The Barcelo Maya complex is located in Puerto Aventuras about an hour south of Cancun.
From here you can see there are 5 hotels divided into 3 main areas.
kids pool visible in the center
kids pool arial view
different view, kids pool is barely visible but can be seen up to the right of the main pool.
Far left is the Barcelo Maya Palace (K, J). The Palace is "stay at 1 play at 5," so if you want to take advantage of anything in the maya Palace you must stay here. This is their "deluxe" resort. I've read that perhaps you can pay extra to visit here if you're staying at the other hotels, but this isn't confirmed. From the looks of things they have a pretty cool kids pool right out front. Age 12 and under and strictly enforced. I've read parents can assist their kids at the bottom of the slides, but that's it. Also water is very shallow, which seems great for little kids.
Maya Colonial & Tropical
kids pool arial view
main pool, beach out front, kids pool lower left, bar upper right
beach, pool area, kids pool can be seen just barely on the right.
I'm fairly sure the two rows of red/orange buildings are the Maya Tropical.
In the middle you have the "moderate" resorts which are the Maya Tropical (G, F) and Maya Colonial (I, H). For all purposes these are the same hotel and share the pool/beach area out front. These are "stay at 1, play at 4" hotels, meaning that you can play and eat at either the Maya Tropical, Colonial, Beach, or Caribe. I found a website, http://unofficial-barcelo-maya.com, which is really helpful. They state that "Barcelo Maya Colonial is about dark woods, luxurious and colonial style finishes while the Barcelo Maya Tropical is airy, breezy and tropical feeling." The beach is wide and the kids pool is right out front and looks fun for little ones. Same rules listed above apply: kids under 12 only. There is also a dry playground in this area.
Notice how all the rooms are situated perpendicular to the beach. I think the only way to get a beach/ocean view is to get a front facing room which I'm sure come at a premium cost.
Maya Caribe & Beach
swim up bar seen to the far right
kids pool area
Finally you have the Maya Caribe (D, E) and Maya Beach (A, B, C). These are their "entry" level resorts. I know from friends that the Caribe has rooms with separate bedroom/living areas and they also have swim up rooms out front. Similar to the Tropical/Colonial these resorts are "stay at 1, play at 4" and you can access all the pools/amenities and food freely between the Beach, Caribe,Tropical, and Colonial. I can't really find much detail about the kids pool area for the Caribe/Beach so I'm not sure how extensive it is. I did find picture of a splash pad as seen above.
The kids club at all the resorts is called the Barcy Club and is 4-12 years but under 4 can participate with adult supervision. there seems to be some type of kids club at all the resorts, but it's fairly clear that it's biggest at the Palace and the Tropical/Colonial.
We also read about the water park called Pirate Island. This is a small park with slides and 'surfing' geared toward kids 6 and over. Cost is $20/pp (including adults) and is not included in the all-inclusive package. Kids under 6 may be free, but that's not confirmed. Also this seems to be situated near the Maya Tropical.
Located in the Maya Beach/Caribe area is the Dolphinaris where you can interact with dolphins. This is extra and at the moment I have few details, but know that it's an option and VERY expensive (from what I've read).
Other activities: bowling ($), spa ($), mall/shopping ($).
All resorts have formal and al a carte dining, and like all resorts, you'd do yourself a favor by booking a table in advance (week or so seems fine) for the formal seating otherwise you're likely not to get a reservation.
I've also read that the snorkeling around here is very good and seems to be popular just off the pier which is down near the Maya Beach.
The beach is also very expansive and friends who visited in October said the water was very calm and approachable, but I'm not sure if that's because of the time of year or because the beach/water is well protected. (In contrast we visited a resort closer to Cancun in April 2016 and there was a red flag warning every day. Again, maybe because of the time of year, beach location, or just bad luck).
In contrast with resorts closer to Cancun, the Barcelo Maya properties are located close to Tulum and I think that would make for a really fun day trip.
Overall the whole complex looks beautiful and the beach looks amazing. Much bigger than the Iberostar Cancun, so while we didn't need a stroller there, for little ones at this resort I've heard it's a must. I know that we will visit here sometime, be it in 2017 or 2018, and I think we will opt to stay at the Maya Tropical or Maya Palace.