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With its wide array of hotels catering to a seemingly endless variety of tastes, Cancun is a logical vacation choice for many different types of travelers.
I’ve personally put the destination’s diversity to the test over the past few years. Two years ago, I planned a multigenerational family getaway that kept everyone happy and entertained, even though our group ranged in age from seven to 74. But during my most recent visit with my spouse, it was just the two of us — so it was time to test the adults-only side of Cancun.
Step one was to choose the right hotel. Being a travel writer by trade, I couldn’t resist sampling two of the newest adults-only brands.
We started our visit at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun, a recent revamp of the former Royal Cancun resort that represents a new agreement between Hyatt and Playa Hotels & Resorts. The new Zilara brand offers an upscale, adults-only experience that focuses on amenities like excellent cuisine and in-room, two-person Jacuzzis that look out onto the gorgeous beach. The minimum age here is 16, but we didn’t see anyone younger than 20-something.
Next, we moved to Secrets The Vine, the fabulously contemporary all-inclusive property that claims the title of being the tallest hotel on the beach in the Hotel Zone. Here, we indulged not only in exquisite, decidedly grown-up cuisine and ambiance, but also stylish accommodations on the Preferred level, in a suite with a wrap-around balcony that provided postcard-perfect views of both the lagoon and the Caribbean. Sticking to the resort’s wine-themed ambiance (there are wine tastings every afternoon), I also enjoyed a rejuvenating wine therapy massage in the spacious Secrets Spa by Pevonia.
Fine DiningBoth of the hotels we stayed in wowed us with their tasty cuisine — upscale all-inclusive resorts have truly upped the ante when it comes to gourmet, a-la-carte dining. But there are many more dishes to discover; it’s worth noting that Cancun is home to three AAA Five Diamond restaurants: two in the Ritz-Carlton Cancun and the third, Le Basilic, in the Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach.
Top independent restaurants in Cancun include Casa Rolandi, which serves Swiss and international cuisine accompanied by spectacular lagoon views, and Puerto Madero, where Argentine-style steak and seafood are the draw. And at the upscale La Isla shopping center, one of the most celebrated venues for dining and imbibing is Thai, where cozy palapa-covered tables offer privacy and a quiet place to savor the Thai cuisine.
Side Trips and ActivitiesThere are so many activities and attractions in and around Cancun that you could easily fill up a month-long stay, so the trick here is to choose the things that sound most appealing. Among the options right in the Hotel Zone is Delphinus Dreams Cancun, which recently added a 75-minute Couples Dream Swim, limited to two participants at a time (and you don’t have to be an actual couple to participate).
During this trip, we especially enjoyed spending a day on Isla Mujeres, the laid-back island just 20 minutes away from Cancun by scenic ferry ride. Warm Caribbean winds caressed our faces as we navigated the island’s quiet roads in a rented golf cart, stopping at quiet beaches and other scenic spots.
We also ducked into Villa Rolandi, a small property with pristine gardens and Caribbean views that AMResorts will relaunch in December as the 35-room Zoetry Villa Rolandi Isla Mujeres; it will likely be one of the best places for adults to overnight on the island.
The big family trip to Cancun was a memorable and enjoyable experience, to be sure, but visiting Cancun this time around cast the destination in a whole new light.