Cancun Hotels Review - More Than Just a Place to Sleep

At only a 38 years old, Cancún is one of the most important tourist destinations in Mexico, and one of the only places to be planned by computer.  In 1968, when the Bank of Mexico was looking for new ways to bring foreign currency into the country.  It commissioned a group of economists to explore 11,000 miles of Mexico's coast to find the most attractive location to develop a tourist community.  This was based on climate, water temperature and beautiful scenery.

Cancun: Coast line

Cancun itself is located in the south eastern Mexican state of Quintana Roo.  The island of Cancun is in the shape of a seven and is bordered to the north by the Bahia de Mujeres, to the east and the Caribbean Sea and to the west by the Nichupte Lagoon.

My daughter and I took a direct flight from Mexicana was only 5 hours from Los Angeles.  We were celebrating Kids Day in Mexco.  Since there are mother and father days, the government decided to do something special for children.

The Marriott Hotel, where we stayed, was in the center of the hotel zone.  It is made up of two hotels the Casa Magna and the JW Marriott..  Casa Magna is geared more toward families and children with its own kid’s area and a 4 foot pool while J. W., just across the bridge is the far more elegant and slightly more expensive hotel. Each hotel has its own special personality.  Both have spas but the JW is much more complex. Both spas have accommodations were partner massages or facials can be done.  They have a mother and daughter facial time. which my daughter and I participated in. 

Cancun: the Marriott

Jacuzzis are both hot and cold and steam rooms as well as sauna rooms are available. Specialty treatments as mud, chocolate, wine therapy can be done.  The chocolate makes your skin softer and the wine reportedly brings antioxidants into your body.  Spa packages can be bought and they have several variations of massages.

While the adults toured, the children attended the kids group .  Casa Magna is the only of the two that has a kids group.  Children from JW Marriott can come here if their parents wish.   (And the hotels are connected.)  We participated while the children learned to make guacamole and seafood ceviche. Sunday’s and Wednesday’s chef comes out to teach the kids. Other classes can be held for the kids as Spanish lessons or scuba lessons.  Kayaking, and paddleboat as well as other non- motorized water sports are available.

Cancun Marriott Kids Club making guacamole

The hotel offers a family package which includes full meals for two adults and two kids plus room and taxes.  If the hotel knows in advance cribs microwaves and car seats can be provided. JW s extra elegance package is called “ Club 91”, where a personalized service is given to all the guests

Cancun is also a popular place to hold conferences.  The conference rooms of the Marriott are large, airy and can take as many as 1200 people.  The infinity pools, which appear never to end, and ocean are beautiful, blue, and inviting.  A free breakfast is included with your stay at the hotel.  While both hotels have excellent and varied restaurants as do the other hotels in the area you will want to visit some of the other local restaurants.  

Taxis are relatively inexpensive.

Cancun: Marriott pool

Many people prefer to stay at the hotel as they have many amenities including a scuba diving class for adults.  While you do not get certified, you get experience in bear a 14 foot deep tank with its fake coral before you go out into the ocean.
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There are many different packages one can take advantage of including a honeymoon or wedding package.

While all hotels have wedding consultants and packages T he Marriott is the only hotel sanctioned by the Bishop to perform Catholic weddings because they create an acrylic wall with a cross inside to appear churchlike.  Many people also  come down here for symbolic weddings or for renewing vows.  Some even decide to have a Mayan ceremony.  They have a whole department set-aside for people wanting to plan their wedding.  It can be simple or ornate. 

Cancun Marriott Wedding chapel

The biggest wedding had with 700 people with elegant sachets tied around the chairs, rehearsal dinner, and breakfast buffet the next morning.  If you choose not to bring your own dress there are dressmakers in the city, many of whom have pre-started dresses so that a wedding dress can be done in a matter of days.  If you want a wedding to be legal you must be in Mexico for at least three full days.  This includes time for the blood tests, and for the documents can be checked by the judges in her priests.  You will also need four witnesses.  Should you want kosher or vegetarian that can also be provided.   

Cancun: a wedding

To plan your wedding Cancún  style you will first call the sales department and choose a date and a package.  The simplest package starts at $1250 US but this includes the planner arranging for your medical checkup and for the officiating clergy or judge.  Yes, getting married in Mexico is perfectly legal as long as you follow the rules.  While I was at the Marriott they had three weddings in one day. The gazebo where the weddings are held it certainly romantic as is the picture of the couple holding hands as the sun slowly sets.

The Westin Hotel offers many of the same amenities as the Marriott, however it is on the European plan that is à la carte.  Snorkeling is great here, since they have the second-largest largest coral reef at their beach.  

The evening of the second day, my daughter and I participated in a Mayan ceremony welcoming the fruits of mother Earth.  This is part of the Westin’s new family program to educate guests about the local culture.  They also plan to have lectures, stargazing and movie nights.  Each resort will concentrate on the local culture and history so you might actually learn something while taking in the sun.  In fact, Westin's new motto is family bonding. 

Cancun: Westin's Mayan cultural experience


The Sea and Stone restaurant on the Westin’s beach under a roof palapa is a unique experience.  Hot lava stones are heated and you will cook your own food to perfection in front of you.  Their dessert tray is to die for.

The beds are reported to be Heavenly, though I didn't get to check those out, but I know the hotel certainly is.

Playa Del Carmen is 25 km away with 35,000 hotel rooms is another resort area compared to Cancun’s 28,000 hotel rooms.

Cancun Marriott a Beautiful beach view

Paradisus on the Cancun Riveria bills itself as a real like fantasy and it just might be. www.  Near Playa Del Carmen, it is a total package experience, one can choose from regular rooms to the Royal suites, where there is a Jacuzzi in every room and a butler takes care of nearly any wish.  There is even a family concierge for kids to play computer games with.  They have nightly shows, and of course an elegant spa, as well as in room aromatherapy. Those opting for the royal package have a special pool with lounge beds with grass shack roofs.  Again, there are many variations of packages available.

Cancun Marriott Kids club making seafood ceviche

 Their  wonderful kids club  also has a baby room so that parents can enjoy the sun, tours, classes or dancing in the nightly shows.  My daughter enjoyed the video games.  The baby club is available from two months to four years after four years ago to the regular kids club. Babysitters are also for hire at approximately USD12 US for two kids per hour.  Their motto if the kids are happy so are the parents.  Family rooms also have sleeper sofas.  

Those who enjoy golf, will also find many different resorts catering to them such as The Cancún Golf Club and Mayan Resorts Golf.  In February, 2007, the Professional Golf Association ( PGA) held its first tournament in Mexico.

While most hotels have wireless Internet, there is an extra charge for its use and of course we are all cautioned to drink bottled water only.  In addition, not all hotels are set up for three-pronged plugs.  So if you are bringing a laptop, you might want to have your adapter.

On the flight home to many lovely couple who had stayed at the Aventura spa resort.  And they totally enjoyed their time there.  “Everyone had a smile.  Service was wonderful, and the food was great.” 

Many of the hotels have excursions included in the packages.

Cancun: Sunrise

The hottest time of the year is July and August and the rainy time is September and October when many of the hurricanes come.  Despite this most hotels run on a 98% capacity. Both hotels -448 rooms were JW and 452 rooms for Casa Magna-- are already booked for New Year's and Christmas celebrations.   The high season in Mexico is from December 15 to April with the most expensive period  being Christmas and New Year's.  Rates can go from USD169 to USD529 for the regular rooms and the suites range from USD339 to USD1479.  Of course, the suites are like luxury apartments - with the presidential suite being over 2800 ft..  

There are also package getaways for spas, golf, archeological, as well as for weddings and other romantic events.

I can't wait to return to Cancun.  For information on the nightlife and tours, and other fun things for kids to see and do, check out my other article.   For more information go to

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