Playa Hotels & Resorts, which operates a variety of all-inclusive properties in Mexico and the Caribbean, is touting the appeal of two recently refreshed properties in the Mexican Caribbean: Hyatt Zilara Riviera Maya and Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun.
During a recent trip, I explored what each has to offer.
Hyatt Zilara Riviera Maya
My first stop was Hyatt Zilara Riviera Maya, a 291-room resort located about 6 miles north of Playa del Carmen. One of the most recent additions to the adults-only Hyatt Zilara portfolio, this property — which debuted with its current name last December — is the result of a massive overhaul of the former Secrets Capri.
While the resort’s original architectural elements are, for the most part, intact, the rebranding has brought a beautifully refreshed style to nearly every other aspect, from interior design to culinary offerings and accommodation features. Public areas and guestrooms alike are decorated with soothing beige and cream tones, and Playa has added 46 new swim-up junior suites, providing an entirely new room category. I found that the refreshed guestrooms offer many thoughtful features, such as extensive adjustable lighting, large televisions, well-stocked minibars and patios or balconies.
New food and beverage venues are another welcome result of the rebranding, and I enjoyed hearty breakfasts at El Comedor, the main buffet restaurant; a fun cocktail-tasting session at Social, the lobby bar; and delicious snacks at Coffee Republic, the all-day coffee shop and snack bar. Additional options include Capri Grille, which specializes in coastal Mediterranean cuisine, and Tempest, which has an impressive sushi bar. Lola Beach, meanwhile, is the preferred spot for “sea to table” cuisine with a Caribbean view, and its beach club is the best place to enjoy live DJ music as the day winds down.
One of my most memorable culinary experiences took place on the rooftop of Lola Beach: a private dinner, complete with festive decor, live music and a dessert demonstration table. While this experience isn’t available for the general public, it’s a good example of an option for private events like celebrations, family reunions and wedding parties.
I also enjoyed a fascinating Mayan ceremony that took place at Zen Spa, a lovely facility with a large open-air relaxation and hydrotherapy area that’s covered by a thatch-roof palapa. The range of regular spa services is certainly inviting, but the Mayan ceremony added yet another layer to the experience.
While there are daily entertainment options, I appreciated that the hotel never felt overpowered by events, and it was always possible to have a peaceful experience. Likewise, the property’s inviting ambiance is enhanced by its manageable, walkable size.
Also worth noting is the hotel’s proximity to other attractions; we enjoyed a day trip organized through the hotel’s on-site tour company, Discova, to visit the ruins at Tulum as well as Canamayte Cenotes & Ecopark, which is set within a Mayan community and has two cenotes, dining facilities and space for Mayan ceremonies.
Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun
While the Zilara property excels at serving adults, Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun does a noteworthy job of pleasing an even wider range of ages. And it, too, offers a variety of new features thanks to a recent rebranding.
Originally known as Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun, Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun debuted in September 2021 with new features, such as a waterpark and a children’s pool. One of the first things that struck me was the layout of the 10 swimming pools, which stretch and curve lazily throughout the property. One is adults-only, and some are just steps from the patio doors of ground-floor rooms.
Adults, by the way, should consider making an appointment or two at Zen Spa, a two-story facility spanning more than 16,000 square feet. I relished a relaxing massage treatment, a hydrotherapy circuit and lazy time in a cabana at the spa’s tranquil outdoor pool.
The property’s dining options are delightfully diverse, with a total of seven bars and 10 restaurants — including two poolside restaurants, Balik and La Parrilla. I especially enjoyed the lively talents of Julian, a chef who treated us to a theatrical culinary demonstration at Miyako, which serves Thai, Chinese and Japanese dishes. I also loved the fried fish tacos at the seafront Habaneros restaurant.
Other dining venues include Rue de Rivoli, a lovely, adults-only French restaurant; Vivace, an Italian and Mediterranean eatery; and Ki, a stylish Mexican restaurant. I indulged in an especially delicious final breakfast at Afthonia, which offers an abundant breakfast buffet in the morning and Mediterranean food in the evening.
I was also impressed by the decidedly large guestrooms; the standard room size is a generous 668 square feet. My Water Park View Junior Suite was furnished with two queen-size beds and a large sofa and table, while the furnished patio offered a view of the water park, a swimming pool and the Caribbean Sea.
Nightly entertainment is varied, and families will likely find something for all ages, whether it’s a violin performance, aquatic circus, live rock band or a fire performance. Kids will find additional activities at the children’s club, which is free for ages 4 to 12.