in Cancun Mexico | Watersports

On the last day, I decide to rebel and embrace my '80s stereotype of Club Med. Hairy chest? Check. Bottle of Coppertone. Yep. Cheesy mustache and deep tan? Give me a week on these windsurfing and sailing toys and I'll be all set on the required facial hair and improved tint on my pasty white skin. For an additional cost, deep-sea fishing, scuba-diving lessons and golf packages also are available.

Club Med

 Med Cancun | Best Family-Friendly All-Inclusive Resort in Cancun Mexico | Restaurants

I can't believe I'm just now mentioning food. Let me offer you this plate of shrimp as way of apologizing. I found it at La Hacienda, the resort's main restaurant featuring a buffet of international and Mexican specialties. Other dining options are Las Cazuelas, an overwater restaurant with a killer view of the Caribbean, and La Estancia, an indoor/outdoor eatery during the day that transforms into an Argentinian grill complete with wine cellar at night.

Steve Spears

 Med Cancun | Best Family-Friendly All-Inclusive Resort in Cancun Mexico | Beach at Club Med Cancun Yucatan

Back in the '80s, '90s or even the futuristic year of 2014, it's all about the beach. And the one at Club Med Cancun Yucatan is hard to beat. So my antiquated view of what Club Med used to be? Maybe that stereotype really just needs a little sun, sand and family members too. Next visit, I'll leave the gold chains and Magnum P.I. shirt at home.

Club Med

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