CasaMagna’s impressive lobby features Romanesque arches and chandeliers. // © 2011 Marriott and Renaissance Resorts Caribbean & Mexico
One of the pleasures I appreciate most about Cancun is how easily it woos me while en route to the Hotel Zone. With stunning blue water fringed with ultra-white sand, the view from the taxi cab window immediately captivates me. However, at the same time, I start to worry about whether or not my hotel of choice will be as grand as the ones I’m driving past.
My first stay at the CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort was different, however. Instead of pondering how the 450-room property would size up, I was confident in Marriott’s reputation for delivering tasteful trappings and friendly service.
The moment I entered the lobby, I realized that this AAA Four Diamond property actually exceeded the brand’s standards in both aesthetics and hospitality. With sophisticated Mediterranean architecture, CasaMagna Marriott greeted me with a lengthy foyer adorned with Romanesque arches, gorgeous chandeliers, refined furnishings and tropical plants. The space is bright and airy with a flood of natural light and landscaping.
Geared to both leisure and business clientele, the resort has broad appeal with its Marriott Kids program for children ages 4-12, adults-oriented spa with a fitness center and 11,000 square feet of meeting space. A breezeway links the CasaMagna to the AAA Five Diamond JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa. Guests of these adjoining resorts enjoy additional wining, dining and spa privileges.
“The dual signing privilege allows us to diversify our offerings and cater to a larger audience while still maintaining the exclusivity of the JW Marriott and the relaxed luxury of CasaMagna,” said Marina Colunga, director of marketing communication at Marriott Cancun Resorts. “Ultimately, it doubles the range of what we are able to offer.”
Reflecting a combination of Maya and Spanish influences, my premium oceanview room was spruced up with Marriott Revive bedding, a sofa bed, a coffee table, a full-size dresser, a 32-inch LCD television, a stocked minibar and high-speed Internet access. And, the Caribbean view from the furnished balcony was nothing short of stunning.
Much of Cancun’s allure lies in its diversions. While I preferred getting my exercise beachcombing the impossibly white sand, the fitness room lets guests maintain their workout regime with treadmills, elliptical trainers, bicycles, free weights and weight machines.
Keeping things lively, the recreation staff organizes such daily activities as volleyball, water aerobics, bingo, Spanish lessons and cooking classes. Rounding out the amenities are tennis courts, a sparkling semi-circular pool with a swim-up bar, a Jacuzzi and the AquaWorld watersports center for gear rental.
AquaWorld’s hub is located just across Boulevard Kukulcan from the resort on Nichupte Lagoon. Here, guests can take part in water activities such as kayaking, sailing and windsurfing. Fishing trips as well as diving and snorkeling excursions to Jason deCaires Taylor’s Subaquatic Museum off Isla Mujeres are also available.
Certainly, there are plenty of dining options found throughout the Hotel Zone but, from day one, I realized that I really wouldn’t have to venture out for international cuisine since Marriott offers eight multicultural experiences.
At La Bahia, I sampled shrimp ceviche right on the beach and, later that evening, I had a stellar dinner of yellow curry and Chilean sea bass at Sasi Thai. With its open-air, freestanding palapas and romantic lighting, this restaurant is a must-visit even if only for appetizers and cocktails.
At La Capilla, I dove into an expansive breakfast buffet and an exquisite dinner that would make any carnivore rejoice. The Argentinean steakhouse prides itself in beefy selections, a gourmet salad bar and a 200-label wine cellar.
The timing of my stay had me watching the NCAA Final Four, which made Champions Sports Bar one of the hottest tickets in the Hotel Zone. The bulk of the resort’s burger-gobbling college basketball fanatics were glued to the restaurant’s 40-plus televisions, although a few patrons spent their time at the pool tables. The scene at the hotel bar flips into karaoke mode at 10:30 p.m. nightly.
Top-notch restaurants and an incredible setting aside, what truly escalates this resort is that Marriott is able to cater to just about any traveler.
“CasaMagna guests can enjoy AAA Four Diamond accommodations that are a bit more affordable, but they can also treat themselves to the five-diamond facilities at the JW,” said Colunga. “It’s a huge bonus for families, honeymooners and business travelers alike.”