The Hotel El Rey Del Caribe is a relaxing little gem of a hotel snuggled quietly in Cancun’s city centre, far away from the hustle and bustle of the hotel district.
For those looking for an authentic Mexican experience away from the bright lights of the tourist areas, you can’t get better than this. Only 2 blocks separate the hotel from the Commercial Mexicana market where you can get pretty much anything you need, including ATM service for cash.
Well furnished rooms with a nice kitchenette including a hot plate and refrigerator was a pleasant surprise. The bathrooms were spotless and had plenty or hot water for showers which in some other areas is hit and miss. There is good Internet service for those who need to stay connected.
There is a small pool with hammocks for relaxing, and delicious free breakfast is offered in the delightful palapa (tiki bar) with service second to none.
Don’t let the incredibly cheap cost of staying at the Hotel el Rey Del Caribe fool you into thinking you won’t get top notch service and an experience worth raving about. You won’t be disappointed.
This one was 4 out of 5 stars for economy hotels.
The Beachscape Kin Ha hotel in Cancun is at the very center of the hotel zone allowing you to walk or take a bus to just about any activity you choose. But location is not this hotel’s only feature. The quality and beauty of its beach are!
Considered one of the best beaches in the world, the Kin Ha beach within the Cancun coastline has a well earned reputation for its cleanliness, fine white sand and incredibly transparent waters. Tiny little fish will come to investigate your feet while you stand and early in the morning, you can spot dolphins playing in the waves. The beach is huge with lots of palapas (tiki bar style umbrellas) and beach chairs exclusive to the hotel guests, so there is no scurrying early in the morning to secure a chair.
The pool area is a good size and has a play area for kids with jungle gym, trampoline, and slide. There’s even a small area of the pool that is off limits to adults, and designed exclusively for little children with a depth of less than 2 feet.
The rooms are clean and spacious although they could use some updating on the furniture department (we were told this was coming soon). There is a small kitchenette with coffee maker in all rooms, along with a microwave and sink if you choose to eat in. Most of the rooms have incredible beach and ocean views from their oversized balconies, and those that overlook the other side of the hotel, boast an amazing view of Cancun’s famous Nichupte lagoon.
Staff is super friendly, knowledgeable and go out of their way to smile and greet you. Right there in an instant, should you need something and take pride in making sure your stay is enjoyable and issue free.
The food was very good with a wonderful breakfast buffet. Eggs and omelets were made to order along with a vast selection of fruits and pastries. Lunch and dinner were ordered off the menu that was somewhat limited, but what there was to choose from was excellent. Please keep in mind that this is not an all-inclusive hotel, so all the food must be ordered a la carte.
Great staff, excellent food, clean spacious rooms, and breathtaking beach and ocean make this economical hotel seem worth more than what you will pay. In our personal book, this 3.5 star hotel earns a well deserved 5 star rating!
The Occidental Grand Xcaret is a beautiful hotel nestled among lush jungle, rocky paths and the blue Caribbean sea. Majestic and controversial, the hotel is anything but blah, but if you’ll love it or hate it, it will be based on your previous experiences with other hotels and obviously on how things work out for you at the Occidental Grand Xcaret. Personally we hated this hotel.
Our first and last impression, which happened at the hotel front desk, were really bad. We had reserved the junior suite and even called the hotel in advance to make sure it would accommodate 2 adults and 1 child. To our surprise upon arriving to the hotel the front desk employees did not know what to do with our 6 year old son. After a 35 minute wait, the front desk manager approached us and told us that there was nothing to worry about, that kids ARE allowed in the junior suites for free anyway! This was only the first of our mishaps at the Occidental Grand Xcaret resort in Riviera Maya, which concluded with yet another issue at check-out time, when one of the employees insisted we had informed him we were going to check out a day earlier but failed to do so (we were paid in full for 5 days).
But let’s go back to the actual hotel and what it offers its visitors. We would like to mention the beautiful pools and gardens that it features… With the rooms being located in separate buildings (each with its own concierge and waiting area), there is a pool for every 2 or 3 buildings. Sadly there is not a bar, restaurant or cafeteria anexed to those buildings or pools. For an all inclusive hotel this is a problem. Or should we say it is a problem for the hotel guests while it is an advantage for the hotel owners who end up spending less on food and drinks?
The pools are fairly clean but there are no bathrooms next to them, which means lots of people will resort to peeing in the pool instead of having to walk all the way to their building and room. While the pools water appeared to be clean (they must have some very powerful filters!), the paths around them are littered with cigarettes. During our stay there were even people smoking inside the pools and throwing the ashes in the water without the hotel employees doing anything about this. For people who smoke this is not a problem but it certainly is for those who don’t. Other than that the common areas were fairly clean.
There are 6 theme restaurants, 1 buffet and 1 snack-restaurant in this resort. The food is really good and the Sonora Grill steakhouse is actually great. The only issue at the restaurants other than the buffet is that you can only order 1 main course per person, something that does not match the all inclusive model.
The rooms are beautiful and very clean. With solid wood furniture, a spacious marble shower, flat screen TV, private balcony and good quality linens, the rooms are something to write home about. We loved our junior suite and are sure even the most demanding travelers would too. The air conditioner worked to a charm, the minibar was free and re-stocked daily and the mattress and pillows were soft and comfortable.
The Occidental Grand Xcaret resort has an intricate architecture that adds to the area’s natural beauty. They even have their own Mayan Ruins, a small shopping village, live animals and a huge fish pond complete with fish food so you can feed the fish yourself. There is plenty to do on the grounds, and the bars and restaurants are open fairly late. Still, we can’t get over the idiocy at the front desk and the unbelievable amount of cigarette butts everywhere. For this and despite its 4-star facilities, the Occidental Grand Xcaret only earned a 2.5 star rating from us.
Riviera Maya’s Blue Bay Grand Esmeralda is a 4 star hotel with the service of a 2-star one and the facilities of a 5-star. Go figure!
The Blue Bay Grand Esmeralda is nestled among acres of tropical jungle, by the Caribbean Sea and is built in the typical style of the grandest resorts in the Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya areas. A magnificent lobby (in this case open without air conditioning, nicely swept by the ocean breeze), imposing gardens, and independent buildings each with about a dozen rooms and suites, make up this beach resort.
The architecture is modern without being minimalistic, and the furniture and furnishings are beautiful and comfortable. The rooms are clean and spacious, but the hall ways are not only unimpressive but also dirty with dead roaches and used napkins here and there. As a contrast, the pool and general facilities were clean and well tended to. The service though, is simply sad. There is no valet parking, and you must park your own vehicle, sometimes more than a block away from the lobby. Upon arriving we asked the employee at the entrance where to park our car, and he simply shrugged. When asking for help with our luggage at the front desk, the employee was blatantly rude. But what really made us regret staying at the Blue Bay Grand Esmeralda, was the ridiculous wait to grab a golf cart that would take us from our building to the lobby. So we gave up on waiting and every time we had to go to the restaurant or the lobby we ended up walking a quarter of a mile under a raging sun during the day time or eaten alive by mosquitos at night.
The Blue Bay Grand Esmeralda is an All-Inclusive resort, where you can eat and drink to your heart’s content, and the food was actually quite good! We were pleasantly surprised by their chicken soup (yummy!) and their salads. The drinks were good without being anything out of the ordinary, and they were plenty and always frozen cold, which is a blessing in the Caribbean.
So, there are good and bad things about the Blue Bay Grand Esmeralda. A great touch we’d like to mention is a fresh fruit basket awaiting you in your room, in addition to a well stocked minibar (included in the price of your stay). Sadly we must also mention that in this hotel despite being an All-Inclusive, you will pay extra for lots of things, such as room service (there is a $10 USD fee to deliver your free food and drinks to your room), late check out ($10 USD per hour after their regular check out time of 12 noon), and $5 USD per extra room key.
In a nutshell, the Blue Bay Grand Esmeralda was quite disappointing. They’re priced lower than all comparable resorts in the area, and there’s a reason for it: they’re sucky! Therefore in our Review of the Blue Bay Grand Esmeralda resort, we give it a 3 star rating.
We have mixed feelings about the Barcelo Costa Cancun. We love the way the hotel looks, its beach, how peaceful it is, and the comfort of its rooms. Yet we hate how poorly the staff will treat hotel guests, and how unfriendly and unhelpful they can be.
We have stayed at the Barcelo Costa Cancun twice so far, and both times we have enjoyed ourselves greatly. The kids love the pool (always crystal clear), the open expansive beach (also crystal clear), and the plentiful food and desserts. We love the big infinity pool with a couple of areas for small children right on it, which is a must for family travelers. We also love how at the pool bar the drinks are made to perfection, and you don’t have to ask for them twice. Waiters will run to get your order filled.
The rooms are beautiful, elegantly furnished, with comfortable beds, nice airy balconies overlooking the ocean and spacious bathrooms. The hotel in general is modern, but lacks that minimalist design style that we dislike so much; it is clean, with big soft recliners all over the lobby so you can be comfy while waiting for your room, or simply staying out of the sun. The food is good (without being great), there are tons of choices in their restaurants, and the drinks are loaded with the good stuff!
The negative part of the Barcelo Costa Cancun is its staff. Yes, we were right when we said the waiters at the pool area are helpful and will rush to your service. But that’s where it stops. The front desk clerks are rude and will go out of their way NOT to help you. The sales people at the tour desk will try to scratch every penny out of you, and will sell you tours that are useless, and the room maids will give you the evil eye when you request an extra towel.
With so many hotels in the Cancun and Riviera Maya area, we have decided not to return to the Barcelo Costa Cancun Hotel. Even though their facilities are quite good, we know we will be better tended to anywhere else, and that is a big deciding point for us
The Iberostar Cancun is a nice classy hotel that combines European quality with Mexican hospitality. The architecture is modern without being minimalist; spaces are ample and quite airy, and the rooms are
smartly built and nicely furnished. Although not extremely spacious, all of the ocean view rooms are very breezy and comfortable.
An impressive system of pools and Jacuzzis gives the guest plenty of real estate to enjoy the wonderful Cancun weather, and the beach offers its fine white sand and crystal clear waters for countless aquatic activities in addition to swimming.
There are several restaurants on the premises, among them a generous buffet (El Laguito), which is one of the best we’ve enjoyed in Cancun. We highly recommend having breakfast there as its variety and quality are second to none.
Iberostar is a brand new name in Cancun, as this hotel used to be the Cancun Hilton and was acquired by the Iberostar brand during 2011. Upon its acquisition, the hotel was refurbished, even though it didn’t really need it, since as the Hilton it was a magnificent and quite new hotel.
The staff is helpful but we did notice that are times they seemed quite overwhelmed. Despite this, they smiled continuously and tried to accommodate our requests.The prices are reasonable, you get plenty of food at the restaurants and the drinks were quite loaded. The common areas are impeccably clean, much more so than most other resorts in Cancun.
For its comfort, good prices, quality of food and beauty of its beach and pools, we give the Cancun Iberostar a 4.5 star rating.
Part of the Royal Resorts, Cancun’s The Royal Islander, is an expansive resort that is interconnected with two of its equally impressive counterparts, the Royal Caribbean and Royal Mayan, so guests can enjoy the amenities and facilities of all three, without having to get out of the compound.
Located on Kukulcan Boulevard Km 17.5, The Royal Islander is secluded and away from the hustle and bustle, yet is close enough to the center of Cancun’s Hotel Zone, where you’ll find top of the line shopping, fine dining and even finer drinking, and of course, lots of Mexican handicrafts, typical clothing and those infamous Cancun t-shirts that your friends at home will really love you for.
With a huge system of pools catering to family members of every age, the privileged Caribbean waters right by your toes (mostly if you get a beach front room), and more restaurants that you could eat at during a week’s stay, the Royal Islander has it all. There is a dedicated lap pool, a couple of kiddie pools and a regular pool for you to lounge in. On the restaurant front, you’ll find every cuisine covered, with fish and seafood restaurants, Mexican food eateries, a great French cuisine venue and even an Asian restaurant.
Most of the rooms are spacious without being overbearing, although we found the standard rooms to be quite small. All other rooms and suites were just fine.
In general, the hotel decoration is geared towards comfort while maintaining a touch of luxury and the spaces are well thought and even better utilized. This ample hotel will make you feel at ease and give you plenty of room to enjoy yourself.
The staff is friendly, from the convenience store clerk all the way to the coffee shop lady, they’ll all go out of their ways to make you feel right at home.
In a nutshell The Royal Islander in Cancun is a very desirable resort with a soothing décor, plenty of things to do, good food, and even better beaches. The only drawbacks are the high prices of the restaurants (really overpriced for Cancun), and the fact that the regular bedrooms are quite small.
The Ritz Carlton hotel in Cancun is a magnificent place geared for those with a discriminating taste. Although the outside of the hotel itself is not very impressive, the inside is, with a classical architecture and decoration in the style of the best hotels in New York City. Think The Plaza but with a great beach!
As it is to expect, the Cancun Ritz Carlton gives its visitors the most flawless services, and one can say its staff anticipates your every wish and makes it a reality. Accommodations are perfect to a fault, with the rooms lavishly decorated in a grandiose style that you won’t find anywhere else in Cancun. Not only are the furnishings elegant and stylish, but the pillows are real dawn, the mattresses are as soft as clouds and the bathrooms are a unique combination of luxury, comfort and state of the art appliances.
Every tour or excursion you’d like to take in the Cancun and Riviera Maya area can be booked directly from the hotel’s concierge desk, where they’ll give you accurate information on what’s available and more importantly, what’s recommendable or not.
The hotel has several restaurants, each as luxurious as the next. Those nights when you feel like dressing up, put on your best gown or suit and dine at their Italian restaurant, while on nights when you’re in a more relaxed mood, The Cafe (which in all reality is a sumptuous Jazz piano bar and restaurant) will cater to your every wish with their international menu. In the mood for beach front dining? Head for their seaside cabanas and enjoy the most amazing dinner under the stars, while the gentle waves of the Caribbean crash near your feet.
Yes, the Ritz Carlton is the place to go in Cancun if you want to be served hand and foot and have the money to afford it.It’s obviously not an inexpensive place, but the name Ritz Carlton has never been a synonymous for cheap. Au contraire!
We highly recommend this place for its excellence, spotless services and accommodations. We are certain any of our readers will enjoy the Cancun Ritz Carlton hotel as much as we did, and will leave with the best unforgettably positive memories!
The Mayakoba Resort in Riviera Maya (Cancun vicinity) is an impressive compound with a unique geographical feature: it boasts the only open rivers in the state. All rivers in the Yucatan peninsula are underground, and so were the ones in the Mayakoba resort, but the hotel owners opened the surface of their rivers, to give its visitors and guests a truly amazing areal view. In addition to their one of a kind waterways, the lush gardens and ecological paths are among the most beautiful in the Cancun-Riviera Maya area.
The Mayakoba is actually three hotels in one: the Banyan Tree, the Rosewood and the Fairmont, all very different from each other but all offering the same level of comfort. All of the Mayakoba hotels are rated 5 stars and they truly offer 5-star worth service and accommodations. Upon arriving you will be warmly welcomed by their friendly staff, and you can feel comfortable leaving your suitcases and valuables with their bellmen; nothing will be missing. Enter the grand entrance of your hotel of choice and you’ll feel that you’ve finally reached the tropical paradise of your dreams. With an abundance of woodwork, natural raw materials and an intricate architecture, these hotels are beautiful, unique and simply magnificent.
Even though we all expect all 5-star hotels in Cancun to have soft comfortable beds, that is not exactly true in all cases, but the Mayakoba hotels, especially the Banyan Tree, have the kind of bed that invite you to jump on them, and land face first into their supple, soft, inviting mattresses. I’m sure the hotel owners won’t appreciate me saying this, but do jump on their beds, it’s an experience worth living!
The food at all the Mayakoba hotels is quite good, but once again, I’d like to recommend you take the time to visit their Safron restaurant in the Banyan Tree hotel. This Thai food restaurant is one of the best in the region, and you’ll be hard pressed to choose among their delicious variety of exotic, perfectly prepared dishes.
Finally, I want to mention the abundance of swimming options in this resort. Being beach front, in one of the world’s best renowned beaches, you’ll love their pristine beach with its white sand and tiny tropical fish. For a different experience, go for a swim at one of their open rivers, or if you want to be more traditional, swim in one of the numerous pools that dot the Mayakoba’s landscape.
For the beauty of its uncommon buildings, the superior taste of their food and their immaculate beach and rivers, we give the Mayakoba Resort in Riviera Maya an enthusiastic 5 star rating. By the way, if you fall in love with this resort as much as we did, and you’re ready to live in paradise, consider buying one of the villas they have for sale.
The Riu Palace Hotel in Cancun is indeed a palace. The most amazing and magnificent hotel ever in the entire Cancun, this spectacular place will leave you breathless, and will awaken both the sense of luxury and uniqueness in you.
Perched on a small hill, with a breathtaking beachfront location, the Riu Palace is close to everything. Just a few blocks walk to the center of the action in Cancun’s famous hotel zone, you can be in Hard Rock Cafe, Chilis or even Coco Bongo in less than 10 minutes. The beach is one of the best not only in Cancun but also in Mexico and the whole world. The facilities are top of the line and second to none, and no matter what kinds of luxuries you’re accustomed to at home, the Riu Palace hotel will top them off. This is a superb hotel and you will love it, guaranteed.
With 5 restaurants on the grounds, there is plenty of variety to choose from, and there is even the option to eat a la cart or buffet style. The food has its moments, probably due to rotating chefs. During some of our stays, we enjoyed terrific food that was from out of this world, while some other times, we were presented with unimpressive rather boring dishes. During our most recent visit, we loved everything we had to eat, specially their Japanese food. Hopefully they’ll stick to their better chefs from now on.
Speaking of chefs and therefore staff, we were served hand and foot, and were pampered beyond our wildest dreams. The staff is extremely helpful and very accommodating but if you’re used to the friendly Mexican helpers that do everything with a broad smile, you’ll notice right away that this is not the case at the Riu Palace in Cancun. Yes, the employees will smile at you, and will go out of their way to help you, but they lack that down to Earth friendliness you find in other Mexican hotels. These guys are more along the lines of the French or English butlers, a little stiff and extremely professional and efficient.
In a nutshell, the Riu Palace hotel is a place fit for royalty, and you will be treated as such. Its prices are also royalty-like, but if you’re looking for an exclusive hotel where you’ll rub elbows with celebrities and wealthy businessmen, this is the place to go to in Cancun. For its magnificence and beauty, its extremely cleanliness, its beautiful beach and supreme service, we give the Riu Palace a 5 star rating.