|All Deluxe Rooms at Hard Rock Cancun include a double Jacuzzi and most have lagoon or ocean view.|
The Cancun of the ’90s is long gone. The loud, overrun hotels with thumping music that once dominated the hotel zone have had their day. In their place, travelers will find a Cancun that has something for everyone. The destination’s transformation allows it to cater to both the young crowd looking for fun, and couples and families who may crave a quieter scene. Travel Agent returned recently from such a transformation.
Hard Rock Hotel Cancun
If your clients are coming to Cancun looking for a party, they’ll find it at the Hard Rock Cancun, which is part of the brand’s All-Inclusive Collection. We were just there in April and from our visit, we can say with confidence that the resort’s concept could give even the skeptics a run for their money.
A common concern among guests of all-inclusive hotels is the food, which is often sub-par. At Hard Rock Cancun, however, they completely blow the lid off the F&B concept. Travel Agent had the pleasure of dining at Ipanema, the resort’s Brazilian steakhouse; Frida, the Mexican restaurant; The Market buffet and the poolside cuisine and we can honestly say that the food went above and beyond our expectations for all-inclusive meals. Other restaurants include Zen, which serves teppanyaki and sushi; Ciao for Italian; Pizzeto for brick-oven pizza; and a variety of other pool bars. What’s better is that in-room dining is also part of the plan. Guests are treated to top shelf liquor, as well.
The resort has 601 guest rooms in various categories, including 45 Deluxe Rooms, 133 Deluxe Gold, 256 Deluxe Platinum, 30 Deluxe Family, 61 Deluxe Diamond, 23 Rock Suite Platinum, and one Rock Star Suite. Each room has 32-inch flat-screen TVs, stocked minibars, balconies and terraces, and more. The hotel rate includes all hotel taxes and gratuities, most on-property sports, unlimited phone calls to the U.S. and Canada, Wi-Fi throughout the resort and up to $1,500 in resort credit.
|A one-bedroom suite with patio at Paradisus Cancun.|
Hard Rock Cancun (previously a Palace Resorts property) was recently rebranded and brought up to Hard Rock standards. Onsite there is a Rock Spa, fitness center, amphitheater for concerts, pool, beach cabanas and more. True to Hard Rock form, the hotel is decked out from head-to-toe in impressive rocker memorabilia and has hosted some major names of late.
Be on the lookout for the opening of Hard Rock Riviera Maya (currently Hard Rock Aventura), which is going to be even bigger than the Cancun property and has some exciting surprises in store. (Preview: We hear the resort will be home to the world’s first ocean swim-up bar. How rock star is that?)
Travel agents can reach out to Director of Sales Irma Yeo ([email protected]; 998-881-3699).
Earlier this year, we visited Paradisus Cancun, which underwent a reopening and rebranding in December. The resort earlier operated as a Gran Melia, but has since been repurposed as a Paradisus, Melia’s luxury all-inclusive brand.
The resort has six restaurants and three bars, several pools, a Yhi Spa, golf course and more. Paradisus Cancun is also home to the specialty Royal Service, a private enclave of rooms that are adults-only, and come with their own set of privileges. Royal Service guests have access to the Yhi Spa’s hydrotherapy suite without having a treatment scheduled. A private pool and beach section is also available for these guests, as is butler service.
Guests will want to stay in the Deluxe/Royal Service Ocean View Suites, which are the most requested accommodations. However, if you are looking for something more over-the-top, say for a CEO, the Presidential and Imperial Suites are best. All rooms in the Royal Service section entitle guests to private butler service. Travel agents can reach out to Alina Gonzales ([email protected]; 998-881-1118), the sales executive assistant, for bookings.
The resort offers a selection of Life Enriching Activities to help bring guests closer to the culture of Mexico and Cancun. We participated in a tequila tasting with the resort’s sommelier. Guests can also opt for experiences like massage classes, DJ lessons and more.
The Yhi Spa is a great place to unwind. There are 11 treatment rooms in the 4,900-square-foot space (six regular rooms and five Eco rooms; three are for couples). Reservations are taken starting a month in advance but it is best to book at least 24 hours ahead. Try the Ix Chel holistic massage. We hear that Moises Sosa gives the best massage.
The spa is also home to a beauty salon, where guests can get manicures and pedicures. This treatment also entitles guests to access at the hydrotherapy suite. For bookings, reach out to Jose Caamal or Malleny Jimenez ([email protected]; 998-881-1124).
While there is a multitude of dining options at Paradisus Cancun, no doubt the creme de la creme is Tempo by Marting Berasategui, which is the only restaurant open to non-hotel guests, and is not part of the all-inclusive plan. However, we say from experience that it is worth the extra money. Tip: Order the Chilean sea bass. For reservations, guests can contact Amaury Gonzalez ([email protected]; 998-881-1109). Nice Touch: Those who book four nights in the Royal Service section receive an included meal at Tempo.
Looking for something extra-special? Reach out to Front Manager Fred Boutouba. He has been known to arrange romantic dinners on the beach at sunset. A butler takes care of the finer details, from candles and torches to a Spanish guitar in the background. The evening continues with an exotic turn down in the room with rose petals and a set of essential oils.
The resort has a ‘pitch and put’ golf course on the grounds. If guests want something a little more exclusive, the resort can arrange for a golf pro to come to the property for a private golf clinic.
Getting There: Cancun International Airport is just 25 minutes away. The concierge can arrange anything from a town car or limo to a Ferrari, Lamborghini or Mercedes Benz SLS. If guests want to land a private helicopter, Cancun’s airport can accommodate.
All-inclusive options abound here.
The variety of all-inclusive resort experiences in Cancun and elsewhere in Mexico is seemingly endless. Here are a few more options.
Check out Palace Resorts. The portfolio has seven all-inclusive oceanfront resorts throughout Mexico. Each one has double Jacuzzis in each room, 24-hour room service, unlimited calls to the U.S. and Canada, Wi-Fi and more.
|The Sunrise Pool at Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort|
Alert for divers: In February, Palace Resorts teamed up with dive operator Aqua Safari, which is now available at Cozumel Palace. The new offering will allow Cozumel Palace guests the opportunity to participate in diving excursions. Guests can also learn the basics of scuba diving via certified instructors and can use the Palace Resorts $1,500 resort credit offer to book the activity. The diving packages available are modified, based on skill set.
The Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort will welcome four former Saturday Night Live comedians to perform live on November 30 and December 1. Guests of Moon Palace, Beach Palace, Sun Palace, Playacar Palace and Le Blanc Spa Resort will receive complimentary tickets to a night of comedy with stars Rob Schneider, Horatio Sanz, Cheri Oteri and Finesse Mitchell. Taking place at Moon Palace’s Expo Center, attendees will also enjoy a complimentary one-hour pre-show cocktail party at 7:30 featuring signature drinks and canapes.
Iberostar, whose five-star, family-friendly all-inclusive Cancun resort made it to Travel Agent’s 2012 “Hot Hotels” list, is looking to the Pacific Coast to make its next move. Be on the lookout in Riviera Nayarit, where the company is scheduled to open Iberostar Playa Mita in late 2013. The 452-room resort in Litibu, at the north end of the Banderas Bay, will have two pools, a Kids Club, four specialty restaurants, three bars and meeting facilities. Guests will also have access to the nearby Greg Norman-designed 18-hole championship golf course. This will be Iberostar’s 10th property in Mexico.
A member of Occidental Hotels and Resorts, Allegro is yet another family-friendly all-inclusive option when traveling to Mexico. Allegro has two resorts in Mexico—one in Cozumel and another in Playacar. The Cozumel hotel is just 20 minutes from the international airport. It has four restaurants, five bars, four swimming pools, a fitness center, Spa, Kids Club and a pirates-themed water park. Allegro Playacar, in Playa del Carmen, has four restaurants, four bars and a Disco Bar, three pools, two tennis courts, land and non-motorized water sports, Kids Club and more.
For those who prefer a place without young children about, Occidental’s Royal Hideaway Playacar in the heart of the Mayan Riviera caters strictly to guests ages 13 and up.
The originator of the all-inclusive concept, Club Med, is represented by Club Med Ixtapa and Club Med Cancun Yucatan, ranked first and third, respectively, among top Mexico hotels for families in TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice 2013 awards.