Our PHabulous Vacation at Planet Hollywood Cancun

Family-friendly spring break vacation spot for kids of all ages

By Emily Papa, Macaroni KID Publisher September 1, 2023

My family is so fortunate to have opportunities to travel and vacation outside of Pittsburgh, PA; and we are constantly getting questions about the places that we visit. I love sharing them here for other Pittsburgh families to see what kinds of trips they may be interested in taking.

Spring Break 2021 my family enjoyed a PHabulous 7 day vacation at the all-inclusive Planet Hollywood Beach Resort in Cancun, Mexico. Planet Hollywood’s famous tagline is “Vacation Like a Star,” and the entire resort is built around that theme. With attractions and amenities serving kids of all ages and adults, I would absolutely recommend this resort when looking for your next vacation adventure. 

This Planet Hollywood location just opened in March 2021 after a having to halt construction due to COVID. When we were there, the resort was not 100% completed, but there wasn’t anything unavailable to us that hindered our enjoyment of our vacation. 

For this particular trip, there were 4 families with a total of 14 total, 9 adults, 5 kids ranging from 4-12. My dad and stepsister tackled the organization of this vacation for everyone. Two of the reasons they chose the new Planet Hollywood destination is because it is part of the Royalton family (which we have perks to) and Cancun offers a direct flight from Pittsburgh (which is HUGE when traveling with small children).

The luxury experience starts the minute you arrive at Planet Hollywood Cancun as you are greeted by the Bellman with warm towels to wash your hands and a signature drink. Staff will immediately take and tag your luggage so that it can be transported to your room when it's ready. When you walk through the lobby doors you are greeted like a star with music, flashing lights, and lots of applause. We had booked a Star Class Junior Suite Swim Out (at the request of the kids) so this review is based on having the Star Class amenities. While I can’t make the decision for you whether to splurge on the Star Class, I will do my best to highlight any differences that may help you decide. 

***Traveler's tip - it's VERY possible that your room won't be available immediately upon arrival. When we travel to resorts like this, we always pack a smaller bag with our bathing suits, flip-flops and a small sunscreen, so we can hit the pools or beach while we are waiting for our room. 

Here are some things we loved about our stay at Planet Hollywood Cancun and some things I would pass along to help you make the most of your PH Experience:

The early bird gets the reservation.  

Star Class guests have access to one hour of Hydrotherapy daily while at the resort; and these appointments fill up quickly. This is my absolute favorite perk of being Star Class, and I was disappointed that the first available appointment was on day 4 of our vacation. Book your Hydrotherapy appointments for the entire week in advance. If you are traveling with kids you can schedule it around a Kids Club activity they might enjoy, and you can drop them off while you have a well-deserved hour to yourself. 

Planet Hollywood Star Class Guest can enjoy 1 complimentary hour of Hydrotherapy Daily

PH Spa offers a variety of services for all but if you are looking for the insider scoop on massages and hair braiding, check out our tips below.

Get your Flow Rider bracelet first thing in the morning or risk them hitting max capacity and not having availability. I think it’s a bummer that the Flow Rider is NOT included in the price of this resort, but I did notice how smoothly it ran because they only sold a limited number of bands each day. Star Class guests can get 1 Flow Rider bracelet (per guest) for every 3 nights booked. This worked out well for our party because the adults gave their bracelets to the kids, which doubled the days they could ride. Daily Flow Rider bands are available for non Star Class Guests at an additional cost. 

Dinner reservations need to be made daily at 8am. Star Class guests have access to a Virtual Butler who can make your dinner reservations for you daily using What’sApp. Because of the way PH was operating with reduced staff, all the restaurants were open on different days of the week, but not open at the same time. Also, if you are traveling with a large party and have difficulty booking a table all together, try making a reservation for 2 smaller tables. The language barrier makes it a little difficult to convey that you are willing to split your party, and we had much better luck when booking two tables of 7 vs a table for 14. 

Food & Beverages

Don't be afraid of the buffet. My family of 4 prefers to eat at the buffet because of the variety of foods and flexibility of it, but the other 10 in our party would prefer to try the restaurants. Halfway through the week they joined us for a buffet dinner and said “why haven’t we been eating here all week?” The buffet foods change daily consistent with daily themes. At the buffet we enjoyed hibachi, fresh grilled fishes and meats, sushi and more. I highly recommend trying the grilled lollipop lamb chops at dinner and the Frittata with banana syrup for breakfast. 

Fuel Coffee shop makes incredible coffee drinks and carries a variety of ice cream and pasties you can order at any time of the day. It's totally worth the wait in line. However, the ice cream that you can order at Fuel is the same ice cream available at the buffet. 

Bring Straws - Traveling internationally means a little preparation goes a long way. You might want to check out our packing tips to see some of the random things we brought that made our trip easier but one of the things we didn’t bring that I wish we did were straws. They have NO straws down there which can make drinking frozen drinks difficult. My son’s favorite drink was a virgin strawberry daiquiri that quickly got the nickname “Joker Face” because every time he drank one (without a straw) it gave him a Joker Face. 

Speaking of drinks- I’ll post a copy of the drink menu below, but I suggest asking to see a copy at the beginning of your trip and taking a photo of it to refer back to for easy ordering (or save this to your phone). 

Planet Hollywood Cancun specialty drink menu

Enjoy Planet Hollywood Entertainment

The Jurassic Swim Park was a huge hit for the kids under 10. There are water slides, a pirate ship, dumping buckets and water features all in a shallow pool where small kids could stand. 

The main pools do not have a shallow end for kids under 48”. The older kids loved this pool because it was deep enough to swim but the only place for the smaller kids who couldn’t win was the small ledge around the pool beds. 

My little man drinking his joker face on the sun bed in the main pool.

I think our favorite pool spot was the Star Class pool. Because of the bar area, there is a shallow depth pool that has tables and lounging space that was perfect for the smaller kids to play in. It flows right into a deeper pool where the older kids could swim and also had a jacuzzi right in the center. It was also really convenient grabbing our lunch from the Star Class Grill. 

The 6-12 year olds spent a lot of time on the lazy river and the speed slide that goes into the lazy river. They also really enjoyed the Flow Rider. I love how patient and gentle the staff was helping my little man find the courage to go on like his older cousins!

There is a sport court in the center of the resort where the kids played basketball and volleyball daily. You can find an additional full-size basketball court and 3 tennis courts on top of PH Fit (access the rooftop courts by entering the gym and taking the stairs all the way up). Across from the sport court there is life-size chess and Jenga/building blocks. There are Ping-Pong tables outside the gift shops (that we didn't discover until our last day when we went to the gift shop). 

Take a ride on a Hobbe Kat

On the beach you will find a few different activities that are part of the hotel experience (hobie cat, kayaks, water bikes). You can take a 30-minute Hobie cat ride for tips ($10-$20). If you plan on staying all week it might be worth looking into the 2-hour lesson for $65 where they will teach you how to use the hobie cat, and you can then take it out on your own at no cost.

Check out the Kid’s Club

The Kid’s Club is a great way for your children to meet other kids on the resort and to get stimulation other than water play. Each day the kids club offers a different schedule of themed activities that you can sign your kids up to do, or you can just drop in to play on the playground or with any of the games inside the club. There is a daily schedule on the screen inside the Kid’s Club or you can text your virtual assistant asking for it as well. 

Don't be afraid to venture off property

Don't get me wrong, one of the greatest luxuries of going to an all-inclusive resort is just that - it's all included, and you really don't have any reason to leave the resort. There are very few times I've found it necessary to leave my all-inclusive destination, and here are two you might consider at Planet Hollywood. 

The first is for couples massages. My brother and sister-in-law, along with my sister and her boyfriend, both found it much cheaper to leave the resort and get a massage on the beach vs. having one at the spa. As a matter of fact, the price was so good, I'm pretty sure they each went 3 times vs going once at the spa. If you are facing the ocean, turn left and walk the beach about half a mile. There is a white tent right on the beach where you can get a massage of your preference at a fraction of the cost.

The second reason we would leave would be to have a local do our hair. In our family, our three girls love to have their hair braided. To have this done in the spa, I think it was $10-$15/braid. On the beach, it ranges but I think I pad $55 for my daughter's whole head. The women who did our hair have have a vendor permit for the resort next door, but not PH. To find them, facing the ocean, turn left. Walk past the white massage tent another quarter of a mile. Make sure you bring cash, a bottle of water and a good read so you can relax while the ladies do their thing.

Check out our “Travel” highlights reel on Instagram for video tours of our room, the resort and more and let us know if you decide to add Planet Hollywood Cancun to your vacation bucket list!

Looking for other family friendly travel destinations from Pittsburgh? Check out my review on Meliá Caribe Punta Canta and Nickelodeon™ Hotels & Resorts Riviera Maya.

Macaroni KID Robinson is published by a local Pittsburgh mom. Sharing this article with your family and friends goes a long way in supporting this small business owner.