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If you want an excuse to return, leave your hat. It always works for me.”
This well-traveled wisdom adorns the walls of the newly launched Panama Jack Resorts Cancun and is attributed to the company’s larger-than-life founder, Jack Katz.
Panama Jack, a Miami-based casualwear and lifestyle company, is well-known for its sunscreen and straw hats, but in the heart of Cancun, the brand presents itself as a space to return to again and again — thanks to an atmosphere that is both a nod to a nostalgic Hemingway-esque past and a modern minimalist present. This can best be seen in the large open-air lobby, which is the core of the property and houses an elaborate reception desk constructed of vintage luggage contrasted by sleek casual furniture and sophisticated marble stonework.
Panama Jack Resorts is the newest brand from Playa Hotels & Resorts, and Panama Jack Resorts Cancun — the extensively renovated former Gran Caribe Resort — is one of two launched properties. Both Panama Jack properties are in Mexico (the other property is in Playa del Carmen), and Playa has recently announced plans to expand the brand into Jamaica.
On arrival, guests are greeted with ice-cold blended juices and fruit-infused waters. The lobby is also home to Jack’s Landing, a bar that features live entertainment in the evenings; and Panama Jack Coffee Co., the perfect place to grab a coffee and a fragrant and decadent cinnamon roll. From here, clients can make their way to the resort’s restaurants, including At Sunset for casual American dishes; Viaggio for Italian food; and Deck 74, which offers Mongolian barbecue in the evening. Those who prefer to sample local cuisine should head to Casa de Rosa for Mexican fare.
The main pool area, which features an outdoor bar and a gazebo, is the epicenter of Panama Jack’s pop-up entertainment, where a magician or mime might appear and perform. During my visit, a surprise dance party erupted, in which hotel staff broke into a choreographed number whenever The Beach Boys’ “Surfin’ U.S.A.” was played.
With families in mind, Panama Jack offers Camp Jack, which includes youth activities and a waterpark composed of a pirate ship, seven waterslides, a kids’ pool and two splash zones. There are programs designed for teens, as well.
For adults, activities include beachfront Zumba, pool aerobics, beach volleyball and soccer. For guests who would like to get out on the water, kayaking is provided at a nearby marina. Finally, for more relaxed endeavors, clients can attend a cooking or mixology class, take a tequila and wine tasting with the resort’s sommelier, or book a massage at the property’s spa.
The newly renovated rooms are bright and airy and are decorated in the signature Panama Jack motif. The bathrooms are spacious and lined in natural stone. Premium rooms have access to Club Panama, a private area to meet, chat or play board games, complete with beverage service and a buffet of small bites throughout the day.
All things considered, Panama Jack’s all-inclusive atmosphere will certainly have many guests contemplating leaving their hats.
The DetailsPanama Jack Resorts Cancunwww.panamajackresorts.com