All-Inclusive Travel

Our Brutally Honest Ocean Riviera Paradise Review: An Honest Look into our Stay

By
on
April 23, 2019

As a top family travel blogger, sharing first-hand and honest reviews is very important to me. In this article, we’ll share our tell-all Ocean Riviera Paradise review as a result of our recent 6-night stay.

Our Ocean Riviera Paradise review includes the good and the not-so-good…with the hope that this analysis will let you know exactly what to expect when staying at Ocean Riviera Paradise.

We’ll thoroughly discuss the Ocean Riviera Paradise resort, restaurants, rooms, swimming beach, entertainment, and safety.

Read on to check out our full Ocean Riviera Paradise review!

*All of the opinions expressed in this review are my own. This is not a paid post nor was our stay hosted, endorsed, or sponsored by the resort brand.

Children by the ocean at Ocean Riviera Paradise
Ocean Riviera Paradise Review – The Beach

Ocean Riviera Paradise Review – Location and Safety

Getting to Ocean Riviera Paradise requires international travel with kids as it is located on the Riviera Maya seafront in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.

Most guests visiting Ocean Riviera Paradise choose to fly into Cancun, Mexico and ground transfer to the resort from there.

There are direct flights to Cancun from Minneapolis, Atlanta, Phoenix, New York, and other major cities, so getting there is quite easy.

After our arrival into Cancun, we traveled 40 miles via Canada Transfers from the Cancun International Airport to the resort. This ground transfer took 50 minutes.

The shuttle service was clean and felt safe. They have friendly drivers and excellent customer service.

We would recommend and use this shuttle service again as part of our Ocean Riviera Paradise review.

Additional planning tip: Ocean Riviera Paradise is a 15-minute taxi ride to the city center of Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.

Top U.S. Travel Blog | Travel With A Plan: Ocean Riviera Paradise guest room
Ocean Riviera Paradise guest room

Ocean Riviera Paradise Review – Rooms

There are a whopping 974 guest rooms at Ocean Riviera Paradise all-inclusive. Rooms are tastefully appointed and decorated with contemporary decor. The decor is a fun combination of both retro and glam.

Some rooms have swanky features like direct pool access, rooftop terraces, or terraces with private hot tubs and ocean views.  The guest room bathrooms are clean and trendy with colorful tile designs.

Great in-room amenities include flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi-, safes, air-conditioning, free minibars, and bottled water.

Ocean Riviera Paradise rooms are spread across 4 different areas of the expansive resort. The four areas are, Daisy, Privilege, Eden, and El Beso.

The Daisy section is for families with kids and Privilege is for VIP travelers (who pay more).

Ocean Riviera Paradise Eden is closer to the beach with direct pool access. Ocean Riviera Paradise El Beso is the adult-only section.

Additional planning tip: We loved our main floor room in the Ocean Riviera Paradise Daisy family club! The Daisy Club building is located adjacent to a great family pool and swim-up bar.

Having a guest room on the main floor also means easy access via the patio with no steps or elevators.

Though the rooms were quite damp and smelled of mildew, this is something that we were able to overlook. Considering its close proximity to both the jungle and ocean, the odor did not seem that out of line.

Products that trap moisture and eliminate the smell of musty odors can help when staying in ocean-side accommodations. For other must-have ideas on what to bring, check out our Mexico packing list!

Ocean Riviera Paradise Review – The ‘good’

Amenities

Ocean Riviera Paradise all-inclusive has a lot to offer when it comes to resort amenities.

Some of our favorite amenities include:

  • All-inclusive food and drinks. No dishing out cash to kids or keeping track of expenses while trying to ‘vacation’.
  • Evening entertainment that appeals to all ages. Activities like dance parties, balloon animals, and magicians are held each night prior to the evening’s main attraction. Live music and pop-up bars frequented the terrace throughout the week.
  • An on-site casino that provided a place for the men in our group to meet up each evening. To note, however, is that you could no be in the casino unless you were gambling. The Ocean Riviera Paradise casino was a fun and unique perk at this resort!
  • An on-site bowling alley that provided a great indoor alternative when needing a break from the hot afternoon sun.
  • An ice cream parlor and coffee shop that is open from sun up until sundown. This was a highlight for the kids and adults alike!
  • 3 tennis courts and a basketball court for the sports enthusiasts in your group.

Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor

Boys sitting by the pool
The Ocean Riviera Paradise ocean side pool

Pools

With a total of 5 gigantic pools, there is plenty of swimming and lounge space for everyone. What we liked about the pools is that they each had their own vibe and offered guests a different experience.

One catered to kids, another to poolside entertainment and music, one for serenity, and another for its sweeping ocean views.

It did not take long to find a poolside ‘home’ for the day that was both comfortable and entertaining. By showing up with all of the necessary things to bring to the beach or pool, you’ll be set here for hours!

Top U.S. Travel Blog | Travel With A Plan: Ocean Riviera Paradise Review of water park with slides and sprayers
Ocean Riviera Paradise review: An awesome water park!

Water park

Another perk at Ocean Riviera Paradise resort is its large water park area. Perfect for the younger travelers in your family, the water park area includes slides, sprayers, and a large climbing area.

The water park is located next to a small playground and soccer area; two more great options to keep kids entertained.

Kids Clubs

The Daisy Club at Ocean Riviera Paradise offers a full program of activities for kids ages 4-12.

Supervised activities include pirate day, aqua kids, eco-day, kids Olympics, music quiz, kids shows, and dancing games.

The Teen Club offers an extensive program of sports, games, and activities aimed at teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17. Features include a video game area with a PlayStation and Xbox, a movie room, table football, mini pool, and board games.

Though our kids did not spend any time in these clubs, this may be a nice option and can be used as childcare.

Gluten-Free Options

The gluten-free selections at Ocean Riviera Paradise resort are tasty and plentiful!

Upon arrival at a restaurant, guests are asked if they have any dietary restrictions or food allergies. They are then given a place card that acknowledges their specifications.

The wait staff did a great job of acknowledging these restrictions and always double-checked food allergies etc. before placing food before a guest.

Expert planning tip: Gluten-free items at a la carte restaurants were clearly marked in the buffet line and did not have to be individually ordered.

*Be extra prepared for your Mexico getaway! Click the following image to get your FREE family vacation packing list that is both customizable and printable!

Vibe

The overall vibe at Ocean Riviera Paradise is eclectic and fun!

There is a wide range of ages and clientele that visit this resort and everyone seemed to be having a great time! This is an important thing to note in our Ocean Riviera Paradise review.

The resort definitely has a party-atmosphere to it as there are always poolside and beachfront activities going on. Likewise, there is always fun music playing in the background.

The Entertainment Staff does a great job of getting guests involved in the entertainment offerings. It was not uncommon to see adults who had had too much to drink, however, so be aware of this type of atmosphere if that may potentially bother you.

Proximity to Off-Site Excursions

It is very popular for guests staying at resorts in Playa Del Carmen to participate in local excursions that take them off of the hotel property. The Riviera Maya coast is lined with snorkeling, underwater river, eco-park, and zip-lining opportunities.

Take a look at what Playa Del Carmen has to offer for family-friendly activities!

Ocean Riviera Paradise Review – The ‘not-so-good’

Check-in

Unfortunately, there was nothing glamorous about the check-in process at Ocean Riviera Paradise resort. There was no champagne or cool towel upon arrival like we have experienced at other all-inclusive resorts.

Likewise, we weren’t escorted to the lobby desk for check-in as you would expect to be in a new and unfamiliar place.

There was an issue with our check-in in that they had incorrectly documented the number of people that would be occupying our room.

Though the issue was eventually resolved, it was a nuisance to have to dig up our original reservation to prove that we had guaranteed the room for 5 guests upon booking.

Finally, though never a guarantee, we had requested multiple times prior to our arrival to have our groups’ rooms in close proximity to one another.

With two rooms on one level, and one room 2 floors down, this request was not honored despite that the capacity at the resort could have easily accommodated this request.

Incidental Policy

One of the most unfortunate things about our stay at Ocean Riviera Paradise happened after a 7-year-old member of our travel party became sick in her bed due to an unexpected stomach bug.

After calling housekeeping to bring fresh sheets, we were appalled to find out that an incidental fee of $200.00 had been charged to our room bill in order to cover the cost of the soiled sheets.

It took multiple phone calls, trips to the front desk, and conversations with management, to convince them why we felt that the accidental illness of a minor child should not warrant such a steep penalty.

They finally removed the fee at the time of check-out, but dealing with this accusation was not a fun way to spend our week of vacation. This is one of the biggest negatives of our stay at Ocean Riviera Paradise.

Ocean Riviera Paradise review:  A rocky beach
Great for building sandcastles!

Beach

Perhaps the biggest downfall of Ocean Riviera Paradise all-inclusive is the swimming beach.

As you will read in multiple reviews across other websites, the swimming area of ORP is full of sharp rocks that require water shoes to protect your feet.

We went in like everyone else thinking, “We will just avoid them.” Or, “There can’t possibly be that many rocks at such a nice resort,” but unfortunately, it is true.

After the kids used the swimming area for the first time (one needing significant first-aid after stepping on a jagged rock), we rarely returned to the beachfront for fear that someone would stumble, or be badly injured.

Another thing to note is that the beach at ORP is not private, and therefore, beach peddlers are plentiful.

We were frequently approached by women and children selling purses and dolls, and various businesses offering beach-side massages.

Ocean Riviera Paradise Restaurants

Ocean Riviera Paradise resort offers a great variety of diverse dining attractions with 10 themed restaurants and 11 bars, none of which require reservations.

The overall food quality at ORP was actually quite poor, and the service was insufficient in handling the busy crowds at this resort.

Unfortunately, we found the food to be so bland that it is hard to pinpoint a favorite restaurant here as everything was just ‘so-so’.

Additional planning tip: We appreciated the large selection of Ocean Riviera Paradise restaurants but were disappointed by the overall food quality. Our saving grace was a great wood-fire pizza stand next to the beach that we ended up eating at every day for lunch.

Ocean Riviera Paradise, long concrete walking corridor and restaurant hub
The Ocean Riviera Paradise restaurant corridor

Size

Though there are separate areas for adults and families, the massive size of Ocean Riviera Paradise isn’t for everyone.

The layout of ORP is long and narrow with the main lobby at one end and the ocean at the other.

There is a large area close to the lobby that is dedicated as the hub of restaurants and shops. The vast trails of paved concrete originate from here and connect to the various guest buildings. This massive path eventually leads to the beach.

The fact that there is a free intra-resort shuttle that runs from one end to the other speaks to its overall volume and capacity.

Resort Reviews: What matters to us in a family vacation

There are literally so many benefits of family travel and having the chance to experience a beautiful all-inclusive resort is one that I would highly recommend.

Because we all have different priorities when we imagine the perfect family vacation, I’ll disclose what is important to us. Knowing this, you will better understand our Ocean Riviera Paradise review.

The traits that we look for in a tropical vacation destination are warm temperatures, a nice beach, and plenty of kids’ activities. We also value its swimming pools, availability of lounge chairs, and multiple dining options.

The things of lesser importance to us are exquisite cuisine, high adrenaline shore excursions, and over-the-top room amenities.

Ocean Riviera Paradise all-inclusive isn’t the first kid-friendly all-inclusive resort that we’ve visited as a family. For this reason, I feel confident in sharing this review as we do have experiences off of which to compare our stay.

Click to read our related post: Dreams Playa Mujeres Review

Ocean Riviera Paradise Review: Who is it good for?

  • Groups: Plenty of lounge chairs for large groups to hang out together; restaurant seating and staff were very accommodating to groups.
  • Families with School-Age Children: Lots to do. Daisy Club for childcare during the day and a great kids pool and water park area.
  • Families with Tweens and Teens: Free WiFii with good connection, and a Teen Club with X-boxes and nightly activities.
  • Girls or Guys Getaway: Plenty of bars, restaurants, and on-site entertainment. A short taxi ride away from shopping and nightlife in Playa Del Carmen.
  • Budget Travelers: Prices are lower than other family all-inclusive resorts. This is felt in the overall dynamics of the resort, however.

Additional planning tip: Don’t forget to pack using these family packing tips and essential travel products to help make your vacation a breeze!

Our family sitting on a bench near the lobby as part of our Ocean Riviera Paradise review
Our family sitting outside of the Ocean Riviera Paradise lobby

Who is it not good for?

  • Multi-generational families: The impressive length and size of this resort requires a lot of walking. Its massive size may not be ideal for small children or older adults.
  • Foodies: Nothing spectacular about the culinary scene at Ocean Riviera Paradise and in fact, the food is quite bland.
  • Anyone looking for a ‘good’ beach: I cannot help but reiterate that if you are looking for a safe and relaxing place to swim in the ocean, ORP is not the place for you.

Ocean Riviera Paradise Review: Conclusion

Ocean Riviera Paradise all-inclusive is a trendy mega-resort with a busy atmosphere and diverse clientele.

What its culinary sophistication lacks in service and flavor is made up for by the tremendous resort amenities and entertainment options.

Although we were able to overlook some of the disappointments of our stay, we would not return.

Likewise, I hesitate to recommend this resort to other families, especially if you have high expectations in regards to food quality and swimming in the ocean.

What are some of the things that you look for in a beach front resort? Have you ever stayed at Ocean Riviera Paradise and had a similar, or different experience?

Jen

If you found our Ocean Riviera Paradise review helpful, click here to read our Related Posts:

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Click here for an honest Ocean Riviera Paradise Review from Top U.S. family travel blog, Travel With A Plan.  Take a look into their stay at family-friendly all-inclusive, Ocean Riviera Paradise in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.  #OceanRivieraParadise #OceanRivieraParadisereview  #OceanRivieraParadiseexcursions #OceanRivieraParadisenightclub #OceanRivieraParadisecasino #OceanRivieraParadisebeachreviews #OceanRivieraParadiseElBeso #oceanrivieraparadisesafety #oceanrivieraparadiserestaurants
Click here for an honest Ocean Riviera Paradise Review from Top U.S. family travel blog, Travel With A Plan.  Take a look into their stay at family-friendly all-inclusive, Ocean Riviera Paradise in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.  #OceanRivieraParadise #OceanRivieraParadisereview  #OceanRivieraParadiseexcursions #OceanRivieraParadisenightclub #OceanRivieraParadisecasino #OceanRivieraParadisebeachreviews #OceanRivieraParadiseElBeso #oceanrivieraparadisesafety #oceanrivieraparadiserestaurants
Get our detailed review of Playa Del Carmen's newest family-friendly, all-inclusive Mexico resort!  Ocean Riviera Paradise is jam packed with things to do for families and is one of the best family vacation spots!  Read all about what to expect as your take your family vacation to the shores of Ocean Riviera Paradise!  #oceanrivieraparadisereviews #oceanrivieraparadise #oceanrivieraparadiseexcursions #oceanrivieraparadisereview #playadelcarmen #Mexicoallinclusives #familytravel
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6 Comments
  1. Reply

    Kathryn Dickson

    October 1, 2019

    I love your honesty, I think I would pass on this because I don’t want to spend time sorting out room assignments, avoiding rocks at the beach and searching for good food if I’m heading to an all-inclusive in the Caribbean.

    • Reply

      Jen

      October 1, 2019

      Right? I actually had a personal friend approach me asking my recommendation and I said the same thing…as hard as it is to admit sometimes 🙂

  2. Reply

    Ariana - World of Travels with Kids

    October 1, 2019

    So much of the information from bloggers is overwhelmingly positive, so it becomes less than helpful. This on the other hand was very honest, and I think that makes it very useful!

    • Reply

      Jen

      October 1, 2019

      Thank you! Sometimes its hard to physically write out the negative, but it’s better to hear than to regret later on 🙂

  3. Reply

    Julie

    September 29, 2019

    I appreciate your honesty here! That incidental charge is ridiculous! The beach conditions are definitely a bummer…But still definitely has some pros worth considering.

    • Reply

      Jen

      September 29, 2019

      Yes! It’s always difficult to write the negatives when there are also obviously some positivites. In this instance however, with so many other resorts to choose from, I feel like there are better properties out there.

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Hi, I’m Jen!  Welcome to Travel With A Plan!

I’m an avid adventurer who is always planning the next family vacation for my husband and I, and our three boys!

As an advocate for family travel with kids of all ages, I am a firm believer that traveling together helps keep families healthy and happy at home!

Here is where I share our best family vacation itineraries, resort reviews, and family travel tips (incuding Disney!).

Let’s go on an adventure! -Jen

TMOM Travel Writer
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