Mexico All-Inclusive Report: Cancun and the Riviera Maya

Haven Riviera Cancun
Haven Riviera Cancun

There have been a host of exciting new developments in the all-inclusive scene in Cancun and the Riviera Maya over the past year. 

In Cancun, Club Med recently wrapped a big renovation at its Club Med Cancun Yucatan that more than doubled the size of its Aguamarina family oasis area, bringing the section’s room count to 120. With a design that aims to be reminiscent of an apartment on the beach, the 60 all-new oceanfront family rooms -- 30 in the Club Room category and 30 in the Deluxe Room category -- are two-bedroom accommodations, with one bedroom for the parents and a separate room for the kids. The rooms are also larger, at approximately 1,600 square feet, and each one has a full window on the beach. Another new touch: each room has an upgraded safe that can be opened with guests’ wristbands. The new area also has its own pool just for families with its own La Marina bar that serves a specially curated, child-friendly snack menu. 

The addition follows a resort-wide renovation in 2017 that included upgrades to the 5-Trident Jade area, as well as a refresh of all rooms and events spaces, new wellness experiences, new and refreshed dining concepts inspired by local cuisine, a new wine cellar overlooking the water and a redesign of the pool deck. 

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In October, Haven Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa, a luxury, all-suite, adults-only resort, celebrated its grand opening. The fully walkable resort has 333 suites, all with a minimum of 600 square feet of space and a private terrace or balcony with whirlpool tub. The resort also has an elevated Serenity Club experience, with upgraded amenities such as a private check-in lounge, accommodations that guarantee a premium oceanfront or pool-facing swim-out suite and dedicated butler service. There are also five a la carte restaurants, two pools with swim-up bars, a spa and fitness center and a selection of indoor and outdoor wedding venues. Haven Riviera Cancun is a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts

This year Karisma Hotels & Resorts debuted a new wellness-focused property, and the company has two more big projects set for the near future. Just opened is the new Xolumado Inspiration Village, which is set away from the beach between the company’s El Dorado and Generations Riviera Maya resorts. Aimed at buyouts for wellness retreats and guests looking for a spiritual escape, the resort consists of two and a half acres of jungle filled with meandering, intertwining paths, mangroves and 41 cottages. Touches of Buddhist culture are present throughout in statues set along the paths and tucked next to the cottages. The design of the cottages themselves draws inspiration from the natural surroundings, as well as Mexico’s culture. Eye-catching tile is used extensively in the interiors, as well as unique touches like a colored glass chandelier. There are three suite categories: the Serenity Suite, which has an open terrace and a palm-thatch roof; the Zen Garden Suite, which has its own private balcony; and the top-tier Tranquility Suite, which consists of two adjoining Zen Garden Suites. In addition to the cottages, there are also 20 standard Garden View Rooms with a somewhat simpler, more modern design. There is no beach here, although there is a pool, and guests can also access the beach at the nearby Generations property. 

Looking ahead, this winter will see the opening of the Margaritaville All-Inclusive Beach Resort by Karisma in the Riviera Maya. Inspired by the lyrics and lifestyle of singer, songwriter and author Jimmy Buffett, the resort’s 355 guestrooms and suites will be designed with a maritime theme in mind. The resort will also host signature food and beverage concepts. 

In 2020, Karisma will open its second Nickelodeon property, the Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Riviera Maya. A new flagship Nickelodeon hotel, this newbuild resort will be set next to the Generations property. All rooms will be oceanfront and configurable into one-, two- or three-bedroom suites to allow maximum flexibility, and each will have two bathrooms. The property will also bring over the popular SpongeBob-themed Pineapple Villa from the first Nickelodeon property in Punta Cana, as well as a new, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-themed “lair” Penthouse. All told, there will be four character-themed Penthouse suites on the resort’s roof, all of which will have infinity pool swim-up access. There will also be an “Aqua Nick” water park and culinary experiences that focus on “Instagrammable” dishes. 

Also in late 2019 or early 2020, the new Planet Hollywood resort brand will open its second property, the Planet Hollywood Cancun, following the brand’s debut last October in Costa Rica. Like its sibling property, the new resort will reportedly incorporate interactive touchscreen digital displays narrating the memorabilia experience and PHTV in-suite and throughout the resort, keeping guests up to date with live streaming of events and activities. The brand was developed in partnership with Sunwing Travel Group

Iberostar Hotels & Resorts debuted its own new high-end resort this year, the Iberostar Cancun Star Prestige. Set within the larger Iberostar Cancun complex, the Star Prestige is a 13-story, adults-only tower with 156 rooms, all with ocean views and whirlpools. Guests here get access to a range of upgraded amenities, including a private beach club with open bar, 24-hour concierge and room service, private check-in and the possibility of late check-out. The tower also has its own exclusive buffet and restaurant, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a lobby bar and snack bar. Guests can also use the five international restaurants in the rest of the resort. 

In renovation news, this year the clothing-optional, couples-only Desire Riviera Maya Pearl Resort is planning a new addition, dubbed the Desire Mansion. Slated for a fourth quarter opening, the exclusive mansion will have six “Mansion Suites,” two “Royal Suite” penthouses, a private pool and Jacuzzi, lounge areas, butler service and superior amenities. 

The Seadust Cancun Family Resort rolled out a number of its own upgrades this year, including four new accessible suites for travelers with special needs on the first floor, as well as an app that allows guests to check in if the reservation was made on the resort’s website, make restaurant reservations, book spa treatments and access free high-speed Wi-Fi. The resort also remodeled several of its restaurants and bars. 

The Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya added a new Rockaway Bay Waterpark. The new area has a total of 23 slides for children, teenagers and adults, and it is open Monday - Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (contingent on hotel occupancy). 

The Le Blanc Spa Resort Cancun also wrapped its own renovation project. The transformation touched all aspects of the resort, including upgraded guestrooms, meeting spaces and restaurants. 

Finally, the Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancun recently wrapped an extensive renovation project that included a new, modern chick-in area and lobby bar, new premium rooms, new and remodeled restaurants and a remodeled convention center. 

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