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21 km of soft white sand beach lined by turquoise waters on one side and spectacular fancy Hotels on the other, delicious restaurants, nightlife, and culture. I am talking about the Cancun hotel zone here, but Cancun is much more than that.
The thing is, in Cancun, there are about 300 hotels if you include the small ones in the city; on the beach, we could easily get to 200 or more. I haven’t counted them personally, nor have I seen them all (as you can imagine).
So if you are deciding on where to stay in Cancun the choice is hard. Of course, there are many good places to stay in Cancun, some are special, others are cheap, others again are cheap and fun, others are spectacular and luxurious, you just have to know first what you want and what budget you have and then it will become easier.
Most of all though, Cancun is mostly popular for its huge selection of all-inclusive hotels, the “all you can eat and drink” type of properties, which are not exactly the kind I am fond of. If you are following me for a while, you know what I mean.
In this post, I have included my top favorite hotels, which are to me the best hotels in Cancun in general, but they all happen to be on the beach.. oh well, who doesn’t love to be on the beach, especially if it’s so beautiful as the Cancun beach!
They are luxury hotels for those who wish to splurge and get pumpered in beauty and charm.
Just scroll down to check them out.
FIRST TIME IN CANCUN? HERE IS MY TOP TRAVEL TIPS FOR A QUICK OVERVIEW
✅ TOP THINGS TO DO IN CANCUN
✅ CANCUN TRAVEL TIPS
- November to April is the best time of the year to visit Cancun because it’s less humid and lower chance of rains, while September and October are the rainiest months. However I wouldn’t really bother. You never know with the weather.
- You can pay with credit cards almost everywhere but it’s better to travel with some local cash to pay in markets or street vendors.
- Make sure you book your transfer before your arrival in Cancun or check the ADO bus schedule.
- You want to know in advance what to pack and what to expect when you arrive at the Cancun airport.
- Cancun is a great destination either for family, couples or solo travelers. There’s everything for every taste and budget.
- Watersport’s lovers will find their heaven on earth as both on the beachside or on the lagoon there are plenty of activities to choose from, including kayaking, paddle boarding, surfing, kite surfing, jetpack and much more.
- Don’t miss to visit the local market, Mercado 23, where real life happens.
- Cancun is still a safe city to travel to, despite some recent facts, but you still need to use common sense, as I better explain in this thorough guide on safety in Mexico
- If you feel safer with organized tours check out these Cancun tours that will take you around exploring this amazing region.
CANCUN LUXURY HOTELS: OVER THE TOP BEACH HOTELS IN CANCUN
NIZUC Resort & Spa
A relatively new property, which opened its doors in September 2013, it has been nominated by different prestigious travel magazines such as Condè Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and Fodor’s, as one of the best new hotels of 2014.
And I certainly second that. NIZUC Resort and Spa is for me among the best Hotel in Cancun It belongs to the already popular Mexican chain, Brisas, and is their first luxury property. I have to say, as their first baby, they really have done an amazing job. I hope they continue to spread beauty like this!
With some 250 suites of many different types (according to location and size), 5 restaurants, and a lounge bar; the property is spread out along the coast at the very tip of the beautiful beach of Cancun; an oasis of peace and tranquillity.
What I love the most is the Balinese architecture in both the outdoor and indoor design, where the dominant colors are black and grey, and the preferred material is wood, graciously combined with the finest Mexican art. The result is a superb, elegant and modern style, inspiring and soothing.
I love that they have a separate beach and a suite area for adults only, so as to guarantee tranquillity. And as much as I love kids, I find this is a very intelligent and thoughtful touch.
The restaurants offer a variety of cuisine from all over the world: Italian, Peruvian, Thai, and of course the local Mexican cuisine in a particularly gourmet style; not to mention the elegant ambiance and great authentic dishes. The restaurants are also open to the public, so if you are staying somewhere else and wish to have a special dinner or Sunday brunch, for which the hotel is also popular, I suggest you try this experience (reservation required).
On the beach there are no motorized sports (a fact which I love), guaranteeing peace and quiet. They offer paddle-boarding, guided snorkeling trips, and kayaking, to enjoy the beautiful beach and reefs along the coast. It was such a beautiful day when I went to visit the hotel; the colors were just stunning and you just wanted to jump into the turquoise water. When I left, I was literally in love and decided I really wanted to spend a couple of days there. In fact, with my birthday coming up a few weeks later I had the best excuse to exceed my usual monthly budget. And so I did. I wasn’t lucky with the weather, but my friends and I surely made the most of our time there, taking advantage of the stunning spa. NIZUC Resort and spa is certainly one of a kind, in Cancun and the entire Riviera Maya, as far as the eye can tell.
If you wish to know more about my personal experience at NIZUC, you can check out here.
THE RITZ CARLTON
Well, the Ritz Carlton is the Ritz Carlton, you can never go wrong! It’s a name that speaks for itself and I shouldn’t really have anything else to add. However, I was even more pleasantly surprised when I went to do my site inspection. It was absolutely gorgeous and had a particularly elegant atmosphere that makes you feel you are floating in a bubble of bliss and elegance! It definitely exceeded my expectations. I can only imagine what it would be like if I stayed there. From the warm welcome of “Alma” who kindly showed me around, to the kindness of the staff we met during our walk, everybody seemed genuinely happy to be working. It’s funny how I noticed this particular detail, more than in any other places I have been to.
The hotel is a classic, as are the common areas, which are elegantly decorated with authentic pieces of classical art from the owner’s collection. It really looks like a beautiful museum of Fine Arts with its rich collection of pieces, paintings, and sculptures. However, as you enter your suite, you get this new, modern, fresh feeling. They combine beautiful pieces of exquisite Mexican art with a modern, minimalist style.
The dominant colors are grey and light blue on a white background, giving a very cozy feeling of a home away from home. All the rooms are beachfront, and all have full views of the beautiful beach of Cancun. What’s more, I guarantee you that the location of the Ritz Carlton enjoys one of the best stretches of beach ever, where the sea is usually calm and the water offers its innumerable shades of blue. Watching this amazing show from the balcony of your stunning room is definitely a special experience.
There is a huge choice of accommodation, from the simpler, yet still spacious room, to the presidential suite located on the top floor. As in any other Ritz, you have the option to book the club suites, where you have full access to the tranquil club lounge on the 8th floor, and can enjoy your privacy, having a peaceful break, where 5 meals are served throughout the day.
The hotel is also especially renowned for its highly-awarded culinary offer, and a distinct note goes to the 5-diamond restaurant Fantino, which holds a special place in the owner’s “favorites” since it has been decorated according to his love of horses (hence the name) and art. The walls have fresco paintings representing the 4 seasons. The menu offers Mediterranean gourmet cuisine which has been awarded a 5-diamond rating by the AAA and is the only sea-front fine dining restaurant in Cancun. If that were not enough, the wallpaper is not paper, but cushioned silk and the restaurant has been deemed as “the lady of the house” due to its sophistication and elegance. There is a strict dress code for men in order to have access. The food must be top notch and I can’t wait to try it.
The second restaurant that they love to highlight is the Club Grill. Less formal, they say, but still very elegant, as you might expect. It offers (besides great international cuisine) tequila tasting, every afternoon, and cocktail classes in the bar of the restaurant lobby. The club grill is a registered signature brand that you can find at every Ritz Carlton. This one in Cancun has also won the 5 diamonds, a guarantee of quality.
And the surprises do not end there. The stunning premises, along with the exceptional service and attention to detail, have ensured that the Ritz Carlton Cancun has kept a firm hold on its 5-star diamond award, ever since 1999. In 2016, Forbes Travel Guide also awarded the resort 5 stars. Both are very prestigious ac
ALL INCLUSIVE PROPERTIES IN CANCUN
HOTEL PARADISUS by MELIA
Paradisus is a spectacular resort located at just 15 minutes from the Cancun airport and on an amazing stretch of the world-famous Cancun beach.
The hotel offers luxurious, spacious and elegantly decorated guestrooms, four lagoon-style swimming pools, 9 restaurants with international fine cuisine, besides tennis fields, a nine-hole golf course, and the exclusive YHI Spa.
If you wish to enjoy the perks of extra luxury you might want to upgrade to the Royal service, the adult only section of the resorts that include ultra-luxury suites and exceptional service, the best option for travelers who want to get pampered by exceptional service.
HYATT ZIVA & ZILARA
I have to admit that although I am not a big fan of ALL INCLUSIVE, I reckon that there are brands that are able to make the all-inclusive a very exclusive experience (pun intended) HYATT resorts is one of them. I know the brand as I have stayed in one of their resort in Jamaica when they opened and it was impeccable, in service, culinary choices and quality of the room and amenities. I know they keep their standard throughout their resorts especially the new ones, like the ones in Cancun. Another thing I like about Hyatt is that they keep separated the family resort suitable for kids from the adults’ resort, suitable for couples and adults alike in search of peace and tranquillity.
In this way, they can differentiate the services that they offer and specifically aim to satisfy their audience in a better way, almost personalizing the service. Therefore if you have kids you can choose the HYATT ZIVA, which is actually located in Punta Cancun, 5 minutes walk to the night entertainments, but still repaired from the noise, so you can enjoy peace and tranquillity on one of the best stretch of beaches of Cancun. This is why if you wish to enjoy the nightlife in Cancun you should choose HYATT ZIVA. Another great perk at Ziva is that it is located on a strategical point on the Cancun Beach where the beach makes a turn, which makes the hotel basically surrounded by water, that turquoise water that we all imagine when we think about Caribbean sea.. exactly that one. And on top of that, the huge pool located right in the middle of the resort makes it even more fascinating… and fun!
However, if you are planning a romantic getaway far from the crowd and the city lights, HYATT ZILARA will be your perfect choice. Located far from the hustle and bustle of the nightlife and on a beautiful stretch of beach, the hotel offers romantic rooms all with hot tub in each room and rose petals on the bed (at additional cost, by request). You can also ask the concierge to set up in-room dining and draw you a bubble bath with candlelight. It’s definitely the perfect getaway designed to pamper you and your special one. Zilara also offers a full day schedule for watersport and fitness activities to keep you fit and entertained.
I hope you will find this useful and you can check back anytime as I will be adding more hotels as soon as I check them out for you.
ON THE TOP PICTURES. The header picture is NIZUC Resort and Spa, taken from the deck, by myself, taking advantage of the only ray of sun I could glimpse during my stay. The main picture above the title is the beach of Ritz Carlton from one of the room. Taken by me during my short visit.
Enjoy your stay in Cancun !!!
Book Your Trip: Practical Tips and Tricks
Book your accommodation
I use most of all Booking.com. I find it very convenient because it shows all kinds of accommodations, from hostels to villas to hotels. I love the layout of the site and the comments of the previous guests. And they always have great deals.
However, I always recommend to check out different sites and compare them. I come from the travel industry and I know for a fact that hotels agree from time to time with different tour operators to make special exclusive deals. So maybe one day you will find a great deal with Booking.com and the other day with Expedia or Hotels.com for the same hotel. So it is always worth checking them all. Of course, there are many other booking sites, but these are the ones I feel more comfortable with.
Now you have to know that Expedia and Hotels.com belong to the same company Expedia Group, together with many other sites, but they still display different rates as they have different targets. I know it sounds odd, but it is what it is.
Last but not least, always check the hotel web page because sometimes they have a better deal. Even better if you can call the hotel directly and ask if they have a special rate for those dates that you want to book. They might give you an offer in order not to lose a potential client.
I also check the reviews on TripAdvisor, both for hotels and tours. It doesn’t cost a thing and it helps a lot in choosing. You can also check their prices and compare them as well.
Book your flight
For flights, I use both Skyscanner and Expedia as well. The same rule applies: always compare. They are both good because they are aggregators which means that they compare prices from different sites and airlines. However, it’s always good to double check with the airline site directly.
Don’t forget your travel insurance
I couldn’t have one while I was traveling in Mexico because I am a resident there, but as soon as I left I did my insurance with World Nomads. After a research on the web and through friends I found World Nomads to be the most used and the most reliable when it comes not only to sickness but also missed flights, credit cards issues and so on. Whatever insurance you decide to get, that’s fine though, as long as you have one. I just can’t imagine being stuck in a place sick and miserable and not being able to get the necessary treatments because I can’t afford it, or having to ask my parents or friends to support me. That’s inconceivable to me. For me, it is super important and I can never recommend it enough.