JW Marriott Cancun: A Base for Adventure Tourism

Standard double room at the JW Marriott Cancun

Standard double room at the JW Marriott Cancun


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Swimming with 30- to 40-foot-long whale sharks in Cancun? Check.

Exploring the ruins of Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World? Check.

Swimming in a cenote, sinkholes that have been basically transformed to large open water pools? Check.

Travel Agent recently crossed off three of our “bucket list” items in less than three days and did it all while staying at the same hotel—the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa. For a cenote swim, clients will obviously need to be able to swim since the water can get pretty deep. But basic swimming skills are all that is needed since there is no current—just still, calm water. Make sure your clients are careful though, as the rocks that usually surround these cenotes can get pretty slippery.

As far as the whale shark experience is concerned, tell clients to make sure the weather is ok for boating as the waves can get pretty rough on a bad day in Cancun and, in turn, can result in some pretty sick passengers. The actual swimming experience is perhaps the calmest, most relaxing part of the day. The whale sharks—although they are about the size of a bus—are absolutely harmless. Beginner swimmers are encouraged to use a life preserver, while experienced swimmers and divers can rent a wet suit as well.

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There are many reliable operators for this in Cancun, but we used Solo Buceo and were very pleased. The whole day took about eight hours and included lunch and non-alcoholic beverages. The whale sharks are usually found around the islands of Holbox and Contoy from May till September, although mostly during the months of July and August.

The visit to Chichen Itza is probably the most time-consuming activity when you factor in a roughly six-hour roundtrip ride. But it is more than worth it. Perhaps it may make sense to stay at a Riviera Maya hotel if this is your client’s top priority, but the folks at the JW Marriott Cancun provided excellent guides and the transfers seemed a lot shorter than they were since we were being fed fun facts about the site the whole ride.

Now, each experience—the cenote swim, the visit to Chichen Itza and the whale shark excursion (if it’s whale shark season)—is coordinated separately but agents can coordinate these day trips with the concierge based on where their clients want to go. We highly suggest booking all three experiences before clients even arrive.

Hotel Profile

The JW Marriott is nestled in the heart of the Cancun Hotel Zone, a short 20-minute drive from the Cancun International Airport, and benefits from a slew of flight options to Cancun out of most major markets in the U.S. The hotel has roughly 450 ocean-view rooms, including 74 suites, each with a private balcony. The suites range in size from 926 square feet to the 4,115-square-foot Presidential Suite.

Premium Ocean View is the best category for a standard room; the best suites are the Presidential or Club Presidential, which include club lounge access and butler service.

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For the trending, young, chic clientele, the hotel has Club 91, a “boutique” hotel within the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa that provides tailored service for those seeking a more exclusive experience. Club 91 guests, in fact, have access to such VIP services as Lounge Club 91, which offers five meals per day for two adults and two children under six years old, international beverages, a private concierge, live preparation of restaurant cuisine, airport transfers, and free access to the spa on the second floor.

The spa affords breathtaking views and specializes in traditional recipes taught from one generation to another, combined with elaborate and luxurious spa treatments. Hunab Ku Ritual (traditional Mayan massage), Mexican Sand Buffer, Chaya Detoxifying Envelopment and Ix Chel Maternity Massage are just a few of the items on the spa’s menu, which also includes Swedish massage, reflexology, aromatherapy, age-repair facials and other more familiar regimens.

The hotel recently opened a brand new BeachWalk Game Center. Designed by Eccus Arquitectura, the indoor, air-conditioned space gives off a hip vibe, featuring a sleek modern design with deep purple accents throughout. Developed with the modern teenager in mind, three flat-screen TVs air professional sports and entertainment programming, with ping-pong, air hockey and foosball tables for the active, competitive type. The space is also powered with Wi-Fi for those who can’t leave home without their cell phones, tablets or handheld video game consoles.

The lounge also houses a beverage and refreshment bar with an international foods menu. Guests relaxing at the newly installed Balinese beach beds can drop in to order a cocktail or a bite to eat. The BeachWalk Game Center is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. to guests of all ages.

Another recent addition at the resort is its new Balinese Day Beds, which can be reserved through the concierge, Club 91, or directly with the JW Marriott pool host. The rental comes with a fresh fruit platter and Evian water. Rates are $40 for a half-day rental and $75 for a full day.

Agents should reach out to Rogelio Valadez ([email protected], 011-52-998-848-9600), chief concierge, with any queries.


The JW Marriott Cancun has some 450 ocean-view rooms and suites.

The JW Marriott Cancun has some 450 ocean-view rooms and suites.